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14 Best Low-Carb Desserts on Grocery Store Shelves

Sweet treats don't always have to be a splurge. Here's how to end your meal with a keto-friendly dessert.
FACT CHECKED BY Jordan Powers Willard

Low-carb desserts are the perfect way to wrap up a healthy meal. Of course, they're also ideal if you're on the lookout for appropriate keto desserts, a nutritious delicacy, or just want to treat yourself to something utterly delicious. Fortunately, it's easy to fulfill this craving thanks to the fact that plenty of enticing options are available on grocery store shelves.

First, you should try to stay away from an excessive amount of carb-packed items like chips, crackers, bread, and baked gluten-free foods. Some dried fruit—such as bananas, mango, raisins, and dates—are also not ideal. On the other hand, other fruit options are a great choice for low-carb desserts, as are some kinds of keto-friendly cakes, cookies, and even chocolate. (Yes, chocolate!)

If that piqued your interest, that's likely because some of the most iconic desserts in the United States are chocolate chip cookies, cheesecake, pudding, and other tastebud-tempting delights. You just need to know how to figure out which options are low-carb desserts, as well as get a few ideas to start you off. We can help you with both!

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What are low-carb desserts?

Understanding what truly counts as a low-carb dessert—which can be an inherently good choice if following a keto diet—can be a piece of cake.

"The specific amount of carbohydrates that qualify a dessert as 'low-carb' can vary depending on individual dietary needs and goals," Meaghan Greenwood, RD, tells Eat This, Not That! "However, as a general guideline, a low-carb dessert typically contains around 15–30 grams of net carbs per serving."

"Low-carb for someone with diabetes would be up to 5 grams of total carbs," explains Amy S. Margulies, RD, CDCES, LDN, NBC-HWC. "For someone without diabetes, there is not such a definitive number, but approximately 15–20 grams of total carbs could still be considered low-carb," she adds, echoing Greenwood. "Fifteen grams of carbs makes one serving of carbs, per the American Diabetes Association and the CDC."

Margulies also notes that "while there is no single definition of low-carb for everyone, the best results come from changes you can stick with for the long term." On top of that, she explains that "adding a protein or healthy fat to a carb serving helps to keep the carbs from having a major impact on your blood sugar level by slowing down the absorption of the carb."

With that in mind, check out the best low-carb desserts that you may not be able to resist! Also, for more healthy eating tips to help make minding your carbs a breeze, check out 29 Low-Carb Breakfast Ideas That Will Keep You Full All Morning.

Best low-carb desserts on grocery store shelves

Mixed Berry Parfait

elderflower strawberry parfait recipe
Courtesy of Salt and Wind

Total Carbs Per Serving: 14.2 grams
Greek Yogurt non-fat milk, plain (100-gram serving): 3.64 grams of carbs
Blackberries (50-gram serving): 4.8 grams of carbs
Strawberries (50-gram serving): 3.8 grams of carbs
Mixed Nuts (9.33-gram serving): 2 grams of carbs

The next time you're at the grocery store be sure to pick up everything you need to put together a heavenly parfait. Greenwood recommends "layering fresh or frozen mixed berries with Greek yogurt and a sprinkle of crushed nuts."

Along with being a luscious dessert, the berries can offer an abundance of benefits. In fact, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health deemed them to be "among the healthiest foods you can eat." Thanks to the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients found in berries, they can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, lower the chance of having a heart attack, and improve both learning and memory while helping your gut and weight loss efforts. When it comes to shopping for your parfait, it's handy to know that both fresh and frozen berries are healthy options that provide you with the same nutritious and delicious perks.

Dark Chocolate Avocado Mousse

avocado mousse
Courtesy of Maru Dávila

Total Carbs Per Serving: 15.2 grams
Avocados (100-gram serving):
8.5 grams of carbs
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (1 tbsp serving): 3.1 grams of carbs
Stevia (1 tsp serving): 3 grams of carbs
Vanilla Extract (1 tsp serving): 0.5 grams of carbs

Dark chocolate has plenty of health benefits, including the fact that it can lower the risk of heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, and Parkinson's disease, as well as have a positive effect on blood pressure, cholesterol, and digestion, according to Medical News Today (MNT). Combine that with avocado's ability to potentially prevent depression, osteoporosis, and cancer, per a different MNT article, and you have a seriously healthy and satisfying dish.

"Blend ripe avocados with unsweetened cocoa powder," says Greenwood while suggesting this decadent low-carb dessert. Next, add "a natural sweetener like stevia or monk fruit, and a dash of vanilla extract."

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Coconut Chia Pudding

Coconut chia pudding
Courtesy of Shutterstock

Total Carbs Per Serving: 16.4 grams
Chia Seeds (25-gram serving): 10.5 grams of carbs
Coconut Milk (100-gram serving): 2.9 grams of carbs
Stevia (1 tsp serving): 3 grams of carbs

Coconuts can offer you protein, fiber, iron, and the kind of healthy fat your body needs. What they don't have is a lot of carbs. The same goes for chia seeds, which may be small but pack a mighty punch regarding their nutritional value.

