Vegan Almond Milk Ice Cream: 3 Recipes

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lick smacking almond milk ice cream

As far as I’m concerned, ice cream is the perfect dessert. There’s nothing more relaxing and comforting after a hectic day with kids and work than a little hillock of lush and frosty ice cream sitting in a bowl. But lately my cholesterol has been creeping a little higher, making my nightly indulgence unsustainable. So after some months eating mostly store-bought sherbet and frozen yogurt, I decided to try something new — almond milk ice cream — and I’m so glad I did.

Now no one would ever proclaim me a vegan — after all, I have far too many recipes on Bay Area Bites that use pork shoulder as a main ingredient — but I do love the idea of cutting cholesterol and fat from my diet. So, noticing refrigerated almond milk at Trader Joe’s, I started to wonder how it would fare as an ice-cream base. The container claimed it was “rich and creamy” and I also saw it was free of cholesterol and saturated fat. So far so good, but would it taste like ice cream? As someone who’s never really liked soy ice cream — it has too much of an aftertaste for me — I was skeptical but ready to give almond milk a try.

I made three types of ice cream and, no surprise to many vegans out there but sort of a surprise to me, they were all amazingly good, exceeding my expectations on every level. My ten-year old daughter Maddie even exclaimed about the chocolate version “This is better than store-bought ice cream! It’s my favorite!” I have to agree. My three flavors were almond, strawberry and chocolate (recipes below). All are vegan. The first two were delightful but the chocolate was really special, and all are cholesterol and fat free. But don’t make these because they’re healthy for you; make them because they are creamy and luscious. Basically they are everything that ice cream should be, minus the artery clogging component.

Recipe: Rich Chocolate and Banana Almond Milk Ice Cream

Summary: Not to toot my own horn, but this ice cream rocks. I know I’m not supposed to say that. It’s unbecoming to boast that something you made is fantastic. But this ice cream inspired two pitilessly honest ten-year old girls to run around the kitchen yelling “It’s so good!” over and over. So I am breaking protocol and telling you that regardless of your thoughts about vegan recipes or almond milk, anyone who likes chocolate ice cream should make this. Really.

By Denise Santoro Lincoln

chocolate ice cream cone

Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 20 min
Total time: 25 min
Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 2 heaping tablespoons chocolate cocoa
  • 2 Tbsp sugar

Instructions

  1. In a microwaveable bowl or cup whisk 1/2 cup almond milk with the chocolate cocoa and sugar until fully incorporated. Microwave for 40 seconds and then stir.
  2. Place bananas plus the remainder of the almond milk into a blender along with the cocoa mixture and puree for about 10 seconds.
  3. Place mixture in the ice cream maker and process for 20 minutes or until thick.
  4. Serve right away or store in the freezer for later use or to firm up a bit more if desired.
Recipe: Triple Almond Vegan Ice Cream

Summary: This one is a true winner. With almond milk, almond butter and chopped almonds, it has a burst of — yes, you guessed it — almond flavor. But unlike other almond ice creams, it tastes like real nuts and not some extract or artificial flavor that was added. This is the real almond deal. I’m actually hesitant to tell you that it is also sugar free, because hearing that ice cream is vegan, gluten-free and sugar free makes it sound like it will taste like paste, but with a banana and almond milk mixed in it had a natural sweetness that was perfect. Plus with all this talk lately that sugar is toxic it might make the recipe actually sound more alluring to some.

triple almond ice cream

Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 20 min
Total time: 25 min
Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 3 Tbsp almond butter
  • 1/4 tsp almond liqueur (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped blanched almonds

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients except chopped almonds in the blender and puree for 10-15 seconds or until the mixture looks like a smoothie.
  2. Place mixture plus almonds in the ice cream maker and process for 20 minutes or until thick.
  3. Store ice cream in a container and freeze for another 20 seconds to firm up a bit before serving
Recipe: Strawberry Almond Milk Ice Cream

Summary: My next foray into almond milk ice cream included lots of strawberries. With a velvety and smooth texture more reminiscent of sorbet than ice cream, this creation was full of a bright fruitiness as well as a hint of almond flavor. Once again using my kids as guinea pigs, I gave them each a big a helping and it was declared “really good” and both had seconds.

strawberry ice cream

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 20 min
Total time: 35 min
Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups frozen strawberries
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp orange juice or water
  • 1 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp corn starch

