December 2, 2022

Canadiannpizza

Cooking Is My World

Cashew Ice Cream (3 Ingredients!)

Frozen Treats

The creamiest Cashew Ice Cream made without any dairy or refined sugars! You won’t believe how deliciously indulgent and sweet this ice cream tastes with such great ingredients — plus only three required ingredients and no ice cream maker needed!

Try some of our other favorite healthy ice cream recipes — this Blueberry Ice Cream or Chocolate Healthy Ice Cream.

Cashew Ice Cream in a bowl

Is Cashew Ice Cream Good?

I get it — no dairy and no refined sugars…can this actually taste good?! I’m here to tell you: a resounding yes! It is luxuriously creamy and deeply flavorful with amazing richness and subtle notes of vanilla.

When I gave this ice cream to some friends to try out, they didn’t even know it was made with nutritious ingredients, let alone vegan and dairy-free! Truly, if you love cashews and coconut, you are going to be obsessed with this Cashew Ice Cream recipe.

My husband will eat dairy-filled ice cream occasionally but it never sits well with him. So after trying just about every vegan cashew ice cream (and paying a pretty penny for it), I thought, why not make my own! And we think this is the best Cashew Ice Cream — so much better than store bought! So instead of looking up where to buy cashew milk ice cream, give this homemade version a try! 

QUICK TIP

This isn’t the only super-healthy ice cream we’ve developed.  Remember when we made this Healthy Ice Cream using sweet potato and it was met with rave reviews?! Truly — delicious desserts can start in humbling places!

Process shots: soften cashews in boiling water; add coconut milk and nuts to the blender.

What Is Cashew Ice Cream Made Of?

This recipe contains three integral ingredients and two optional flavor enhancers. Let’s break it all down:

  • Cashews are the base of this ice cream — not only do they add flavor, but they’re also integral to thickening the ice cream. Use whole cashews without added ingredients.
  • Coconut cream is what we prefer to use in this recipe, but coconut milk will also work. See “quick tip” box below for more information.
  • Pure maple syrup is a natural sweetener (unlike corn syrup or pancake syrup) made from the sap of a maple tree which gets boiled down to a thicker consistency. Maple syrup is just one ingredient and all natural — the perfect way to sweeten this Cashew Ice Cream recipe!
  • (Optional) Fine sea salt helps intensify flavors and balance all the ingredients nicely.
  • (Optional) Vanilla extract adds a nice flavor complexity.

QUICK TIP

What’s the difference between coconut milk and coconut cream? They’re made from the same ingredients (coconut and water), but coconut cream has a higher fat content than coconut milk (more coconut, less water) so it is richer and thicker. The two taste very similar, so it’s more about consistency. We want a rich and creamy ice cream which is why we use coconut cream. If using coconut milk, be sure to use full-fat. Lite coconut milk will yield a thinner and icier dessert.

Process shots: Add maple syrup, vanilla and salt to the blender; blend until smooth; pour into ice cube trays

How To Make Cashew Ice Cream

  • Soften the cashews. To ensure the cashews will blend smoothly, we need to soften them first. You can do this one of three ways: soak overnight, cover in boiling water and soak, or boil in water. 
  • Blend. Once the cashews are softened, add them to the blender along with the remaining ingredients. Give it a whirl and it’s time to freeze!
  • Freeze. You can chill this mixture and then add it to an ice cream maker to freeze per the maker’s instructions OR try my foolproof method using ice cube trays instead of an ice cream maker! Pour the mixture into ice cube trays and freeze until solid. Once solid, pop ’em out and put them back into the blender. Blend to the perfect ice cream consistency!

Process shots of cashew ice cream: Freeze mixture until solid; add frozen mixture to the blender; blend to a soft-serve consistency; scoop and serve

Tools Needed

  • Powerful blender OR food processor. (We use a Blend-tec®). It’s imperative the blender can handle the cashews without overheating. You’ll also need a lot of power to break down the ice cream “cubes” into smooth and creamy ice cream without making it watery.
  • Ice cream maker OR ice cube trays. Here’s the ice cream maker I use and love, but you can make Cashew Ice Cream without an ice cream maker by using ice cube trays. We freeze the mixture in the trays then blend those cubes into smooth and creamy ice cream!

QUICK TIP

Be sure to thoroughly blend the ice cream mixture to ensure cashews are fully broken down and completely smooth. With a high-powered blender, this goes quickly, but with a less powerful blender, you may need to blend the mixture a few times to ensure the mixture is nice and smooth.

Cashew Ice Cream FAQs

1Is Cashew Ice Cream healthy?

Health will vary from person to person, but if you’re looking for a dairy-free, vegan, and refined-sugar-free recipe, this cashew ice cream recipe ticks off all those boxes!

Ice cream made with cashews tends to be lower in saturated fat and calories than dairy-based ice cream.

 

2Is Cashew Milk Ice Cream bad for you?

One concern with dairy-free ice cream is the amount of saturated fat found in coconut cream. If you are concerned about this, try using coconut milk instead!

3What does cashew cream taste lLike?

We make our own cashew cream in this recipe by blending softened cashews with coconut cream. The result is a rich and creamy consistency with buttery notes and a hint of savoriness among the sweetness. If you love cashews and you love coconut, you are going to be obsessed with this ice cream!

4Why is vegan ice cream so expensive?

