This dairy free vanilla ice cream recipe is only 5 ingredients AND it's no churn, which means you don't need an ice cream machine to make it! The cashew ice cream has a slightly nutty flavor and a smooth, creamy texture! The recipe is SCD, paleo, gluten free, grain free, dairy free, and refined sugar free.
I've been on a bit of an ice cream kick lately and my family has been enjoying my Avocado Mint Ice Cream non-stop!
But with summer quickly approaching, anything cool and refreshing is always appreciated and I figured it was time for a new ice cream recipe!
This no churn dairy free ice cream has a base of full fat coconut milk and cashews which makes for a smooth and creamy texture!
- Coconut Milk - You'll need full fat unsweetened canned coconut milk for this recipe. My go-to milk is Native Forest Simple Unsweetened Coconut Milk.
- Cashews - Use unsalted raw cashews for the best results.
- Vanilla Extract
Can I use cashew butter instead of raw cashews?
Short answer, yes. If you don't have raw cashews or don't have the time to soak them then cashew butter can be used. Just keep in mind that using cashew butter instead of raw cashews will yield a much nuttier tasting ice cream.
If that doesn't bother you then use ½ cup of cashew butter for every 1 cup of raw cashews.
Before measuring out the cashew butter, be sure to stir the butter well so that the oils are well incorporated.
How do I soak raw cashews?
Place the cashews in a large bowl and fill with cool water. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to soak on the counter for 6 hours.
Use a fine mesh strainer to drain the soaking water, rinse the cashews with fresh water, and drain. Your cashews are now ready!
Alternatively you can do a quick soak! Place the cashews in a small pot and cover with fresh water. Bring to a boil then cover the pot with a lid and remove from the heat.
Soak the cashews for 20 minutes before draining, rinsing, and draining the cashews again!
In this recipe the raw cashews must be soaked first. This not only makes them easier to digest but it also helps ensure you get a smooth ice cream, so don't skip it!
Place all of the ingredients in the jar of a high speed blender and blend on high speed until smooth.
I would suggest blending for at least a full minute, this will help you get the smoothest, creamiest vanilla cashew ice cream.
Pour the ice cream into a loaf pan covered with plastic wrap or an insulated ice cream tub for at least 6 hours or overnight.
How can I enjoy the cashew vanilla ice cream?
The ice cream is delicious on its own but if you're looking to jazz it up, here are a few suggestions!
- Drizzle some Salted Caramel Sauce on top!
- Sandwich the ice cream between Pumpkin Whoopie Pie cookies.
- Top my Vanilla Almond Flour Mug Cake or Coconut Flour Mug Cake with a scoop of the ice cream.
- Make an ice cream sandwich by placing some ice cream between two Coconut Flour Waffles.
- Serve with a warm bowl full of Cranberry Apple Crumble or Cherry Peach Crumble.
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Dairy Free Vanilla Ice Cream
- 13 ounces full fat canned coconut milk, at room temperature
- ½ cup honey
- 2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
- 2 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- 1 cup raw cashews
- Place raw cashews in a large bowl and fill with water. Cover the bowl and allow the cashews to soak overnight or for 6 hours.
- Drain, rinse, and drain the soaked cashews. Place them in a high speed blender along with the other ingredients.
- Blend for at least 60 seconds. Take a sip of the liquid, if it tastes gritty, continue blending until smooth.
- Pour the liquid into a loaf pan and cover with plastic wrap or pour into an insulated ice cream tub.
- Freeze for 6 hours or overnight.
- The post above has information on a quick soak method for the ice cream. It also has information on using cashew butter instead of raw cashews.
I love this recipe. However, I don't tolerate honey so I substituted date syrup. It looks like chocolate and tastes great!
Is rhe honey just for flavor? I was thinking of using coffee simple syrup instead (sugar free versions/ zero calories versions) but I didn’t want to compromise texture.
Yes, the honey is for flavor and sweetness.
