Cherry season is at its prime so it's the perfect time to make this refreshing vegan black cherry ice cream. Made with sweet dark cherries and a pop of vanilla and fragrant amaretto - this is the best way to enjoy seasonal cherries this summer!!
I had the challenge of creating a fresh cherry ice cream that's incredibly creamy while still bringing out the fruity flavor from the fruit without adding in too much water content (nobody wants icy ice cream!).
So similar to my Vanilla Ice Cream recipe, this vibrant dairy-free cherry ice cream uses a custard base which results in a creamy, smooth, and velvety consistency while letting the cherry flavor shine.
📖 Recipe Overview
- Creamy Scoopable Consistency - This cherry ice cream uses an ice cream machine and is churned to the perfect consistency - not too thick and not too melty!
- Vibrant Color & Delicious Flavor - Dark cherries are blended and then cooked down into cherry custard to intensify their flavor. This also adds a beautiful natural cherry hue to the frozen dessert.
- Easy To Make - Since this ice cream is made without eggs, there’s no tempering or risk that you'll end up with s scrambled mixture!
🧾 Ingredients Needed
As promised this cherry amaretto ice cream comes together with under 10 ingredients. Here's what you need to grab:
- Black Cherries - You can use any type of dark sweet cherry, such as Bing cherries which have a gorgeous mahogany-hued skin that gives your ice cream a gorgeous natural color. Feel free to use sour cherries such as Amarena if you have them to hand.
- Vegan Condensed Milk - This is a staple in my kitchen for making vegan homemade ice cream.
- Coconut Milk - This ice cream calls for full-fat canned coconut milk or coconut cream. You can also use a vegan heavy whipping cream that's oat-based or soy-based if you'd like to keep your cherry ice cream coconut-free.
- Amaretto - As well as adding a delicious almond (slightly marzipan) flavor to the ice cream, Amaretto helps to lower the freezing point meaning the ice cream remains easier to scoop.
- Flavorings - Natural cherries don't have the most intense flavor on their own, which is why this recipe includes some complimentary extracts in order to enhance that cherry flavor! Almond extract and paste along with a pinch of sea salt are a great way to help the cherry flavor shine.
🥣 How To Make Black Cherry Ice Cream
You're just a few easy steps away from delicious homemade cherry ice cream, here's how it's done:
Step 1: For the ice cream base, blend together pitted dark cherries, vegan sweetened condensed milk, cornstarch, and oat milk until smooth. Pass the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any bits of skin.
Step 2: Cook the mixture until thickened and it coats the back of your spatula. Then mix in the flavorings and cool to room temperature.
Step 3: Next make the cherry swirl sauce. Add the cherries and condensed vegan milk to a blender and blitz until completely smooth.
Step 4: Cook over low-medium heat for a few minutes until thickened slightly. Whisk in the Amaretto and set aside to cool.
Step 5: Whip up the coconut cream until light and fluffy. You can use a regular whisk or stand mixer if you have one.
Step 6: Carefully fold the cooled cherry mixture into the vegan whipped cream until combined.
Step 7: Pour the cherry ice cream mixture into the frozen bowl of your ice cream maker and churn until thick.
Step 8: The ice cream is ready to go when it is really thick. At this stage, it should stick to the arm of the ice cream machine.
Step 9: Transfer it to a loaf pan or sealable container.
Step 10: Swirl in the cooled cherry sauce using a spoon or spatula and freeze until completely set. This will take about 4 hours.
This vegan cherry ice cream recipe is a winner as written. But there are lots of ways to jazz it up to your liking!
- Chocolate Chip Cherry Ice Cream - Chop up 70% dark chocolate into small chunks and add them towards the last 5 minutes of churning for a delicious Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia dupe.
- Sour Cherry Ice Cream - Feel free to swap in a sour red cherry variety such as Montmorency, Morello, and Balaton. Note though, that you may want to add a little more sweetener to compensate for their more acidic flavor.
This dairy-free cherry ice cream has a sweet cherry flavor with notes of vanilla, almond, and Amaretto. It's fragrant, smooth and brings out the best in fresh cherries!
