How to Make Vegan Ice Cream at Home (Without an Ice Cream Maker)

By Angela Tague in Healthy Feeling

Fact: you can eat ice cream and still maintain a healthy lifestyle. And this summer, you can quickly learn how to make vegan ice cream at home! As the weather warms, my cravings for the cold, creamy goodness of a cone or sundae are on the upswing. Thankfully, a few years ago I learned about fruit-based "nice cream," a vegan take on ice cream that isn't filled with refined sugars or food coloring.

I actually do have an ice cream maker but find it easier to create small batches of the summer treat in my food processor instead. I don't have to chill the container and it's faster to whip up on a whim. Plus, homemade ice cream leftovers usually freeze too firm to spoon out easily, so I prefer to make one portion at a time.

For Fruit Sorbet Lovers

When I was a kid, I looked forward to a heaping bowl of orange sherbet. Fruit-flavored ice creams were refreshing and plentiful in my grandma's freezer, so I gained a quick appreciation for the colorful variety. As an adult, I take a more natural approach. I've discovered that several frozen fruits can easily be pureed into smooth, satisfying treats with a little patience and a powerful chopping blade.

My first dip into vegan ice cream making was with bananas. I piled chunks of frozen bananas into my food processor, pressed the button, and watched the fruit transform from hard chunks, to a gravel texture, and finally creamy goodness. Yes, it takes just one ingredient. After I scooped the banana ice cream into a bowl, I topped it with a few chopped walnuts and dark vegan chocolate chips to make one of my favorite dessert flavor combinations.

This simple process also works with frozen sliced strawberries and mangoes. The key is being patient and letting the fruit spin in the food processor long enough to cream it. I do stop and start the processor a few times to scrape down the sides with a spatula so the fruit combines evenly.

If you prefer a measured recipe for this fruit-based ice cream, check out the ideas at Oh My Veggies. The author and chef shares her basic banana ice cream recipe followed by several variations, including adventurous flavors like pumpkin pie and raspberry basil!

try making homemade vegan ice cream

Give Me Super Chocolate Cookie Chunk

Ok, so sometimes I do like to indulge in a more traditional ice cream with a few treats mixed in. You can use non-dairy almond milk, coconut milk, or rice milk to create a creamy, smooth ice cream base that's similar to what you're used to buying from the store, but better.

The next step is mixing in any of your favorite ice cream buddies, like swirls of peanut butter, crushed cookies, or chopped chocolate bars. Are you hungry yet?

Some of these require a cooked base, so dig out the saucepan, whisk, blender, and loaf pan. Here are a few recipes to make ice cream without an ice cream maker to add to your summer bucket list:

  • No Churn Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream: Michele at Paleo Running Momma uses maple syrup, raw cacao powder, and coconut milk to create this vegan treat on her stove top.
  • No Churn Vegan Chocolate Chip Ice Cream: The natural sweetening secret in Namely Marly's non-dairy ice cream recipe is a handful of dates!
  • Healthy No Churn Brownie Batter Ice Cream: If you have just four ingredients on hand (coconut cream, dark cocoa powder, maple syrup, and brownie mix-ins like chocolate chips and nuts or a crumbled brownie), you can make this recipe from Arman at The Big Man's World.

While you explore how to make vegan ice cream at home, consider sharing a scoop with us! Post a picture on Instagram using the hashtag #GoodMatters so we can see your delicious creation.

Image source: Pexels/Jeshoots | Pexels/Clem Onojeghuo

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Why It’s Good

A sweet treat every now and then (that makes us smile) is good for us! Experiment with a few simple ingredients and your food processor to come up with your favorite vegan ice cream flavor combination. Start with frozen bananas and I'll bet your family will never know there's no added milk, sugar, or cream in their dessert! You've got this!