This vegan berry ice cream has everything you want – vibrant berry flavor, sweetness with a hint of tart flavor, creaminess… It’s also scoopable and so easy to make! The recipe is vegan (dairy-free, egg-free), grain-free (gluten-free), soy-free, and refined sugar-free.

The gold standard in the vegan world of ice cream for mimicking dairy is full-fat coconut milk and coconut cream. Full-fat coconut milk is much like whole milk, while coconut cream resembles heavy whipping cream. The texture is smooth, and the consistency is thick and creamy. The only caveat here is the flavor.

Coconut milk and coconut cream impart coconut flavor to ice cream. That’s not necessarily bad if you’re making coconut ice cream or love coconut. But what if you want some different flavors, like vanilla or berry? Or what if you don’t like coconut?

That’s exactly what Jennifer Newman, the owner of Cashew Cow Parlor, asked herself when creating dairy-free ice cream. Studying different vegan ice cream formulas (primarily based on coconut cream), she came up with a genius idea – using raw cashews as the base.

Cashews provide a faint richness without any overpowering flavor. They are also high in fat, so you would never guess there’s no cream in the ice cream. As Jennifer Newman shared in one of her interviews, “The consistency is really rich and creamy, and I would put it up there with Häagen-Dazs”. 

Curious how it’s done? 

vegan berry ice cream recipe

Tips for Making Vegan Berry Ice Cream

Ingredients

The ingredients you’ll need for this vegan berry ice cream are pretty basic:

  • Berries: the flavor comes naturally from whole fruit, in this case, strawberries and raspberries. Feel free to use any berries you like. I was actually thinking of making triple-berry ice cream but then decided to keep it simple.
  • Cashews: as I already alluded, the base of this berry ice cream consists of cashews. Raw cashews are neutral in flavor with a hint of sweetness and high in fat, which makes the ice cream rich and creamy.
  • Coconut oil: another ingredient that gives ice cream its creamy and smooth consistency is coconut oil. The advantage of coconut oil over other fats is that it slows down the melting of ice cream. It also increases the richness of flavor in ice cream and is a great carrier and synergist for added flavor compounds. Since the amount of coconut oil in this ice cream is very little, the ice cream does not taste like coconut whatsoever.
  • Maple syrup: I love the sweetness and robust flavor profile of maple syrup. It has a depth of flavor with a hint of caramel beyond regular sugar. Maple syrup is about as sweet as cane sugar, so it’s a great alternative. 
  • Vanilla: either a vanilla bean or vanilla extract is a common ingredient in strawberry ice cream. It adds sweet, warm notes and brings out the flavor of strawberries.

strawberry ice cream ingredients

How to Make Vegan Berry Ice Cream

Making this vegan berry ice cream consists of blending and churning the ice cream base, making the raspberry puree, and assembling the ice cream. Here’s the step-by-step process:

  1. Freeze the bowl of the ice cream maker. At least 24 hours before you want to make homemade ice cream, freeze the bowl of the ice cream maker. The bowl must be fully chilled for the ice cream to firm up. 
  2. Soak the cashews. Add the cashews to a medium bowl, cover them with water, and let them soak for at least 8 hours to soften up and blend easily. You can also add 1 tsp./5.7 g of salt to the soaking water to help activate the cashews and neutralize enzyme inhibitors in the nuts. When the cashews are done soaking, drain the water and rinse the nuts thoroughly. 
  3. Blend the ice cream base. Add the strawberries, cashews, maple syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla to a high-speed blender and blend on high until smooth. 
  4. Churn the ice cream base. Pour the ice cream mixture into the ice cream maker and let it churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. I have the Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker and typically churn the ice cream base for 22 minutes. Churning accomplishes three things. It incorporates air into the mixture, making the ice cream light and fluffy. It reduces the size of ice crystals to less than 50 μm for a smooth and creamy mouthfeel. It breaks up any ice crystals that form as the mixture freezes. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can manually break up the ice cream ice crystals as the mixture freezes (see instructions in the recipe card below). However, manual churning will never create the same texture as an electric ice cream maker.
  5. Make the raspberry purée. Add the raspberries and maple syrup to a high-speed blender and blend on high until smooth.  
  6. Assemble the ice cream. Transfer half of the churned berry ice cream to a freezer-safe airtight container. Add half of the raspberry purée and swirl it gently into the ice cream. Then add the other half of the ice cream, top it with the raspberry purée, and swirl it again. 
  7. Freeze. The ice cream will have a soft texture immediately after churning, similar to soft-serve ice cream. To achieve a more scoopable consistency, freeze the ice cream until scoopable, for 2-4 hours, depending on how firm you like your ice cream and how deep/shallow your ice cream container is. I used a stainless steel 8.5 x 4.5 x 2.0-inch loaf pan.

how to make berry ice cream

How to Serve Berry Ice Cream

Berry ice cream is one of those desserts that’s perfect for an occasion. 

