How To Make Coffee Ice Cream (Vegan Coffee Ice Cream)

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How to make coffee ice cream with a base of cashews and coconut for super creamy, rich, and decadent results! This homemade vegan coffee ice cream uses just 8 ingredients (and a pinch of salt) for the creamiest, most impressive homemade coffee ice cream you’ll ever try! And all without dairy, eggs, or an ice cream machine!

Coffee ice cream topped with syrup and toasted cacao nibs

If you want to learn how to make coffee ice cream (also called cappuccino ice cream or espresso ice cream) at home with the richest, most decadent, creamy results with no dairy or eggs – you’ve come to the right place! After lots of recipe testing and tweaking along the way, this homemade coffee ice cream is honestly one of the best I’ve ever tried; and with all-natural ingredients!

I’m in the process of going through an ice-cream phase. I’ve already shared a coconut mango ice cream and peach ice cream (all dairy-free). Now, I wanted something a little more “decadent” with this vegan coffee ice cream. All while remaining free from refined sugar, corn syrup, stabilizers, and food colorings! Moreover, you can make a delicious coffee crumble ice cream with the addition of chocolate chips or cookie crumbles!

Scooping coffee ice cream

Luckily, by using a base of cashew cream and coconut cream, you’re able to achieve super creamy results (like how I did with these mini stuffed “Magnum” bars). And, for all coconut haters out there – coffee-flavored ice cream is so flavor-packed that, in my opinion, you can’t taste the coconut at all!

In addition, blended cashews are so creamy that they often make up the base of vegan desserts like these raw vegan mini mint cheesecakes and this blueberry Earl Grey cheesecake. The end result for the ice cream? This dairy-free coffee ice cream is impressive enough for dairy and non-dairy eaters alike!

Prefer to try traditional ice cream with a “custard” base? Then you can try my caramel ice cream. Alternatively, if you want something quick and fun to do with the kids, how about this “instant” ice cream in a bag? I even have a 4-ingredient creamy pistachio and avocado ice cream recipe!

Coffee ice cream frozen cubes

Want more coffee treats? You might like this coffee peanut butter spread, mocha frappuccino, or iced latte!

The Ingredients

The Vegan Ice-Cream Base

  • Coconut cream: I’ve used the solid part from full-fat canned coconut milk after leaving it to chill in the refrigerator overnight. However, you can also use homemade coconut cream or even a container labeled “coconut cream.” Avoid any brands that are packed with stabilizers and fillers as they won’t work as well.
  • Cashew cream: I used homemade cashew cream, which is easy to whip up in minutes with a food processor or blender. You may be able to substitute raw cashew butter (with only cashews and sometimes salt as an ingredient), though I haven’t tried that.
  • Maple syrup: feel free to substitute this for honey (not vegan) or extra granulated sugar (melted into the coffee mixture). Don’t reduce the amount too much as it’s needed for a soft, scoopable ice cream texture.
  • Cacao butter: ice cream needs fats for the best texture and mouthfeel. Cacao/cocoa butter works particularly well for this – it even yields a slower melting rate for the ice cream. (It’s also a key ingredient for homemade chocolate!)
Ingredients for coffee ice cream

The Coffee

  • Coconut milk: I used this as my liquid to make up the coffee. You can use the milk (for cappuccino ice cream) of your choice or even water.
  • Coffee: I used instant coffee granules/powder. You can, alternatively, use espresso for a more intense flavor.
  • Cacao powder: just enough to add depth and enhance the rich coffee flavor without actually tasting chocolatey. This is one of the key ingredients in chocolate, too!
  • Sugar: I used coconut sugar (unrefined), but brown sugar would also work well.
  • Salt: just a pinch to enhance the flavors in this coffee homemade ice cream.

The Coffee Ice Cream Toppings

All of the topping ideas below are 100% optional. They are just a few suggestions that I think would work particularly well when paired with this homemade coffee ice cream.

  • Date syrup or Coffee Syrup
  • Toasted Hazelnuts
  • Chocolate (shaved, chunks, or chips)
  • Cacao beans/nibs
  • Chocolate-covered coffee beans
  • Nuts (raw, roasted, or caramelized)
  • Caramel sauce
  • Toffee
  • Coconut (lightly toasted works wonderfully for extra crunch)
  • Whipped cream (use coconut whipped cream for dairy-free)
  • Nutella (vegan) or chocolate syrup
  • Berries or bananas
  • Wafers/crushed biscuit
  • Cookie crumbs
Optional toppings for coffee ice cream

Optional add-ins and variations

  • Vanilla extract – I use homemade
  • Extra cocoa powder (for a mocha ice cream)
  • Cinnamon
  • Alcohol (Kahlua or Baileys and other coffee/chocolate-flavored liqueurs would work particularly well)
  • Toasted coconut (shredded or flakes)
  • Crushed biscuit (like amaretto for a delicious coffee crumble ice cream)
  • Brownie pieces
  • Chocolate chips (dark, milk, white)
  • Crushed nuts (walnuts are my favorite, but pecans and hazelnuts would also work)
  • Nutella (you can add a swirl of it directly into the mixture after blending, before adding it back to the freeze for coffee swirl ice cream/mocha ice cream)
  • Mocha chip ice cream increases the amount of cacao/cocoa powder with the addition of chocolate chips, too!

