Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream

This vegan chocolate ice cream recipe is so easy to make because it’s made with only 5 ingredients! Enjoy this uber-rich, thick, and creamy dairy-free ice cream. You’ll love that every bite offers the most perfect chocolate flavor!

A hand holds a cone full of a large scoop of vegan chocolate ice cream. The person holding it has on a blue top.

I grew up in a super-small town. One of my favorite summertime activities was to go swimming at the neighborhood pool. Then, if I could scrounge a few coins from around the house (hello seat cushion divers), I’d walk up to the neighborhood cafe, and get a chocolate ice cream cone.

Even though I’m vegan now, I still have some of the same cravings. That means vegan ice cream is one of my favorite treats, especially in the summer months. I even love using it to make my vegan frozen drumsticks!

Why This Recipe is a Winner

  • Using full-fat coconut milk makes this dairy-free ice cream just as smooth and creamy as if you were using dairy
  • Adding tapioca starch makes this the smoothest ice cream possible, almost gelato like
  • Natural cocoa powder adds rich chocolate flavor to every bite!

What You Need

You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe:

  • Vegan evaporated milk — You’ll want to use creamy vegan milk. That can be vegan creamer, or you can make your own vegan evaporated milk.
  • Full fat coconut milk — I look for coconut milk with 12+ grams of fat in it. Coconut cream is another great alternative to use here. I find this at Sprouts or Trader Joe’s.
  • Sugar — I used granulated sugar for this recipe and it’s important to keep things sweet enough because it keeps the ice cream from freezing too firmly.
  • Starch — You’ll want to add a little starch to your ice cream mix — it’s my secret sauce to making a smooth vegan gelato type dessert. I used tapioca starch, but you can use cornstarch.
  • Cocoa powder — I used natural cocoa powder (the kind easily available at most grocery stores) and it creates just the right touch of chocolate.

Marly’s Tips

Are you used to seeing vanilla extract? You can add some if you’d like, but I find it unnecessary. My goal is to eliminate all unnecessary ingredients, so no vanilla for me!

How to Make Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream

  1. Freeze the ice cream maker bowl by placing it in the freezer. 
  2. Make the ice cream sauce by stirring together everything from vegan evaporated milk to cocoa powder in a saucepan.
  3. Bring it to a simmer over medium-high heat while stirring.
  4. Thicken the sauce by cooking and stirring for up to 2 minutes.
  5. Pour the slightly cooled sauce into a food processor (or blender) and pulse in short bursts until smooth.
  6. Refrigerate several hours or up to overnight in an airtight container.
  7. Spoon the chocolate mixture into the frozen ice cream bowl and churn until it reaches the desired consistency.
  8. Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe, sealable container and freeze immediately. 

Here’s a more detailed step-by-step instructions:

Step One: Freeze Your Ice Cream Maker Bowl

Place the freezer bowl of your ice cream maker in the freezer. You should do this for at least 6 to 8 hours at the very minimum. I place mine in overnight to have it ready.

Step Two: Make the Chocolate Ice Cream Batter

Add the vegan evaporated milk and coconut milk to a saucepan, along with the granulated sugar, starch, and cocoa powder. Give this all a good stir and then bring it to a simmer over medium-high heat.

A chocolate sauce for making ice cream is in a saucepan.

Do not obsess over lumps. Or, you can obsess over lumps if that’s your thing. If so, then you can skip the step with the food processor. But I prefer to stay chill in the kitchen, so let the lumps happen!

Continue cooking and stirring for up to 2 minutes, allowing the sauce to thicken. Then remove it from the heat.

By the way, this makes an excellent vegan chocolate pudding if you ever want to skip the ice cream part!

Step Three: Transfer to a Food Processor

This is why I don’t worry about lumps, because we’re going to transfer the whole mess into a food processor and pulse for a few seconds. If you don’t have a food processor, use a blender. Either way, pulse it in short bursts until it’s nice and smooth.

Chocolate sauce is in the bottom of a food processor bowl.

Transfer the mixture to a sealable container and refrigerate several hours, up to overnight.

Do NOT proceed without these two things:

  1. The freezer bowl of your ice cream maker needs to be thoroughly frozen (leaving it in the freezer overnight does the trick).
  2. The chocolate mixture needs to be thoroughly chilled (again, overnight works). At least several hours in the fridge is required).

Step Four: Make Ice Cream

Once the mixture is chilled and your ice cream maker bowl is frozen, you’re ready to make some vegan ice cream. Spoon the chocolate mixture into the ice cream freezer bowl. Look how thick and fluffy that mixture is! That’s why it’s going to be ultra creamy!

A hand holds a spoon dropping a chocolate mixture into a chilled ice cream maker bowl.

Next, follow the instructions on your ice cream maker and churn until it reaches the desired consistency. This should take 15–20 minutes, but churn it for as long as possible to get enough air in the ice cream to make it light and fluffy.

Transfer the mixture to a freezer-safe, sealable container and freeze immediately. 

Serving Suggestions

To serve dairy-free chocolate ice cream, remove the container from the freezer and allow it to sit for several minutes at room temperature. This helps it to soften slowly. Once it’s soft enough to scoop, it’s ready to serve.

Scoop the ice cream into a cone or in a cup. Top with vegan chocolate syrup, chopped nuts, and any of your favorite toppings.

Storage Tips

Store ice cream deep in the freezer, as far away from the door as possible. This helps keep the ice cream at a consistent temperature in the freezer. Also, remember that every time you take it out and scoop it, you’re changing the texture of the ice cream. So with each refreeze, there will be a few more ice crystals.

