5 of the Best Dairy-Free 'Ice Cream' Recipes

Top view of an ice-cream maker
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Dairy-free frozen desserts satisfy vegans, anyone who needs to avoid dairy for health reasons, and even adventurous eaters who just like to try a variety of treats. Most major grocery stores carry a variety of dairy-free "ice creams," frozen yogurts, sherbets, and sorbets (by definition a dairy-free frozen treat), but you can also make them at home.

Homemade dairy-free frozen desserts need to chill in the freezer for a number of hours, or even overnight, so plan ahead. Store them as you would any other frozen dessert, in a sealed container in the freezer, where they can last for a few months (at least in theory). Prior to serving, pull the dessert out of the freezer and allow it to thaw for 10 to 15 minutes on the counter until it softens to a scoopable texture.

  • 01 of 05

    Dairy-Free Vanilla 'Ice Cream'

    Dairy-free vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce

    The Spruce / Ashley Skabar

    Prepared with inexpensive ingredients and pantry staples, this dairy-free vanilla "ice cream" is an easy go-to recipe for those who want dairy free and vegan. It uses soy milk and soy milk powder (don't mistake it for soy flour) to give it the creaminess you associate with ice cream. If you want, add dairy-free chocolate chips or dairy-free cookie crumbles before it sets to make your own chocolate chip or cookie chunk flavor. 

  • 02 of 05

    Banana 'Ice Cream'

    Dairy-free frozen banana dessert with non-dairy whipped topping and a cherry on top

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni 

    This magic recipe requires just one ingredient: frozen bananas. Whiz them into a creamy "ice cream" in the food processor for a healthy treat that tastes indulgent on its own but could easily handle a drizzle of dairy-free dark chocolate syrup or non-dairy whipped topping and a cherry. Start with very ripe bananas for the sweetest result; peel and slice them, then store them in an airtight container in the freezer for at least eight hours or overnight.

  • 03 of 05

    Paleo Avocado 'Ice Cream'

    Paleo avocado frozen dessert served in cups

    Annabelle Breakey / Getty Images

    Coconut milk stands in for the dairy in this creamy concoction using avocados as the base. Honey adds sweetness, balanced by the tartness of lime juice, which also keeps the "ice cream" from turning an unappealing brown color. This stores well in the freezer in an airtight container for up to three weeks, so stock up on ripe avocados when they go on sale at the grocery store. Whether you want to avoid dairy or not, this frozen treat brings the unexpected to the table.

  • 04 of 05

    Dairy-Free Vanilla Frozen Yogurt

    Dairy-free vanilla frozen yogurt with chocolate sauce

    Alexandra Grablewski / The Image Bank / Getty Images

    Delicious dairy-free frozen yogurt uses dairy-free soy yogurt, agave nectar, xanthan gum, and finely ground cashews to achieve its pleasant texture and flavor. Serve it alone or with sundae toppings for an extravagant treat. You can purchase frozen yogurt in many grocery stores, but you can control the ingredients when you make it yourself, eliminating additives and limiting the amount of sweetener you use. This recipe does not require an ice-cream maker; you can use your food processor or blender.

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  • 05 of 05

    Chocolate Sorbet

    Chocolate sorbet on a plate with spoon

    The Spruce / Ashley Skabar

    Sorbet starts off dairy free, so you generally do not need to make any adjustments; just find a favorite recipe and make room in the freezer. This chocolate sorbet uses dairy-free dark chocolate (you would need to avoid milk chocolate to keep it dairy free) to achieve a creamy, yet refreshing, texture and flavor. Add non-dairy whipped topping for a dairy-free sundae.