This homemade, no-churn vegan ice cream uses a special secret (and nutritious) ingredient for creamy, thick results! Using just 6 simple ingredients, you can mix up a vegan chocolate ice cream that is dairy-free, eggless, refined sugar-free, and gluten-free – with no ice cream maker required!
Creamy Chocolatey Dairy Free Ice Cream
Is there anyone that doesn’t like ice-cream on a warm summer’s day, or served alongside pie or cake during Fall, or as a Christmas treat. Hold on, let me re-write that question…. Is there anyone out there that doesn’t love creamy ice cream?!
Whether you want to serve it up in a cone, scoop it into a bowl, or serve alongside a whole variety of desserts – ice-cream is versatile and an absolute must-have in my freezer.
However, where your standard icecream is usually filled with eggs and dairy and tons of sugar. This vegan ice cream recipe is dairy-free, egg-free, and even refined sugar-free! Plus, with my special secret ingredient, I’ve also managed to pack in some extra nutrients to this sweet treat. That way, you can feel even less guilty when you go back to the freezer for an extra scoop (that’s not just me, right?).
And there are no bananas in sight with this vegan chocolate ice cream either. Because, as much as I love a bowl of nicecream, this vegan gelato is for when you’re craving a rich and creamy treat.
The Secret Ingredient
The special ingredient in this no churn chocolate ice cream is sweet potato!
Okay, you might be thinking- here you are at it again, Ela, putting vegetables where they don’t belong.’ But I’m here to tell you they definitely do and taste good too! If you’ve seen my recipes for Chocolate Zucchini Cake and Best Vegan Brownies (containing peas!), then you’ll know that I love to hide nutritional veg into all kinds of sweet treats. Now it is no churn ice-cream’s turn to get the veggie treatment.
If you really think about it, sweet potato is a natural when it comes to being used for sweet dishes- I mean, It’s even in its’ name (and why they’re in my Sweet Potato Brownies). Sweet potato is already a staple on plenty of Thanksgiving tables in the form of sweet potato pie and candied yams with marshmallows. And let’s not forget Pumpkin Pie too. Some vegetables were just made for desserts, and this is definitely one of them.
Plus, sweet potatoes are highly nutritious. I used Japanese white sweet potatoes for this sweet potato ice cream. However, you can use other varieties (just read the recipe notes first).
Japanese sweet potatoes, for instance, contain Vitamins A and C, potassium, iron, copper. However, most excitingly, they also include all the essential amino acids needed by our bodies.
Meanwhile, the orange and purple varieties are known for all of the above plus containing high levels of antioxidants, with purple sweet potatoes being rich in anthocyanins – which have anti-cancer properties and can protect brain health.
The Ingredients & Swaps
Sweet Potato – This adds lovely texture and flavor. The Japanese sweet potatoes contain more starch and less water. However, you can also use the classic orange sweet potatoes or even purple sweet potatoes (if you can find them- they are sweeter, though, so may require less sweetener). Just make sure to bake the orange/purple varieties in the oven, so they aren’t too ‘wet.’ Slice in half when baking to help absorb even more moisture content.
Canned Coconut Milk – Full-fat coconut milk is rich and creamy in a similar way to heavy cream, so it makes for a great plant-based alternative. If you don’t like the taste of coconut milk, then you can use different plant-based milk like cashew milk, almond milk, etc. (for a nut free ice cream, you could use oat milk). However, in that case, add 3 tablespoons of refined coconut oil too; otherwise, it will freeze solid. You can also use other vegan ‘creams’ for a creamier result.
Cacao Powder – Or cocoa powder, if that’s all you have. You could also mix a combination of cacao and dark cocoa for a deeper flavor. Or use carob powder.
Maple Syrup – or another liquid sweetener of choice such as agave.
Dates – These will naturally sweeten without the need for sugar. However, note that sugars actually help to keep ice-cream soft, so changing sweetener/sugar types will affect the set of the ice-cream in different ways. Sugar free ice cream is often harder set.
Vanilla Extract & Salt – The alcohol content in the vanilla extract will help to keep the ice-cream slightly softer while also flavoring, and a dash of salt is always wonderful with chocolate.
Instant Coffee (optional) – Whether you want a mocha flavor or just to intensify the chocolate flavor. Adding coffee to chocolate helps to add layers to the flavor in sinfully delicious ways.
This Chocolate Ice Cream Is
- Refined sugar-free
- Sweet & Delicious
- Easy to make!
How To Make Vegan Ice Cream
There are just four simple steps to making this no-churn chocolate ice cream. Plus, all you need is an oven or microwave, blender or food processor, loaf tin, and plastic wrap!
Step One: Begin by cooking a medium-large sweet potato (250g cooked and cooled). I used a white Japanese sweet potato and boiled it. However, if using an orange sweet potato, then I recommend baking it in the oven at 400°F until tender (as it’s a ‘wetter’ potato). Then allow it to cool.
Step Two: Add all of the ingredients to a blender or food processor. Blend until completely smooth and silky.
