This Coconut Milk and Cashew Ice Cream is a healthier alternative to ice cream made with heavy cream, corn syrup, and sugar. It is sweetened with a little bit of honey and flavored with vanilla extract. I topped mine off with strawberries and pistachios, but you can use whatever you like as toppings. Either way, it is a delicious summer treat that you can easily make for your family.
This ice cream recipe was supposed to be published on National Ice Cream Day, which was on Sunday. I had written a fun and cheerful post about how much I love cashew-based ice cream and scheduled it to go live on the blog early in the morning. But then, on Friday night the coup happened in Turkey. I spent the whole weekend reading and watching the devastating news. Needless to say, I am very worried about what is to come for my country and its people.
Thankfully, my family and friends are fine, but we are all scared and saddened by what happened and is continuing to happen. No one knows what is next for Turkey’s future, but it is obvious that it will get worse before it gets better. I do not know why is it so hard to live in harmony and respect each others’ differences. All I can do at this moment is to hope and pray for a more tolerant, compassionate, and peaceful future for the world and humanity. Thanks so much to all of you, who reached out to check on me and my family’s wellbeing.
Quite honestly, while I was witnessing the most devastating thing that happened to Turkey in my adult lifetime, I couldn’t get myself to publish a cheerful post about ice cream. But as they say, Show must go on. We have to find courage to continue with our lives and do our best to find a way to produce and be useful in some shape or form. I believe that food has healing powers and it has a magical way of bringing people together. I hope that I can find courage in life and continue to contribute to this cause in my humble ways.
About this Cashew Coconut Ice Cream:
I have been using cashews in my cooking for over a year now. Though it has been a popular ingredient for centuries in South Asian and South American cooking, as veganism became popular in the western world, cashews started taking their place in the pantries of modern world cooks as well.
Originally from Brazil, they are rich in zinc, magnesium, and selenium. But what I love about them the most is the fact that they add a rich and creamy quality to sauces (just like in this Green Cashew Sauce), desserts (especially fillings and ice creams), and dressings. This ice cream recipe is made with a combination of soaked cashews and coconut milk. It is flavored with vanilla extract and sweetened with honey.
The recipe below assumes that you use a regular blender to blend cashews and coconut milk. You can use a food processor as well. However, just keep in mind that it may take a little longer for the cashews to be completely smooth.
If you have a powerful blender (like Vitamix), you can skip the straining part. Once you have the coconut-cashew mixture ready, bring it to a boil in a saucepan and let it simmer for 10 minutes. After that stir in the vanilla extract and honey.
Once it is completely chilled, all you have to do is to churn it in your ice cream maker. You can serve it immediately, or for a thicker and creamier consistency, let it freeze for 15 minutes in the freezer before serving.
I topped mine off with some fresh strawberries and crumbled pistachios, but you can use whatever fruit and nuts you have or eat it just by itself.
Either way, this homemade coconut milk and cashew ice cream is a delicious and healthier alternative to sugar and heavy cream loaded ice creams that are sold in supermarkets.
Coconut Milk and Cashew Ice Cream
- ¾ cup unsalted raw cashews soaked 2-6 hours in 2 cups water
- 2 cans unsweetened and full-fat coconut milk divided (13.5 – fluid ounce)
- pinch of salt
- 4 tablespoons good quality honey or maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Line a strainer with several layers of cheesecloth (or nut milk bag, if you have one). Place it over a medium-size bowl.
- Drain and rinse the cashews. Place them in your blender*. Add in 1 ½ cans of coconut milk and salt and blend in the highest speed until completely smooth. Pour it into the strainer lined with cheesecloth. Gather the edges of the cheesecloth and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Discard or compost any of the remaining solids. However, you should be left with a very little amount of solids. Stir in the remaining coconut milk.
- Transfer the mixture into a saucepan (with a tight fitting lid) placed over medium-high heat. Whisking frequently, bring it to a boil. Then cover the pot with a lid, turn the heat down to low, and let it simmer for 10 minutes, whisking every few minutes to prevent sticking.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the honey and vanilla extract. Pour into a bowl and let it cool on the counter. Once it stops steaming cover it with a lid or stretch film and place in the fridge to cool completely.
- Churn chilled coconut mixture in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s directions. It should take no more than 20 minutes for it to freeze.
- Transfer to a container and let it sit in the freezer for 15 minutes. Scoop into bowls and serve immediately.
- Any leftover ice cream can be stored in an airtight container and frozen. Remove from freezer 30 minutes before serving.
This recipe is adapted (with minor changes) from At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen: Celebrating the Art of Eating Well cookbook.
Hello, I love the sound of your icecream recipe. is it two cans of coconut milk you use? Thank you.
It is actually two cans. I made sure that it is clear in the recipe.
Thanks for pointing it out.
Please let me know if I can answer any other questions.
