Vegan Vanilla Bean Ice Cream


Vegan Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Before you roll your eyes,  there’s a good reason why I’m sharing two ice cream recipes in a row. And it’s not because I’ve got a scoop-a-night ice cream problem (which I do). It’s also not an act of rebellion against that little gem salad that’s going to result in 54 more desserts before you see another salad. Though in this case, I really did eat this vegan vanilla bean ice cream for dinner last night.

I had an entirely different recipe lined up for today, but instead we’re having ice cream to celebrate. I filed my dissertation this afternoon so it’s dessert-ation time! Ergo: Ice cream, duh.

Vegan Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

The whole thing was much less exciting than I anticipated. There’s a tradition at Cal that when you file your dissertation, they give you a See’s lollipop that says PHinisheD on it. As in: printed out on an inkjet and taped across the front. It’s cheesey, but it’s tradition and I want it.

So I braved the busy side of campus I’ve spent six years avoiding, expecting to get my lollipop. When I handed over the paperwork, the receptionist just said, “Ok, thanks. You’ll get a confirmation e-mail when it’s processed.” Like NO BIG DEAL. This happens EVERY DAY.

Vegan Vanilla Bean Ice CreamVegan Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Then like the saddest little kid you ever saw, I asked, “b-b-b-but what about my lollipop?” Seriously, I asked. As if I was the one person he forgot to give a lollipop to. His less-than-amused response: “Oh, you don’t get that until the paperwork is approved in about 3 business days.”

Which means I have to go back (you better believe I will, too)! This also means filing your dissertation is a hugely uneventful activity.

Vegan Vanilla Bean Ice CreamVegan Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

So instead I came home and ate this vegan vanilla ice cream straight out of the freezer. No shame.

Like the strawberry vegan chocolate chip ice cream I shared last month, this vanilla version is intensely creamy. With a deep vanilla bean aroma, this ice cream has just a hint of coconut you’d only pick out if you knew you were looking for it. I’m so addicted to this vegan coconut ice cream base that I’m keeping my ice cream maker bowl in the freezer permanently. Don’t expect the ice cream recipes to stop until next winter. Sorry not sorry.

Ice Cream Bowls

I joined forces with Alanna & Todd to turn this vegan vanilla ice cream into a trio of ice cream floats – head over to check out my Hibiscus Ginger Ice Cream Floats with links to their floats too!

(A special shout out to Alanna for sharing her robin’s egg bowls with me).

Thanks for reading Snixy Kitchen! To stay up on what’s coming out of my kitchen,  follow me on Facebook, Instagram, TwitterBloglovin’, or Pinterest, or subscribe via e-mail to get new recipes right to your inbox.

Vegan Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Yields: 1.5 quarts
  • 1 (14-ounce) can coconut cream (Available at Trader Joe's or online)
  • 1 (13.66-ounce) can full fat coconut milk (Thai Kitchens brand available at most major grocery stores or online)
  • ¾ cup raw turbinado sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup (or maple syrup*)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon vodka**
  • 2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise and scraped (or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract) (I use Rodelle vanilla beans)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  1. Warm coconut cream, coconut milk, sugar, corn syrup, coconut oil, vodka, vanilla bean seeds and pod, and salt in a medium pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When the cream begins to simmer, remove the pot from heat. Cover and let the mixture steep for 20 minutes. Remove the bean pod, scraping out the insides of the pods for all that vanilla goodness. Reserve the pods to make vanilla extract.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice cubes and water.
  3. Pour the base into a large 1-gallon Ziploc bag. Seal it and submerge the mixture in the ice bath until cold, about 30 minutes. (You can also skip this step by refrigerating until the mixture is cold, about 4 hours).
  4. Pour the ice cream base into the bowl of your pre-frozen ice cream maker. Follow the directions on your ice cream maker to churn the base into ice cream, until it is the consistency of soft-serve, about 15-18 minutes.
  5. Pack the ice cream into an air-tight storage container or a metal loaf pan, pressing a sheet of parchment paper directly against the ice cream.
  6. Freeze until firm, at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight.
*Update 8/23/16: I now make this ice cream with maple syrup and it doesn't taste any different than the corn syrup version!
**Update 8/23/16: I added vodka per a recommendation from Heartbeet Kitchen and it makes it EVEN CREAMIER.

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  1. Karishma says:

    Oh em gee!! I sooo want to eat this ice cream for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!!! I’ll use my full-time graduate student and part-time work status as an excuse. :) Congrarulations on submitting your dissertation!!

