This fantastic dairy-free vanilla coconut ice cream recipe is made with pure vanilla extract and real vanilla beans for a double dose of that warm sweet flavor. It’s a very simple vegan formula that doesn’t require heating or chilling before churning, and it’s perfect for vanilla fanatics (like me!). I’m sure it will become your basic go-to ice cream, and it’s the perfect dairy-free way to celebrate National Vanilla Ice Cream Day!
Classic Vanilla Coconut Ice Cream that Makes Being Dairy-Free Easy
This basic recipe is delicious and oh-so versatile. Which is why I’m giving the post a big update today with some new variations – I originally shared this recipe back in 2006! Here are some ways you can customize this vanilla coconut ice cream to your taste or dietary needs.
Purely Coconut – You can reduce the vanilla or leave out the vanilla bean and add some shredded coconut or toasted coconut as it churns. For a bigger tropical infusion, you can even add a little coconut extract. It’s quite scrumptious!
Orange Sherbet – Omit the vanilla, but add 1 tablespoon of orange oil and some orange zest. If you make a batch of this and a batch of the vanilla, you can serve both for a creamsicle-inspired dessert.
Stracciatella – When it is almost done churning, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of shaved dairy-free chocolate. The shavings amplify the melt in your mouth experience.
Cookie Cream – Use organic brown sugar in place of the cane sugar for a richer flavor. If you’re paleo, you can use coconut sugar! It will be a little less sweet and have more of a malted flavor.
Vanilla Ice Milk – If you can’t do coconut, or need a coconut break, you can substitute your favorite unsweetened dairy-free milk beverage. It will be a touch icier, but also delicious and refreshing. The consistency will look more like these scoops.
Special Diet Notes: Basic Vanilla Coconut 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. Make it paleo with honey or coconut sugar or keto with your favorite low-carb sweetener.
- 4 cups full-fat canned coconut milk
- ¾ cup sugar
- ½ vanilla bean (optional)*
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Pinch fine sea salt
- Pour the coconut milk and sugar into a large bowl or your blender, and stir or blend until the sugar is dissolved.
- Split the vanilla bean, if using, and scrape the seeds into the coconut mixture. Add the vanilla extract and salt and stir or blend to combine.
- Churn the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions.
- Pack the soft serve ice cream into a freezer-safe container, and freeze for 4 hours, or until solid.