Healthier Chocolate Ice Cream (Vegan and Dairy-free!)

Creamy, Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream (Sugar-Free)

It’s too chilly outside to walk to Whole Foods, and it’s so convenient shop on campus with our dining points. As luck would have it, two of my healthy cooking staples-coconut milk and extra dark chocolate–happen to be available at the coffee shop by my dorm building. I decided to make a comforting treat using truly “local” ingredients. With the swipe of my student I.D. card, I stocked up on my favorite Lindt 85% chocolate and canned coconut milk and pondered the possibilities.

Even though NC has been cold enough to make me long for the dearth of seasonal weather that is southwest Florida, ice cream sounded really good yesterday afternoon. It may have had something to do with my friend wanting to stop at Ben and Jerry’s after a quiet dinner out at a delicious Mediterranean restaurant. I was pretty full that night from meat skewers with tzaziki and baba ghanoush, but for old times sake, we went into the colorful ice cream shop. I ended up getting a tiny Kid-sized scoop of their sugar-free ice cream, just to try it. A little processed food once in a blue moon when you’re out with a good friend can’t hurt.

The Ben and Jerry’s experience was honestly a bit of a disappointment. The texture of the No Sugar Added Vanilla Fudge ice cream was grainy (because of the lowfat milk I’m guessing), had an aftertaste from the Splenda, and worst of all, caused the telltale tummy “rumbling” associated with maltitol. Fortunately, the scoop I had was small enough not to cause any side effects, but I was truly worried for a moment there. After tossing out the little paper cup and feeling cheated out of $4.50, I hatched a plan to make my own healthy ice cream. Without Splenda, skim milk, artificial flavorings, maltitol…. or an ice cream maker.

This sugar-free, dairy-free chocolate walnut ice cream turned out much better than I ever could have expected. You just whip it up and freeze it in a dish… no ice cream machine required! It’s rich, creamy, scoopable from the freezer, and pleasantly sweet. Forgo storebought low-carb ice cream and make up a batch of this. It’s even lower in carbs than the prepackaged kind because of the use of my favorite natural sweetener, erythritol (instead of sorbitol and maltitol which are higher on the glycemic index).

The coconut milk imparts creaminess and a subtle flavor, while the coconut oil makes for a smooth mouthfeel. The fresh organic egg yolk emulsifies the whole mix into ice cold dairy-free bliss. I added homemade low carb chocolate chunks that melt in your mouth as you eat the ice cream instead of staying cold hard bits (which always ruins the fun of chocolate chip ice cream for me). The walnuts add crunch. There’s also a spoonful of rum to make the ice cream stay soft enough to scoop. You can’t taste the alcohol, though. If you don’t mind your ice cream freezing very hard, simply leave it out. I must say that the rum was by far the most accessible ingredient since there are people turning 21 every day in my dorm hall!

Dairy-Free Rich Chocolate Ice Cream (Sugar-Free, Vegan)

Dairy-Free Chocolate Ice Cream

Makes five rich scoops

2 ounces 85% cacao chocolate, chopped (I used Lindt)
9 tablespoons erythritol or 7 tablespoons xylitol
1/4 teaspoon good-tasting pure stevia extract
2 cups full fat coconut milk (preferably Thai Kitchen brand)
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons rum or vodka (to keep ice cream soft and scoopable)
Pinch unrefined sea salt
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1 recipe ice cream chips (see below)


1 fresh, organic egg yolk

Melt together chocolate, erythritol, coconut milk, sea salt, coconut oil, and microwave on HIGH for 30-40 seconds until chocolate and coconut oil are melted. Blend with stevia, rum, and vanilla until smooth. Add the egg yolk and blend once more. Pour into a glass dish and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Freeze for one hour, then remove from freezer and whisk vigorously. Stir once more after another hour, adding in the walnuts and chips. I let mine freeze overnight. You could also just pour the mix into an ice cream maker and freeze per your manufacturer’s instructions.

~35g net carbs for the whole batch (with walnuts and chips)

Melt-in-your-mouth Ice Cream Chips:

Makes enough for one batch of ice cream

1 oz 85% cacao chocolate
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon erythritol, or 1 tablespoon xylitol
1 teaspoon nonhydrogenated shortening or coconut oil
Pinch good-tasting pure stevia extract

Powder erythritol or xylitol in coffee grinder or magic bullet. Melt chocolate with powdered sweetener and shortening. Stir in a pinch of stevia and taste for sweetness. Spread in a thin layer onto a sheet of wax paper or aluminum foil and freeze until set. Chop into small square chunks. Keep chilled.