Looking down on a big scoop of chocolate ice cream on a cone.

More Frozen Desserts

Here are some more favorite vegan frozen desserts for you to try:

An ice cream cone holds a big scoop of vegan chocolate ice cream.
A hand holds a cone full of a large scoop of vegan chocolate ice cream. The person holding it has on a blue top.

Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream

Enjoy a bowl of delicious vegan chocolate ice cream any day of the year with this simple recipe!
5 from 5 votes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 8 hours
Cook Time: 24 minutes
Resting Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 8 hours 27 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 227kcal

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Place the freezer bowl of your ice cream maker in the freezer. 
  • Add vegan evaporated milk and coconut milk to a saucepan, along with the granulated sugar, starch, and cocoa powder. Stir to combine. Then turn the heat up to medium-high and bring it to a simmer. The mixture will begin to thicken. Don't worry if there are lumps. Continue cooking and stirring for up to 2 minutes, allowing the sauce to thicken.
  • Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool slightly, then transfer to a food processor (or blender) and pulse in short bursts until smooth.
  • Transfer the mixture to a sealable container and refrigerate up to overnight.
  • Two things need to happen before you proceed: 1) the freezer bowl of your ice cream maker needs to be thoroughly frozen (leaving it in the freezer overnight does the trick) and 2) the chocolate mixture needs to be thoroughly chilled (again, the overnight thing does the trick, but at least several hours of time in the fridge is required).
  • Once the mixture is chilled and your ice cream maker bowl is frozen, you’re ready to make ice cream. Spoon the chocolate mixture into the ice cream freezer bowl and churn until it reaches a desired consistency. This should take 15–20 minutes, but churn it for as long as possible to get enough air in the ice cream to make it light and fluffy.
  • Transfer the mixture to a freezer-safe, sealable container and freeze immediately. 
  • To serve, remove the container from the freezer and allow it to sit for a few minutes at room temperature to soften. Then serve on a cone or in a cup with vegan chocolate syrup, chopped nuts, and any of your favorite toppings.

(The products above contain sponsored links to products we use and recommend)

Calories: 227kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Sodium: 38mg | Potassium: 318mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 232IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 99mg | Iron: 2mg

The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Don’t have an ice cream machine? No problem. Here are some tips for making ice cream without a machine.

This post was originally published in 2020 and was updated to include new photos, new text, and an updated recipe in 2021.

14 Responses to Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream

  1. Avatar thumbnail image for Marlyeva Reply

    Delicious! Will have to try it out

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Thanks, Eva! I hope you love it as much as we do!

  2. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyJessica Reply

    I love the picture of this delicious sounding ice cream. It looks so frosty and the ice cream very chocolatey! Thanks for sacrificing your family’s tastes and “tweaking” recipes. I love improvisation!

  3. Avatar thumbnail image for Marlykathy Reply

    5 stars
    love the serving dish! Looks sooo good. I hope you will submit this to Finding Vegan! ~Kathy

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      I loved that serving dish too! It is so fun. I did submit to Finding Vegan and honestly had not noticed that site before. Maybe you’ve mentioned it and I just missed the links. I might submit some more there. Do you run that site? I couldn’t find an about page. Very cool site.

  4. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyGrace Reply

    5 stars
    p.s. the ice cream looks delicious! Love the pic!

  5. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyGrace Reply

    Hey Marly would’ve never thought to put alcohol in ice cream, you are so clever! One day when you have a minute, I would really like a little tutorial on the vegan philosophy on food. I think it is so important to understand different philosophies on cooking.

  6. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyFOODESSA Reply

    Marly…I came back to gladly read your response. I will have to give the recipe a try and I’ll probably go with the agave nectar first. I do now understand your reasoning. I still want to avoid corn syrup as much as possible. Although 1/4 cup is not detrimental either ;o)…a very acceptable quantity. I just don’t have it in my pantry. I’ll hopefully have a chance to try this out soon.

    Ciao for now,
    Claudia

  7. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMonet Reply

    I love it when a recipe is so good that it disappears before you can get a picture…always need an excuse to make another batch! I love using silken tofu in vegan desserts, and I’m sure it added that special creaminess that we all love in ice cream. Thanks for sharing love. I wish we could share a bowl together!

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlySteve

      5 stars
      I make mine disappear pretty quickly too. This stuff is good!

  8. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyFOODESSA Reply

    Marly, I for one am ecstatic that you finally plugged in a vegan frozen treat. I’m very comfortable using all these ingredients. The only one I was wondering about changing would be the corn syrup. Do you think that I would be able to use maple syrup, honey or agave nectar in its place? Would that change the chemistry too much? I’m looking forward to your response because I really want to try making this.

    Ciao for now and have a pleasant evening,
    Claudia

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Hi Claudia
      Corn syrup is just one ingredient that I read about that doesn’t freeze which is why I tried it in this recipe. It’s the first vegan homemade ice cream that we’ve had that didn’t freeze rock hard. It was just a bit creamier when frozen. You know what I mean? A little more like commercial ice cream. However, if you’re ok with just sitting it out on the counter for a bit to let it soften up, then the other sweeteners you mentioned should work fine! Why don’t you give it a try and let me know how it goes. I’ll be very curious! Marly

  9. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyStella Reply

    Beautiful Marly! I’m not a chocolate ice cream fan, but I would eat it (smile)! By the way, I made the banana whip frozen treat tonight. It was so good. I’m going to try it again with bananas that are less ripe. The ones I used were kind of brown and a bit too sweet if you know what I mean? Still so good though…

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