Creamy Vegan Vanilla Ice Cream

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Bowl of strawberries next to scoops and pan of creamy vegan vanilla ice cream

The hunt for our go-to vegan vanilla ice cream is officially over!

This recipe is not only simple to make, but it also yields perfectly sweet, creamy vegan ice cream in 3 hours including freezing! Plus, just 6 ingredients required. Let us show you how it’s done!

Coconut milk, cashew butter, maple syrup, cane sugar, vanilla, and xanthan gum

The base for this ice cream is coconut milk + cashew butter. It’s a magical combo that creates a rich, creamy, dreamy texture.

For sweeteners, we went with a mix of maple syrup and cane sugar. Maple adds a delicious flavor and cane sugar helps the texture by reducing ice crystallization (learn more on why that is here).

Vanilla extract adds that classic vanilla flavor. And lastly, for even more creaminess, you can optionally add xanthan gum and olive or avocado oil, both of which add more richness.

Blender filled with coconut milk, cashew butter, maple syrup, sugar, vanilla, and xanthan gum

All the ingredients are added to a blender and blended until smooth and creamy. Then the mixture is chilled slightly so that the warmth from blending doesn’t mess with the churning in the ice cream maker.

Vegan vanilla ice cream churning in an ice cream maker

Churning in an ice cream maker makes it thicken and get super creamy. We’ve used this ice cream maker for years and find it works great!

Using a spoon to smooth out a pan of homemade vegan vanilla ice cream

Lastly, the ice cream goes in the freezer for further chilling.

Loaf pan and ice cream scoop of creamy vegan vanilla ice cream

We hope you LOVE this vegan ice cream! It’s:

Creamy
Vanilla-infused
Perfectly sweet
Comforting
Satisfying
& Versatile!

It’s delicious on its own or topped with fresh fruit or compote, chocolate sauce, magic shell, or our 5-Ingredient Vegan Caramel Sauce. Or pair with nearly any dessert, including our Easy Baked Pears, Orange Cranberry Crisp, and Fudgy Sweet Potato Brownies (V/GF).

More Vegan Ice Cream Recipes

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Holding cones filled with vegan vanilla ice cream

Creamy Vegan Vanilla Ice Cream

Vegan vanilla ice cream that’s creamy, perfectly sweet, and easy to make! Just 6 ingredients and simple methods required for this dreamy dessert!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Scoops of homemade vegan vanilla ice cream on a stack of cones
4.8 from 5 votes
Prep Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours
Servings 9 (1/2-Cup Servings)
Course Dessert
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 1 month (in the freezer)

Ingredients

  • 2 14-ounce cans full fat coconut milk (ensure it’s a quality brand*)
  • 1/4 cup raw cashew butter
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup or agave nectar (or sub all organic cane sugar)
  • 1/4 cup organic cane sugar (or sub all maple syrup)
  • 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract (or sub fresh vanilla from a vanilla pod, though the alcohol in extract ensures the ice cream doesn’t freeze too firmly)
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum (for creamier texture // if you don’t have, omit)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil or avocado oil (optional // for a bit of added creaminess)

Instructions

  • The day before use, place your ice cream churning bowl in the freezer to properly chill.
  • To a high-speed blender, add coconut milk, cashew butter, maple syrup, organic cane sugar, vanilla, xanthan gum, and olive or avocado oil (optional). Blend for 1 minute or until completely creamy and smooth, scraping down sides as needed.
  • Transfer mixture to the refrigerator to chill for ~30 minutes (or up to overnight) or until it’s at least room temperature or cooler (you don’t want to add it to the ice cream maker warm).
  • Add the slightly chilled mixture to ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions — ours took exactly 30 minutes. It should look like thick soft serve (see photo).
  • Once churned, transfer the ice cream to a large freezer-safe container and smooth with a spoon. Top with parchment paper and freeze for at least 2 hours or until firm.
  • Set out for 10-15 minutes before serving to soften slightly. Store in the freezer well covered for up to 1 month.

Video

Notes

*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without optional ingredients.
*We used to recommend Aroy-D coconut milk, but their manufacturing practices have recently come under question. We now recommend Whole Foods 365, Native Forest, Thai Kitchen, or Savoy (which is actually coconut cream).
*Prep time does not include chilling the ice cream maker churning bowl.
*The idea to include xanthan gum was inspired by this Salt & Straw recipe!
*The idea to skip soaked cashews and add cashew butter instead was inspired by Chocolate Covered Katie.

