Vegan Ice Cream (5 ingredients)

By Jessica Hylton - - Updated

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 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




39 comments

  1. Patricia says:

    Can you coconut cream in place of full fat coconut milk?

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Hi Patricia! As long as it’s full fat it can definitely be replaceable. I hope this helps.

  2. Nicole says:

    Hi, is it possible to use agarve syrup instead of the cane sugar? Thanks

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Hi Nicole we haven’t actually tried this substitution. On the surface it looks like the agave may add too much water to the mixture.

      • Nicole says:

        Hi, it seems it has worked, I didn’t add the liquid at the bottom of the coconut milk to make sure it was less wet. It tastes great, really creamy! Thanks for the recipe

  3. Paige Linnert says:

    Hi
    Looking to make this weekend. Do you think I can substitute the cashews for oat milk?

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Hi Page thanks so much for reading. The objective is to get as full fat as possible. I’m not sure oat milk would give you that in this recipe.

  4. Sara says:

    5 stars
    Great recipe! Loved the texture! I used honey instead of cane sugar and it still came out perfect.

  5. Grace says:

    What quantity does this make (I have a 1 quart ice cream maker and am wondering if I need to halve the recipe). Thanks!

  6. Emily says:

    Hi. I wanted to ask if this taste like coconut? Thanks:)

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Hi Emily slightly, but not noticeably it come out more as a traditional vanilla ice-cream. I hope that this helps.

  7. Thank you great recipe. Adjusted it a bit to taste, but simpler than others and it came out great!!

  8. Rochelle Barinaga says:

    5 stars
    I can make my own coconut milk. How many cuos of water should i use per coconut for this recipe to make sure its creamy enough?

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Hi Rochelle thanks so much for reading! We haven’t actually experimented with using home-made coconut milk before. So I wouldn’t be able to advise you.

  9. Ginger says:

    If I want to try a flavor other than vanilla, can I replace the 1tbsp of vanilla with the same amount of another flavor extract?

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Hi Ginger thanks so much for reading! Yes you can replace the vanilla with another extract flavour.

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