Vegan Salted Bourbon Caramel Ice Cream

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Bowl of our Super Creamy Vegan Salted Bourbon Caramel Ice Cream

Is it possible to accidentally make bourbon caramel? ‘Cuz that’s what I did. Either way, it made this ice cream taste BOMB. Lez do this.

Bourbon and ice cream maker for crafting Vegan Salted Bourbon Caramel Ice Cream

This recipe started because I knew I was making my Raspberry Rhubarb Crisp and I wanted some ice cream to serve it with. One problem though: store-bought dairy-free ice creams are OUTRAGEOUSLY priced and you only get like 2 tablespoons. Obviously, I had to make my own.

The flavor I wanted to go for was bourbon vanilla. My first attempt turned out more like a slushy than it did ice cream. Waaaa. Back to the drawing board.

Grabbing a scoop of Vegan Bourbon Salted Caramel Ice Cream

Round 2 was a total success! I accidentally made bourbon caramel whilst trying to cook down the bourbon so it would allow the ice cream to freeze. SO amazing! Even though it subdued the taste of the bourbon, the addition of the caramel note was mind blowing, so we’re rolling with it!

This ice cream requires just 9 ingredients and is super simple to make! It’s cashew-based with a heavy touch of full fat coconut milk. It’s infused with bourbon caramel two ways: once in the base and a second time with a last minute swirl while it’s churning. So amazing.

The result? The creamiest, dreamiest vegan ice cream of your life.

Bowl of Salted Bourbon Caramel Vegan Ice Cream with a bottle of bourbon in the background

This ice cream is perfect for fruit crisp, boozy milkshakes, sundaes and more. It’s

Creamy
Perfectly sweet
SO smooth
Subtly infused with bourbon
Caramel-y with a touch of sea salt
Mega satisfying
And just kind of perfect

Serve plain or as we did, with this Vegan Gluten Free Raspberry Rhubarb Crisp. Such an amazing pairing. This would also go well with apple pie. Apples + Bourbon = heaven. Enjoy!

Bowl of Salted Bourbon Caramel Ice Cream on a yellow background

Two scoops of homemade Vegan Salted Bourbon Caramel Ice Cream in a bowl

Vegan Salted Bourbon Caramel Ice Cream

9-ingredient super creamy vegan ice cream infused with a subtle bourbon caramel sea salt flavor. Perfect on its own or for pairing with crisps and pies or adding to boozy milk shakes. Dream big.
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Bowl with two scoops of Vegan Salted Bourbon Caramel Ice Cream and a wooden spoon
4.3 from 10 votes
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 10
Course Dessert
Cuisine Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 Week
Does it keep? Store in freezer.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups raw cashews (soaked overnight // or for at least 6 hours // then drained)
  • 1 cup bourbon (we used Trader Joe's brand because it's made by Maker's Mark - good stuff!)
  • 1/2 cup organic cane sugar (or granulated)
  • 4 Tbsp unsweetened plant milk (I used almond)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 14-ounce can full-fat coconut milk
  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil (melted)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 1 Tbsp tapioca flour OR arrowroot starch (optional // for thickening)

Instructions

  • The night before, place your ice cream churning bowl in the freezer to properly chill. Also, make sure you soak your cashews overnight OR the next day for at least 6 hours. Be sure to drain before adding to blender.
  • Add bourbon and cane sugar to a small saucepan over medium-high and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to simmer and swirl DON’T stir, until a bubbly caramel forms. It happens pretty quick; less than 10 minutes so stay close. Remove from heat and immediately add 3/4 of the almond milk (3 Tbsp as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size), sea salt, and stir. Set aside to cool. Once cooled, taste and add more salt if needed. You could also add a splash more bourbon at this point, but don't exceed 2 tsp (amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size) or it can inhibit it from freezing.
  • Add all ingredients except bourbon reduction and tapioca flour to blender and blend until smooth, scraping down sides as needed. Use the “liquify” setting if you have it. You want it to be completely creamy and blended with no chunks.
  • Add tapioca flour and HALF of the bourbon caramel and blend again. Chill remaining half of caramel.
  • Add mixture to ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions - about 45 minutes. It should look like soft serve.
  • Add remaining bourbon reduction in last minute OR stir in with a spoon so there's a more pronounced swirl.
  • Transfer to a freezer-safe container and cover well. Freeze for at least 4-6 hours or until firm.
  • Set out for 10-20 minutes (OR microwave for 30 seconds) before serving to soften. Will keep for up to 1 week, though best when fresh.

Notes

*Adapted from my Creamy Vegan Chai Ice Cream
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.