Nutrition (1 of 9 servings)

Serving: 1 half-cup serving Calories: 239 Carbohydrates: 16.1 g Protein: 2.5 g Fat: 18.6 g Saturated Fat: 13.1 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0 g Monounsaturated Fat: 0 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 24 mg Potassium: 21 mg Fiber: 0.3 g Sugar: 13 g Vitamin A: 0 IU Vitamin C: 0 mg Calcium: 13.53 mg Iron: 0.41 mg

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  1. Berit says

    Made this recipe to a T and it was wondrous. Super creamy texture, perfect sweetness for me personally, and very quick easy to make. I used the whole foods brand 365 coconut cream and drained all the excess liquid from the cans. It froze a lot quicker than I thought it would- about 15 minutes in my ice cream maker. I also left my ice cream maker canister in my freezer for 48 hours- i think that might me the ticket for a more solidified ice cream! I added chocolate chunks, cherries, and apricots and it was so freaking good. Im so excited to make other kinds of ice cream :) Thank you so much!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Woohoo! We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Berit. Love all your additions too! Thank you for sharing!

  2. pink says

    Store in the freezer well covered for up to 1 month???? how can ANY human keep this dream in the freezer for more than 2 days???

  3. Rozzi says

    Delicious ice cream. Probably the best vegan ice cream I’ve made! The xanthan gum really made a huge difference to the texture and consistency – much more like dairy ice cream! I amended the recipe slightly as I had no cashew butter so just blended around 1/2-3/4 cup pre-soaked cashews with a bit of the coconut milk until they were nice and smooth, before adding in the balance of ingredients. Coconut flavour was pretty mild. I did also split the vanilla and did half extract and half vanilla bean paste to amp up the vanilla flavour. Yum!!

  4. Ellen says

    I have made this recipe twice now. It is so yummy! It is the first non dairy ice cream that I have made that meets my need for creaminess….and my husband even likes it! Bonus!!! Thank you!

  5. Adele Whelan says

    I made this recipe today for Christmas dessert. Wow it was so creamy and delicious. I substituded the cashew butter for peanut butter and it had no taste of coconut. Even my kids said it was the best ice cream they have had. Winner!! Thank you for sharing the recipe.

  6. emily goldberg says

    HI Dana,
    Firstly, just love your recipes. I turn to them so much!
    I made this ice cream, texture was wonderful, just one problem”
    it tastes like coconut not vanilla even using fresh vanilla.
    Can I substitute another non-diary milk or will that affect the creaminess of the ice cream?

    Thanks so much,
    Emily Goldberg

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Emily, using another non-dairy milk will impact the creaminess. You could try adding more vanilla. Or one other idea would be to substitute half of the coconut milk with a creamy, homemade cashew milk. Let us know if you do some experimenting!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Cane sugar helps the texture by reducing ice crystallization. We aren’t sure whether granulated stevia will be able to do the same, but let us know if you try it!

  7. Adrienne P says

    I made this using an ice cream maker. We only had access to cashew butter in a jar from the store, which included added oils, so we did not add the extra tablespoon of oil called for. I also added about 1/4 tsp of vanilla beans in addition to the tablespoon of vanilla extract. I followed everything else to the T.

    What I would do different next time is add far more vanilla flavoring. After freezing, this was oddly mild in flavor and tasted mainly like coconut milk.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks for sharing, Adrienne! I could see doubling the vanilla here. 1 Tbsp seemed like a fair amount to me. But I could also see adding in some vanilla bean paste or powder!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      I think you could put it right in to your freezer container (metal or plastic are best, glass can break), and whisk or stir every couple hours until it’s difficult to stir (as it’s freezing). That will help create some air and keep it lighter. Let us know how it goes!

  8. sherry says

    this sounds like a tasty dish. such interesting ingredients. i am going to try it but with a couple of changes as i don’t have an ice cream churner.

  9. Susan MorrillQueenan says

    Hello ! Thank you for this recipe. I am curious though about possible substitutes for the coconut milk. I would rather skip any coconut flavor. Do you think that whole milk plain yogurt would work in place of the coconut milk ?
    Many thanks for all your recipes and ideas :)
    Susan M.

  10. Sophie says

    Hi! This looks delicious! What would happen if we didn’t churn the mixture though, we don’t have an ice cream maker… ☹️

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      I think you could put it right in to your freezer container (metal or plastic are best, glass can break), and whisk or stir every couple hours until it’s difficult to stir (as it’s freezing). That will help create some air and keep it lighter. Let us know how it goes!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      I think you could put it right in to your freezer container post blending (either metal or plastic are best, glass can break), and whisk or stir every couple hours until it’s difficult to stir (as it’s freezing). That will help create some air and keep it lighter. Let us know how it goes!

