Credit: iStock / archmercigod
Ah, a new year. So full of promise and possibilities! If you're like millions of other people, you might have resolved to start 2019 off on the right foot. After the last month of 2018, with all the eating and drinking and eating and more drinking, it might even be necessary. Like, a matter of fitting into the clothes you wore two months ago kind of necessary. So many people make the resolution to eat better and get healthy when the calendar rolls over every January 1. And it's a great idea! In theory. But then you realize what all goes into making this happen. No more of your favs. Waking up early to work out. No eating cookies for lunch. NO FUN. Fret not, fellow potentially healthy people - it's not all bad. You can have your cake and eat it too, literally. These keto-friendly desserts prove it.
You don't have to give up all the good stuff! Sure, you might not be able to unwrap a Twinkie and chow down when the mood strikes. But with a little prep and time spent in the kitchen, your sweet tooth won't even realize what they're missing. Keto-friendly desserts are easy, most of them are pretty quick to make, and most importantly, they're good. Like, really good. No more pretending you enjoy the taste of unsweetened cocoa powder and shaved coconut. Make some of these keto-friendly desserts and get your fix without sabotaging all your hard work.
Think you need to give up brownies when you go keto? Think again. These amazing brownies from The Big Man's World deliver all the gooey goodness with none of the guilt. They are flourless, sugar-free, dairy-free, and vegan. Which sounds terrible? But works for some strange reason. You'll need pumpkin puree, mashed avocado, coconut flour, chia seeds, cocoa powder, coconut or almond milk, baking soda, and a sticky sweetener (Stevia, sucralose, monk fruit sweetener, and yacon syrup are all keto-approved). If you use canned pumpkin puree, make sure you check the label and confirm that there are no added sugars. Or, you can easily make your own!
Instagram account @ketodietmadesimple shared this recipe, and ohhhhhhhhhmg. That looks like a sinfully delicious piece of red velvet cake, and not at all like it belongs on a list of keto-friendly desserts. The ingredients list reads almost like a regular, not-good-for-you cake, too. You'll need 1 tablespoon ground flax seed, 2 tablespoons coconut flour, 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/8 teaspoon sea salt, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 cup heavy cream, 2 eggs, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon vanilla liquid Stevia, few drops red food coloring, Sugar Free Buttercream Frosting, 4 tbsp butter softened, 3 tbsp heavy cream, and 1/2 cup Swerve confectioners sweetener. We need this immediately.
Keto-friendly desserts that taste like their regular counterparts are some kind of magic. But these mini keto cheesecakes are the real deal. You can see the full recipe here. But it's got all the good stuff and checks all the cheesecake boxes. It's got butter. Eggs. Cream cheese. Vanilla. And it even has a nice crust made of almond flour. You can add whatever keto-friendly toppings you'd like (maybe some keto whipped cream and berries?). And we love the little muffin tin size. Perfect for a quick sweet snack. You'll love these keto cheesecakes so much, you won't even miss the real thing.
Image: All Day I Dream About Food
Oh man. We looooove panna cotta. So creamy and rich and delicious! Plus, so dang easy! Anytime we don't have to bake anything, we are winning at life. This coffee panna cotta with raspberry coulis from All Day I Dream About Food sounds like a little cup of heaven. It's gluten-free and low-carb, with only 4.5 net carbs per serving, so it's definitely one of the keto-friendly desserts you have to try! Even though it's good for you, it doesn't skimp on the richness you expect from a panna cotta. It has heavy cream and Greek yogurt (the coffee flavor comes from instant coffee). The best part is you just mix it together over medium heat then pop it in the fridge!
Just ... just look at that thing. Does look like anything besides an amazing slice of decadent chocolate cake?! It's sort of amazing how far keto-friendly desserts have come. Just goes to show, don't try to stand in the way of someone and their sweets! This recipe from Delish uses almond flour, coconut flour, and flax seed meal, and is sweetened by keto-friendly sugar (like Swerve). But other than that, the recipe reads like any other chocolate cake! Even the frosting is an amazing buttercream, made with butter, cream cheese, and keto-friendly sugar. The cake and frosting have an added kick from instant coffee, because what goes together better than chocolate and coffee?!
