No Churn Dairy Free Ice Cream

No Churn Dairy Free Ice Cream

Smooth and creamy dairy free ice cream made from coconut milk, sugar, and just a touch of powdered gelatin. That’s the secret ingredient that makes it perfect—even though it’s no churn.

Smooth and creamy dairy free ice cream made from coconut milk, sugar, and just a touch of powdered gelatin. That's the secret ingredient that makes it perfect—even though it's no churn!

I love to make homemade ice cream, and mostly without the ice cream machine that I own but never really use. But until this recipe, it was all dairy-full.

Since I know some of you are dairy free, I put my nose to the grindstone and finally, at great long last, I present: Gluten Free Dairy Free Ice Cream with no machine! Plus—no mixing it every 30 minutes or something (how is that fun?). And it’s still smooth & creamy & scoop-able.

Smooth and creamy dairy free ice cream made from coconut milk, sugar, and just a touch of powdered gelatin. That's the secret ingredient that makes it perfect—even though it's no churn!

Even though you only see two ingredients shown here, it says “3 ingredients” right there in the photo. There are, indeed, 3 essential ingredients.

There are 2 more optional ingredients in the recipe below, but they are truly optional. Oh, and yes, it does taste faintly of coconut. It’s made almost entirely of coconut milk, made this way and that way, silly!

For a sugar-free version of no churn ice cream, this recipe for Sugar-Free Low Carb Ice Cream from Wholesome Yum looks like a sure thing. For dairy free, try using coconut cream in place of heavy cream.

Smooth and creamy dairy free ice cream made from coconut milk, sugar, and just a touch of powdered gelatin. That's the secret ingredient that makes it perfect—even though it's no churn!

I tried this recipe 5 times and failed and failed and failed, sadly, every single time. And until you freeze the ice cream, you can’t really be sure that it’s a fail. That made this a rather time-consuming project of mine.

Of course, I could have just used the ice cream machine, but that is just.no.fun. As soon as I mixed up the final goods that you see here, even before it was frozen, I knew. Like you know success when you’ve already failed miserably 5 separate times over the course of 3 months. I knew.

But as soon as I mixed up the final goods that you see here, even before it was frozen, I knew. Like you know success when you’ve already failed miserably 5 separate times over the course of 3 months. I knew.

This may have indeed become my true love favorite gluten free ice cream. So whether you can have dairy or not, this smooth and creamy homemade ice cream are going to become a family favorite. Oh, and please do add the gelatin. If you omit it, the ice cream really doesn’t scoop and it is icy as can be. You can replace the gelatin with some

You can replace the gelatin with some gluten free potato vodka, but it just won’t be as creamy. And of course, then it becomes an adults-only treat. (not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

Smooth and creamy dairy free ice cream made from coconut milk, sugar, and just a touch of powdered gelatin. That's the secret ingredient that makes it perfect—even though it's no churn!

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 1 1/2 quarts ice cream


3 cans (14 fluid ounces each) coconut milk, 2 of the 3 refrigerated for at least 24 hours*

3/4 cup (150 g) sugar

1 teaspoon (3 g) unflavored powdered gelatin**

3 ounces dairy-free chocolate chips (optional)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)

*You must use full-fat coconut milk. Thai Kitchen brand coconut milk and Whole Foods 365 brand coconut milk both work well consistently for this application. So Delicious brand “Culinary Coconut Milk” also works great for the coconut cream portion.

**The gelatin is what keeps the ice cream from being too, well, icy. You can substitute 1 tablespoon of gluten free vodka for a similar result, but then it becomes an adults-only treat (and the vodka doesn’t work quite as well).


  • In a large, heavy-bottom saucepan, place the entire contents of the 1 room-temperature can of coconut milk and the sugar, and whisk to combine well. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently to prevent it from splattering, until it is reduced at least by half and begins to thicken (about 10 minutes). This is now your dairy free sweetened condensed coconut milk. Remove from the heat and set it aside to allow to cool completely.

