Vegan Ice Cream (5 ingredients)

By Jessica Hylton -

This Vegan Ice Cream is rich, creamy, and incredible easy to make with only 5 ingredients! I share a ton of useful tips to make this your best homemade ice cream! 

two scoops of ice cream in two stacked bowls with a container of ice cream in the background

Ice cream. I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who doesn’t like it. A creamy custard spun magically into a thick, creamy, cooling, sweet dessert of all flavours? Yes yes yes. I’ve made many vegan ice creams over the years: strawberry, chocolate, mango, even blueberry! Yes somehow, I never made my favourite flavour: vanilla bean. 

Yes friends. I’m that girl who loves vanilla ice cream. In a world of over 1,000 ice cream flavours, I’ve chosen vanilla bean. Something about that classic flavour gets me every time. I love seeing the vanilla bean dots throughout. I mean, I’ll try ALL the flavours – but this one just gets me. Today I’m sharing a really simple vegan vanilla ice cream that’ll rock your world. 

cashew coconut milk liquid being poured into a bowl

Vegan Vanilla Ice Cream Ingredients

This ice cream is a cashew and coconut cream based ice cream. The two flavours come together in such a way that you don’t even end up tasting either of them, just a delicious ice cream flavour. All the ingredients are important in here, so I want to get into each of them:

Cashews: cashews are the base of this ice cream, along with coconut milk. The two are combined to make like the ultimate cashew milk that make this the kind of ice cream that Gav scooped directly into his mouth from the container. You want the best possible quality, so I recommend doing the most. Soak your cashews overnight. Use the best quality you can find. This is my favourite brand. 

Vanilla Bean Paste/Vanilla Bean Extract/A Vanilla Bean: Vanilla Bean Paste is my go to for this recipe. I use the one from Nielssen Massey which I go through at alarming rates because what’s a dessert without vanilla extract? You can also use a few vanilla beans or vanilla extract of equal amounts.

step by step photos of liquid ice cream and creamy soft serve ice cream before setting

Coconut Milk: I use canned full fat coconut milk. Surprisingly, you don’t have to separate the liquids here. Since I had to make a kind of cashew milk anyway, I decided to use the liquid from the canned coconut milk as the “water” of the cashew milk. It takes it over the top, you don’t have to try and separate it, and you get amazing ice cream. 

Sugar: ⅔ cup goes a long way in this recipe. If you want a slightly less sweet ice cream, use ½ cup instead. I used regular cane sugar, but you can use brown sugar or white sugar. 

Sea salt: a pinch of sea salt always acts as a flavour enhancer, and balances the sweetness. 

ice cream in a scoop being scooped out of a large container of ice cream

Ice cream making Tips & FAQ

  • I used an ice cream maker to make this recipe that was gifted to me by my bestie Kellie. Needless to say, I’ve made ice cream way SO many times now that I know how easy it is to make with an ice cream maker! Ensure your ice cream maker freezer base is ready! It can be tempting to shorten this time but it’s necessarily to get the mixture cold enough to turn it into ice cream. I just leave my base in the freezer, which means it’s always ready! 
  • It’s important to use full fat coconut milk. Don’t use lite. Also remember we are using the full can of coconut milk. Also, do not substitute coconut milk powder. It isn’t creamy enough and will result in icy ice cream. 
  • Don’t rush your ice cream base (the actual mixture) chilling time. I made it after 10 minutes in the freezer,  and after a few hours in the fridge and after whole night in the fridge. The last two were far more creamy, set much faster in the ice cream maker, and were much easier to scoop. I highly recommend chilling the cashew cream for the right length of time. 
  • If you live in a hot climate (like I do) I recommend doing this in the coolest part of your house or turning on your AC if you have one. This ensures the mixture solidifies properly. 
  • Always cover your finished ice cream as per the recipe, otherwise ice particles will form in it and result in some small ice chunks. 
  • If you’re not using an ice cream maker; follow my tips from my chocolate avocado ice cream to get the best texture. 

overhead photo of ice cream in an ice cream scoop in a larger container of ice cream with surrounding bowls, kitchen towel and spoon

This vegan ice cream is: 

  • Creamy
  • Smooth
  • Easy to make
  • Incredible flavour

Okay friends, let’s get to making ice cream!! Enjoy so much!! 