Step Three: Add the mixture to a loaf pan (or ice-cream storage container) and cover with plastic wrap—place in the freezer.
Step Four: Allow it to freeze for at least 4 hours for a soft serve consistency or overnight. Then leave it to thaw at room temperature for around 20 minutes before serving- enjoy!
For the full ingredients list, ingredient measurements, and nutritional information, then please read the recipe card below.
This dairy free ice cream can be kept in the freezer for up to 2 weeks but it tastes the best fresh. Try to keep plastic wrap or some form of ‘lid’ over it, to keep it fresh for longer.
How To Serve
This vegan chocolate ice cream can be served in a cone or scooped into a bowl, eaten alone, or sprinkled with tons of toppings.
Some of my favorite sweet toppings include berries, fruits, and sauces/drizzles. Alternatively, mix salty and sweet by serving with salty snacks like popcorn and chopped nuts (unsalted or salted)!
And, of course, this vegan ice cream is the perfect accompaniment to tons of different desserts, like pies, tarts, waffles, pancakes, etc. For example, these Vegan Waffles, Banana Oat Flour Pancakes, or even Chocolate Stuffed Pancakes. Or possibly even this Vegan Lava Cake, Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread, Vegan Coffee Cake, or Apple Strudel.
Recipe Notes & Optional Add-Ins
- If you have an ice-cream maker, then feel free to use it. The ice cream will be even creamier.
- Adding any alcohol-based ingredients (for example 1 tablespoon Vodka) will make a creamier ice-cream, as it lowers the freezing point of the mixture.
- If you decide to swap out the full-fat coconut milk for carton milk and have issues with the dairy free ice cream freezing solid, then you can break the ice-cream into chunks and blend in a blender/ food processor to reach a silky, creamy soft serve ice-cream texture. Do the initial freeze on a large oven tray to make it easier to break up.
There are tons of ways that you can customize and play around with this coconut milk ice cream. Here are just a few of my top picks.
- Add 1/4 cup of melted dairy-free chocolate chips for even more chocolate flavor. You can also fold in some crushed chocolate into the ice-cream mixture.
- Create an interesting marbled sweet potato ice cream by swirling in your favorite vegan chocolate spread, nut butter, or vegan caramel. Just add a little of the coconut cream to the nut butter, and that should help it not freeze solid.
- Add some coffee or chocolate liqueur – The alcohol content will even help create a creamier ice-cream consistency.
- Play upon the fact that this is coconut ice cream by adding in some shredded coconut. This will add flavor and texture to the mix.
- Lastly, taking inspiration from some of the big brands out there. Why not crush up some cookies to crumble into (or on top of) the ice-cream. Like these Peanut Butter Cookies.
If you give this vegan ice cream recipe a try, I’d really appreciate a comment and rating below. Also, don’t forget to tag me in re-creations on Instagram or Facebook with @elavegan and #elavegan.
Vegan Ice Cream
- 8.8 oz (250 g) sweet potato peeled and cooked (*see notes)
- 1/3 cup (105 g) maple syrup or liquid sweetener of choice
- 7 small (50 g) dates pitted
- 1 1/3 cups (320 ml) canned coconut milk full fat (*see notes)
- 4 tbsp (24 g) cacao powder or cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract (*see notes)
- 1/2 tsp instant coffee optional
- Pinch of sea salt
- Cook a medium-large sweet potato. I used a white Japanese sweet potato which I boiled in a pot with water (about 15-20 minutes). However, if using orange sweet potato I highly recommend baking in the oven at 400 °F (200 °C) until it's soft (about 45 minutes). It's also possible to microwave the sweet potato for some minutes until soft. Let cool. The cooked and cooled sweet potato should weigh 250 grams.
- Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor. Blend until completely smooth, silky, and creamy. Add the mixture to a loaf pan, cover it with plastic wrap and place in the freezer. An ice cream storage container works even better. If you have an ice-cream maker, then feel free to use it. The ice cream will be even creamier.
- Freeze for at least 4 hours for a soft serve consistency or overnight. Let thaw at room temperature for about 20 minutes before serving. Enjoy! Store in the freezer for up to 2 weeks, but it tastes the best when fresh.
- White (Japapnese sweet potatoes) contain more starch and less water. It's fine if you boil them. However, orange sweet potatoes contain more water and should be, therefore, baked in the oven.
- If you don't like the taste of coconut milk, use any other plant-based milk like cashew milk, almond milk, etc. and add 3 tablespoons of refined coconut oil.
- Adding any alcohol-based ingredients (for example 1 tablespoon of Vodka) will make a creamier ice-cream, as it lowers the freezing point of the mixture.
- Add 1/4 cup of melted dairy-free chocolate chips for an extra chocolate flavor.
- If you decide to swap out the full-fat coconut milk for carton milk and have issues with the ice cream freezing solid, then you can break the ice-cream into chunks and blend in a blender/ food processor to reach a silky, creamy soft serve texture.
- The preparation time does not include freezing time.
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