~5.5g net carbs per batch

Warning: Not a single serving size! It was even more delicious shared with four friends. 🙂
Healthy Dairy-Free Chocolate Ice Cream

34 Comments on Healthier Chocolate Ice Cream (Vegan and Dairy-free!)

  1. mutritiousnuffins
    January 31, 2009 at 1:18 am (14 years ago)

    Ooh, that looks so good! Do you know if it would work with agave or maple syrup? Or does the sugar have to be in powdered form? I love your recipes, keep it up 🙂 – another gluten free student

  2. Mindy
    January 31, 2009 at 1:46 am (14 years ago)

    Oh. My. Goodness. This looks amazing. I have been so sad that I didn’t get the ice cream maker I’d asked for at Christmas…thank you, thank you, thank you! 😀

  3. Sophie
    January 31, 2009 at 1:47 am (14 years ago)

    No ice cream maker? That looks almost too good to be true, even the chips are homemade–impressive :)!

  4. Chris
    January 31, 2009 at 3:05 am (14 years ago)

    Wow, that looks very good. It uses ingredients that I usually have on hand so that makes it even better! I can’t wait to try it.

  5. Alisa - Frugal Foodie
    January 31, 2009 at 4:00 pm (14 years ago)

    That is simply breath-taking … looks delicious!

  6. Veggie Wedgie
    February 1, 2009 at 10:13 am (14 years ago)

    This is lovely!Yum!

  7. Hayley
    February 1, 2009 at 4:26 pm (14 years ago)

    I’m drooling over your ice cream. It looks so creamy and delicious. Thanks for sharing!

  8. simplenaturalnourishing
    February 2, 2009 at 2:19 pm (14 years ago)

    sister, you are speaking my language. I am really enjoying all of your recipe ideas. I think I will make some of your peanut butter granola, but with soaked seeds/nuts. I may also try this ice cream eventually. Thanks!

  9. Maria
    February 2, 2009 at 8:23 pm (14 years ago)

    That is some nice looking ice cream. I could go for a scoop right about now!

  10. Kelly
    February 3, 2009 at 12:22 am (14 years ago)


    I love your blog! We also do not use gluten, dairy or sugar!

    I’d like to link to you, if that’s okay, and invite you to join this February’s, Go Ahead Honey, if you like, which I am hosting.

    Thrilled to find you! Cheers, Kelly

  11. Cherie
    February 3, 2009 at 12:53 am (14 years ago)

    This looks so amazing! So creamy!

  12. Cakebrain
    February 3, 2009 at 5:34 am (14 years ago)

    Mmm! that looks so creamy! I’ll bet you don’t miss real sugar or chocolate! I’m going to have to try making some ice cream soon!

  13. Lauren
    February 4, 2009 at 2:59 am (14 years ago)

    mutritiousnuffins – I don’t work with real sugar, but I’m guessing it would be similar! The powdered form would yield a less icy texture. Thanks for stopping by!

    Mindy – Hope this works out for you. 🙂

    Sophie – Your comments are always so sweet!

    Chris – Hope you try it and enjoy!

    Alisa – Thank you!

    VeggieWedgie – Thanks!

    Hayley – Thank you for stoppping by!

    Simplenaturalnourishing – We share very similar food philosophies. 🙂 Hope you like the granola, too!

    Maria – It is as tasty as it looks!

    Kelly – Thank you for the invite–will be taking you up on that!

    Cherie – It is surprisingly creamy for a nondairy ice cream. 😀

    Cakebrain – No way I miss real sugar! With a little ingenuity you can totally replicate anything sugary and have it taste just as good or better. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and good luck lowcarbing!

  14. Jillian
    February 5, 2009 at 2:52 am (14 years ago)

    yay for coconut milk–it is such a wonderful and nourishing substitute for dairy 🙂

  15. Elana
    February 5, 2009 at 7:32 am (14 years ago)

    This looks amazing! Yum.

  16. Chris
    February 10, 2009 at 4:35 am (14 years ago)

    I made this yesterday and it was very good! I skipped the nuts and chips and it was creamy and delicious. I served it to company tonight and it got rave reviews. I would like to try it with an ice cream maker next time. Thanks for a great recipe.

  17. Julie F.
    February 10, 2009 at 5:11 am (14 years ago)


    I made this ice cream yesterday with a couple of tweaks and the flavor of this ice cream is unbelievable! For some reason, although my ice cream was scoopable, it had an icy texture to it. The only major subsitution I made was tequila for rum (that being the only liquor I had on hand!) I also added cinnamon to the ice cream, figuring the tequila added a Mexican flair so I’d go for a Mexican chocolate theme. Anyway, once I figure out wat caused the icyness I plan to experiment a lot with this recipe! It is genious!