Image: The Big Man's World
We all have our things. You know, the snacks and treats we would have a really hard time giving up once we committed to rehauling our eating. Cookies and cakes and brownies, oh my! But luckily, keto-friendly desserts can fill a lot of those holes. Even if the hole left in your heart is the shape of a candy bar. These 5-Ingredient Snickers No Bake Bars from The Big Man's World will satisfy that Snickers craving faster than you can find the ones you hid after Halloween. They're a bit more labor intensive than some of the other keto-friendly desserts we've found; you have to make your own caramel and chocolate. And there is no nougat, boo. But they still look mighty tasty.
Image: Keto Connect
Sometimes you just need something sweet, and we don't mean frozen mashed bananas. We love bananas! But they are not ice cream. They are not creamy and rich and do not pair perfectly with pie. So imagine our delight when we found a recipe for keto-friendly ice cream from Keto Connect. It's made with heavy whipping cream and egg yolks, so clearly, this ice cream is going to be richer than Jeff Bezos. This particular recipe calls for unsweetened cocoa powder, but we imagine you can use fruit or vanilla extract to make a few different flavors. And you'll want to do that, because you can't have just one flavor of ice cream.
There's needing something sweet, and then there's needing something sweet and homey and comforting and delicious. Only one thing comes to mind that checks all those boxes: cobbler! But the almost-cloyingly sweet cobbler our grandmas used to make wouldn't fit in with a keto lifestyle. Thank god for this keto-friendly dish, though. Instagrammer @gratefullypreserved shared a recipe for sugar-free, gluten-free, keto-friendly peach cobbler, and we are drooling. The crust is made from almond flour, butter, eggs, and a sugar substitute. And the best part is you can make it even lower carb by using a different fruit, like raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, or even rhubarb.
Image: Hey Keto Mama
Like ... what? How is this real life?! We feel sorry for all those people who followed a keto diet before all these clever people started sharing their knowledge on the ol' interwebs. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are life. They are also decidedly NOT keto-friendly. So what's a girl with healthy-living dreams to do? Well, for starters, she could make these Keto Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bites from Hey Keto Mama. They're very simple: cream cheese, heavy whipping cream, a keto-friendly sweetener, peanut butter (check your labels!), coconut oil, and keto-friendly chocolate. The silicone molds are a must, obviously, because they're adorable and look so much like the real thing.
Image: Joy Filled Eats
Cookie ice cream sandwiches are the best of both worlds: crunchy and creamy, chunky and smooth. Who knew you could enjoy these delightful treats while on the keto diet?! This recipe for cookie dough ice cream sandwiches from Joy Filled Eats is another one that's a bit more labor-intensive, but worth it. The cookie is made of almond flour and cream cheese (she adds a teaspoon of molasses, but it can be omitted). The ice cream is heavy whipping cream, half and half, and egg yolks. Both use a keto-friendly sweetener. The key is to have some patience and let these sit in the freezer overnight, so the ice cream doesn't melt and run out of the sandwich. And there is glycerin in the ice cream, so keep it from getting icy.
We don't know about you, but there's not much else we love as much as a warm blueberry muffin in the morning. Back in the day, plenty of people considered muffins to be healthy. But most of them are LOADED with sugar. If you've got a hankering for a muffin, or maybe just want a light and quick cakey snack, these blueberry mug cakes from Keto Connect will hit the spot. Best part? This is a FIVE MINUTE DESSERT. Five minutes! Just five minutes to warm, satisfying, and most importantly, keto-friendly cake. See? Keto-friendly desserts don't have to be complicated or difficult to execute. If you've got a mug, a microwave, and five minutes, you're halfway there.
Image: Keto Diet App
And listen, this one looks and sounds waaaaaaay fancier than any non-keto desserts we've ever made. It honestly looks like something you'd find in a high-end ice cream shop. Raspberry Mascarpone Popsicles from Keto Diet App are cool, creamy, and decadent. The recipe calls for mascarpone cheese, high-fat cream, and fresh or frozen raspberries (you can totally sub your favorite berry here, but the tartness of the raspberries works well). They're sweetened with erythritol and Stevia, and the coating is 85% cacao chocolate and crushed nuts and freeze dried raspberries. Plus they're fun, because they're popsicles! It's a scientific fact that everything is better on a stick.
