The moment we nailed this vegan cookie dough ice cream, I knew that I could sustain a plant-based lifestyle. If you've been around The Hangry Chickpea for a while, you'll notice I'm a little obsessed with cookies and cookie dough, especially of the chocolate chip variety.
Between 3rd and 6th grade, I would eat nearly a pint of cookie dough ice cream each day after school for a snack. And I could STILL eat this entire batch in one sitting by myself. Move over Ben and Jerry's!
Ladies and gentlemen, start your ice cream machines.
Let's talk about the elephant in the room: ice cream makers.
There are two key components to an ice cream machine. First is the motor - this is what keeps the ice cream base moving. The second part is essentially a glorified cooling bowl that you'll pre-freeze. There are ice cream makers that don't require the pre-freezing step, but they are quite expensive, so unless you're making ice cream more than once every couple days, the less expensive ones work just fine!
That said, I have two recommendations.
- A standalone ice cream maker. My parents have this one, and it works well - I have no complaints. These machines range from $150-$200.
- If you have a KitchenAid stand mixer, there is an ice cream attachment that works just as well. If you already own the machine, this is your most cost-effective option, clocking in a little under $100. This is what I use.
I haven't noticed a difference in quality, that said, I live in an apartment with limited space, so I love when my equipment serves multiple purposes. Your girl is also on a budget so the KitchenAid attachment was a win/win for me.
You'll also need a blender to blend your ice cream base - I used my Vitamix, but have also used a Nutribullet in the past.
Finally, you'll need some basic kitchen tools like measuring spoons, a can opener, and a storage container. Style points parchment paper - this will keep your soft serve from sticking to your storage container while it freezes.
Let's talk ingredients.
This homemade vegan cookie dough ice cream recipe uses a coconut milk base. It is VITAL to the success of your ice cream to use full-fat coconut milk. The coconut milk is makes the creamiest plant-based ice cream in my opinion. None of that semi-icy stuff around here.
Reduced fat coconut milk won't have enough fat to make a creamy ice cream, and it costs the same as the full-fat version, but with more water. You can always water down your full-fat coconut milk for free.
We also use some water for volume, agave for sweetness, and vanilla extract for flavor. A pinch of salt softens some of the the sweetness.
Throw in some refined coconut oil for extra fat. If you're not a coconut fan, don't worry, refined coconut oil has a much more subtle coconut flavor than unrefined or virgin coconut oil. Can't find refined coconut oil? Unrefined coconut oil will still do the job.
Finally, the key ingredient: xanthan gum. I can hear your questions already..."WTF is xanthan gum?" Check out the FAQ section for further explanation. If you're not into science, all you need to know is that this will make your ice cream thick and extra creamy. Look for it in the baking section - most grocery stores have it. If you can't find it, ask an associate, or better yet, order some online. You don't need much...just ¼ tsp and it makes a HUGE difference.
If you don't want to use xanthan gum or can't find it, an equal amount of cornstarch also works.
You'll also need to whip up a batch of some cookie dough. Super simple, and it's egg free, so no shame for eating it right out of the bowl. If you'd like to bake your leftover dough, try this recipe instead. The cookie dough is the star of this ice cream.
Frequently asked questions
Why is there xanthan gum in ice cream? Xanthan gum will thicken your ice cream. You can find it in the baking aisle of your grocery store. If you can't find it, try cornstarch instead.
WARNING: science rant ahead.
Xanthan gum is a polysaccharide, aka a carbohydrate (like starch, cellulose, or glycogen) made from a bacteria called Xanthomonas campestris. Don't worry about the bacteria, there's nothing alive in xanthan gum. It's commonly used to stabilize food products. You also might find it in your toothpaste or cosmetics.
How long do I need to freeze my ice cream base? Before churning, refrigerate for at least 3 hours, and up to 24 hours. After churning, I recommend freezing for at least 6 hours, ideally 24 hours. Pro tip: after churning, line your container with parchment paper to prevent ice cream from sticking.
Which vegan milk is best for ice cream? Coconut milk makes the creamiest vegan ice cream in my opinion due to its fat content. There are other vegan ice cream recipes out there that use other vegan milks, but I think coconut is king.Print
Ice cream base:
- ½ cup water
- 1 cup canned coconut milk
- ½ cup agave
- 1 T refined coconut oil
- 1 T nice vanilla extract (I'm partial to Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla)
- Small pinch sea salt
- ¼ t xanthan gum - be careful! You don't want to over-do this one. Find it in the baking section, or order on Amazon)
Cookie Dough - same as my recipe
- 1 cup Miyokos Vegan Butter, softened
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- ¼ cup agave
- 1 T vanilla
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 and ¼ cups flour
- 1 T corn starch
- Mini chocolate chips
Prep the ice cream base
- Prep ice cream base: put all ingredients except the xanthan gum into a blender, and blend for 30 seconds - 2 minutes until smooth. If your can of coconut milk separated into coconut water and cream, make sure it's fully blended together.
- Add xanthan gum: blend for 10 seconds to incorporate. It will look kind of gummy - that's what we're looking for!
- Refrigerate for 2-3 hours until cold.
Prepare the cookie dough
- Cream butter & sugar: cream vegan butter, sugar, and vanilla until smooth.
- Combine dry ingredients: toss dry ingredients together in a separate bowl until incorporated (flour, corn starch, salt).
- Add dry ingredients to wet: for a crumblier dough, add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture more quickly than you normally would. I added mine in two batches, instead of four. If your dough isn't crumbly, it's totally fine! Make sure to refrigerate for an hour, and pinch off small chunks to add to your ice cream.
Putting it all together:
- Churn: add ice cream base to ice cream maker and churn according to directions. I have the KitchenAid ice cream bowl, and let my machine run for 30-40 minutes.
- Add cookie dough: during the final minutes, add cookie dough chunks and mini chocolate chips. If needed, fold in with spatula. I used ⅓-1/2 of my batch of cookie dough. Save the rest for snacking. Or if you want to bake the rest, use this cookie dough recipe instead (it has leaveners so your cookies will rise).
- Freeze: transfer ice cream to loaf pan lined with parchment paper, and top with leftover cookie dough crumbles. Freeze for at least 12 hours.
- Serve: remove ice cream from freezer, and let it set for at least 10 minutes before scooping.