Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream

As hot weather approaches a cold ice cream treat sounds so good. And there is nothing like homemade ice cream. But what if you are on a dairy free diet? Enter, coconut milk ice cream. Joel and I got hooked on coconut ice cream long before I had to go dairy free. It’s that good. It is incredibly rich and creamy. Coconut milk has such a melt in your mouth texture. It’s wonderful I can’t wait to try out new flavors, but chocolate is definitely a favorite.

This recipe does use an automatic ice cream maker. This newer ice cream makers are great. No worries of ice and salt, you just freeze the container part and you are ready to go! It’s wonderful for last minute, healthy desserts. We were given one as a gift from Joel’s family and we have loved it! But if you don’t have your own mixer, it still is possible to make at home. Check out this post, over at David Lebovitz’s blog for more info on doing that.

A few notes about the ingredients. We use Thai’s organic coconut milk (NOT lite). Not all coconut milk is made equally, and we have found that this one has the best flavor. But use what you can find (as long as it isn’t lite). I used agave syrup here, but you can use whatever sweetener you like. If you can have dairy, coconut milk and cream together make a wonderful ice cream.

We like this ice cream right out of the ice cream maker, where it’s like soft serve ice cream (like in the picture above). Mmmm…..

Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream

3 cups of unsweetened coconut milk (about two cans)
2/3 cup of cocoa powder

6 tablespoons agave syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk cocoa powder in a small amount of coconut milk, until smooth. Then add the rest of the ingredients and whisk until well combined. Or dump all ingredients together and blend with a stick blender. Make according to your machines instructions.

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I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

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  1. Dee says

    I just made this for my nephew who is allergic to everything under the sun and is picky to boot. He absolutely loved it!

  2. Cat says

    Is it possible to make this without an ice cream maker? Do you think it would work with putting it in a blender then freezing in a pan? Thanks!

  3. says

    I promote coconuts and am glad to see what a great job you are doing. If there is anything I can do to help let me know. You will understand if you visit my web site.

    By the way I am planning coconut soft cheese.

    • misty says

      I would love to try some of that cheese, I would also like to know how to make coconut yogurt. If you could give me the link to your website I would appreciate it.


  4. Julia says

    My daughter and I made this ice cream this weekend and it was wonderful! We added almonds, dark chocolate, and coconut and called it “Almond Joy” Ice Cream.

    • chuck says

      how did you add the dark chocolate? Did you melt with the cocoa powder into the coconut milk? and were you satisfied with the amount of sweetner added the 2 cans of milk?

  5. Dan Danson says

    susan, erythritol will work much better, as it will depress the freezing point and make it more scoopable after “hard” freezing. Also consider adding gelatin or xanthan gum as a stabalizer.

      • Brette says

        If you want a good stabilizer try Konjac root powder. You will get good consistancy and it has not taste (also no calories and no glycemic load).

  6. Stephanie says

    I made this for the first time this weekend. Oh my word, soooo good! This will be one we make again and again. Thank you!

  7. Erin says

    oh my mercy, kimi! soooo good. soooo creamy! i did half coconut milk and half heavy whipping cream. a.may.zing! thanks for the recipe. 🙂

  8. bill says

    Just made it in a cuisinart ice cream maker. Never got really firm, but now it’s in the freezer. Tastes good, but waiting to see if it’s too hard after freezing. Thanks for the recipe!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Dee says

    MMMMMmmm! So yummy, and the perfect recipe to try out my new kitchen-aid ice cream maker bowl! My son was delighted, as he has never had chocolate ice cream before, there is no soy free, dairy free, gluten free substitute available in Canada. Not too sweet either, which was to my taste. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe, I will certainly use it again!

    • says

      Dee..I am also in Canada and Soy, dairy and gluten free. There is a brand called SoDelicious that you can find in the organic freezers at’s made with Coconut milk too 🙂

      Love this recipe…I have made it several times now and my kids beg for more 🙂

      • Penny says

        I am also from Canada and got very excited as I read the ingredient list on the SoDelicious. Right down at the bottom is the statement that it may contain traces of….
        The traces include dairy and soy which means that somebody with an allergy is probably not willing to take the chance with them.