The holidays are rough when you're on a no-sugar, low-carb lifestyle plan. Like, it's manageable most of the rest of the year. But once October hits? It's brutal. Halloween, then Thanksgiving, and finally Christmas, and nary a sugar-free treat to be found! Until now. This gingerbread cake from Keto Connect is one of the most amazing keto-friendly desserts we've found. Because HELLO?! It's gingerbread and cream cheese frosting! Because gingerbread contains molasses and/or brown sugar, you'd think it would be off limits. But this recipe recreates that signature gingerbread flavor with browned butter! Seriously, you have to try this.
These easy-peasy Magic Keto Cookies from Delish will be a staple in your house. Hey, they might even replace all the regular cookies your family eats! The key to great keto-friendly desserts is that people who aren't keto love them too. That's how you know they're good. Our kids LOVE these, so that is high praise indeed. Plus, they're simple to make. Coconut flakes, coconut oil, walnuts, butter, egg yolks, keto-friendly dark chocolate chips and sweetener, and butter. Mix it together, pop them into the oven for 15 minutes, and voila! Simple and sinfully delicious cookies that won't sabotage your keto journey.
If you've been on the keto train for a while, then you're probably familiar with fat bombs. They're a great way to hit that sweet craving without messing up your macros, or get your fat in for the day. Now, we're tried a few different kinds, and they're ... well, they take some getting used to. But these Almond Joy Fat Bombs from Keto Connect? Listen, anytime we can hit our numbers by eating what amounts to a candy bar, sign us all the way up. They're a little more labor-intensive than other fat bomb recipes, but they're still no-bake, and you can make a whole 8x4 loaf pan at once.
Image: I Breathe I'm Hungry
As much as love stuff like cheesecake and keto ice cream, it can get a little heavy after a while. So when you're looking for a refreshing treat, this keto-friendly raspberry and kiwi sorbet from I Breath I'm Hungry will do the trick! It's low-carb and sugar-free, but packed with flavor. You just need raspberries, kiwis, keto-friendly sweetener, and gelatin. This recipe calls for an animal-based gelatin, which adds some protein to the sorbet. But you can sub for a non-animal by-product gelatin if you want to make this vegan, as well. But it does help with the texture of the sorbet, so we wouldn't recommend leaving it out. Can't you just picture eating this light and yummy treat on a hot day? Or any day, really?
You knew it was coming, right? We couldn't get through an entire post of keto-friendly desserts without throwing in a couple that were of avocado. It wouldn't be right! Which is initially what we thought about avocados as a dessert food until we tried these Keto Avocado Pops from Delish. We won't lie - they sound weird. Sweet avocado and lime dipped in chocolate? What the what?! But somehow, they work. Avocado is creamy and rich, and the lime cuts through that nicely. Personally, we would probably like them better without the chocolate dip, but we know how some of you feel about your chocolate, so have at it.
Carrot cake is one of those things you either love or hate. But we happen to love it, so finding a keto-friendly version is a godsend. These Carrot Cake Balls from Delish are just the right amount of sweet and spicy, and they're perfect to pop in your mouth on the go! This is another one of those no-bake keto-friendly desserts that are good to have in your arsenal. Because when you're committed to your diet plan, which can require a lot of food prep and cooking, the last thing you want to do is cook yet another dish. These keto balls are made with cream cheese, stevia, vanilla extract, grated carrots, chopped pecans, unsweetened coconut, and those classic carrot flavors like nutmeg and cinnamon.
We love cream puffs. Love, love, love. But aside from the fact that good choux pastry is not easy to master, real cream puffs aren't exactly keto-friendly. But luckily for us, Keto Connect came up with a keto-friendly cream puff that hits all the notes with none of the guilt. Are they exactly like traditional cream puffs? Well ... no. Do we care? NO WE DO NOT. The dough is made out of cream cheese, eggs, vanilla extract, stevia, and cream of tartar. And the filling is just whipped coconut milk, stevia, and unsweetened coconut flakes! You can customize the filling anyway you'd like, by maybe adding some chocolate or macerated raspberries.
