It took a couple of tries to get these sugar-free creamsicles to turn out the way I wanted. They had to be creamy, not icy. And I wanted them to pop with orange flavor without actually using high sugar orange juice.
After a few attempts, one seriously messy kitchen, and only one teeny weeny meltdown (me, not the popsicles), I finally got it right.
So how to make low carb Creamsicles taste like oranges without oranges?
Orange juice has loads of natural sugars. So much so that adding it to this recipe would skyrocket the carb count. So no, oranges are not low carb and tend to be high on the glycemic index. But we low carb folks are a creative bunch. I mean, if we can make pizza crust out of cauliflower, we can make low carb creamsicles without oranges.
There are a few options, and I tested all of them.
Option 1: Orange Bakery Emulsion plus Lemon Juice
After testing all three methods, I like this one the best. It adds a sweet soft orange flavor without going overboard, and the lemon gives the popsicle the tartness that it needs. I use bakery emulsions in a lot of my recipes because they kick the flavor up without adding carbs. Lorann’s Oils has every kind of bakery emulsion you can think of, from butter cookie (yes butter cookie), banana (so good), and so many more.
Option 2: FOOD GRADE Natural Orange Oil
Not down for the artificial flavours? That’s cool; I get you. Lorann’s also has a line of natural flavorings too. I find the natural oils pack quite a punch, and it is very easy to go overboard. But the bottles last a long time because you only need a few drops to add a burst of flavor to any recipe. Just make sure whatever you’re using is Food Grade, as many essential oils are not edible!
Option 3: I Don’t Have Flavourings – Give Me Another Idea!
The last option is to use more orange rind in the custard to enhance the flavor of the base. The zest will add a light orange flavoring to your pops. Not so intense or fresh as using a flavor enhancer, but it will get the job done. A few notes about this method – make sure you use organic oranges. Since we’re using the rind, we want to make sure it’s not filled with pesticides. The second thing to note is the rind itself. Avoid the white pith underneath. It’s the white pith that will and an unpleasant bitterness to your pops.
I will add notes in the recipe card for how much and recipe adjustment for each method.
How to make creamy low carb creamsicles
Fat makes the difference in texture when it comes to frozen desserts. The fat helps prevent large ice crystals from forming and creates a creamy texture.
If you replace the heavy cream required in this recipe with low-fat versions like 2%, you will be changing the recipe significantly. That milk will have barely any fat, and what you’re going to get is a milksicle (I made that word up) and not a creamsicle. The same goes for increasing the amount of sugar-free almond milk in the recipe.
We use a low carb full-fat yogurt in this recipe, like Fage in the US, or Ziggy’s in Canada. If you replace the full-fat yogurt with low fat, it’s going to have an impact on the texture of the recipe.
Do I have to cook my custard base?
Cooking the custard base is essential; we want those eggs cooked. Cooking the custard base also creates a thick creamy texture that adds to the mouthfeel of the finished recipe. You also need to make sure that the custard is good and cold and slightly thickened before adding it to the mold. We want pretty rippled orange and white popsicles. If you add the hot custard to the molds, everything will just blend without the marbled effect.
A few extra tips to make sure the custard base turns out perfect.
- Be sure to cook over low heat, or use a double boiler.
- We want the custard to cook slowly.
- Use a few drops of orange food colouring to make these sugar-free popsicles look the part. I use America colours because of the squeeze bottle (so convenient).
- Be sure to strain the custard to remove any cooked egg and all the orange rind.
- When you cool the custard, be sure to place a piece of plastic wrap over the custard making sure the cover touches the surface to prevent a skin from forming.
What sweeteners work best?
Allulose is fantastic in any ice cream or frozen dessert because it prevents ice creams from freezing rock hard. I love how it works in so many frozen desserts, and as an added bonus it also leaves no aftertaste.
But you can use any sweetener you want in this recipe, so use your favorite. Since the fat content in these sugar-free creamsicles is so high, the texture should remain creamy regardless of what sweetener you use.
Sugar-free creamsicles; Storage & serving suggestions
These sugar-free creamsicles store up to 4 weeks in a freezer. Be sure to wrap them, either in parchment or a bit of plastic wrap before adding them to a large freezer bag. Wrapping the creamsicles well will keep them fresh for up to a month.
Orange Custard Base
- 3 large eggs yolks
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup Allulose (or your favorite sweetener)
- 1/8 cup orange zest
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1/8 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (juice from 1 lemon)
- 1 tsp Lorann's Orange Bakery Emulsion (see notes for other options)
- 1 pinch of salt
Vanilla Frozen Yogurt Base
- 1 cup Fage full-fat plain yogurt (see notes)
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup allulose
Orange Custard Base
- Whisk egg yolks, eggs, sweetener, orange zest, lemon juice, heavy cream, and salt in a medium saucepan until no streaks of egg remain. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula and scraping down sides of pan, until mixture coats the back of a spoon, 8–10 minutes.
- Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl. Cover, pressing plastic wrap directly onto the surface. Chill at least 2 hours.
Yogurt Mixture and Assembly
- Whisk yogurt, sweetener, vanilla, salt, and whipping cream in a small bowl. Cover and chill until ready to use.
- Pour one heaping tablespoon of yogurt mixture into popsicle molds then pour in a layer of orange curd until half full. Repeat with yogurt mixture and orange curd until the molds are full. Cover and insert sticks. Freeze until firm, at least 8 hours. To release pops from molds quickly run the bottom of the mold under warm water.
* You do not need to use a popsicle mold, dixie cups work too.
Options for orange flavoring.
If using food grade orange oil, replace the tsp of bakery emulsion with 3-4 drops of orange oil.
If using extra zest in place of the bakery emulsion, increase the zest to 1/4 cup. Whisk the mixture and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes prior to cooking.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 320Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 196mgSodium: 89mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 0gSugar: 4gProtein: 8g
Nutritional information for the recipe is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site. Erythritol carbs (and sugar alcohols) are not included in carb counts as it has been shown not to impact blood sugar. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fibre.