This is hands down the best vegan vanilla ice cream I've ever tried, and that includes store-bought! The base is made using my vegan custard recipe, which is speckled with real vanilla beans and gives the ice cream the most amazing creamy consistency.

What's more, it's completely nut-free and made without cashews and you definitely won't find any bananas in this non-dairy vanilla ice cream. You can also choose to make it with oat milk or soy milk depending on your preference.

vegan vanilla ice cream scoops with vanilla pods and vanilla flowers in a powder blue ceramic dish.Pin
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📖 Recipe Overview

  • Made with just 8 ingredients.
  • Perfect creamy, scoopable consistency.
  • An intense vanilla flavor with real vanilla specks throughout!
  • Completely eggless, dairy-free, gluten-free, and nut-free.

Traditional French ice cream has a rich, thick custard base (creme Anglaise) made using egg yolks, whole milk and/or dairy whipping cream.

Similar to my vegan banoffee ice cream, this recipe uses a dairy-free crème Anglaise base along with vegan condensed milk to create the best texture possible.

Because of the thick and creamy base, this dairy-free ice cream is also less likely to go icy in the freezer, unlike other recipes that use just milk or cream.

🧾 Ingredients Needed

As promised, this homemade vegan ice cream comes together with just 8 ingredients. Here’s everything you’ll need:

ingredients for dairy-free vanilla ice cream measured out on a metal tray.Pin

Ingredient Notes

  • Non-Dairy Milk - I've tested this recipe with soy milk, oat milk, and almond milk. I personally find that soy milk makes the best ice cream base, with oat milk coming in a close second. Almond milk gave a slightly paler color and lighter consistency. You could probably also use coconut drinking milk or rice milk as well.
  • Vanilla - Obviously, vanilla is the main ingredient of this vanilla vegan ice cream, so a real vanilla pod is essential for that authentic flavor. Alternatively, you can also go for a good-quality vanilla bean paste. Vanilla extract is also included in the recipe to help create an intense vanilla taste.
  • Cornstarch - The dairy-free creme Anglaise base of the ice cream uses cornstarch as a thickening agent. This thickens the custard without eggs, giving it a rich consistency.
  • Vegan Condensed Milk - Replaces regular condensed coconut milk typically used in ice cream recipes. As the custard base is only mildly sweet, this adds sweetness and creates a consistency that doesn’t get too solid once frozen. This seriously helps with giving the ice cream a wonderful melty consistency.

🥣 How To Make Vegan Vanilla Ice Cream

soy milk and a whole vanilla pod split down the middle in a saucepan, to make a custard base for vegan ice cream.Pin

Step 1: Make the custard base. First, get started with the custard base. Add the cornstarch, sugar, and non-dairy milk to a saucepan and whisk to get out any lumps. Scrape out the seeds from the vanilla pod with the back of a knife and add to the pan.

thick custard in a saucepan to make vegan ice cream.Pin

Step 2: Cook and cool. Cook the mixture for 4-5 minutes until it thickens. The custard should coat the back of your spoon, remove it from the heat and stir in the sea salt until thoroughly mixed through. Cover with some plastic wrap or a lid. Chill the mixture for at least an hour before using the next step.

whipped custard and cream in a bowl to make dairy-free vanilla ice cream.Pin

Step 3: Whisk. Add the coconut milk, vegan condensed milk, and vanilla extract to a large mixing bowl and whisk with a hand mixer until fluffy.

whisking vegan vanilla ice cream in a large clear mixing bowl.Pin

Step 4: Whisk in the custard. Add the chilled custard mixture to the bowl and whisk again until thoroughly mixed through.

vegan vanilla ice cream in an ice cream maker.Pin

Step 5: Churn. Pour the vanilla ice cream mixture into your ice cream machine and churn for 30-40 minutes, or according to the manufacturer's instructions.

vegan vanilla ice cream in a ceramic tub.Pin

Step 6: Freeze. Lastly, transfer the churned ice cream to a loaf pan or lunch box, cover, and freeze for 2 hours before serving.

🍦Serving Ideas

It's no secret that vanilla ice cream tastes amazing in pretty much anything sweet. Here are some of my favorite ways to enjoy it:

💬 FAQs

Can I make this recipe without an ice cream maker?

