This Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream is life-changing. It’s rich and creamy, and entirely dairy-free! All you need is 4 simple ingredients to make it.
For an extra-fun sundae, be sure to try my Magic Shell or Peanut Butter Magic Shell topping. The peanut butter addition makes it taste like a peanut butter cup sundae!
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Coconut Milk. Use full-fat canned coconut milk. Don’t use the kind you’d buy in the refrigerated section, or a can of “lite” coconut milk, or you won’t get a classic, creamy ice cream texture.
- Cacao Powder. I tested this recipe with raw cacao powder, but I think dutch-processed cocoa powder will work similarly.
- Maple syrup. This natural sweetener works really well with chocolate flavored desserts, and it keeps this ice cream vegan-friendly. You can use honey, if you don’t need a vegan dessert, but keep in mind the honey flavor will be more noticeable, so you might want to start off with just half of the amount called for here.
- Vanilla extract. This boosts the overall flavor, but is optional.
Feel free to add in any extra flavorings you like, such as peppermint or almond extract, too. I’d start with just a 1/4 teaspoon at a time, and add more to your liking.
How to Make Coconut Milk Ice Cream
1. Blend. Add the 4 ingredient to a blender, and blend until completely smooth.
Note: If you don’t have a blender, you can whisk the ingredients together in a bowl until no clumps remain. Just make sure the coconut milk is totally smooth, as it can often separate in the can, and it’s important that it is totally creamy for the best ice cream results.
2. Freeze. You’ll get the best results if you pour this mixture into an ice cream maker and let it run for 30 to 35 minutes, until thick and creamy.
The ice cream will still be relatively soft (like soft serve) after running in the ice cream maker, but it will firm up if you transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the freezer for 4 to 6 hours, or overnight. It stays amazingly scoop-able, compared to other coconut milk recipes I’ve tried.
3. Enjoy! Scoop the ice cream into a dish or cone, and dig in! I love the rich chocolate flavor, which hides most of the coconut flavor.
How to Make it Without an Ice Cream Maker
Don’t have an ice cream maker? You can skip the machine and pour the blended chocolate mixture directly into an airtight container, instead. Place the container in the freezer and freeze for 8 to 10 hours, or overnight.
For the best texture, stir the ice cream every hour or two, to help incorporate some air into the mixture, making it more light and fluffy.
More Ice Cream Recipes
Looking for more dairy-free ice cream recipes? Try these!
- Vegan Strawberry Ice Cream (made with coconut milk)
- Coffee Ice Cream (made with cashews)
- Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream (made with coconut milk)
- Pistachio Ice Cream (made with pistachios)
- Avocado Ice Cream
- Instant Peach Ice Cream
- Watermelon Sorbet
- Banana Ice Cream
Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream
- 1 (13.5 oz.) can full-fat coconut milk (400 mL)
- 1/2 cup cacao powder (36 grams)
- 3/4 cup pure maple syrup (241 grams)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (5 grams)
- Be sure to freeze the bowl of your ice cream machine at least 24 hours in advance, if your ice cream maker requires it. In a blender, combine the coconut milk, cacao powder, maple syrup, and vanilla, and blend until smooth.
- Pour the mixture into the frozen bowl of your ice cream maker, and process until thick and creamy, about 30 to 35 minutes.
- Serve right away for a soft-serve consistency, or transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and store it in the freezer for 4 to 6 hours, for a more scoop-able consistecy. Leftover ice cream will keep well in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Update Note: This recipe was originally posted in 2012, and has been updated in August 2021. The original measurements were 1 (13.5 oz.) can coconut milk + 6 tablespoons cacao powder + 1/4 cup honey (or maple syrup) + 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. The updated recipe gives a much better chocolate flavor and a less-icy texture compared to the original, so I hope you’ll enjoy it!
If you try this Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream, please leave a comment below letting me know how you like it.
Reader Feedback: Which ice cream flavor would you like to see next?
Questions and Reviews
I love how you turned it into ice cream! Definitely trying that now :).
Love coconut ice cream! Would stevia as a sweetener work out ok in this recipe?
Yes, I think it would work just fine!
Hello, your recipe was amazing! Would low fat coconut milk work too as the full fat milk gives me a stomachache? Thank you.
I want this!!! Chocolate and coconut are my favorites and the fact that this only has 4 ingredients makes it that much better! Pinning for sure!