"Combine chia seeds, coconut milk, and a touch of sweetener," Greenwood says, explaining how to turn these individual ingredients from the grocery store into a dessert that suits a low-carb menu. "Let it sit overnight, and top with berries or nuts."

Baked Apples

baked apple slices in cast iron pan
Courtesy of Kiian Oksana/Shutterstock

Total Carbs Per Serving: 18.1 grams
Apples (50-gram serving): 7.4 grams of carbs
Mixed Nuts (14-gram serving): 2.9 grams of carbs
Ground Cinnamon (1 tsp serving): 2.1 grams of carbs
Honey (7-gram serving): 5.7 grams of carbs

Both apples and honey can make the number of carbs you consume in a day add up quickly if you eat too many or too much. However, enjoying a reasonable amount of both—along with a couple of other tasty additions—can be a fabulous choice for those who want a keto dessert.

"Core and stuff apples with a mixture of chopped nuts, cinnamon, and a drizzle of honey," says Greenwood. Once you've put the dish together, all you need to do is "bake until tender" and enjoy.

Almond Flour Cookies

almond flour cookies
Courtesy of Cotter Crunch

Total Carbs Per Serving: 20.4 grams
Almond Flour (100-gram serving):
16.2 grams of carbs
Stevia (1 tsp serving): 3 grams of carbs
Eggs (per large egg or 50 grams): 0.36 grams of carbs

You don't have to give up cookies while sticking to a healthy and well-rounded low-carb diet. Instead, just keep an eye out for ones on the store shelf that "use almond flour as a base for cookies and sweeten with a natural sweetener like erythritol or stevia," says Greenwood.

Although you may be understandably wary of artificial sweeteners, stevia is different. As Greenwood mentioned, it's a natural sweetener. In fact, a study published in EXCLI Journal in 2021 found that stevia contains antibacterial and antioxidant properties and can also be beneficial for those with diabetes, kidney disease, and cancer. Additionally, a 2022 study appearing in Molecules noted that stevia might even help prevent cancer, making its appeal as sweet as its taste.

If you can't find suitable pre-made cookies, walk over to another aisle, grab these ingredients, and quickly whip up some keto cookies for yourself at home.

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Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry Shortcake Trifles
Courtesy of Cooking Classy

Total Carbs Per Serving: 19.7 grams
Almond Flour (75-gram serving):
12.2 grams of carbs
Strawberries (50-gram serving): 3.8 grams of carbs
Whipped Cream (1/2 cup or 30 grams): 3.8 grams of carbs

Do you know what's yummy? Strawberries! Do you know what else is amazing? Shortcake! Put them together, and you have a drool-worthy dessert. Strawberry shortcake is also another beloved treat that keto-followers can still dig into if they make a few low-carb adjustments. In order to do just that, Greenwood explains that you should "use almond or coconut flour to make a low-carb biscuit, top with fresh strawberries and whipped cream."

Peanut Butter Protein Balls

peanut butter protein balls
Courtesy of Well Plated by Erin

Total Carbs Per Serving: 17.9 grams

Peanut Butter (50-gram serving): 10.9 grams of carbs
Whey Protein Powder (1/2 scoop or 14.335-gram serving): 4.2 grams of carbs
Honey (3.5-gram serving): 2.8 grams of carbs

Take peanut butter balls to the next level by adding a boost of protein.

Greenwood offers her quick and easy recipe: "Mix peanut butter, protein powder, and a touch of honey. Roll into small balls and refrigerate."

Just keep in mind that it's best to use natural peanut butter, which might be lower in carbs than typical varieties. Furthermore, help keep your carb count in check by resisting the possible urge to go overboard when adding honey and protein powder.

Sugar-Free Jell-O with Whipped Cream

Courtesy of Shutterstock

Total Carbs Per Serving: 4.6 grams
Sugar-Free Gelatin Dessert (100-gram serving): 4.2 grams of carbs
Whipped Cream (1 tbsp serving): 0.38 grams of carbs

If you grew up eating Jell-O, then you're certainly not alone. This treat was trademarked way back in 1897, and by 1904, it hit the mainstream along with what came to be an incredibly apt slogan calling it "America's Most Famous Dessert," according to the University of Michigan.

Still as well-known and adored these days, if you love wiggly, jiggly Jell-O, then you may be thrilled to find out that it makes an ideal low-carb, keto-friendly dessert. According to Greenwood, you can even "top [it] with a dollop of whipped cream." However, when you're at the grocery store, make sure you buy "sugar-free gelatin," she adds.

Pumpkin Chia Seed Pudding

pumpkin chia pudding
Courtesy of Shutterstock

Total Carbs Per Serving: 18.8 grams
Chia Seeds (9-gram serving):
3.8 grams of carbs
Canned Pumpkin (100-gram serving): 8.1 grams of carbs
Pumpkin Pie Spice (1 tbsp serving 5.6 g): 3.9 grams of carbs
Stevia (1 tsp serving): 3 grams of carbs

Pick up even more chia seeds while you're shopping in order to add them to your pumpkin pudding. If you don't have your own recipe, Greenwood suggests "combin[ing] canned pumpkin, chia seeds, pumpkin pie spice, and a natural sweetener. Let it sit overnight and enjoy."

