When we go to Japan, our favorite treat is the matcha green tea ice cream. Here's my vegan version, which uses coconut milk in place of dairy.
Jack here, bringing you one of the many joys from our Japan travels – matcha ice cream. We had no idea, before going, that green tea ice cream was even a thing. But the minute you walk down the street in any touristy area, you’re guaranteed to see giant fake green soft-serve cones outside of ice cream shops. Seeing something so American and familiar as a giant fake soft-serve ice cream cone, but *green*, was, well, it made me want to eat some. Fast forward through the trip, and Jeanine and I must have eaten 1 cone each every other day. So enough about us, it’s time to share one of our favorites with all of you.
Of course, the “cream” in our ice cream continues to be coconut cream, and I have a dirty secret. I love dairy, I love dairy ice cream – but I like coconut ice cream better. There. I said it. Coconut ice cream is better than dairy ice cream. And this is coming from the guy that is sometimes happy his wife is lactose-intolerant so that he can have the cheese from her pizza.
Besides the coconut cream and matcha, the secret of this green tea ice cream recipe is that we add some maple syrup, vanilla, and a squeeze of lemon. All of these help to cut through the natural bitterness that matcha (or any tea) has, and gives you a sweet ice-cream-y dessert.
If you love this matcha green tea ice cream recipe…
Make matcha smoothies, matcha doughnuts, or matcha-frosted cake next!
Matcha Green Tea Ice Cream
- 1 can full fat coconut milk
- 1 to 2 teaspoons matcha* (see note)
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- squeeze of lemon
- 1 tablespoon vodka (optional - to help texture once it’s frozen)
- pinch of salt
- Make sure the bowl of your ice cream maker has been in the freezer for at least 12 hours, 24 is best.
- Whisk together the matcha, sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, lemon, salt and vodka, if using. (If your matcha is lumpy, you can strain the mixture before putting it into your ice cream maker). Pour into your ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturers directions. Pour into a freezer-safe container and freeze for at least 1-2 hours to firm up a bit.
- If your ice cream has frozen over night, let it sit at room temp for 15 minutes to soften again.
*the flavor of matcha can widely vary in bitterness, I suggest starting with less and adding more to taste (before churning the ice cream). I used AIYA Cooking Grade Matcha which is one of my favorites because the flavor is very nicely balanced.
I used this Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker, although if you have a KitchenAid Stand Mixer, I recommend getting the Ice Cream Attachment instead. (It works the same, it’s just easier to store).
My husband just bought me a creamy machine and we used this recipe. It’s excellent absolutely terrific! My son was in heaven!
Well, after testing/testing 9 of the recipes found in a google search for vegan gluten free matcha green tea ice cream, this is the best one by far. No close seconds. This touches all the bases, creamy, not icy, no aftertaste and just good!
Also…….EASY! Mahalo and ALOHA!!!
This ice cream is amazing! Unfortunately I squeezed too much lemon and ruined the flavour, but it froze beautifully and still tastes good when combined with chocolate ice cream! Next time I might skip the lemon altogether, just to be safe.
what is the volume of the can of coconut milk?
This looks amazing! Any suggestions for people who don’t have an ice cream maker at home?
Some people make ice cream in a vitamix blender – I haven’t tried it that way. If you have one, I’d check out their site for instructions.
I only have light coconut milk in house…will that work? I hope so cuz I really want to make this now!
Hi Jill, I’m sorry, it’ll be too icy with light coconut milk.
Ok, so I tried it anyway and put in a bit of cornstarch thinking this would thicken it up a bit, maybe! Anyway, it seemed to work well! Love the result anyway!
Forgot to rate it!
Hi Jill, I’m so glad that worked! Thanks for coming back with your results!! xo
Do you use the whole can of coconut milk or just the fat?
the whole can!
I am so thankful for this recipe. Years ago my friends took me out to a sushi restaurant for my birthday and I had my first green tea ice cream. I searched high and low for it in stores to no avail. I went to my local Asian market and found it, but it was chock full of stuff I avoid eating. So, I went without its deliciousness until I found your recipe.
This is really delicious! The texture is really nice too. The first time I made it, I used the ingredients you listed with the exception that I only had a lime in the fridge and not a lemon, so in it went. I have tried it with the lemon as well, but have to say the lime ups the dimension of flavors quite well! I know play around with sugars, where I use half coconut sugar and regular sugar ect. Always comes out perfect.
Just tried to make this and it was a total fail. I was suspicious of the ingredient list and should have trusted my instinct. Reading the last comment posted back in June 2016, I see that someone else had the same question as me about when to add the coconut milk, because that is left out of the instructions. While the flavor of the ingredients is great, the ingredients do not make for good ice cream. Vegan ice Cream needs some sort of thickener. I typically use arrowroot flour, which is gluten free. The mixture also needs to be heated first (to create the thickening) and then cooled before putting into the ice creamer maker bowl. This recipe never thickened in my ice cream maker, and the fat in the coconut just separated from the liquid and hardened. Maybe this recipe has potential with some tweaks??
I’m so sorry for the unclear instructions. Yes, the coconut milk gets mixed with the rest of the ingredients and then poured into the ice cream maker. Hmm.. I’ve always found that 2 cans of full fat coconut milk thickens up nicely. It’s possible that there could be a difference in types of coconut milk or in ice cream makers? I’ve used this template for lots of various ice creams. I occasionally add corn starch, but I’ve personally found the difference to be negligible. The mixture needs to be cool (not hot) before adding to the ice cream maker and the ice cream maker has to be as frozen as possible. I get a soft serve texture right out of the ice cream maker and then let it firm up in the freezer for a scoop-able texture. I’ll be sure to test this one again adding more detailed notes, and I sincerely apologize for the trouble with the recipe.