Vegan Coconut Ice Cream Recipe

The really nice thing when you come back from a vacation, however lovely, is the fresh set of eyes you can lay on your living quarters, and all the things that make them homey and yours.

Your bed, not too firm but not flabby either, and wide enough that two normal-size individuals can stretch their legs without starting a war. Your shower handle, and its nifty flow modes that you can fiddle with to match your shower mood. An oven you can trust, as opposed to an oven that scorches your apple cake the first chance it gets. And, perhaps, a still-very-new-and-still-very-exciting appliance, like, say, an ice cream maker.

I knew I’d have a kitchen to call my own for part of our vacation so I briefly caressed the idea of taking my new toy with me when we left, but even I had to admit the silliness of such a plan. As it turns out, good ice cream was always available in our hour of need, in particular during a few furnace-hot days in Dordogne, when a salon de thé called La Maison de Léo* helped us cool off between canoe rides with numerous helpings of rose ice cream.

Replicating this pale pink gem is high on my back-to-school to-do list, but while I do my homework and figure out the how, the what, and the how much of each, I would like to share the recipe for this coconut ice cream, which I winged and churned when we returned, having wisely left the bowl of my ice cream maker in the freezer, and all the necessary ingredients in the pantry.

Even after you’ve set aside the ones that call for fresh coconuts**, there is no dearth of coconut ice cream recipes roaming the wild wild internet. I’ve found recipes that use canned coconut milk, and I’ve found recipes that steep grated coconut in regular milk or cream before straining it out, but I wanted the best of both worlds: a vegan coconut ice cream based on coconut milk, and plenty of toasted flecks of coconut in each mouthful.


* La Maison de Léo / 14 place d’Armes / 24170 Belvès / map it! / 05 53 28 29 37.

** I’ve refused to deal with them myself ever since an unfortunate incident involving two members of my immediate family, an innocent coconut, and a fourth floor balcony.

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Vegan Coconut Ice Cream Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 2 minutes

Total Time: 4 hours

Makes about 1 liter (1 quart).

Vegan Coconut Ice Cream Recipe


  • 65 grams (1 cup) unsweetened dried grated coconut
  • 2 can (380 ml or 13 fl. oz. each) unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons dark rum, to taste (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 150 grams (3/4 cup) sugar


  1. Pre-freeze the bowl of your ice cream maker.
  2. Toast the grated coconut in a dry skillet until golden and fragrant; set aside to cool completely.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, rum, vanilla, and sugar until blended. Refrigerate until chilled.
  4. Whisk again, and freeze in your ice cream maker. Halfway through the churning, when the mixture has thickened to a custard-like consistency, pour the toasted coconut into the ice cream maker so that it blends into the ice cream.
  • Jen

    I guess it’s time to get that ice cream maker attachment. I don’t think I could live one more day without coconut ice cream (of course, I’ll have to since the attachment must be frozen for 24 hours first)

    Thanks for doing the leg work on what looks like a top-shelf recipe, C!

  • Kara

    I love home-made ice-cream and coconut is one of my favorite flavors! I will make this as soon as I get home! Thank you.

  • Heather

    Now I must make some – with gloriously rich cream and fresh coconut. At our house, we’re not afraid of fresh coconuts or fat.

  • Oh my, another fabulous food blog…I am smitten already;-)

  • Sounds wounderful… My mom always used evaporated milk for her ice creams, too. Its a good trick.

  • Well welcome home! I really only appreciated all the little aspects of home when I didn’t have them anymore. I’m living in a decent enough place, but there are so many little luxuries that I miss.

  • this looks very tasty but must admit to be awaiting instructions for rose ice cream with great eagerness

  • Oooh yummy. I love my ice cream maker. Did you get a cuisinart? What’s the make of your sorbetiere?

    I love the mouth-feel of evaporated milk. Seems fitting that you would make a tropical dish with canned milk as canned milk is what they use in the Caribbean and other places.

  • That looks like a great recipe! My ice cream maker is still in my freezer and ready to go. Plus we are suddenly having hot weather again here in Massachusetts! Tomorrow might just be an ice cream making day!

  • Lisa

    When you say “well chilled” I take it that you don’t mean overnight? I have a little Krups ice cream maker that I like a lot. But unless I get the mixture blended first thing in the morning (which just doesn’t happen) I’m afraid to freeze it the same day that I make it, unless I put it in the freezer (the other freezer) for awhile. Do you make this the same day that you put it together? Maybe it isnt as much of a concern with a recipe that doesn’t require boiling or heating first. Thanks for any info.