This looks amazing and I can’t wait to try it. I love coconut milk ice cream, so now I have to try making my own! Do you think raw cacao powder would work in the recipe?
Yes, I used raw cocoa powder myself. 🙂
what is the difference between cocoa powder, cacao powder and raw cacao powder? Is cocoa made from the cacao bean, therefore leading to ‘cocoa’ and ‘cacao’ interchangeable? How does ‘raw’ associate with cocoa? Is all cocoa raw since the powder of cacao? Thanks!
I just found my answer below! I love your recipes! Everything tried is great!!
Awesome! I have a half gallon carton of unsweetened coconut milk (So Delicious brand) in the fridge now…I wonder if that would work, or if it needs to be the canned variety?
I feel like that type of coconut milk has a different consistency than the canned stuff, but let me know if you try it! I’d love to hear how it goes.
I think you’re right, but I can give it a try and report back! 🙂
“Ice Cream” needs the fat of the canned coconut milk to taste rich. Using the lower fat coconut milk from a carton will make a frozen ice rather than cream.
Add 4 or 5 egg yolks into the mix and your So Delicious coconut milk should work fine. I still prefer the canned coconut milk, but adding the egg yolks will allow you to still approximate the texture with the carton milk.
Can you share how many cups of coconut milk. Thanks
Megan this sounds amazing. Great alternative to banana ice cream! I made a twist on your Grain Free Shortbread cookies that I’ll be posting later this week.
In this heat, I am so addicted to your peanut butter banana ice cream…but this will be a nice change, I’m going to make tonight!!
Isn’t cocoa powder something different than cacao powder?
Cacao is simply the raw, unprocessed version of the bean from the cacao tree, while “cocoa” is what it’s typically called after it’s been cleaned and roasted. I prefer to use the raw version in my recipes, which is why I link to the brand I use, but many people are more familiar with the term cocoa powder, and it can be used interchangeably with very little difference in flavor.
Hi, cacao is healthier than cocoa because after the refining process, cocoa loses all the minerals it has when raw. Cacao is the richest source of magnesium on the planet, so in its raw state none of this is lost. Most people these days are deficient in magnesium because so many foods have lost it by being processed.
We had ou first taste of coconut milk ice cream. We made it with peanut butter… so delicious! I used light coconut milk. If you want to check it out: http://www.someoneelsesgenius.com/2012/06/vegan-peanut-butter-ice-cream-with-hint.html
Peanut butter sounds like a delicious addition! I bet my husband would love that. 😉
There are just some things that go best together… like chocolate and peanut butter! 🙂
I also have the “So Delicious” brand Coconut milk in my fridge to use up within the next couple days, so this is a perfect! Its in the freezer now, so I will also report back to let you know how it turns out, but in the liquid state it tastes delicious enough to just drink!
Thank you for all these amazing recipes!
I can’t wait to hear about your results! I’m sure it’ll be delicious, regardless. 😉
Can you use canned light coconut milk? What about Chocolate Almond Breeze almondmilk?
I used canned light coconut milk and it worked just fine! I’ve also made ice cream with almond milk, so you’re good to go.
Thanks for letting us know, Robin!
Thanks for the recommendation on the BPA-free coconut milk from Amazon.com. I have two cans left and will look to ordering this one you mentioned. Recipe looks great! Easy and quick. I’m trying to cut back on banana consumption and this will take care of my ice cream fix. Thanks!
oh my…i made this last night and it is sooooo ood, i used agave instead of honey and made it in my ice cream maker….delicious! Thank you so much for sharing this.
So glad you enjoyed it!
And by ood….. I mean good* lol
Make sure the coconut mik you use contains no crap like carrageenan. Carrageenan will cause huge health problems.
I just finished making this and wooow.. SO GOOD! I actually used coconut cream in place of milk, and made it into like a mousse that I could eat straight away, seriously delicious.. thanks so much for the recipe!
The faster you can eat it, the better. 😉 Glad you enjoyed it!
Can you use coconut cream?
If you’re referring to Trader Joe’s Coconut Cream, I tried using that and it worked just fine!
Great, thanks – I will give it a go! I live in Australia and don’t have a TJ’s….
