Real Vanilla Bean Gelato

Real Vanilla Bean GelatoNo matter what time of year it is I LOVE ice cream, and I make it often! This Gelato was a delicious twist on tradition ice cream, and was the PERFECT accompaniment to my World’s Best Chocolate Cake that I made for my youngest son’s first birthday. Really, I could eat this cake & gelato EVERYDAY!! :)


Happy 1st Birthday to my little Connor!

If you are convinced that making ice cream or gelato is too hard, I hope this post will convince you otherwise OR this questionable list of ingredients contained in store bough ice cream will scare you in to making your own: 

Blue Bell Vanila Ice Cream Ingredients: Milk, Cream, Sugar, Skim Milk, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup, Natural And Artificial Vanilla Flavor, Cellulose Gum, Vegetable Gums (Guar, Carrageenan, Carob Bean), Salt, Annatto Color.

I think I will pass on the HFCS, artificial flavor and all of the other junk! Let me show you how to make a lower carb version with REAL ingredients and LOTS of flavor!

How to make Gelato

Gelato is a thick and rich Italian version of ice cream. Here are some of the differences that make it DIVINE:

  1. Gelato uses more milk than cream. This makes gelato not only lower in fat (not that I care about the fat), but making gelato doesn’t require as low of a temperature to freeze as ice cream does. This makes it more pliable and quicker to melt on your tongue. Source
  2. Gelato is also more dense and has less air incorporated it. Typically, this means using a different vessel to make gelato but with this recipe, I think we can get around not having a gelato maker.

I researched this topic for a while and there are TONS of information about making the perfect gelato. Check out this link for more information. 

I don’t have a gelato maker but I used my compressor ice cream maker and I LOVE IT! No bowls to freeze or rock salt to deal with. Other great ice cream makers are the Cuisinart 1-1/2-Quart Ice Cream Maker (under $50) or the Electric Ice Cream Maker. (I have all 3 of these ice cream makers!) You could even make ice cream or this gelato without any type of ice cream maker. Check out this post for more instructions (It really does work)! 

When I purchased this compressor run ice cream maker last year I really meant to purchase this gelato/ice cream maker. It comes with a different paddle for making gelato which incorporates less air. Since I didn’t have an official gelato maker, I just simply removed the gelato from the ice cream maker before it completely firmed up which really just meant less air in the final product. I put the half frozen milk and egg mixture into a freezer safe container and let it firm up for a few hours. The result, delicious and thick gelato! 

If you are serious about making ice cream or gelato, I HIGHLY recommend getting one that runs off of a compressor so you don’t have to worry about freezing a bowl or using rock salt! It’s perfect for Summer time! I am officially spoiled to instant homemade ice cream now!  

031The Recipe

I think what makes this gelato so good is not only did I use fresh milk, but I added my homemade vanilla extract. Since I was at the bottom of my jar, I was able to get some of the actual vanilla specks in the ice cream. Not required but delicious and visually beautiful! I was hoping the alcohol from the vanilla extract would keep the gelato soft even after freezing overnight but it didn’t.  

You may wonder why I made such a large batch. My thoughts are that it is just as easy to make a large batch than a small one. You can always refrigerate (or even freeze) half of this recipe for a later day but I am pretty certain it won’t last but a few days in the fridge. Feel free to half this recipe but you are going to regret it, I promise! :)

I think you can use this recipe as a great base for many variations such as lemon, strawberry, almond (use almond extract) or any of the other yummy varieties you have tried at Whole Foods! 

Want a chocolate-hazelnut version?? Try adding 1 cup of my New-tella Chocolate Hazelnut Butter to the egg and milk batter after the cooking process. This will be one of my next variations!

For Dairy-Free: Use canned coconut milk in the milk and/or cream. I am sure true Italians wouldn’t call it gelato but I would still call it good! :)

*Note about Sweeteners: I used Pure KAL Stevia to sweeten this Gelato. I still have a bottle that doesn’t have any added ingredients. If using Organic KAL Stevia, please use a little less than the recipe calls for and then taste. If using Organic Sweet Leaf Stevia, use 1 tsp. for the full recipe. Everyone’s pallet will respond differently to the taste of stevia and the last thing you want to do is add too much and make your Gelato bitter. Remember, you can use ANY sweetener you choose in all of my recipes, especially this one. If you are using a granular sweetener like coconut sugar or xylitol, be sure to add it when the mixture is cooking so that it dissolves easily. Stevia is added at the very end because the sweetness of stevia can sometimes cook out. 

What is your favorite flavor of ice cream or Gelato??

Real Vanilla Bean Gelato
Serves 14

Enjoy this lower carb version of a classic Italian treat!

To print, highlight the recipe and right click and select Print.

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    • 6 large pastured egg yolks
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 4 cups milk
    • 1 vanilla bean pod, split and seeds scrapped out
    • 2 cups heavy cream 
    • 3 tbsp. homemade vanilla extract
    • 1/2 tsp. KAL Stevia or sweeterer of choice, to taste (see notes above)
    • 2 tbsp. raw honey (optional)
  1. In a medium bowl, add egg yolks and salt. Whisk for about 2 minutes or until thick. Set aside.  

