If you love ice cream, you’ve got a multitude of vegan choices. Vegan ice cream has gone mainstream to the point that even Ben & Jerry’s and Haagen-Dazs have gotten into the business. The best vegan brands are extraordinarily good. Here’s a New York Times article that chronicles the rise of gourmet dairy-free ice cream. These products are perfect not just for vegans, but also for the millions of people who follow a dairy-free lifestyle.
Can vegans eat ice cream? Absolutely! There are tons of delicious dairy-free ice creams on the market, and you can also make your own excellent versions at home.
What is vegan ice cream made of? Virtually any sort of plant-based milk, from almonds to soy to coconut. Just as dairy-based ice cream is loaded with fat, rich vegan ice creams likewise use plant-based milks that contain substantial amounts of fat.
Let’s start with a list of popular vegan brands sold in the United States. After that, we’ll cover all the information you need to make your own homemade vegan ice cream.
Vegan Ice Cream Brands
Commercially-produced brands are made from soy, almond, cashew, coconut, or rice milk. These products deliver all of the delicious flavor and creaminess of ice cream without harming a single cow. Most supermarkets carry at least one brand of vegan ice cream. And a good natural foods store will stock more varieties than you can count: pints of every flavor, ice cream sandwiches, drumsticks, fudge bars, and more.
- Ben & Jerry’s Non-Dairy Pints
- Double Rainbow (Soy flavors only)
- Haagen-Dazs Non-Dairy Collection
- Luna and Larry’s Coconut Bliss
- So Delicious Dairy Free Desserts
- Tofutti Premium Pints & Cuties
- Trader Joe’s Soy Cream
And here are a few regional brands:
How to Make Your Own Non-Dairy Ice Cream
It’s surprisingly easy to make fantastic vegan ice cream. All you need is a great recipe (there are tons available) and an ice cream maker.
There’s really only one important point you must know about making ice cream at home. Unlike the equipment used by commercial brands, home models do not inject air into the mix. As a result, your homemade ice cream will turn rock hard if put into the freezer, so it must be eaten right away.
Ice cream makers are often surprisingly cheap. If you’ve got a family, this 4-quart Nostalgia unit is a terrific choice. Or, if there’s just one or two of you, get this Cuisinart unit that makes small 1.5 quart batches.
Dairy-Free Ice Cream Recipes
The best thing about making ice cream at home is you gain total control over the ingredients. And it’s remarkable that any sort of vegan milk base works wonderfully. So if there’s ever a time to get creative and experiment, it’s when making vegan ice cream. You won’t have any problem finding fantastic recipes. Check out:
- N’ice Cream, by Virpi Mikkonen
- Dairy-Free Ice Cream, by Kelly V. Brozyna
- Vegan à la Mode, by Hannah Kaminsky
If you’re apprehensive about trying to live without dairy-based ice cream, you can put your worries to rest. Whether you buy vegan ice cream or make it yourself, you won’t be giving up a thing when it comes to rich and creamy flavors.
For further reading, check out our Dairy-Free Diet Guide.