  11. JRo says

    Hi! This looks amazing ! Have you tried any other nut butters or other subs for the cashew butter? We have a cashew allergy in our house ☹️

  12. Jessica says

    Hi Dana! Huge fan of yours for the last few years as someone who is dairy free and mostly plant based (and originally from right next door to Portland). Couple of quick questions:

    1. Can the xanthan gum be replaced with tapioca starch, potato starch, or chia eggs?
    2. If wanted to start with raw cashews, how much should I use? Or would it be better for texture to take raw cashews and make my own cashew butter?

    I’m asking these questions in particular because with a couple of modifications, I think this recipe can easily be kosher for Passover! I already make your 7 ingredient vegan cheesecakes during the holiday. Many thanks for creating a blog that reflects the way I eat.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Jessica!
      1. The xanthan gum is optional, but I do think it helps slightly with texture. In which case yes, tapioca starch would probably be the next best sub!
      2. If starting with raw cashews, use 1/2 cup and soak before blending.
      Let us know how it goes!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Janice. I think you could put your blended mixture right in to your freezer container (metal or plastic are best, glass can break), and whisk or stir every couple hours until it’s difficult to stir (as it’s freezing). That will help create some air and keep it lighter. Let us know how it goes!

  13. Colby says

    Super excited to try this recipe – but I don’t have an ice cream machine. Can you recommend any tips/tricks to do this without a machine? Thanks!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Colby! I think you could put your blended mixture right in to your freezer container (metal or plastic are best, glass can break), and whisk or stir every couple hours until it’s difficult to stir (as it’s freezing). That will help create some air and keep it lighter. Let us know how it goes!

  14. Molly Ritter says

    Any tips for making this without an ice cream maker?
    Love this ingredient list, I’m thinking about adding dark chocolate chunks and a dash of peppermint extract for a Christmas-y twist!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Molly, that sounds incredible (great idea!). I think you could put the mixture right in to your freezer container post blending (either metal or plastic are best, glass can break), and whisk or stir every couple hours until it’s difficult to stir (as it’s freezing). That will help create some air and keep it lighter. Let us know how it goes!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Anastasiia! I think you could put your blended mixture right in to your freezer container (metal or plastic are best, glass can break), and whisk or stir every couple hours until it’s difficult to stir (as it’s freezing). That will help create some air and keep it lighter. Let us know how it goes!

  15. judy says

    Do you think this would work without an ice cream maker? Sounds delish
    and I have the ingredients. While I’m here, thank you for all your yummy offerings.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi, Judy! I think you could put your blended mixture right in to your freezer container (metal or plastic are best, glass can break), and whisk or stir every couple hours until it’s difficult to stir (as it’s freezing). That will help create some air and keep it lighter. Let us know how it goes!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Nicolena! I think you could put your blended mixture right in to your freezer container (metal or plastic are best, glass can break), and whisk or stir every couple hours until it’s difficult to stir (as it’s freezing). That will help create some air and keep it lighter. Let us know how it goes!

  16. Robin M says

    I am curious if this actually tastes like vanilla ice cream or if is tastes like coconut ice cream. I have tried several vegan vanilla ice cream recipes that start with coconut milk and they taste like coconut rather than vanilla. Does the presence of cashew butter help disguise the coconut flavor? Not being disrespectful, I am simply wondering before I try it. Thanks!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      I think it’s more subdued than most coconut ice creams, but it is detectable. You could try adding a bit more cashew butter, a bit less coconut, and more vanilla?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      I’ve thought about that, and I think it’s possible but it will likely taste very strong of cashew if you’re OK with that? Let us know if you try!

  17. Ave says

    Would love to try this, looks delicious! Is there any alternative way to prepare as I don’t have access to an ice cream maker. Thank you :)

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Ave! I think you could put your blended mixture right in to your freezer container (metal or plastic are best, glass can break), and whisk or stir every couple hours until it’s difficult to stir (as it’s freezing). That will help create some air and keep it lighter. Let us know how it goes!

  18. SUSAN says

    Thank you for all your wonderful recipes. They are so inspiring and tasty too! By any chance, would this recipe work with almond milk or any other non-dairy replacement? Thank you for your time! :)

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Susan! I think the best alternatives would be a store-bought oat milk that contains some oil/fat, or homemade fuller fat cashew milk. You definitely want a nice neutral-ish flavor but something with some body / fat (e.g. NOT rice milk as it’s zero fat).

  19. Anne says

    Can’t wait to try this… I have never found a homemade vegan ice cream that I was completely satisfied with, they were either too icy, or tasted too much like coconut (I like coconut, I just didn’t want all my ice cream to taste like it). I looked up cashew butter to order, most of them are made with roasted salted cashews. Is that what you mean?