Coconut milk ice cream is your go-to summer dairy free ice cream recipe. Made with coconut milk and coconut cream, it’s thick and rich like regular ice cream. You won’t taste the difference!

Coconut Milk Ice Cream: dairy free ice cream

I’ve got your summertime go-to dairy free coconut milk ice cream recipe right here today. It’s not that we don’t have a few ways to love ice cream around here:  strawberry ice cream, my blackberry chip ice cream (that is entirely no churn), or my peanut butter molasses ice cream (bonus: naturally sweetened!). These flavors are alive and well, thankfully. However, I wanted to make a cool, creamy confection that my dairy-free friends could enjoy. 

Why I created this dairy-free coconut milk ice cream recipe:

My vegan husband’s weakness has always been ice cream, and I created this for him. But, the truth is, we live in an allergy-friendly world these days. I realize this makes me sound old, but I remember times when I would host dinner parties without asking my guests about their allergies or dietary preferences.

Now, my dinner party invites come with strict orders to inform me of your preferences. I want to know about your allergies, and I also want to know if you’re temporarily avoiding any food groups. I truly enjoy cooking for anyone and everyone!

Coconut Milk Ice Cream: dairy free ice cream

During my brief stint as a private chef, I enjoyed the families I worked with that had food sensitivities. I loved having strict guidelines to cook within. But more than anything, I loved giving my clients food that they hadn’t enjoyed in a long time due to allergies. Dairy-free ice cream was something I secretly tucked in the freezer before leaving their house.

Now, it’s a weekly staple in our house, all summer long!

Coconut Milk Ice Cream: dairy free ice cream

Just 5 ingredients to make coconut milk ice cream:

I have a few secrets for making this dairy free vanilla ice cream taste as good as regular vanilla ice cream.

  • Coconut milk – We’re using 1 can of coconut cream plus 1 can of full-fat coconut milk. It’s thick, rich and creamy. Canned coconut cream looks like pudding, and can be hard to scoop out if it’s cool or cold. There should also be some liquid in each can–include that, too!
  • Vanilla bean paste – Vanilla extract is a great substitute, but I just love the little specks of vanilla bean in the paste. Use whatever you have! The ice cream will have a faint coconut flavor, but the tablespoon-plus of vanilla bean paste or extract brings so much flavor!
  • Sugar – One of the lesser known secrets of making homemade ice cream soft and creamy is granulated sugar. And lots of it. You could get away with 1/2 cup of granulated sugar in this recipe, but a full 3/4 cup will give you the creamiest, dreamiest dairy free vanilla ice cream. Just go for it.
  • Gelatin – We’re using gelatin as a thickener in this dairy-free ice cream. I grabbed my can of Vital Proteins Grass-Fed Beef Gelatin, because it’s always in my pantry for making the most tender meatballs, homemade marshmallows, and homemade fruit snacks for my toddler.The gelatin provides a smooth, creaminess to the ice cream and prevents it from getting icy or hard in the freezer. Grass-fed beef gelatin also has health benefits, but let’s remember chocolate sauce and sprinkles are involved here today.

Coconut Milk Ice Cream: dairy free ice cream

How to make ahead and store dairy free ice cream:

I want this coconut milk based ice cream to be your new go-to recipe all summer long. Once a week, I like to make the ice cream base in the blender, and place it in the fridge just until it’s cold. Somehow, I manage to space out the steps of making ice cream from scratch over a few days so it doesn’t feel like a cumbersome task to me.

If you pull the ice cream base out of the fridge to churn after 4 hours, and it seems too thick–do not worry! You haven’t messed up at all! Let the ice cream soften a bit at room temperature, give it a good whisk, and then proceed with the recipe. There’s a chance you added a touch too much gelatin–make sure you level off your tablespoon next time. 

Once the ice cream is churned and ready to store for eating, use a storage container to keep it smooth and creamy.

Coconut Milk Ice Cream: dairy free ice cream

Ways to enjoy this coconut milk ice cream:

-on top of chocolate cobbler

-smushed between two small-batch sugar cookies for the best ice cream sandwiches ever

-piled on top of mini apple pies, peach raspberry cobbler or small batch brownies

If you try this coconut milk ice cream recipe, please come back and to share using my 5 star rating in the comments below. Not only do I appreciate it, but I know readers do, too!

Yield: 1 pint

Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Coconut Milk Ice Cream: dairy free ice cream

Coconut milk ice cream is your best dairy-free ice cream.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk (no sugar added)
  • 1 can coconut cream (no sugar added)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tablespoon powdered gelatin

For serving:

  • chocolate sauce
  • sprinkles
  • ice cream cones

Instructions

  1. First, check your ice cream maker’s instruction manual to see if you need to freeze the bowl before making ice cream. Place the bowl in the freezer, if so. If not, proceed.
  2. In a blender, combine all ingredients. Puree on high for at least 2 minutes to fully dissolve everything.
  3. Pour the mixture into a 2-quart saucepan, and heat over medium heat while stirring frequently to dissolve the gelatin. DO NOT let the mixture boil. Cook it until small bubbles form around the edge of the pan, and a it coats the back of a wooden spoon like pudding, about 4-5 minutes.
  4. Pour the mixture into a bowl, and chil in the fridge for 4 hours, or just until it is no longer warm. It should be cold when added to the ice cream machine.
  5. Follow the ice cream maker’s instructions to churn the ice cream.
  6. Place the freshly churned ice cream in a freezer-safe container, and freeze for at least 6 hours, covered tightly.
  7. Let sit at room temperature for about 5 minutes before scooping and serving in a cone with chocolate sauce and sprinkles (entirely optional, but why not).

Notes

If you let the mixture chill longer than 4 hours before churning, it might solidify. It's fine--just let it soften at room temperature for a bit, whisk it very well, and then proceed to churn. I really recommend chilling just until the mixture is no longer warm, about 4 hours.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 317Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 37mgCarbohydrates: 39gFiber: 0gSugar: 35gProtein: 3g