Have I ever told you I used to subsist on ice cream as a child? Because I totally did.
Imagine 7-year-old me sneaking in a twist cone every chance I got (and believe me, I got a lot of chances).
The funny thing is I was lactose intolerant for the better part of my early childhood, which means somewhere along the line I decided I was going to eat dairy anyway and I don’t think my parents had the heart to tell me no. So ice cream it was, until several years ago when my body shut the whole operation down. Sad day.
Good news, though – I don’t even miss it anymore! Especially not with dairy-free alternatives like vegan parmesan cheese, coconut whipped cream, and ice creams like this one that are classic, creamy, and undetectably vegan!
I’ve been wanting to make a vanilla coconut ice cream for a long time now, seeing as I’ve only done flavors up to this point (see all of them here).
This version is so simple and quite possibly my favorite yet! It requires just 5 basic ingredients and simple methods. There’s even an option for those of you who don’t own an ice cream maker in the notes.
I went cashew-less here to highlight the coconut flavor and stuck to the basics:
Organic cane sugar
This ice cream just screams vanilla, infused with both vanilla bean and vanilla extract. Not only does this combination add more flavor, the extract (which typically contains alcohol) helps prevent ice crystals.
The result is the perfect creamy, dreamy coconut ice cream.
You’re going to LOVE this ice cream. It’s:
This is the perfect ice cream to make when you want a basic non-dairy ice cream. It pairs well with cake, pie, would make a killer ice cream sandwich, and makes the ultimate base for vegan milkshakes (new recipe coming soon!).
If you try this recipe, let us know how it goes! Leave a comment and rate it, and don’t forget to take a picture and tag it #minimalistbaker on Instagram. We’d love to see what you come up with. Cheers, friends!
*Recipe updated June 22, 2017
Vanilla Bean Coconut Ice Cream
- 2 14-ounce cans coconut cream* or full-fat coconut milk
- 1/2 cup organic cane sugar (sub up to half with agave nectar or maple syrup)
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 1 vanilla bean pod (split and scraped // or 1/4 - 1/2 tsp vanilla powder per 1 pod)
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
The day or night before, place your ice cream churning bowl in the freezer to properly chill (see notes if you don't have an ice cream maker).
The following day, add coconut milk, organic cane sugar (sub up to half with natural sweetener), sea salt, scraped vanilla bean and vanilla extract to a high-speed blender and blend on high until completely creamy and smooth for 1-2 minutes to fully dissolve the sugar. Add more cane sugar or agave if it needs more sweetness, or more vanilla if it needs more vanilla flavor.
Add mixture directly to chilled ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions - about 45 minutes. It should look like soft serve (see photo). See notes if you don't have a churner.
Once churned, transfer the ice cream to a large freezer-safe container (such as a loaf pan) and use a spoon to smooth the top.
Cover securely and freeze for at least 4-6 hours or until firm. Set out for 5-10 minutes before serving to soften - a hot ice cream scoop also eases scooping.
*Our favorite coconut cream is Savoy, and our favorite full fat coconut milk is Aroy-D. See our other top picks for coconut cream and milk here. Coconut cream tends to yield creamier results due to the higher fat content. We DO NOT recommend using Trader Joe's coconut milk or cream - the formulation has changed in recent years and is now more prone to separation and oiliness.
*Because some readers had trouble with the coconut oil separating when chilled, I've updated the recipe to exclude it. I also recently retested to include the option to use coconut cream instead of coconut milk, and agave for up to half the cane sugar. These changes are reflected in the current recipe.
*If you don't own an ice cream maker, you can add chilled mixture to a freezer-safe container and freeze. Once every hour, remove from freezer and stir /whisk to incorporate air. Repeat until mostly firm - 6-8 hours. Then continue freezing until completely firm before serving. It won't yield as creamy results, but it should still work.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.
Nutrition Per Serving (1 of 8 half-cup servings)
- Calories: 254
- Fat: 20g
- Saturated fat: 18g
- Sodium: 664mg
- Carbohydrates: 15.8g
- Sugar: 13.6g
- Protein: 1.6g