Coconut milk ice cream

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The Best Coconut Milk Ice Cream Recipes

There is a good chance that coconut milk ice cream is the future of frozen treats. Well, some of the top ice cream brands in the world think so – they have already added coconut milk-based items onto their menu.

Unfortunately, many of these brands load up their recipes with all kinds of preservatives and additives. Thus, this isn’t something you can enjoy regularly, at least not if you are trying to be healthy. 

There’s no need to fret just yet, however! You can now make a delicious coconut milk ice cream from the comfort of your own home.

And, to make sure that you know all the ins and outs of the process, this article will be your ultimate guide. Let’s get started! 

Do You Need an Ice Cream Maker?

If you have ever looked up any kind of ice cream recipe, you may have noticed that many of them rely on ice cream makers to make the dessert. Of course, there is a good chance that you may not have one.

Thus, it is only natural to wonder what an ice cream maker actually does and if you need one for your coconut ice cream recipes.

Well, let’s first tackle what an ice cream maker actually does. Long story short, this machine essentially mixes and freezes the ice cream at the same time. As a result, the ice cream is smoother and often creamier too.

Not to mention, the process can be sped up quite a bit as well. Concisely put, an ice cream maker helps you to make a better quality of ice cream a great deal more quickly.

So, does this mean that you have to invest in one? Well, not necessarily. It is still possible for you to make coconut ice cream without the help of a machine. It might require a few more steps and a little bit of manual labor, but it can be done. 

Coconut milk ice cream in a waffle cone

How to Make Coconut Milk Ice Cream Without an Ice Cream Maker

Here are the instructions you should follow when making your treat without a machine:

Step 1: Once all the ingredients for the ice cream are combined, place them in the freezer.
Step 2: Leave the mix in the freezer for about 30 minutes or until the top layer has frozen over completely.
Step 3: Take the half-frozen mix out and whisk it until the frozen and liquid layers are mixed together.
Step 4: Place the mix back in the freezer and leave it for another 20 to 30 minutes.
Step 5: Remove the mix from the freezer and combine.
Step 6: Repeat the freezing and whisking until the ice cream has achieved a soft-serve texture.

Breaking Down the Coconut-Based Ingredients

Coconut ice cream can be made in different ways. Thus, sometimes it includes just coconut milk. Other times, you will find that the recipe also calls for coconut cream. So, what is coconut cream and coconut milk? And, what’s the difference between them?

Well, first things first – there are actually two types of coconut milk. The first is the boxed version that needs to be refrigerated. Then, there is the canned version. Most boxed forms of coconut milk have a higher water content while the canned versions have a higher fat content.

In ice cream recipes, it is the fat that lends to the creaminess of the end result. Thus, it is important to select the canned version. Now, let’s move onto the case of coconut milk vs. coconut cream.

Here’s the thing to understand:

Coconut cream is actually made from coconut milk. Many cooks will simply refrigerate cans of coconut milk until the creamy and liquid layer separate. In fact, this is a traditional coconut cream recipe.

The creamy layer – which contains more fat – is the coconut cream. There’s no need to go this extra mile if you can find canned coconut cream on the shelves.

Based on this information, you can conclude that recipes that contain coconut cream, as well as coconut milk, are creamier. 

different flavours of ice cream

Coconut Milk vs. Coconut Cream in Ice Cream Recipes

This brings us to the question of why not all recipes call for coconut cream. Well, this would be because of the health issue. See, while coconut cream certainly adds a creamy factor, it is also quite high in calories and fat.

This is especially true when it is compared with coconut milk. A cup of coconut cream has a whopping 792 calories and 83.2 grams of fat!

Coconut milk, on the other hand, has a more manageable 445 calories and 48.2 grams of fat per cup. 

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Storing Coconut Ice Cream

When you do end up whipping a batch of coconut ice cream, you can guarantee that it won’t last long. Still, you should know how long you can freeze this treat and still ensure that it is safe to eat.

Now, you should be aware that there aren’t any hard and fast rules here. On average, coconut milk can be frozen for around one month and still be used in recipes.

However, since you are introducing a variety of other ingredients into the mix and aren’t adding any preservatives, things are a little trickier.