I’ve been making coconut milk ice cream for a while now. My husband’s favorite flavor is peanut Butter. It’s the exact same recipe as this post, however, instead of cocoa powder, I use peanut butter. Sometimes we add homemade hot fudge as well. We both agree that it’s the best ice cream we’ve ever had. Ever.
I’d love to hear about your recipe for homemade hot fudge! 🙂
How do you get yours to stay creamy? I made this and it has lots of ice crystals in it.
I think if you let it thaw on the counter for 15 minutes or so, it gets creamier as it thaws. When it’s frozen solid, it is a little icier.
Did you use the carton of coconut milk that you were referencing above? If so, that’s why it got icy. The lower fat content is what can make vegan ice creams icy. Same goes for if you use a can of low fat coconut milk. It’s best to use the full fat versions.
Also, someone above was asking about the ‘coconut creme’ from Trader Joes. That’s just TJ’s marketing but it’s really just plain ol’ full fat coconut milk so you’re fine.
If you want to double up on this recipe or others, you can use one can of full fat coconut milk & one can of low fat and you’ll be fine. Or you can use soy creamer in place of the low fat coconut milk if you want less of a coconut flavor.
Just remember, it’s all about your fat content. Also, a small amount of vodka has worked well for people as it prevents that icy texture. In any case, you may find that letting the ice cream sit out before serving (10-15 mins as stated above) is a helpful addition.
Actually, the Trader Joe Coconut cream is a full can of the cream, rather than mostly or partially cream. If you put it in the refrigerator to chill and separate, you won’t have any watery part–just cream.
I use only 1 tsp of vodka and it works perfectly every time. No ice crystals. Love all of the tips here.
Nice to know, thanks!
I made this last night and I’m enjoying it as I type. A nice creamy, chocolatey treat. I think I might add chopped almonds next time.
This is amazing, thanks! Just too good 🙂 I made with liquid stevia, about 20 drops, and its lovely and sweet. Have to try not to eat it all in one go!
Just tried this recipe and it is AMAZING! I really love your website Megan, can’t wait to try out all of the other recipes, especially cauliflower pizza crust!
Thanks, Jen! I’m glad you enjoyed it! 🙂
Could you make this into vanilla coconut milk ice cream by omitting the cacao powder?
Yep, that sounds delicious, too! 🙂
How many servings is this recipe? I have a family of six and need to have enough for all of them…
This provided us with 4 large servings– I’d probably double the recipe to serve more, since you can always enjoy any leftovers later! 🙂
Im such A dork! I just noticed at the top of the instructions where it says servings! I swear I looked everywhere. Don’t mind me, I’m just being blind;-) thanks a bunch! I can’t wait to make it.
Wow! This recipe tastes amazing! I made it in my Cuisinart ice cream maker and in minutes, pure delicacy! My boyfriend and I killed it in 2 really large servings. 🙂 Thank you for the post and I look forward to trying your other recipes!
Lovely recipe, thanks
We just made this, ooh my , so DELISH!!!
For the two extra tablespoons of cocoa I used Hershey’s special dark cocoa, and also raw honey for the sweetner,very very nice. Whipped it up in minutes in my Kitchenaide icecream maker.
Thank you !
Oh my gosh this is so tasty! I am going to a vegan dinner in a few days, and I think this will be perfect. I quadrupled it, and it is in the ice cream maker right now.
This is very good. I did find it quite hard- not soft and creamy like ice cream. This does make great ice pops- tastes like fudge sickles.
Hi, do you think this recipe will also work with Silk Coconut Milk? I couldn’t find the canned anywhere!
I don’t think Silk Coconut Milk has the same texture or fat content as canned coconut milk– you need that fat content to create a creamy, rather than icy texture. The canned version can be found in most grocery stores where you’d find Thai curry paste and spices.
this was so good i changed it only slightly i swaped the vanilla for pepermint and added a little stevia as well was so yummy
I also tried it with orange extract and it was flavor country.
Hello, I just tried making this but just with Coconut full fat milk, vanilla, honey and a little Xylitol. I also added 2 tsp or Arrowroot powder. I churned it for over an hour and it didn’t do anything. It stayed liquid the whole time. I did put the mixture in the fridge for 2 hours before putting in the frozen ice cream maker. It is in the freezer, I went to stir it after30 minutes and it was not frozen anywhere. Can you help me please??
