Conventional cooking wisdom says the simple recipes are the best, and this dairy-free strawberry ice cream is no exception. It uses just a handful of ingredients, but they’re pure, rich, and flavorful, to create a satisfying frozen dessert. Each spoonful is cool, perfectly creamy, and has a bright berry taste.
How to Churn Perfect Dairy-Free Strawberry Ice Cream
This delicious frozen dessert is adapted from my Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream recipe in Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook. Since I have more room here than in print, I’ll answer some FAQs that I’ve received.
Can You Really Taste the Strawberries?
Many dairy based recipes focus more on the cream than the actual fruit. But this dairy-free strawberry ice cream is bursting with flavor. It’s still creamy, but is more like a cross between ice cream and sherbet, thanks to an extra higher ratio of strawberries.
Can I Use Frozen Strawberries?
You can, but this could cause the taste to vary. Frozen berries often have a more lackluster taste and are more watery than fresh berries. I would defrost and sample a couple of the berries first, to make sure they have some flavor. If they don’t, the tips below might help.
My Strawberries Aren’t Very Flavorful. How Can I Fix It?
To help brighten the flavor, add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice (up to 1 tablespoon) and more sugar. When taste testing the mixture, note that it will taste much sweeter before churning than it does once frozen. So you do want it to be on the sweet and flavorful side before you churn it. In some cases, they are just too lackluster. It can help to have some strawberry extract on hand for these flavor emergencies.
Will Other Berries Work in this Recipe?
Yes, you can use blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, or a berry blend! All go well with this base. If you do opt to use raspberries and/or blackberries, puree the fruit first and press it through a mesh sieve to remove the seeds. And be sure to use ripe, sweet berries. When in season, look for good farm brands like Naturipe at the store.
How Many Cans of Coconut Milk Do I Need?
You’ll need 2 (13.5-ounce) cans of regular coconut milk, which is found in the Asian section at grocery stores. See the recipe notes for more details on the measurements. If you only have 1 can, simply pour the coconut milk into a measuring cup and add enough dairy-free milk alternative to make 2 1/4 cups. In a pinch, you can add water instead of milk alternative. For these options, the end result will be less creamy and more like sherbet. But it will still be delicious!
Do I Shake the Coconut Milk Can or Refrigerate It?
Use coconut milk from your cupboard. Shake it and measure out 2 1/4 cups of the coconut milk total. You don’t need to separate out the cream.
How Can I Make Coconut-Free Dairy-Free Strawberry Ice Cream?
See my Coconut Substitution Guide for some great options to use in place of the coconut milk. If you just aren’t a fan of coconut, the coconut flavor isn’t overly prominent. Fresh strawberries and that extra dose of vanilla help to mediate overt tropical notes.
Can I Use Another Sweetener?
The cleanest tasting alternative will be agave nectar. But if you want a paleo strawberry ice cream, honey tastes great, too. You might need to warm the coconut milk and honey together to properly dissolve the honey. For these two options, I would start with 1/2 cup sweetener, and add more to taste. Keep in mind, it will taste a little less sweet and flavorful once frozen. So err on the sweet side when blending the mixture.
Will a Sugar-Free Sweetener Work?
In my opinion, no. Sugar is a key component to creating ice cream that is soft. This is why most low sugar ice cream brands use an array of additives to help with the consistency. If you use a sugar-free sweetener, expect harder, denser results.
Special Diet Notes: Dairy-Free Strawberry Ice Cream
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, plant-based, and vegetarian.
- 1 pound strawberries, hulled
- 2¼ cups full-fat canned coconut milk (see Coconut Milk Notes below)
- ⅔ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract or flavoring
- Pinch salt
- Put the strawberries, coconut milk, sugar, vanilla, and salt in your blender. Blend until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.
- Put the blender jar in the refrigerator and let the mixture cool for 1 hour or more. (You can skip this step if using frozen berries or refrigerated coconut milk.)
- Give the mixture another quick blend, then churn the chilled mixture in your prepared ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.
- Pack the soft serve ice cream into a freezer-safe container. For hard-packed ice cream, let it freeze for 3 hours or more.