A rich and creamy vegan butter pecan ice cream made with a frozen coconut base and filled with buttered pecans for a healthier spin on a classic favorite. Made with just 6 ingredients!
This post is sponsored by the American Pecan Council. All thoughts and opinions are mine.
It’s vegan ice cream time!
With summer more than halfway over, it’s time to get serious about a few things: finishing that summer reading list, spending as much time as possible near, around, and in water, and eating all the ice cream. Don’t worry – I’ve got that last one covered for you.
This vegan butter pecan ice cream is one of the best ice cream recipes from My Darling Vegan. It’s rich, creamy, buttery, and filled with my FAVORITE nut of all time – the pecan. Friends, if you love all those things, then I think this recipe will absolutely thrill you!
It is my opinion that far too often the pecan is overlooked. We all love a good pecan pie and, of course, pecans are the only suitable topping for sweet potato casserole but what about the rest of the year? Don’t you agree that it is time we celebrate this delicious food all year round?
Yes, yes it is.
Top reasons I love pecans:
- Pecans are super good for you. They are one of the most nutrient-dense nuts available. Pecans are filled with plant protein, essential vitamins and minerals, and “good” fats. Beyond that, pecans are the highest nut in dietary fiber per serving. All while being rich, buttery, and delicious! Delicious flavor and good for you! That’s a win-win.
- Pecans are local. Pecans, in fact, are the only tree nut eaten in the U.S. that are indigenous to America. Once grown wild and enjoyed by Native Americans, pecans are now harvested in over a dozen Southern states.
- Pecans are so very versatile. They make a great snack, the perfect topping to salad, they can be added to your morning oatmeal or overnight oats, and baked in your favorite bread – the possibilities are endless. And let’s not forget, butter pecan ice cream is one of the best flavors ever invented!
To honor this nutrient-rich nut, I took a classic ice cream favorite and made it a little bit better for you. This non-dairy butter pecan ice cream is made with coconut milk and plant-based ingredients for a non-dairy and gluten-free ice cream alternative.
Let’s take a closer look!
How to Make Vegan Butter Pecan 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 what sounds more delicious that butter pecan ice cream? Coconut Butter Pecan Ice Cream, of course!
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 vegan ice cream.
Step One – Butter the pecans
In a small saucepan heat the vegan butter over medium-low heat. When it comes to choosing a plant-based butter, quality is important for this recipe. I always use Earth Balance or Miyoko’s cultured butter for the best quality.
Once the butter is melted, lightly toast your pecan pieces, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Toast for 3-5 minutes until the pecans are deep brown and fragrant. Remove from heat immediately (they will burn quickly) and set aside.
Step Two – 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 bring to boil, stirring frequently, until the ice cream base begins to thicken, fully coating the back of a wooden spoon.
Transfer the custard to a shallow container, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 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 along with the buttered pecans 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.
Can I make vegan 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 a 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 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 2 hours before churning. If the ice cream base is too warm, it will melt the center of the ice cream maker and never harden.
Follow these troubleshooting tips for thick and creamy ice cream every time!
MORE 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
- Vegan Snickerdoodle Ice Cream
- Turkish Coffee Ice Cream
- Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
- Vegan Strawberry Ice Cream
More Vegan Recipes with Pecans
I’ve been cooking and baking with pecans for years. They are my favorite nut, after all. Here are a few of my other favorite pecan recipes from the archives:
- Vegan Pumpkin Bread with Candied Pecans
- Spinach Strawberry Pecan Salad
- Curry Apple Pecan Salad
- Classic Sweet Potato Casserole
- 3-Ingredient Mini Pecan Pies
Ready to cool down and enjoy summer? Let’s take a look at the recipe card below.
A rich and creamy vegan butter pecan ice cream made with a frozen coconut base and filled with buttered pecans for a healthier spin on a classic favorite. Made with just 7 ingredients!
Keyword: Vegan Butter Pecan Ice Cream
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 237 kcal
Author: Sarah McMinn
The night before place the bowl of your ice cream maker in the freezer to freeze all the way through.
Heat butter in a small sauté pan over medium-low heat. Toast the pecan pieces in the butter for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Remove from heat and set aside.
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 buttered pecans. 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 the freezer.
Allow 5-10 minutes to thaw when removing from the freezer.
To make homemade ice cream without an ice cream maker, 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.