The cherry ripple sauce brings a burst of sweetness and juiciness which contrasts beautifully with the creamy gelato.
Place it in an airtight container such as a sealed lunchbox or a loaf pan tightly wrapped with plastic wrap. Before sealing, cover the top of the ice cream with a sheet of parchment. As mentioned, this is so that ice crystals don't have room to form.
Remember, this isn’t store-bought ice cream that’s stabilized with a bunch of emulsifiers and artificial preservatives. For the best flavor, enjoy it within 2 weeks of churning!
Yes, you can! Cherries aren't in season most of the year but don't let that stop you from enjoying this wonderful homemade ice cream.
You can find frozen sweet dark cherries in larger supermarkets most year-round. Defrost them before using them in the recipe and use the cherries only - not the defrosted juice. You can add the juice to your porridge, smoothies, or other desserts.
I don't recommend it! As this recipe is specifically designed to be churned with its high fruit content.
No-churn ice cream typically has a thicker consistency which makes it ideal to use without an ice cream maker. However, the texture ends up much thicker than traditional dairy ice cream or gelato.
🍨 More Vegan Ice Cream
- 400 g (2⅗ cups) black cherries, pitted, *see note 1, or sweet dark frozen cherries *see note 2
- 460 ml (2 cups) unsweetened oat milk, or unsweetened vanilla oat milk
- 45 g (⅓ cup) cornstarch (cornflour), or ground arrowroot
- 250 g (⅘ cup) vegan condensed milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste, or vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons amaretto, *see note 3
- 440 g (1⅘ cups) chilled full-fat canned coconut milk, or coconut cream, *see note 4
- 150 g (1 cup) black cherries, pitted
- 70 g (¼ cup) vegan condensed milk
- 1 tbsp amaretto
- Freeze the ice cream bowl from your ice cream machine at least 12-24 hours ahead of making the recipe.
- Blend: Add the cherries for the ice cream to a high-speed blender with the oat milk, cornstarch, and vegan condensed milk and blitz until smooth. Pass the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a saucepan.
- Cook: Cook on low to medium heat for a few minutes while whisking. Alternate between using a whisk and spatula to prevent the mixture from burning to the bottom of the pan. Once the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of your spoon or spatula, remove it from the heat.
- Flavor and cool: Whisk in the salt, vanilla, almond extract, and amaretto.Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature - you can speed this up by using an ice bath - just be sure no liquids get into the mix.
- Cherry sauce: Add the cherries and condensed milk to a blender and blitz until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and cook for around 5 minutes while stirring, until slightly thickened.Remove from the heat and whisk in the Amaretto. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
- Whisk: Whisk the coconut cream until light and fluffy. For ease, you can use a stand mixer or electric whisk, but a regular whisk will do!Fold the cooled cherry mixture into the coconut cream until combined.
- Churn: Transfer it to the frozen bowl of your ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions (usually this can be 25-40 minutes). The ice cream is ready when it is super thick and sticks to the arm of the machine.
- Freeze: Transfer it to a loaf pan or sealable container, and swirl it into the cooled cherry sauce using a spatula. Cover the top of the ice cream tightly with a sheet of parchment and freeze for 3-4 hours until solid or for soft serve consistency you can serve it straight from the machine.
- Storage: Store it in an airtight container or loaf pan sealed with plastic wrap in the freezer. It is best served within 2-3 weeks. I also recommend taking it out of the freezer to rest at room temperature for 10 minutes before diving in for the perfect scoops!
- Cherries: Weigh cherries after removing pits.
- Frozen Cherries: If using frozen cherries, defrost and use only cherries - not defrosted juices.
- Amaretto: Omit this for an alcohol-free version, but note that the ice cream will set harder and needs to sit out for 15 minutes before scooping.
- Chilled Coconut Milk: Refrigerate the coconut milk overnight, then only use the thick cream from the top of the cans. You will need approx 2x 400ml cans depending on the brand of coconut milk, as they all yield different ratios of cream.
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