Instructions

  1. Heat 1 1/2 cups strawberries in a small pot with the sugar and water or juice. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool and then puree in a blender. You can cool the strawberries in a bowl set on top of another bowl of ice water to speed things up.
  2. Mix 1/2 cup almond milk with the corn starch and set aside.
  3. Heat the remainder of the almond milk plus the vanilla in a medium pot until simmering and then add in the corn starch infused almond milk. Stir on low heat while whisking for five minutes to thicken.
  4. Strain almond milk to remove lumps and then let mixture cool to room temperature. Mix into pureed strawberries and then set in the refrigerator until cold (about a half hour).
  5. Chop up the last 1/2 cup of strawberries and then add to the almond milk mixture. Place in your prepared ice-cream maker and let it run for 20 minutes. Place ice cream in a container until ready for use.
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Category: Bay Area Bites Food + Drink, dessert and chocolate, kids and family, recipes, vegetarian and vegan

About the Author ()

I am a writer, editor, mother of twins, and enthusiastic home cook. I was raised by an Italian-American mother who, in the 1970s, grew her own basil (because she couldn’t find any in the local grocery stores), zucchini (for those delicious flowers), and tomatoes (because the ones in the store tasted like “a potato”). My mom taught us to love all kinds of food and revere high-quality ingredients. I am now trying to follow in my mother’s footsteps and am on a mission to help my daughters become adventurous eaters who have a healthy respect for seasonal food raised locally. My daughters and I grow vegetables and go to the farmers’ market. We also love to shop at Piedmont Grocery and Trader Joe’s. When I’m not hanging out with my daughters or cooking, I like to contribute to cookbooks (including Williams-Sonoma’s Food Made Fast and Foods of the World series), work as an editor, and write about food for Bay Area Bites and Denise's Kitchen. My food inspirations are M.F.K Fisher, Julia Child, and Alice Waters — three fabulous women who encompass everything I love about food.
  • http://basic-meatloaf-recipe.blogspot.com/ Meatloaf Recipe

    OMG! what a yummy looking ice cream! I can’t wait to eat this!

  • Amelia Badelia

    I’m an omnivorous dessert lover who made the switch to almond milk recently and these recipes look fantastic! Did you use sweetened or unsweetened almond milk?

  • http://deniseskitchen.wordpress.com/ Denise Santoro Lincoln

    Hi Amelia Badelia (btw: I adore those books)– I used a refrigerated almond milk from Trader Joe’s that was “original” flavor and was also sweetened. I didn’t see any refrigerated almond milk that wasn’t sweetened but I’d like to find a brand and use honey in it next time.

  • http://www.katiescookingtips.com Katie

    Wow haha I actually tried FREEZING Diamond Almond Milk.
    But this looks much better ;)

    Bookmarked! THANKS!

  • http://bessieland.blogspot.com bessie

    you just made my decision to go back to be a vegan soo much easier….thank u!!!!!

  • http://deniseskitchen.wordpress.com/ Denise Santoro Lincoln

    Glad I could help, Bessie!

  • John

    Just a general FYI on making ice cream, you will get a smoother texture if you chill the mix in the fridge to under 40 before churning.

  • Marya

    These recipes look awesome; just another bonus of being vegan! Thanks so much for posting! Also, FYI, Silk has unsweetened almond milk (not to be confused with the “Original” flavor); I use it every day!

  • Beth

    Whole Foods’ house brand, 365, has an organic unsweetened almond milk that is delicious and naturally tasty. It’s far less expensive than any other non-dairy milk on the market. Can’t wait to try these recipes with it. Thanks for sharing!

  • Holly

    Denise asked about unsweetened almond milk. I drink organic, unsweetened almond milk from Pacific Natural Foods (http://www.pacificfoods.com/our-foods/nut-grain-beverages/organic-unsweetened-almond-original-non-dairy-beverage). Zero sugar. I think Whole Foods may carry it. I live in Oregon and buy it from a local grocery store.

  • Stefanie

    Denise,

    Do you have any suggestions on a good ice cream maker? What the best value for price? I have never made homemade ice cream before. I’m newly vegan and need the cold stuf, but store bought ice cream has too much sugar. I just don’t want to pay too much money, but I want one that works properly. Thanks!

  • http://deniseskitchen.wordpress.com/ Denise Santoro Lincoln

    Hi Stefanie — I use a Cuisinart and love it. I also just did a quick google search for ice cream maker comparisons and came up with this article. Good luck! http://www.consumersearch.com/ice-cream-makers

  • Stephanie

    These look absolutely delicious! One thing, though, none of them are “fat free” as you claim. Plenty of natural, plant-based fat in both almond butter and almond milk. No cholesterol, since they’re vegan, but they do all contain fat.