Nutrition (1 of 10 servings)

Serving: 0 g Calories: 351 Carbohydrates: 26 g Protein: 3.8 g Fat: 21 g Saturated Fat: 11 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 64 mg Fiber: 0.7 g Sugar: 18 g

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  1. Sandra Coulson says

    I wish I had read the comments before I started this! My caramel did not work. I pulled up the comments at that point and saw others had the same problem. I added more sugar and cooked over 40 minutes. I finally went ahead and added it though it wasn’t very thick. The ice cream froze very quickly! About 20 minutes which surprised me. I saw the comment about adding the arrowroot, so I only added 1/2 T. I wish I hadn’t added it at all though. I didn’t like the texture it created. My husband didn’t mind the texture and really liked the flavor. I will definitely make this again without the arrowroot starch and work to perfect my caramel!

  2. Pete says

    I really wanted to like this recipe. Not having made any vegan ice cream before, I decided to follow it word for word. My first worry was how many ingredients were required for the ice cream base alone, in comparison to other recipes out there. The cost of ingredients was another worry, and added a lot more pressure to make sure I got this right. Well, even before I got to the ice cream base, my caramel never thickened, and things kinda went downhill from there. I ended up reading other recipes for caramel, and this one is soooo off. Because I had already used up all my bourbon, I decided to reduce the “caramel” as much as possible (to cook off the booze) and then I added it to the ice cream mixture (so that it doesn’t slow down the freezing). I should have followed my instincts on the tapioca flour, because all it did was give it a weird fluffy texture, and you lose the creaminess. Like I said, I really wanted this one to work out, but I just can’t recommend it.

  3. Miruna says

    Because i’m not allowed to have any kind of sugar i’ve tried to make the bourbon reduction with coconut sugar but umfortunatelly was a complete fail.

  4. Christian says

    Is the caramel supposed to stay liquid? I was expecting a thicker, sticky caramel-sauce consistency but never got it.

    • Rachael Neusch says

      I also was wondering that. I used all of the 1/2 cup of can sugar indicated, and then added some more and after 25 minutes on the stove still ended up with a liquid caramel.

  5. Matt says

    Holy delicious, but I think we over-churned ours! How do you know if that’s the case? The consistency of our seems a bit too creamy like butter.

  6. tessa says

    Ok…so which recipe is better? This one or your newer sea-salt caramel coconut ice cream recipe? Making one this weekend and I can’t decide which! I imagine this one is just more bourbony. Mmmmmm…bourbony….

  7. Shelli says

    Oh, where didn’t I go wrong with this oh so delicious looking (but not so good after I was done with it)
    recipe. It looked like it had a lot of potential as it was churning but then something happened. It did not turn out creamy and very cold actually. It reminds me of ice cream that is left on the counter to thaw and accidentally fogotten so it becomes almost room temp with a weird texture.
    Things that may have inhibited this ice cream to turn out. Please let me know what you think.
    Ice cream bowl was not frozen over night but more like 8 hours. I didn’t read instructions correctly and placed my ingredients in the bowl, then turned it on. According to the directions, you are to turn on the machine then pour ingredients into it. Does that make a huge difference in the way it turns out? Your instructions stated that when making the carmel, bring to boil, then simmer and the bubbles will start to form right away. Not sure that this ever really happened. Never really saw that there was a “carmel-like” consistancy. Lastly, I forgot to add the remaining carmel reduction into the machine until the very end, not a minute or so before completion. Please help me see where I went wrong. I really want this vegan ice cream to be my go-to recipe, but now I feel intimidated. After spemding $8.50 just on cashews, it makes me want to just by the pre-bought soy ice cream next time. Please help!

    • Anissa says

      Hey!

      I know you wrote this question a long time ago.. But just in case you see my answer,

      Freezin time for the ice cream bowl is a MINIMUM of 24 hours, this is CRUCIAL… Basic #1 ice cream machine rule….

      The caramels consistency or absence of does not affect the ice cream, it is just more flavor.

      Which by the way, those of you that had trouble with it caramelizing, im pretty sure there was more sugar needed for 1 cup of liquid than what the recipe said.. Goodluck!

  8. Laura says

    Okay, well, I forged ahead! After about an hour, the bourbon/sugar mixture had cooked down a lot and finally started to get a bit thick, so I pulled it from the stove and proceeded. WE. LOVE. THIS. ICE CREAM!!! I’d still love your thoughts on the bourbon/sugar issue. And thank you so much for this decadent, brilliant recipe!!

    • Kelly says

      I’ve been having the same bourbon/sugar issue and was very relieved to find your post! I’ve been simmering for 45 min now and it looks like 1 hour is more like the required time to thicken this into a caramel… unless the amounts of bourbon/sugar were somehow off in the recipe. It seemed like a lot of liquid compared to the amount of sugar to me. Glad to hear that it can still turn out well, if I stick with it!

