The warm season is approaching and it’s time to get back to talking about ice cream. In today’s article, Davide will help you understand a little better how protein acts within a mixture and what to take into account to balance a high-protein ice cream!

Many people nowadays are looking for high-protein foods, creating a selection of preferences both out of necessity and personal choice. Various high-protein products and snacks can be found in the market, but very often for ice cream lovers it becomes complicated: it is difficult to find “high-protein ice cream”.

The role of proteins in the ice cream mixture

The topic can be as simple as it can be complex. Let me explain: ice cream itself contains protein, but we have a much lower intake than traditional snacks (15%/20%). For this we will need to go in whey protein and caseinate powder, which can be safely purchased online (for example, you can buy them from this page).

Inserting proteins would result in an increase in solids in the ice cream, but if we considered it only as milk solids and went to eliminate the milk powder (54% lactose) we would have almost the same result by eliminating the lactose part. On the other hand, we would have an enrichment of air …and, of course, an increase in cost (in this case it is more than justified).

Milk powder vs. protein

In any homemade ice cream, we could replace the milk powder part with whey protein or, better yet, replace their total weight with 80 percent whey protein (wpc80) and a 20 percent caseinate protein. The former will go to incorporate air, the latter will be the “building blocks” of our ice cream, or “structuring agents.”

In order not to denature the whey proteins (thus avoiding “stretching” them), the temperature of 65°C should not be exceeded; for the record, caseinate withstands the temperature rise much better!

When you buy them, check that they are “aroma-free”. Usually just read the ingredients and they should only state “whey protein 80%”-“sodium caseinate/caseinate protein.” In addition, we might find soy lecithin as ingredient, but that should be ok for our ice cream. Being an emulsifier, it will even affect better creaminess, giving a smoother texture.

How to make a high-protein ice cream?

To make ice cream that is truly protein-packed, you might opt for low-fat Greek yogurt! It in fact contains no fat, has only 3 percent sugar and as much as 10 percent protein.

We then proceed to formulate and produce different versions of this protein yogurt ice cream:

  1. 30% Low-Fat Greek Yogurt, 3.5% Wpc80, 1% caseinate, milk, cream, traditional sugars
  2. 30% Low-Fat Greek Yogurt, 3.5% Wpc80, 1% caseinate, milk, butter, inulin, honey
  3. 30% Low-Fat Greek Yogurt, 3.5% Wpc80, 1% caseinate, milk, inulin, traditional sugars
  4. 30 percent low-fat Greek yogurt, 3.5 percent Wpc80, 1 percent caseinate, milk, inulin, sugar-polyols
  5. 30 percent low-fat Greek yogurt, 3.5 percent Wpc80, 1 percent caseinate, milk, butter/cream, sugar-polyols

How come these different versions?

  1. The first is the “traditional” version, in which our goal is simply to increase the protein portion of our ice cream.
  2. The second is to eliminate sugar and prefer honey
  3. The third is to reduce fat by replacing the fat part with 4% inulin
  4. The fourth is to eliminate traditional sugars and use polyols by lowering the glycemic index, calories and fat
  5. The fifth is to reduce calories and glycemic index while maintaining fats

Each version will have its pros and cons. Remember that fat gives body to our ice cream and gives a greater feeling of warmth, while honey has a high sweetness and polyhydric alcohols can have laxative effects (if you overdo it). The choice is completely yours!

Balancing high-protein ice cream (with BilanciaLi)

  • 300 g of low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 441 g of whole milk
  • 35 g of whey protein wpc80
  • 10 g casein
  • 4 g of locust bean gum
  • 40 g of dextrose
  • 130 g sucrose
  • 40 g of inulin
high-protein ice cream balancing

The recipe is very simple as a whole. We may notice in the CucinaLi control chart errors marked in red, but they are deliberate errors, such as low fat (due to the substitution of 4% fat for fiber, which consequently also lowers our caloric content).

gelato proteico bilanciali tabella controllo

The ice cream may turn out more or less cold and sweet depending on how it incorporates air. Using a homemade ice cream maker the incorporation of air may be somewhat reduced, resulting in ice cream that is quite “cold” and sweeter on the palate.


The procedure is very simple:

  • Combine all the powders (protein, sugars, fiber, and neutral) and mix them together
  • Combine the powders with the milk and mix with an immersion blender thoroughly
  • Heat the mixture to a maximum of 65°C just to get the neutral to activate properly and melt the rest of the powders
  • Mix again to create a better homogenization
  • Allow to ripen in the refrigerator from 6-8 hours
  • Maintain in ice cream maker and take out before it freezes

This ice cream is effectively a “Fit” ice cream with reduced fat and calories compared to a traditional ice cream.

Honey could be used instead of classic sugars or, why not, fructose or polyols to reduce the glycemic index.

Inventiveness and taste experimentation is in your hands, the solution on how to increase protein load we have given you and now… go make ice cream!

Please note: This article does not indicate this ice cream as a “Product for diabetics” et simila, as it always contains sugars and even with polyalcohol substitution does not exempt glycemic elevation.

Ice Cream Insights & Online Courses

For a basic or advanced course on artisan ice cream (in italian), check out my online course offerings, also available in combination with BilanciaLi Pro & Home.

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Davide Frainetti