Deliciously creamy Vegan Vanilla Ice Cream is made with a coconut milk base and naturally sweetened for a delicious, dairy free treat!
Table of contents
There’s nothing better than a refreshing scoop of cold, creamy, and rich ice cream on a hot day. When I’m sipping on a homemade healthy frappuccino or healthy iced coffee, my kids are busy enjoying a scoop!
Making homemade ice cream is one of life’s simple pleasures that doesn’t need a lot of bells and whistles. It is ridiculously easy to make from pure simple ingredients and is one of my favorite no bake treats to consume all summer long.
This 3 ingredient creamy vegan ice cream gives us all the joy while being cost effective and healthy! So, skip the store bought carton or drive through soft serve because this is even better!
There’s a beautiful balance of coconut and vanilla flavor, its texture is just like a regular soft serve ice cream thanks to the full-fat coconut milk, and it’s naturally sweetened with maple syrup.
No refined sugars, condensed milk, or heavy cream here just like with healthy banana cream pie!
The fleck of vanilla bean throughout is an indication that there’s nothing artificial in this classic vegan vanilla ice cream. So enjoy a scoop or three!
What You’ll Need to Make Vegan Vanilla Ice Cream
All you need are the following 3 simple ingredients.
- Coconut milk: You need the full fat coconut milk from a can, not a carton. I recommend the Thai Kitchen brand, Compliments, or Trader Joe’s because they contain guar gum. This is what gives it the smooth creamy consistency.
- Maple syrup: If not strict vegan,, you could also use honey. Both deliver sweetness and antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
- Vanilla beans: There is a pure delicious warm flavor that comes from the vanilla bean, but they are expensive. You can also use pure vanilla extract if that’s what you have. There is a huge difference in flavor and quality when you use a good quality vanilla extract. You want one that doesn’t have a heavy alcohol flavor.
How to Make Vegan Vanilla Ice Cream
Whether you’re vegan, dairy free, or just want an easy vanilla ice cream from scratch, you’ll love this recipe.
First, you’ll start by placing the bowl of your ice cream maker in the freezer overnight. Think about the way you chill your bowl when you make whipped cream. Adding cold ingredients to a warm bowl won’t work, so this is a very important step!
Also, the night before, blend coconut milk, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. To use the vanilla beans, lay them down flat on a cutting board. Slice them down the middle lengthwise and scrape out the seeds by dragging them along the length with a pairing knife.
Do a little taste test and make sure your ice cream mixture is a little sweeter than you’d expect. I don’t know the science behind it, but once the ice cream has frozen, it’s less sweet than the original mixture. Weird, right?!
Chill this mixture overnight as well. Not in the bowl that’s chilling, keep that separate. Do not skip this step, otherwise, your ice cream won’t crystallize.
If you are feeling ultra decadent, add some healthy cookie dough made into ‘balls’ into the mixture before freezing. I also love serving this in the spring with almond flour lemon cookies, so light and refreshing!
The following day, once your mixture and your bowl are nice and chilled, pour the prepared mixture into the cold bowl, place the lid on the ice cream maker and set it to churn.
This may take as little as 20 minutes or as long as 60 minutes, depending on which model you have. It will get to a soft serve consistency and not a full solid freeze.
We’re almost there, but not quite done yet! Transfer the soft serve to a freezer friendly container with a lid.
Place it in the freezer for about an hour and then let it thaw for a few minutes before serving. Use a bowl or splurge with organic sugar cones and enjoy!
You can. Again, it comes down to the brand and the quality. I have tried some with less favorable results, but the one from Trader Joe’s is great.
You can add additional guar gum to thicken it up. Guar gum can be found in your local grocery store, usually in the baking section. It’s got a lot of uses, in baking, making yogurts, sauces, dressings etc. So, don’t be afraid to buy a larger package!
Yes, you use the whole can. It’s important to incorporate the liquid watery part as long as you’re including the cream on top for fat and richness too.
What If I Don’t Own An Ice Cream Maker?
You need a machine to make it! No shortcuts. Otherwise, it will be rock solid. Coconut milk crystallizes so the churning process creates the air needed to make the ice cream soft.
How to Store
Keep it in an airtight, freezer friendly glass container for a few months.
One week have it plain, another week serve it on the side of almond flour banana bread, then the week after that top it with a vegan healthy chocolate frosting and coconut whipped cream. The options are endless.
More Vegan Ice Cream Recipes
You may also like to try these other vegan treats! Dole whip recipe with frozen pineapple, coconut mango ice cream for a taste of the tropics, and classic healthy chocolate ice cream for a bit of chocolatey indulgence!
Recently I’ve also been enjoying making homemade Instant Pot yogurt and making this strawberry yogurt with it. It’s a delicious treat to serve up with a healthy fruit salad. I’ll even have it instead of ice cream sometimes!
More Healthy Dessert Recipes
You can also browse through my entire collection of healthy dessert recipes for more inspiration!
Cream Vegan Vanilla Ice Cream
- Place bowl of ice cream maker in a freezer the night before. This is an important step!
- Also the night before, in blender or food proccessor, add coconut milk, maple syrup and vanilla extract. If using vanilla beans, lay them on a cutting board, cut in the middle lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with a paring knife. Add to the blender and process until well combined.
- Place mixture in a fridge to chill overnight. This is important step otherwise your ice cream won’t crystallize, especially if it is hot outside.
- The next day, pour ice cream mixture into frozen ice cream bowl, place lid on top and turn it on to start churning. Depending on your ice cream machine it may take 20-60 minutes to bring ice cream to a soft serve consistency. It won’t fully freeze.
- Transfer soft serve ice cream into any container with a lid and freeze for another hour or so. To serve, let thaw for 5-10 minutes.
- Store: Freeze in a glass airtight container for up to a few months.
- Coconut milk: I highly recommend to use Thai Kitchen, Compliments or Trader Joe’s full fat coconut milk as it produces creamy and smooth ice cream thanks to a guar gum. It is available organic and regular.
- Coconut cream: I have tried other brands with less favorable results. Coconut cream from Trader Joe’s is good.
- Sweetener: I prefer maple syrup for making ice cream. If not strictly vegan, you can use honey. Taste will depend on the type of honey you use. Light color honey is usually mild tasting vs. dark with more prominent honey taste.