Finding a simple vegan ice cream recipe can be an incredible advantage for those who love to indulge, while also adhering to certain dietary restrictions and lifestyle choices. Homemade ice cream, in general, is a great way to control what ingredients go into your ideal scoop. And it’s especially useful to find a no-churn recipe that doesn’t even require an ice cream maker. Below, we’ll explore various plant-based milk options for your ideal base. Plus, vegan add-ins—like peanut butter and maple syrup—that can enhance your ice cream.
Table of Contents:
- Making Vegan Ice Cream at Home
- What You Need
- Preparing the Ingredients
- Assembling The Ice Cream
- Choosing the Right Vegan Milk for Your Recipe
- Tips and Tricks for Perfectly Creamy Vegan Ice Cream
- FAQs in Relation to Easy Vegan Ice Cream Recipe
What You Need to Make Vegan Ice Cream at Home
- A large mixing bowl
- A whisk or electric mixer
- 2 cups of your choice of vegan milk (more on this later)
- 1/2 cup or to-taste sweetener (such as agave syrup or maple syrup)
- 1 teaspoon flavorings (like vanilla extract)
- Optional: 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- An airtight container suitable for freezing
Preparing the Base
The first step in a from-scratch vegan ice cream recipe starts with making an ice cream base (unless of course you use a simple ice cream mix that doesn’t require a base):
- Pour about two cups of your chosen vegan milk (preferably a fattier option like cashew milk, oat milk, etc.) into a large mixing bowl.
- Add sweetener according to taste preferences - around half a cup should be enough for most recipes. You could theoretically go unsweetened, but we wouldn’t recommend it.
- Add flavorings like one teaspoon of vanilla extract (for vanilla ice cream) or two tablespoons of cocoa powder (for chocolate ice cream) if desired.
- Once all ingredients are combined, use a whisk or electric mixer (or food processor/blender if you don’t have those) to blend everything together until smooth and well-incorporated. This helps to achieve a creamy ice cream with no lumps or chunks.
Assembling The Ice Cream
Now that your ice cream base is ready, it's time to turn it into delicious vegan ice cream—no ice cream machine needed.
- Pour the prepared mixture into an airtight container suitable for freezing.
- Place the container in the freezer and allow to freeze for about 2 hours.
- After 2 hours, remove from freezer and stir well with a fork or spoon, breaking up any large ice crystals that may have formed. This will help ensure a smooth texture as your ice cream continues to freeze. You may also add any add-ins, like dark chocolate chips, cacao, or peanut butter, at this time. Return the container back to the freezer.
Repeat step 3 every hour until you reach desired consistency, which should take around 4-6 hours total. Once finished, scoop out your homemade vegan ice cream and enjoy! You can even top with coconut whipped cream, more maple syrup, cacao nibs, and more.
Choosing the Right Vegan Milk for Your Recipe (+ coconut milk alternatives)
Though it may all seem the same at first glance, there are benefits and drawbacks to each type of vegan milk. Here’s a little bit about each option, so you can get the desired results from your vegan ice cream recipe.
Coconut Milk (+ Similar Alternatives)
Coconut milk is one of the most popular, tasty, fatty options that will make your ice cream nice and creamy—but also might have a noticeable coconut flavor. If you're looking for a coconut-free alternative with the same rich texture as traditional coconut milk-based ice creams, consider using cashew milk/cream or even silken tofu. Cashew cream is made by blending soaked cashews with water until smooth while silken tofu can be blended directly into your ice cream mixture for added thickness without affecting the taste too much. Again, full fat coconut milk is a great option, but not the only way to get creamy ice cream.
Soy milk is a popular choice for vegan ice cream due to its creamy texture and high protein content. It can help create a smooth consistency in your homemade ice cream while providing essential nutrients like calcium and vitamin D. However, some may have an allergy to soy or opt out of consuming it for potential issues such as GMO's and phytoestrogens.
Almond milk, made from ground almonds and water, offers a nutty flavor that pairs well with many dessert recipes. This dairy-free option has fewer calories than most other plant-based milks but also contains less protein than soy milk. If you're looking for an allergy-friendly alternative without sacrificing taste, almond milk might be perfect.
If you want something slightly sweeter with a thicker consistency similar to cow's milk, oat milk could be your go-to choice. Made from soaked oats blended with water then strained through cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer, this delicious beverage provides fiber-rich goodness ideal for those who are gluten intolerant (as long as certified gluten-free oats are used).
