Vegan Ice Cream

Say hello to the BEST vegan ice cream recipe! Made with just 3 ingredients, it's super creamy, smooth, rich, delicious, and easy to make.

Vegan ice cream

Meet the BEST vegan ice cream. Ever.

Yep, I said it. Over the years, I’ve tried all sorts of vegan ice cream recipes, ones with bases ranging from frozen bananas to cashew milk to almond milk. For me, there’s no contest. As far as dairy-free ice cream goes, coconut ice cream is by far the best. Full-fat coconut milk adds enough richness to create a texture that is super creamy, smooth, and not at all icy. It’s rich, decadent, and every bit as good as the real thing.

Coconut milk, maple syrup, and tahini in bowls

Best Vegan Ice Cream Recipe Ingredients

Lately, this vegan ice cream recipe has become my new favorite. To make it, you’ll need three simple ingredients:

1. Coconut milk – My go-to base for dairy-free ice cream.
2. Maple syrup – It gives this recipe a deep, complex sweetness. I love the maple flavor here!
3. And…tahini! The creamy star ingredient in this recipe.

I know, I know. If you walk into any American ice cream shop, tahini probably wouldn’t be among the ice cream flavors there. However, sesame ice cream is popular in Japan. During our trip to Tokyo last spring, I had the most incredible sesame ice cream, and I haven’t stopped thinking about it.

Luckily for me, this homemade version is just as good as the delicious ice cream I had on our trip. The toasty, nutty flavor of the tahini pairs wonderfully with the maple syrup and coconut milk, and though the tahini flavor is present here, it’s not overpowering. It mostly lends an extra-creamy texture to the coconut milk base, which makes this vegan ice cream really exceptional.

Dairy-free ice cream

How to Make Non-Dairy Ice Cream

The night before you plan to make your dairy-free ice cream, freeze the base of your ice cream maker. It should be in the freezer for at least 12 hours before you proceed with the recipe!

The next day, whisk together the coconut milk, tahini, and maple syrup to create the ice cream base. If your coconut milk is chunky, use a food processor or blender to whir the ingredients into a smooth puree.

Then, pour the mixture into the base of your ice cream maker and churn until thick! Mine takes about 20 minutes, but the timing will depend on your machine. Refer to your manufacturer’s instructions for timing guidelines.

When the ice cream is thick, scoop and enjoy, or freeze it for 1-2 hours for an even thicker texture.

Vegan ice cream recipe

Vegan Ice Cream Recipe Tips

  • Spice it up!Β Try adding a pinch of cinnamon or cardamom or a drop of vanilla to the coconut milk base for an extra layer of flavor.
  • Don’t forget the toppings.Β I love this dairy-free ice cream on its own, but it’s delicious with toppings as well. I served mine with tart cherries, melted dark chocolate, vegan chocolate chips, and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.
  • Eat it right away, or freeze it for up to a week. This vegan ice cream has the perfect creamy, smooth texture right after it comes out of the ice cream maker. Enjoy it as soon as it’s done, or store it in airtight containers in the freezer for up to a week. It hardens while it’s in the freezer, so if you’re planning to serve it 24 hours or more after you make it, let it soften at room temperature for 20 minutes before scooping it into bowls.

Vegan Ice Cream

If you love this dairy-free ice cream recipe…

Try one of these plant-based treats next:


5.0 from 8 reviews

Best Vegan Ice Cream

 
Prep time
Total time
 
This easy dairy-free ice cream is so rich and delicious! The tahini doesn't have an overpowering flavor here; it mostly lends an extra-creamy texture to the coconut milk base.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 (14-ounce) can full fat coconut milk
  • ⅓ cup pure maple syrup
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • (optional) toppings: sesame seeds, tart cherries, chocolate
Instructions
  1. Freeze the base of your ice cream maker for at least 12 hours, preferably overnight.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, tahini, and maple syrup. (If your coconut milk is chunky, you may want to combine the ingredients in a blender).
  3. Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and follow the directions of the manufacturer to churn until thick (about 20 minutes). Scoop out and enjoy! If you would like thicker ice cream, freeze for 1-2 hours before serving.
Notes
When you store your ice cream in the fridge for over 24 hours, it'll harden. Let it sit at room temp for about 20 minutes to soften before scooping.

Pictured in this post: KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker Attachment

32 comments

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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Jill
    07.07.2018

    Can this be done without an ice cream maker? I’ve got a Vitamix….

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.08.2018

      It thickened and churned really nicely in the ice cream maker. I haven’t made ice cream in a Vitamix – do you start with the ingredients partially frozen?

  2. Sarah
    07.07.2018

    This looks absolutely amazing. I am wondering, do you have a post about your trip to Japan? I’ve always wanted to go, but I am vegan and assumed it would be next to impossible for me to find enough to eat. Maybe I am wrong though?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.08.2018

      Hi Sarah, I don’t have a post about the trip, maybe one day! I ate mostly vegetarian/pescatarian in Japan – I don’t think it’s impossible to eat vegan there you’d just have to do some research ahead of time.