  • Remove the remaining two cans of coconut milk carefully from the refrigerator, without shaking them at all. The solid should have separated from the liquid while it was chilling, and you don’t want to reintegrate them. Remove the lids from the cans, scoop out only the solid white coconut (discarding or reserving for another use all of the liquid), and place it in a large bowl. With a hand mixer (or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment), whip the coconut on high speed for about 2 minutes, or until light and fluffy and nearly doubled in volume. The coconut cream must be chilled for it to whip. Place the whipped coconut cream in the refrigerator.

  • Place the gelatin in a small bowl, and mix well with 2 tablespoons of the sweetened condensed coconut milk from the first step. Allow to sit for 5 minutes while the gelatin dissolves. Microwave the mixture on 70% power for 15 seconds to liquify the gelatin, and then add the mixture to the rest of the cooled sweetened condensed coconut milk.

  • Remove the coconut whipped cream from the refrigerator and add the sweetened condensed coconut milk mixture and optional vanilla to it. Whip once more until light and creamy, and well-combined (about one minute more). Fold in the optional chocolate chips, and scrape the mixture into a 2 quart freezer-safe container. Cover tightly and freeze until firm (about 6 hours). Serve cold. If it is difficult to scoop, allow to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before scooping and serving with a warm ice cream scoop.

  • Recipe originally published in 2013. Photos updated, method updated slightly, recipe otherwise unchanged. 


Comments are closed.

  • Dawn Heald
    February 15, 2017 at 7:16 PM

    Is it possible to make using blocks of creamed coconut? It’s just some coconut products tend to be pricey here in the UK supermarkets. After a stomach operation and various intolerances and medical problems and losing all my teeth, my perfect diet is gluten, wheat free, dairy free, egg free, low sugar. So I’m spending a lot of time researching websites like yours and trying to come up with recipes. I’m 35 with kids so I’m also looking for something we can all enjoy without baking separately as even just making with normal flour sets my nose running and too long in kitchen cooking hurts. Your recipes are really inspiring, thank you.

    • February 19, 2017 at 9:32 AM

      I’m afraid I don’t know what creamed coconut is, Dawn. It sounds like it might be the same as the coconut cream in the recipe?

  • Sj
    September 15, 2016 at 11:44 PM

    I’ve made this twice following the directions exactly (although the second time I just folded the whipped cream & condensed “milk”). It seems to curdle at the end when I mix the coconut condensed milk with the coconut cream. Any ideas?

  • Pat
    August 19, 2016 at 8:22 AM

    Can I just use a can of coconut cream instead of separating the milk and cream? If so, how much cream equals that which would have separated from the whole fat milk?

  • HKS
    July 10, 2016 at 1:25 AM

    Ii would love to make a dairy free ice cream, but I cannot eat coconut or coconut products, any ideas?

  • Abbigail
    July 5, 2016 at 3:47 PM

    This is absolutely amazing!!!! I made a banana split version of this by folding in bananas, cherries, and chocolate syrup. Thank you so much for inventing and sharing this recipe. Now it feels like the world has opened up.

  • Kathleen Harrison
    May 24, 2016 at 1:33 AM

    Michelle, 14 fluid ounces is approximately 400mls

  • Jessica Barnum
    May 23, 2016 at 6:10 PM

    What brand of gelatin would you recommend?

    • May 24, 2016 at 11:52 AM

      Hi, Jessica. I recommend Great Lakes Brand unflavored beef gelatin. It’s the one in the red can. I’m working on a “shop” for the blog where I’ll have links to all of my favorite products, including an explanation of why I love them. For now, here’s a link to the gelatin on amazon. It’s an affiliate link, but if you don’t want to use that, you can just do a search. It lasts a long, long time, and doesn’t go bad.

  • Paige
    May 23, 2016 at 3:56 PM

    By George! You’ve done it again!! This ice cream is smooth and creamy even after 24 hours in the freezer. No more icy chunks. Thanks so much for this delicious and easy recipe. My family loves it. Three cheers for Nicole!!

