Cool treats on hot days are one of the best things about summer. What’s not so great are the artificial dyes and processed sugars that come in most of them! This delicious vanilla ice cream is naturally sweetened, dairy-free, and something I feel great serving to my family.
The Best Vanilla Ice Cream
I don’t have much of a sweet tooth so you won’t find me making many desserts. Every so often though my kids will throw in a special request for something like chocolate ice cream or peach cobbler. When the desserts are naturally sweetened, full of healthy fats, and minus all the junk, I don’t mind whipping up some recipes.
I’ve come up with several different ice cream recipes over the years. These usually start with egg yolks and a custard base for a creamy texture. Most ice cream recipes call for ingredients like heavy cream, whole milk, half and half, or heavy whipping cream. While I’m not against dairy from raw, grass-fed cows, not everyone can tolerate it.
Instead, this recipe relies on coconut milk and cream for a rich, creamy flavor. I find that it doesn’t even need the egg yolks in the ice cream base for creaminess.
Flavoring Vanilla Ice Cream
Naturally, vanilla ice cream has vanilla in it (of course!). But what kind of vanilla you use can really make a difference. Sometimes I’ll make my own pure vanilla extract with spiced rum and vanilla beans. The vanilla flavor from homemade takes baked goods over the top and it really shines in ice cream.
Even if you don’t want to make your own, there are plenty of good quality organic options now. Just be sure to get the real thing and not imitation vanilla! Not only do these have ingredients like sugar and caramel coloring, but they don’t taste as good.
Because vanilla is one of the main ingredients in this homemade ice cream, it doesn’t really have other flavors to hide behind. You can also add some vanilla bean paste to the ice cream when you add the vanilla extract. It’s completely optional, but it adds another layer of flavor and looks pretty too.
Making Homemade Ice Cream Without an Ice Cream Machine
You can have delicious vanilla ice cream even if you don’t have an ice cream machine. This isn’t a no-churn recipe because it doesn’t have the custard base and sugar to keep it soft without churning. It’s important to mix it somehow or you’ll have chunks of ice crystals. I got this Cuisinart ice cream maker years ago and we’ve put it to good use!
- If you don’t have an ice cream maker (or even if you do), try this simple tin can method for making ice cream by hand.
- For a no-churn option, you can also try a food processor. Freeze the ice cream mix in a reusable silicone bag. Be sure to remove all of the air and freeze completely. Next, break the custard mixture into pieces and add to your food processor bowl along with the vanilla. Blend until smooth and store in a freezer-safe container.
What to Eat With Vanilla Ice Cream
Homemade vanilla ice cream can elevate a lot of desserts. You can top it with healthy hot fudge sauce, caramel sauce, chocolate chips, or even peanut butter. Or try a homemade magic shell for some crunch. Here are some desserts to add a scoop of vanilla ice cream to.
Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe
- Place the ice cream maker bowl in the freezer for at least 12 hours before making the ice cream mixture.
- Combine the coconut milk, cream, and maple syrup in a blender. Blend for about 2-3 minutes or until frothy.
- Pour the ice cream mixture into your ice cream machine bowl and churn ice cream according to the manufacturer's instructions.
- Mix in the vanilla extract by pouring it into the ice cream while it’s churning.
- Churn until it's the consistency of soft serve ice cream, about 35 minutes. If you want a thicker consistency put the ice cream into a freezer-safe container and freeze for 4 hours or until it thickens.
More Ice Cream Flavors
Looking for some more healthy ice cream flavors to try? Give one of these recipes a go!
What are your favorite ways to eat vanilla ice cream? Leave a comment and share below!