Enjoy friends! If you make these Vegan Ice Cream, please snap a photo and tag #jessicainthekitchen on Instagram! We’d also love it if you would leave a comment below, and give the recipe a rating! Thanks so much!

two scoops of ice cream in two stacked bowls with a container of ice cream in the background

Vegan Ice Cream (5 Ingredients)

This Vegan Ice Cream is rich, creamy, and incredible easy to make with only 5 ingredients! I share a ton of useful tips to make this your best homemade ice cream! 
by: Jessica in the Kitchen
Prep Time 30 minutes
Resting Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 30 minutes
Servings 16 servings
Course Dessert, Desserts
Cuisine American, Universal
Ingredients
  • 1 cup raw cashews soaked in water overnight drained
  • 2 cans of full fat coconut milk (two 13.4 ounce cans) 
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste  or extract or 1 vanilla bean
  • 2/3 cup cane sugar  or other granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt 
Instructions

Instructions

  • Ensure your cashews are completely soaked from before. Also ensure your ice cream maker freezer base is in the freezer for at least 7 to 24 hours before (preferably 24 hours) . If you just keep it in your freezer, then it’s always ready! 
  • In a high speed blender, blend the soaked cashews, coconut milk, vanilla bean paste, cane sugar and the sea salt together until completely smooth, about 2-4 minutes on high speed depending on your blender. You want to ensure it’s 100% smooth, so feel free to blend longer until you’re sure all the cashews are blended out. If that means you need to blend longer, definitely blend until fully smooth.
  • Pour mixture into a bowl, container or leave in the blender and cover. Sometimes the mixture can get hot while blending. Place it in the fridge for 4 hours in the coldest spot, up to 2 days if you don't plan to make the ice cream immediately.
  • Remove from the fridge. Set up your ice cream machine and place the ice cream maker freezer base into the machine and pour the ice cream mixture in. Prepare according to manufacturer settings, for about 20-25 minutes of churning. The mixture should be thick and smooth. If you're not using an ice cream maker, check out my chocolate avocado post for no churn instructions.
  • Scoop the soft serve ice cream into a container (I use a loaf pan) and smooth down. Place plastic wrap or a reusable wrap or parchment or wax paper flat against the ice cream, then wrap the outside of the pan too. You want to ensure it's all protected from ice crystals. Place in the freezer for at least 4 hours to set up, even overnight if you desire. You can also enjoy it immediately like soft serve!
  • After at least 4 hours in the freezer, remove container from freezer and allow it to sit for at least 5 minutes on the counter (like you would store bought ice cream). Scoop, serve and enjoy! 
NOTES

Ice cream making Tips & FAQ

  • I used an ice cream maker to make this recipe. Ensure your ice cream maker base is ready! It can be tempting to shorten this time but it’s necessarily to get the mixture cold enough to turn it into ice cream. I just leave my base in the freezer, which means it’s always ready! 
  • It’s important to use full fat coconut milk. Don’t use lite. Also remember we are using the full can of coconut milk. Also, do not substitute coconut milk powder. It isn’t creamy enough and will result in icy ice cream. 
  • Don't rush your ice cream base (the actual mixture) chilling time. I made it after 10 minutes in the freezer,  and after a few hours in the fridge and after whole night in the fridge. The last two were far more creamy, set much faster in the ice cream maker, and were much easier to scoop. I highly recommend chilling the cashew cream for the right length of time. 
  • If you live in a hot climate (like I do) I recommend doing this in the coolest part of your house or turning on your AC if you have one. This ensures the mixture solidifies properly. 
  • Always cover your finished ice cream as per the recipe, otherwise ice particles will form in it and result in some small ice chunks. 
  • If you're not using an ice cream maker; follow my tips from my chocolate avocado ice cream to get the best texture. 