Want a simple, delicious dessert on a hot summer day? Enjoy a couple of scoops of this vegan berry ice cream alone or with fresh berries on the side.

Celebrating a special birthday? Drizzle the ice cream with chocolate sauce and top it with coconut whipped cream.

Either way, you’ll have a delicious and refreshing dessert.

How to Store Homemade Ice Cream

  • Freezing: keep the ice cream in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 1 month. If the ice cream is too firm to scoop straight from the freezer, let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes to soften. As ice cream sits in the freezer, the ice crystals grow by re-crystalization. This increase in crystal size eventually reaches a point where the ice cream develops a coarse texture, at which point it has surpassed its shelf life. 

vegan berry ice cream

More Homemade Ice Cream Recipes

  • Vanilla ice cream: this vanilla ice cream is possibly my favorite on the blog yet. It’s perfectly sweet, vanilla-infused, with just a hint of coconut flavor you’d only pick out if you knew you were looking for it. Because this vegan vanilla ice cream is churned, it’s super creamy with a fluffy, airy texture. 
  • Chocolate ice cream: coming soon!

If you try any of these recipes, please leave a comment and rate the recipe below. It always means a lot when you do.

dairy-free berry ice cream
5 from 3 votes

Vegan Berry Ice Cream

Prep Time: 40 minutes
Freeze time:: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
Yield: 10 (½-cup) servings
This vegan berry ice cream has everything you want - vibrant berry flavor, sweetness with a hint of tart flavor, creaminess... It's also scoopable and so easy to make!

Ingredients
 

Strawberry Ice Cream

  • 5 cups (750 g) strawberries
  • 1 1/2 cups (180 g) raw cashews, , soaked*
  • 2/3 cup (160 ml) maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) coconut oil, , melted
  • 1/2 (1/2) vanilla bean

Raspberry Swirl

  • 1 cup (125 g) raspberries
  • 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) maple syrup

Instructions
 

  • Freeze the bowl of the ice cream maker. At least 24 hours before you want to make homemade ice cream, freeze the bowl of the ice cream maker. The bowl must be fully chilled for the ice cream to firm up. 
  • Blend the ice cream base. Add the strawberries, cashews, maple syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla to a high-speed blender and blend on high until smooth. 
  • Churn the ice cream base. Pour the ice cream mixture into the ice cream maker and let it churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. I have the Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker and typically churn the ice cream base for 25 minutes.
  • Make the raspberry purée. Add the raspberries and maple syrup to a high-speed blender and blend on high until smooth.
  • Assemble the ice cream. Transfer half of the churned berry ice cream to a freezer-safe airtight container. Add half of the raspberry purée and swirl it gently into the ice cream. Then add the other half of the ice cream, top it with the raspberry purée, and swirl it again. 
  • Freeze. The ice cream will have a soft texture immediately after churning, similar to soft-serve ice cream. To achieve a more scoopable consistency, freeze the ice cream until scoopable, for 2-4 hours, depending on how firm you like your ice cream and how deep/shallow your ice cream container is. I used an 8.5 x 4.5 x 2.0-inch stainless loaf pan.
  • Store. Leftover berry ice cream keeps well in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Notes

*Add the cashews to a medium bowl, cover them with water, and let them soak for at least 8 hours to soften up and blend easily. You can also add 1 tsp./5.7 g of salt to the soaking water to help activate the cashews and neutralize enzyme inhibitors in the nuts. When the cashews are done soaking, drain the water and rinse the nuts thoroughly.
**Prep time does not include soaking the cashews, about 8 hours.
***Nutrition information is approximate and may contain errors. Please, feel free to make your own calculations.

Nutrition

Serving: 1of 10, Calories: 203kcal, Carbohydrates: 26g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 9g, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 16g
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keywords: dairy-free berry ice cream, vegan berry ice cream