Written by Heather L. Makar
Many people that start a keto diet go into thinking that desserts will be a thing of the past. If you’re avoiding carbs and sugar, it doesn’t leave much room for cookies, cakes, and other treats, right?
While these types of foods should always stay in the “moderation” category, in favor of more whole food options like vegetables and healthy protein, keto desserts do exist and are actually an important part of the keto diet.
In general, the best diet for you is the one that you’ll stick to. And although the first couple of weeks on any diet can be led by motivation, once that two-week mark hits, most people start cavings their comfort foods. The result? They fall off the bandwagon and start reverting back to their old way of eating.
Therefore, the only way around this diet trap is to incorporate some of your favorite comfort foods into your diet. This means making room for the brownies, the cookies, or whatever treat it is that lights you up.
Since the keto diet hinges on your ability to stay in ketosis (which means consistently consuming low-carb foods), your keto diet desserts need to look just a little bit different from your traditional options.
With that being said, with just a couple of tweaks, you can enjoy your favorite desserts while staying in ketosis and staying motivated– the best of both worlds.
What Types Of Sweeteners Can You Use On The keto Diet?
No dessert is complete without the right sweetener. But on the keto diet, not just any sweetener will do. In order to keep your blood sugar stable, you have to pick a sweetener that can do its job without significantly increasing the amount of glucose in your blood.
While there are many sugar-substitutes out there, some of them come with unpleasant side effects or may even be toxic to your brain. That’s why choosing the right sweetener for your keto dessert is the crucial step when you’re looking to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Below are four sweetener options that not only keep glucose levels low but they come with some fantastic health benefits as well.
Stevia is a natural sweetener that’s derived from the stevia rebaudiana plant, native to Brazil and Paraguay. The compounds in this plant render a sweet flavor without impacting blood sugar, making them ideal for keto dieters or anyone avoiding sugar for the sake of insulin control.
Monk fruit is a small fruit that’s native to Southern China. It’s been used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine as a healing herb and is now used widely as a sugar-alternative in keto-friendly desserts and snacks.
In addition to keeping blood sugar stable, monk fruit contains bioactive compounds that produce antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. These medicinal properties have been shown in research to be helpful in preventing diabetic complications and may even provide anticarcinogenic benefits[*][*].
Erythritol is a type of sugar-alternative known as a sugar alcohol. While there are a handful of sugar alcohols on the market, many of them are known to cause digestive disturbance due to their fermentation in the large intestine.
Unlike most other sugar alcohols, erythritol is readily absorbed in the small intestine and then excreted in the urine unchanged. This allows for a sweet taste without the digestive upset that comes when sugar alcohols remain unabsorbed in your digestive tract.
Furthermore, research shows that erythritol can improve oral health by diminishing plaque buildup on your teeth and rebalancing the bacteria in your mouth. As an antioxidant, erythritol may also help protect your heart from cardiac dysfunction and keep your blood sugar stable, which may help protect against metabolic conditions like diabetes[*][*].
Another commonly used sugar alcohol is xylitol. Although xylitol is slightly less well-absorbed than erythritol, it is considered the second-best option when it comes to sugar alcohols as most people can tolerate it well without digestive issues.
Xylitol’s primary claim to fame is its positive impact on oral health. You’ve likely seen xylitol added to products like chewing gum and toothpaste, as research shows that it can help you avoid dental caries and improve overall oral health.
Some research also suggests that xylitol may improve bone mineral density and support immunity, helping to protect against respiratory tract infections and sinusitis[*].
Which Flours Are Keto-Friendly?
Along with sweeteners, the type of flour you use in a dessert can either make or break ketosis. Flours like whole wheat flour, pastry flour, or all-purpose baking flour all contain high levels of carbohydrates which will spike your blood sugar and kick you out of ketosis.
Luckily, there are a handful of wheat four alternatives that you can use to make your keto diet desserts like cookies, brownies, and cakes.
The most common keto flour replacements include almond flour and coconut flour. However, other alternatives like flax meal, tiger nut flour, walnut flour, and hazelnut flour can also do the trick.