Dessert pizza?! Just try to keep your kids from losing their minds. This is such a simple recipe from Keto Connect, and you can customize it any way you want. Just make the dough using protein powder, almond flour, eggs, butter, almond milk, and stevia. Bake flat on a baking sheet, and whip up a batch of keto-friendly cream cheese frosting to use as the "sauce". Then let your kiddos decorate it any way they'd like! You can really do so much with this dessert pizza. Fruit, nuts, chocolate, whatever - just like regular pizza, the sky's the limit when it comes to toppings. This should be a weekly staple in your house.
Honestly, one of the hardest parts about staying on plan when you're trying to eat well is going to a party or function where you can't control the food. It's nice to be able to eat something on the table full of goodies! So make this Keto Strawberry Jello Salad from I Breathe I'm Hungry your summer BBQ potluck staple. Other party-goers won't even realize it's low-carb and keto- and Atkins-friendly! The creaminess comes from marscapone cheese, which is what all creaminess should come from because it's delightful. Chopped walnuts and shredded coconut add some texture, and sugar-free strawberry jello brings it all together.
If there are two things that go together better than peanut butter and jelly, it's bacon and maple. OK, it's bacon and everything. Bacon makes the world better, it makes us happy, it makes our hearts soar. Luckily, there is no shortage of bacon the keto diet. But adding to a dessert? BRILLIANT. This maple bacon custard by Keto Connect is basically our favorite thing ever. The custard is made using a maple extract, not actual syrup, so it's safe! And the recipe calls for the bacon to be used as garnish. HOWEVER, if you want to crumble some bacon up and add it right into the sweet custard, you would be right to do so. And still use it as a garnish, obviously.
OK, so maybe it doesn't look very romantic served in an ice cube tray. But that's an easy fix! These chocolate strawberry bites from Delish are the perfect balance of strawberry and chocolate. And by perfect balance we mean that the chocolate to strawberry ratio is super one-sided. We all love chocolate-covered strawberries, right? Well, you'll love them even more when it's mostly chocolate (that thin layer is not your friend). These are so super easy too, and require very little actual cooking. Just melt some keto-friendly chocolate with a little coconut oil, pour into your ice cube tray, and place a strawberry in each well. Pop in the freezer for about four hours, and you're done!
Do you love pistachios? Because we love pistachios. Not just eating them by the handful (cracking open the ones what are barely cracked is like winning the lottery). But we love pistachio flavored stuff, too. Such a mellow, unique flavor. So when it comes to fat bombs, these Keto Pistachio Truffles from I Breathe I'm Hungry are right up our alley. Throw these on your next dessert tray and watch people gobble them down. All you need is four ingredients: marscapone cheese, keto-friendly sweetener, vanilla extract, and pistachios (duh). For that lovely salty/sweet combo, use roasted and salted pistachios to coat the fat bombs. Trust us.
Sugar. Free. Cinnabon. Donut. Holes. Liiiiiiiike, get in our belly, immediately. These donut holes from Keto Connect aren't some dry, baked donut holes. These babies are fried. FRIED. In coconut oil, but still. They're crispy on the outside, soft and pillowy on the inside. The donut holes themselves are made of coconut flour and psyllium husk powder, with cinnamon, ginger, and vanilla. Whip up a quick keto buttercream or cream cheese frosting for dipping and icing, and you've got yourself a keto-friendly cinnamon bun in bite-sized portions. And you're looking at just 5g of net carbs per serving, which is 11 donut holes (without frosting).
Image: Meat Free Keto
Matcha is a green tea powder popular in Asian cuisine. It's got more oomph than, say, a cup of green tea. It's a very intense green tea flavor, but used right, it can be absolutely wonderful. We happen to love it, and we really love it paired with more mild flavors like coconut. These matcha coconut cupcakes by Meat Free Keto combine the best of both worlds. The key to the cupcake itself is to use coconut manna, or coconut butter. It's not super easy to find, but worth it for that concentrated coconut flavor. The frosting is made from raw cashews, coconut milk, and matcha powder. Don't be surprised that it only calls for 1/2 teaspoon of matcha - a little of that stuff goes a loooooooong way.