Thank you so much,
I would try placing the mixture in the freezer for an hour, then try churning it again in the frozen bowl. Personally, I’ve never gotten my ice cream maker to thicken any non-dairy recipe, which is why I usually skip that part and stick it directly in the freezer to firm up. It will harden, but if you allow it to thaw for 20 minutes or so before serving, it becomes scoop-able. Best of luck to you!
Hi Megan, thanks for getting back to me so quickly, I know you must be busy trying to answer everyone!!
I would like to try an add strawberries but I only have Frozen ones. Can I use and how would I use them? and how many? Thanks, don’t mean to be a bother.
My 12 year old grandson made this ice cream today using organic maple syrup for the sweetener. Wow! Absolutely delicious and very satisfying because the cocoa powder gave it a flavor of very dark chocolate. We will definitely make it again. Thanks, Megan – your recipes are fabulous.
I LOVE this recipe! I have an unreal addiction to iced mochas, and that stinks when you’re trying to go paleo. I froze this recipe in ice cube trays, so I can pop a couple out, toss it in the blender with my coffee (or just in a cup of coffee if I’m in a hurry). Ta-da! Paleo mocha breakfast smoothie!
Best. Idea. Ever.
Let me echo the praises of others, this is delicious. I used maple syrup for the sweetener. Tastes like a luxury ice cream!
What percent fat do you use in your full fat coconut milk?
Just made a batch and the initial liquid tastes too sweet but once it froze up it was absolutely perfect! I didn’t have a whole can of coconut milk on hand so I subbed the rest (about half) with soy milk.turned out great 🙂
I tried this recipe and substituted 1/2 Maple and 1/2 DAte syrup for the sweetener and it ROCKS! Great recipe!
This ice cream is amazing! I have a Krups ice cream freezer, so mixing this in my blender, pouring it in there, and in about 15 minutes, having deliciousness to enjoy, perfect! I use King Arthur Flour’s Double Dutch Dark cocoa, too- so this is deep, dark, and healthy with all the dark chocolate benefits. Thanks so much for this recipe, and I will try more of yours, since I found your site!
Just made this with my ice cream maker. I let it churn for 30 minutes at it had a wonderful soft-serve texture. I used 1/4 cup carob and 2 T raw cacao, and filled my 1/4 cup measure with part honey, agave, and maple syrup. Delicious!
I see I’m a little late in commenting on this recipe, but I just found it and tried it last night.
I can’t eat sugar or dairy (or grain) and its been years since I ate ice cream.
OMG! This never even made if to the freezer!! After 25 mins in the Ice cream maker, it was a firm soft serve consistency. My husband and I knocked it off straight out of the machine! My kids (I have seven, thank G-d) said it tasted better than Friendly’s ice cream!!
Thank you for how you bring food normalcy back into the lives of people who are so restricted in what they can eat.
Good luck with your pregnancy and enjoy your little miracle when he/she arrives.
BTW I subbed xylitol for the honey.
OMG I LOVE YOU MEGAN!!!
we have made so many of your recipes this week… unreal!! you have given us a new perspective on paleo living!! wow you are awesome!!
Just wanted to pop in and say this is DELICIOUS. I used Bright canned coconut milk and maple syrup. Mixed it all up, put it in the freezer to cool for 10 minutes or so (my kitchen was super hot) then put in my ice cream maker for 10-20. Added homemade dark chocolate chips, chopped cherries and ate over a banana.
made this as pops….all gone! Really delicious and easy.
Hello, Megan! I stumbled upon this recipe one day a couple of months ago and made it every day during the heat of the summer and now make it three times a week for my “I-Love-Store-Bought-Over-Processed-And -Bad-For-Me-Foods” husband, and he Loves this! He sits down with the container and chips away at it (as it gets a little hard but he doesn’t like when I put it on the counter since I melted it all once — makes Great smoothies/milkshakes!) so it lasts a longer than the store-bought kind. 🙂 We single-handedly kept the ice-cream company in business until this recipe. My budget is now do-able and hubby loves healthy ice-cream! Thank you!
Omg, this recipe came out a-mazing! My 4 years old couldn’t get enough of it. Tastes just like regular dairy ice cream but with the added benefit of being all natural. Will be making this recipe time and time again. 🙂
Great recipe! I doubled it, added spirulina, avacado, stevia, and some raw honey. I put it in my Vitamix and then in the icecream machine! Tummy!