Although I highly recommend using an ice cream machine, here are some tips if you're keen to go ahead and make the recipe without one.

After an hour of freezing or as it begins to freeze around the edges, transfer the ice cream mixture back into the blender to blend down any ice crystals before pouring it back into the loaf pan and into the freezer. Continue to check the ice cream every 30-45 minutes, using a spatula to stir it vigorously by hand.

Alternatively, another interesting method for making ice cream without a machine is with a plastic bag as shown on Delish. I haven't personally tried this method yet, so I can't vouch for how good it works!

You could also go for one of these great no-churn recipes instead including mango ice cream, caramel ice cream, or passion fruit ice cream.

How can you prevent ice crystals in vegan ice cream?

The secret is in the base. Any great ice cream recipe will have a high-fat content which is less likely to crystalize than water-based ice cream. This coupled with using an ice cream machine and ensuring that the ice cream is airtight when in the freezer and not exposed to the air will give the best results.

Can I make this vegan ice cream without coconut?

If you're able to find a vegan whipping cream such as soy or oat that could work (although I haven't personally tried it). You can also use sweetened condensed oat milk in place of condensed coconut milk.

vegan vanilla ice cream scoops with vanilla pods and vanilla flowers in a powder blue ceramic dish.Pin

🍨 More Vegan Ice Cream

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📖 Recipe

Vegan Vanilla Ice Cream

5 from 53 votes
PREP TIME: 1 hour
Chilling Time: 3 hours
TOTAL TIME: 4 hours
Servings: 8 (800ml/3.5 cups)
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Description

This vegan vanilla ice cream is made with real vanilla bean and a delicious dairy-free custard base, similar to French-style creme Anglaise-based ice cream. Incredibly creamy with a scoopable consistency, it's also nut-free and gluten-free.

Ingredients

  • 520 ml (2 ⅕ cups) soy milk, or oat milk
  • 100 g (½ cup) granulated sugar, *see notes
  • 45 g ( cup) cornstarch, or arrowroot starch
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 200 g (7 oz) vegan condensed milk
  • 200 g (7 oz) full-fat canned coconut milk, or coconut cream, *see recipe notes
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Freeze the ice cream bowl from your ice cream machine at least 12-24 hours ahead of making the recipe.
  • Add the soy milk, sugar, and cornstarch to a saucepan and whisk well to remove any lumps. Cut the vanilla pod down the center and scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds and the pod to the saucepan and place on medium heat.
  • Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes whilst whisking. Alternate between using a whisk and rubber spatula to make sure the custard does not stick to the pan. The mixture will become thick once the cornstarch is cooked, remove it from the heat. Carefully remove the vanilla pod and stir in the sea salt.
  • Cover the bowl with clingfilm to prevent a skin from forming and allow the custard to cool for 10 minutes before transferring it to the fridge to cool fully for an hour before the next step.
  • Add the vegan condensed milk, coconut milk, and vanilla extract to a large bowl and mix with an electric whisk for a couple of minutes until creamy. Add in the chilled custard mixture and whisk for another minute to combine.
  • Transfer the mixture to an ice cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions, mine usually takes about 30-40 minutes.
  • Transfer the ice cream mixture to a loaf pan, cover with a lid or plastic wrap, and freeze for a minimum of 2 hours.

Storage and serving

  • Store in the freezer in an airtight container for up to 2 months. Remove the ice cream from the freezer about 15 minutes before serving to allow it to thaw slightly and use a hot wet ice cream scoop to serve.

Notes

  • Some white sugar in the US is not vegan, if in doubt use organic sugar.
  • Full-fat canned coconut milk: Refrigerate overnight and only use the thick cream from the top of the can. I find Biona and Nature's Charm yield the best amount of coconut cream.
  • Heat your ice cream scoop in hot water before scooping to get perfect scoops every time.

Nutrition

Serving: 100g | Calories: 179kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 114mg | Potassium: 149mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 255IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 96mg | Iron: 1mg
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5 from 53 votes (47 ratings without comment)

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20 Comments

    1. Hi Frankie,

      Yes, you can use Oatly double cream (the whipping one) but not the single cream (for cooking). I hope this helps!