Do you have to put coconut oil if you don’t have can you put a different oil or better to leave it out?
You can leave the coconut oil out, the ice cream just might not be as creamy. If you have coconut cream you can use that instead.
Hi there, thank you for the recipe! I followed the recipe exactly but my ice cream froze completely and even crystallized a bit and took forever to defrost (not at all 5 mins before serving). Why do you think is that?
Without more info I can only ask some questions and give you some guesses. Did you use a can of full fat coconut milk (curious as to which brand you used)? Did you remember to add the coconut oil? In regards to the defrost time, I find that it might depend on the temperature of your home. For example, I'm in Florida where my indoor temperature hovers anywhere from 75F to 80F. Things will naturally defrost faster than if my indoor temperature was 70F or less. In the future you could place the container of ice cream into a warm water bath to help with the defrost time. Not sure if any of this helps, sorry you didn't like the recipe.
Has anyone tried adding a banana? I love the recipe! Thank you so much!!
Great recipe. Easy to follow and the ice cream is fantastic!
I'm happy to hear you like the ice cream Anna!
Why do you add the coconut oil? I LOVE this recipe and I want to understand the purpose of it.
I'm glad you enjoy the ice cream! The coconut oil is used to help firm up the ice cream and keep it from getting icy. Hope that helps!
do you get a creamier thicker more dense ice cream if you use cashew butter instead of blending the nuts with water? when i do the latter i find the texture is too icy and not smooth
The cashews should first be soaked in water, drained, and rinsed. They should then be blended with a can of full fat coconut milk, not water.
I haven't tried it myself but some readers have reported success using cashew butter.
I'm fairly new to making my own ice cream, but my cow dairy allergy sent me down the rabbit hole. I have definitely decided that a combination of cashews and coconut cream is the way to go for texture, and this vanilla ice cream was fantastic! In addition to the vanilla extract I also added in some vanilla powder for an extra hit of vanilla. I even served some to a friend of mine who can eat dairy and she thought it was great as well. Love the idea of using this recipe as a base and adding other items in to flavor it -- as the person did with peanut butter and chocolate chips -- but I'm wondering how much of other items will work and still allow it to maintain this perfect texture? Would one reduce the amount of cashews if adding peanut butter, for example?
So velvety! Kids loved it too. We added peanut butter and chocolate chips and it was amazing!
Happy to hear it was a hit!!!! Enjoy!
Hi! If I were to make this using store bought cashew butter, what amount would I use? I wasn’t sure what a cup of cashews translated to.
Hi Erin! I cup of raw cashews is the equivalent of about 1/2 cup of cashew butter, so theoretically you'd need 2 cups of cashew butter for the ice cream. I haven't tried making this ice cream with cashew butter, so I'm not sure how it will turn out but I would suggest making sure the butter is stirred very well to incorporate the oil that tends to separate while in the jar. If you end up trying to make it with the cashew butter I'd love to hear your results!
I make this substitution all the time - in this recipe and others and it comes out great - especially if you don't have a high powered blender because it will avoid any grainy texture.
It is correct that 1 cup raw cashews is equivalent to 1/2 cup of cashew butter, but since the recipe only calls for 1 cup of raw cashews, you will only need 1/2 cup, not 2 cups.
lol! You are totally correct Vonda, I must have had a brain freeze when replying to Erin! Thanks for the clarification!!! Also, thanks for confirming that using cashew butter works for the recipe.
I made with 1/2 cup of store bought natural almond butter and it was perfect
My son loves this recipe ... finally he can have ice cream I don’t have an ice cream maker so this was huge he loves it (scd) but now he ask me if he can have strap or chocolate ice cream so I don’t know if I can add strawberries or cocoa butter to this ... will be with the cashews or with out?
Made this and the caramel sauce last night. My daughter and husband who are on the SCD diet for Crohn's were in heaven!! Thank you!!!!!!
Yay! It makes my heart happy to hear that they enjoyed it!