    • May 24, 2016 at 11:52 AM

      Hip hip hooray, Paige!! 🎉

  • Michelle
    May 23, 2016 at 1:43 PM

    Hi Nicole – I love the blog. Seriously LOVE! Every single recipe comes out perfectly every single time! I am in Europe and can get Thai Kitchen coconut milk, but I’m just wondering about the conversion. When you say 14 oz can, you’re referring to weight? I can get them in 250ml and 500ml cartons. Might you have a weight/fluid conversion handy? Thanks :)

    • Kathleen Harrison
      May 24, 2016 at 1:44 AM

      Michelle, 14 fluid ounces is approximately 400mls

      • May 24, 2016 at 11:53 AM

        Thanks, Kathleen! It is, indeed, fluid ounces. I will update the recipe to clarify!

  • Jeanne Hasty
    May 23, 2016 at 8:16 AM

    I tried this over the weekend, I was not able to get the coconut cream to whip as yours did. I used Thai Kitchen brand, whole fat. After being in the refrigerator a few days, the solids came out of the can in a chunk. I used a hand mixer, any thoughts?

    • May 23, 2016 at 12:07 PM

      Did you use only the solid coconut cream, Jeanne, as directed in the recipe? If you included the liquid, that’s certainly the issue. If the solid separated and you used just that, the only reason I can think that it wouldn’t whip would be if you allowed it to become warm before whipping it. I have made whipped coconut cream with both a hand mixer and a stand mixer. Both work fine.

      • Jeanne Hasty
        May 24, 2016 at 7:54 AM

        Thank you for the tips, next time I’ll try popping it back in the refrigerator after separating. It may have gotten to warm. I enjoy your blog and have had great success with your recipes! :)

  • karen_303
    May 23, 2016 at 1:07 AM

    regarding separating the coconut milk – can you carefully pour off the coconut water or use a baster to suction it out? or is the coconut cream very thick? always try to figure this out so i am floundering with the recipe. thanks – looks fantastic!

    • May 23, 2016 at 12:08 PM

      Hi, Karen, the solid separates completely from the liquid, so you can essentially just lift or scoop out the solid. The liquid can be discarded or used for another use, like making a smoothie.

  • Heather Owens simelaro
    May 22, 2016 at 4:54 PM

    I have 8 different brands I can get, but there are about 5 different amounts of fat (even if you make the serving sizes all the same). I like getting high fat coconut milk, but what was the amount of fat per size of serving that you used? I imagine too low or too high would really affect the recipe.

    • May 22, 2016 at 6:31 PM

      I would focus on the brands I refer to in the recipe, Heather. Good luck!

  • Wanda Kornosky Buchanan
    May 22, 2016 at 1:04 PM

    Both my son and I are allergic to nuts so coconut milk is not an option for us. Unfortunately many gluten free receipes use some form of coconut As a replacement. Any ideas?

    • May 22, 2016 at 6:30 PM

      Coconut is neither a peanut or a tree nut, Wanda. If you still can’t have a coconut because of a separate allergy, I’m afraid you simply can’t make this recipe. It only has 3 ingredients, and relies heavily upon coconut cream.

      • Wanda Kornosky Buchanan
        May 22, 2016 at 9:21 PM

        Lol thank you Nicole. This is a new diagnosis for the both of us. I will be OK for the ice cream but my son will not as he has a separate coconut allergy. We both have epi pens so I can’t be too careful. I appreciate your help and enjoy your recipes very much!!!

  • Shelley Allen
    May 17, 2016 at 9:39 AM

    Can’t wait to try this recipe as the warm weather is approaching ☺ but what can I do with the gelatin if I don’t have a microwave?

    • youngbaker2002
      May 17, 2016 at 9:59 AM

      I was wondering the same, Shelly.

    • May 22, 2016 at 6:31 PM

      You can simply melt it over very low heat in a small saucepan, Shelley.

  • May 16, 2016 at 12:08 PM

    Have you ever tried with coconut sugar instead of cane sugar?