  • Pam

    Hi – these look fantastic! I went searching for almond milk ice cream because I’ve been making my own almond milk to cut down on some of my dairy consumption (cholesterol) and happen to LOVE ice cream. With the start of summer… I’ll definitely be trying each recipe! Question… was the chocolate cocoa the unsweetened kind, used for baking? Thanks!

  • sherice potter

    Could you just use choc almond milk? These sound delicious!! I’m going to try!

  • http://deniseskitchen.wordpress.com/ Denise Santoro Lincoln

    Hi Pam — Yes the cocoa is unsweetened baking cocoa. Thanks for writing and I hope you like the recipes :-)

  • Pam

    Thanks Denise! I’m off to get some ripe bananas now. Homemade almond milk is icy cold waiting in the fridge. :-)

  • Pam

    Enjoyed my first scoop… sooooo good! Perhaps some bits of chopped brownies or cherries or coconut flakes would all work well with the chocolate recipe. :-)

  • Bekah

    Loved it!!! Was recently told by my dr to stay away from all dairy and all soy so I thought my ice cream days were over :o( Tried the chocolate tonight and was sooo happy!!! Can’t wait to try out the other flavors.

  • Harris

    I was searching the web for a recipe that uses Almond Milk to make sorbet, and discovered your posting. Being a first time user of an ice cream machine and also lactose free I’m interested in searching for recipes that I could enjoy.
    The next one that I will try is your strawberry.
    I think that using peaches in there place might work. Letme know if you have tried them.

  • http://deniseskitchen.wordpress.com/ Denise Santoro Lincoln

    Hi Harris — I’ve never used peaches but don’t see why they wouldn’t work in the recipe. If you’re using fresh fruit, however, I would omit the juice/water as they will be juicy on their own. Let me know how it turns out!

  • jamie brewer

    thank you so much for all your help… anxious to give it a try.. bought everything yesterday.. life is good

  • starlogva

    I made the chocolate today and, I’m sad to say, I didn’t care for it at all. I like banana a lot, but I found it overwhelmed the chocolate.

  • http://deniseskitchen.wordpress.com/ Denise Santoro Lincoln

    Hi Starlogva – thanks for sharing your thoughts on the recipe. I really appreciate your comments and am sorry this one didn’t work out for you.

  • marisa

    Hi,

    I really want to try these recipes, but I don’t have an ice cream maker. Is there a way to make these without one? Thanks!

  • http://deniseskitchen.wordpress.com/ Denise Santoro Lincoln

    Hi Marisa — I’ve never made ice cream without an ice cream maker, but David Lebovitz has a recipe for how to make a batch just in your freezer. Here’s the URL: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2007/07/making-ice-crea-1/

    Good luck!

  • ChocoTaco369

    I like your idea for using almond milk for ice cream. I’m going to have to give that a try – but your logic for doing so is flawed. Saturated fat is actually heart-protective. Your recipes are pretty much fat free and loaded with sugar, so you’re causing large spikes in your blood glucose with no fat to lessen the insulin spike. Your recipes may not have cholesterol in them, but dietary cholesterol has no impact on your heart health. A diet low in saturated fat drops your HDL’s and a diet high in sugar shoots your triglycerides through your roof, and your low fat/high carb ice creams are a recipe for this. It’s the HDL/Triglyceride ratio that’s important, not the total cholesterol. High LDL with a low trig is harmless LDL. You should read this to learn how to interpret a cholesterol test as most doctors can’t even read them right:

    http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread4723.html

    That’ll rock your world.

    That being said, I eat homemade sugar free ice cream 4 nights a week made out of pure heavy whipping cream (cream only, no additives, pasteurized, NOT ultra-pasteurized), coconut milk, stevia and real extracts, and it’s done great at helping me cut down from 15% to sub-12% body fat. Now that I’m getting very lean, I need to start reducing dietary fat. Switching the heavy cream for almond milk could allow me to still eat ice cream Monday thru Thursday nights and help me cut a little more fat off my waist. This is a great idea if you skip the sugar and use stevia instead, and maybe some coconut milk for MCT’s.

  • Mindy

    Do the bananas act as a thickener for the chocolate ice cream, or can the be omitted?

