My Basic Coconut cream ice-cream

Here is the simplest (and in my opinion one of the yummiest) ice cream recipes you are likely to come across! I find it funny that until I came up with this recipe, I didn’t really like ice cream. So why come up with an ice cream recipe I hear you ask? Well, initially it was for a client who was on a particularly strict diet due to irritable bowel. I figured that unlike me, most “normal” people seem to like ice cream, and generally, I find people find challenging diets easier to follow if they find they can still have some of the old comfort foods every now and then (but of course, in a diet-friendly manner). Once I tried out this recipe, I then realised, how many food sensitivities it respected and that it could be a dessert for many different people. So it has become one of my favourites. The other thing I like about this recipe is that you can make it with or without an ice cream maker. Are you going to win Master Chef with it? Possibly not, but then, I haven’t seen any thing on that show that satisfies one food sensitivity, let alone 6! (I actually really love the show by the way, I just keep hoping that one day they will issue the contestants a dairy free, gluten free and vegan challenge:-)

Serves: anywhere from 12- 20 if served as a side (see ideas below) or if served alone, then it’ll serve between at least 10 reasonable serves. It is quite rich so you don’t need a huge serving.

Preparation time: For the basic ice-cream mix 10 minutes, plus ~16 hours to set without an ice-cream maker.

Who this recipe is suitable for:

This recipe contains no added: gluten, wheat, dairy, soy, peanuts, yeast, caffeine, chocolate or egg. If made with agave, this recipe is suitable for vegans. Technically coconut is a tree nut, so this recipe contains tree nuts, although incidence of allergy to coconut is rare, if you are cooking for someone with a food allergy please see our articles on food allergies and labels first and check with the person you are cooking for to ensure you are meeting their needs especially if they are allergic to tree nuts. Also please see the note below regarding fructose malabsorption and alternative sweeteners.


  • 2 cans  organic coconut cream
  • 4 tbsp organic honey or sweetener of your choice eg. agave, maple, sugar, natural low calorie sweetener (eg. stevia although the amount will change depending on if you are using liquid or powdered stevia).
  • 4 tbsp shredded coconut (organic)
  • ½ tspn vanilla extract

Preparing the ice-cream mix

  1. Toast the shredded coconut until golden brown then set aside (I toast this on the stove-top in a small pan because I forget if I put it in the oven) it takes about 5 minutes and I stir it constantly so it doesn’t burn.
  2. Heat the coconut cream and sweetener until the flavour is evenly distributed (the goal is to mix the sweetener through the cream, not to heat up the cream, so the quicker it mixes, the better. I do this with a small whisk).
  3. Once the sweetener has been mixed through the cream, take it off the heat, and add the vanilla and the shredded coconut and place the mix in the fridge for 1-4 hours to cool.

Without an ice-cream machine

  1. Place the mix in a glass bowl (I use a pyrex) in the freezer and stir regularly (eg. every hour) using a small whisk or fork. (I usually begin it in the morning for this reason).
  2. The stirring reduces ice-crystal formation but also helps prevent the shredded coconut and anything else you may add sinking to the bottom, floating to the top or forming layers (eg. see White’s Christmas ice-cream and Rice milk gelati  recipes to come).
  3. Preparing the ice-cream this way takes about 16 hours (although it depends on how much you make and how cool it is to begin with, eg. down-scaling the recipe to 250mls may set in about 6 hours).

With an ice-cream machine

  1. Cool the ice-cream maker bowl in the freezer for 24 hours before you plan to make your ice-cream.
  2. After step 3 in preparing the ice-cream mix, put the entire mix into the fridge to cool (it can take up to 4 hours depending on how much you heated it up).
  3. Once the ice-cream maker is assembled pour the cooled ice-cream mix in, and stir in the cooler for 30-40 minutes. (In our ice-cream maker it takes the full 40 minutes, and still requires an additional 3 hours to fully set after that) but it comes out lighter, creamier and smoother in the ice cream maker. The coconut cream ice cream in the picture was made with an ice cream maker by my niece (Thanks for the great photo Kathryn!).

How to serve:

  • This goes nicely with Almost everything free self-saucing chocolate pudding and Anne’s (anti) depression cake with Lisa’s super rich chocolate sauce or by itself or by itself with fruit (eg. mango).

Alternatives/ Cooking for food intolerances

  • Sugar or natural sweetener. When making food for kids, I tend to avoid sugar substitutes like xylitol and I use honey, maple, agave or molasses preferentially over refined sugar. However if you have a fructose malabsorption, or you are cooking for someone on a FODMAPs diet, then you will need to use refined sugar and not xylitol or honey as both can exacerbate symptoms (also check if the coconut cream is ok if not, I will have a Rice milk gelati recipe coming up soon which may be more suitable).

So who says you can’t have ice cream when you are dairy free???