Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Make it Natural: Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Ice cream, ice cream, we all scream for ice cream! One of our favorite things about summer is enjoying frozen treats and it's really hard to beat a scoop of homemade ice cream. Barbara, one of our Whole Story readers, has ice cream on her mind, too, and wrote us with a request for a casein- and gluten-free ice cream recipe. Her original recipe was for a thick and creamy custard-based ice cream that relied on instant pudding and pie filling mix, whole milk and heavy whipping cream. To meet Barbara's request, we used a combination of light and regular coconut milk along with egg yolks for thickening instead of dairy milk and cream. Check out the resulting recipe for Coconut Milk Ice Cream. If you want a lighter version (or vegan one), simply eliminate the egg yolks and proceed with the rest of the recipe. We've found that coconut milk makes a great substitute for dairy milk in many recipes. Here are some simple tips to keep in mind when making this substitution:
  • Substitute one cup of light coconut milk for one cup regular or 2% dairy milk and one cup regular coconut milk for one cup half-and-half or cream. Remember to shake the can well before opening.
  • For rich desserts such as crème brûlée or custard, regular coconut milk works best to give the consistency of rich dairy cream.
  • For lighter versions of cooked puddings and pie fillings, light coconut milk is a good substitute for dairy milk.
  • For rich frozen desserts such as ice cream, use regular coconut milk either alone or in combination with light coconut milk. If you use the light alone, you may get an end result that is more "icy" than creamy.
  • Substitute either regular or light coconut milk in just about any recipe calling for dairy milk including cakes, muffins, quick breads and cornbread, as well as soups, stews, and creamy dishes calling for cream, half-and-half or milk.
Do you have other recommendations for using coconut milk or other non-dairy milks in recipes? Please let us know in the comments below! Did you miss the link for the full recipe? Here is the Coconut Milk Ice Cream recipe. And here are some other frozen treat ideas that are free of casein and gluten: Coffee Granita Fresh Berry Granita Peach Mango Popsicles Strawberry Orange Popsicles Raw Banana "Ice Cream" Interested in more coconut milk recipes? Try these favorites: Butternut Squash and Coconut Soup with Shrimp Butternut Squash and Macaroni Casserole Coconut Forbidden Rice Pudding Coconut Milk Braised Greens Coconut Marshmallow Spiced Sweet Potatoes Curried Coconut Chicken Salad Dark Chocolate and Coconut Milk Dessert Sauce Green Thai Coconut Curry Chicken Wraps Got a recipe that needs a natural makeover? Post it in the comments section below! If we select your recipe for a healthy makeover and publish the improved version on our website, we'll send you a $25 Whole Foods Market gift card. We're starting work on our holiday plans, so think ahead to some of your favorite seasonal recipes you'd like to see improved and let us know!