  • http://deniseskitchen.wordpress.com/ Denise Santoro Lincoln

    Hi Mindy — Yes, the bananas do add body, but if you don’t want to add them you can simply use cornstarch (take a look at the recipe for Strawberry Almond Milk Ice Cream to see how this is done). Good luck!

  • Mindy

    Awesome! Thank you!

  • Elynn Eiss

    Hi, other than bananas and cornstarch, Denise, can you recommend a thickener? Could I use some powdered pudding mix? Itching to try this recipe, but not to gas up and head to the store. Thx

  • http://deniseskitchen.wordpress.com/ Denise Santoro Lincoln

    Hi Elynn — I’ve never tried anything other than bananas and cornstarch so can’t really say, although I would think pudding mix would work fine. It’s definitely worth a try. Let me know how it turns out :-)

  • wholistic

    Love this! I personally use Almondie’s almond butter. It’s 100% raw and pure, it’s sugar-free and preservative-free! It’s perfect for those who are allergic to milk and soy and lactose intolerant. I’m sure it’ll be perfect for this recipe!! Thanks for sharing!

  • Eva

    What kind of chocolate cocoa r u asking 4? Like the stuff u use 2 make chocolate milk or cocoa for baking? Plus do you think this will work if I just used the chocolate almond milk and bananas?

  • kristin

    i made the chocolate one tonight – so good! i used whole foods refrigerated unsweetened almond milk, some stevia for part of the sugar, and added almond extract for that “devil’s food” taste. i couldn’t have been more pleased! the only problem i have was that i kept dipping my spoon in the ice cream maker before it was done. Thanks for a guilt free yummy dessert!

  • http://deniseskitchen.wordpress.com/ Denise Santoro Lincoln

    Hi Kristin — I’m so glad you enjoyed the ice cream! My kids and I adore this recipe. And you’re not alone… we also have a hard time keeping our spoons out of the ice cream maker :-)

  • Annie

    looking for some healthful, vegan and sugar free recipes.  These sound terrific!  Can’t wait to give them a try.

  • Bryson

    Question can i use soy or rice milk?

  • Bethsdyson

    Hi Denise, Harry and I just made the Triple Almond Vegan Ice Cream for Mrs. Sue and the girls. We all loved it! Thanks for the recipes! Beth

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jennifer-Burton/100001664720195 Jennifer Burton

    I don’t have an ice cream maker. Do you think the bag technique would work with the chocolate recipe?

  • Denise Santoro Lincoln

    Hi Bryson – I’ve never used soy or rice milk but if you are allergic to almonds or just don’t want to use almond milk, I would try rice milk first as it has a natural sweetness like almond milk.
    Hi Beth – so glad you all liked it!
    Hi Jennifer – I’ve never used the bag technique so am not sure. I think following directions for making ice cream without an ice cream maker should work, however. Good luck!

  • Betweenthepages

    These are AMAZING. I’ve made the chocolate and strawberry–chocolate was awesome and the strawberry was so mindblowing that I bought a bigger ice cream maker just to make more servings at a time!!! THANK YOU. Please keep posting recipes like these. They’re keepers.

  • Gypsyatheartjewels

    hi, love this recipe , but I do not use a microwave, what would you suggest I do instead, and what does the microwaving do to the mixture???

  • Jen

    These recipes look AMAZING!  I can’t wait to try them!  I do not use refined sugar, though.  Do you think it would be alright to sub agave in the recipes?  Do you think it would change the consistency drastically? 

  • Kylie

    We tried the chocolate last night. So awesome! Thanks for sharing. :)

  • Carol

    Funny error: “Store ice cream in a container and freeze for another 20 seconds to firm up a bit before serving” should have said “minutes.” 
    Champing at the bit to make these! Thanks for so sweetly sharing, and especially for one recipe sans sugar, the true test!

  • Lindacy316

    I would love to try these recipes, but I do not have an ice cream maker. Is there a way that I can achieve ice-cream-like results without an actual maker?

    Thanks!

  • IlissaD

    I would love to try the strawberry ice cream since I just went strawberry picking. Since I have fresh and not frozen berries, should I still cook them with the sugar or can I just puree or mash the berries with the sugar and juice and skip the heating step altogether? 

  • Searchrx

    I just made the chocolate ice cream.  It was so good!!  I was buying the almond milk ice cream at a health food store for $6 a pint.  Now I can make it for pennies.  Thank you so much for the recipe.

  • http://cakegirllosangeles.blogspot.com/ cake girl

    This looks amazing and super simple to make 

    thanks!