Chocolate Vegan Ice Cream

This chocolate vegan ice cream recipe is ultra creamy and delicious without using dairy! Here are the secrets to making it at home.

Vegan Ice Cream Recipe

Ever get the Sunday night blues? That jittery feeling in your stomach that the work or school week is only a night’s sleep away? The pressure to fully utilize those last, fleeting moments?  I’ve had a weekly case of the Sunday night blues for years, though I’ve finally learned to alleviate it with some mental tricks. A friend of mine combats it with a date to the ice cream shop with his wife. How fun is that? In honor of the Sunday night blues, Alex and I created this vegan ice cream recipe. It’s creamy, frosty, and tastes oh so delicious: without using dairy. Here are our secrets!

Why a vegan ice cream recipe?

Why make a vegan ice cream recipe? Alex and I don’t eat strictly vegan / plant-based. But since there are so many great traditional ice cream recipes out there, we enjoyed the challenge of experimenting with non-dairy versions. Here’s why we got into vegan ice cream:

  • Plant based ice cream is a fun variation. It’s no stretch to claim this vegan ice cream is just as good as the real thing! It’s lusciously creamy and delicious, a feat without using dairy. Consuming less dairy can be better for you and the planet, so why not try it once and a while?
  • It’s not quite as rich as traditional ice cream. While I do eat dairy, I’ve noticed vegan ice cream tends to sit better with my stomach. I don’t feel as indulgent after I eat it!
Chocolate vegan ice cream

How to make this vegan ice cream recipe

Creamy vegan ice cream is difficult to achieve. Because real dairy has lots of fat to keep the texture creamy, sometimes vegan ice creams turn out icy and unsatisfying. We’ve cracked the code to making the perfect texture. Here are our secrets:

  • Full-fat coconut milk. You absolutely must use full fat milk here! Ice cream needs fat to get creamy.
  • Cornstarch. A little cornstarch helps to thicken the ice cream to get the right smooth texture.
  • Liquid sweetener. Using a liquid sweetener in combination with a granulated one helps to make the texture perfectly creamy.

We tried all these tricks and were amazed at the result, much improved from our last take on coconut ice cream, which became a very icy when frozen for storage. And the flavor? Though it’s made of coconut, it has just a hint of coconut when you take a bite, overwhelmed by the burst of salted chocolate flavor.

Chocolate vegan ice cream

Salt and pistachios optional

When we made this vegan ice cream recipe, Alex and I added two mix-ins that are completely optional! Add them if you’d like:

  • Sea salt. If you love salty and sweet, you’ll love the sea salt mix-in! I’m a huge fan. But if you’re not into salted chocolate (like Alex), feel free to omit it.
  • Chopped pistachios. We also added chopped pistachios to add a bit of elegance. I love chunks in my ice cream, so it was just perfect. But you can use any nut or mix-in — see below!

What else to do with coconut milk? Here are 15 recipes to use up a can.

Variations on vegan ice cream: more flavors!

You can vary this vegan ice cream in so many ways! Here are some different options for flavoring:

  • Vanilla vegan ice cream: Omit the chocolate and cocoa powder. Increase to 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. If you’d like, add the beans from 1 vanilla bean pod.
  • Mint chocolate chip vegan ice cream: Omit the chocolate and cocoa powder. Add 2 teaspoons peppermint extract and 2 ounces chopped chocolate as a mix-in. (Go here for more.)
  • Chai vegan ice cream: Omit the chocolate and cocoa powder. Add 1/4 teaspoon each ground cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and cardamom.
  • Chocolate peanut butter ice cream: Add in 1/4 cup peanut butter with the coconut milk.
  • Mix ins: Chocolate chunks, chopped almonds, walnuts or peanuts, fudge stripe, crushed candy, crushed cookies, etc
Creamy vegan ice cream

What’s the best ice cream maker?

Lastly, what’s the best ice cream maker? Alex and I use this 2 quart ice cream maker and love it! It’s a great holiday or birthday present to ask for if you don’t want to splurge for it.

Churning the ice cream takes about 15 minutes. After it’s done you can eat your ice cream right away for a soft serve texture. Or, follow the instructions in the recipe below to freeze it to a hard ice cream texture: it takes about 4 hours to freeze up!

This vegan ice cream recipe is…

Vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free.

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Chocolate Vegan Ice Cream (So Creamy!)

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (16 votes, average: 4.44 out of 5)

  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 quart 1x


This chocolate vegan ice cream recipe is ultra creamy and delicious without using dairy! Here are the secrets to making it at home.


