By Erik Marcus
If you love ice cream, you’ve got a multitude of vegan choices. Vegan ice cream has gone mainstream to the point that even Ben & Jerry’s and Haagen-Dazs have gotten into the business. The best vegan brands are extraordinarily good. This New York Times article chronicles the rise of gourmet dairy-free ice cream. And here’s another comprehensive piece featuring the newest vegan ice creams to hit the market. These products are perfect not just for vegans, but also for the millions of people who follow a dairy-free lifestyle.
Can vegans eat ice cream? Absolutely! There are tons of delicious dairy-free ice creams on the market, and you can also make your own excellent versions at home.
What is vegan ice cream made of? Virtually any sort of plant-based milk, from almonds to soy to coconut. Just as dairy-based ice cream is loaded with fat, rich vegan ice creams likewise use plant-based milks that contain substantial amounts of fat.
The next section links to popular vegan brands sold in the United States. After that, we’ll cover all the information you need to make your own homemade vegan ice cream.
Vegan Ice Cream Brands
Commercially-produced brands are made from soy, almond, cashew, coconut, or rice milk. These products deliver all of the delicious flavor and creaminess of ice cream without harming a single cow. Most supermarkets carry at least one brand of vegan ice cream. And a good natural foods store will stock numerous varieties, including pint-sized containers, ice cream sandwiches, drumsticks, fudge bars, and more.
- Baskin-Robbins: Non-Dairy Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Non-Dairy Chocolate Extreme
- Ben & Jerry’s: Non-Dairy Pints
- Brave Robot: Animal-Free Dairy
- Daiya: frozen dessert bars (three varieties)
- Double Rainbow: (Soy flavors only)
- Dream: Almond Dream
- Earth Grown Vegan: Bars and Pints (sold at Aldi Markets)
- Forrager: Organic Cashewmilk Pints
- Haagen-Dazs: Non-Dairy Collection
- Mauna Loa: Macadamia Milk Frozen Dessert
- Nada Moo: Deliciously Dairy-Free Frozen Dessert
- Oatley: Non-Frozen Dessert Pints
- Planet Oat: Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert (five flavors)
- Ripple: Non-Dairy Frozen Desserts
- So Delicious: Dairy Free Frozen Desserts
- Tofutti: Premium Pints & Cuties
- Trader Joe’s: Soy Creamy
Any of these brands can make a fully vegan ice cream sundae. Just pick up some vegan whipped cream and chocolate sauce, plus perhaps a banana or a jar or maraschino cherries.
How to Make Your Own Non-Dairy Ice Cream
You can make fantastic vegan ice cream at home with minimal effort. All you need is a great recipe (there are tons available) and an ice cream maker.
However, there is one important point you must understand about homemade ice-cream. Unlike the equipment used by commercial brands, consumer models do not inject air into the mix. As a result, your homemade ice cream will turn rock hard if kept in the freezer for more than a few hours, so you should eat it right away.
Ice cream makers are surprisingly cheap. If you’ve got a family, this 4-quart Nostalgia unit is a terrific choice. Or, if there’s just one or two of you, get this Cuisinart unit that makes small 1.5 quart batches.
Dairy-Free Ice Cream Recipes
The best thing about making ice cream at home is you gain total control over the ingredients. And it’s remarkable that any sort of vegan milk base works wonderfully. So if there’s ever a time to get creative and experiment, it’s when making vegan ice cream. You won’t have any problem finding fantastic recipes. Check out:
- Incredible Vegan Ice Cream, by Deena Jalal
- N’ice Cream, by Virpi Mikkonen
- Dairy-Free Ice Cream, by Kelly V. Brozyna
- Vegan à la Mode, by Hannah Kaminsky
If you’re apprehensive about trying to live without dairy-based ice cream, put your worries to rest. Whether you buy it at the store or make it yourself, you need not give up a thing when it comes to experiencing rich and creamy flavors.