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How to make vegan ice cream creamy

You don’t have to be a professional to make creamy vegan ice cream —all you need is the right mix of ingredients and techniques. Creating a creamy consistency all comes down to 1) finding a plant-based dairy alternative that you enjoy, 2) adding some fat to it, and 3) whipping (or blending) those ingredients together. You don’t even necessarily need to own an ice cream maker to get creamy homemade ice cream. With a few easy vegan ice cream recipes and the proper plant-based additions, you’ll be ready and prepared to achieve that perfect consistency in your homemade frozen dessert without compromising on taste or texture.

Table of Contents:

  • Choosing the Right Ingredients for Creamy Vegan Ice Cream
  • Coconut Milk as a Popular Base Ingredient
  • Almond Milk for a Neutral Canvas
  • Enhancing Low-Fat Liquids with Coconut Oil
  • Preparing Your Vegan Ice Cream Base
  • Churning Techniques for Perfect Consistency
  • No-Churn Homemade Vegan Ice Cream Options
  • FAQs in Relation to How to Make Vegan Ice Cream Creamy
    • How to Make Vegan Ice Cream Creamy
  • Conclusion

 

Choosing the Right Ingredients for Creamy Vegan Ice Cream

 

The key to achieving a creamy vegan ice cream lies in selecting the right ingredients. Popular plant-based milk options include almond milk, oat milk, and coconut milk, which can be enhanced with additional fats like coconut oil or cashew butter. These alternatives provide a rich foundation that mimics traditional dairy-based products, and will ultimately provide a creamy consistency that’s closest to dairy ice cream.

Coconut Milk as a Popular Base Ingredient

Coconut milk, boasting a higher fat content, is an ideal selection for crafting velvety and luxurious vegan ice cream flavors. Some say they can taste the coconut in coconut milk ice cream, but some find there to be no discernible coconut taste. If those potential pitfalls don’t bother you, than coconut milk may be the way to go for your vegan ice cream. 

Almond Milk for a Neutral Canvas

If you prefer something more neutral (though less fatty), almond milk serves as an excellent homemade ice cream base ingredient that allows other flavors to shine through while still providing some creaminess. Though almond milk’s fat content is not as high as that of coconut milk or oat milk, it still makes for smooth and creamy vegan ice cream.

Oat Milk for a Fattier Neutral Canvas

Similar to almond milk, oat milk works well as a minimal-flavor, dairy alternative that makes for creamy, plant-based ice cream. While it can bring somewhat of an oat-y taste, it’s easily overpowered by vanilla extract, peanut butter, and other flavors you’d naturally want in ice cream anyway.

 Enhancing Low-Fat Liquids with Coconut Oil

They key to creamy ice cream, especially with vegan ice cream, is the addition of fat. Add richness to your vegan ice cream by incorporating healthy fats such as coconut oil and cashew butter, which not only enhance texture, but also contribute beneficial nutrients. Adding fat is critical for any ice cream making, but especially important for no-churn ice creams that require a little extra TLC.

 

Preparing Your Vegan Ice Cream Base

4 scoops of ice cream in cone

 

Proper preparation techniques are essential for creating smooth and creamy vegan ice cream.

  1. First, heat your base mixture until simmering. This step not only improves the taste but also prevents clumps from forming during churning later on. Popular plant-based milk options like coconut milk or almond milk work well as a foundation.
  2. Blending thoroughly to avoid clumps is another crucial aspect of preparing your ice cream base. Mixing all ingredients together in a powerful blender or food processor is essential for an even consistency throughout your frozen treat.
  3. To finish off, add a touch of sweetness and flavor to your ice cream base. Incorporate sweeteners such as turbinado sugar or corn syrup along with flavorings like vanilla extract or chocolate powder. If you want to avoid using corn syrup, you can instead opt for natural sweeteners like maple syrup or agave nectar. You can even add other flavorings like cocoa powder, peanut butter, or coconut flavor to enhance the taste. Feel free to get creative by experimenting with different combinations of flavors and mix-ins.
  4. Once your dairy-free ice cream base mixture is ready, you can begin the churning process* to create a perfectly creamy vegan ice cream. To ensure that it comes out just right, there are several techniques and considerations for properly churning your vegan ice cream.

*Churning does require an ice cream maker. If you do not have (or don’t want to use) an ice cream maker, you can skip to the section on no-churn recipes that make equally-tasty, creamy vegan ice cream.

 

Churning Techniques for Perfect Consistency

Achieving the desired texture in homemade dairy-free ice cream requires careful attention to chilling and churning processes. Slightly chill your blended ice cream mixture before using an ice cream maker, incorporating air into it while freezing simultaneously. This step is crucial for producing soft yet firm scoops of delicious non-dairy frozen treats.

