Vegan Vanilla Ice Cream

After months of experimentation and countless not-quite-right spoonfuls of creamy treats, I have finally developed the vanilla ice cream of my dreams.

Vanilla Ice Cream

It took some work, let me tell you. I tried variation upon variation, but nothing tasted truly as good as dairy milk ice cream. Banana ice cream has an overwhelming banana flavour. It’s delicious, but just wouldn’t feel right on top of apple pie. Coconut flavour shines through ice cream using solely coconut milk. I wanted vanilla!

Vanilla Ice Cream

This vanilla ice cream uses a mixture of coconut milk and almond milk. Coconut milk provides the fat and the creaminess necessary for a true ice cream treat. Almond milk adds a lovely nutty flavour, and balances out the coconut taste so that it’s not even noticeable.
Vanilla Ice Cream
Like all my ice cream recipes, you don’t need an ice cream maker. It’s probably a good idea to make this on a day when you can hang around your house for a few hours, since you’ll be doing some manual churning. In the meantime, why don’t you make some pumpkin pie?

I’m so glad to have this recipe under my belt, since I never feel like I’m missing out on dairy when I have alternatives that taste just as good, if not better. This one’s a keeper.
Vanilla Ice Cream

Vegan Vanilla Ice Cream
Author: Katy’s Kitchen
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: about 1 pint
This vanilla ice cream is the best vegan vanilla ice cream I’ve ever made. It’s easy to throw together, you don’t need an ice cream maker, and it’s full of vanilla flavour.
Ingredients
  • One 398ml can full-fat coconut milk, chilled overnight in the fridge
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 3 Tablespoons white sugar
  • ¼ tsp table salt
Instructions
  1. Open the can of coconut milk and scoop off the top, fatty layer into a medium mixing bowl (stainless steel works best). Discard the leftover coconut water, or use in a smoothie.
  2. Add the almond milk, vanilla extract, sugar, and salt. Whisk together until the sugar has dissolved (about 2 minutes).
  3. Place the bowl in the freezer. Whisk and stir every half hour until frozen (anywhere from 3-4 hours, depending if you want a soft-serve texture or hard ice cream).
Notes
The ice cream freezes solid, but if you take it out of the freezer five minutes before serving it will be easily scoopable.

You might also like:
1. Pumpkin Pie
2. Blueberry Bonanza Soft Serve
3. Mango Coconut Ice Cream

Published by

Katy MacKinnon

Katy MacKinnon is a food photographer and recipe developer, and Food Fight! co-host.

72 thoughts on “Vegan Vanilla Ice Cream”

    1. Yes- agreed! Ice cream is one of those things that I will always stop the car for, and I get nervous when it’s low in my freezer. 😉

  1. This vanilla ice cream looks incredible Katy! Love that you don’t need an ice cream maker and the the coconut and almond milk sound like a wonderful combination! Great recipe – would love a scoop of this now 🙂

    1. Thanks Kelly! Unfortunately, I’ve eaten the entire thing. I think I need to make some more right now. 🙂

  2. Even though I’m generally not an ice cream eater, I’m saving this recipe for just in case. It sounds wonderful, and I would prefer non-dairy ice cream over regular, because I know I would digest it better. I’m glad you were finally able to nail the recipe.

  3. Hey Katy, I stumbled across your site today while looking for an ice cream recipe and I’m glad I did! I was planning to make the ice cream for tonight though… Is there an alternative to putting the coconut milk in the fridge overnight? Could I just use a tbsp or so of the milk? Thanks for working so hard to make delicious recipes!

    1. Hey Kate, you can use coconut milk without putting the can in the fridge overnight, but the ice cream will not be as thick and creamy (still delicious though, I’ve done it many times). Sometimes when I haven’t thought ahead of time, I open up the can of coconut milk very carefully, without shaking at all, and the cream has still separated a bit from the milk and I’m able to get mostly cream with a spoon. If this hasn’t happened to your can, you’ll end up with a bit more liquid than the recipe calls for so maybe just reserve some of the milk for a smoothie at a later date, or add a bit more sugar to compensate. Good luck! 🙂

    1. Thanks Dixie! It keeps well in the freezer, but it does harden up a bit like homemade ice cream. I would suggest removing it from the freezer for 5-10 minutes before serving to allow it to soften.

    1. Honey? Agave? Maple syrup? Anything as long as you mix it well. Not sure about the amounts, so add little by little and taste. 🙂

    1. I’m not sure what cream of coconut is. But essentially you can use any milk or cream, the fat content will determine the consistency of the ice cream. So, higher fat = extra creamy ice cream, and lower fat = more like ice milk. Thanks for the question Chalisa!

  4. Hello! This recipe looks delicious. Do you know if I could use soya milk instead of almond milk? I live in France and they don’t sell it here! Thanks

    1. Hi Ruth, you can definitely substitute soya milk for almond milk. I only used almond because I prefer the flavour, but any light non-diary milk can be substituted. You can even use only coconut milk for a heavier ice cream.

