This vegan vanilla ice cream is super smooth and creamy with a rich vanilla bean flavour. Made using a dairy-free custard base, there are a few steps involved but the end result is so much better than what you can buy in the supermarket. Whether you eat anything, are dairy free, gluten free, or vegan, everyone will agree that this is absolutely the BEST vanilla ice cream!
Many vegan ice cream recipes are made using a full fat coconut milk to create a base that is thick and rich enough to create a super creamy ice cream that has a similar texture to a dairy based ice cream.
Personally, while I love the taste of coconut, when I want vanilla ice cream I want it to taste like vanilla ice cream, not coconut ice cream.
I also really wanted this to be an incredible vanilla ice cream, one that anyone who ate it would think was delicious rather than just being good for a vegan ice cream. Apart from being smooth and creamy, a big part of that was making sure the flavour of this ice cream was screaming vanilla and did not contain any hints of coconut.
That’s right, a vegan vanilla ice cream that does not end up tasting like coconut. Honestly, I am really proud of this recipe and can safely say that this ice cream is everything I had hoped it could be and I am not mad that my freezer is full from my week of testing to get this recipe exactly right.
Growing up, my Grandma used to make the most delicious vanilla ice cream and to this day, it’s still the best ice cream I’ve ever eaten. I knew the secret to her ice cream was the French-style creme anglaise base, therefore I knew when creating my own vegan ice cream recipe that my ice cream would need to have a custard base to even stand a chance at coming close to the flavours I was looking for.
So similar to my dairy free rocky road ice cream, we’re starting with a dairy free and egg free custard base flavoured with real vanilla bean for that strong vanilla flavour. This is then combined with plant based cream and condensed milk and then churned until thick and lusciously creamy.
It’s honestly just so good. So whether you’re dairy free, vegan or just really like delicious ice cream, I strongly encourage you to make this recipe as you will not be disappointed!
For this vegan vanilla ice cream we have a few ingredients but all are essential to ensure the best flavour and texture without the need for dairy products.
Note all ingredients and their quantities are laid out in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Oat milk – is thicker and creamier than many other dairy free milks and has a more neutral flavour making it the perfect base to let the vanilla flavour shine.
- White sugar – sugar is essential to the structure of the ice cream, helping stabilise it and ensure the texture therefore I don’t recommend using an alternative sugar. In the US make sure to use a sugar labelled as organic to ensure it’s vegan (all sugar in Australia and the UK is vegan).
- Corn flour – also known as corn starch in the US, this is going to thicken our milk and sugar mixture to make a vegan custard that forms the base of the ice cream.
- Vanilla bean and vanilla extract – making sure our ice cream actually tastes like vanilla, we’re infusing the custard base with vanilla bean and then adding additional vanilla extract to our ice cream to enhance the overall flavour.
- Vegan condensed milk – to ensure this ice cream doesn’t contain any hints of coconut flavour, I suggest making your own vegan condensed milk. My recipe uses a combination of both rice milk and oat milk that creates a delicious condensed milk that works perfectly in this recipe and is the key to the delicious texture and flavour.
- Plant-based cream – you can use any dairy-free cream alternative but the best I’ve found by far taste and texture wise is the new Flora thickened plant-based cream. I will be devastated if they ever discontinue this product!
To make this vegan vanilla ice cream you will need a few tools, most importantly an ice cream maker as this recipe does require churning.
You can get many standalone ice cream makers but the one I have is an attachment to my Kitchenaid stand mixer. If you’re planning to make this ice cream you will need to remember to put the bowl in the freezer 24 hours before.
Also I recommend making your own vegan sweetened condensed milk for the absolutely best tasting ice cream. So timing wise I do recommend making this the night before so it can chill completely overnight so do this at the same time as you put your ice cream maker bowl in the freezer.
