Grocery Guides

15 Tasty Ice Cream Alternatives: Yogurt, Shaved Ice & More



Last Updated: Apr 10, 2024

Ice cream has been a beloved treat for generations. With its rich flavors and smooth texture, it’s no wonder people choose ice cream when looking for dessert. However, as dietary restrictions and health consciousness evolve, people are seeking alternatives to ice cream.

Whether you’re looking to curb your sweet tooth for health or personal reasons, you’re in luck with these ice cream alternatives. From fruit puree to creamy pudding, there’s something sweet for everyone.

1. Frozen bananas

frozen bananas with berries and coconut as an ice cream alternative

Frozen bananas are an excellent ice cream alternative when you’re in the mood for something sweet. Freeze your ripened bananas, then blend or mash them to mimic the texture of ice cream. Or try dipping your frozen bananas in chocolate for an easy-to-make sweet treat.

2. Strawberry and banana puree

strawberry and banana puree with fruit and granola

Create your own fruit-based ice cream with bananas and strawberries in season. Blend your ripe fruit until smooth to create a naturally sweet dessert. You can also use frozen fruit to mimic the coldness of ice cream. Enjoy by itself, or add your favorite toppings for an alternative to ice cream.

3. Coconut milk ice cream

ice cream made from coconut milk

You can use coconut milk instead of dairy milk for a simple ice cream alternative. This is perfect for those with dairy allergies or lactose intolerance. Blend coconut milk and your choice of sweetener, then freeze to create a rich, indulgent frozen dessert. Don’t forget to add granola, nuts, fruit and even candies to top off your dessert.

4. Gelato

an assortment of gelato flavors

Gelato is an Italian-style ice cream that uses less cream and isn’t made with egg yolks. This dessert gets its creaminess from being churned at a slower speed, incorporating less air. Gelato is a lighter option when you’re in the mood for something sweet but not as dense as traditional ice cream.

5. Frozen yogurt

frozen yogurt topped with fresh fruit

Frozen yogurt has a similar consistency to ice cream but is a healthier option. Yogurt is used as the base, often sweetened with sugar, fruit or other additives. Choose from a variety of flavors of frozen yogurt, including traditional vanilla, cookies and cream and peanut butter. Customize your froyo with all the toppings you want!

6. Greek yogurt

Greek yogurt with strawberries and granola

Greek yogurt is a healthy alternative to ice cream that can be transformed in several ways. Eat your Greek yogurt by itself or freeze it to create a chilled dessert. Mix in fruit, granola and different types of nuts for extra crunch.

7. Shaved ice

Rainbow shaved ice in a white bowl, which makes for a good ice cream alternative

If you’re looking for a light yet refreshing treat, shaved ice is for you. This ice cream alternative takes crushed ice and flavored syrups to the next level. It’s especially tasty on a hot summer day!

8. Sorbet

sorbet with blueberries and raspberries

Sorbet is a frozen dessert made from fruit juice or fruit puree, sugar and water. Blend your choice of fruit and freeze to create this smooth, light treat. Sorbet is naturally dairy-free, which makes it a suitable option for almost everyone. Mix fruits, like blueberries and raspberries, to create your own flavor.

9. Pudding

glass of chocolate pudding with whipped cream and chocolate shavings

Pudding is not only a great way to make box cake taste better, but it’s also a delicious alternative to ice cream. Serve your favorite flavor of pudding chilled or frozen for a similar texture as ice cream. Enjoy it by itself, or top your pudding with chocolate chips, sprinkles or fresh fruit.

10. Popsicles

peach flavored popsicles

Nothing says summertime like indulging in popsicles. While ice cream can be filling, popsicles are a light and refreshing option. You can make popsicles with your favorite fruit juice, yogurt or coconut water. Mix and match different ingredients until you find your favorite.

11. Smoothies

blueberry smoothie with extra berries on top

Smoothies are a nutritious alternative to ice cream but are still cold, smooth and refreshing. Customize your smoothie with nut butter, leafy greens, protein powder or fresh fruit. Enjoy your smoothie as a snack, a quick meal on the go or a treat to satisfy your sweet tooth.

12. Avocado ice cream

bowl of avocado ice cream

Use ripened avocados to create this easy dessert. Blend your avocados with cocoa powder, vanilla extract and dairy-free milk to make avocado ice cream. Leave the mixture in the freezer until it reaches your desired texture.

13. Whipped topping

whipped cream with strawberries

Most people add whipped topping to ice cream or their favorite dessert, but you can enjoy it by itself as an alternative. Its light and fluffy texture should satisfy your sweet tooth without compromising your health goals. Choose from dairy or dairy-free whipped toppings for an easy dessert.

14. Almond milk ice cream

bowl of almond milk ice cream

Almond milk ice cream is a dairy-free alternative suitable for those with or without dairy allergies or intolerances. Blend your almond milk with sweetener and flavorings to create a creamy frozen dessert. Eat it plain, or top it with chocolates, sprinkles, nuts or anything else you want. 

15. Frozen fruit

bowl of frozen berries

Frozen fruit is often overlooked as an alternative to ice cream. Place your favorite fruit, like mango chunks, grapes or watermelon, in the freezer and enjoy. You can eat your frozen fruit alone or blend it to mimic ice cream. Try dipping your fruit pieces in chocolate and freezing for a delicious dessert.

A spoonful of ice cream alternatives

Now that you’re more familiar with ice cream alternatives, you’re ready to taste them! Remember that you can mimic the texture and flavors of ice cream with frozen fruit and dairy-free milk without compromising your favorite toppings. Shop alternatives to ice cream with Instacart and receive a spoonful of sweetness right to your door. 

Looking for birthday cake alternatives? Try one of these dessert ideas to celebrate your loved ones.



Instacart is the leading grocery technology company in North America, partnering with more than 1,400 national, regional, and local retail banners to deliver from more than 80,000 stores across more than 14,000 cities in North America. To read more Instacart posts, you can browse the company blog or search by keyword using the search bar at the top of the page.

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