        That’s fine because we are now experimenting with making our own 🙂

        • Holli says

          Be aware that most of the coconut milk ice creams out there also contain carageenan, which may be a natural seaweed derived ingrediant but has been shown to be neurotoxic in mice. Yikes! I’m not taking any chances. This recipe is delicious and I added 1T of instant coffe to make it mocha. So yummers, thank-you!

          • Kim says

            Most non-dairy ‘milks’ contain carageenan unless you make it yourself. So if there is a better alternative I would love some suggestions. (child with dairy & nut allergy) It seems there is never a good alternative. Thanks!

    • Melissa says

      I found a delicious GF, soy free dairy free ready-made ice “cream”. (With no carageenan, or traces of anything)
      “Luna and Lary’s Orgainic Coconut Bliss Dessert”. My fav is chocolate hazelnut fudge : ). If by chance you are in KW (Ontario) they have it at Grandma’s Gluten Free, and Healthy foods and more, both in Waterloo. : )

      Now….if only time would pass faster so I can eat this recipe!!! (It’s in the ice cream maker)

  10. Sierra says

    This is amazing. I used lite cocunut milk (sorry, but it’s just what I had on hand) and honey, and it still turned out fabulously. Will definitely make again.

  11. Jeremy says

    Just bought my ice cream maker today. Tomorrow I am going to do this recipe with honey, a banana, and some toasted almonds. Will let you know how it turns out. Super excited, and if you’ve never had chocolate and banana together, you’re missing out.

  12. HARRY says

    Using the Cuisinart 50BC Ice Cream Maker we first gently melt 4 oz milk chocolate in 1 cup of milk at low heat. After cooling the melted chocolate mixture, we add 1 1/2 cups of heavy whipping cream, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 tsp coconut extract. Chilled again for 1 hour to ensure a creamy and scoopable batch when put in the freezer after 3 hours. When the ice cream is thickening in the machine we add 3 oz of mini chocolate chips for the last 5 minutes Adding too soon, the added ingredients sink to the bottom and disturb the mixing process. Sometimes we add almond slivers,chopped pineapple and top the ice cream with coconut flakes. Just a footnote…..the small amount of cocnut extract flavor does not effect the optimum freezing process, and can be used to satisfy your personal intensity of coconut flavor. Making your own ice cream is only limited by your imagination.

    • soul rebel says

      This Forum was really about coconut milk Ice Cream!
      Not Dairy Ice cream, or the “I just Brought an Ice Cream maker, lets make conventional Ice Cream”. It was about alternatives!!!

  13. Beth says

    Coconut Bliss is soy free, dairy free, gluten free and is now available in Canada (at least in Ontario and Quebec) We can’t do any of those (including soy lecithin) nor can we do carob bean gum which is in most dairy free frozen desserts.

  14. Sharmista says

    I halved this recipe, used honey instead of agave, and poured it into popsicle molds. They were seriously amazing!! It tasted like the jell-o pudding pops I ate as a kid! My kids devoured them!

    • Helena says

      This ice cream sounds absolutely perfect. I would like to try making it with stevia, so would love to hear if anyone tried it that way yet. Have not bought an ice cream maker yet, and would love to get some opinions on which ones you are recommending. Thank you all in advance!

      • Dee says

        I made this ice cream with liquid Stevia instead of Agave and it turned out perfect. Just sweeten to taste before putting in freezer. I do not own an ice cream maker. I put everything in a stainless steel bowl and stick in the freezer…pretty primitive! I also only made half the recipe.

      • CSAltier says

        I used regular coconut milk dark cocoa powder, 1/4 c xylitol, 2 tbl agave for sweetener. My husband is dairy free, soy free, gluten free. This ice cream is so easy and perfect consistency. I just purchased the Cuisinart for about $40 and am very happy with it! Can’t wait to try some other flavors!