  2. I am officially handing you 100 lollipops my dear! Congratulations to you, Sarah, for all that Chocolate Strawberry Ice Cream paid off! And what better way to celebrate; more Ice Cream!!! Can you hear me screamin’ for it? And cheering you on for a most accomplished feat?! I am in awe! After a Thesis in Grad School I can only imagine the agony of writing a dissertation… the process, the pulling out of one’s hair, the tears, teeth gnashing…. All. That. Ice Cream. Okay – the latter is fine, but all that other stuff is behind you my dear (except you have to present and defend, right?).

    Beautiful work on this Ice Cream. You know Vanilla Beans are my top food pick so I am salivating for this, Sarah! Can’t wait to see what you, Alanna and Todd have coming up for us! (YaY!)

    • Yay!! Thank you so much, Traci. My new motto: more ice cream. I don’t expect it to settle down any time soon;) I didn’t have to defend!! For some reason, Cal doesn’t require a dissertation defense, so once I submitted it, it was ALL DONE! And all ice cream all the time:)

  3. Veronica says:

    Yea! Congratulations Dear Sarah! You deserve this wonderful treat! Roy and I are so proud of you! I love vanilla bean ice cream and what a pretty way to show it off then with such pretty bowls! Can not wait to see You and Lucas! Big Hug and Kiss!

  4. Congrats on finishing, hoooray!!! I can imagine that it feels so good to have it done, so ice cream for dinner is totally acceptable. I’ll be crossing my fingers for you over the next three days, you are going to get that lollipop girl!

  5. Congrats on handing in the dissertation. But I know just how you feel. I’ve been there myself. Certainly a bit anticlimactic. Especially if they are holding out on the lollipops for another few days. The nerve of some people! Glad you had ice cream in your freezer. I absolutely have a “scoop a night” habit and I’m totally OK with that.

    • Thanks Liz! I’m so glad we got to meet IRL this weekend because now I know you can commiserate with me on this whole PhD to food blogger thing:) Now back to the freezer for more ice cream….

  6. Julia says:

    CONGRATULATIONS!!! /You deserve that lollipop a million times over so I hope it tastes fan-freaking-tastic when you receive it 3 business days from now :) I’m in love with this ice cream! Definitely a beautiful bowl for celebrating all the things in life!

  7. Jenna says:

    Dang, I was just at Trader Joe’s to stock up on things. You should have posted this recipe 2 weeks ago when I was there. J/K. I do have their coconut oil would that work for this?

    • Oh my gosh – I’m so sorry for the SUPER LONG delayed response. Their coconut oil will work for the tablespoon of coconut oil, but you’ll also need to get some coconut cream when you go back! :) If it’s too far though, you can always get coconut milk and just use the cream off the top (but then I’d use the cream off 2 cans of coconut milk in place of the coconut cream…in addition to the coconut milk called for in the recipe:)

  8. suki says:

    we have an ice cream maker, but we haven’t used it to successfully make ice cream. this sounds amazing ~ i want to try it at home, but i’m skurred.

    i have a box of those lollipops on my desk, but they don’t have the sticker/label, or i’d offer you one. i know, i know. NOT THE SAME. congrats on finishing/handing in your dissertation!

    • Don’t be skurred! as long as your ice cream bowl is totally frozen it’ll come together so smooth and deliciously.

      Hehe – thanks for thinking of me with your lollipops! I finally did get mine and it was well worth the wait! Thanks for the celebrations!

  9. Congratulations!!! I can’t believe they make you wait for the lollipop–lame. This ice cream is probably way more delicious, though!

  10. How exciting!! I feel like they should have trumpets blaring them you leave, right?! Total triumph! :) This ice cream does look like a lovely alternative though!

  11. Very very good decision in adding coconut cream to this stuff. I’m stunned by how beautifully creamy it looks since that’s not common for vegan ice cream, no offense to vegan ice cream. And I teehee’d at the PHinisheD part, so cute and I’m a sucker for puns :DDD !

  12. Congrats Sarah!! That’s awesome and what a relief. Minus the part about the lollipop. Ha! you’ll get yours soon enough. Better yet, you should make your own lollipops!
    This looks amazing and is it the corn syrup that makes it so creamy? My homemade ice cream is delicious but usually on the icier side which everyone else but me happens to love more. Oh, and I love that coconut cream at TJ’s. I use it for this chocolate cake with coconut cream recipe. Yum!

    • Thank you so much Lisa! Yup – it’s the tiny bit of corn syrup that makes it soft and pliable. (Can you make me that chocolate cake with coconut cream please? :)

  13. Wow this ice cream looks incredible! So creamy. Congrats too – no better time to celebrate! And I can’t think of anything better than a big bowl of ice cream!

  14. cynthia says:

    YAY!!! CONGRATS, Sarah!! What a huge accomplishment — I second Traci, that deserves a million lollipops. I hope you’ve got some solid R&R ahead of you as a reward — and a ton more of this ice cream because it looks absolutely amazing!!