    • Mandy Renfro
      June 10, 2016 at 5:05 AM

      I also need a non-refined sugar option. Have you tried the coconut sugar version yet?

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  • Catherine in Portsmouth, NH
    August 7, 2013 at 6:17 PM

    Nicole, We haven recently gone dairy-free at my house and I am very, very excited about this recipe. My spouse came home from Trader Joe’s with 9 oz. cans of “coconut cream” (“Ayam” brand; ingredients: 100% coconut kernel extract). I’m hoping that perhaps there’s just less in the way of liquid in these, and so will be able to use them, but that leaves me with the same question as Veronica, below, to wit: do you happen to know how many ounces of the cream you end up using?

    See that? You go the extra mile and create this astounding recipe, and then you get asked for more, more, more help!
    Gratefully reading you all these years, and still baking 4 loaves of that yummy Tom’s bread per week because I don’t feel like bothering with separating eggs all the time,

    • Nettie
      May 22, 2016 at 4:32 PM

      Nicole is Tom’s bread a recipe of yours? I couldn’t find it under breads on this site.

    • Kay Dorman Berk
      May 25, 2016 at 10:18 AM

      What is Tom’s bread?

  • Richard A Schmitt
    July 30, 2013 at 9:49 PM

    Amazing! I should have mentioned in on your other 3-Ingredient Ice Cream Recipe that I converted that recipe by using the Coconut Milks! Came out perfect, just didn’t use the Gelatin and use 2 cans for the Sweetened Condensed Milks and 1 for Heavy Whipping Cream. Going to try your version for sure now!

  • Veronica Marth
    July 30, 2013 at 7:52 PM

    I found cans of coconut cream at Walmart. How many ounces of cream do you get from each can of coconut milk?
    By the way, your recipes have given me the confidence to bake again. For about two years after my husband found out he had celiac disease most of my recipes failed. I have been baking with your recipes for over six months now and am even modifying some of the recipes I grew up with to make them gluten and dairy free. Thank you for your cookbooks and blog.

  • Mare Masterson
    July 30, 2013 at 11:44 PM

    Nicole, Oh my God I was just telling a friend on Friday whose honey is lactose intolerant that I wanted to figure out how to make my own coconut milk ice cream because I absolutely love it, and here’s your post only a few days later! Are you clairvoyant? You truly are a gift to us!

  • Crystal
    July 30, 2013 at 3:39 PM

    Have a few GFDF kids here doing the happy dance! Thank you!

  • Sam
    July 30, 2013 at 2:24 PM

    Okay I’m stuck. I have been trying to get coconut milk to separate for a week now–I tried a few weeks ago thinking your semi-freddo might be great with coconut whipped cream–but after 24 hours the coconut milk hadn’t separated. So when I saw your FB feed about this upcoming recipe last weekend, I put cans of coconut milk in the fridge in anticipation. But it’s been four days and the can hasn’t separated? Does putting it in the freezer work? How can I get it to separate?

    • July 30, 2013 at 2:33 PM

      Hi, Sam! So frustrating, right? It’s probably the brand of coconut milk that you are buying (assuming it is, in fact, full fat canned coconut milk). That’s why I mentioned the brands that I like in the recipe (Whole Foods 365 brand and Thai Kitchen brand), since they always separate (or they always have, for me). Don’t put it in the freezer! Just try another brand.
      xoxo Nicole

      • Donia Robinson
        July 30, 2013 at 3:43 PM

        I find Native Forest almost always works. Frankly, it even separates at room temperature a lot of times!

  • Cori
    July 30, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    I love you. Thank you!

    • July 30, 2013 at 2:33 PM

      Love you, too, Cori! ;)
      xoxo Nicole
      P.S. You’re welcome.

      • Mare Masterson
        July 30, 2013 at 7:44 PM

        Nicole, Oh my God I was just telling a friend on Friday whose honey is lactose intolerant that I wanted to figure out how to make my own coconut milk ice cream because I absolutely love it, and here’s your post only a few days later! Are you clairvoyant? You truly are a gift to us!