Nutrition

Calories: 170kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Sodium: 80mg | Potassium: 160mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 2mg
by Jessica

 

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Recipe Rating




19 comments

  1. Rl says:

    5 stars
    Easy to do!

  2. Kelly says:

    5 stars
    Thank you for this recipe- it was amazing!! Since cutting out most dairy I hadn’t ventured into the ice cream forum but this recipe was incredible! I added roasted fresh strawberry purée but changed nothing else and it is the best tasting ice cream I have had in a LONG time. Thank you!! ❤️

  3. Margie Grantham says:

    5 stars
    This was my first time making this recipe and I am extremely impressed with how creamy and thick the final result is! I did follow the instructions and left the cream in the refrigerator for four hours before putting it into the ice cream maker …..I’ve made many other vegan ice cream’s and while they have been good they lacked the creaminess this recipe gives! This will be my go to recipe from now on ! thank you so much Jessica!

  4. susan says:

    Would it be alright to use cashew milk from the grocery store and if so how much? thank you.

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Hi Susan! Thanks so much for reading. Whole cashews combined with full-fat coconut milk really add a creamy/fatty element to the ice-cream. It might turn out to be less creamy in the end if any are substituted for cashew milk. I hope this helps.

  5. Elaine says:

    Do you think I could substitute the sugar with maple syrup or honey to make it Paleo?

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Hi Elaine, yes you can! I hope you enjoy this recipe!

  6. Rachelle says:

    Hi Jessica, Im enthusiastic at how simple this recipe sounds. Thank you for sharing. From what I understand, the water from the presoaked cashews is not used in this recipe, i was wondering if there is another use for that leftover water? And just curious, do you know if another nut could be used to yield yummy results? Best Regards.

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Hi, we’re so happy that you like it, Rachelle! It’s usually good to discard the water used to soak nuts. As for your other question, we find that cashews tend to have the ideal texture for ice cream out of all the nuts we’ve tried.

  7. Rachelle says:

    5 stars
    Can I use fresh coconut to make my coconut milk? As we don’t have canned coconut milk where I live.

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      as long as its full fat it should work Rachelle. I hope this helps.

  8. Juli says:

    This looks amazing and I can’t wait to try making it! I’m just curious…what ice cream maker did your sweet friend gift you? I don’t have a maker and I have been looking at them to purchase. Also, I’m assuming it would be okay to substitute the sugar with a sweetener such as Monkfruit or Xylitol, right? I may reduce the amount as these tend to be very sweet but necessary for dietary purposes. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Hi Juli, we’re in the middle of moving right now so I’m not exactly sure what brand of ice cream maker we were gifted. In terms of the sweetener we haven’t tested it out but it should be able to work. I hope this was helpful.

    • Sarah says:

      5 stars
      I have had Cuisinart ice cream maker for a few years now. I rate it as it makes a good amount of ice cream in one go, and the inside of the bowl joins the outside of the bowl on the outside. This is important for me as it makes it easier to clean. I previously had a different machine where the metal on the inside of the bowl went up to a rim around the top. Gunk would collect where it joined and it was difficult to clean, as you’ve not supposed to submerge the bowl. So that’s something to think of when buying. Also very important is what space you have in your freezer for a bowl. As Jessica says, it’s a good idea to keep the bowl in the freezer so it’s already ready for ice cream making.
      I made this recipe for a vegan friend, and added crushed Oreos. She loved it. I’m about to make it again for another friend who has a dairy intolerant child. It’s the best recipe I’ve found for vegan ice cream; I think the cashews give it really good thickness.

  9. Liz says:

    This ice cream is delicious! Huge hit with my whole family. Do you know how big each serving should be?

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Hi Liz we split it 16 ways but we aren’t sure of the exact serving amounts but we would roughly put it at 1/4 cup. I hope this helps!

    • Oren says:

      As big as possible of course 🙂

  10. Annierra Matthews says:

    This ice cream looks so good! Can’t wait to try other recipes from you. I was excited to find another black vegan food blogger. 🙂

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Thank you so much Annierra. We’re happy that you’re happy!

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