Gluten-free AND keto? Must be gross, right? Wrong! This recipe for keto-friendly Oreo cookies from Gnom-Gnom will make you forget that regular Oreos even exist. They may look like whoopie pies, but those cookies are crisp, friends. Perfect for dunking! And they are just 1g net carbs per cookie. That's it! And you know how Oreos come in all those flavors now? Well, so can yours. Add some peppermint extract to the filling, or use a peanut butter cream instead. The sky is the limit and these cookies are your oysters! The key to keeping your cookies crunchy is fully creaming the butter with whatever keto-friendly sweetener you choose.
"You put the lime in the coconut, you drank 'em bot' up!" Or eat them both up, as it were. We love us some lemon bars, but we also love us some key lime pie. That super tart yet sweet tang on your tongue, oh man! Good stuff. These coconut key lime bars from Bulletproof will leave your lips puckered, but your mouth happy. The topping is a matcha cream, which perfectly cuts the tartness and sweetness of the bar. Lemon bars are one of the first things we learned to make as kids (remember that boxed mix?!), so they hold a special place in our heart. But as we've gotten older, and our tastes more refined, we appreciate key lime a little bit more.
Listen, we don't make the rules: when it's Christmas time, you HAVE to eat peppermint-flavored stuff! And these no-bake chocolate peppermint cookie bars from Bulletproof are the perfect holiday treat. That rich chocolate! That refreshing peppermint! Not feeling bad for eating four of them in one sitting! It's a pretty simple recipe that calls for shredded coconut, ghee, collagen protein, and peppermint essential oil. They get their green color from chlorella powder, which is a weird but great ingredient. We can't get enough of these no-bake treats, because the less work we have to do, the better. Easy and keto-friendly desserts are our best friends.
So, do we need to discuss the proper way to eat a Kit Kat? If you're not a monster, it's by breaking each bar off the log and eating it separately. If you're a little OCD (hey, us too), it's by nibbling off all the chocolate around the edges and then eating the bar wafer by wafer. But, these no-bake peanut butter Kit Kat crunch bars from The Big Man's World eliminate the need to eat your candy like a rat! They mix up all the chocolatey, wafery goodness into one little square. If you want to try to parse the wafer from the chocolate, have at it, we suppose. But we have a hard enough time not popping these things in our mouth like vitamins.
If you're like 90% of the world, Nutella was probably its own food group in your mind. That chocolatey hazelnut spread is good on everything, from toast to fruit. But, when you're riding the keto train, it's for sure not an authorized stop. The good news is, as we've seen with a lot of our keto-friendly desserts, there's a safe dupe! This sugar-free Nutella recipe from All Day I Dream About Food is the perfect replacement, and won't kill your keto vibe. It's really simple to make, too. All you need is roasted hazelnuts (you can buy them roasted or just do your own), coconut oil, cocoa powder, a keto-friendly sweetener, vanilla extract, and a little salt. Oh, and a good food processor. You want to make sure your sugar-free version is as smooth and creamy as the real stuff.
Sure, you could put forth the effort to make the goodies we've featured on our list of keto-friendly desserts. And you should! You absolutely should, because they're delicious. But sometimes, you don't want an actual dessert. Sometimes, you just want something sweet and decadent to tide you over. What's more sweet and decadent than chocolate covered bacon? This recipe from Bulletproof isn't even a recipe, really. Cook some keto-friendly bacon. Melt some keto-friendly chocolate. Dip said bacon into said chocolate, sprinkle with sea salt, and allow to cool until the chocolate has hardened. Then try not to eat the entire batch.
Keto-friendly Nutella opens up an entire world of keto-friendly desserts for you to try. Maybe dip some bacon in it, just sayin'. But for a true dessert or sweet treat, you'll want to make these no-bake Ferrero Rocher cookies from The Big Man's World. They're vegan, keto-friendly, Paleo, the whole shebang. BUT, they taste just like those delightful little balls of love wrapped in gold foil. You'll need coconut flour, keto-friendly Nutella, a sticky keto-friendly sweetener, and crushed hazelnuts. You can make them in bar form, or even try to go for an exact dupe and roll them into little balls.