      1. That sounds perfect, thanks for letting me know, I will give it a try with coconut milk – let’s face it, with that list of ingredients what can go wrong anyway!

  5. I made this Saturday night using the Kitchenaid ice cream maker attachment. The flavor is amazing, but it is full of ice. It is definitely not creamy at all. Any thoughts?

    1. Sounds like you did everything right, di! It’s more of an ice milk since there’s no heavy cream, which also means it’s a little healthier than traditional ice cream. If you want it to be creamier, try using all coconut milk.

    2. Actually a good fix for the iciness, is checking what kind of almond milk you are using. I have made vegan ice creams with Silk a bunch and they always come out a little icier. I found out it is because to make their almond milk, silk and many others blend their almonds with water-thus we get an icier ice cream. My latest discovery is Califia Farms brand almond milk (available at Whole Foods for sure-check your local health food store). Califia farms press their almonds instead of blending them with water so their almond milk is much thicker and creamier! It is my “no fail” creamy ice cream trick! Give it a try, I think you will be so impressed with the difference!

  6. Thank you thank you thank you so much!!!

    I finally ate icecream after 2 years of being vegan! And it was delicious. Love the recipe! It was easy to make and came out great in the first try. (I am a new cook and I often have to redo my techniques to get the dish right)

    I was getting worried too, seeing through all the recipes on the internet that called for coconut milk, because I cannot stand the taste of coconut. So, I was glad when there was no hint of coconut here.

    I made my almond milk at home in this way: Soak almonds overnight in water and then next day, heat them in microwave. Pop the almond’s skin out. Then put almonds in blender along with some water (depending on how concentrated you want it to be) and blend till it forms a paste. Then put paste in strainer, and drain out the liquid (our milk). You may need a spoon to press the almond paste to get the milk out.

    I used vanilla essence here. Since I went short of my vanilla, I bought a different brand and that essence did not smell like vanilla. And so the icecream tasted of coffee flavour. Wonderful yummy coffee flavour!

    I served this vegan vanilla icecream along with chocolate vegan icecream and vegan chocolate brownie all topped with hersheys chocolate syrup, on my dad’s birthday. Mmmm….

    Thank you! This dish really made my day! * Doing a happy dance *
    I kind of feel victorious actually. Lol! You know, my friends often used to tease me and actually ‘pity’ me cause I could not indulge in such milk based deserts. I just proved to them how creative one can get! Yay!!

    1. Homemade almond milk is delicious and I bet it tasted awesome in this dessert! Glad you had ice cream after an ice cream drought 😉

    1. I haven’t tried it Lynne, but I’m sure it would be fine. You would need a much smaller amount, I assume.

  7. Hi Katy 🙂
    I’m looking forward to making this recipe. I bought my ingredients although I could only find cream of coconut. I was wondering what amount of the coconut milk you ended up using, you said you scooped off the more solid part at the top of the can? Hope you can help 🙂
    Kind Regards,
    Lauren

    1. Hi Lauren! It’s roughly 1 and 1/4 cups, you’ll have to tweak it a bit and taste it and see if you like the liquid base before freezing the ice cream. If you use cream of coconut instead of coconut milk you’ll actually get a much richer, creamier taste – a good thing! Hope it works out for you and let me know if you like it. 🙂

  8. My baby girl is turning one tomorrow and she has a dairy allergy. I am SO excited to add this treat to her birthday celebration!

    1. It’s best eaten as soon as it reaches a firm soft-serve consistency, but it still tastes great after being frozen! You’ll just have to leave it out on the counter for 20 minutes or so to make it scoopable.

  9. I have this in the freezer and can’t stop tasting it when I go to mix it. It’s absolutely delicious so far and the texture seems to be much better than other non-dairy ice cream recipes I’ve tried.

  10. Katy, this is just incredible! At the last mix, I blended a third of the ice cream with about a cup of berries then swirled the berry mix through the vanilla mix. It looked and tasted awesome! Thanks so much for this life saving recipe for a family of dairy intolerants. 🙂

    1. That sounds delicious Josephine. I love berries in ice cream. So happy you’ve found a recipe that works for you 🙂

  11. Katy, We just don’t have coconut milk or cream, can I use only almond milk, maybe homemade and a little more dense than traditional industrialized almond milk?
    Thanks!

    1. If you use only almond milk, the mixture will be very very thin and less creamy. I’m sure it will still taste great, but more like an ice milk consistency. Good luck!

  12. Hi Katy, Do you think I can use it in an ice cream maker. I already have one and wondered if that would avoid all the stirring. My very favorite is vanilla and yours looks so good.

    1. I don’t see why not! The reason I use the stirring method is because I don’t have an ice cream maker. 🙂 Let me know how it works out!

