20 Diabetes-Friendly Desserts That Are Tasty and Foolproof

Because no one should have to miss out on sweets

diabetes-friendly desserts: stack of coconut snowball cookies in a bowl
Minimalist Baker

Having diabetes shouldn’t mean skipping all the sweet treats everyone else is eating. Whether you have Type 1, a condition that causes your body to produce little to no insulin, or Type 2, when your body resists insulin or doesn't produce enough, there are plenty of goodies you can safely indulge in.

The trick is managing your glucose response, which you can do in part by combining carbs with protein and fat, opting for high-fiber carbs, choosing natural sugars (like those in milk and fresh fruit) over refined and adding nut butter or high-fat dairy to your sweets. Eating small portions (i.e., sharing dessert with a friend) can also help you stay balanced.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) doesn't have a daily carb intake recommendation for people with diabetes, because people's responses to carbs vary greatly. K Health advises using the glycemic index to measure how quickly foods can cause your blood sugar to spike. As long as you moderate your carb and sugar intake, you can dig into these 20 diabetes-friendly desserts, which include avocado chocolate mousse, low-carb cheesecake and Paleo-friendly carrot cake.

9 Delicious Low-Sugar Cocktails That Are Not Syrupy Sweet

1. Avocado Chocolate Mousse

  • Time Commitment: 25 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, <10 ingredients, gluten free, dairy free, vegan

This recipe hails from the world’s first avocado bar, Avocaderia. Decadent, smooth and intense, the mousse is loaded with protein and will keep for two days in the fridge. It's also dairy- and gluten-free, BTW.

2. Keto Peanut Butter Fudge

  • Time Commitment: 2 hours and 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, gluten free, low carb, keto-friendly

How does dessert with a side of protein sound? Cream cheese, peanut butter and whey protein unite to create this nostalgic, make-ahead delight that's delicious enough to give as a gift. The fudge is also sweetened with sugar-free confectioners' sugar and stevia.

3. Refined Sugar-Free Turtle Brownies

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why We Love It: gluten free, dairy free, vegan, special occasion-worthy

Flaxseed meal takes over for eggs to bind the brownies and make them vegan. Maple syrup and coconut sugar keep the brownies just sweet enough without the help of refined sugar, but the real treat is the date caramel on top.

4. Vegan Vanilla Ice Cream

  • Time Commitment: 3 hours and 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, gluten free, dairy free, vegan, low-carb

Vanilla bean paste infuses every bite with flavor, but coconut cream and cashew butter are the key to this scoop's unique nuttiness and silky consistency. We'll take a bowl topped with fresh fruit, please.

5. Coconut “Snowball” Cookies

  • Time Commitment: 25 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, gluten free, dairy free, vegan

These adorable poppables are made with just seven ingredients (including shredded unsweetened coconut, maple syrup and aquafaba, or chickpea water). Even better, you'll only need to dirty one bowl to prepare them and they take less than 30 minutes. Ta-da.

6. Low-Carb Cheesecake

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 10 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, gluten free, low carb, keto-friendly

Complete with raspberry sauce. The secret to its low-sugar numbers is erythritol in the almond flour crust and cheesecake filling instead of refined sugar. According to the National Library of Medicine, erythritol "has potential as a beneficial replacement for sugar in healthy and diabetic subjects as it exerts no effects on glucose or insulin."

7. Paleo Carrot Cake

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes
  • Why We Love It: gluten free, dairy free, Paleo-friendly

Made with almond flour, sweetened with maple syrup and dates and frosted with whipped coconut cream, this better-for-you take on carrot cake is free of refined sugar and rich in protein and fiber. Bookmark it now to make for your next spring dinner party (or any old weeknight).

8. Vegan Dulce de Leche Sauce

  • Time Commitment: 25 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, <10 ingredients, beginner-friendly

Drizzle this pseudo-dulce de leche over low-sugar ice cream, baked apples or nothing at all—the five-ingredient wonder will hit the spot regardless. It gets its sticky-sweet flavor from coconut milk and coconut sugar. Tapioca starch turns it thick and rich.

9. Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

  • Time Commitment: 10 minutes (plus chilling time)
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, beginner-friendly, kid-friendly

Decorate them with unsweetened coconut flakes, crushed nuts, sprinkles or mini white chocolate chips. If strawberries aren't your thing, feel free to swap in sliced apples, pineapple, banana, oranges or watermelon.

10. No-Bake Frozen Peanut Butter Pie

  • Time Commitment: 15 minutes (plus chilling time)
  • Why We Love It: low carb, no bake, keto-friendly

The crust is crushed keto peanut butter and chocolate cookies, plus butter and powdered allulose (that's a naturally occurring sugar found in foods like maple syrup and raisins). As if that didn't sound enticing enough, the filling is mostly peanut butter and cream cheese, a combo that makes for a tangy, thick bite.

11. Sticky Date Cake Yogurt Bowls

  • Time Commitment: 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, beginner-friendly, dairy free

Is it a dessert-like breakfast or a breakfast-like dessert? We'll be chowing down on this mix of coconut flour cake, banana, yogurt and granola while you decide. Cut back on the honey to reduce the sugar further.

12. Frozen Yogurt Bark

  • Time Commitment: 3 hours and 10 minutes (includes freezing time)
  • Why We Love It: no bake, <10 ingredients, kid-friendly

Use an unsweetened yogurt if you can—the granola and fresh fruit will provide enough sweetness as is. Feel free to supplement additional raspberries, peaches, mango slices or blackberries to boot.

13. Baked Bananas

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, vegan, <30 minutes

Bananas are baked until caramelized under a dusting of cinnamon and a flourish of flaky salt. You can easily substitute agave, maple syrup or a modest sprinkling of brown sugar instead of honey if you'd prefer.

14. Espresso Dark Chocolate Sorbet

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes (plus freezing time)
  • Why We Love It: vegan, beginner-friendly, <10 ingredients

Sweetened with coconut sugar and maple syrup, this elegant sorbet will hit the spot without spiking your blood sugar. If you don't have instant espresso or an espresso machine, you can easily swap in dark roast coffee. Just don't skip the sea salt on top.

15. Sugar-Free Sex in a Pan

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, low-carb, beginner-friendly

Pecan crust + cream cheese filling + chocolate + whipped cream = the easiest, tastiest low-sugar dessert you'll ever eat. It's also a breeze to prepare ahead and keeps like a charm in the fridge. We'll take dark chocolate shavings on ours, please.

16. Dirty Chai Dark Chocolate Flourless Brownies

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes
  • Why We Love It: make ahead, gluten-free, crowd-pleaser

You'll be so hypnotized by the mélange of warm spices from the chai tea that you won't notice the lack of refined sugar (or dairy) in these drool-worthy handhelds. The ganache on top gets its richness from canned coconut cream.

17. 6-Ingredient, No-Bake Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, no bake, crowd-pleaser

Medjool dates go a long way in the sweetness department. They're the key to these cashew-based cookies that only require seven ingredients to come together. Ready your glass of milk, friend.

18. Sugar-Free Cheesecake Brownies

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes
  • Why We Love It: low carb, crowd-pleaser, low sugar

Two of the world’s greatest desserts in one? Sign us up. Chalk its diabetes-friendly qualities up to chocolate stevia, a sugar substitute and sugar-free chocolate chips. Cocoa powder and instant espresso handle the rest.

19. Sugar-Free, Keto Peanut Butter Cookies

  • Time Commitment: 25 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, <10 ingredients, beginner-friendly

These babies don’t contain flour or dairy, so gluten-free and lactose-intolerant folks can get in on the deliciousness, too. Use a peanut butter that's creamy and salted, but not a natural one that's excessively runny. (P.S.: We totally recommend adding vanilla extract to the dough.)

20. Blueberry Carrot Cake Bars

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, beginner-friendly, gluten free

Greek yogurt not only offers a dose of protein to these breakfast-worthy bars, but also an incredible amount of moisture. Feel free to top them with vegan cashew or coconut frosting if you feel so inclined, but they're delicious as is. Promise.

taryn pire

Food Editor

Taryn Pire is PureWow’s food editor and has been writing about all things delicious since 2016. She’s developed recipes, reviewed restaurants and investigated food trends at...