This is our family’s go-to homemade dairy free vanilla ice cream recipe. Perfect for summer, or any time of year!
Last weekend I was chatting with a friend who just bought an ice cream maker. When I mentioned I use mine all the time, she asked for some recipes and like the boring friend that I sometimes am, I replied, “I only have one recipe and I use it every time.”
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My Personal Feelings about Ice Cream
I get really serious about ice cream. I like it a lot. Maybe more than I should. My family knows not to try to steal a bite of my ice cream or they’ll get a spoon to the hand.
While not an ice cream snob (I’ll pretty much eat any ice cream offered to me), I was born and raised on Blue Bell, the pride of Texas.
So when I set out to make my own dairy-free ice cream for my daughter a couple of years ago, I had pretty high standards. I tried a few variations, and hit upon this one. It’s so good, I keep going back to it.
You can add all sorts of things to it, or just eat it plain and creamy, right out of the machine.
Dairy Free Vanilla Ice Cream
Dairy Free Ingredients:
- 1 cup coconut milk (The kind you buy in the 1/2 gallon containers, not the cans)
- 1/3 cup sugar
- a pinch of salt
- 2 cups Silk vanilla soy creamer
- 2 teaspoons real vanilla extract
- Ice Cream Machine like I use or Kitchenaid Attachment
Making the magic happen:
Make sure the freezer bowl of your ice cream maker has been frozen for about 24 hours. I leave mine in my freezer since I use it so often.
1.Whisk the coconut milk, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl or pitcher until the sugar is dissolved.
2. Add the soy creamer and vanilla and stir till combined.
3. Cover and refrigerate for an hour or so. (I make my ice cream mixture before I start dinner prep. Then when we’re done eating dinner, it’s ready to make fresh ice cream for dessert.)
4. Set up and turn on your ice cream maker.
5. Pour the mixture in and let it run for 15-20 minutes, depending on the model of your ice cream maker.
6. Fend off impatient children and husband with the whisk.
7. After 15-20 minutes, serve immediately from the ice cream maker, and store the rest in an airtight container in the freezer for later. I won’t judge you if “later” means later that night for round two.
Tips for making the best homemade ice cream
Use only high quality real vanilla extract. The imitation stuff is sometimes made with propylene glycol, which is basically antifreeze. Not good when you’re trying to freeze ice cream. And kinda not good on any level, when you think about it!
In fact, The Joyful Foodie has a great recipe to make your own vanilla extract, if you want to really know what you’re eating.
Letting the ice cream maker run a bit longer than you think is necessary (I mean, who doesn’t want to get at that ice cream as soon as possible!) will help it be creamier and fluffier.
This is really helpful if you’re storing the leftovers to use later, so you don’t end up with a brick of vanilla ice (ice baby).
If you’re planning on gobbling it up in one sitting, then maybe this isn’t so important.
Get Creative with Toppings
If you’re adding extra goodness like Oreo bits or chocolate chips to your ice cream, wait until the last couple of minutes before you drop them in. That way, the add ins will be mixed through, without pounding them to oblivion.
You could substitute almond or soy milk for the coconut milk, but I think the coconut milk mixed with the soy creamer gives it the most balanced flavor.
If you love the taste of coconut, then you could use coconut milk creamer as well. For me, that’s just a little too coconutty.
So there you have it: this dairy-free vanilla ice cream stands deliciously on its own, and it creates the foundation for all my other ice cream recipes. While it may be an exaggeration to say this is the only recipe I make, it’s pretty much the basis for all the other ones.
If you like this one, you may want to try my Pink Lemonade version or even fancier, my Mint Chocolate Chip recipe. They’re perfect for summer, or any other time of year!
Sunday 12th of February 2023
Just made this in my new ice cream maker. The coconut milk and creamer have it’s own sweetness so we found it to be too sweet. Will try again and cut the sugar in half.
Saturday 30th of July 2022
I’m an ice cream snob and grew up eating only vanilla but the with a very selective taste palate. When I became vegan I was having a hard time finding a substitute that wasn’t too sugary or heavily influenced by coconut or whatever ingredient was the base. This recipe is simple and INCREDIBLE. I cannot thank you enough for sharing this. I followed everything to a tie including buying that ice cream maker 😋 and it came out fantastic. I was afraid it might taste too coconut like but you don’t even recognize the coconut at all. I LOVE this recipe and will make it my new go to.
Thursday 18th of August 2022
I can't tell you how happy that makes me! Thank you for sharing!
Saturday 20th of November 2021
Can you leave out or substitute the soy vanilla creamer ?
Monday 6th of December 2021
I would not recommend leaving it out, but you can try substituting it with another vegan creamer. There are so many more available now than when I first wrote this recipe. I'd love to hear if you find one you like!
Wednesday 19th of May 2021
Can you use a creamer that us not soy?
Wednesday 8th of September 2021
You can! There are lots of good plant based creamers out there now, but I haven't tried them yet. I'd love to hear about it if you do!
Tuesday 24th of November 2020
Would Cashew milk work well for this recipe? I'm the only one who likes coconut in our family lol but the rest love cashew milk
Saturday 28th of November 2020
I've never used cashew milk (my daughter is allergic) but I've heard great things about it. I know a lot of vegans use it for plant based cream sauces, so it seems like it would work here too. I'd love to hear back from you if you try it!