Creamy Vegan Chai Ice Cream

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Using an ice cream scooper to grab Vegan Chai Ice Cream from a pan

I got addicted to chai in college when I discovered that a local coffee shop near my university served my favorite brand of spiced chai for $1.50. And it was a large chai latte, too! Somehow now chai tea lattes cost around $4 on average, so I rarely get them. It’s just principle. I’m all for treating yourself, but when you can make the same thing at home for half the price, I can rarely bring myself to do it!

Nonetheless, my love affair with chai began and it really never stopped. Chai-infused things are just lovely. And moving into spring I’m already getting into ice cream mode. Not dairy ice cream, vegan ice cream! My body can’t handle the cream and whole milk versions anymore (waaaaaaaa). But thankfully cashews and coconut milk save the day!

Jar of cashews for making creamy homemade vegan ice cream

What is Masala Chai?

Masala chai is a creamy, spiced tea that’s most popular in India but is increasingly enjoyed around the world. The primary difference between chai and masala chai is that masala chai includes spices, while chai is simply tea and milk.

Chai is typically made with four components:

  1. Black tea (we prefer bagged or loose-leaf, decaf when possible)
  2. Milk (we went dairy-free with coconut and/or cashew )
  3. Sweetener (we went for a little maple syrup)
  4. Spices (ginger, cinnamon, clove, cardamom, black pepper)

The spices vary depending on the recipe, but our favorite combination is cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, cloves, and ginger.

For a more authentic recipe and to learn more about this delicious Indian tea, see this video from Bhavna’s Kitchen.

This Indian-inspired recipe is simple as it requires about 10 ingredients (give or take a spice) and doesn’t require any boiling and chilling, which saves you time. The preparation happens before you ever start by simply chilling your ice cream maker and soaking your cashews to get them blend-able and creamy.

Brewing bags of chai to make homemade Chai Ice Cream

From there the chai flavor is added with a concentrated brewed chai tea and dry chai tea spices.

Chai spices on a white background

The traditional spices in chai are cinnamon, ginger, clove, cardamom and black pepper (learn more about its origins here). If you don’t have all of these on hand, just use what you have and let the chai tea compensate the rest of the flavor. And if you don’t have chai tea packets or loose leaf on hand, just use a black tea and add a touch more of each spice. Hopefully one way or the other you’ll be able to pull off that deep spicy chai flavor.

Blender containing ingredients for homemade Vegan Chai Ice Cream

Exciting news! I attempted my first recipe video and am excited to share it with you guys! Let me know what you think.

Q: Do you like recipe videos? Do you find them helpful? Would you like to see more of them on Minimalist Baker? I had a blast putting it together and look forward to developing that skill to make our recipes come to life.

Side view of blender with ingredients for Creamy Vegan Chai Ice Cream

Once you add all your ingredients to your blender, just blend until creamy and smooth. Then transfer directly into an ice cream maker and churn until thick and creamy – about 45 minutes. Scoop into a freezer safe container and freeze until firm. Then scoop, scoop away!

Scooping Spicy Chai Ice Cream for a delicious vegan dessert

Oh, I was SO pleased with how this turned out! It’s

& Perfectly chai-spiced

Using an ice cream scooper to make scoops of Vegan Chai Ice Cream

The best part? It tastes so creamy and rich that you’d never guess there wasn’t an ounce of cream or whole milk inside. Vegan recipes for the win! Enjoy.

Scoops of gluten-free vegan Chai Ice Cream made from cashews
Waffle cones filled with scoops of our Vegan Chai Ice Cream recipe
Holding up a cone with a scoop of Creamy Vegan Chai Ice Cream in it
Scoop of Creamy Vegan Chai Ice Cream on a cone
Partially eaten scoop of Creamy Vegan Chai Ice Cream on a cone

Vegan Chai Ice Cream

Cashew-based vegan chai ice cream that's luxuriously creamy and spicy-sweet. Surprisingly easy and quick to make with simple ingredients!
Author Minimalist Baker
Using an ice cream scoop to pick up scoops of Vegan Chai Ice Cream
4.60 from 70 votes
Prep Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6
Course Dessert
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 Week
Does it keep? Store in freezer.


  • 1 1/2 cups raw cashews (soaked for 4-6 hours or overnight, then drained)
  • 1 cup light coconut milk (or sub another dairy-free milk, such as almond or rice)
  • 3 packets chai tea (or ~4 tsp loose leaf as original recipe is written // or sub black tea for a more subtle chai flavor)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted (or olive oil)
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar or maple syrup (or sub honey if not vegan)
  • 1/4 cup cane sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp each cinnamon and ginger powder
  • 1/4 tsp each black pepper, ground cloves, and cardamom* (optional)


  • Set your churning bowl in the freezer the night before to chill. Soak your cashews the night before as well, or for at least 4-6 hour before blending.
  • When ready to prepare ice cream, steep your chai tea in 3/4 cup boiling water (amounts as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size) for at least 10 minutes. It should be very strong. Remove tea bags, squeezing out excess tea, and let cool in the fridge.
  • In the meantime, drain cashews and measure out other ingredients.
  • Add tea and all remaining ingredients to a blender and blend until creamy and smooth – about 3-4 minutes, using liquify if you have the option. Taste and adjust sweetness/flavors as needed.
  • Add mixture to your chilled ice cream maker bowl and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions until thoroughly chilled, about 45 minutes. It should resemble thick soft serve.
  • Transfer to a freezer-safe container, cover and freeze until hard – at least 6 hours, preferably overnight. Will keep in the freezer for up to a week.