  15. Angela says

    I look forward to trying this recipe. Looks delicious, & i have all the ingredients!
    There is a brand of coconut based vegan soy free ice cream called ‘Coconut Bliss’ It’s Rich & creamy & very very good for store bought ice cream. They have a huge flavor selection, & I’ve yet to be disappointed. My favorite is their chocolate mint. It is of course very expensive & a rare treat in my house, I look forward to trying some of the recipes I’ve found, esp this one. In my home wheat, dairy & soy are out, & we’re vegetarians anyway, When soy was removed I cried. I thought all the good creamy ice creams were just a no, until I found this coconut based stuff that rivaled my dearly loved Breyers for quality! Best of luck to anyone else out their struggling to stay healthy & keep their families healthy. I have vegan friends who swear by cashew ice cream, I have yet to try it.
    If you are fortunate enough to have a champion, here is an easy to make sweet treat on a hot day. Chop up some ripe bananas & freeze them, frozen strawberries are esp. good too, but don’t limit yourself, any frozen fruit will do. (except peaches, you can’t taste them over the banana) run them through the champion, alternating banana strawberry to make it as even, & as pink or red & as strongly flavored as you like, the bananas make the strawberries sweet enough to eat. It’s totally healthy, not quite as sweet or as elegant as the above recipe, but for a quick sweet treat on a hot day, it’s delicious & easy, then you’ve got the fancier more expensive stuff for special occasions. You can easily run a sweetener through too. you might run a little plain banana through right at first, because for some reason the champion melts that 1st tbs. Then it comes out like perfect soft ice cream.

  16. Mazey says

    While this recipe is nice and has potential, it is decidedly NOT ice cream. Ice milk perhaps but it has no creaminess to it whatsoever and freezes solid as a brick. Maybe next time I will add some coconut oil to improve the texture. I have to say that I am pretty disappointed, as your picture is a vision of deliciousness and the stuff in my freezer is a lump of semi-transparent brown ice. I sometimes think that in the act of replicating ‘normal’ foods we overreach in our comparisons.

    • KimiHarris says

      Well, we think it’s pretty darn good. 🙂 Did you use full fat coconut milk? Everyone who has tried it (including those not on a special dairy free diet) thinks it’s very creamy.

      • Mazey says

        You know, I used homemade and that must be where it went wrong. I’ve been making it for a few years to drink and it always has a nice thick layer of fat on top. I assumed (that’ll teach me) that it would have the same fat content as the stuff in the can. I apologize for my judging the recipe so harshly but if you tasted how disappointing my results were … blech. I’m not inclined to purchase canned milk but I will most likely try adding some additional coconut oil to my previous disaster and see what happens. If I have any luck I will let you know. And thank you for your cordial response to my grousy comment. It was very gracious of you.

        • says

          I can’t comment on the flavor you got, but even the commercial coconut milk ice cream will be rock hard if the freezer is too cold. We had this problem when we first switched due to my daughter’s dairy/soy allergies. We found that if we left it out on the counter about 10 minutes before we tried scooping it really helped a lot. Once it thaws a touch it should be really rich and creamy. Coconut milk ice cream is a definitely different from the kind with dairy, but for those who are allergic to both dairy and soy (or nursing moms with allergic babies) it is an amazing find. I can have dairy again, but will still sometimes make up a batch of coconut milk ice cream as a treat.

        • Alex says

          There’s so much trial and error in these processes. If you’re wary of using canned coconut milk, there are two brands that come in cardboard containers and cartons, just like the ones that contain soy, almond and rice milks. So Delicious and Coconut Dream both offer these choices in sweetened and unsweetened versions. When we buy Larry and Luna’s Coconut Bliss, we pop the containers into our microwave and set it to timed defrost for about a minute. That results in a creamy sensation. When my co-op has only the CB Vanilla or Naked Coconut, I doctor it with cacao nibs and peanut butter.

    • peggy says

      Mazey perhaps it is the brand of coconut milk you used. I only buy full fat coconut milk with no added junk. I made mango instead of chocolate ice cream and mixed one can coconut milk with 1 mango pureed and a little organic zero sweetner and put it in machine. My ice cream was very creamy and did not get as hard after being in the freezer as homemade with dairy. I have become severly lactose intolerant and can only do a little cream so I am happy to have ice cream. I made ice cream with cream, goats milk, and eggs but it gets too hard after freezing for awhile so this is better for make ahead ice cream.

    • bill says

      often when homemade ice cream from these machines turns out hard as a rock, it wasn’t churned enough. Most recipes tell you to churn for 30 to 40 minutes. The more solid you let it get in the churn, the creamier it will be.

