The Best Homemade Coconut Ice Cream

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Video Cocnut milk ice cream

This Homemade Coconut Ice Cream has been a staple in our house for so many years, and no one ever knows it’s dairy free! It’s super creamy, perfect with so many different baked desserts, and it’s paleo and vegan as well. This vanilla version of Coconut Ice Cream is just 3 simple ingredients and all creamy-dreamy texture. It’s the perfect dairy free ice cream for everything you can think of all summer long. And don’t miss trying it in my Cookie Dough Ice Cream Sandwiches!

This ice cream… it’s silky smooth and so delicious. It reminds me of childhood days getting strawberry sundaes with soft serve at a certain popular chain restaurant.

Now I know this delectable ice cream bears no real resemblance to my childhood favorite. But, that’s okay because it’s so much better! Something about the amazingly smooth mouthfeel of this ice cream is so similar to soft serve. Now, all I need is some strawberry sauce.

My specific recipe for strawberry sauce is in the Inspired Ice Creams e-book I wrote, (see bottom of this post). But you can also make my Triple Berry Sauce from my Fruit and Yogurt Cups with just strawberries for something similar.

This recipe is my all time most popular dessert recipe on the blog. I’ll admit I was a little shocked this is the case considering how many chocolate recipes I’ve made. (But I guess everyone likes ice cream as much as I do!)

We make this ice cream often, and I’ve received so many questions about different ways to make this. So I knew it was time for an update. I’ve included everything I’ve learned about ice cream making in the recipe + tips for achieving the creamiest texture.

Now… let’s jump in and make this recipe step by step!

All the ingredients for Coconut Ice Cream in small pottery bowls on a wooden cutting board.

Step 1:

Start by measuring out all of your ingredients.

Tip: I like using grade A amber maple syrup for the lightest maple flavor. Honey can be tricky to blend in, so I’ve quit using it over time. You can also use powdered sugar to taste for the least intrusive flavor. But I think you’ll find Grade A amber maple syrup to be super yummy here with little to no maple flavor.

Step 2:

Then blend them together in a blender until smooth. Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator if your coconut milk isn’t pre-chilled.

Coconut Ice Cream just finished in the ice cream machine.

Step 3:

Freeze the coconut mixture according to the manufacturers instructions. I like to take the ice cream out when it’s just firm enough that it sticks to a spoon when you lift some out.

Tips for how to make Homemade Coconut Ice Cream from scratch:

  1. Keep cans of coconut milk in the fridge for quick and easy ice cream at a moments notice.
  2. Make this recipe with cans of coconut cream in place of the coconut milk for an even richer texture.
  3. Add the sweetener to your taste! The more sweetener you add the softer and smoother the ice cream will be. But it’s also import to get the right amount of sweetness for you.

Tips for the best texture when freezing your ice cream:

I take my ice cream out of the machine when it starts sticking to a metal spoon. Using a regular spoon from your silverware drawer, quickly scoop some ice cream out from the top of the machine when it starts to look thick. If it sits up on the spoon and doesn’t slide right off, it’s done. This sounds a little weird, but it really works for the best creamiest texture.

I never used to know when to take my ice cream out of the machine. There were a few times I left it in for too long which makes the ice cream airy, and it becomes icy when it’s fully frozen. All in all, even if your ice cream turns out extra fluffy, nobody is going to care because it’s still totally awesome!

I think all dairy free ice creams have the best texture straight out of the ice cream machine. They’re just like soft serve and can be firmed up in the freezer for a few more hours as well. When they’re fully frozen, they’re rock hard, so it’s best to let them soften in the fridge for an hour or 20-30 minutes on the counter first.

How do you make Coconut Ice Cream without an ice cream machine?

  1. First blend together all the ingredients.
  2. Next freeze the mixture in ice cube trays, keeping back about 1/2 cup liquid.
  3. When the ice cream cubes are frozen, add them to a high speed blender with your reserved, (refrigerated) 1/2 cup liquid ice cream base. You can also do this in a food processor, but you may need to do small batches.
  4. Blend on low speeds using the tamper until you have a thick and creamy ice cream.
  5. Serve immediately, or freeze for a couple hours for a firmer texture.

How to make ice cream without an ice cream maker is the most frequently asked question I get, so I wanted to write down the exact method for you. This is how I used to make ice cream before I had an ice cream maker.

If you don’t have a high speed blender or food processor, you can place the mixture in the freezer. Then stir it every 30 minutes until it freezes. The texture will be icy, but that’s the only other way I know to make ice cream without a machine.

The reason this method is icy is because there’s only the stirring to break up the size of the ice crystals while they form. When you manually stir it every 30 minutes, the ice crystals form larger, which creates the icy texture.

Notes about blending ice cream in your blender:

  • This only works with a high powered blender, and it’s hard work even for them. If you don’t have a high powered blender, I absolutely wouldn’t attempt to blend ice cream. You can try the same method in a food processor instead – I use my Cuisinart.
  • It’s super important to monitor the blending constantly. Don’t step away for a moment because blending ice cream is hard on a blender. By monitoring and using the tamper, everything ‘should’ be fine. I have a Vitamix and it has a safety feature that turns the blender off if it starts to overheat. So that definitely gives me some peace of mind.

What to serve with Coconut Ice Cream?

The sky is the limit with how to use this ice cream… but I love it with warm Chocolate Fudge Skillet Cake. Or piled into a waffle cone is another favorite along with pairing it with berries or peaches in the summer.

Also pretty much any cake/fruit crisp would work like…

  • Paleo Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie
  • Apple Pie Skillet Cake
  • Cookie Dough Ice Cream Sandwiches
  • Cinnamon Glazed Grilled Pineapple
  • Grain Free Raspberry Cake
  • Strawberry Rhubarb Almond Shortbread Tart
  • Paleo Funfetti Ice Cream Sandwiches
  • Cinnamon Blueberry Cobbler
  • Strawberry Skillet Shortcake
  • Paleo Caramel Apple Pie Bars
  • Blackberry Cardamom Peach Crisp
  • Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
  • Cinnamon Cranberry Apple Crisp
  • Paleo Pecan Pie Bars
  • Cranberry Orange Skillet Cookie

As a further bonus, making your own homemade coconut ice cream is about half the price it is here in our grocery stores. In Montana, a pint of coconut ice cream can run between $5-$6. But when we lived in Calgary, a pint of our favorite coconut ice cream was almost $10!!!

And finally just one more tip:

It seems like the about the amount of sweetener varies with people liking every amount from 1/4 cup to 1 cup. My advice is to start with a small amount of sweetener, and keep adding until it tastes right to you!

If you’re looking for more dairy free ice creams, I wrote a whole book with all the favorites called Inspired Ice Creams! There’s 32 recipes + 143 variations which = 175 total frozen treats!

I really hope you enjoy this Homemade Coconut Ice Cream! And if you do get a chance to make it, I hope you’ll leave me a comment/rating below. I always love hearing from you here! Also for even more ice cream and ice cream sandwich recipes, head over to the recipe index.

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