Dairy-Free Ice Cream
Whether you’re vegan, lactose-intolerant, or just looking for a healthier way to satisfy your sweet tooth cravings, trying out vegan gelato or homemade vegan ice cream is an amazing discovery that will forever change your dessert game. Vegan ice cream is just like regular ice cream, except that it’s made from alternative milk, such as coconut, almond, or soy. It also sometimes includes other all-natural ingredients to give it the creamy, rich traditional ice cream consistency. You can eat it plain or add mix-ins to create your favorite flavors.
Around 65% of the human population loses the ability to properly digest lactose, the main ingredient in traditional ice cream, after infancy. Vegan alternatives can satisfy your ice cream cravings in a healthier way.
Benefits of Vegan Ice Cream
A good vegan ice cream recipe will traditionally be lower in calories, cholesterol, and fat than a regular dairy ice cream. Some recipes even have ingredients that are heart-healthy, promote clearer skin, and are rich in fiber. By reducing your dairy consumption, you may be lowering your risk for certain autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, irritable bowel disorders, and possibly even cancer. Finally, by making your ice cream at home, you can avoid adding preservatives found in store-bought varieties, and you can choose your sweeteners more carefully.
Non-dairy ice cream is often better for the environment as well as your health. Dairy cows take up large amounts of land, contributing to deforestation. They also produce enormous amounts of methane, which is 25% as powerful as carbon dioxide when it comes to heating the atmosphere.
Before you start googling “vegan ice cream near me” to find the nearest specialty ice cream parlor, you can try making some yourself. Here are three easy recipes that don’t require an ice cream machine to whip up at home.
How to Make Vegan Ice Cream
1) Vegan Coconut Ice Cream
This coconut ice cream recipe is delicious on its own or can work as a yummy base to create other flavors, like cookies ‘n’ cream, coffee, strawberry, peanut butter, or even vegan cookie dough.
- 1 ½ cup full-fat canned coconut milk
- ½ additional coconut milk (or other non-dairy milk of choice)
- ¼ sweetener of choice (coconut sugar, maple syrup, agave, honey)
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract or scraped vanilla bean
- Optional: Other mix-ins, like crushed cookies, ¼ cup peanut butter, or 2 tsp instant coffee.
If you have an ice cream machine, you can simply add all the ingredients and turn it on. If you don’t have an ice cream machine, combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, fill, and freeze the mixture in ice cube trays. Once frozen, blend the ice cubes in a powerful blender. Pour the blended mixture into a loaf pan or other mold, and freeze for a few more hours for a firmer consistency. Scoop to serve. This ice cream is best the day it’s made but can be frozen for up to a few weeks and thawed before eating.
172 Cal, 13.9g Total Fat, 12.2g Saturated Fat, 83mg Sodium, 13.3g Total Carbohydrate, 1.3g Dietary Fiber, 11.9g Total Sugars, 1.4g Protein, 54mg Calcium, 1mg Iron, 154mg Potassium
Note: These nutrition facts are for the coconut milk ice cream made with regular sugar, without additional mix-ins, and are based on a standard ½ cup serving of ice cream.
2) Chocolate Vegan Ice Cream
Delicious chocolate ice cream is a universal favorite. Go beyond a basic “vanilla ice milk recipe” and try this rich, creamy, chocolatey dessert that features a few surprise ingredients.
- 8.8 oz cooked and peeled sweet potato
- ⅓ maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener, like honey)
- 7 small pitted dates
- 1 ⅓ cup full-fat canned coconut milk
- 4 tbsp cacao or cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp instant coffee (optional, but recommended)
- Pinch of sea salt
Bake or boil one medium-large sweet potato until soft. Let it cool, and then remove the skin. Add all the ingredients, including the cooked and cooled sweet potato, to a blender or food processor, and blend until creamy and smooth. Pour the mixture into a loaf pan or ice cream mold, and freeze, covered in plastic wrap, for at least four hours or overnight. Let thaw at room temperature for about 20 minutes before serving. This recipe will last for about two weeks in the freezer but is best when fresh.
196 Cal, 10.7g Total Fat, 9.2g Saturated Fat, 25.6g Carbohydrate, 3.5g Fiber, 15.7g Sugar, 2.2g Protein
3) Homemade Almond Milk Ice Cream
This homemade almond milk ice cream recipe features tahini, a smooth paste made out of ground sesame seeds, to give it authentic creaminess. Be aware, though, that this tahini almond milk ice cream recipe has two nut allergens and may not be suitable for everyone.
- 2 cups almond milk
- 1 cup almond butter
- ½ cup tahini
- 1 cup pitted dates
- ½ tbsp roasted sesame seeds, optional
Put all the ingredients, except for the sesame seeds, into a food processor and blend until smooth. Pour the mixture into a freezable container, and fold in the optional sesame seeds with a spatula. Cover, and freeze for at least 5 hours. Let it sit at room temperature before serving. This homemade almond milk ice cream recipe should serve about 6.
495 Cal, 35.1g Total Fat, 72.4mg Sodium, 40.9g Carbohydrate, 26.8g Sugars, 13.5g Protein
Whether you’re looking for soy ice cream, coconut ice cream, almond milk ice cream, or more, trying vegan ice cream is a great way to satisfy your sugar cravings without adding dairy or preservatives into your diet. Vegan ice cream recipes are easy to make, all-natural, and usually don’t require many fancy ingredients. Give them a try and be surprised by how delicious they can be!