Coconut Milk Ice Cream

coconut milk ice cream, lactose free ice cream, dairy free ice cream, ice cream recipe, homemade ice cream, dairy free
I’ve long been lactose intolerant, but until lately I could always handle a bit of dairy. Frozen yogurt was a long time friend, that never, EVER, made me sick, but recently even my beloved frozen  yogurt has forsaken me. I tried a few dairy free ice cream options from the grocery store and was thoroughly unimpressed. So, I set out to try to make my own.
First of all, I discovered that even dairy-free ice cream recipes call for raw eggs. Perhaps this is the norm, but I was uncomfortable with this. Ultimately, it appears that what I need is a vegan recipe, although the vegan distinction is unimportant to me, it may be helpful to you.

A little internet research told me that coconut milk will yield the creamiest results of the non-dairy milk options, so that’s what I started with. Coconut milk smells heavenly straight out of the box, so that was promising.

4 cups coconut milk
3/4 cup sugar*
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 Tbsp. cornstarch**
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup chocolate chips

Combine all of the ingredients, except for the chocolate chips,  in a blender*** and add to your chilled ice cream maker. Follow the instructions for your particular model. I have the ice cream maker attachment for my Kitchen Aid blender, and the directions state very clearly that the mixer needs to be running BEFORE adding the ice cream mix to the bowl. Once the mix thickens a bit, add your chocolate chips. Allow the ice cream maker to run until you achieve your desired consistency.**** For me, that meant about 20 minutes, and then chill in the freezer for an additional 30 minutes to firm up.

* I suppose you could use a sugar substitute here, but most make me very, very sick, so I won’t be attempting a sugar-free recipe.

** I read that arrowroot, instead of cornstarch, leads to a creamier consistency, but I haven’t the faintest idea where to find arrowroot.

*** This was an annoying, but necessary extra step. I was bothered that I had to get out a separate appliance, but your ingredients WILL NOT combine if you don’t use a blender (or a food processor, I suppose.)

**** This is not a creamy ice-cream like consistency,  unfortunately. Again, the arrowroot may result in a creamier consistency if you can find it. Also, I saw several references to using full-fat coconut milk. The coconut milk I found at Trader Joe’s wasn’t labeled full-fat, or low-fat, so truthfully, I don’t know what I was using.

Now, this isn’t a replacement for Baskin Robbins. (Let’s have a moment of silence for the perfection of their mint-chocolate chip that I shall never enjoy again.) However, for someone who has been missing ice cream as a dessert option, this is definitely a step in the right direction.
If you freeze the ice cream for a while it will be quite hard, and it won’t make pretty scoops of ice cream into a bowl. I think the next time I make this, I’ll freeze it in individual, single-serve, Tupperware containers. 

1. I did use individual containers, and that was the way to go if you’re not planning on eating all of this at once.
2. I finally figured out how to describe this – it’s like a chocolate sorbet. So if you go into this expecting that sort of consistency, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
3. I tried making this with chocolate syrup rather than cocoa powder. I tried for two reasons: I wanted to avoid using the blender, which is necessary for getting the cocoa powder to combine, and I wanted a better chocolate flavor. This worked, HOWEVER, I failed to take into account the fact that the chocolate syrup is sweetened, so I should have adjusted the amount of sugar I added. Also, chocolate syrup contains milk, so the recipe is no longer dairy free if you go this route.

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  1. says

    Hold the phone- is that some sort of ice cream attachment on your mixer? Where have I been?!

    I’ve been thinking that, as much as I like dairy, it’s also one of many culprits in my weight loss issues. I love dairy. A lot. Maybe I’ll give something like this a try in order to cut back a bit.

  2. says

    I remember back when I was worried about raw eggs in something, someone told me you could buy pasteurized raw eggs in a little carton. I did, and I remember thinking they were kind of expensive but worth it for being able to eat raw egg safely. So that might be good for if you find a recipe you really want to try but it has the egg in it.

  3. says

    This sounds so delish, although I don’t have an ice cream maker. I’ve been contemplating it for a while, but just have never pulled the trigger since we have limited kitchen space.

  4. says

    Okay, it’s official- I need to find where I stored my ice cream maker- solely for this recipe!

  5. says

    I love coconut milk ice cream. I think its creamier and more like ice cream then when I use heavy cream and milk. I like to use maple syrup, honey or stevia extract powder (if I want sugar free) or a combo to sweeten it. You can buy arrowroot powder from Whole foods or online or most grocery stores… I know Bob’s Red Mill makes some. I use that stuff in everything as a thickener, instead of corn starch or flour, its awesome!

  6. says

    Here’s a recipe for chocolate sauce. You can make it as thick as you want by adjusting the arrowroot flour which is not included in the basic recipe. I use 1 tsp flour and 1 tsp water…mix it up and put it in right before it starts to boil.


    2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa (Navitas cacao is the best, found at a good price on Amazon)

    1 2/3 cups sugar (I’ve reduced this down to 3/4 cup, plenty sweet using Rapadura)

    1 1/4 cups water

    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine cocoa, sugar and water. Bring to a boil and let boil 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Adapted from

  7. says

    Arrowroot is actually pretty easy to find – Bob’s Red Mill makes it so check wherever you have a good selection of that! In my experience with coconut milk based ice creams, even when I use arrowroot, they are very hard to scoop after being frozen and have to be left out on the counter quite a while before I can eat some (I’m talking about, the next few days – not the first 30 minutes after freezing!) Was that the case with this recipe or did it stay fairly soft?

  8. Rhonda says

    I like the fact its lactose free. I’m going to try your recipe. Do you use sllk coconut milk or some other kind?

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