With summer just around the corner, there is nothing like a refreshing bowl of homemade ice cream. But skip the dairy this season with this vegan ice cream recipe. Made with creamy coconut, you’ll still get the decadent texture you love without the sin.
This vegan ice cream is also gluten-free, refined-sugar free, and soy-free, so those with restrictions can enjoy it! You’ll only need six ingredients to make it and only ten minutes of active prep time is required. The rest of the time is spent waiting for the ice cream to chill, then process in an ice cream maker.
Buying The Ingredients
The key ingredient in this vegan ice cream recipe is coconut milk. Coconut milk’s thick and creamy texture works wonderfully to substitute the dairy in ice cream. You’ll want to buy full-fat canned coconut milk for this recipe.
To sweeten this ice cream in a healthier way, agave is used. You could also substitute pure maple syrup if preferred but there will be a slight caramel flavor from the maple. Both are much healthier choices than refined liquid sweeteners like corn syrup often found in conventional ice cream.
Organic coconut milk tends to be free of additives which some conventional brands have. Sticking with the Native Forest brand will ensure your coconut milk is BPA-free, pesticide-free, additive-free, and non-GMO.
As for the coconut oil in this recipe, it’s best to use an unrefined virgin coconut oil. Unrefined coconut oil is less processed and is a great source of essential fatty acids. Plus, it’s often fair trade certified which means it was made in regulated working conditions.
You’ll need to have an ice cream maker chilled in advance for this recipe. Ideally, it will have been in the freezer for 48 hours but a minimum of 24 hours should do. I also recommend chilling all other utensils which will be used such as a rubber spatula, whisk, and spoon. You’ll also need a blender for this recipe but you could also use an immersion blender or handheld mixer if need be. If using one of those two, chill the attachments in advance.
Alternatively, if you don’t have an ice cream maker there is still a way you can enjoy this vegan ice cream. The ice cream may not be as smooth as using a machine but it will be just as tasty. You’ll just need a stainless steel bowl and whisk chilled and ready for use.
Transfer the blended ice cream mixture into the bowl and then place in the freezer. Whisk and stir the mixture vigorously every 30 minutes to prevent ice crystals. In total, it should take about 30 minutes to become firm and completely chilled.
How To Make Vegan Ice Cream
- 27 ounces full fat coconut milk
- ¾ cup agave
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
- ¾ teaspoon xanthan or guar gum
- Add coconut milk, agave, coconut oil, vanilla, salt, and xanthan gum to a blender. Blend until well combined. Chill the mixture in the refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- Once the mixture is chilled, plug in your ice cream maker and start running it. (Check manufacturer’s instructions and make any adjustments as needed.) Pour in the mixture and process according to instructions.
- If ice cream isn’t thick enough for serving yet, then it will need to be chilled for at least an hour. Transfer the ice cream to a loaf pan and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Once it’s firm enough to scoop, serve immediately and enjoy!
While You Churn
While it’s tempting to stop the ice cream maker and test it to see if it’s ready, let it run its full course. It will be worth the wait and you want to make sure you don’t disrupt the thickening process. Also, keep your eye on it. Don’t walk away from the kitchen for too long as the machine could get warm and start melting the ice cream if left running for too long.
Heighten the flavor of this vegan ice cream by swapping vanilla extract for the scrapings of a vanilla bean pod. The vanilla bean flavor will really bring the ice cream up a notch.
Once you’ve mastered making vanilla ice cream, experiment with other flavors. Try adding some frozen strawberries or two tablespoons of cacao powder. You could also swirl in some peanut butter or chopped nuts (or both!).
Make it even more refreshing by swapping vanilla extract for ¼ teaspoon mint extract and add in some mini chocolate chips. The possibilities are endless with this vegan ice cream recipe.
Images via Karissa Bowers