For those who prefer a lighter, more neutral flavor in their vegan ice cream, rice milk is an excellent option. Rice milk, created from rice and water, offers a thinner consistency than other plant-based milks but can still be used to make delightful frozen desserts. Keep in mind that it's lower in protein and nutrients compared to soy or almond milk.
Ultimately, when selecting an alternative milk for your vegan ice cream recipe, you should consider its taste and consistency.
Tips and Tricks for Perfectly Creamy Vegan Ice Cream
Per the mantra of this article: an ice cream maker isn’t necessary for creating a smooth, creamy texture for your delicious vegan ice cream. From chilling your mixture before freezing to storing your homemade treat properly, creating the perfect results are highly-achievable.
Chilling the Mixture Before Freezing
The key to a smooth and creamy texture in your no-churn vegan ice cream lies in proper chilling before freezing. After blending, chilling the mixture for a minimum of 4 hours or overnight is essential to properly meld flavors and reduce ice crystal formation during freezing. This step ensures that all flavors meld together while also reducing ice crystal formation during freezing.
Adding Sweeteners and Flavorings
Finding the right sweetener is key for creating a vegan ice cream that can compete with the store-bought stuff. For sweetness without refined sugar, try using maple syrup, agave nectar, or dates blended into a paste. Experiment with different extracts like vanilla or almond extract for added depth of flavor; don't forget about mix-ins such as fruit purees, vegan brownie bits, or chocolate chips.
- Maple Syrup: A natural sweetener made from maple tree sap that adds rich caramel notes.
- Agave Nectar: Derived from agave plants, this liquid sweetener has a neutral taste similar to honey but is suitable for vegans.
- Dates: When blended into a paste with water or milk alternative, dates add natural sweetness along with fiber content.
Choosing the Right Container for Freezing
Opt for a shallow, wide, freezer-safe container with an airtight lid that allows even freezing and easy scooping later on. Glass or metal containers are ideal as they conduct cold more efficiently than plastic. Airtight containers are extra important, as they play a major role in the freezing process and prevent your ice cream from getting super icy.
Storing Your Ice Cream Properly
To keep your homemade vegan ice cream at its best quality, follow these storage tips:
Avoid temperature fluctuations: Maple Store your ice cream in the coldest part of your freezer (usually towards the back) to prevent melting and refreezing which can lead to icy texture/ice crystals.
Use an airtight container: A freezer-safe container with an airtight lid helps protect against freezer burn and keeps ice cream fresh.
Add parchment paper: Placing a piece of parchment paper directly on top of the ice cream before sealing with an airtight lid can help reduce air exposure and minimize ice crystals during storage.
Date & label: Don't forget to date and label your container so you know when it was made - most homemade vegan ice creams will maintain their quality for up to two months if properly stored.
FAQs for Vegan Ice Cream Recipes
Why do people like vegan ice cream?
Many reasons! Vegan ice cream has gained popularity due to its cruelty-free nature and health benefits. It contains no animal products like dairy or eggs, making it suitable for vegans and those with lactose intolerance. Additionally, it often has fewer calories than regular ice cream while still providing rich flavors from natural ingredients.
Which vegan milk is best for making ice cream?
Coconut milk is the most popular choice for making vegan ice creams because of its high-fat content that results in a creamy texture similar to traditional dairy-based options. Other alternatives include soy milk, almond milk, oat milk, and rice milk; each provides unique flavors depending on personal preferences.
How do you thicken vegan ice cream?
To thicken your homemade vegan ice creams, use ingredients like cashews soaked overnight (blended into the base), arrowroot powder mixed with water before adding it to the mixture, or xantham gum added directly into the liquid base. These help achieve a thicker consistency without compromising taste or quality.
If you're looking for an easy vegan ice cream recipe, try this one:
- 1 can full-fat coconut milk
- 1/2 cup cashews, soaked overnight
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Pour mixture into an ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer's instructions. Freeze for a few hours to allow the ice cream to set. Serve and enjoy. For more vegan recipes, check out Minimalist Baker.
Homemade Vegan Ice Cream is Easy!
Making vegan ice cream at home is easier than you might think. With the right ingredients and a few tips and tricks, you can create deliciously creamy treats that are dairy-free and plant-based. Remember to chill your ice cream base before freezing, choose the right sweeteners and flavorings for your taste preferences, select the proper container for freezing, and store your ice cream correctly.
Whether you prefer soy milk or coconut milk alternatives, there's a vegan ice cream recipe out there for everyone. So why not try making your own easy vegan ice cream recipe today?