Make your own dairy-free ice cream at home with this vegan strawberry ice cream. Made with just 5 ingredients for a delicious and refreshing summertime dessert.
Tomorrow is a special day.
Tomorrow, my friends, is the first official day of summer!! The summer solstice is one of my favorite days of the year. Not only are we welcoming in the adventures of the summer season, but we get to do it in 16 hours of sunshine. Ah, so good!
Lucky us, we started celebrating summer early. The kids started summer vacation last week and since then we have been filling our days with bike riding, beach playing, slip n sliding, and ice cream eating. Yes, we have been eating way too much ice cream. But when you have several pints of Oregon-grown strawberries and a passion for homemade strawberries, what do you expect??
Recommended Ingredients & Equipment
This recipe is made with just 5 simple ingredients! Better yet, they are ingredients you likely have on hand.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Strawberries - I recommend fresh strawberries. However, if frozen are your only option they will work.
- 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 saucepan, 9×5 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 Vegan Strawberry Ice Cream
Step One – Make the Base
Remove the stems from the strawberries and cut them in half. Place the strawberries in a large bowl and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sugar over them. Set the berries aside for 20 minutes to allow the juices to be released.
Now, let's make the custard. Set aside ½ cup of coconut milk. Heat up the remaining coconut milk, sugar, vanilla, 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. Remove the custard from the heat and set aside.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links.
With a blender or potato masher, mash the strawberries so that no large chunks remain. If you want completely smooth ice cream, this is best done in a blender. Stir in the strawberries.
Step Two – Chill the Custard
Transfer the custard to a shallow container, cover, and refrigerate for 2-4 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 ice cream with fresh strawberries, chocolate ganache, or chocolate shavings.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I make this recipe 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 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.
Do I need to use fresh strawberries?
While you can make this recipe with frozen strawberries, I highly recommend fresh because fresh strawberries add so much to the taste. However, if frozen strawberries are the only option available, let them thaw to room temperature before sprinkling with sugar. Once thawed, follow the instructions for fresh strawberries.
Yes! I have tried this recipe with blackberries and raspberries and loved them both. If you experiment with other berries, let us know how it goes in the comments below!
More Vegan Ice Cream Recipes
- Cookie Dough Ice Cream
- Raw Chunky Monkey Ice Cream
- Salted Cashews Ice Cream
- Turkish Coffee Ice Cream
- Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Vegan Strawberry Ice Cream
- 2 cups strawberries, de-stemmed and halved
- 2 (14 oz) cans full-fat coconut milk, divided
- ½ cup granulated sugar, divided
- 2 tablespoon cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- The night before place the bowl of your ice cream maker in the freezer to freeze all the way through.
- De-stem the strawberries and cut them in half. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sugar over the strawberries and set aside for 20 minutes to allow the juices to be released.
- 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. Remove from heat.
- Blend the strawberries in a food processor or immersion blender until no large pieces remain. Stir in the strawberries into the coconut milk mixture until well combined. Transfer to a shallow container, cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 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 the freezer.
- Serve with chocolate ganache or strawberry jam.
- Can I make this recipe 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!
- Do I need to use fresh strawberries? While you can make this recipe with frozen strawberries, I highly recommend fresh because fresh strawberries add so much to the taste. However, if frozen strawberries are the only option available, let them thaw to room temperature before sprinkling with sugar. Once thawed, follow the instructions for fresh strawberries.
- Can I use other berries? Yes! I have tried this recipe with blackberries and raspberries and loved them both. If you experiment with other berries, let us know how it goes in the comments below!
Thank you for this beautiful recipe! Do you think roasting the strawberries in the oven before blending them or cooking the strawberry puree on the stove would enhance the strawberry flavour?
Sarah McMinn says
Yes, that sounds delicious!
Kelly Sutherland says
Can I make with soy milk?? My son does not like coconut ice creams-we have tried several times-he prefers soy but we can no longer buy soy in our area...
Sarah McMinn says
Soy milk is not as thick as canned coconut milk so the ice cream might be a bit icy but it would still work.
I just made the base for this ice cream and I could eat just that! Very delicious! I replaced the sugar with monk fruit and am planning to put chunks of strawberries in the mix as i blend it in the ice cream maker.
Would tapioca starch work instead of corn starch?
Sarah McMinn says
I believe so, yes.
Yolanda Pavey says
This is a wonderful ice cream. I made this for my husbands birthday as a pie/cake. I used Thai Kitchen coconut milk because my husband does not like the taste of coconut. It worked beautifully. I had researched coconut milk reviews to find one that was high in fat but lacking in strong coconut flavor. This worked very well. The taste was incredible,
Thank you for your recipes.
Yolanda Pavey says
I made this today to use in a birthday ice cream cake/pie for my husbands birthday. I was worried because he does not care for the taste of coconut. I spent a fair amount of time researching coconut milk rich in fat but mild in flavor. I used Thai Kitchen. It worked beautifully. The flavor was incredible. It thickened nicely in the ice cream maker and transferred to the pan nicely. It is currently in the freezer firming up more. I can't wait to give it to him tomorrow.
Thank you for the vegan recipes. I appreciate the resources and plan to be looking at your site more often!!
Made this recipe and boy was it nice. Did not have an ice-cream maker. I used a spatula to mix the ice-cream mixture every 2 hours to prevent it from going into a big block of ice. then i used the immersion blender to give it a final creaming. The flavor is great. thanks for an amazing blog and recipes.
This recipe looks good. Do i need a ice cream machine to make it.
Do i have to use coconut milk or can i use coconut cream.
Got all the ingredients ready to make ice cream and no ice cream machine.