    • Thanks Cynthia!! I ended up getting super sick right after graduation so I got in some forced R&R hehe. Sometimes you have to get a cold in the summertime to remember to slow down, right? I’ve been eating a scoop of ice cream every night before bed because I’m still celebrating! Speaking off….off to the freezer.

  15. Sheri says:

    Can’t wait to try this one! I’m loving those cute little blue bowls too!!

  16. CONGRATULATIONS SARAH! I think you deserve a lollipop fore very single word of your dissertation, or maybe a scoop of ice cream for every word instead :)
    I am loving all the ice cream recipes lately, even though we are settling in for winter it is never, ever, too cold for ice cream.
    I love that this is vegan too it’s always nice to have something to share with my dairy free friends :) if there’s any left after my spoon has finished its work…..
    Congratulations, and I hope you get some time to relax now that you are finished!

  17. That does it. I need an ice cream maker… you’re making me drool! THIS LOOKS INCREDIBLE. <333

  18. Aw, they make you wait 3 days for your lollipop?! Not cool. But at least you had this unbelievably beautiful ice cream to celebrate with! It looks so creamy and perfect. I have an ice cream maker I have yet to bust open but you can bet I’ll be referencing this recipe when I finally do.

    Oh yeah, CONGRATS!! :)

    • Seriously – but at least the second time I went back, my mom got to join me so it felt much more exciting. You should definitely bust out that ice cream maker – can’t wait to see what flavors you invent!

  19. First of all, infinite high fives for filing your dissertation–you are total rock star! And I’m SO glad you are going back for your well deserved See’s lolli :) This ice cream looks amazing (and there’s no such thing as too many ice cream posts in a row)!

  20. WOW Sarah! Amazing!! That’s such a big step – you deserve all the ice cream and lollipops you can get your hands on! Or… make? This coconut-based vanilla bean ice cream looks perfect. Just perfect. You’ve done it now – when I visit, you’re going to HAVE to bring some ice cream along. None of that store-bought nonsense. You have to make me some :).

    (I”m kidding… but not…..)

  21. Amanda Paa says:

    lollipop, lollipop! so proud of you girl, and i too would have been disappointed to not clutch that sweet treat in my hand after turning in the dissertation. you are so intelligent, so many bright things ahead for you.

    and as far as this ice cream, i am so glad you shared the recipe because it was honestly one of the best things i’ve ever tasted. you nailed it. i can already imagine all the different variations you are going to create! xo

    • Yay!! Thank you so much Amanda! I couldn’t have done it without you spending a bit of time in the sun while I finished up the last little bits! Oh my gosh, it means so much to me that you loved this ice cream! <3

  22. Congratulations! May your See’s pop be here before you know it! I’ll bring a NON PHinisheD pop over and we’ll dip them in this ice cream, k? #GoodIdea

  23. You turned in your dissertation! Hurray! Hurray! Standing ovation! I bet you are sleeping good tonight with that all done. And you must go back for that lollipop. That tradition is too cute. At least you had this amazing vegan vanilla bean ice cream waiting for you. It looks delicious!

  24. Jennifer says:

    Congrats on finishing!! I can’t believe they didn’t give you a lollipop. I think I would have gone to the nearest store and bought a few bags of lollipops as consolation.

  25. Wow! Congratulations!! SO happy for you…and this ice cream? It has me drooling on my keyboard. Love that it’s made with coconut milk.

  26. Aysegul says:

    Congratulations!! Sounds like a HUGE accomplishment. I hope you’ll get your lollipop sooner. In the mean time, this gorgeous ice cream sounds (and looks) like a great alternative.
    PS: I LOVE LOVE LOVE those bowls.

  27. todd wagner says:

    Well, well, well … we have a Doctor on our hands!

    Congrats, Sarah!! If your dissertation was as beautifully churned as this ice cream, it’s gonna be one delicious (and creamy) read.

    Seriously, this ice cream is perfection – one of those recipes everyone should have at the ready. You know, in case you need to make a float or something..

  28. Ummmm yeah, I’d be the saddest person in the world if I didn’t get that lollipop when I filed either! But I’m SO glad you did get it, even if it took a few days!! Although given the choice between a scoop of homemade ice cream every night and a lollipop… I kind of know which one I’d choose. Especially if it was made by you. ;)

  29. Um, I would totally eat this delicious looking ice cream for dinner too! At least you eventually did get that sweet lollipop – so so so proud of you, lady! Hope your party this weekend was a blast :)

  30. Love, love, love ice cream Sarah! And plain Vanilla Bean is absolutely perfect in my book! IMO, it’s one of the greatest flavors!

