Choose-your-own-adventure, no-churn, vegan ice cream

Guest post by KateyAte

By: JenniferCC BY 2.0
When I lived by myself I would spontaneously make dessert a couple of times a week. I found I usually made vegan desserts because I’d have most of the ingredients on hand, and they were things that could happily live in the pantry instead of being perishable — stuff like almond milk, apple cider vinegar and various flours.

This is definitely one of my favourite vegan desserts because it’s made with stuff from the cupboard, it’s quick to put together, and you can easily change it up with different mix-ins. The best part is you don’t even need an ice cream machine to make it.

Basic, no-churn, vegan ice cream


  • 2 x 270ml cans of coconut cream (I use the stuff that’s 100% coconut extract, with no water or emulsifiers added)
  • ¼ cup icing sugar (or powdered sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. If you have the time, chill the cans of coconut cream in the fridge for a couple of hours. This will make it easier to whip later.
  2. Scoop out the coconut cream into a bowl and add the vanilla and icing sugar/powdered sugar. I only use ¼ cup of sugar because I find coconut cream pretty sweet anyway but you can bump it up to half a cup if you like.
  3. Beat the mix with electric beaters. You can do this step in a standing mixer if you like, or if you have strong forearms you can do it manually with a whisk. My forearms have all the strength of a malnourished poodle, so I use electric beaters. You need to beat the mix until you have some air in it and it’s at the soft peaks stage. In my experience, it won’t get to the stiff peaks stage like dairy cream but you’ll notice when it’s become soft and billowy. I find that beating air into the cream gives it a light, melt-on-your-tongue-immediately-and-disappear quality, otherwise it can tend to harden into an unscoopable rock once it’s frozen.
  4. Very gently scoop half the mix into a container. Add a layer of your chosen mix-ins and then very gently scoop the rest of the mix on top. I find this mixture doesn’t really hold up to having the mix-ins stirred through because you lose too much air in the process, which is why I prefer to put the layer of mix in the middle.
  5. Put a lid on and stash it in the freezer for a couple of hours to firm up.

Options for mix-ins:

This is the choose-your-own-adventure part of the recipe. I’m the kind of person who hates clothes shopping, but offer me the chance to go to the grocery store… I live for that shit. Going to the store to pick out mix-ins is definitely in the adventure category for me.

I just went with a simple layer of raspberry jam and it worked really well with the coconut but you could throw in pretty much anything. The vanilla extract takes the coconut taste down a couple of notches so that it doesn’t taste as strongly of coconut as you might expect so don’t worry too much about picking mix-ins that clash with coconut.

Try adding two tablespoons of any (or all?) of the following (some of which aren’t vegan):

Comments on Choose-your-own-adventure, no-churn, vegan ice cream

  1. I want to try this!

    I love to make desserts, but very few of my favorites are vegan. I will definitely keep it in mind for vegan friends! Thanks.

  2. Ooo sounds good!

    Is coconut “cream” the same as the coconut “milk” that comes in a can (usually in the Thai foods section, not the same as the drinkable coconut milk by the soy milk and such)?

    • If you put those cans in the fridge, then open it what you will have floating on the top is the cream and there will be watery liquid beneath it. I buy the grace brand cans and I find they are inconsistant…some are mostly cream and some are about half and half. I know you can buy just coconut cream on its own but for whatever reason I have yet to find it priced reasonably around my town. Separating cans works well for me though..and you can just reserve the watery bits for smoothies or whatever..its basically coconut water.

  3. how in the world can sugar not be vegan? its… sugar… it comes from a plant. my 10x sugar has is just sugar and an anti-caking agent, usually corn startch.

  4. Gah! Why is it always coconut!? I hate coconut. But maybe if I use a really strong flavoring agent (like mint extract) if I can mask the icky coconut flavor.

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