  3. Ivana
    07.07.2018

    So good and so simple, definitely will try this! I also don’t have an ice cream maker (yet), but I’ll eat it as a smoothie, don’t care πŸ˜€ thanks for sharing, love your recipes so much! <3

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.08.2018

      ha ha, thank you! I’m glad you’re loving the recipes!

  4. Brittany Audra @ Audra's Appetite
    07.07.2018

    Such a fun and interesting idea to add tahini to ice cream! πŸ™‚

  5. Natalie from lilcookie.com
    07.08.2018

    I love tahini! This ice cream looks so delicious and perfect for the summer!

  6. steph from iamafoodblog.com
    07.08.2018

    so creamy! i love this post and i loved hearing a bit about your trip!! when you figure out the veggie curry please invite us over! heehee πŸ˜‰

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.13.2018

      Ha ha, that curry was SO good, thanks for the recs πŸ™‚

  7. Gigi
    07.09.2018

    What kind of ice cream maker are you showing in your photo?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.09.2018

      It’s the Kitchen Aid ice cream maker attachment – I love it because the base fits right on the mixer and I don’t have to store a separate appliance.

      • Gigi
        07.09.2018

        That is so cool! Thank you for your response!

  8. Gaby Dalkin
    07.09.2018

    Oh, my…these pictures are speaking to my sweet tooth!

  9. Kirsten from planetprotector.com
    07.10.2018

    Wow, this looks so delicious and very easy to make. Perfect for a hot summer day. Thanks!

  10. Ellen
    07.11.2018

    I made this today, and it was so delicious β€” and easy! Thank you!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.13.2018

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!!

  11. hotmail login
    07.12.2018

    Woww can’t wait to enjoy the great flavor of tahini ice cream. I need to buy the ingredients right away. My children will love this icecream much. Have a happy day, friend.

  12. Charlotte
    07.13.2018

    Hi Jeanine,

    I never commented a post before, but I’m checking your blog very often and I find a lot of inspiration in your recipes! Thank you for sharing these amazing ideas!!!

    I was wondering, do you think it is possible to make this ice cream without an ice cream maker? Can I just use a blender and put the ice cream it the freezer?

    Thank you,

    Charlotte

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.13.2018

      Hi Charlotte, thanks for commenting! I’m so glad you’ve been inspired by the recipes πŸ™‚

      I’m not sure the ice cream would be an ice cream texture if it’s not churned in an ice cream maker. I think it would just become hard frozen tahini-infused coconut milk. It’s possible that a few frozen bananas (“nice cream” style) might help create a soft blended texture – maybe I’ll give it a try πŸ™‚

    • Ashten
      11.11.2018

      Hi,
      We also don’t have an I’ve cream maker. But we had great success by first blending the ingredients and then porting pouring the mixture into an ice cube trays for a few hours and then blended then in our Vitamix. So delicious and creamy!

  13. Julia
    07.14.2018

    This looks great and I always have tahini on hand. But I’m allergic to coconut. Do you think I could do this with almond milk?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.14.2018

      Hi Julia, I haven’t had ice cream success with almond milk. It’s just not as fatty as coconut milk so the ice cream turns out to have more of an icy consistency. Awhile back, I tried adding almond butter to my almond milk base to make it thicker, but I can’t remember the ratios that I used and I’m not sure if that would go well with the tahini :). (so sorry I can’t be more helpful!)

  14. gretcheb
    07.14.2018

    I was so excited to see an ice cream with ingredients that were already in my pantry. This does not disappoint and will be in regular rotation. Thank you so much for posting – it is a wonderfully simple recipe, that although is perfect on it’s own, has a lot of potential as a base for adding in other flavors.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.14.2018

      I’m so glad you love it as much as we do! πŸ™‚

  15. Kristin
    08.05.2018

    this sounds so good! i’m loving tahini lately, especially the salty/sweet combo with the maple syrup! seems like it’d be extra delish with a little sea salt on top (and maybe some vegan dark chocolate! πŸ˜‰ )

  16. Erin
    09.22.2018

    I bookmarked this recipe a while ago – mainly because I am obsessed with anything and everything tahini – but forgot it until I rediscovered it today. I made it for dessert tonight, adding a date caramel swirl, and it was amazing! The texture is so beautifully creamy; if you let it soften for a few minutes out of the freezer it’s more of a semifreddo than a hard ice cream.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      09.23.2018

      Hi Erin! I’m so glad you loved it!

  17. Maggie
    06.30.2019

    Too easy and delicious not to make over and over! Can’t wait to share this with friends and family. Awesome dairy-free ice cream option- thank you!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.10.2019

      Yay! I’m so glad you loved this ice cream as much as we do πŸ™‚

  18. Crisr
    01.04.2020

    Clear instruction with beautiful pictures.. I made it and it taste so good, much better than the store bought. I put dates syrup instead of maple- works well. Thank you for the recipe. I’m a fan now.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      01.05.2020

      I’m so glad you loved it as much as we did!

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.