Another day, another dairy free ice cream recipe just in time for the holiday season! In fairness, I can't really post this recipe without sending a huge thank you shout out to my friend + fellow low FODMAP food blogger Stephanie of Gutsy Baker. She not only was the person who got me absolutely hooked on dairy free ice cream making, but she gave me the idea to use the cookie dough from my failed attempts at creating Paleo Christmas Cutout Cookies in an ice cream! When testing paleo, refined sugar free, gluten free, low FODMAP dessert recipes, fails can feel brutal. Not because it's a failure, because let's be honest there's lots of failures when making low FODMAP dessert recipes, but because the ingredients are so ... expensive! Tossing a failed bake in the garbage sometimes feels like tossing actual dollar bills into the trash, and WHO even likes to do that?! Not me!
Anyway, that's exactly how this dairy free Christmas Cookie Ice Cream flavor was invented - by accident! Sometimes the most delicious low FODMAP desserts happen by accident though, and I'm always happy to be able to turn a failure around. I think the most fun part about this dairy free ice cream flavor is that you can add in just about anything you like! A few almonds + marshmallows if you're a rocky road fan, peppermint + marshmallows as I've done for a twist on peppermint hot cocoa, or even some leftover cranberry sauce if you're looking for a little tartness amongst the sweet!
Making dairy free ice cream is super simple, you just need to make sure you use the following ingredients + equipment each time as your base and then you can let your imagination run wild in terms of how you want to flavor it!
Full Fat Coconut Milk - This is an absolute MUST! Dairy free ice cream will NOT churn or freeze properly if you use anything other than canned, full fat coconut milk. Over the summer I wanted to teach my mom how to make dairy free ice cream, but all that was accessible to her in her rural grocery store was that shelf stable boxed coconut milk. I knew it wouldn't work but figured, what the heck we can try making dairy free ice cream with this stuff. FAIL. It was a big ol' NOPE! There is not enough fat in the boxed stuff to keep the dairy free ice cream creamy and when you freeze it, it turns into, well, ice, not dairy free ice cream! I urge you not to skip this or swap this ingredient. If your store has a limited selection, I'd suggest ordering in bulk so you always have some on hand when that ice cream craving hits! This pack of 6 is under $9, which is cheaper than buying individually, anyway!
Full Fat Coconut Cream - I always add full fat coconut cream to my dairy free ice cream in addition to the full fat coconut milk. The extra added fat is what helps keep the dairy free ice cream smooth + creamy. If you don't have any on hand, you can scrape the top layer of coconut cream off a can of full fat coconut milk, just make sure you do not shake the can before hand, or you'll have lost the cream layer! You can also purchase this in multi packs, you know, for the cravings and all.
Granulated Monkfruit - First, let's discuss. What IS monkfruit anyway?! Monkfruit, or Luo Han Guo, is actually a gourd native to Southern China + Northern Thailand. The plant is harvested for its fruit extract, called mogrosides, which create a sweetness almost 200 times sweeter than regular cane sugar. The benefits of using monkfruit sweetener as opposed to white cane sugar are plentiful! Monkfruit sweetener is an unrefined sugar, meaning it has not gone through a chemical process which generally removes any nutrients the sugar cane provides. Unrefined sugars still maintain their nutritional profile, though it should be noted, sugar is sugar! Unrefined sugars generally have a lower glycemic index, however, and monkfruit in particular contains 0g of calories + carbohydrates, making this appropriate for all diets including paleo + keto.
Gelatin - I also always add gelatin to my dairy free ice cream just to give the base a little more creaminess and a likeness to full dairy ice cream. I have not tested any of my recipes with the vegan friendly agar agar, a gelatin substitute, but if you are vegan and happen to make this substitution in your dairy free ice cream, please let me know how it turned out in the comments!
Alcohol - I go into this in more detail in the recipe below, but I have been adding booze to my dairy free ice cream recipes lately and it's making a world of difference in the level of creaminess. You can certainly skip this if you prefer, just expect a bit longer of a wait time between removing the dairy free ice cream from the freezer + enjoying it.
An Ice Cream Maker! - OK so this one is kind of a no brainer but, I always use an ice cream maker for all of my ice cream recipes. I have tried no churn and honestly, it's not great. If you like it, cool, but I am going for the closest thing to "Real" ice cream as I can get with a dairy free ice cream recipe and I have found that using a quality ice cream maker is the way to go! We love ice cream in this house and have been eating way more than our fair share this year, so being able to make it at home with cleaner ingredients as close to the "real thing" as possible is wonderful! I use this ice cream maker from Cuisinart and could not be happier!
Did you get a chance to make this recipe? Don't forget to leave me a love note in the comments and let me know what you think! And don't forget to tag your images #PDLrecipes on Facebook and Instagram so I can see how your creation turned out!
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1 can full fat coconut milk
1 can coconut cream
1 tsp almond extract
1/4 cup monkfruit
1 tbsp gelatin
1 tsp salt
6 tbsp cacao powder
4 tbsp vodka*
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
*I have been adding alcohol to my ice cream recipes lately as I've noticed it helps the coconut milk to stay creamy, dramatically reducing the time dairy free ice cream needs to become creamy again after freezing. You may omit, but note that you'll need 15-20 minutes to thaw your dairy free ice cream before enjoying. The addition of alcohol usually cuts this time down to 5 minutes in most cases, so if you're not someone who likes waiting for their low FODMAP ice cream, then I highly recommend adding Tito's or another gluten free vodka to this recipe. You could also experiment with bourbon or peppermint vodka as well! Note that if you use bourbon, you will only need 2 tbsp for your dairy free ice cream as it is much higher proof than vodka.
While still heating, stir in monkfruit, vanilla extract, almond extract, cacao powder, peppermint extract and gelatin whisking again to combine.
Remove from heat and add in 4 tbsp vodka.
Pour ice cream base into heat proof container, cover and allow to set in the fridge about 45 mins.
Once the coconut mixture is cool, add to frozen bowl of ice cream maker + churn according to machine instructions.
During the last minute of your churning process, add in sugar cookie dough + mini marshmallows and allow the machine to mix until they are fully incorporated.
Spoon ice cream into pint containers and freeze for at least 2-3 hours prior to serving.