Vanilla Bean Coconut Ice Cream

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Cone topped with scoops of homemade vegan vanilla coconut ice cream

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!

Making vegan coconut ice cream in an ice cream maker

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:

Coconut milk
Vanilla bean
Vanilla extract
Organic cane sugar
Sea salt

Batch of our homemade vegan coconut ice cream in a pan

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.

Using an ice cream scooper to grab a scoop of homemade vegan coconut ice cream

You’re going to LOVE this vegan ice cream. It’s:

Super creamy
Perfectly sweet
& Delicious

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.

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!

Ice cream scooper filled with our simple homemade vegan coconut ice cream recipe
Holding up a cone topped with our vegan Vanilla Coconut Ice Cream recipe

*Recipe updated June 22, 2017

Vanilla Bean Coconut Ice Cream

Perfect Vanilla Bean Coconut Ice Cream! Just 5 ingredients, simple methods, and insanely creamy results!
Author Minimalist Baker
Triple scooped Vanilla Bean Coconut Ice Cream on a stack of sugar cones
4.24 from 147 votes
Prep Time 7 hours 5 minutes
Total Time 7 hours 5 minutes
Servings 8 (1/2-cup servings)
Course Dessert
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 10 Days
Does it keep? 4-6 Hours


  • 2 14-ounce cans coconut cream* or full-fat coconut milk (see notes for brand recommendations)
  • 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.
  • Will keep in the freezer for up to 10 days, though best when fresh. Pairs perfectly with pies, cakes, cookies and more!



*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 calculated with Savoy coconut cream.

Nutrition (1 of 8 servings)

Serving: 1 half-cup serving Calories: 277 Carbohydrates: 17.7 g Protein: 2.2 g Fat: 22.1 g Saturated Fat: 20.9 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0 g Monounsaturated Fat: 0 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 34.8 mg Potassium: 4.8 mg Fiber: 0.04 g Sugar: 14.3 g Vitamin A: 0 IU Vitamin C: 0 mg Calcium: 1.2 mg Iron: 0.4 mg

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  1. Terry says

    Just a tip to prevent separation of coconut oil…I use lecithin in raw milk ice cream to make the milk and cream play nicely together as raw milk is not homogenized and you end up with lumps of butterfat in the ice cream otherwise. Lecithin is a natural emulsifier found in egg yolks and also soy and other foods, so it’s not a “chemical” per se. It should bind the oil to the water molecules in the coconut milk. 1-2 tbsp should do it for most recipes. I used soy lecithin before it was replaced by sunflower lecithin but both seem to work equally well. I prefer the powdered version but granules work also. I’m not lactose-intolerant to my knowledge but I’m going dairy-free for a while, for due diligence.

  2. Jackie says

    Its so delicious! Very good right out of the ice cream maker but when I take it out of the freezer its super hard to scoop. How long should I leave it out on the counter? Is there an easier way to get consistency that would be similar to regular store bought ice cream that would make it easier to scoop?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Jackie, you should only need to set it out for 5-10 minutes! It sounds like the fat content might have been too low. We’d suggest trying coconut cream if you used coconut milk! Hope that helps!

  3. Paul says

    This recipe is terrible. I really don’t think that there is enough fat in the coconut milk or coconut cream to churn properly. I ended up with a solid block of vanilla coconut ice.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so sorry it didn’t turn out right, Paul! Many other readers have had success with this one. Could you share the brand of coconut milk or cream you were using?

  4. Maribel says

    I made this recipe twice and it remained liquid. It never developed into the consistency of soft serve. I used monk fruit sugar instead of sugar cane and used Native Forest brand coconut cream. What did I do wrong?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Sorry that’s happening, Maribel! What ice cream maker are you using? Have you had success with it before?

      • Maribel says

        I have a cuisinart and yes, I have used it before but a long time ago and it worked. But it has been several years since I made ice cream. Thanks for your reply.

        • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

          Hmm, our only other idea would be that perhaps the monk fruit makes a difference because we haven’t tested it that way?

          • Maribel says

            I thought the same thing too. I will try again and use regular sugar and see what happens. Thank you.

  5. LJ says

    Could I make this with coconut sugar or date syrup instead of sugar? Also could I use vanilla bean powder instead of extract?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi LJ, vanilla bean powder should work, and coconut sugar or date syrup might work but we haven’t tried either. Cane sugar is helpful for the best texture in ice cream, and we aren’t sure if another sweetener would have the same results. The color and flavor would also be different. Hope this helps!

      • Darcy says

        I am confused. Does this mean you don’t put in the entire 2 14-ounce cans of coconut milk, just the cream at the top? Or is that for the part in the blender?
        Thank you!

        • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

          Hi Darcy, sorry for the confusion! We’ve updated the reply for clarity. Use the entire cans of coconut milk! If you’re using coconut milk (vs. cream) and you’d like a richer ice cream, you could use less of the liquid and more of the cream, but you may need to open a third can to get enough of it. Hope that helps!

  6. Jen says

    I made this in July 2022. I used Trader Joe’s canned Coconut Milk because it was what I had and I wanted dairy-free ice cream right away. I omitted the vanilla beans and just used my homemade vanilla extract. I made the recipe in my electric ice cream maker. It took about 20 minutes to come together and then just a little while longer to firm up. It was DELISH!!! I put the leftovers in the deep freeze and it got very hard. I had to let it sit out for a while but it was still very good after it softened. It may have been a little less creamy than normal ice cream, but I am used to things not being exactly the same when they are dairy-free. I will absolutely be making this again and will continue to use the Trader Joe’s Coconut Milk since it is what I can buy locally.

  7. Kris Lewis says

    I am excited to try this! I want to do the vanilla bean flavor with my homemade vanilla. I also make vanilla with raspberry vodka. Yumm!!

  8. Robin says

    This is a recipe I am hoping to try. So the one and only piece of kitchen equipment I do not own is a high speed blender. I could never justify the cost for the few uses and space is an issue. So….. can I use an immersion blender for this. I’ve made cashew cream with it and yes probably a bit grainy but acceptable. I have a hand crank very old ice cream maker that I would pull out of the garage to make this I would think it won’t work in a food processor because the liquid would go everywhere. Any advice would be grateful even if it don’t do it without a high speed blender.

  9. Stephanie says

    I tried this recipe and found that the coconut fat separated while the mixture was in my blender. I continued to follow the recipe and churned the mixture in my ice cream maker, and I found that the coconut fat just froze on its own in chunks.

    I decided to try again so I then melted it all down to re-emulsify the mixture and churned it at room temperature – same thing happened with chunks of the coconut fat. I used the recommended Aroy-D coconut milk and followed the recipe with no changes. Any idea where I am going wrong?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Stephanie, sorry to hear that! Are you using Aroy-D in a can or carton? Or is it possible it’s blending for too longer?

      • Stephanie says

        It was the Aroy-D in a can. I blended for about 2 minutes, maybe i’ll try to blend for less time!

  10. Suzi says

    This recipe was so simple and came out perfect! I used the Savoy coconut cream and the end product was delicious. I am wondering if people had issues with separation because they overchurned the ice cream. Mine was the perfect consistency in 20 minutes. I followed my Cuisinart directions. 45 minutes would have been way too long. It is important to pay attention to the time recommended on your specific ice cream maker as stated in the recipe prep notes.

  11. denise says

    Can I use vanilla bean paste instead of the pod/powder? Thanks so much for the never ending wonderful recipes!! :)