I fully intend to make this recipe because it’s undoubtedly delicious based on the ingredients alone. However, I am curious why it would be necessary to heat the mixture. Trying to evaporate some liquid? Some attempt at sterilizing? And has anyone tried this without an ice cream maker (perhaps stirring every 30 minutes or so instead)?
I think the reason for cooking it is to reduce it. As it reduces the fats in coconut milk and cashews become more potent.
I did try to make it without an ice cream maker. However, even with the high fat content of coconut milk and cashews, in the end it was rock hard. It was not ideal.
Even after making it in an ice cream maker you would have to let it sit outside for a few minutes before serving.
I also made this ice cream with vodka soaked strawberries and it was such a great addition. I added them at the very end and it was surprisingly yummy.
Please let me know if you have any other question that I can answer.
I read somewhere that normally coconut fat isn’t homogenized the way regular milk is and tiny fat globules exist in coconut milk. When you attempt to churning/freeze it the globules get larger, resulting in grainy ice cream. Apparently, simmering it first melts those globules down and results in a smoother ice cream later when you go to freeze/churn it. Not sure if thats the reason but it’s something I read on Serious Eats.com.
That is actually very helpful information Abbie. Now I know why this recipe works so well. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.
So thankful to hear that your family and friends are okay in Turkey- the news truly is so troubling. Thank you for sharing your heart with us, and for making this world more beautiful. As for the ice cream, I would have never guessed that you didn’t like photographing ice cream by looking at these pictures. It’s all gorgeous and styling is so pretty! I love coconut cashew ice cream too!
aww thank you Emily.Your words mean so much to me. <3
Thank goodness your family and friends are ok! I can only imagine how you must be feeling! It is all so very sad! This ice cream sounds amazing, I absolutely love cashews but have to keep them far away from me unless I have a recipe for them. I can NOT stop eating them, haha! Here’s to peace, love and coconut cashew ice cream! xO
Thank you Stephanie. I am grateful that they are okay. Hopefully, things will get better soon.
Yes, this ice cream is awesome. I have the same problem with cashews. Ha ha.. :))
To peace! Cheers, my friend.
PS: I am so glad you were able to comment. 😛
Aimee | Wallflower Kitchen
I am so relieved to hear all your friends and family are safe. I couldn’t believe the news when I read it. I have family staying in Turkey at the moment (they’re all completely fine) but they described it as “waking up to a war zone” So shocking. It seems now every day we wake up to devastating news, I can’t take it. Send you lot’s of hugs <3 This ice cream will definitely have brought some comfort, I’m sure – it looks absolutely wonderful! I feel better just looking at it 🙂 Love the addition of pistachios and strawberries. x
Oh Aimee.. I am so glad your family is safe. I heard the same thing from family and friends. It is a very difficult time for Turkey right now.
This cashew ice cream was such a success. I wasn’t thinking that it would turn out as good as it did. Thanks to all the inspiration I get from your beautiful blog, I am always encouraged to try recipes like this that are normally out of my comfort zone.
Sending you lots of love, my friend. <3
This ice cream seems so SO delicious. I have never tried cashew ice cream, but now I am intrigued. Beautiful photos as well.
Traci | Vanilla And Bean
I hear you, Aysegul… there’s so much happening in the world. It’s hard to take right now. So, then we turn to what we do best to share love and encourage others. My constant hope is peace, healing and love. It’s so difficult.
You know I adore cashews in ice cream.. it really does make a difference and removes the coconut (although sometimes needed) flavor from plant based ice cream. A healthy ice cream indeed! Just gorgeous! xo
Thank you for your beautiful words my friend. I too hope for a peaceful world. But this year has especially been a tough one. It feels like we are in a Quentin Tarantino movie. The only difference is that everything is real. The situation in Turkey worries me so much. Though I do not live there anymore, I feel so sad for the limbo that my country is in.
But show must go on… Since I saw your bourbon cashew ice cream I have been thinking about cashew based ice cream. This version is for beginners like me.. :))
Louise | Cygnet Kitchen
Such awful events in Turkey, I am glad to hear your family and friends are ok, Aysegul, you must have been so worried. It is always difficult to post something upbeat at such times, thank you sharing this lovely recipe. I have had cashew ice cream before and found it delicious, but have never made it myself. Your version looks so amazing, I have to try it! <3 x
Dearest Louise.. I was just on your blog today, browsing for some inspiration.
Thank you for your lovely words. I do not know where this world is going, but when it hits home it feels SO painful.
I am new to the cashew and coconut-based ice cream making as well. This recipe is a good one to start as it is super simple. I hope you’ll like it. Cheers!
Oh my goodness, can we please be neighbors so we can exchange leftovers? This is perfection. I love everything with cashews and coconut milk. I’ve never combined them. PS – I love the website tweaks!
Oh I would love that. We would gain 100 pounds in a week, but still it would be awesome 🙂
This ice cream is amazing. Cashews are my new obsession.
I am glad you liked the new look. I am still working on a couple of things, but I am glad that my site is now responsive (It wasn’t before)..