How to Make Coffee Ice Cream?

Step 1: Prepare the cashew cream

First, soak the cashews for 30 minutes in boiling water or for several hours with room-temp water. Then drain and rinse the cashews and blend them with either water or the liquid from the coconut milk can.

Steps for making cashew cream

Step 2: Melt the cacao butter

Using a double boiler (a bowl set over a saucepan with a couple of inches of water), melt the cacao butter until melted. After that, set it aside to cool while preparing the coffee.

Steps for melting cacao butter

Step 3: Make the coffee

In a small saucepan, combine the coconut milk (or water), sugar, coffee granules, cacao powder, and salt and heat over medium heat to a soft boil, stirring until everything is dissolved.

Then, remove from the heat and pour through a sieve in case there are any remaining lumps.

Steps for preparing coffee for ice cream

Step 4: Blend the ingredients

Add all of the ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy.

Steps for preparing base for coffee ice cream

Once blended, give the vegan coffee ice cream mixture a taste and adjust the sweetener if necessary.

If you want to make coffee crumble ice cream, at this point add in any crunchy elements like crushed biscuits, choc chips, crushed nuts, and fold them into the blended mixture.

Coffee ice cream in a blender

Step 5: Freeze the coffee ice cream

There are two methods to freeze this coffee ice cream.

Ice tray method: pour the coffee blend into a large ice-cube tray (silicone is best) and transfer to the freezer, covered, for up to 6 hours or overnight – until frozen solid.

Large container method: transfer the coffee mixture to a large, wide dish (it will be transferred to a smaller one eventually, but a wider dish is best during the first freezing step). Then, follow the method outlined in my caramel ice cream recipe.

If you use the second method, then ignore the following steps.

Pouring coffee ice cream in ice cube tray
Before and after freezing coffee ice cream

Step 6: Blend the frozen coffee cubes

Transfer the frozen vegan coffee ice cream cubes to your food processor and blend into a soft, smooth ice cream consistency.

You can then either enjoy the homemade ice cream immediately or, if it’s a little too soft for your liking, transfer the mixture to an ice cream container and place it back in the freezer for a further 30-60 minutes. Enjoy!

A blender with coffee ice cream

How to Store Coffee Ice Cream

Any leftovers are best stored, covered tightly, in the freezer for up to two weeks.

Remove it from the freezer for 5-10 minutes before serving to scoop it out more easily. Alternatively, leaving the scoop in hot water for a few minutes can also help.

How to Serve

My favorite way to serve this homemade coffee ice cream is by making it into an Affogato with a shot of espresso. Otherwise, you could also enjoy it as a topping to pancakes, French toast, Waffles, etc.

Let me know in the comments how you’d enjoy this vegan coffee ice cream recipe!

Coffee ice cream topped with coffee beans

FAQs

A scooper and coffee ice cream

Recipe Notes & Variations

  • Substituting ingredients: I’ve carefully tested (and re-tested time and time again) until getting this recipe “just right” in terms of taste and consistency. In short, I recommend following the recipe as stated.
  • Increase the amount of coffee: if you prefer a bolder coffee flavor, feel free to increase the amount of coffee somewhat. Moreover, remember that each brand changes in flavor, so adjust as necessary. You can also slightly decrease the maple syrup, but it’s best not to lose too much for textural reasons.
  • For nut-free ice cream: you could omit the cashew cream and use more coconut cream instead. However, keep in mind that it won’t be quite as creamy and may taste slightly more coconutty.
A serving of coffee ice cream

Other Dairy-Free Dessert Recipes

  • No-bake layered cherry cheesecake
  • Simple strawberry sorbet
  • Two-layer vegan strawberry tart
  • Blackberry, lavender, and yogurt ice cream
  • Vegan raw mini peppermint layers cheesecakes
  • Avocado chocolate mousse
  • Vegan Peach Ice Cream
  • Coconut Mango Ice Cream
Delicious ombre pink and green raw vegan no-bake cheesecake with a gluten-free pistachio base and cashew nut based cherry cheesecake filling!
strawberry sorbet scoop inside a cup topped with basil leaf and fresh strawberry
two-layer vegan strawberry tart. dairy-free, refined sugar-free, grain free, no-bake

If you try this homemade coffee ice cream recipe, I’d love to hear your thoughts/questions below. Also, I’d appreciate a recipe card rating below, and feel free to tag me in your recipe recreations on Instagram @Alphafoodie!

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