This vegan no churn ice cream is so creamy that you would never even know it’s dairy free! Swirled with salted date caramel and almond flour brownie bits, this ice cream is just as rich and indulgent as any dairy version. It does not require an ice cream machine and is not made with bananas. Instead, this coconut-based ice cream gets all that delicious texture from a very unexpected ingredient!
What goes into this vegan no churn ice cream?
What I love about this recipe is that once you nail the vegan ice cream base, you can pretty much put anything you want in here! For my version, I’ve included bits of chocolate, brownie, and salted date caramel.
SALTED DATE CARAMEL
True homemade salted caramel is made with cream and butter, which obviously will not fly with this recipe. So instead, I opted for a super simple date caramel recipe that tastes just as rich and sweet. It’s made up of dates, almond butter, water, salt, and a bit of plant milk.
Dates have a natural caramel-like flavor, so they add tons of caramelized sweetness to this recipe. Almond butter helps add richness, while the water and plant milk thin it out into a caramel consistency. It’s then swirled twice into the ice cream – once into the entirety of the batter, and another into each of the three layers as the ice cream is poured into its dish. So you can that caramel flavor all throughout, with additional globs of caramel that you’ll be digging for with each bite.
ALMOND FLOUR BROWNIE BITES
Since we’re making homemade caramel AND vegan ice cream batter, I figured it was OK to take a shortcut with the brownies. Especially because box mix brownies just never fail. To make this recipe gluten free and vegan, I used my favorite almond flour brownie mix by Simple Mills (not sponsored, I just really like this mix). To replace the eggs, I used two flax eggs which is just 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed mixed with 6 tablespoons of water. Mix the two together and let it rest for 10 minutes to thicken and gel before use.
After the brownies have baked and cooled, just chop them up into tiny bite-sized pieces (see picture below) and keep them in the refrigerator up until they’re needed.
Another perk to this recipe is that you only need about half of the brownies that 1 box makes. So you get extra brownie snacks while you wait for the ice cream to freeze overnight. It’s a win win.
How to make ultra creamy vegan no churn ice cream
I have to say, this was an unexpectedly tricky recipe. I assumed it would be easy to make a couple swaps to a traditional no churn ice cream recipe and it would turn out perfect. Oh, was I wrong. It took quite a few tests, but the end result is well worth the trouble because of how deliciously creamy it is. I actually prefer it to regular ice cream!
So what’s the secret? Here’s what goes into this PERFECT dairy free ice cream:
- Aquafaba – This is the curveball ingredient that I know will throw some people for a loop. Aquafaba is the liquid from a can of chickpeas. It actually acts very similar to egg whites, as it can be whipped into a puffy cloud. The reason why I used it in this recipe is because traditional no churn ice cream is made with whipped cream. That lightness is needed to prevent the ice cream from becoming too dense and firm. Aquafaba does a good job at creating that same consistency and trust me, you CANNOT taste even a hint of it in this ice cream.
- Coconut Cream – To get that richness, I used coconut cream pulled from two cans of coconut milk. When canned full fat coconut milk is chilled overnight, the coconut cream (or fat) floats to the top of the can and the water sinks to the bottom. After pouring out the liquid, you’re left with a lush and thick coconut cream that helps create an indulgent dairy free ice cream.
- Sweetened Condensed Coconut Milk – This is the ingredient that not only sweetens the ice cream, but also makes it scoopable. It creates a smooth consistency just like traditional ice cream. It can be found in most grocery stores in the baking aisle or with the other canned coconut products. I personally use Nature’s Charm which comes in a blue can.
- Vanilla Bean – Vanilla extract is an alcohol based product, and we all know alcohol can not be frozen solid. So instead of overwhelming the ice cream with vanilla extract, some if it is subbed with vanilla bean seeds. The bonus is that they help enhance the caramel flavor as it has a deeper vanilla flavor compared to vanilla extract. It’s optional, as I know vanilla beans can be very expensive, but if you can grab them on sale it’s well worth it!
What to expect when making dairy free no churn ice cream
Since coconut cream makes up a major component of the ice cream batter, the consistency of the unfrozen batter can vary. Coconut cream can either be thick and creamy or somewhat thin, like pudding. I usually end up with more pudding-like coconut cream which is why my batter was more on the thin side. So if your batter turns out very liquid, it’s completely normal. But to ensure it’s not too far gone, here’s what you need to know:
- Whip the aquafaba until it’s thick and pillowy (like the image above). If it’s not fully whipped, the ice cream will struggle to thicken.
- Use CHILLED coconut cream from a can of coconut milk that has been chilled overnight. Keep the cream as cold as possible, because coconut cream softens at room temperature pretty rapidly.
- Don’t over mix. Mix just until everything comes together. If you mix too much, the air from the aquafaba will deflate and liquify the batter even further.
What is the best vegan chocolate to use in this recipe?
The other component of this ice cream not previously mentioned is chopped chocolate. I love using 100% raw cacao as its slightly bitter flavor helps balance out the sweetness of everything else in this ice cream. I use Trader Joe’s Organic Completely Cacao Chips, but you can use any of your favorite vegan dark chocolate that you prefer!
Additional ice cream flavor options
Since the ice cream base is simply vanilla, you can add in any flavors you like! Here are a few I recommend:
- Cookie Dough – Use my cookie dough recipe from my healthy cookie dough easter eggs. Sprinkle in globs of cookie dough throughout the ice cream, along with chopped chocolate, and you have a delicious vegan cookie dough ice cream.
- Peanut Butter Brownie – Swap the date caramel with swirls of peanut butter for a yummy peanut butter brownie ice cream!
- Peanut Butter Cup – Make my homemade peanut butter cups and chop them up. Toss into the batter along with swirls of peanut butter and chocolate chips.
Feel free to add in whatever you like! See my archive of vegan dessert recipes to gather even more inspiration.
For more vegan dessert recipes, check out my:
- Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Fudgy Vegan Chocolate Cake
- Vegan Blueberry Cheesecake Bars
- Vegan Banana Cake
Make sure to tag me @butternutbakery on Instagram and comment below if you make this salted caramel brownie vegan no churn ice cream. To pin this recipe and save it for later, you can use the button on the recipe card or on any of the photos above. Happy baking!Print