We all scream for ice cream. Everyone knows that.
How could anyone not? It’s sweet, creamy, and practically irresistible.
Summer is obviously ice cream’s most popular season. There’s no denying that. But for real ice cream lovers of the world, there is no such thing as the “right time of the year” for this sweet treat.
Ice cream is one of America’s favorite treats. There’s a little myth in circulation out there spreading that Thomas Jefferson, a Founding Father and the third President of the United States, invented ice cream. As cool as it would be if this were true, it (unfortunately) isn’t.
However, Jefferson is at least partially to thank for America’s adoption of this creamy dessert; he helped popularize ice cream in the United States by serving it at the President’s House on at least six occasions. And what might Jefferson’s favorite ice cream flavor be? Vanilla.
According to the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), vanilla ice cream is America’s favorite. (Vanilla is followed by chocolate, cookies n’ cream, and mint chocolate chip, in case you were wondering). Perhaps it’s because of vanilla’s ability to enhance so many other desserts. But it very well may also be because vanilla is simply delicious, all on its own.
But Why Vegan Ice Cream?
The plant-based movement is in full swing. As of March 2020, a study reported that 9.6 million Americans are now vegan. Similar reports also tell us that vegan ice cream sales have more than doubled in the last five years, reflecting the increase in demand for plant-based products and healthier dessert alternatives.
Except, veganism is about so much more than hopping on a bandwagon with the latest trend in the marketplace.
Our global food system is far from perfect; in fact, it may be broken. Our climate is suffering from mass emissions of greenhouse gases, pollution, and so much more. It’s hard to make a difference in such a big world, but there are little ways we can do our part to help. Vegan ice cream is more sustainable, responsible, and supports a humane food system.
Vegan ice cream can taste just like dairy ice cream. And knowing that it helps the planet makes it taste even better. The question shouldn’t be “why vegan ice cream,” it should be “why not vegan ice cream?” All it takes is one try, and there will be no going back. Still not convinced? We wrote an entire article about why you should make the switch to vegan ice cream—check it out.
Dairy-Free Milk Alternatives
So, there are a few different ways to make vegan vanilla ice cream. We’re going to talk about a healthy, simple, and delicious way to make it, but not quite yet.
The most significant variable for any given vegan ice cream recipe will be the type of milk used.
Coconut milk. Coconut milk, especially full-fat coconut milk, contains a high amount of saturated fat. This high-fat content makes coconut milk a very calorie-rich food, but it also makes some of the creamiest ice creams. We should note that there is a substantial difference between canned coconut milk and grocery store coconut beverages – be sure to read specific recipes carefully. The important takeaway is that coconut milk = creaminess, and creaminess = goodness.
Almond milk. Almond milk is one of the most popular dairy-free kinds of milk, probably for its simplicity and versatility. The content of almond milk is mostly water, making it much healthier than dairy milk options, but this also means less creaminess for ice cream. If your mind has gone to considering using an almond milk creamer, first of all, hats off to you—clever thinking. Using creamer may seem like the perfect alternative, but most creamers on the market contain thickeners, flavorings, and other artificial additives.
Cashew milk. Cashew milk is a great option for vegan ice cream because it has a higher fat content and is relatively neutral in flavor, making it a perfect base for any ice cream creation. Cashew cream is a similar ingredient that is sometimes used, which definitely helps put some extra “chew” in the final product.
With new dairy-free milks launching seemingly every day, we couldn’t possibly go over them all. However, hopefully, this provides a little insight into the creation of dairy-free ice cream. Keep this information in mind the next time you find yourself trying to choose between 30 different types of vegan ice cream at the grocery store.
How To Make Vegan Vanilla Ice Cream
We’ve chosen a recipe that is healthy, easy to make, and simply delicious.
One of the best parts is that this recipe doesn’t require an ice cream maker. Save your money and the counter space because all you need for this recipe is a blender and a metal bowl!
What you’ll need:
- 27oz full-fat canned coconut milk (two standard sized cans)
- ½ cup packed Medjool dates (pitted)
- 2-4 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon of sea salt
- Optional: a dash of cinnamon
How to do it:
- Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until pureed to smooth
- Pour the entire mixture into a metal bowl and put it into the freezer
- Check on the ice cream every 15 minutes, whipping with a silicone spatula until it reaches your desired consistency.
Freeze time varies with different freezes and temperatures, but this generally takes anywhere between one and three hours. For storage, a plastic tub will work best.
Well, well, well, wasn’t that easy! Maybe even too easy and too delicious.
Try These Variations, Too
We love this recipe for its simplicity, but sometimes a little kick of something extra is nice too, right?
This vegan vanilla ice cream recipe is the perfect canvas for your next ice cream creation. Vanilla is the best base to build off; now it’s time to get creative!
For the fruity fans out there, how about some strawberry or raspberry puree? Crushed nuts of any kind are another great addition because their high-fat content makes the ice cream that much creamier and tastier (not to mention the added fun coming from the “crunch” element of nuts).
What About Nicecream?
Nicecream: fruit-based soft serve, made primarily from frozen bananas.
So, we all scream for ice cream, and we all… go bananas for nicecream?
Nicecream is another variation of vegan ice cream. It’s sort of like its fruity, cooler, more hip cousin if you will. People love nicecream because it’s literally just bananas and your additions of choice, making it one of the healthiest dessert options there is.
We also love nicecream for all the reasons we love other vegan ice creams: it supports a happier planet.
There are so many nicecream recipes out there, and after making your first batch or two, it’s easy to create new recipes as you go.
Here’s an example of a vanilla nicecream recipe.
What you’ll need:
- 3 large bananas, sliced into coin shapes, frozen
- ½ cup dairy-free milk of choice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- Optional: a dash of cinnamon, a pinch of salt
How to do it:
- Cut the bananas into bite-sized, coin-shaped slices
- Place banana slices into a ziplock bag and freeze until solid
- Combine bananas, milk, vanilla, and any other ingredients into a blender or food processor
- Blend until smooth, adding extra milk if necessary
It’s that easy! Homemade vegan vanilla ice cream.
The Best Vegan Vanilla Ice Cream
Just as you’re beginning to feel like a real vegan vanilla ice cream master, let us introduce you to the best one of all: ours.
Sure, this statement may be a little bias. But, we’re confident that all it takes is one taste, and anyone will agree with us.
We’ve created the first-ever plant-based ice cream that makes no sacrifice to taste, texture, or consistency—it’s indistinguishable from dairy ice cream. It’s creamy and rich, without compromise. Our ice creams aren’t dairy alternatives. They’re dairy sequels.
How did we make our vegan ice cream? We’re glad you asked. We studied the composition of milk and rebuilt it from the ground up, using nothing but plants and ingredients from the earth. We also did it in our very own kitchen (where all the best food comes from).
We’d tell you our dairy-free milk of choice, but that would be giving away our secret recipe. Using our milk (our secret sauce), we’re able to create ice cream that is so unbelievably creamy, it’s almost absurd.
Eclipse Vegan Vanilla Ice Cream. It’s vanilla. It tastes just like vanilla. And that’s the whole point.
That’s The Scoop
That’s the scoop on vegan vanilla ice cream.