Last updated on April 26, 2023

Vegan gelato ๐Ÿจ Italian recipe with the ice cream maker

Gianni from All Italian - Author
Gianni from All Italian

How do you make a vegan ice cream as creamy as a real Italian ice cream, but without whipped cream and milk? We are Italians and we also make ice cream with ingredients like coconut milk or banana. We share our vegan ice cream recipe, with or without an ice cream maker

vegan ice cream

In our pages about making homemade Italian ice cream, we focused on using healthy ingredients and the right dosage to get a light and tasty gelato. Like in an ice cream shop, we usually say.

We write this often: many cooking websites tell you to make ice cream with eggs, even for ice cream flavors where they're not needed.

Then there are web pages that publish the recipe for "ice cream" without an ice cream maker by putting half a bowl of condensed milk together with another half a bowl of whipping cream ๐Ÿ˜ฒ. We think that these recipes are not realistic. So let's try to remedy this by dedicating this page to the ice cream that we make most often here at All Italian: vegan ice cream, or ๐Ÿ”Š gelato vegano as we say in Italy.

On this page



Learning Italian ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น

The Italian words of this page:

๐Ÿ”Š Gelato Italiano Italian ice cream
๐Ÿ”Š Gelato vegano Vegan ice cream
๐Ÿ”Š Gelatiera Ice cream maker

What is vegan ice cream?

The ingredients of the basic Italian ice cream recipe are whipping cream, whole milk and sugar: in fact, fats and sugars are fundamental ingredients for a creamy and soft Italian gelato.

In vegan ice cream, the sugars and fats of whipping cream and milk are replaced by those of vegetable origin, which are found in legumes, grains and fruit.

Is vegan ice cream just as tasty and creamy as ice cream made with cow's milk? We make ice cream very often, sometimes even for breakfast ๐Ÿ˜„ and we don't want to make it milk and cream every time.
These are fresh ingredients but still rich in fats and sugars.

In addition, many people do not want or cannot eat food that contains animal proteins.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Ice cream made only with vegan ingredients is just as tasty and creamy as a normal Italian ice cream. In fact, we are so used to vegan ice cream, made with coconut milk or banana, that we prefer it to traditional ice cream, where the whipped cream taste is too strong.

The difference between vegan ice cream and sorbet gelato

Sorbet gelato is a subcategory of vegan ice cream: it is made with fruit, water and sugar. Easy and very quick to prepare, although sorbet ice cream does not contain much fat. It is light and slightly colder than a regular ice cream such as vanilla ice cream or chocolate ice cream.

On the other hand, vegan ice cream as we make it still contains a fair amount of fat; it is creamy like a normal ice cream but contains no protein of animal origin.

The ingredients of vegan ice cream

The ingredients of traditional Italian ice cream are milk, cream and sugar. To make vegan ice cream, we need to find an alternative to dairy products.


What alternatives to eggs in vegan ice cream?

Contrary to what you read on many cooking sites, eggs are not a main ingredient in homemade ice cream. Ice cream flavors such as chocolate, vanilla, stracciatella and pistachio ice cream may contain eggs, but not necessarily. So it is not necessary to look for an alternative to eggs to make a good creamy vegan ice cream.


Alternatives to whipped cream and milk

When you're looking for an alternative to whiping cream, the first thing that comes to mind is plant based whipping cream. We also tried it when we started experimenting with homemade ice cream.

However, most people familiar with vegan food say that plant-based whipped cream isn't always made with quality ingredients; additionally, for the information we have, vegetable cream may still contain animal protein, albeit to a minimum. For these reasons, we do not use vegetable whipped cream to make vegan ice cream.

The best dairy alternatives we've found for vegan ice cream are coconut milk and banana. To this must also be added avocado: if you like the avocado flavor, you can make a very creamy ice cream out of it. We don't use it often because we find that the avocado has a distinct flavor that is commonly observed in ice cream.


Making vegan ice cream with coconut milk

The most popular ingredient for vegan ice cream is coconut milk. You can make a very creamy gelato thanks to the fats contained in coconut.