On average, you should be able to store your coconut ice cream for around 10 days at a time and still guarantee that it is completely safe. 

Coconut Ice Cream Recipes

Of course, the real reason you are here is for all the delicious coconut ice cream recipes. So, let’s dive in without further ado!

Basic Coconut Ice Cream Recipe

•1 can full-fat coconut milk
•1 can coconut cream
•¾ cup granulated sugar
•1½ tbsp. vanilla bean paste

Step 1: Combine all the ingredients in the blender. Make sure that the mix achieves puree texture.

Step 2: Taste for sweetness and add sugar if needed.

Step 3: Place mix in ice cream maker. If you don’t have a machine place the mix directly in the fridge for the manual method.

Step 4: If using an ice cream maker, freeze for 4 to 6 hours.

Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream Recipe

•2 full-fat coconut milk
•¾ cup dark cocoa powder
•½ cup maple syrup
•1 tablespoon honey
•1 medium vanilla bean (seeds removed)
•1 tsp. vanilla extract
•1 pinch sea salt

Step 1: Combine all the ingredients in a blender until they have combined and formed a smooth mix.

Step 2: Place the mix in an ice cream maker or freeze immediately.

Step 3: Freeze the ice cream for 5 to 6 hours. 

Creative popsicles

Healthy Coconut Ice Cream Recipe

•1 can full-fat coconut milk
•3 frozen bananas
•1 pinch sea salt
•1 tbsp. vanilla extract
•⅓ cup raw cacao nibs

Step 1: Combine coconut milk, bananas, and salt in a blender until smooth.
Step 2: Add vanilla extract and then blend once more.
Step 3: Stir in cacao nibs.
Step 4: Freeze for 4 to 6 hours. 

Keto, Low Carb Ice Cream Recipe

•2 cups full-fat coconut milk
•⅓ cup xylitol, erythritol, or sweetener of choice
•1/8 tsp. salt
•1½ tsp. vanilla bean paste

Step 1: Blend the ingredients together until they form a smooth mixture.
Step 2: Place the mix in an ice cream maker or freeze immediately.
Step 3: Freeze the ice cream for up to 6 hours.


Frequently Asked Questions About Making Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Now, most people are used to buying their ice cream directly from the store. So, if you are attempting this dairy free ice cream recipe, it is only natural to be nervous. Furthermore, you may find that things aren’t going according to plan. In this case, maybe this FAQ section can help you get to the root of the problem:

1. How Do I Prevent My Coconut Ice Cream from Becoming Hard and Icy?

This is a common complaint with any kind of ice cream. Now, the sugar or honey in your recipe should help prevent this problem to a certain degree. Still, you should also try placing your ice cream in a shallow bowl and to place plastic wrap directly on top of the surface of the ice cream.

If you don’t mind it, another popular tactic is to add a few tablespoons of vodka when you are mixing all the ingredients together. If you are making flavored ice cream, you can also add a flavored liqueur for added taste. 

2. How Do I Make My Coconut Ice Cream Creamier?

If you want coconut milk ice cream to mimic the dairy version, you are going to have to increase the level of fat in the recipe. This can be done by adding a couple of tablespoons of coconut oil and blending all the ingredients together. Be warned that coconut oil does have a tendency to separate once it is cooled.

3. Can I Substitute Coconut Cream for Coconut Milk Completely?

As mentioned, coconut cream is much thicker than coconut milk. Thus, you will need to add a little water or coconut milk to thin it out. Since the water content in the mix will be lower as well, you may have to watch how the mix freezes to prevent it from crystallizing.

This concludes our journey into the realm of coconut milk ice cream making. You are now informed enough to go ahead and try it out on your own. Remember, practice makes perfect so don’t worry if it isn’t perfect the first time around!

Riya Borah


Riya Borah 

Nutritionist Educator

Riya Borah is a nutritionist educator and her job involves guiding people towards a healthier lifestyle. Growing up in India, Riya was aware of just how much coconut was used on a daily basis. This encouraged her to research the properties of this versatile drupe. It opened her eyes to both the limitation and possibilities of coconut. Her aim is to now educate as many people as possible about the best ways to utilize coconut in their own lives.

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