  1. 5 stars
    Wow, I am so impressed by this recipe. The finished product was creamy, sweet, pure vanilla goodness. It coats your mouth just like dairy ice cream does, though the texture is of course a tad more icy (no way around that really) but seriously better than any store bough non dairy brand I’ve tried. I will substitute the coconut milk for non dairy heavy whipping cream next time and see how it comes out as I’m not a huge fan of the light coconut flavor. Well done!

  2. 5 stars
    Wow, wow, wow!! This is amazing!! As good as some of my favourite non-vegan vanilla ice cream from those specialty shops. I followed the recipe as written except reduced the sugar by about 2 tablespoons and also the sweetened condensed milk by about 2 tbsp, since I am sensitive to sweet (and even more so when pregnant). I think this is the perfect sweetness for most people, but personally, I would prefer to further reduce the sugar, if possible. Do you think the recipe would work ok if I totally eliminated the sugar in the creme anglaise portion of the recipe?

    1. Hi Carly!

      Thank you for trying the recipe, I'm so happy that you were delighted with the result! As well as sweetness, sugar helps to reduce the freezing point of ice cream, which helps prevent it from freezing too solid. I would reduce the amount with caution, but I would imagine you could get away with cutting it by 20-50%. But bearing in mind that this may affect the consistency as well, I wouldn't eliminate it altogether for those reasons. I hope this helps x

  3. Is there another sweetener that I could use instead of regular cane sugar? Do you think coconut sugar, date sugar, honey, maple syrup or a stevia blend would work?

    1. Hi Carly!

      Liquid sweeteners are a no as they will throw off the ratios, and with coconut or date sugar, you will end up with more of a caramel flavor and color as opposed to vanilla. Cane sugar is really the way to go with this recipe. I haven't tried it with a sugar alternative though, I think Erythritol would be your safest bet if you're giving it a go x

  4. 5 stars
    Wow! I have made lots of vegan ice cream and this one is by far the best! I was first hesitant to try it because of the coconut. However, the coconut is a nice light touch and does not overpower the flavor. It makes it taste like yummy cake batter flavor. My family LOVED it. We will definitely save this recipe. Thank you!

    1. Hi Elizabeth,

      I'm so happy to hear that you all loved the recipe so much! Thank you for trying it despite your reservations about coconut - it really does take the consistency to the next level! x

  5. 5 stars
    My boyfriend made this Ice Cream today (prepared it yesterday) in our Ice Machine and it was gorgeous 🙂 we had it with apple pic, pecan pie, brownies an caramell sauce (all recipes from this blog) for a big vegan dinner with friends 🙂
    My boyfriend was afraid if the texture was good, because this was his first vegan ice cream, but it was perfect, so don't doubt, just make it 😀

    1. Hi Nina,

      I'm so happy to hear this! And thank you so much for trying all of my recipes, I'm so honored that you would choose them all from my blog 🙂

      1. 5 stars
        Wow wow wow I've been searching for a diary free nut free ice cream and I've found it. The mouth feel is rich and creamy and everything you'd ever dream of. I added salted caramelized pecans to the mix and just a tsp of vodka to keep it less hard.

      2. Hi Susan,

        Thank you so much for trying the recipe, I'm delighted to hear that you loved it! And the hint of alcohol is a great trick x

  6. Hi! I'm always on the hunt for a good vegan ice cream that doesn't use nuts and this looks great. I wondered if I could cool the custard overnight, or does it need to be used the same day that it's made?

    1. Hi Izzi,

      Fantastic, I think you will love this one 🙂 Yes absolutely, just make sure it's covered airtight before refrigerating.

      1. 5 stars
        Oh my gosh. I made this today, followed the directions exactly and it is sooo good! I did add 1T Vodka to help keep it from freezing so hard, but that's pretty much not going to be an issue because it'll be gone tonight. 🙂 Seems like it could be a good base as well ..I'm already thinking to add chocolate chips next time. Thanks for such a super recipe!!

    2. Hi Izzi,

      Thank you so much for your amazing feedback! I'm delighted to hear that you loved the recipe, I'll have to try it with a bit of vodka as well at some stage 🙂

    1. Hi Christina,

      I've included some notes and tips for making it without an ice cream maker in the FAQ section above the recipe card 🙂