    • July 30, 2013 at 6:33 PM

      Love you, too, Cori! ;)
      xoxo Nicole
      P.S. You’re welcome.

  • Karen
    July 30, 2013 at 1:25 PM

    Just wanted to let you know we’ve tried the vanilla ice cream (very good, a tad sweet) and today I made the chocolate, with the following modifications:

    I didn’t want to have to store 4 oz of leftover condensed milk, so I used the whole can.

    I bought unsweetened chocolate rather than semisweet, since I planned to use the entire can of milk, and when I got home I realized one box is 4 oz, not 5, but it worked well. I think it turned out even better than the vanilla–less sweet because of the chocolate and cocoa!

    Next I’m going to try to figure out how to make a coffee version; I adore coffee ice cream!

  • Anna
    July 30, 2013 at 1:09 PM

    Any chance I could use Agar Agar instead of gelatin?I love that it is dairy free but can I make it fully vegan?

    • July 30, 2013 at 2:33 PM

      I don’t have much experience with agar agar, Anna. Feel free to experiment!

  • Autumn
    July 30, 2013 at 1:08 PM

    Wow! The world needs you. I need you! Thank you.

    • July 30, 2013 at 2:34 PM

      Aw, shucks, Autumn. Thank you for the kind words! And you’re very welcome. I need you right back. :)
      xoxo Nicole

    • May 16, 2016 at 4:41 PM

      Amen to this! I love how truly tested your recipes are, Nicole. There’s never any chance you’re going to post it unless it’s perfect, and I think all the additional notes in the recipe (why you use the gelatin, of course it’s going to taste a bit like coconut, etc) are tremendously helpful. I’ve tried the no-churn ice cream trend a few times but have been less than pleased with the results (and am like you, never want to pull out my danged ice cream maker) so I’m excited to give this version a try. Maybe the coconut milk (and gelatin) will do the trick.

  • nini2033a
    July 30, 2013 at 12:28 PM

    looks great, no problem with the gelatin here,,,, but do you think it would work with stevia instead of sugar? got a diabetic in the family….
    Or does the sugar do something specific like thickening that the stevia would not accomplish?

    • July 30, 2013 at 12:47 PM

      Hi nini, I’m afraid it would be very ice without the sugar. Sugar does not freeze, so it helps keep the ice cream from becoming icy. I don’t think that Stevia will do the same, although I confess I don’t know for sure. Sorry!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Cass
    July 30, 2013 at 11:06 AM

    Holy buckets…you are amazing!! I can’t wait to try this recipe out!

  • Donia Robinson
    July 30, 2013 at 10:56 AM

    Oh yes, this recipe definitely makes me like you! ;) I was pining after all of those ice creams you made. I find DF ice creams (like anything) can be hit or miss. Some have so much gum in them that they taste like – wait for it – gum. And some DF ice creams I’ve made WITH a machine tasted good as “soft serve”, but got rock hard and icy in the freezer. Thanks for this recipe!

    Oh, and might suggest you do not discard the coconut water! (Hello, shoestring!) It’s still got some good nutrition going for it. You could freeze it into ice cubes and put it in a smoothie, or use it in a recipe that wasn’t picky about its liquid. Personally, it goes in my smoothie!

    • July 30, 2013 at 12:49 PM

      Oh I don’t actually discard the coconut water. I use it rice, in smoothies, in all sorts of things. Just trying to keep the directions simple, Donia. :) And I really think you’re going to love this DF ice cream!
      xoxo Nicole

      • Donia Robinson
        July 30, 2013 at 12:50 PM

        I should have known better than to think you would discard it. ;)

  • Jennifer Sasse
    July 30, 2013 at 10:01 AM

    We are not dairy free either but sometimes, you just like some alternatives, ya know? Thank you for being so overly accommodating for all of your blog readers! That is why we love you!!!!

    • July 30, 2013 at 12:49 PM

      Thanks, Jennifer! I do know what you mean about alternatives. If nothing else, it’s a nice challenge for me! ;)
      xoxo Nicole

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