  • Pourquoi ne pas utiliser du lait condensé sucré en retirant le sucre de la recette??

  • Wow, this is some seriously sensual ice cream…it looks awesome.

  • Debbie

    Lovely! Would also be good with a grinding of cardamom or cinnamon, and/or with coarsely chopped toasted almonds (there’s a great chewy-style coconut macaroon of that kind–of course, the fact that it’s half-dipped in chocolate doesn’t hurt either…)

    You can get reduced-fat coconut milk in the U.S. (Whole Foods has it)–might be worth a check in Paris.

  • I love love love coconut ice cream! I’m so glad you found the best of both worlds…I love coconut milk but ice cream needs some real milk in it too, and of course some real coconut :)


  • I will have to try this. So far the best coconut ice cream I’ve had is the helados de coco made by Nestlé and available in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. Unbelievably good…but I bet yours is even better.

  • Welcome home!

  • Paula

    I have never had much success with making ice cream from scratch. Mind you I have never had an ice cream maker either. I think its about time I got one.

  • I’m not sure I’ve ever seen unsweetend condensed milk here in the NL. If I could only get my hands on the sweet stuff, what then?

  • Francesca

    I eagerly await for your recipe for rose ice cream. I’ve been dreaming about a scoop each of rose and lavender ice cream. How about a recipe for both of them? And maybe a cone for good measure, if that’s not too cheeky.

  • alli

    There is a fabulous Persian ice cream I used to eat in San Jose sometimes that was rose-based. The bakery that sold it wasn’t eager to give me the recipe, but I know it had rosewater or rose flavoring, saffron, and pistachios, and it was ridiculously amazing, especially between thin wafers as an ice cream sandwich.

  • So glad I stumbled on your blog. I am looking for some new Thanksgiving recipes and this one looks perfect!

    Thanks Di

  • I was just polishing off a small bowl of chocolate coconut sorbet (recipe from The Perfect Scoop) when I clicked on your blog!
    I use the lite Coconut Milk from Trader Joe’s and it comes out delicious! I’m on my 3rd or 4th batch at least, I forget now!

    My Mom is a huge fan of substituting evaporated skim milk, too… I’ve used it in quiches and other baking successfully.
    It’s a great idea for lower fat ice cream!
    I love anything coconut, will have to try this!

  • It’s so cold where I am Clotilde, but I have to try this anyway. Can’t wait!

  • I feel like dusting off my ice cream maker right away and try this recipe. I never heard of using evaporated milk, but I’m sure the very unique flavor it provides, coupled with its creaminess adds a lot to this ice cream…

  • I just made this, it was fantastic. I posted my results and photos as well. I subbed vanilla sugar for the regular sugar and it was divine. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Thank you for this great recipe. Our family and extended family love homemade ice cream. Sometimes we make enough to feed 40 people at one time. We will use this one for sure.


  • I have always loved your presentation about the stuff you make and ofcourse the recipes. I am sure gonna try this icecream as coconut is my favorite.

  • Carolina

    YUM YUM YUM, that is almost exactly the way my mom makes coconut ice cream (my favorite)! Just a couple differences: she does not use rhum and sometimes uses sweetened condensed milk instead of sugar. Ah, sweetened condensed milk, the favorite ingredient of 11 out of 10 Brazilian moms when it comes to preparing desserts :-).

  • I made your coconut ice cream recipe today except I used low fat organic coconut milk and instead of sugar I used agave syrup. I also didn’t have rum so that was left out as well. Froze it in my new cuisinart and it came out perfect! Fantastic! Love it! Thanks for the great recipe!

  • Brian M.

    I’d like to thank you for these wonderful recipes and really, just a lovely site. Are you still experimenting a recipe for rose ice cream? I grew up in a household with Lebanese pastries at the holidays, and I love anything with rose water in it. I took your advice and started putting a few drops of rose water in green tea in the mornings…superb! Again, thanks.

  • Oh myyyy, i tried the nutella Icecream adding broken cookies to the mixture and it was a blast! Can’t wait to put my hands on this one!


  • Steffie

    This recipe is fantastic! I ran out of rum and used brandy, and used sweetened flake coconut (it was already in my pantry, fitting the recipe title) and the results were just out of this world. I look forward to new ice cream and sorbet recipes from my favorite food blog.

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