  9. Laura says

    I’m so sad! Trying to make this uh-may-zing looking recipe, but my bourbon/sugar mixture won’t turn to caramel! It’s boiling down (30 minutes going, now), but not thickening at all. What might I be doing wrong?? I swear I’m not over stirring!!

  10. Chris says

    I was craving ice cream but no bourbon. I subbed butter shots schnapps (not sure if it’s vegan) and it’s so yummy I might not be able to wait until it freezes fully.

  11. Cynthia says

    I would love to make this recipe for my family without the bourbon. Would it be possible to substitute the alcohol for maple syrup?

  12. Karen @ Lushious Eats says

    AH-Mazing is it! Wow, it looks incredible and MUCH better than store bought. I know the serving size vs the price is crazzzzyyyyy! Better off making your own, especially when it turns out as nicely as this! :)

  13. Shikha @ Shikha la mode says

    I already wrote this on my post today, but the fact that I literally own all of these things (shoutout to Trader Joe’s) means I am so obviously making this!

  14. Molly @Doughvelopment says

    This with apple pie?! ZOMG. I know what I want after stuffing my face on Thanksgiving! It’s also probably rockin’ with your rhubarb crisp, too!

  15. Amanda says

    So, I’ve been making a couple of nondairy ice cream recipes, but have been wondering how to make them without the heavy coconut taste that coconut milk brings to the table (I love coconut, but I want my vanilla ice cream to taste like vanilla). I’ve also been using cashew cream in other recipes and thought, “Hey, I bet I could make ice cream with cashew cream!” I was going to experiment, but then this popped up in my Feedly this morning. Coincidence? I think not. :) Thanks for the recipe! Can’t wait to try it out.

  16. Sarah | The Sugar Hit says

    This looks so heavenly! I’m not vegan, but I can totally get down with bourbon-caramel creamy cashew ice cream!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      And you should! I’d love to see you do a caramel ice cream IF you haven’t already. I’m sure it’d be heavenly ;D

  17. Tracy | Pale Yellow says

    Trader Joe’s makes bourbon?!?! I need to get my hands on some ASAP! Not just for drinking, but to make this ice cream too. You can’t go wrong with a bourbon caramel!

  18. mary francis says

    Looks great this ice cream! I’d like to make a more conventional ice cream like vanilla or chocolate, strawberry to my daughter. Do you think it is going to work? Thanks so much for sharing?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Mary, any of these flavors would work! I would just omit the bourbon (if you want) and add 1/4 cup sugar (instead of 1/2 cup) straight to the blender with whatever flavors you prefer. Fresh strawberries for strawberry, cocoa or cacao powder for chocolate, and vanilla bean or vanilla extract for vanilla!

  19. Lauren says

    This looks amazing! What kind of ice cream maker do you use? My husband has been dying for one, and he would love this recipe!

  20. Raquel @ My California Roots says

    I love when kitchen accidents turn out to make the most amazing and unexpected food! I’ve been wanting to try a cashew-based ice cream for a while now, and this send like just the recipe!

  21. Jessica (bakecetera) says

    i will be dreaming of this ice cream for the rest of my life. it is the most perfect combination of ice cream possible to create! nice work!!

  22. thea says

    I love caramel Ice cream! Does the recipe still contain alcohol after it’s cooked. I wonder since I’m not 18 yet. It looks delicious so I’ll probably try a version without the alcohol.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Good question! Because you cook it down, I would say no. But I would do a little research if I were you just to make sure. Hope that helps!

  23. Gwen @simplyhealthyfamily says

    I wish my kitchen accidents turned out like this!!! I’m not a huge ice cream fan *gasp! but if it’s dairy free and spiked w bourbon I think I could eat a gallon!

  24. LoraLee says

    Is it possible to subtitute almonds instead of cashews (due to allergy)? Or what other nuts are creamy like cashews?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      I haven’t tried soaking almonds, but I would suspect they wouldn’t lend to getting as creamy as cashews. If anything, I would suggest omitting them and upping the amount of coconut milk (full fat), OR subbing macadamia nuts. Hope that helps!

  25. Samina | The Cupcake Confession says

    I love happy kitchen accidents!!! Especially this one! Bourbon caramel????? Now that is something I reaaallllly need to try! It would go perfectly on fruit crisps and like you mentioned- the milkshakes! Pinning! :D

  26. Lucia says

    Vegan caramel is my mythical prince charming. I wait and I hope but each time I am disappointed. Perhaps your serendipitous accident will prove to be the charm I need to make my caramelly dreams come true!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      so true! i know oh lady cakes has a more traditional one that you should check out. But for this ice cream, this version is perfection. Hope you give it a try!