  31. Today is the 19th. . .well past the 3 business days. So, did you get the lollipop? I have been waiting in suspense. Congratulations for making it to this extremely important milestone.

    Btw, I think lollipop sprinkles are in order for this indulgent ice cream. :-)

  32. Sarah, I hope you now have that lollipop in hand:) Congrats on making it through – such a huge accomplishment, Dr. Sarah.
    I’m finally starting to come up for air. Let’s have tea next month!

  33. Nancy says:

    LOL I can’t believe the bucko didn’t give you the lollipop and said “come back for it with the paper work in 3 days” hilarious.

    By the way, huge congrats! Saw your pics on FB!! :)

  34. Sarah it is MAJORLY awesome that you finished your PhD and I would be just as disappointed as you with the lack of celebratory lollipop (I hope you went back to get it and that they put a little more effort into the occasion when you did!) annnnd can you ever really post too many ice cream recipes?! I don’t think so – this looks luscious and amazing! xo

    • Thanks Christine! You better believe I went back. There was a line of folks ready for their lollipops the second time around. I agree – must make more ice cream asap;)

  35. Wow!!!! This ice cream looks incredible! I looove vanilla ice cream, and this sounds so delicious with the coconut milk. I will definitely have to try making this :) thank you so much for sharing!

  36. For vegan ice cream this still looks SO creamy, sweet and delicious. I can never turn down a good scoop of vanilla bean ice cream – so this recipe is perfect for me to try!

  37. sophie says:

    Wow! You must feel FANtastic being done with that.
    Congratulations :)

    What does the corn syrup do?
    I don’t have any. Could I use honey?

    • The corn syrup makes it just ever so slightly softer/creamier. If you don’t have any corn syrup, you can sub in honey or else just replace the corn syrup with more sugar! When you take it out of the freezer, you’ll just want to let it sit for about 3-4 minutes before scooping to let it soften up!

  38. Oh my goodness, here is everything perfection: your pictures, your bowls, the recipe and that it’s all vegan! Coconut and vanilla are an absolutely winner combo ;)

  39. Lilyth says:

    Nice receipt, thanks for sharing. May I know if I can’t find coconut cream in my country, is there any substitution I can use? (Still have to be vegan)

    • If you have trouble finding coconut cream, you can use the cream off the top of a can of full fat coconut milk. If you do that, I’d use the cream off 2 cans of coconut milk in place of the coconut cream…in addition to the coconut milk called for in the recipe:) Hope this helps!

  40. Mary says:

    Is there a substitution foe corn syrup? Thank you! :)

    • The tiny bit of corn syrup that makes it soft and pliable, but you can substitute it for just a bit more sugar, or, if you can find it, tapioca syrup. Just a warning though that if you’re just using sugar, it might not be as easy to scoop!

  41. dawn says:

    can i use regular sugar for this?

  42. Diana says:

    Are 2 vanilla beans, the two that hang from the connected hook or two entire containers (the bean I got had one connected thing – not sure if this is two beans or one). Tasted delish! I added more extract because I wasn’t sure.

  43. GABRIELA says:


  44. kristine says:

    Thanks for sharing this recipe! I made it for our Thanksgiving dinner (in Canada) and even my *very* skeptical might-as-well-be-father-in-law liked it! It’s more of a coconut flavour than vanilla, but it still is very good. Thanks again, and congratulations on finishing your degree last year – I’m late to the party.

  45. Amanda says:

    Can I turn this wonderful ice cream into lemon ice cream? I’m making a gf coconut cake to go with it.

    • Though I’ve never tried it, I think you could by adding 1/2 cup of lemon juice and about a tablespoon of lemon zest! I’m not sure if you’d need to reduce any of the other ingredients though – my gut says you wouldn’t change anything because you’ll still need the same about of sugar to balance the tartness from the lemon juice. If you try it, let me know!

  46. Lnz says:

    I have never used coconut cream before. Do you use the liquid from the can too or just the stuff that is on the top?

    • For this recipe, as long as you purchased “coconut cream” you’ll use everything in the can – same for the coconut milk in the recipe!

      When making whipped coconut cream, for example, you’ll just want to use the firm part of the can and not the liquid so it’ll whip up thick.

  47. Leslie Mitchell says:

    Peace and blessings, Sarah! Congratulations on your hard work! I can’t wait to try this recipe, but will the ice cream still turn out right without the vodka? I don’t do alcohol.

  48. Mary Gwen says:

    I was wondering where you got those bowls?

    • I actually borrowed them from a friend, but we got them together several years ago at the Tokyo Fish Market in Berkeley…unfortunately I know they don’t have them anymore because I’ve gone back looking for them!

  49. Alex says:

    Do you need vodka because of I’m a kid and soo… yeah. Thanks!

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