Coconut milk as ingredient to make vegan ice cream

In the supermarket you will find two types of coconut milk: tin and carton. Both are good: but make sure you have a fat percentage of around 17%: perfect for homemade ice cream. Sometimes canned coconut milk has a lower fat percentage, around 8%, which is not enough to create the smooth and creamy texture of the ice cream.

Coconut milk is then an excellent ingredient for making your own ice cream. But in our opinion there is one drawback: if you make ice cream with coconut milk instead of whipped cream, the coconut flavor will be very strong. Of course it depends on personal preference and we encourage you to experiment. In our opinion, coconut milk in the tetra pack has a very distinct taste, stronger than the taste of a fresh coconut: a bit like avocado, the ice cream you get tastes different than the equivalent with whipped cream.

It also depends on the other ingredients: if you use a lot of coconut milk, you can simply combine it with water; an alternative is to use less coconut milk and add soy milk. This way the coconut flavor is less intense in the ice cream you get.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Also check our original coconut ice cream recipe, made like a sorbet with only coconut milk, sugar and water.


Making vegan ice cream with banana

Another ingredient that you can use to make the homemade vegan ice cream is banana.

banana as ingredient to make vegan gelato

Often bananas that we find on the market - also in Italy - do not really have a strong banana taste. But they have the right frothy and creamy consistency to make ice cream.

It should also be said that cold weakens the flavors: this applies to both the taste of the banana and the sugars in the ice cream. If the ice cream you buy is very sweet, you won't notice it when you eat it, because the cold kind of hides the taste from the palate.

In our opinion, the banana flavor is much softened in ice cream, more than coconut milk and avocado flavor.

This doesn't mean that you have to do a whole banana, nor that you have to make a banana ice cream every time. But banana is a great help to make a tasty, low-calorie and very creamy vegan ice cream.

Another advantage is that you can store bananas in the freezer, ready to make ice cream: frozen bananas are perfect for making ice cream, even without an ice cream maker!
We all have the experience of buying green bananas that start to turn brown after a few hours. If you store bananas in the freezer to make ice cream, the skin will immediately turn brown but the flesh will remain intact and good for making ice cream.

Moreover, banana is much lighter than coconut milk: that is why it is the ingredient we use most at Alle Italian to make vegan ice cream. Again, it's a matter of personal taste: we invite you to experiment with different ingredients.

Vegan ice cream also without an ice cream maker

The ice cream maker is a device that we love very much, but not everyone has it at home: so many are looking for how to make ice cream without an ice cream maker.

The ice cream maker has one function: it constantly mixes the ice cream mixture in a cold environment. As it is stirred, the mixture accumulates air and gradually becomes a soft ice cream.

Pistachio ice cream in the making in the ice cream maker
Pistachio gelato in our ice cream maker

In Italian we call this process ๐Ÿ”Š mantecazione.

Without an ice cream maker, it's really not possible to make proper ice cream. There are some alternative methods: for example you can freeze the mixture in the freezer, and then grind it in the blender to obtain an iced cream.
But it's not really the same, and it's a lenghty process.

In general, if you are an ice cream lover, an ice cream maker is a very convenient appliance.


Vegan gelato with coconut milk ๐Ÿจ Italian ice cream recipe


4.8
(18) reviews

  • ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿณ Easy
  • โฐ 50 min preparation
  • ๐Ÿค— Guaranteed result

Our vegan ice cream recipe: we use coconut milk which is a great substitute for whipping cream, and we combine it with unsweetened soy milk. We simply use sugar to sweeten.
In this way we obtain a very creamy ice cream, like ice cream made of cow's milk, and with a fairly neutral flavour: the coconut flavor is in fact attenuated by the soy milk.

You can use this flavor as a base to make other flavors, for example chocolate ice cream, strawberry gelato or pistachio. Just like in normal ice cream, we use gelato fiordilatte as a base recipe.

๐Ÿ‘‰ On All Italian we have also published the recipe for coconut sorbet, which is similar but with water instead of soy milk. Prepared in this way, the taste of the coconut is instead accentuated.



