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Ice cold, creamy, soft, and sweet — what is there not to like about ice cream? The heat has finally caught up to us here in Oregon, and we are reaching for cooling foods and drinks everyday. None of us complain when we have ice cream on a hot day!
But when my daughter and I, through some testing, realized that we don’t tolerate dairy very well, I wondered if my ice cream loving days were over. Thankfully, I’ve found that delicious and creamy dairy-free ice cream is within reach.
The hardest part of dairy-free ice cream is getting a rich enough base to make it with, as many dairy-free “milks” are thin. If you don’t have enough fat in ice cream, it will become hard and ice-y. You want your base to be rich and creamy.
For our uses, we have found that full-fat coconut milk is the best. This does mean canned. I know that there are a lot of coconut milks available in milk cartons now, but these are much too thin for making ice cream. I am a big fan of making your own coconut milk (either from a whole coconut or from coconut flakes), but these too tend to be less rich and will make a hard ice cream. The only problem with canned coconut milk is that canned foods tend to have BPA, and even brands that don’t can contain small amounts of other toxins. Coconut milk is one of the only foods we use canned.
However, if you want to avoid that concern completely, you can certainly use a homemade version. The trick is to either serve it right away — straight from the ice cream machine — or to add certain ingredients that help keep it soft.
In the “Ice Dream Cookbook,” the author shares a tip for using gelatin or agar agar in ice cream recipes. These ingredients help stabilize the dessert as it freezes, add loft, improve the whipping quality, and yield a smooth texture after freezing. Adding gelatin helps make up for using nondairy milks that aren’t as creamy as real cream. For an example of how this works, check out the Roasted Banana Ice Cream recipe below.
Adding arrowroot powder, marshmallow root powder, egg yolks, or some type of alcohol can also help keep your ice cream creamy and soft. These types of additions help give a dairy-free ice cream the right texture.
Being all about simplicity, I tend towards just using full-fat coconut milk, and letting the high fat content keep it creamy. That has worked well for me!
I personally use the Cuisinart Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker and have loved it! It is definitely worth the purchase. However, you can also make homemade ice cream without one. Follow these instructions.
Here are some recipe suggestions, all using coconut milk with the exception of the last recipe.
Dairy-free ice cream recipes
1. Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream: My daughter and I love this flavor combination.
2. Roasted Banana Ice Cream: This is from the “Ice Cream Cookbook”, and it is a-m-a-z-i-n-g.
3. Vanilla Ice Cream: This coconut milk-based ice cream is delicious and perfect to serve with a chocolate sauce or chocolate cake. I use a lot of vanilla extract in it, since coconut has a more assertive flavor.
4. Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream : This lightly sweetened ice cream is always a favorite.
5. Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream: This is a personal favorite!
6. Raspberry Coconut Milk Ice Cream: Tangy, flavorful, yet rich, this is also a favorite. Because this recipe has so many berries in it (and I didn’t bother to add gelatin), I serve it right away, or allow to ripen in the freezer for just an hour or two, so that it doesn’t become too hard.
7. Yellow Plum Sorbet: This recipe doesn’t use any type of milk or cream, but is a very simple sorbet. Allow to ripen just an hour or two in the freezer, otherwise it will become too hard.
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Katie@ Mexican Wildflower
I love mint chocolate chip! 🙂 I’ve made it with coconut kefir before.
Nom, Nom! I have got to try the roasted banana. I’m salivating just thinking about it. Thanks for these recipes. I’m in Grants Pass and yes, the weather does call for ice cream!
Thank you so much Kimmy for your lovely recipes!
My baby girl and I are on the GAPS diet so we have tried several of your super-tasty coconut milk recipes 🙂
I like using banana as a sweetener most of the time plus a little bit of honey if needed.
A hint: try making the chocolate ice-cream with a good quality 100% chocolate instead of cocoa, it turns out decandent as it is way creamier than the one with cocoa. I also add ripe bananas and a bit of date sugar.
I use the Zotter 100% chocolate, I do not know if you can get it in the US, but it is the best one of its kind, a little bit goes a long way: http://www.zotterchocolate.co.uk/
I served it to guests and could not believe that it was not the real thing 🙂
Much love to you from Greece!