  • Importance of chilling prior to churning: Chilling your base ensures a smoother consistency and helps prevent the formation of large ice crystals during the freezing process.
  • Using an ice cream maker effectively: Follow the manufacturer's instructions, making sure to churn at a consistent speed until you achieve that perfect creamy texture. If you do not own an ice cream maker, skip to the next section on no-churn homemade vegan ice cream.
  • Creating soft yet firm final product: Once churned, transfer your vegan ice cream to a lidded container and freeze for several hours or overnight. The result will be a delightful treat with just the right balance between scoopability and richness.

 

No-Churn Homemade Vegan Ice Cream Options 

Not all vegan ice cream recipes require an ice cream maker. In fact, there are several ways to create creamy vegan ice cream without an ice cream maker. One popular no-churn method involves using whipped aquafaba, the liquid from a can of chickpeas, as a base for your frozen dessert.

  • Utilizing whipped aquafaba for a fluffy texture: Whip the aquafaba until it forms stiff peaks, then gently fold it into your prepared ice cream mixture. This will give your vegan ice cream that light and airy texture without needing an ice cream machine.
  • Folding in mix-ins and flavors: Once you've combined the whipped aquafaba with your base mixture, feel free to add any desired mix-ins like chocolate chips or fruit pieces. Get creative with unique flavor combinations.
  • Freezing no-churn vegan ice cream to perfection: Transfer the final mixture into a freezer-safe, airtight container and freeze for at least four hours or overnight. Enjoy scooping up deliciously creamy homemade vegan treats without any fancy equipment.

When making vegan ice cream, it's important to keep in mind that the lack of dairy milk and cream can sometimes result in a less creamy texture. However, there are a few tricks to achieving that perfect creamy vegan ice cream consistency:

  1. Use higher fat content vegan milks: Oat milk, coconut milk and cream, as well as cashew milk and cream, have a higher fat content which can help create a creamier texture.
  2. Add a fat source: Adding a fat source like coconut oil or cocoa butter can also help create a creamier texture.
  3. Make sure your ice cream mixture is well-blended: Using a food processor or blender to mix your ingredients thoroughly can help create a smoother texture.
  4. Add corn syrup: Adding a small amount of corn syrup can also help prevent ice crystals from forming and create a smoother texture.

You can still add additions like cocoa powder for chocolate ice cream, or vanilla extract for vanilla ice cream. Just because you don’t have an ice cream maker doesn’t mean you have to settle for plain ice cream flavors.

 

FAQs in Relation to How to Make Vegan Ice Cream Creamy

 

How do I choose the right base?

Choosing the right base is key to making creamy vegan ice cream. It’s also dependent on your tastes. Full-fat coconut milk is a popular choice because it has a high-fat content and a creamy texture. Other plant-based milks like cashew milk, oat milk, and almond milk can also be used, but they may require additional thickeners to achieve a creamy texture.

What are Natural Thickening Agents?

To thicken vegan ice cream, use a combination of high-fat plant-based milk and natural thickening agents such as arrowroot powder, cornstarch, or xanthan gum. Additionally, incorporating soaked and blended cashews can add extra thickness to the mixture.

How do I Minimize Ice Crystal Formation?

The secret to making creamy ice cream lies in minimizing the formation of large ice crystals during churning. This can be achieved by adding stabilizers/thickeners and following proper churning techniques. Common stabilizers used in vegan ice cream include xanthan gum, agar-agar, or guar gum.

What Additives Should I Use to Make Sure My Homemade Vegan Ice Cream is Creamy?

Additives that contribute to a smoother texture in both traditional and vegan ice creams include fats (such as coconut oil), sweeteners (like agave nectar or maple syrup) which lower the freezing point of water molecules, stabilizers (e.g., xanthan gum), emulsifiers like lecithin, and proteins from nuts or seeds for richness.

 

Starter Vegan Ice Cream Recipe

Scoops of vegan strawberry ice cream

Here's a simple vegan ice cream recipe to get you started:

  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup cashew cream
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup cocoa butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Mix all ingredients in a food processor or mixing bowl until smooth. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions. Enjoy your creamy vegan ice cream.

 

Conclusion

If you're looking to make vegan ice cream that's creamy and delicious, there are only a few key things to keep in mind. Making creamy vegan ice cream is all about choosing the right base, adding fats for richness, blending ingredients thoroughly, and experimenting with flavors. Proper churning and storage methods are also important to ensure a perfect texture. If you commit these rules to memory, you’ll be making homemade vegan ice cream on a regular basis.

 

 

 

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Josef Demangeat
00:26 Wednesday.13 March 2024

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