  17. Sarah says

    If I use this recipe for black berries, how much strained black berries would I put in instead of chocolate? I accidentally made the chocolate ice cream with coconut milk with water in it and it was a little icy, but it was still good. I also ran out of agave and used yacon syrup, which has a lower glycemic index and I think it was pretty good, although it has a little more flavor than agave.

  18. amanda says

    Do you need to mix this on the stove? Or just make it at room temperature, then start the freezing process? I’m new to ice cream making, so thanks!

    • indiadrmer says

      no- you want it to be at room temp before going in your machine. If you want to use fresh mint or any other type of fresh herb or spice to flavor it then I would simmer the herb in the cocnut milk for about 10 minutes then let it cool (with the herb still in), strain and then add everything else. When I have done this, then I will chill it for a few hours in my fridge before freezing. Hope this helps..

  19. Brandi says

    I have made this recipe a dozen times and it turns out perfectly. This is such fast and tasty way to make ice cream. It’s also a much healthier way to curb my my ice cream addiction! 🙂

  20. indiadrmer says

    Made this 2x, once with the coconut milk that you buy in the refrigerator section which was good when it first came out of the machine but became more of a tasteless granita after freezing overnight. Then made with the canned milk and it was amazing. I didn’t add the cocoa but I did use agave syrup but only about 1/2 of what is recommended then added some toasted coconut for the last few minutes which is great!!! Love the recipe- thanks so much for the idea!

  21. Daphni says

    I use Dutch processed cocoa now and it is much smoother for the chocolate taste part than regular cocoa. It’s processed with alkali so you might not approve, but it tastes better. It might be hard to find, too. We always had it around in Michigan where there are lots of Dutch people.

  22. Kris says

    Anyone try this with the stevia and erythritol or gelatin? I am wondering how much of each would be needed to get a good flavor and consistency?

    • peggy says

      Kris I made mango instead of chocolate ice cream and used one can full fat coconut milk, one pureed mango, 1/4 cup Organic Zero(erythritol) and then added a couple of teaspons of kal stevia with fiber to make it just a little sweeter. I had to heat the coconut milk and erthritol to melt the sweetner and then added the pureed mango and chilled the mixture til it was no longer warm and then into the machine. Very yummy. You might have to use more of the sweetner with the chocolate, I’m going to try that flavor next.

  23. Erin says

    SO SO good!!!! This is an AWESOME recipe and so simple! I was stressing about what to take to my vegan-no-garlic-no-onion-no-spicy-food-breastfeeding-mom-friend’s house for potluck lunch and you saved me! Thanks so much!

    • KimiHarris says

      Hi brian,
      I only used agave before the weston price foundation talked about it. My recipes are now free of it. 🙂

      • Leslie says

        Hi Kimi,
        What do you use instead of the agave? The recipe above still has it listed as an ingredient and I’m wondering what’s another low-glycemic-load option. Thanks!

          • Alex says

            Are you saying honey has a low glycemic load? Several years ago, my doctor told me to stop using it because it has the same glycemic impact as sugar. I wish they’d all make up their minds.

  24. CBrown says

    Very yummy and super easy. Took one minute to mix together and then threw it is the Cuisinart ice cream maker. Reminds me of a Mounds bar. This recipe will make going dairy-free much easier 🙂

  25. Kimberley says

    This was amazing! The best homemade icecream recipe I have tried. My son is lactose intolerant so it is always great to find amazing recipies. I used maple syrup instead of agave and when it was almost ready in the ice cream maker I added chopped up strawberries. YUM!

  26. Nancy S says

    This is the 2nd time I made it. Delicious! My 3 kids all under the age of 6 loved it and hubby did too. First time I tried it with a few drops of pure peppermint extract, this time we did just chocolate. Both are perfect!! Thanks for such an easy recipe

  27. Diana says

    Made this today with my 3 year old son. So easy and delicious! Would be great with a ripple of peanut butter! Do you know how to add that with an ice cream maker? Definitely, this recipe will be one of our favourite!

