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Eat Well Jul. 26. 2013

Simply Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Jul. 26. 2013
McKel Hill, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Hill, MS, RDN, LDN


A simple, non-dairy ice cream that’s thick and creamy.

In a previous post I shared with you one of my favorite go-to healthy desserts to satisfy my sweet tooth, Banana NOcream, a non-dairy, gluten-free, vegan and paleo friendly “ice cream” recipe. Today I share with you a new type of “ice cream” that still fits all of the mentioned dietary preferences, Simply Coconut Milk Ice Cream. This will also go perfectly for an upcoming post (hint, hint) and every other delicious dish you pair with ice cream or my favorite way, au naturel.

I know what you may be thinking, a whole can of coconut milk, isn’t that fattening? Yes, it is high in fat…BUT this type of fat is a healthy fat and can be used to replace other fats in your diet. The fat contained in coconut meat/milk is mostly MCT (medium chain triglyceride), which is digested completely differently than standard fats in our diet (a.k.a. long chain fatty acids/triglycerides) and are more easily used as energy and broken down by the body. I love coconuts and the health benefits of adding this food high in saturated fat so much that I wrote an entire post about it here and of course you can bet coconut is always in my pantry (in all forms!).

Why is dairy used in typical ice creams? Cow’s milk/dairy has a high-fat content, which is the main contribution to the velvety texture when mixed with all sorts of other ingredients. It may be difficult to create non-dairy ice creams and have a smooth and thick texture without using a lot of additions such as guar gum, xanthum gum, etc., to thicken it. Full fat coconut milk is perfect for non-dairy ice cream as it creates that wonderful thick, creamy mouthfeel that traditional ice cream does. Also, I show you how to do this using bananas in a previous post, no fat needed. Along the same lines, just as you can make your own ice cream sans dairy, you can of course make your own non-dairy milks which are amazing and super simple.

Just because this ice cream is a healthier version with no processed ingredients, rich in medium chain triglycerides, easier to digest, and very allergy free friendly (as many individuals have intolerances to dairy), still keep in mind that this recipe is a treat and you should treat it as that. Use some moderation because it’s calorically dense as well. Mindfully enjoy friends! I will be featuring several spin-offs and variations with Simply Coconut Milk Ice Cream in future posts. I know I’m excited about all this ice cream, and I hope you are too! What is your favorite topping on ice cream? Have you ever tried dairy-free ice cream? Share below, I enjoy reading what you all have to say!

Try These Next:

If you love this recipe, I have a hunch you’ll love trying it on these recipes!

xo McKel


The Recipe

Serves 4



2, 15 ounce cans of organic full fat coconut milk

4 large dates, pitted (stevia sugar-free option)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

dash of cinnamon

pinch of sea salt

No Ice Cream Maker:

1 banana, frozen

ice cubes to thicken

2, 15 ounce cans of organic full fat coconut milk

4 large dates, pitted (stevia sugar free option)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

dash of cinnamon

pinch of sea salt



Chill the full-fat coconut milk cans overnight.

Combine all ingredients into a high-speed blender or food processor and blend until thick and creamy.

Using Blender:

Use frozen bananas and ice along with the remaining ingredients to have an instant frozen treat.

You may also put in the freezer for about 30min-1hr to “harden” up if this texture is still too soft.

Using Ice Cream Maker:

If you have one, you can use it and get the best results. After blending, you simply add the mixture to your ice cream maker and let it do the work for you.

Enjoy chilled with typical ice cream garnish and toppings.


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Did you try it out?

Share Your Thoughts & Images

  • We’re ice cream buddies! I just whipped up a batch, but I think I’m going to have to make one more for this. Yours looks FANTASTIC! So creamy and rich. People shouldn’t fear fat every now and then, especially the healthy and delicious coconut kind!

    • Hey Kelly! Yes we are, great foodie minds think alike! You’re exactly right, coconut and coconut fat is all good in my book. Thanks for stopping by and come back soon dear 😉

  • Simple but definitely amazing. I can only imagine how good tastes the combination of bananas and coconut milk tastes… I should make the ice cream soon 🙂

    • Yes, super simple and it’s a great alternative to store bought ice cream. You can of course top it with things you’d enjoy but most of the time I like it perfectly plain. Thanks for stopping by and come back soon! 🙂

  • Super creamy and delicious…I can’t wait to give it a try!

  • emily

    Can you freeze this for a later date if you make it in the ice cream maker? Thanks!

    • I haven’t tried keeping it for long, but you can try making the same mixture in a ice cream maker and freezing it long-term. Let me know how you like it!

  • Hannah Daniel

    So, if I have an icecream maker, do I use the frozen banana?

    • You would just need the banana for the blender one, although you can add it in the others if you enjoy banana!

  • dragons are awesome

    Looks delicious! Can I use honey instead of dates as a sweetener and mango instead of banana?

  • Rachel

    Hi! What is your best recommendation to use as sweetner instead of dates to keep the flavor generally the same? And how much woud I use? Can’t wait to try!! Thank you!

    • You can also use maple syrup or stevia to taste- dates provide the sweetness but also give it a bit of a thick texture. You could also use banana!

  • Is it possible just to use coconut cream instead of the cream from the milk? How much is really used for the recipe – looks yum!

    • The coconut cream is the top part of the canned coconut milk that’s really high in all of those amazing fats and makes it super creamy!

  • Chantal

    I am looking forward to making this recipe. Do you have an idea how much stevia I try adding?

  • Morgan

    HI! What kind of coconut milj do you recommend? I am trying to find one without Guar Gum, as ive read controversial reviews on it. Thanks so much!

    • For this recipe I use trader joes coconut milk in the can, it’s a full fat coconut cream 🙂

  • Mirian

    Hi McKel,

    How much ice cubs do you used? 🙂

    Thanks for the recipe, it looks delicious!


  • Debbie

    I love this recipe, it’s absolutely yummy…. However if I put it into a container and put it in the freezer it goes rock solid. Am I doing something wrong? Or is there a way of keeping it a little softer?
    Thanks a million

    • Thank you! It’s best eaten when made immediately, if you do freeze it what I do is let it rest on the counter to soften and then pop it in a blender- that can help too!

  • lise b

    hi – made this last night as my first ice cream attempt ever with my new ice cream maker! It was delish beyond words but it never got hard like ice cream – almost softer than soft serve…. Is that how it comes out or did I possibly do something wrong? Thanks!

    • McKel Hill

      Your ice cream maker probably wasn’t frozen enough! That’s what happens to mine when I don’t freeze the maker for a couple days 😉

  • Eden Passante

    Yum! Love dairy free ice cream recipes!

    • McKel Hill

      It’s a classic and go-to around the summer, hope you enjoy it Eden!

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