Besides a smaller consumer base for vegan ice cream than the dairy-based alternatives, the ingredients are more costly as well.

While the ingredients to make this ice cream are certainly costly, if you break down the yield amount of all the ingredients compared to a store-bought cashew ice cream, it’s definitely cheaper to make it at home! (So Delicious® Cashew Milk Ice Cream is a good reference point for cost analysis.)

5Can you make ice cream with cashew milk?

We are essentially making our own cashew milk or cashew cream by blending whole cashews so you don’t need to purchase cashew milk in addition to the cashew!

From a legal perspective, ice cream must contain certain percentages of dairy milk fat. So when we call this product ice cream, it’s in a general way,  not a legal definition way!

A bowl of Cashew Ice Cream

Leveling Up Cashew Ice Cream

  • Make a brownie ice cream sundae! Prepare a batch of our best-ever Healthy Brownies (or our sugar-laden Brownie Recipe!) and top it with a few scoops of ice cream and a generous scoop of Whipped Cream.
  • Make a salted caramel cashew ice cream recipe: (our favorite!) Add a drizzle of Caramel Sauce and sprinkle of Maldon sea salt flakes — delish! Or try our Healthy Caramel Sauce if you’re avoiding refined sugars.
  • Add some chocolate: We’re obsessed with this Hot Fudge Sauce and it would pair perfectly on this Cashew Ice Cream!
  • Make a cashew milkshake: Add in some milk and caramel sauce and blend to a thick milkshake consistency! (Use general quantities from this Strawberry Milkshake recipe.)

Recipe Source: Inspired and highly adapted from @katieclarimore’s TikTok page! Thanks, Katie for the idea!

Cashew Ice Cream

The creamiest Cashew Ice Cream made without any dairy or refined sugars! You won’t believe how deliciously indulgent and sweet this ice cream tastes with such great ingredients — plus only three required ingredients and no ice cream maker needed!

Cashew Ice Cream

The creamiest Cashew Ice Cream made without any dairy or refined sugars! You won’t believe how deliciously indulgent and sweet this ice cream tastes with such great ingredients — plus only three required ingredients and no ice cream maker needed!

Instructions

  • SOFTEN THE CASHEWS: We need to get the cashews soft before blending; a few different ways to go about this:*Add to a bowl and cover with water. Let stand for 6-8 hours or until soft and bloated. Thoroughly drain.*Place cashews in a heatproof bowl. Pour 2 cups boiling water over the cashews. Let stand for 30 minutes to an hour or until soft and bloated. Thoroughly drain.*Add cashews to a small pot and cover with 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes or until cashews are soft and bloated. Thoroughly drain.
  • BLEND: Meanwhile, add the entire can of coconut cream (including the liquid that may have settled) into a large and powerful blender. Add remaining ingredients and well-drained cashews. Blend on high speed until very smooth, 2-3 minutes.

  • FREEZE: Pour mixture evenly into ice cube trays (we use 2). (Reserve 1/3 cup and chill in the fridge if you don’t have a high-powered blender — Note 1). Freeze in ice cube trays for at least 8 hours.OR if using an ice cream maker: Chill mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes (it gets warm from blending!); then add to an ice cream maker and churn per ice cream maker instructions.
  • ENJOY: Pull out the ice cube trays and run the bottoms under hot water for about 30 seconds or until they release easily. Add ice cream cubes to a high-powered blender. (No liquid needed, unless using a lower-powered blender– then add in the reserved 1/3 cup.) Blend the cubes into smooth and creamy ice cream. This takes a little patience — scrape down the sides of the blender frequently and stir everything to get it all to blend evenly. Once smooth and creamy, scoop out into bowls and serve. We like it drizzled with a caramel sauce and a few sprinkles of Maldon sea salt — delish!

Recipe Notes

Note 1: High-powered blender: (we use a Blend-tec®). It’s imperative the blender can handle the cashews without overheating. You’ll also need a lot of power to break down the ice cream “cubes” into smooth and creamy ice cream without making it watery. If you do not have a high-powered blender, use caution in blending the mixture to avoid overheating. You may need to blend an additional minute or 2. Additionally, if you don’t have a high-powered blender, set aside 1/3 cup of the mixture to blend with the frozen ice cream ice cubes later on.
Note 2: Ice cream maker/ ice cube trays: If you use an ice cream maker, just be sure to chill the mixture before adding it to the maker. Here’s the one I use and love.  Otherwise, add the mixture to ice cube trays and blend the frozen ice cubes — works like a charm!
Note 3: Coconut milk versus coconut cream: Both are made from the same ingredients, but coconut cream has a higher fat content than coconut milk (more coconut, less water) so it is richer and thicker. They both taste very similar, so it’s more about consistency. We want rich and creamy ice cream which is why we use coconut cream. If using coconut milk, be sure to use a good brand that is full fat. Lite coconut milk will yield a thinner and icier dessert.
Note 4: Maple syrup: This is a natural sweetener (not to be confused with corn syrup or pancake syrup) made from the sap of a maple tree which gets boiled down to a thicker consistency. Maple syrup is just one ingredient and is all natural!

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 311kcal | Carbohydrates: 26.3g | Protein: 5.4g | Fat: 22.3g | Sodium: 13.4mg | Fiber: 0.8g | Sugar: 17.3g

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.