How to Make Ice Cream from Coconut Cream: Simple Dairy-Free & Vegan Recipe Guide

Updated: Jun. 13, 2024

This creamy coconut ice cream is an almost effortless tropical treat—and it's naturally dairy free and vegan.

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Stop by a roadside ice cream stand in Hawaii and you might find coconut ice cream served in a coconut shell. The sweet treat is refreshing, deliciously creamy and happily dairy-free and vegan. It’s perfect in a cone, a sundae or a bowl.

Coconut Ice Cream Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 can (13.66 ounces) coconut milk
  • 1 can (13.66 ounces) unsweetened coconut cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • Sweetened shredded coconut, toasted, optional

Tools

  • Ice cream maker: Try this compact and cute frozen dessert maker, which can freeze 1-1/2 quarts of ice cream in just 20 minutes.
  • Freezer-safe containers: These stackable containers are perfect for storing sorbet, ice cream and other frozen treats.
  • Coconut bowls: For an authentic tropical look, serve your ice cream in these charming bowls.

Directions

Step 1: Mix

Whisk all ingredients until well blended.

Step 2: Freeze

Fill cylinder of ice cream maker no more than two-thirds full. Freeze the mixture according to manufacturer’s directions.

Step 3: Serve or store

If you enjoy a “soft serve” texture, you can serve the coconut ice cream immediately. Or, transfer to freezer containers, allowing headspace for expansion. Freeze until firm, two to four hours.

Step 4: Garnish

If desired, garnish with toasted coconut before serving. Other excellent toppings for this ice cream include: banana, mango, tropical fruit salad, hot fudge, salted caramel sauce or any kind of toasted nuts.

Excited to sample other fruity ice cream flavors? Here’s our favorite recipe for banana ice cream. If you need to make it dairy-free, try using the base of this coconut ice cream recipe instead of the cream and evaporated milk.

How to Store Coconut Ice Cream

You can store your ice cream in well-sealed, freezer-safe containers. Research shows that homemade ice cream stays delicious for up to two months. If your containers have nice tight lids, try flipping them upside down to avoid freezer burn!

Tips for Making Coconut Ice Cream

coconut ice cream in an ice cream scoopTMB studio

Is this coconut ice cream vegan?

This recipe is dairy-free and vegan. The coconut milk and coconut cream give the ice cream a rich mouthfeel without eggs or dairy products. (Here’s the difference between coconut milk and coconut cream.) Want more vegan ice cream? Try our almond butter ice cream.

Can you make coconut ice cream without an ice cream maker?

Yes, there are a few different ways to make ice cream if you don’t have a churn. This method is probably the easiest: Put your ice cream in a freezer-safe container, and freeze for 45 minutes. Take out and stir vigorously. You can use a wooden spoon or spatula, but a hand mixer will give you fluffier results. Return to freezer. Stir every 30 minutes until the mixture is frozen. This may take up to three hours.

Can you make chocolate coconut ice cream?

Definitely. In the first step, when you’re whisking the ingredients, add cocoa powder or vegan cocoa mix to make the ice cream chocolaty. You can also add chocolate chips or chunks to the ice cream maker when the ice cream is nearly ready.

There are so many flavor possibilities for coconut ice cream. If you’ve already tried chocolate, here are some other flavors to try when you’re whisking together the base ingredients:

  • Spices, such as cinnamon, ginger or allspice
  • Espresso powder
  • Maple syrup
  • Vanilla bean paste
  • Matcha powder

Want to add fruit? Put chopped or crushed fruit (strawberries and pineapple would both be excellent) in a resealable plastic bag, and place it in the freezer. When it has started to firm up, it’s ready. Add the semifrozen fruit to the ice cream maker during the last few minutes of churning.