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. I love my KitchenAid® Ice Cream Maker Attachment  because it saves space and it does a great job with homemade ice cream. 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! 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. 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 13 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.
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 4
  • 1 (14-ounce) can full fat coconut milk
  • ⅓ cup pure maple syrup
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • (optional) toppings: sesame seeds, tart cherries, chocolate
  1. Freeze the base of your KitchenAid® Ice Cream Attachment 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 the ice cream maker and churn until thick, about 20 minutes. Scoop out and enjoy! If you would like thicker ice cream, freeze for 1-2 hours before serving.
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


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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Juliette

    I love tehina ice cream but don’t have an ice cream machine. Could this work without the machine ?

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      Hi Juliette, We haven’t tested making this without an ice cream maker, so I can’t guarantee the results, but this method might work:
      Pour the base into a metal loaf pan or an 8×8-inch baking dish. Freeze uncovered for 30 minutes, then whisk vigorously to break up any ice crystals that are forming. Freeze for another 30 minutes and whisk again. Continue this process, freezing for 30 minutes and then whisking, until the ice cream is fully frozen, about 2 to 3 hours. I hope this helps!

  2. Glenys Johnson

    I made your chocolate cake using cacao. It’s the best ever. I didn’t have chocolate chips so I just blended the sweet potato added the cacao and icing sugar. Poured it over the cake and I have never has better chocolate cake. Am going to make the vegan ice cream tomorrow. My daughter rated it highest on her list of cakes. I know the ice cream will be just as good.

  3. Sue

    Hi! I’m looking for suggestions on what would work instead of coconut milk.
    Thank you!
    Sue- a non coconut lover

  4. Kristen Harris

    I am not a fan of tahini. Do you think I could leave it out?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Kristen, no this recipe requires tahini as the base. If you search our site for other ice creams, there are other ones that just use coconut milk.

  5. Lisa

    I made this today, it was SO delicious but the texture was gritty and almost dry (I’m not quite sure how to explain it). I made the recipe as written and added a tbsp of vanilla and a pinch of salt, and churned in my KitchenAid ice cream maker. I’m thinking next time I should try a different brand of coconut milk? I used full-fat Arroy-D, which has no additives. I’ll definitely be giving it another go as the flavour was perfect and it couldn’t be easier to make!

    • Ysa

      I haven’t tried the recipe yet since we don’t have tahini 😔. Have you tried making vanilla vegan ice cream? It’s the only flavor I have at the moment.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Lisa, it might be your tahini – was your tahini chunky or gritty? Vs. smooth and creamy? Some brands I like are: Cedars, Soom, and Seed + Mill. Other than that, you can try blending it all in the blender before churning so that the mixture is fully smooth.

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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.