Vegan Vanilla Ice Cream is the perfect dairy-free dessert! It’s so rich and creamy your guests won’t ever guess that it’s vegan. Because this ice cream has a cashew base and is not made of coconut milk, it truly tastes like a classic vanilla ice cream, rather than some sad approximation of vanilla ice cream with an odd coconut flavor.
Made with just 5 ingredients, Vegan Vanilla Ice Cream can be whipped up in a jiffy. All you need to prepare this easy paleo dessert recipe is cashews, water, honey, vanilla, and a pinch of salt.
I’ve been making this dairy-free ice cream recipe since we lived in New York City, before we moved to Colorado in 2002. In my New York days, when I was teaching yoga and hanging out with vegans, my raw food friends turned me on to the fact that cashews make a fantastic substitute for dairy.
Vegan Vanilla Ice Cream
- 1 cup cashews
- 2 cups water
- ¼ cup agave nectar or honey
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 pinch celtic sea salt
- In a vitamix, combine all ingredients and blend on high speed until smooth
- Pour mixture into an ice cream maker and process according to instructions
Wondering how to make ice cream without an ice cream maker? You’ll definitely want to check out my quick and easy 2-Ingredient Banana Ice Cream recipe. If you make my ice cream recipes tag @elanaspantry on Instagram or leave a comment below. I love seeing your kitchen creations.
We like to serve Vegan Vanilla Ice Cream over these easy paleo vegan dessert recipes!
Any way this could be made without an ice cream maker?
Mary, I haven’t tried that :-)
Meredith Bartek says
These ice cream cookie sandwiches look great but I don’t have a vita-mix; can you suggest a way around this? I do have an ice cream machine. Would soaking the cashews over might help? Many thanks!
Meredith, I don’t think an ice cream makers will blend the nuts even if soaked :-)
I’m wondering if the base could be made w/ a regular high speed blender- not a vita mix!
Meredith, I haven’t tried that :-)
I was wondering if you had yet tried this with a different kind of nut yet. My mom is allergic to cashews, but I want to try this for a birthday party.
Kassidy, I haven’t tried that. Here’s a link to my nut-free Paleo Birthday cake. It has 7 ingredients total and is great for parties:
I can’t wait to try your ice cream recipes like the one above. I’ve been having fun trying your Paleo recipes here and in all 3 of your books. I love the way they are so easy and require not a lot of time or ingredients for most. Your books are clean, no-nonsense and beautifully done as is your website. Thank you so much!
San Diego, CA
Charisse, thanks for your kind words! I want the whole world to have healthy recipes that are easy to make :-)
Hello! We don’t eat cashews for health reasons. May macadamia nuts, pecans, walnuts, or another nut be substituted?
Bobbi, I haven’t tried that so not sure. Here’s a link to one of my cashew-free ice cream recipes for you:
This ice cream is amazing!!! I added dairy free and gluten free Oreos for my daughters! It’s a great ice cream base!
KS, I’m so happy to hear this ice cream is amazing!
This was just okay right after churning but I made it four hours ahead to serve with pie and it formed a ton of ice crystals in the freezer. I’m using it up in smoothies and it’s good for that.
Thanks Alexis! Yes, this is amazing if you make it and serve it right away :-)
If you freeze leftover ice cream does it freeze rock-hard or are you able to scoop it like dairy ice cream? (I see in your recipe for Cookie Dough Ice Cream in your book that you say to let leftovers melt and refrigerate until ready to freeze in an ice cream maker again.)
Kath, when I make ice cream and want to serve it a second time I melt it down and remix it in the ice cream maker :-)
Thank you! I wondered if that were true for the cashew ice cream, too.
Kath, you’re welcome!
Thank you so much for this recipe. When I make this I will tune in.
Laura, you’re welcome!
Elspeth Mann says
My husband and I received your cookbook as a gift 3 years ago and it is our go to cook book! And we are not gluten free. Our favorites are the chocolate chip cookies, the brownies, and the kale salad.
For a long time we were making icecream and our favorite recipe is the one in the Elana’s Pantry cookbook under ‘Cookie Dough Icecream.’ We simply left out the cookie dough and make the vanilla icecream (If I remember correctly the ingredients are coconut milk, hempseed, maple syrup (or honey) vanilla bean, salt,..coconut oil and water). Lately, however, it is not turning out right! I am not sure why. One thing that seems to be a problem is the coconut oil not blending in well. I also am thinking maybe I’m not picking the right type of coconut milk.
Suggestions appreciated. Thank you for your culinary expertise!
Elspeth and Gabriel Mann (and Jedi)
My husband has requested that I make it and I don’t want to get it wrong again!
Hi Elspeth! Can you let me know which brand of coconut milk you are using? :-)