No, we didn't just stub our toe within earshot of a toddler. We're talking fudge. Rich, creamy, bad for you fudge. It's the kind of thing you don't want to eat all the time, but if you allow yourself to have one piece, you are powerless against eating more. It's also one of those treats you might have thought you'd have to give up completely after going keto. But 34 items into our list of keto-friendly desserts, you should know better. Bulletproof has a recipe for keto-friendly fudge three ways, but we think with a little elbow grease, you could probably make it as many ways as your tummy wants. The key is the collagen peptides, which helps with texture and also adds a nice, healthy boost.
Image: Jennifer Banz
Can we interest you in some sugar-free chocolate bark with bacon and almonds? We thought so. Add this yummy treat to the list of keto-friendly desserts that are easy to make and only require a few ingredients. Like literally, this recipe from Jennifer Banz is only three ingredients. You'll need keto-friendly dark chocolate chips (you can use milk chocolate too, but the slight bitterness of the dark plays nicely with the bacon), chopped almonds, and a couple of slices of cooked, crumbled bacon. This one is so easy, you don't even need to turn on the stove - you can temper your chocolate in the microwave! Then spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and add your crunchy, salty bits of goodness. The hardest part of this recipe is not eating it until it's hardened.
Image: Low Carb Yum
Apples are way too high in sugar to eat if you're going keto. But who doesn't love a nice, warm slice of apple pie? Well, if you're willing to put in the work, this recipe from Low Carb Yum for keto-friendly faux apple pie is worth every damn step. Instead of using apples, it calls for chayote squash! Now, before you click out of this post, hear us out: chayote squash is VERY similar in flavor and texture to an apple, so this works better than you'd think. It has all the traditional apple pie spices like nutmeg and cinnamon. And there's also apple extract, which boosts the flavor and give you that apple taste you're looking for.
Image: That's Low Carb
You don't need fancy. You don't need to go all out. Sometimes, what you need, what you REALLY want, is just a cupcake. Not as simple when you're keto, but definitely not impossible. This recipe from That's Low Carb delivers moist, rich chocolate cake topped with fluffy icing. In other words, the perfect cupcake. And this perfect cupcake is 5g of net carbs, so you won't feel like a failure for eating one. The cake itself is made with coconut flour, so the texture is light and the flavor is mild. Which is great, because there is a lot of coca powder in these bad boys. We'd top with just a basic keto-friendly buttercream, but you can use your favorite frosting.
Sugar cookie is a misnomer here: these cookies are sugar-free and keto-approved! But they still have that crisp texture you look for in a good sugar cookie. This recipe from Bulletproof calls for a combination of almond and coconut flours, ghee or coconut oil, keto-friendly sweetener, and of course, vanilla extract. It wouldn't be a sugar cookie without that hint of vanilla! You can make an icing to dip these in, or you can make a few different icings for your kids to use to decorate the cookies. No more trying to nerves of steel while your kids decorate and scarf down cookies - these bad boys are 1.1g net carbs each. Have a few, it's fine.
That's right, keto friends. This list of keto-friendly desserts has a recipe for THIN MINTS. Pretty soon, those adorable little Girl Scouts are going to be peer-pressuring us all into buying their boxes of cookies. And they are hard to resist! But you can do it, because you'll have these low-carb Thin Mints from All Day I Dream About Food. Crispy, chocolatey cookies coated in rich peppermint chocolate. These are the real deal - one of those dupes that could probably fool everyone, even those who aren't living that low-carb life. Make a huge batch, freeze some (obviously), and donate your cookie money directly to the Girl Scouts.
Image: Omg Keto Yum
LOL, we can't help it! Avocado as a dessert food fascinates us to no end. While we're not quite ready to jump headfirst into the sweet avocado waters just yet, the couple of desserts we've featured here that use avocado are a great way to get your toes wet. This key lime pudding recipe from Omg Keto Yum is so simple, so good, and so green. It's also dairy free, and a whole bowl is just 0.6g net carbs. The pudding is made from avocados, lime juice, coconut oil, vanilla or almond extract, and a keto-friendly simple syrup (you can use a prepared liquid sweetener if you have one). We don't know why it works, but it does!