  • 2 15-ounce cans full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup agave syrup
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar or coconut sugar
  • 3 1/2 ounces vegan dark chocolate, 70% cocoa
  • ⅓ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Mix ins: ½ cup chopped pistachios, ½ teaspoon small crystal sea salt (optional)


  1. Freeze the ice cream maker base overnight.
  2. In a small bowl, mix 1/2 cup coconut milk with 2 tablespoons cornstarch and set aside.
  3. Add the remainder of the coconut milk to a medium pan. Warm the coconut milk over medium low heat for a minute or two, whisking to incorporate the solids. Then add the agave syrup and coconut sugar. Break the chocolate into pieces and add to the coconut milk; stir until thoroughly combined. Whisk in the cocoa powder, then the cornstarch mixture. Heat until the chocolate mixture is thickened, 6 to 8 minutes (do not boil). Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
  4. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a 1-gallon Ziplock bag. If churning immediately, place the bag in an ice bath for 30 minutes until cool; if churning the next day, refrigerate 4 hours or overnight (either way, the mixture should be as cold as possible before churning).
  5. Churn the ice cream in the ice cream maker until it thickens to the consistency of soft serve, about 10 to 15 minutes. If using, add the chopped pistachios and sea salt as the mixture churns.
  6. Eat immediately for a soft serve consistency, or for a hard ice cream texture, freeze using the following instructions: press a piece of parchment or wax paper into a sealable container, then scrape the ice cream into the container using a spatula, making sure to scrape in the bits frozen to the edges of the ice cream maker base. Freeze for 4 hours for a hard ice cream texture.


Note: Due to the need to chill the ingredients before churning, we recommend starting this recipe the night before serving. 

  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Frozen
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Vegan Ice Cream Recipe, Chocolate Ice Cream, Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream, Vegan Ice Cream

Looking for more vegan desserts?

Outside of this salted chocolate vegan ice cream recipe, here are a few more of our favorites:

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.


  • Reply
    August 30, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    i’m just the same! i’m getting the sunday night blues (not to mention the end of summer blues) right now!

  • Reply
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    August 30, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    I have Sunday night blues every single Sunday night!!! Making satisfying meals and/or dessert helps!! Especially ice cream. You really can’t beat ice cream like this at home!

  • Reply
    Katie @ Whole Nourishment
    August 31, 2015 at 3:33 am

    This looks so, so good. I’m a big fan of the chocolate and pistachio pairing and I really like your trick for making it creamy with the coconut milk and cornstarch. And yes, I’m having the end-of-summer blues right now too. ;-)

  • Reply
    Emily | Gather & Dine
    August 31, 2015 at 9:59 pm

    Oh, these photos are so tempting. I want to make this! It will be a great way to finish up summer. :)

  • Reply
    September 1, 2015 at 11:29 am

    Well, I was going to comment on how fantastic this ice cream looks + how I can’t wait to whip up a batch and then I got to the part of the post about Alex not liking the salt + chocolate combo and every coherent thought went out of my head. What is this madness?!

  • Reply
    September 1, 2015 at 9:42 pm

    On one hand, I am really into this cooler weather, but I know what you mean about summer coming to an end – bittersweet. This ice cream looks incredible. I love a good coconut milk base. So rich and creamy.

  • Reply
    Nicole @
    September 4, 2015 at 7:20 pm

    Chocolate, pistachios, and dairy free ice cream are my favorite things! Can’t wait to make this.

  • Reply
    Haley Musial
    September 6, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    Oh hello happiness!! My husband is lactose intolerant and an ice-cream “alolic” so this would be a great alternative for him to have. Thanks for making, posting and sharing!

  • Reply
    Sophie | The Green Life
    September 7, 2015 at 9:09 pm

    Ooh this looks so delicious!! Salted chocolate + pistachios + vegan? Amazing! The weather has been incredibly hot these past few days and this ice cream sounds just perfect! I’m seriously craving it right now.

  • Reply
    October 15, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    Hey there! I realized I haven’t been on your blog in a while when I remembered your awesome Bahn Mi recipe for my meal planning this week. Excited about that! Then of course I got to browsing and this ice cream looks delicious. What type of ice cream maker do you have or do you have opinions about ice cream makers when shopping for them?


  • Reply
    Katie @ Whole Nourishment
    July 13, 2017 at 3:40 am

    I finally decided to buy an ice cream maker, and you’ll be happy to know that this recipe was the first one I chose to make! And it was a success! I really loved how rich and chocolate-y it was. Thanks for a fab recipe….now on to try your mocha almond fudge and Jeanine’s frozen yogurt with cherries!

    • Reply
      July 26, 2017 at 5:10 pm

      Oh wow, I’m so glad this worked out for you! It’s one of our favorites (Alex doesn’t love salted chocolate as much, but I do!).

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