Now, to make the ice cream you’ll need to start by making your vanilla custard base. First, get the vanilla bean and slice it in half and then use the edge of the knife to scrap out the centre. What you’ve scraped out along with the remaining bean will both go into a small saucepan with the oat milk, white sugar, and corn flour. Heat slowly over medium/low heat making sure that you are stirring constantly with a whisk for approximately 5 minutes until the mixture comes together and thickens. If you find the mixture sticking, use a spatula to scrape the to the bottom or the edges of the pan.
Once the mixture is smooth and silky and resembles the consistency of custard or pudding, take off the heat. Add the salt and continue to mix a little as you let it cool slightly to prevent a skin from forming.
Transfer the mixture into a heat proof bowl and cover with plastic wrap, ensuring the plastic is touching the top of the mixture again to prevent a skin from forming when cooling. Refrigerate for at least an hour or until the mixture is completely cool. If we add a warm liquid base to the ice cream maker, it’s not going to churn properly and we won’t get the smooth and creamy texture we want from our ice cream.
Once the custard mixture is cool, it’s time to finish the ice cream base. In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, whip together the plant-based cream and condensed milk until thick and creamy. This usually takes about 5 minutes of whipping. Add in the cooled vanilla custard and vanilla extract and beat into the cream mixture until completely combined and smooth.
Now carefully pour the mixture into your ice cream machine and churn as per the manufacturer instructions (mine takes 20-30 minutes) until your mixture is thick and resembles soft serve. You don’t want to over churn it as again this can impact the overall texture of your ice cream so once it resembles that soft serve consistency it’s time to stop.
Pour the mixture into a shallow dish or loaf pan, cover with plastic wrap (press the plastic wrap to be touching the top of the ice cream which will prevent ice crystals from forming) and freeze until set, usually a minimum of 2 hours before serving.
There can be a few reasons for this. Firstly if the custard base is not completely cold then the warmth can prevent the ice cream from freezing correctly when churning. The other reason maybe that it was over churned and the ice cream wasn’t able to freeze fast enough.
I also recommend placing plastic wrap over the top of the ice cream touching the top which will prevent any moisture getting in and freezing causing those little ice crystals on top.
Unfortunately this recipe does require churning to achieve the best texture. If you don’t have an ice cream maker I recommend looking for a specific no churn ice cream recipe instead.
More no bake vegan desserts:
Vegan Vanilla Ice Cream
- 2 ¼ cups oat milk
- ⅓ cup white sugar
- ⅓ cup corn flour
- 1 vanilla bean
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup
vegan condensed milk
- 1 cup plant-based cream
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Before starting, make sure your ice cream bowl has been in the freezer for at least 24 hours. And if making your own vegan condensed milk, prepare this the day before.
- Slice your vanilla bean down the centre and using the edge of the knife, scrape out the vanilla from inside the pod.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, cook the oat milk, white sugar, corn flour and vanilla bean (what you scraped out as well as the whole bean) stirring constantly with a whisk for approximately 5 minutes until the mixture comes together and thickens. If you find the mixture sticking, use a spatula to scrape the to the bottom or the edges of the pan.
- Once the mixture is smooth and silky and resembles the consistency of custard or pudding, take off the heat and remove the vanilla bean. Add the salt and continue to mix a little as you let it cool slightly to prevent a skin from forming. Transfer the mixture into a heat proof bowl and cover with plastic wrap, ensuring the plastic is touching the top of the mixture again to prevent a skin from forming when cooling. Refrigerate for at least an hour or until the mixture is completely cool.
- In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, whip together the plant-based cream and vegan condensed milk until thick and creamy, approximately 5 minutes. Add in the cooled vanilla custard and vanilla extract and beat into the cream mixture until completely combined and smooth.
- Add the mixture into your ice cream machine and churn as per the manufacturer instructions (mine takes 20-30 minutes) until your mixture is thick and resembles soft serve.
- Pour the mixture into a shallow dish or loaf pan, cover with plastic wrap and freeze until set, usually a minimum of 2 hours before serving.
Nutritional information is provided as a guide only and is calculated using automated online tools, therefore we cannot guarantee the accuracy. We encourage you to make your own calculations based on the actual ingredients used in your recipe.