  18. Anonymous
    February 17, 2009 at 2:30 am (13 years ago)

    I love your blog! We are also dairy free, sugar free and gluten free! It’s hard to find recipes that are actually sugar free…and don’t use agave. Anyway, I have some of this in the freezer right now. I didn’t use the rum, as we are also alcohol free! 😉
    Thanks for sharing all of your recipes and beautiful pictures!

  19. Babs
    February 24, 2009 at 1:51 am (13 years ago)

    Lauren, you are a genious! I am dairy free due to allergies. Told my daughter that when I am too old and too grey to make sure she treats me with scoops of ice cream.Good news, I won’t have to wait that long. Do you have the calorie count? You are now posted on my facebook, and I’ve already got a hit!

  20. Lauren
    February 24, 2009 at 8:30 pm (13 years ago)

    Jillian – I echo your coconut milk love!

    Elana – Thank you, and thanks for stopping by!

    Julie – Thanks so much for trying the recipe and reporting back! Did you use Thai Kitchen brand coconut milk, or another brand? Did you use the coconut oil? Glad the tequila sub worked out!

    Anon – Good to meet another like-minded eater! Hope the ice cream worked out well for you.

    Babs – Thanks SO much for sharing the blog on your facebook. Glad you now can have a dairy-free ice cream fix! I do not have a calorie count, but I do use to calculate carbs. It works similar for calorie counts!

  21. Elizabeth
    March 15, 2009 at 2:11 am (13 years ago)

    I made the plain version of this last night. 🙂 The only change was I used triple sec instead of rum. Tried to make it in the ice cream maker, but I didn’t freeze it for long enough so I just had to pop the whole shebang into the freezer. Anyway, it didn’t end up scoopable, but it ended up insanely delicious anyway! This one is definitely a keeper. Thanks for the great recipe!

  22. Eugene
    March 29, 2009 at 3:28 pm (13 years ago)

    Lauren, this looks great! I have been meaning to try making low carb ice cream, but I never get around to it. Maybe this’ll be the kick in the dairy-ere that I needed.

    Thanks for the comment on my blog, and I wanted to let you know that I liked your site so much that I added it to my links.

  23. Amanda Mae
    April 7, 2009 at 8:13 pm (13 years ago)

    WOW!! Just stumbled upon this… It’s killing me it looks so good. Here I am at work drooling – wishing I was at home making this.

  24. IrishLass
    April 7, 2009 at 10:35 pm (13 years ago)

    This was amazing…
    Thank you for the recipe – it was delish and decadent tasting and I *love* the fact that I didn’t need an ice cream maker to make it. Thank you!

  25. chewymama
    September 23, 2009 at 1:34 am (13 years ago)

    i only have 100% unsweetened chocolate. should i just add a little more sweetener to make the chips? will it work? thanks lauren, you help us so much!

  26. Lauren
    September 23, 2009 at 1:46 am (13 years ago)

    Hi Chewymama, try adding a bit more powdered erythritol, and a bit more stevia (as long as it doesn't reach the point of bitterness). Add a little more fat (1/2 teaspoon), too if your chocolate still tastes too bittersweet. 🙂

  27. putra
    May 21, 2010 at 8:53 am (12 years ago)

    thanks for share your recipe, i like it.

  28. Anonymous
    June 8, 2010 at 6:58 pm (12 years ago)

    Wow this looks delicious! Is it possible to just use stevia and not any sugar alcohols?

  29. Bernardo
    November 18, 2010 at 9:13 pm (12 years ago)

    can u use splenda in place of the other sweteners?

  30. Teresa
    July 28, 2011 at 9:15 pm (11 years ago)

    Odd question I know but..Does cocconut milk taste like coccnut? I really am not a fan of the flakes. How big is one serving?

  31. Emily
    January 29, 2012 at 1:47 am (11 years ago)

    I made this recipe following every single step, except for the nuts. When I got it out of the freezer in the morning it had crystallized. I used erythritol so I'm not sure what went wrong. It's almost like there are little bits of raw sugar all through the ice cream. So strange! Can anyone explain what happened?

  32. Brandie from Alabama
    January 31, 2012 at 1:36 pm (11 years ago)

    I made the ice cream last night. The flavor is unbelievably good! However, the ice cream's texture is gritty, like it has sand in it. What did I do wrong? I want to try it again but want smoooooth ice cream. Help!

  33. Albert einstien
    June 19, 2014 at 4:33 am (8 years ago)

    shave ice machine
    Now this
    is in actual fact cooperative. It’s very openhanded of you to share this with