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The Ice Cream Maker: Vegan, Dairy-Free Ice Cream Is Easy to Make at Home!

Updated on December 5, 2014

Homemade, Delicious Frozen Treats

Whether you are dairy-free due to allergies or vegan for ethical reasons, the ability to make your own ice cream can be a dream come true!

When I became vegan, I struggled because I desperately missed ice cream. It was the one thing I truly felt I was denying myself in my otherwise easy life as a vegan. There were a few commercially available vegan ice creams (and more have hit the market since then), but they were quite expensive and came in tiny containers.

I wish it hadn't taken so many years for the thought to occur to me, but I finally realized that I could easily and inexpensively make my own vegan, dairy-free ice cream at home with an ice cream maker! I have had my Cuisinart ICE-20 ice cream maker for seven years now, and I couldn't be happier. In fact, my ice cream maker is my favorite small kitchen appliance! (Yes, I do rank them -- my electric griddle is #2.)

In addition to having access to delicious, inexpensive, vegan ice cream at my convenience, I also enjoy being able to use just a handful of simple ingredients. No weird chemicals! There is also less waste, since I reuse my good-quality containers to store the ice cream in my freezer.

The Cuisinart ICE-20 Ice Cream Maker - It also makes frozen soy yogurt and sorbet

This is the ice cream maker I've had for more than eight years. It has brought as much joy to my life as a small kitchen appliance ever could! I have made numerous flavors and countless batches of vegan ice cream with this gem.

The only complaint I have about this ice cream maker is that it's rather loud. This is a fairly common remark in reviews about both the Cuisinart ICE-20 and the Cuisinart ICE-30. You can definitely hear it churning for the 20 minutes it takes to make the frozen dessert. While somewhat annoying, I certainly would not describe it as being painfully loud.

The Cuisinart ICE-20 has been replaced by the Cuisinart ICE-21.

Cuisinart 1.5 Quart Frozen Yogurt Ice cream maker, Qt, White
Cuisinart 1.5 Quart Frozen Yogurt Ice cream maker, Qt, White
This gadget has made it easy and cost-effective to make ice cream at home. The Cuisinart ICE-20 and Cuisinart ICE-30 stand apart from other ice cream makers because of their reasonable price and ease of use. Neither of them require using ice or rock salt, and they clean up very easily. As far as I'm concerned, the simpler, the better! These are both very well designed. My ice cream maker has done a perfect job every, single time I've used it. I can't even count how many batches of ice cream I've made at home, and the appliance is still in perfect condition! Need to make a larger batch of ice cream? Check out the ICE-21's big brother, the Cuisinart ICE-30.

Both the Cuisinart ICE-21 and Cuisinart ICE-30 get 4.5 stars out of 5 on Amazon's product reviews, and with good reason!

They are reasonably priced.

They are easy to use and clean.

They do not require ice or rock salt to operate.

Cuisinart ICE-30
Cuisinart ICE-30 | Source

How Does the Ice Cream Maker Work?

Simple instructions for operating the appliance

Prior to making the ice cream, the freezer bowl from the ice cream maker must be prepared. This is simply a matter of placing it in the freezer at least 24 hours before use. It is best to wrap the freezer bowl in a heavy plastic bag to help prevent ice particles from attaching to the bowl. (You can use the bags in which the ice cream maker is packaged for this.)

Most recipes for homemade ice cream require using a blender to thoroughly combine all of the ingredients before pouring the mixture into the ice cream maker. (Keep scrolling down for recipes!)

After the ingredients are blended, remove the freezer bowl from the freezer and place it on the body of the ice cream maker, which houses the motor. Place the mixing arm in the freezer bowl and put the clear plastic lid on top. The lid has a wide opening to add the ingredients. Plug the unit in, turn it on, and pour the ingredients into the ice cream maker.

It takes approximately 20 minutes for the ice cream to thicken. If you're adding extras, such as chocolate chips, chopped nuts, raisins, or other goodies, simply drop them through the opening in the ice cream maker's lid as the ice cream is nearing completion. It will take just a few minutes for these extras to be combined into the ice cream.