*If you don’t have all of the spices on hand, just add what you have and let the chai tea concentrate compensate the flavor.
*Inspired by / loosely adapted from Isa Chandra.
*Preparation time reflects hands-on preparation, not soaking cashews and/or extra freezing.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.

Nutrition (1 of 6 servings)

Serving: 1 serving Calories: 371 Carbohydrates: 31 g Protein: 5.7 g Fat: 26 g Saturated Fat: 12 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 16 mg Fiber: 1 g Sugar: 20 g

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  1. Maddie says

    Hi! Does anyone know how to convert this to a non-vegan recipe? I’m vegetarian and want to try it using dairy products. I figure I’ll substitute the non-dairy milk with dairy milk and the cashews + oil with heavy cream, but I’m not sure how much.

  2. John says

    Ahhh! Help. I made this, and similar to other people, mines is really grainy/gritty and icy/hard. I’m thinking of defrosting it, re-blending it…possibly putting it through a sieve if that helps. Is there any other thing I can do to make it better? Right now, it’s not edible at all, sadly.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Sorry to hear that happened, John! What type of milk did you use? To confirm, you put it in an ice cream maker? It sounds like it’s really icy and would benefit from adding fat.

      • John says

        I used cashew milk, as that’s what I had on hand at the time. Would the coconut milk be fattier? Yes, I used an ice cream maker.

        Is there a way to salvage the batch? For example, I could defrost it and add something fatty like coconut milk. Although, given there’s already cashew milk, would coconut cream be more appropriate?

        Please help me salvage this batch! Thank you

  3. Sharon says

    This was so good, I didn’t have an ice cream churner but I used a nutribullet and it came out so creamy and perfect! Absolutely loved this!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Wonderful! We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Sharon! Thank you for sharing your experience! xo

  4. Katie says

    I just made this and it has such a lovely taste! I do have one question – I just got an ice cream maker and I’m new to the ice cream making game. The two times I’ve made it (one non-vegan flavor, as well as chai recipe) it comes out kind of thick and missing that rougher ice cream texture if that makes sense. Feels almost too creamy? I just used what sugar I had on hand and realized I used granulated “extra fine” sugar, could that be the issue? Would bigger sugar crystals make it more airy and light feeling?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Katie! We aren’t sure that the texture of the sugar should be making that much difference in the final ice cream… In general, homemade ice cream (especially vegan) does tend towards the “thicker” side, perhaps because not enough air is incorporated with home ice cream makers? Then again – you could try with a different sugar and maybe it would be perfect! Hope this helps!

  5. Krista says

    My hubby is completely dairy free – so this recipe looks very interesting to try. My question is – can it be made without the chai tea? He’s not a tea drinker and can’t stand even the aroma of tea, but loves the spices that are included in chai tea if that makes sense? Could I just up the amount of spices, and sub the 3/4 cups of liquid with almond milk?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Krista! We haven’t tried it that way, but it sounds like it could work. Let us know how it goes if you try it! xo

      • Alayna Mohammed says

        Can you use Cashew mylk instead of raw cashews? I tried it with the reaw cashews in my ninja blender and it the cashews were chunky instead of smooth and liquidy like on your video.

        • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

          Hi Alayna, we think you could use cashew milk in place of the coconut milk, but we wouldn’t recommend using it in place of the cashews because it wouldn’t provide enough substance. You could try soaking the cashews in hot water to break them down more before draining and blending.

  6. Hannah says

    As a 10yr vegan who just purchased her first ice cream machine (an older Cuisinart model), I must say I was blown away by this recipe! It was really important to me that I use raw cashews in my base and exclude coconut milk so as not to overpower the flavor. Doc I used the foundation of this recipe, but I did make the following modifications and it turned out flawless. Debatably the best vegan ice cream I’ve ever had!

    1. Instead of coconut milk, I used Silk Vanilla Soymilk. Added an additional 3/4c to make up for NOT including the chai tea.
    2. Added two chopped up chocolate chip oatmeal cookies right at the end of mixing.
    3. Excluded the cinnamon and pepper.

    *Mine reached soft-serve texture in 20-25min. Leftovers needed to soften for 5-10min after being in the freezer for 20+hr, which was expected.

