Dairy Free Vanilla Ice Cream - Cooking Up Clean

Dairy Free Vanilla Ice Cream


Nostalgia…defined by yours truly as a wood crank ice cream machine. I’ve made homemade ice cream many, many times in my youth and in my adult life with one of those old fashioned wood crank varieties that you have to place a bunch of ice and salt around the container to freeze the custard.  That was always such a crazy mess and a crazy amount of work.  I always ended up with salt crusties all over the kitchen, water leaking out of the wood bucket and it seemed to take loads more ice than I intended resulting in a last minute run outside to gather snow from the yard to supplement (what can I say, I made ice cream in winter, in Minnesota!).  Needless to say, the mess and time it took was not worth the effort so it’s been years since I’ve made any sort of homemade ice cream.  Rather, nowadays, I’d just stroll over to the delicious ice cream shop that’s merely a block away from my house and delight in their in-house creamy creations.

dairy free vanilla ice cream

The problem came when I couldn’t really eat more than a lick or two of a sweet delicious creamy cone without feeling ill thanks to a sensitivity to dairy.  Sigh, no more ice cream.  My luck changed during one random shopping trip this summer and my ice cream making days are back. I found a small one quart electric ice cream maker that had the metal churning container encased in a water containing tub that you place in the freezer to use anytime you like!!  Yahoo!!  And so I’ve returned to ice cream making using a traditional ice cream custard recipe with just a simple substitution… exchanging the heavy cream with full fat coconut milk.

How amazingly simple is that! All of my problems have been solved!  Dairy free vanilla ice cream here I come! …and a million more dairy free ice cream varieties too.  Don’t worry, I’ll get around to posting those too.  I also discovered something else fun called vanilla bean paste. I keep this in my cupboard to use when I forget to plan ahead and buy vanilla beans. It’s basically a container of scraped vanilla beans immersed in vanilla extract to use whenever you need… like in this ice cream.  Perfectly, spoonable, delightfully lickable.  Top it with a creamy caramel sauce (also dairy-free) and you’re in heaven!

caramel sauce

Dairy Free Vanilla Ice Cream
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Desserts
  • 2- 13.5 ounce cans full fat coconut milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped (or use 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste)
  • Toppings (optional)
  1. Whisk together coconut milk, egg yolks, maple syrup and vanilla in a medium saucepan.
  2. Heat over medium heat until just about boiling. You'll want mixture to coat the back of a spoon but not to boil.
  3. Transfer mixture to a bowl and place in refrigerator to cool at least 4 hours. Mixture must be cold for it to churn well in the ice cream maker.
  4. Once chilled, pour into ice cream maker and churn according to the ice cream maker's instructions. The custard should reach a soft-serve consistency.
  5. Pour churned custard into an air-tight freezer proof container and place in freezer to firm.
  6. To serve, let ice cream sit out at room temperature for about 20 minutes so it's soft and scoopable.
  7. Top with awesome creamy caramel sauce or other toppings of your choosing if desired.



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