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Not only do I have an excellent new recipe to share, but it also comes with two bonus topping recipes! Ice cream is my family’s go-to dessert, yet my body just doesn’t do well with dairy. So I set out to make the most legit version I could using plant-based ingredients, and I got to say, this vegan ice cream recipe lives up to the hype.

While I love fruit frozen treats like my mango sorbet, I also do crave ice cream… and this vegan version just hits the spot.

Vegan ice cream scooped into 2 sugar cones.

Whether you chose the chocolate crackle, mix berry compote or toppings of your own making, you’ll quickly fall in love with this buttery smooth dessert.

Table of Contents
  1. Vegan Ice Cream Ingredients
  2. Store Bought vs Homemade Plant-Based Desserts
  3. Perfect Ice Cream Toppings
  4. Vegan Ice Cream Recipe FAQs
  5. More Plant-Based Desserts
  6. Vegan Ice Cream Recipe Recipe

Vegan Ice Cream Ingredients

ingredients for vegan ice cream recipe including raw cane sugar, arrowroot powder, maple syrup, full-fat coconut milk, a whole vanilla bean and sea salt.
  • Full-fat coconut milk: Regular ice cream needs at least 10% fat content for the right consistency and texture. Full-fat coconut milk helps mimic this in my dairy-free version.
  • Raw cane sugar: This version of sugar is less processed and isn’t bleached, which helps it keep the sweet flavor without the additives. It still dissolves nicely without any gritty texture.
  • Maple syrup: I like the darker flavor of maple syrup, yet this recipe doesn’t use too much. This is vanilla, not maple ice cream after all.
  • Vanilla bean: While you can use vanilla extract or vanilla powder in this dessert, a whole vanilla bean provides a more robust flavor.
  • Arrowroot powder: This lovely powder freezes and thaws without changing (or becoming lumpy). It helps thicken the ice cream without making it gritty.
  • Sea salt: Just a pinch brings a nice balance to this rich dessert.

Store Bought vs Homemade Plant-Based Desserts

different brands of coconut milk in a line, all options for vegan ice cream.

There are entire sections of grocery stores dedicated to plant-based offerings, which I love. However, when you look at the labels of some of these ‘green’ items, you’ll find quite a few unpronounceable ingredients and additives.

Avoid all that nonsense with this vegan ice cream recipe. It’s only six ingredients, all easily found at your local grocer and all minimally processed. Yes, ice cream is a dessert (no health food claims here!), yet one made with real ingredients. Even when I treat myself, I want to feel good afterward.

chocolate crackle and berry compote as ice cream toppings.

Perfect Ice Cream Toppings

This vanilla ice cream recipe is a great base for a plethora of toppings, and I’m sharing two ways I love to top my desserts. The recipes for both of these options are below, and they are super easy to make!

Chocolate Crackle

bowl of melted chocolate sauce.

This two-ingredient topping just needs to be heated and mixed a short time before serving. I love how simple dark chocolate and coconut oil is as well as how delicious it is on my ice cream. Watch the magic of pouring your slightly cooled crackle onto the ice cream and it instantly forms a hard shell that your spoon can crack through when you dig in.

Simple Berry Compote

jar of homemade berry compote.

This berry compote can be used to top vegan pumpkin pancakes, vegan waffles, steel-cut oats, vegan yogurt and more. It’s easy to make as well as a great way to use those summer berries. I use mixed berries for a brighter flavor, yet you can just pick your favorite and keep it to one berry.

Vegan Ice Cream Recipe FAQs

Which milk is best for vegan ice cream?

I use coconut milk as its high-fat content is similar to dairy milk, and it doesn’t get frosty like almond or cashew milk.

Can you use an ice cream maker to make vegan ice cream?

Yes! I love the way my ice cream maker works, so I definitely use it when making the dairy-free version as well.

How do you make healthy vegan ice cream?

While ‘healthy’ can be subjective, I do believe in using real, whole food ingredients for the best results. I use raw cane sugar in my recipe as ice cream does need a sweetener, yet raw cane sugar is much less processed and isn’t bleached.

4 bowls of plant-based ice cream, some topped with chocolate crackle and some topped with fruit compote.

More Plant-Based Desserts

Since dairy isn’t my body’s friend, I’m always on the hunt for great dessert recipes sans dairy. Here are a few I use on the regular for family game nights, parties, holidays and more:

Don’t forget to rate this recipe and if you’ve got feedback, leave a review!

5 from 1 vote

Vegan Ice Cream Recipe

Take summer by creamy storm with this decadent vegan ice cream recipe. I use just six ingredients to create a chilled dessert that scoops like the real thing. And because I love ice cream so much, I've also included two bonus recipes for the perfect toppings!
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
5 hours
Total: 5 hours 15 minutes
Author: Jen Hansard
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Plant-Based, Vegan
Serves: 8


  • ice cream maker


  • 2 cans coconut milk full-fat
  • ½ cup cane sugar
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 vanilla bean split lengthwise and seeds scraped out
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot powder
  • pinch sea salt

Chocolate Crackle

  • 4 oz bittersweet chocolate chopped
  • 2 tbsps coconut oil unrefined
  • pinch sea salt

Fruit Compote

  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch sea salt
  • 2 cups mixed berries
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For Ice Cream:

  • Place coconut milk, cane sugar, maple syrup, vanilla bean and seeds, arrowroot powder and sea salt into sauce pan. Whisk until smooth. Heat over medium, whisking constantly until mixture comes to a gentle boil. Boil 1-2 minutes, continuing to whisk constantly. Pour into a clean bowl and allow to cool to room temperature. Cover and chill until very cold.
  • Follow manufacturer instructions for churning ice cream. Transfer to an airtight, freezer-safe container. Freeze until firm enough to scoop, preferably overnight.
  • Serve with desired toppings.

For Chocolate Crackle:

  • Set a heat-safe glass bowl over a pan of simmering water. Melt the chocolate with coconut oil. Add a pinch of sea salt. Remove from heat and allow to cool a bit before using. If the sauce is too hot, it won't solidify quickly enough to form the shell. If it gets too cold, it will be too gloppy for a thin enough shell.

For Fruit Compote:

  • Combine all ingredients except fruit in a saucepan. Whisk until combined. Bring to a boil and cook, whisking constantly, for 1-2 minutes. The mixture will be very thick. Remove from heat and add the fruit. Stir well. Transfer to an air-tight jar and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. Best if used within 3-4 days. Serve chilled or warmed.


  • Swap arrowroot powder with cornstarch or tapioca starch.
  • Not all coconut milk brands have the same amount of fat. Choose one with high-fat content, or use coconut cream.
  • For the fruit compote, use mixed berries or the berry of your choice.


Calories: 59kcal, Carbohydrates: 15g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 1mg, Potassium: 6mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 14g, Calcium: 2mg, Iron: 1mg
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  1. 5 stars
    I can’t believe how much this looks like ‘real’ ice cream! Definitely giving the berry compote a try too

    1. Can I make this without an icecream maker/machine? And how successful will it be, if so?

      1. Hi Heidi, That’s a great question. To have a dessert with an ice cream like consistency, we will need some frozen ingredients. I would freeze 1 can of the coconut milk in an ice cube tray. Once frozen, add the coconut milk cubes, plus all the other ingredients to a high powered blender and blend until you get a thick & creamy consistency. I would probably only use this method if you were going to serve immediately. Hope this helps and works out for you! 🙂