    So, I really think that with the cashews and plant milk base, the possibilities are endless here, as long as you account for the 3/4c tea! Tomorrow I’m going to try a coffee flavor with chocolate chunks.

    Happy new year!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Hannah! Thanks so much for the lovely review and for sharing your modifications! xo

  7. nikki says

    holy cow i just made this with spiced holiday almond milk that Totally Nuts Almond Milk makes – and I am hooked for holiday life!! … I was already obsessed with caffeinated desserts, this just took it to the next level. I cant wait to make the gingerbread ice cream sandwiches!

    if someone happens to make this with the same almond milk i used, or any other non-coconut milk, i suggest doubling the amount and reducing it down to 1 cup to help keep it super creamy

  8. Maria says

    Hi Dana,
    Is there any chance this recipe can be converted to a no churn ice cream recipe for tjose of us who do not have an ice cream maker?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Maria, it will not have the same texture and fluffiness without an ice cream maker. But if you try it, we would recommend two things: 1) try folding some coconut whipped cream into the batter just before freezing to add more air. And 2) double the amount of vanilla extract as alcohol helps prohibit ice crystals. Let us know if you try it!

      • Trish says

        Hi! Can I made the mixture ahead and freeze it the following day? I’ve made this before just as written and it is delicious! I have also made ice cream sandwiches with it using mesquite flour ginger snaps – yum! Thanks!

        • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

          That should work well! If it separates by the next day, you can give it another whirl in the blender to make it creamy again. Those ice cream sandwiches sound DREAMY! xo

  9. Cheryl VanDyck says

    Wow, this recipe was a home run! I used a Cuisinart Ice-21 ice cream maker and it was perfect in 15 minutes. Used homemade cashew milk that was very creamy (1 cup cashews for 4 cups water is my recipe), and I was a little light on the soaked cashews, probably just a hair over a cup before soaking. ( I had them already soaking for something else when I saw this, lol.) It came out the consistency of creamy, perfectly textured dairy ice cream. I’ll be making this one again and again!

    • Cheryl VanDyck says

      Oh, and I forgot to mention that I used 1/2 olive oil and 1/2 coconut oil, so I’d still have the flavor of the coconut oil, but a bit less saturated fat.

  10. Catherine says

    Made this for National Ice Cream Day. Tastes like a frozen chai tea latte! It was a hit with the whole family. The texture was creamy. Not sure if it made a difference, but I used oat milk.

  11. Socalsue says

    Not that this recipe needs any more positive reviews, but Dana, you are a genius on this one! This is truly some if the best I’ve cream (vegan or not) that I’ve ever had. Instead of ginger powder, I used a Ginger Shot from Trader Joe’s Sine I had it in hand (It’s small 2 oz bottle of fresh pressed ginger juice with coconut water in the fridge section of the store). We ate the last of my first batch last night, and have cashew soaking for another batch as we speak! Thanks for the amazing recipe!

  12. Rachel says

    Wow Dana! It looks like you posted this about 6 years ago and everyone has been consistently and constantly smitten by this recipe!! I for one am SUPER excited to try it today. I’ve been making ice cream like crazy here in California since it is so hot (uh that’s my excuse at least lol) and I’ve mostly done dairy ones with the hello my name is ice cream cookbook -which I have found life changing and incredibly useful for ratios…yet I would love to start making more vegan or alternative milk versions to experiment with the depth of flavor, texture and dairy disguise since I am lactose intolerant. One thing I’ve found helpful is guar gum whirled in the blender with the chilled base after the base has been strained and I’m an avid strainer through the fine mesh sieve and also a by the book chiller/curer (am I just making up my own words here?! Eeks my quarantine is showing!) so I am veryyyy excited to see how your version churns out as is! If I can skip some steps and still get fabtastic ice cream that’s win win win!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      I’ve actually heard guar gum or xanthan gum is helpful, too! Let us know how it goes!

  13. Clo says

    I would like to try this recipe but I don’t have a churning bowl! Can I just use a food processor? Any recommendations?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Clo, it will not have the same texture and fluffiness without an ice cream maker. But if you try it, we would recommend two things: 1) try folding some coconut whipped cream into the batter just before freezing to add more air. And 2) double the amount of vanilla extract as alcohol helps prohibit ice crystals. Let us know if you try it!

  14. alyssa says

    this recipe is amazing!! i made it for my family and my brother claims to hate all vegan recipes. i told him is was normal ice cream and he devoured nearly all of it, definitely making this again! maybe in those ginger chai ice cream sandwiches ;)

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad everyone enjoyed it! Thanks so much for the lovely review, Alyssa!

  15. kitchen magician says

    Really good! Used regular coconut milk (13 oz) – drained off 1/4 c of liquid – kept all cream. Only used 2T coconut oil to compensate for full fat & increased amount of milk. Flavor was good – I’ll likely use 4 tea bags next time – would like a slightly deeper flavor. Used Vitamix and found texture to be slightly grainy but still pleasant. May try boiling cashews next time rather than just soaking.