You have a big fan club here even though we do not comment often, too busy with screaming kids 🙂
Love all of your ideas! Thanks for sharing. 🙂
“The Ice Dream” cookbook seems to be out of print. : (
Cathy @ Noble Pig
Hey there…nice to meet you, I’m also in Oregon…McMinnville/Carlton area! Fabulous ice cream!
Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy
pumpkin pie ice cream!! yummo!
I’m going to try the Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream, Raspberry Coconut Milk Ice Cream and Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream. Never tried them before. Thanks for sharing these recipes!
your website is absolutely to die for! If I simply want to make plain homemade coconut milk ice cream, do you have a recipe for that? Or do you always add additional flavorings? Thank you so much!
Wow, my mouth is watering! I tried making coconut milk ice cream and ended up with sweet ice. I was really curious what I did wrong, and I can’t wait to try again with your suggestions! Thanks!
In the interest of making pure coconut ice cream, has anyone tried adding fat to the thinner types of coconut milk?
Pure coconut oil seems like it would thicken and enrich, probably it would also have the desired softening effect. Has anyone tried it?
Sarah I heard that coconut oil does not work well in coconut ice-creams.
What I do use myself to make it creamier is either Tropical Traditions Concentrated Coconut Cream or the Nutiva/Artisana Coconut Butter.
They both work just fine and give my ice-creams a creamer consistency.
Thank you for this article .. I attempted to make ice cream from full fat coconut Milk adding gelatin, lumina powder for sweetness and matcha green tea powder. Blended all first in blender , chilled in the fridge for few minutes and then added to ice cream maker.
Cuisinart As well . It was my first time making the ice cream. So after 29 minutes in the ice cream maker .. I put if to the container and into the freezer. Went To sleep. Question : why is it do hard ? And what did I do wrong ? While in ice cream maker it was nice and creamy..I should of taken out earlier the mixture??? Please let me know.. I so wanted to make a nice green tea ice cream:) how to freeze it so it wouldn’t become too hard and wouldn’t get a freezer burn 🙁
After you blend all the ingredients, refrigerate the mixture overnight. Then throw it in the ice cream maker. The mixture needs to be really cold before it goes in.
After about 20 minutes in the ice cream maker it will be ready.
Meant to type- Lukuma powder for sweetness( the ice cream mixture turned out not too sweet.. Added stevia to it) but over done with matcha powder ..
mmmmmm! so excited to try these, especially the roasted banana and the vanilla… or the chocolate… it’s hot in sunny fl and my daughter’s making us up a batch today! why not have ice cream in the morning?!
Was thinking of trying to incorporate a little nut butter into the chocolate recipe – any ideas??
Looks so yummy! I will try and make this 🙂
I was looking for ideas for a dairy free, not-to-coconut ice cream for my son and found these. I made one modeled on the raspberry one, but with blackberries. It was great, but my son didn’t like it. But I decided to experiment a little with the coconut base idea and some soy milk. When I’ve made soy milk based ice cream before it turns rock solid in the freezer as it’s so low-fat. I tried adding a couple of tablespoons full of coconut oil in with a soy milk, honey and banana base. It worked great for rich texture and it didn’t freeze solid when stored in the freezer. BUT that might have been due to the 2 T of vanilla I put in as I think it has lots of alcohol.
please email me the receipe of the coconut icecream and how to make coconut icecream
can you please actually put the recipe up so i can make it or do i have to guess how to make it. This would be a better recipe if it was actually up.
I love the the taste of coconut dislike the taste of honey any suggestions for a coconut flavored ice milk ice cream?
Oh my goodness!!!! I am going to have so much fun with these recipes.
Thanks to you and other wonderful blogs, we have not been missing dairy icecream at all. Thank you so much!!
Can ripe fresh peaches or apricots be made with the canned coconut milk? I was going to use them for sorbet, but the ice cream sounds so much yummier.
I was wondering which coconut milk is used, have tried a few now and they are not working, either no cream on the top or the cream just turns to powder in the mixer!