OK, so you guys know me: I’m all about butter, heavy cream, meat, and bacon.
But ever since I wrote my ice cream cookbook, Slushed!, people have been asking me about making vegan ice cream. Which is technically a contradiction in terms.
Considering ice cream is generally all milk, cream, and eggs, this was definitely a challenge.
I’ve monkeyed around with a bunch of different ingredients (almond milk, soy milk, silken tofu etc.) over the years, and finally hit on a recipe that I love.
Sure, this isn’t *technically* ice cream because it’s not made with a custard base, but it’s downright delicious. (Anyone who would give you grief over calling it ice cream doesn’t get any. Sound like a plan?)
No matter what kind of special diet you keep (or don’t keep) I’ll tell you this right now: This stuff is out of this world.
The best part? It’s so easy, you can almost make it in your sleep.
That makes it a perfect starter ice cream if you’re freezer phobic. If you can use a blender, you can make this ice cream. Don’t believe me? Read on.
Buying coconut milk
For this recipe, you want to use regular, full-fat coconut milk. The Asian section of most larger supermarkets should have it. I like Thai Kitchen brand, myself.
Read the labels carefully…don’t buy Coconut Cream / Cream of Coconut by accident. That stuff is usually packed with added sugar and all sorts of creepy-sounding chemicals.
Oh, and skip the non-fat versions. Trust me.
Low-fat, “lite” coconut milk will technically work, but you’ll lose flavor and texture. (Don’t blame me if your ice cream tastes like coconut flavored wallpaper paste.)
The short version of this recipe goes like this
Whizz everything up in your blender. Process in your ice cream maker. Freeze overnight or ’til solid.
Seriously. It couldn’t be easier. No cooking, no messing around with custard.
Here’s what that looks like.
Go ahead, booze it up
Oh, and you can totally make an adult version of this ice cream by adding 1/4 cup of spiced rum to the mixture when you blend the ingredients.
To freeze without an ice cream maker
No ice cream maker? No sweat.
You can make this without an ice cream maker, though it won’t be exactly the same consistency. Ice cream makers basically work by churning a ton of air into the mixture. If you beat the ice cream mixture by hand, it’ll be denser and a little coarser, because you won’t be able to get as much air into it by hand. That said, here’s what to do:
1. Make the coconut ice cream mixture.
2. Pour it into a large, freezer-safe bowl.
3. Freeze for about 30 minutes. Take it out of the freezer and whisk it briskly (or churn using an electric immersion blender). Return to the freezer.
4. Repeat step 3 every 30 minutes until your ice cream is creamy and frozen through.
3-Ingredient Coconut Ice Cream
2 (13-oz.) cans of coconut milk
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Makes about 1 quart
Chill the coconut milk
When you make ice cream, you want to start with cold ingredients. It makes the freezing process that much easier. So, if you can, chill the cans of coconut milk for at least 4 hours before making your ice cream.
Blend the ingredients
Crack open your cans o’ coconut milk. Coconut milk naturally separates, so you’ll have a thick, white layer on top (which contains the fattier solids), and watery liquid below. That’s just fine.
Empty the contents of the cans into your blender. Scrape the can, get it all out.
(Bleh, right? Don’t worry. The blender will re-emulsify this mess into gorgeous, silky, homogenous coconut milk.)
Add the sugar and vanilla.
Blend until smooth.
It will look about like this when done. The bumps you see are bubbles.
Give it a quick taste. If you want to add extra sugar or more vanilla, now’s the time to do it. (If you want to add anything solid, like shredded coconut or mini chocolate chips, add those in the last 5 minutes of processing when you have it in your ice cream maker.)
That’s it. That’s your ice cream base. Pretty simple, right?
Process in your ice cream maker
Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
It will transform from this:
When it’s done, transfer it to a freezer-safe container. I like to use 1-lb. bread pans. They hold a quart of ice cream nicely.
Smooth the top down with a spatula.
Press a piece of plastic wrap to the surface of the ice cream. Pop it into your freezer and freeze overnight or until solid.
Serve & enjoy!
This ice cream doesn’t really freeze rock solid, which means it’s pretty scoopable right out of the freezer. (No waiting? Yes, please!)
This is delicious as a stand-alone treat. But, if you want to kick it up a notch, make a Mounds- or Almond-Joy inspired sundae. Drizzle with hot fudge and sprinkle with dark chocolate shavings and sliced, toasted almonds.
Have you made this recipe?
Leave a comment! Send me a picture and maybe we’ll add it to this post!
Want more ice cream recipes?
Summer’s coming. Check out my cookbook, Slushed! More Than 150 Frozen, Boozy Treats for the Coolest Happy Hour Ever. It’s packed with frozen cocktails, ice cream, gelato, sorbet, frozen yogurt, and more.