  28. Gena says

    I made this for my niece and nephew, who have dairy, egg, soy, wheat, etc. allergies. I added marshmallows to make it more “kid friendly”. They love it, as do my the other kids in the family without allergies. Delicious and creamy! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  29. Elizabeth says

    Just made my first batch. I did 2 cups vanilla almond milk, 6 tbsp honey, 2/3 cup cocoa and 1 can lite coconut milk threw it in my icecream maker for 30 minutes. Turnd out good but definately needs regular coconut milk not the lite version.

  30. Tiffany says

    Thank you SO much. I’ve had to go dairy free as my breast feeding baby is highly sensitive to the dairy in my diet. I was very skeptical of this recipe tasting like ice-cream… but I was very happy to be proven wrong. Looking forward to making variations… like adding peanut butter- yum!

  31. Kelsey says

    This is very yummy and creamy. We used only 1/2 cup of cocoa powder and I used sucanat to sweeten (that’s all I have right now) and it seemed really rich. We do use Rapunzel cocoa powder which is really strong, but I think I’m going to add even less cocoa powder next time (I’m making it for a crowd of more mainstream eaters). I added a tablespoon of vanilla instead of a teaspoon because I thought it might help it not harden so much, but that was a mistake – it gave it a funny aftertaste. Definitely stick to just a teaspoon! I’m excited to try adding peanut butter!

  32. Tim says

    I made it with raw cacoa powder, sweetened with honey, and mixed in some toasted almonds and coconut that was caramelized in coconut sugar right @ the end of the ice cream making cycle.
    Love it.

  33. val roy says

    My daughter made this for who little gluten free and dair free sister, they mixed all ingredients in a blender then poured into popsicle molds and froze, the relults were amazing, thank,s from an appreciative Mom

  34. carrisovery says

    Just made this and am gobbling down a bowl as I type. YUM! I used Aroy-D brand coconut milk (import-Thailand), which is pretty easy to find here in Chicago. The label says “For Dessert!” on it, so I correctly assumed it had high fat content. It’s like the whole can is the thick cream you skim off the top. Anyway, I used Ghirardelli cocoa powder, a nice Mexican vanilla, agave, and added 2 tablespoons of white rum. The rum is a trick I learned after so many batches of DF ice cream frozen too hard to eat. Oh, and I threw in some marshmallows because Rocky Road is the flavor I miss the most here in Dairy-Free Land. My partner who still lives happily in Dairy Land is really enjoying it too. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe!
    (I use a Cuisinart ICE-120 and love it)

    • Janine Knecht says

      thanks for the rum trick as I was finding that having leftovers wasn’t worth the scoop. I’m going to try that tonight.

  35. val roy says

    Just tried this for the first time following you recipe exactly, using a hand crank donvier and it turned out exacly like L&L coconut bliss, but much less costly, thank’s so much from a mom of a gluten free, dairy free, soy free daughter.

  36. Janine Knecht says

    I made this last night as a special a treat for my church; kid clubhouse. I choose this version because there’s a child that is allergic cow’s milk and wanted to do something special and caterered around her for a change. Most of the kids that tried it loved it and the adults thought it was delicious as well. Thanks for an easy and wholesome recipe.

  37. leslie says

    I made this and it was amazing! The can I used has a total of 77 grams of fat, 70 of which are saturated. That means that each serving of about 1/2 cup would have about 17 grams of saturated fat!! Isn’t that a lot for one dessert?

  38. jess says

    Hmm… I’m a newbie to this – borrowed a Cuisinart ice cream maker from a friend. I froze the bowl for six hours (at which point I shook it to make sure I didn’t hear the liquid sloshing around. It seemed frozen-no sloshing.) I combined the ingredients at room temperature and mixed for 32 minutes. It was as liquid-y as ever at that point. I wasn’t sure what to do, so I stuck it in the freezer which, of course, made it icey. Should I have chilled the cans of coconut milk first? Should I use arrowroot or tapioca starch to help it thicken? I liked that this recipe didn’t include those. Maybe I should have left it in the mixer longer? How long did it take others?

  39. sylvia says

    Great Recipe,
    If you don’t have an ice cream maker just freeze your coconut milk in ice cube trays and add one at a time to blender with the rest of the ingredients until ice cream forms , it will be more like a sherbet.

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