    In a heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium heat, add milk, vanilla bean and pod. Warm milk to scalding (little bubbles will form on side of the pot).  Temper the egg yolks by whisking 1/2 cup of the scaled milk into the egg yolks.  Pour the egg and milk mixture back to the pot with the milk. Over medium-low heat stir egg and milk mixture until thickened which should take about 8-10 minutes. Once thick, turn off heat and whisk in cream, vanilla and sweetener.  Taste for sweetness and adjust if needed. Pour mixture into a bowl and refrigerate for 4-6 hours or overnight. 

    Remove the vanilla bean and pour half of the chilled mixture into your ice cream or gelato maker (refrigerate the other half of the mixture for up to 3 days). If using a regular ice cream maker, let the maker run until the gelato mixture starts to thicken but is not stiff. Transfer thickened mixture to freezer safe bowl with lid and freeze for 3-4 hours or until gelato sets up. If frozen overnight, leave hardened gelato at room temperature for 30-60 minutes (depending on the room temperature) until softened enough to scoop.

    NOTE: Feel free to leave the mixture in your ice cream maker for the full time or until the mixture is very thick. This will be more like ice cream but still delicious! 

    Enjoy plain, with fresh fruit, chocolate chips or with my World's Best Chocolate Cake! 

  1. Nutrition: 125 Calories, 10 grams Fat, 6.5 Net Carbs, 4 grams Protein (including honey) per half cup serving. 

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Happy Cookin’!




  1. Marla says

    I nominated you for the 2014 best food blog award here: I thought, since I’m sharing this with another site, you should also know what I think about your blog.

    My answer to why are you nominating this blog: I am really grateful for this blog. I have had to switch to a completely grain free lifestyle. Mrs. McGehee makes and shares recipes that allow me to feel like I’m not an alien from Trenzalore. Her recipes have helped me to learn how to cook w/o grains and stop making two meals when I cook, ie. something for me, something for the family. Her posts offer so much more than just a recipe.

  2. Tara says

    If using coconut milk, is it still necessary to heat it? I’m wondering how it would be different if I just mixed the coconut milk, egg yolks, salt, vanilla, and sweetener with a whisk or blender and poured into my ice cream maker. Any idea?

    • satisfyingeats says

      Tara, you can definitely do that, just will be more of an uncooked ice cream. The cooking is not for the milk but to allow the eggs to thicken the mix. I have made an ice cream base with raw eggs before (it doesn’t bother me as long as they are from a good source). Hope this helps!

  3. Wenchypoo says

    If you want softer ice cream even after freezing, add some tapioca starch or arrowroot–start with a tablespoon.

  4. Tara says

    This looks yummy. I have a question that I hope you can help me with. I am trying to go grain free and have made some of your breads. I’m finding that they have a grainy, cornbread like texture. I have been using an almond flour I found at my local grocery store. Does the Honeyville almond flour taste different or does it still have the grainy texture. Also I don’t like the coconut flavor very much so I have tried to use very little coconut flour. I saw that you said you could use sunflower seed flour which I am going to try. Is that flour the same ratio as almond flour in recipes? Thank you so much for sharing your journey and knowledge.

    • satisfyingeats says

      I only use Honeyville and yes, the texture is much better than any of the other almond flour out there (get it here: About coconut flour, I 99% promise you won’t taste it in my recipes. It helps with the texture. The coconut flavor actually comes from coconut oil (and not even coconut milk). Ground sunflower seeds can be used in the place of almond flour NOT coconut flour. I hope this helps!

  5. Sarah says

    Looking forward to this but I think I should get one of the ice cream makers first to make life easier. I’m happy that it makes a lot. I have 7 kids and REALLY appreciate recipes that make a ton. This will be perfect! My kids will be happy too because usually there are no seconds where homemade desserts are concerned.

  6. Lisa J says

    How do I unsubscribe?
    I dont recall signing up.
    I’ve looked for a button to unsubscribe, but can’t find it.


  7. Ashley says

    Hello….this gelato looks soooo yummy. I have one question. Any alternatives or other suggestions on the heavy cream? Let me explain. I use raw milk. I cannot tolerate conventional milk products. So I don’t know how to go about using heavy cream. In the past, I’ve tried skimming the cream off the raw milk for ice cream recipes, but then the raw milk doesn’t taste as creamy :) any suggestion on heavy cream?

    • satisfyingeats says

      Ashley, you can use canned coconut milk if you like or just use raw milk (with the cream). The more milk you use, the more of a traditional ice cream it will be vs. the more cream you use, the more like Gelato. You can play around with your ratio of milk to cream but it’s going to taste delicious either way! I hope this helps!

    • satisfyingeats says

      That sounds delicious, maybe a little marsala wine in the gelato mixture? Please let me know if you try it!

  8. Kathy says

    This sounds so yummy! RE: Sweeteners – We have Trader Joe’s Organic Stevia Extract Powder. Do you still recommend using twice as much of TJ’s as the recipe calls for of KAL? I gleaned this info from your article about Stevia… Thanks in advance for your guidance.

    • satisfyingeats says

      Yes Kathy. Start with twice as much and you may need to add more but it’s a good starting point! Enjoy.

  9. Theresa says

    I made this without an ice cream maker. Just freeze the mix in a parchment lined pan. Once frozen put into a food processor, in pieces, and blend, perfect soft serve. I don’t freeze it rock hard solid, just solid. I believe I got the idea from the Civilized Caveman. Great recipe! I am attempting the brownie cake today. Thanks for all your efforts for great recipes.


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