Ingredients


Quantities

 
3
 

people


Ingredient image Ingredient name Cups Grams Ounces
coconut-milk Coconut milk 1.5 cup 12.35 oz 350 g
soy-milk Soy milk 0.7 cup 5.64 oz 160 g
sugar-white Sugar 0.45 cup 3.18 oz 90 g

โš–๏ธ How do I measure the ingredients?

For each ingredient we indicate both the volume in cups and the weight in ounces and grams.

๐Ÿ‘‰ To be accurate we prefer to weigh all the ingredients: both solids and liquids before pouring them into the ice cream mixture.
For this you need a kitchen scale, preferably a digital one, which usually expresses the weight in ounces (oz) and/or grams (g).



Instructions

For this recipe we use one of the most popular models of compressor ice cream maker; the steps of the procedure are the same for practically all the ice cream machines on the market.

  1. Turn on the ice cream maker

    If you're using a compressor ice cream maker, turn it on before mixing the ingredients. This gives the ice machine time to cool down.

    Usually an ice cream maker takes about 10 minutes to reach the right temperature to make ice cream.

    Not all ice cream makers show the temperature, which should be at least -7.6 ยฐF (-22 ยฐC) when you pour the ice cream. It is important to pour the ice cream into the already cold ice cream maker.

    Turn on the ice cream maker

  2. Mix the ingredients

    Pour the ingredients into a bowl, first the liquids and then the powders. Mix well with a staafmixer, until the sugar is completely dissolved.

    Sometimes they ask us if sugar dissolves in cold milk: of course yes, we just need to stir a little longer.

    A layer of foam forms on the surface: mix briefly with a wooden spoon to smooth it out.

  3. Pour the mixture into the ice cream maker

    Then pour the cold mixture into the ice cream maker. You must ensure that:

    • The ice machine is cold, at least -7.6 ยฐF (-22 ยฐC);

    • the mixing paddle is already rotating.

    From here on, the procedure is the same as for all other ice creams. Use the opening on the lid of the ice cream maker to pour the mixture. This way you pour the ice cream without opening the ice cream maker and while the paddle is rotating.

  4. Stir for 30-40 minutes

    You can view the status of your gelato through the transparent lid of the ice cream maker.

    If the dosage of the ingredients is correct, after 15 minutes you will see the mixture increase in volume. This is because it begins to accumulate air, going from a liquid state to a soft ice.

    Usually the ice cream is ready in 30 minutes or less. It also depends on the amount of ingredients.

    With a little experience, you'll understand when to turn off the icemaker; often the whisk stops by itself when the ice cream is ready.

    Stir for 30-40 minutes
    ยซAlle Italiaanseยป is the original name of our website, which we initially wrote for the Dutch audience.

Your Italian vegan gelato is ready. Buon appetito! ๐Ÿจ



A homemade mango sorbet ice cream
Our delicious vegan gelato. Homemade ice cream, just ready, is very soft. Before serving, we recommend leaving the ice cream in the freezer for at least an hour to solidify.


50 authentic gelato flavours

For all connoisseurs who, like us, can't wait until summer to enjoy a delicious homemade ice cream

Original gelato recipes
with ice cream maker

Many ask us for more information about making ice cream. We've collected it all in our ice cream recipe book, available in e-book or paperback format.

Everything you want to know to make a perfect gelato at home with the ice cream maker, and our Italian recipes to learn how to make all kinds of ice cream.

Gelato
2nd edition

All Italian made original by Italians
The cover of our ice cream cookbook.
๐Ÿ” Click to zoom in
  • All Italian Gelato - 2nd edition
    `

Our best and most delicious ice cream flavours:

  • ๐Ÿ„ Fiordilatte - Milk ice cream without egg
  • ๐Ÿฅš Vanilla ice cream - Basic recipe with egg
  • ๐Ÿจ Cinnamon ice cream
  • ๐Ÿ‹ Lemon ice cream
  • ๐Ÿจ Greek yogurt ice cream
  • ๐Ÿ Goat milk ice cream with honey
  • ๐Ÿจ Quark ice cream
  • ๐Ÿจ Ginger ice cream
  • ๐Ÿจ Milk and mint ice cream
  • ๐Ÿจ Licorice ice cream
  • โ˜• Coffee ice cream with honey
  • ๐Ÿซ Bacio with dark chocolate en hazelnuts
  • ๐Ÿจ Chocolate ice cream with cocoa
  • ๐Ÿซ Vegan chocolate ice cream and mint
  • ๐Ÿจ White Chocolate ice cream
  • ๐Ÿจ Pistachio ice cream with honey
  • ๐Ÿจ Pistachio-coconut vegan ice cream
  • ๐Ÿจ Almond ice cream
  • ๐Ÿซ๐Ÿง€ Stracciatella ice cream with ricotta
  • ๐Ÿจ๐Ÿง€ Sicilian Cassata ice cream
  • ๐Ÿฅฅ Coconut vegan sorbet
  • ๐Ÿ๐Ÿง€ Ricotta Pear Ice Cream
  • ๐Ÿ‹ Lemon sorbet
  • ๐ŸŠ Orange sorbet
  • ๐Ÿ“ Strawberry sorbet
  • ๐Ÿ“ Strawberry ice cream
  • ๐Ÿ’ Cherry sorbet
  • ๐Ÿ’ Cherry ice cream
  • ๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ„ Amarena ice cream
  • ๐Ÿฅญ Mango sorbet
  • ๐Ÿฅญ Mango ice cream
  • ๐Ÿฅ Kiwi sorbet
  • ๐ŸŒ Banana ice cream
  • ๐Ÿจ Raspberry sorbet
  • ๐Ÿจ Raspberry ice cream
  • ๐Ÿฅ•๐ŸŽ Carrot-apple-ginger sorbet
  • ๐Ÿฅ‘ Avocado-apple-kiwi ice cream
  • ๐Ÿจ Passion fruit ice cream
  • ๐Ÿน Spritz sorbet
  • ๐Ÿฅƒ Limoncello ice cream
  • ๐Ÿช Chocolate chip cookies ice cream
  • ๐Ÿช Amaretti cookies ice cream
  • ๐Ÿช Stroopwafels ice cream
  • ๐Ÿช Gingerbread cookies ice cream
  • ๐Ÿช Sandwich cookies ice cream
  • ๐Ÿช Hazelnut paste biscuits ice cream
  • ๐Ÿ“๐Ÿง€ Strawberry cheesecake ice cream
  • ๐ŸŽ Apple strudel ice cream
  • ๐Ÿฅ• Carrot cake ice cream
  • ๐Ÿง€โ˜• Tiramisรน ice cream

Each recipe is original; we show the preparation of each. We made, photographed and enjoyed every ice cream recipe. And we can confirm: they are all excellent!

Gelato
2nd edition

All Italian made original by Italians
50 authentic gelato flavours

โ€œ Teach someone to make ice cream
and they will enjoy it for the rest of their lives.
โ€

E-book โ‚ฌ 9,99
(about 10.63 USD / 14.32 CAD /
16.54 AUD / 17.96 NZD at 2024-16-07 exchange rate )
  • 187 pages full of recipes

  • The original, now in its 2nd edition with 50 delicious ice cream flavors

  • Compatible with all types of devices

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Paperback $ 29,90

By popular demand, we published a paperback version in 2024 which is available internationally on Amazon, where we as affiliates earn a commission.

All Italian Gelato book - paperback version

A beautifully illustrated recipe book that faithfully reflects the original digital version.

Alle Italiaanse IJs boek paperback versie



Follow our recipes

We regularly update these pages on Italian gelato with recipes we make at home with the ice cream maker.

Over All Italian

Hi! We are Italian expats and have been living abroad for years, currently in the Netherlands. Wherever we go, we carry part of our tradition with us. And we often notice that Italy, its heritage and its lifestyle, are very popular.
Now that we understand a little better the culture of the countries we live in, we want to offer an account with original content about our home country.
We are also writing this blog to practice English, so you will find our writing a little ยซcreativeยป at times. Grazie mille!