When everything looks good, switch the machine off and unplug it. Using a rubber spatula, scoop the ice cream into a freezer-safe container. The ice cream will be rather soft at this point but will become properly frozen after several hours in the freezer.

Although ice cream makers can, of course, make dairy-based frozen desserts, I am focusing on dairy-free, vegan recipes here.

Below are several websites and books dedicated to vegan ice cream recipes.

Dairy-free Ice Cream Recipes Online - Here are a few good links to get you started

There are many, many recipes for dairy-free, vegan ice creams online. Here are some fairly simple recipes that demonstrate a variety of bases.

There are different basic recipes for homemade dairy-free ice cream.

Some use cashews as a base. Others use tofu, soymilk, or coconut milk.

They vary in the amount of work required to prepare a batch of ice cream.

Decide for yourself what meets your dietary needs and tastes best to you!

Vegan Ice Cream Recipe Books

There are three great recipe books for homemade vegan ice creams. Everything from basic vanilla to fancy and exotic flavors!

The New Scoop: Recipes for Dairy-Free, Vegan Ice Cream in Unusual Flavors (Plus: Recipes for Dairy-Free, Vegan Ice Cream in Unusual Flavors (Plus Some Old Favorites)
The New Scoop: Recipes for Dairy-Free, Vegan Ice Cream in Unusual Flavors (Plus: Recipes for Dairy-Free, Vegan Ice Cream in Unusual Flavors (Plus Some Old Favorites)
This is an incredible recipe book! It is filled with various flavors and textures. There are a lot of flavors you wouldn't expect for ice cream, but they come out DELICIOUS!!!!
Vice Cream: Over 70 Sinfully Delicious Dairy-Free Delights
Vice Cream: Over 70 Sinfully Delicious Dairy-Free Delights
Vice Creams are cashew-based ice creams. Yum!

Are you excited about making your own ice cream?

See results

Once you are comfortable with a basic recipe, it becomes very easy to experiment with new flavors.

For example, you can add things like peanut butter, canned pumpkin (along with pumpkin pie spice!), bananas, or carrot cake.

The sky's the limit!

I Love My Ice Cream Maker (Really!)

Having the ability to make my own vegan ice cream -- any flavor I want -- with wholesome ingredients has been a joyful experience for me!

The Cuisinart ICE-21 and Cuisinart ICE-30 are exceptional products that appear to have no equals in their price range.

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!

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    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 

      6 years ago from USA

      Cherry vanilla or chocolate. Never made ice cream myself. I've been blessed others have done it for me.

    • Valerie Bloom profile imageAUTHOR

      Valerie Bloom 

      7 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @CherylsArt: Oh, YES!!! That brand is FANTASTIC!!! I have made some INCREDIBLE coconut milk-based ice creams at home. All the deliciousness at a fraction of the price!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I really like the So Delicious Coconut Ice Cream, made from coconuts. I like adding chopped nuts to it. It's heavenly.

    • Valerie Bloom profile imageAUTHOR

      Valerie Bloom 

      8 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @Thankfultw: I'm sorry to hear that your father requires dialysis, and I hope the procedure helps him. But it is good to know that vegan ice cream can be an option for him!

    • Thankfultw profile image


      8 years ago

      My father just started on dialysis, and dairy products are a no, no, unless it's tiny quantities. Thanks for the recipes. Even non-vegans, like my family, can use this lens!

    • Valerie Bloom profile imageAUTHOR

      Valerie Bloom 

      8 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @Elyn MacInnis: I actually had an interesting experience in making my own ice cream. Because it does take more effort than purchasing a container at the store, I savored it more and had more modest-sized servings!

    • Elyn MacInnis profile image

      Elyn MacInnis 

      8 years ago from Shanghai, China

      I am basic - I love vanilla. I have never thought of getting an ice cream maker because then I would eat a lot of ice cream! I know - I can make other things too. But the temptation to make something vanilla and sweet might be too great! This is a great idea, though. Thanks for laying it out so clearly.

    • RawBill1 profile image


      8 years ago from Gold Coast, Australia

      I love peppermint choc chip. We have an ice cream maker similar to this one...not sure of the brand as it is packed away at the moment. Our little machine actually kick started two different vegan ice cream companies. One company, we bought the machine off after they got serious and went for a commercial model, the other company started when we leant the machine to a vegan friend. She started out of her kitchen, but is now operating out of a factory with a commercial kitchen. Awesome ice cream too! Coconut based.