Most recipes will call for one flour or another, depending on the taste and texture that they provide. But you can also play around with your flours and even make your own by grinding up different seeds and nuts. It should be noted, however, that due to the different fat content of these sources of flour, it may impact the baking process, so it can take a little trial and error.
12 Keto Dessert Ideas To Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth
#1 Sugar-Free Cheesecake
This sugar-free cheesecake is sweetened with stevia with a crust made from almond and coconut flour. With 10 grams of carbs per serving and 5 grams of fiber, it comes out to only 5 net carbs per slice. Since cheesecake is already a high-fat dessert, you won’t have to compromise on any of the rich and creamy texture.
#2 Keto Chocolate Mousse
This delicious chocolate mousse can be whipped up in just 10 minutes and contains only five ingredients. Serve it as an after-dinner sweet or have it as your afternoon pick-me-up snack.
#3 Healthy Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
If you’re a peanut butter and chocolate fan (who isn’t?), then these healthy chocolate peanut butter bars will hit the spot. With just over 200 calories per bar and about 5 net carbs, these treats can serve as your alternative to Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups or any other peanut butter chocolate treat you have your mindset on.
#4 Keto Chocolate Chip Cookies
Chocolate chip cookies are a classic. If you’re looking for the nostalgia of a warm cookie with a glass of milk, these keto cookies hit the spot while keeping your blood sugar stable. They’re made with almond flour and erythritol and can be made vegan if you like.
#5 Keto Chocolate Pudding Pie
Creamy, rich, and chocolatey. This keto chocolate pudding pie is full of flavor, and even comes with 8 grams of fiber per serving. It takes about 4 hours in total to prepare, so save this pie for a special occasion.
#6 Worlds Best Keto Brownies
Brownies are another classic dessert that can bring you back to your childhood. These brownies are extra moist and rich and are only 2 net grams of carbs per serving — so if you’re feeling seconds, go for it.
#7 Keto Ice Cream
You don’t need an ice cream maker to whip up some keto ice cream. In fact, all you need are five simple ingredients; coconut milk, heavy cream, keto sweetener, vanilla extract, and kosher salt.
Enjoy your ice cream with some keto-friendly toppings like coconut shavings, sugar-free chocolate chips, or sugar-free nut butter.
#8 Cinnamon Cream Cheese Muffins
If you love muffins but always feel like you could use a little more substance, these cinnamon cream cheese muffins are the answer to your prayers. Made with almond flour and monk fruit and stuffed with delicious cream cheese, all it will take is one muffin to keep you satisfied for hours.
#9 Sugar-Free Coconut Cream Pie
If you get burnt out on chocolate, this coconut cream pie offers an alternative sweet treat that’s only 3.8 net carbs per slice and could fool anyone into believing it’s the real deal.
#10 Keto Cinnamon Coffee Cake
Coffee cake makes an excellent option for brunch or can double as an after-dinner dessert. This delicious cake is drizzled with a sugar-free glaze made with sugar-free sweetener and almond milk.
#11 Keto Vanilla Birthday Cake
Don’t let your birthday go unrecognized just because you’re trying to avoid sweets. This keto birthday cake is the perfect way to celebrate another year of life — keto-style. The best part is the butter-rich frosting that adds a creamy texture and rich mouthfeel.
#12 Keto Donuts
When a donut craving hits, it hits hard. These keto donuts are made with a keto pancake mix, making them light and fluffy while still having a rich taste and texture. Each donut is just over 100 calories and comes out to 2 net carbs.
Following a keto diet doesn’t entail giving up on your favorite desserts. In fact, if you want to stick to keto for the long run, including desserts that can satisfy you both physically and emotionally will help you stick to the diet and not fall off the bandwagon.
By switching out a couple of ingredients, you can make your favorite classic desserts keto-style and get the best of both worlds. If you love to bake, give the recipes in this article a try. If you’re not so great in the kitchen, there are plenty of companies that offer ready-made keto desserts that you can buy off the shelves or online.
Either way, be sure to satisfy those dessert cravings before they take over and begin to chip away at your willpower.