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.
How to Make Coconut Ice Cream [Video]
Recommended Ingredients & Equipment
This recipe is made with just 5 simple ingredients! Better yet, they are ingredients you likely have on hand.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Coconut Milk - I have experimented with a lot of different bases for vegan ice cream. When coconut enhances the flavor of the ice cream 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. Therefore, it has the most similar texture to that of cow milk ice cream. This recipe calls for full-fat canned coconut milk. Do not mistake this with coconut milk that comes in a carton.
- Granulated Sugar - Check out my guide to vegan sugars and alternative sugar replacements. For a healthier sugar alternative, I recommend coconut sugar.
- Vanilla Extract
Most importantly, you will need an ice cream maker. I love my ice cream maker. It is compact and makes the perfect creamy ice cream every time! You should also have a 9x5 loaf pan, ice cream scoop, and a set of reusable pint-sized ice cream freezer containers. (<<affiliate links)
Check out the full list of my recommended kitchen tools and gadgets.
How to Make Coconut Ice Cream
Step One - Make the Base
Set aside ½ cup of coconut milk. Heat 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 the Ice Cream
Add the chilled ice cream base to the frozen ice cream bowl and churn according to the 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 the freezer.
Serving and Storing
Store the ice cream in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 1 month. I store my ice cream in pint-sized ice cream tubs to keep them fresh and avoid freezer burn.
Serve your ice cream slightly thawed. Allow the ice cream to thaw 10-15 minutes before serving. Serve it in a bowl, in cones, or as part of an ice cream sundae.
Frequently Asked Questions
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!
Every once and awhile 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 2 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 it. 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.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links.
More 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
Coconut Milk Ice Cream
- The night before place the bowl of your ice cream maker in the freezer to freeze all the way through.
- Measure out ½ 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 ½ 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. Churn 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 the freezer.
- Serve with toasted coconut, optional