    1. I haven’t tried it, but I’m sure it would be fine! I would use a little less honey than the amount of sugar specified in the recipe because the same amount of honey will be sweeter than sugar. Hope it works out and let me know if you like it! 🙂

  13. Hi Katy, I have a can of coconut cream ….it says it is 14 oz….(414mL). I couldn’t find a can of the amount you said…how should I handle this? Thank you

    1. Hi Terry, thanks for the question. 16 ml really won’t make that much of a difference in the recipe. You can buy two cans to make up for the roughly 1 TB deficit or just don’t worry about it! Let me know how it works 🙂

      1. Hi Katy, I’m confused….I thought your recipe called for less ….what would the amount be equal to in American measurements (cup? etc.) Your recipe lists 398 mL……the can I have has 414mL. The can I have seems to have more….I’m confused when you are saying to get 2 cans…..when it seems like I already have more than 398 mL. Please let me know your thoughts.
        Thank you,
        Terry

        1. Sorry to be confusing! I got mixed up. Just use the whole can, because the difference in volume will not affect the recipe.

          1. Thanks so much Katy for clearing that up. I really appreciate your help on this. Can’t wait to try it.

  14. I just put the coconut milk in the fridge. I’ll give this a try. One point I’m wondering about: As I have a blender/processor with a whisk, would I be wise to use that for the mixing, and then just put its jug/bowl (and the ice-cream mix) in the freezer for the taking-out-and-whisking stage? I’m assuming that, after all the freezing/mixing is done, I’d then be able to transfer the ice cream to a plastic food-storage container for keeping in the freezer. I’ve already considered that this would work only for a small-size batch like that in the recipe, but I’d not be able to fit a whole two litres in the processor bowl.

    1. I would transfer the mixture to a new freezer-safe bowl, and I say this because I have no idea what type of material your blender is made of. The whisking (once it’s been frozen for a bit) is not hard to do with a hand whisk and a food processor or blender is not necessary for that step.

  15. okay so I got the coconut milk in a can, threw it in the fridge taillight off work, now I’m confused, should I keep the top layer of coconut milk that raises? Or discard the top and use the rest

    1. You want to use the fattiest part of the coconut milk (so, the watery liquid can be discarded). The recipe will still work wonderfully if your coconut milk doesn’t separate for some reason, it will just be less creamy. Enjoy!

  16. Thanks for this recipe. I live an hour and a half from a Kroger where I buy the awesome So Delicious Almond ice cream. My new fave is the Cashew salted caramel (with chocolate covered almonds in it). But I am OUT so I thought I’d try to make some. I finally found some coconut milk that would separate in the fridge–Thai brand. But it was VERY hard when I opened the can. I had to blend it with the other ingredients in the blender. I didn’t use 2 tablespoons of vanilla–that seemed like a lot and turned it brown. I used more sugar to taste since my almond milk was the 30 calorie unsweetened. It’s in the freezer…. can’t wait to try it!

    1. Hope you enjoy! I LOVE vanilla which is why I add so much but definitely change it to your preferences! Coconut milk can be finicky depending on your temperature and the brand…I find the more expensive brands separate but it certainly won’t ruin the ice cream if it doesn’t separate! Let me know how it tastes!

      1. It’s good. Coconut milk (cream) does taste different brand to brand, so maybe I should have added all the vanilla to mask the taste. I added some pecans covered in melted non-dairy chocolate chips and folded it into the ice cream and also spooned a little honey in. It made about 1 and 1/2 pints. Glad to know I don’t have to buy ice cream now. Thanks!

  17. The texture of my ice cream didn’t turn out quite the way I wanted it to, but it tasted good enough that I didn’t really mind. I used 1 cup of sweetened vanilla almond milk, so I only used 1 tbsp of vanilla extract. The flavor is amazing! My ice cream turned out a bit lumpy in some parts, a bit crunchy in others – that might be my own fault for not whisking it enough to begin with, or the fact that I didn’t have a stainless steel bowl and had to freeze it in a plastic container – but all the same, this was quite tasty.

    1. Yes!! Texture changes will be common depending on the ratio of coconut to almond milk, freezer temps, amount of whisking, etc. This is more of an “ice milk” texture as well. So glad you enjoyed the ice cream! I think more frequent mixing would get rid of the lumpiness, but then it would take longer to freeze since you would have to open the freezer door more often. Goes down the same way anyways if you want it faster! 😉 Thanks for the comment!

  18. Hello Katy,
    This vegan vanilla ice cream recipe is heaven-sent through an angel(you). Priceless:-) Twice I made it over the past one week -first vanilla flavour and the second strawberry flavour(threw in St Dalfour strawberry jam). For the former, I used coconut milk and for the latter I used coconut cream(no sugar added since I was adding the real fruity strawberry jam). Somehow, the strawberry ice cream won hands down. I am gonna experiment with other fruity flavours but using the vanilla base. You are my vegan ice cream saviour…Keep well, lady 🙂

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