A rich and creamy coconut milk ice cream made with just 5 ingredients for an easy and delicious homemade vegan and gluten-free ice cream treat.
I have returned home from my travels! After two back-to-back trips, first to New York City and second to England, I have to say it is good to be home! Dare I say, there are few better feelings IN THE WORLD than that feeling of falling asleep in your own bed after several adventurous weeks of travel?
As I settle back into my Portland home, I eagerly look forward to summer. This past weekend the kids and I started creating our annual summer bucket list. These bucket lists always look pretty same from year to year: beach trips, camping trips, berry picking, bike riding. This year, I’ve added a few new ones to my list. Most notably, or perhaps I should say relevant, making homemade ice cream together. And we’re going to start with this creamy coconut milk ice cream.
Let’s take a look at how to make homemade vegan ice cream!
How to Make Coconut Ice Cream
I have experimented with a lot of different bases for vegan ice cream. Among the options are frozen bananas, cashews, fresh coconut meat, and coconut milk. When coconut enhances the flavor of the ice cream (rather than distracting from it) it is my one of my favorite option for a vegan ice cream base. Full fat coconut milk is rich, thick, and similar in consistency to the heavy creamer that is typically used in ice cream. Therefore, when made right, it has the most similar texture to that of cow milk ice cream.
And because it is so delicious all on its own, I decided to create an ice cream that celebrates the pure flavor of coconut with just 5 simple ingredients.
Ingredients for Coconut Milk Ice Cream
The ingredients are simple and probably ones you already have at home. The 5 ingredients for this vegan ice cream are:
Best Homemade Ice Cream Maker
For those of you who are new to the idea of making your ice cream at home, it’s a whole lot easier than you might think. While it takes some forethought (making time for freezing and chilling) it uses very little technique to get that perfectly rich and creamy consistency. All you need is a recipe (which I’ve got for you) and an ice cream maker.
If you don’t have an ice cream maker, I HIGHLY recommend you get one. I’ve been using this one for the past 5 years and I love it. It is compact and makes the perfect creamy ice cream every time! In 5 years and MANY hours of use, I have never had a problem with it.
How to Use an Ice Cream Maker
Making homemade vegan ice cream with an ice cream maker is a super simple process but it takes some planning ahead. Before you can begin, you must place the bowl of your ice cream maker in the freezer overnight. This ensures that the ice cream bowl is chilled enough to churn your custard into ice cream. Once your ice cream maker bowl is properly frozen, follow these step-by-step instructions on making the best coconut milk ice cream.
Step One – Make the coconut ice cream base
Start by setting aside 1/2 cup of coconut milk. Heat up the remaining coconut milk, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan, whisking until sugar has dissolved. In a separate bowl, make a slurry with the cornstarch and the reserved coconut milk. Add it to the saucepan and cook, stirring frequently, until the ice cream base begins to thicken, fully coating the back of a wooden spoon.
Step Two – Chill the custard
Transfer the custard to a shallow container, cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, until the custard is chilled all the way through.
Step Three – Churn into delicious coconut ice cream
Add the chilled ice cream base to the frozen ice cream bowl and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions. Church until it becomes thick and resembles soft serve. You can serve now or transfer it to loaf pan and store in the freezer until ready to serve. Allow 5-10 minutes to thaw when removing from freezer.
While it does takes some time, making homemade vegan ice cream is so simple!
Can I make coconut ice cream without an ice cream maker?
While I totally recommend getting an ice cream maker ASAP, you can make a creamy custard without the machine. To do this, make your ice cream base as outlined above. Once it’s ready, transfer it to a baking sheet and place in the freezer. When the ice cream is frozen, break it into chunks and blend it in a food processor until it becomes smooth and creamy. This may take up to 10 minutes. Transfer to a loaf pan refreeze.
You won’t get quite the same creaminess, but it works in a pinch!
Why won’t my ice cream thicken?
Every once and while I have a reader who cannot get their ice cream to thicken. There are a few reasons your ice cream never gets thick and creamy. Make sure to:
- Boil your coconut ice cream base for at least 5 minutes. The custard should become thick, fully coating the back of a wooden spoon.
- Freeze your ice cream maker base for at least 8 hours before using. This is to freeze the center of the base which is essential in getting thick vegan ice cream.
- Chill the ice cream base for at least 4 hours before churning. If the ice cream base is too warm, it will melt the center of the ice cream maker and never harden.
Other Vegan Ice Cream Recipes
Now that we know how easy it is to make homemade ice cream, let’s take a look at some of my other favorite vegan ice cream recipes.
- Cookie Dough Ice Cream
- Raw Chunky Monkey Ice Cream
- Vegan Snickerdoodle Ice Cream
- Turkish Coffee Ice Cream
- Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Ready to cool down and enjoy summer? Let’s take a look at the recipe card below.
A rich and creamy Coconut Milk Ice Cream made with just 5 ingredients for an easy homemade vegan and gluten-free ice cream treat.
The night before place the bowl of your ice cream maker in the freezer to freeze all the way through.
Measure out 1/2 cup of coconut milk and set aside.
Add remaining coconut milk, sugar, and salt to a small saucepan. Place over medium heat and whisk until sugar is dissolved. Add the vanilla extract.
Stir in the cornstarch to the reserved 1/2 cup coconut milk until well combined.
Add cornstarch/coconut milk mixture to the saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
Boil for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the cornstarch is completely cooked and ice cream base has thickened. Transfer to a shallow container, cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
Add chilled ice cream base to frozen ice cream bowl and churn according to manufacturer's instructions. Church until it becomes thick and resembles soft serve.
You can serve now or transfer to a pint-size container and store in the freezer until ready to serve. Allow 5-10 minutes to thaw when removing from freezer.
Serve with toasted coconut, optional