Last updated on August 14th, 2019
Easy vegan vanilla ice cream that is so creamy and rich no one will believe it’s vegan. The coconut cream base takes a subtle backstage to aromatic vanilla bean. Use this ice cream as a base recipe for different flavor add-ins!
I just posted two ice cream recipes back to back – with good reason. 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 Ice Cream Celebration
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 a 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.
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.
So instead I came home and ate this vegan vanilla ice cream straight out of the freezer. No shame.
What’s Vegan Ice Cream Made Of?
The best way to make vegan ice cream is to use a blend of coconut cream, coconut milk, and coconut oil to balance the creaminess and fat in a vegan ice cream. Coconut cream works great because it provides enough fat to make this the smoothest and creamiest vegan ice cream recipe ever.
When you add flavors like vanilla bean to the base, the coconut easily hides into the background without overpowering the ice cream or leaving a chalky aftertaste. At the bottom I’ll link all of my flavor variations!
Best Vegan Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe
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.
Vegan Ice Cream Recipes
All of these recipes use this vegan vanilla ice cream recipe as the base!
- Coconut Ginger Ice Cream with Plantain Chips
- Coconut Matcha Ice Cream with Black Sesame Brittle Chips
- Coconut Black Sesame Ice Cream with Strawberry Swirl
- Vegan Cardamom Ice Cream
- Vegan Blackberry Basil Ice Cream
- Vegan Strawberry Coconut Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Vegan Vanilla Ice Cream Float Recipes
Both of these recipes use this vegan vanilla bean ice cream to make ice cream floats – the ultimate summer treat!
- 1 (13.66 to 16 ounces) canned coconut cream (I've tested with one 14-ounce can or three 5.4 ounce cans - I use Native Forest brand available at Whole Foods, some other major groceries, or online. See note.)
- 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 (or cane sugar)
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup (or light corn syrup)
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon vodka, optional, but will make it creamier
- 2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise and scraped (or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract) (I use Rodelle vanilla beans)
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 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.
- Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice cubes and water.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- Freeze until firm, at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight.
I do not recommend using the coconut cream from Trader Joe's as they seem to have updated their supplier and the new consistency is a bit oily.
(Adapted from Serious Eats)