As you scoop up every last bit of your pudding, you'll be able to appreciate the taste as well as the fact that pumpkin is great for your vision, heart, and immune system while also having a fair share of fiber which can leave you feeling nice and full for longer. That makes this low-carb dessert satisfying in all kinds of ways!

Keto Cheesecake

keto lemon cheesecake with strawberries and macadamia nuts
Waterbury Publications, Inc.

Total Carbs Per Serving: 20.7 grams
Almond Flour (75-gram serving):
12.2 grams of carbs
Butter salted (100-gram serving): 0.06 grams of carbs
Cream Cheese (100-gram serving): 5.5 grams of carbs
Stevia (1 tsp serving): 3 grams of carbs

Cheesecake is an incredibly popular dessert.  In fact, the cheesecake market was estimated to be worth $18 billion in 2020, and that number was expected to continue to grow, according to Industry Arc. You can be one of the people smacking your lips while eating this scrumptious treat with our low-carb, keto cheesecake.

"Make a crust using almond flour and butter, then create a cheesecake filling sweetened with a low-carb sweetener like erythritol," says Greenwood.

Cinnamon Roasted Almonds

roasted almonds

Total Carbs Per Serving: 15.9 grams
Almonds (50-gram serving):
10.8 grams of carbs
Ground Cinnamon (1 tsp serving): 2.1 grams of carbs
Stevia (1 tsp serving): 3 grams of carbs

Almonds are a convenient crunchy snack that can also be a part of what might be your new favorite dessert. Just "toss almonds with cinnamon and a touch of sweetener, then roast until crispy," Greenwood suggests.

While you're nibbling away, you can think about how almonds are low in carbs but high in calcium, antioxidants, protein, and healthy fat. Beyond that, research that appeared in Nutrients noted that almonds can have a "regulatory role on body weight, and protective effects against diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular diseases." Of course, you'll also want to focus on the deliciousness of your dessert.

Coconut Macaroons

coconut macaroons

Total Carbs Per Serving: 15.7 grams
Sweetened Shredded Coconut Meat (25-gram serving):
11.9 grams of carbs
Fresh Egg Whites (100-gram or 3 egg whites): 0.73 grams of carbs
Stevia (1 tsp serving): 3 grams of carbs

If you were unaware, macarons are layered French cookies that come in various cheerful colors and are made with ground almonds in meringue. However, macaroons (note the additional "o") are bite-sized morsels made up of shredded coconut. Although both are delightful, it just takes a few items that you can easily grab from the grocery store to make a keto-friendly batch of the latter. Greenwood notes that to make this low-carb dessert, all you need to do is "mix shredded coconut, egg whites, and a low-carb sweetener, then bake until golden brown."

Berry Smoothie

Blackberry Smoothie
Courtesy of Simply Quinoa

Total Carbs Per Serving: 20 grams
Blackberries (50-gram serving): 4.8 grams of carbs
Raspberries (50-gram serving): 6 grams of carbs
Strawberries (50-gram serving): 3.8 grams of carbs
Unsweetened Almond Milk (100-gram serving): 1.3 grams of carbs
Whey Protein Powder (1/2 scoop 14.335 g serving): 4.2 grams of carbs

Smoothies can be a fabulous way to add vitamins and nutrients to your diet. Research published by the Journal of Nutrition & Food Sciences in 2017 noted that having one smoothie each day can help you get the necessary fruit and vegetable requirements. As a result, you benefit from fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium, selenium, and vitamin A. Granted, not everyone likes to make a breakfast shake first thing in the morning. If this sounds like you, consider opting for a berry smoothie for dessert instead. To do this, Greenwood says you can "blend mixed berries, unsweetened almond milk, and a scoop of protein powder for a refreshing dessert."

Chocolate Protein Pudding

chocolate pudding cups topped with mint leaves

Total Carbs Per Serving: 17.15 grams
No-Sugar-Added Chocolate Powder (2 tbsp or 11-gram serving):
7.5 grams of carbs
Unsweetened Almond Milk (100-gram serving): 1.3 grams of carbs
Whey Protein Powder Isolate (1 scoop 28.8 g serving): 8.3 grams of carbs

Just like Jell-O, chocolate pudding is another childhood favorite that you may still want to enjoy as an adult. In fact, there's even a National Chocolate Pudding Day, which falls on June 26. If you want to celebrate that clearly special day—or any day for that matter—then the grocery store has everything you need to make a low-carb dessert that includes an added burst of protein in your silky smooth chocolate pudding.

Greenwood has an incredibly simple yet satisfying recipe, saying that you can "mix chocolate protein powder with almond milk or coconut milk and refrigerate until thickened."

Desirée O
Desirée O is a freelance writer who covers lifestyle, food, and nutrition news among other topics. Read more about Desirée
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