    • tricomanagement profile image


      8 years ago

      Love this Lens - came at just the right time for me - we just stopped eating our French vanilla Ice Cream and I miss it - and miss making it! So thanks again!

    • profile image

      bagskartIndia LM 

      8 years ago

      I like ice cream . I love your lens....

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      like your lens a lot my wife and i were just talking about making are own ice cream this really helps

    • artbyrodriguez profile image

      Beverly Rodriguez 

      8 years ago from Albany New York

      butter pecan. But I really love all ice cream. Very well done lens.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      coconut frozen yoghurt

    • Valerie Bloom profile imageAUTHOR

      Valerie Bloom 

      8 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @perrybenard: Thank you so much for visiting my lenses!

    • perrybenard profile image


      8 years ago

      Great lens! My family is going to love this we, are comprised of piscitarians vegetarians and vegans. Oh and congrats on being admitted to the Rocketsquids

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great Lens!!

      Cant wait to try Some of your recipes.

      They sound realy awsome XD

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I love coffee flavored ice cream or just a deep, dark chocolate ice cream! Great lens!

    • Valerie Bloom profile imageAUTHOR

      Valerie Bloom 

      8 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @TheVox1: AWESOME!!!!

    • TheVox1 profile image


      8 years ago

      Yes, I can eat ice cream again! In your face lactose intolerance.

    • Brandi Bush profile image


      8 years ago from Maryland

      I've never even thought about vegan ice cream...brilliant! And so wonderful if you can make your own with an ice cream maker. :)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I love gelato it is by far my favourite. I lived in Italy for a while and ate it every day..yum

    • ItayaLightbourne profile image

      Itaya Lightbourne 

      8 years ago from Topeka, KS

      No sugar or dairy for me but if I were to splurge, I would be making some old fashioned homemade strawberry ice cream like my Mom used to make. :) Great article!

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 

      8 years ago from Canada

      I love almost any ordinary flavour -- strawberry, vanilla, chocolate -- but not those like bubblegum...

    • profile image

      davenjilli lm 

      8 years ago

      I am a total fan of ice cream but am trying to cut out sugars from my diet. I was just thinking (this morning) about making ice cream using stevia instead of sugar. We do still eat animal products. If it weren't for meat I would only have veggies and fruit to eat.

    • Country-Sunshine profile image

      Country Sunshine 

      8 years ago from Texas

      I'm a Blue Bell fan, and like Tin Roof and Nutty Chocolate. From Brahms, I go for the Chocolate Almond. Homemade: vanilla with chocolate syrup. I hadn't thought of making my own, but you've made it sound relatively painless with your article.

    • SophiaStar LM profile image

      SophiaStar LM 

      8 years ago

      I have to many to pick! What a great lens makes want to make my own ice cream. I can imagine how much fun it would be.

    • Valerie Bloom profile imageAUTHOR

      Valerie Bloom 

      8 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @alinaspencil: Whoa! I hadn't noticed your book before! I'll add it to the list above! AWESOME!!!!!!

    • alinaspencil profile image


      8 years ago

      Right now, my favorite flavor is Mint Chocolate Chip, but before that, it was Lilikoi (Passion Fruit) Frozen Yogurt, and Azuki and Kinako Ice Creams (we ate them with mochi) during the New Year, and now I feel like making some Strawberry-Basil Balsamic Ice Cream. (All the recipes are in my book.)

      I agree about the noise--I have the ICE-21, and it's about as loud as a can opener. Not bad, and if you use some simple tricks, it only takes about 15-20 minutes of churning to get ice cream, sherbet, sorbet, or frozen yogurt.

      Aw, now I want to make some!! :)

      Alina Niemi

      Author of The New Scoop: Recipes for Dairy-Free, Vegan Ice Cream in Unusual Flavors (Plus Some Old Favorites)

    • earthybirthymum profile image


      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I use my kitchen aid ice cream maker to make ice cream. Nice lense!


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