Roasted Strawberry Coconut Milk Ice Cream (Vegan) + Tips for Making Your Homemade Ice Cream Soft

Homemade vegan strawberry ice cream with coconut milk, maple syrup, and roasted strawberries. A healthy and delicious treat for summer!

Roasted Strawberry Homemade Ice Cream!

You guys won’t mind if I post nothing but dessert recipes for the rest of summer, will you?

Roasted Strawberry Coconut Milk Ice Cream - naturally sweetened (sugar-free) and vegan | #healthy #dessert #recipe #dairyfree

Better stock up on coconut milk and maple syrup, because 92% of what I’ve been making lately includes both.

Ever since summer hit, I’ve been much more interested in making desserts than savory food. Maybe because it’s summer and all it takes is me thinking about turning on the stove top to prompt the on-call beads of sweat to spring to action and start dripping down my face.

…Or perhaps I’ve just been feeling a surge of creativity in the dessert department.

…Or maybe I’m finally accepting the full force of my sweet tooth and have decided to feed the need.

Whatever this phase is, I’ve been making alllll the desserts lately, and I’m loving it!

Let’s talk about fruit chunks.

Hunks of fruit in my ice cream used to give me the heebie jeebies. Like nails-down-a-chalkboard, lemon-juice-in-a-paper-cut, someone-tailgating-me-when-I’m-already-driving-15-MPH-over-the-speed-limit shudder status. It took me a good long while to absolve myself of the fear of fruit chunks in my yogurt and ice cream. In fact, I’m still a picky pickster about it. Like, I have to be the one to insert them into my yogurt or ice cream, or else: no dice. Call it a control thing, call it lack of trust of the fruit chunk industry, call it a character flaw, call it what you want, this girl’s got standards.

Howeves, fresh ripe roasted strawberries in my coconut milk ice cream? Natural sweetness on my tongue? Yes, puh-lease!

Roasted Strawberry Coconut Milk Ice Cream - naturally sweetened (sugar-free) and vegan | #healthy #dessert #recipe #dairyfree


Roasting the strawberries with a smidge of balsamic vinegar and pure maple syrup enhances their flavor. You can’t taste the vinegar in the ice cream…just a little tangy richness to contrast all the sweet. I also roasted the strawberries in a little coconut oil helps keep them soft once frozen.

This creamsicle dreamsicle ice cream gives the store-bought version a run for its money. The sweetness is scaled back (just how I like my ice creams), there’s all the strawberry flavor, and as a whole, the treat is nice and refreshing. I’m loving this roasted fruit ice cream idea so much that I’m thinking I’ll be making a roasted cherry and roasted peach version before the end of summer.


Roasted Strawberry Coconut Milk Ice Cream - naturally sweetened (sugar-free) and vegan | #healthy #dessert #recipe #dairyfree

Tips For Keeping Your Ice Cream Soft

You know how homemade ice cream tends to be rock solid and requires a million years to thaw? I thought I’d share a few tips on how to keep it soft. Here they be:

Fat content: using non-fat or low-fat milks will result in an icy consistency. Fat has a low freezing temperature, which helps it stay nice and creamy. I like to use full-fat coconut milk, coconut oil, and/or coconut cream to help in the fat department. Similarly, many people use egg yolks to give ice cream rich flavor and more of a gelato-like texture. I don’t use egg yolks only because tempering them (followed by chilling the ice cream base) is an extra step and I like to keep all the things in life simple. You can use half & half or heavy whipping cream if you aren’t sensitive to dairy. Trust me, light coconut milk, almond milk, and soy milk do not work by any stretch of the imagination.

Alcohol: As we remember from our college days, liquor doesn’t freeze. Adding a tablespoon or two helps keep ice cream soft, and you won’t even taste it. Unless you want to taste it, in which case you can add between 1/4 and 1/3 cup to a batch. I always have bourbon, tequila, and rum (both white and dark) on hand, so I choose one of those depending on what else is going into the ice cream. For chocolatey ice creams, I like using bourbon or dark rum. For fruity ice creams (like this one), I go with tequila or white rum.

Liquid sweeteners: Sugar doesn’t freeze, and liquid sweeteners add to the gooey consistency moreso than granulated sugar. Plus, natural liquid sweeteners (we’re talking maple syrup, honey or agave, not high fructose corn syrup) are lower on the glycemic index than cane sugar. You also need less liquid sweetener than granulated sugar since they’re sweeter per volume, so there are bonuses all around for selecting liquid v. crystallized.

Churn v. No Churn: While you can definitely make ice cream without an ice cream maker, the purpose of churning ice cream is to inject it with air, thereby making it fluffy. Because the ice cream makers we use at home churn at a much lower speed than commercial ice cream makers, this contributes to the hardness of homemade ice cream. Thawing homemade ice cream for 15-ish minutes allows it to loosen back up. So basically, patience is a virtue.

Add ins: What you use for flavoring your ice cream (fruit v. chocolate v. peanut butter v. coffee) impacts the softness quite a bit. For instance, adding melted chocolate to your ice cream base or mixing in nut butters results in a far creamier consistency than ice creams with fruit. Fruit contains water, and water freezes, giving a slightly icier texture.

Fruit that has been heated (through roasting or sauteing) stays softer in ice cream than raw fruit, because some of the water evaporates through the cooking process. You can also add oil (I used coconut oil when roasting the strawberries) in order to lube your fruit in fat to keep it from getting rock solid.

I’ve also noticed hunks of chocolate and nuts freeze to be rock solid in the homemade ice cream world (not sure how ice cream companies keep theirs soft), so I tend to avoid adding anything solid.

Etc.: I’ve read some people use gelatin, corn starch, tapioca flour,  or other stabilizers in ice cream. I’ve never experimented with these so I can’t speak to their effectiveness first-hand, but I’d like to try using gelatin or tapioca flour since both are healthful and would lend to a softer, creamier consistency.

And now….

Roasted Strawberry Coconut Milk Ice Cream - naturally sweetened (sugar-free) and vegan | #healthy #dessert #recipe #dairyfree

Roasted Strawberry Coconut Milk Ice Cream (Vegan)

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: coconut milk, ice cream, paleo, strawberries
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Author: Julia

A healthier dairy-free ice cream recipe made with coconut milk



Balsamic Roasted Strawberries

Coconut Milk Ice Cream:


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Add the chopped strawberries, maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, and coconut oil to a small casserole dish and toss to combine. Roast for 20 minutes, until juices are thick but strawberries still hold their form. Remove from oven and allow strawberries to cool completely to room temperature (Note: you can speed up the process by refrigerating the strawberries but if you leave them in the refrigerator for too long, the coconut oil will harden).
  2. Combine all of the ingredients for the coconut milk ice cream in a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour the ice cream base into your ice cream maker, following your ice cream maker’s instructions (many ice cream makers require you to freeze the bowl overnight). Allow ice cream to churn until very thick, then pour the roasted strawberries (including juices) into the ice cream maker. Continue to churn until ice cream is well-combined and maker begins to bog down.
  3. Serve ice cream fresh out of the ice cream maker for a soft serve consistency, or transfer ice cream to a freezer-safe container and freeze 2 to 3 hours, until hard. After frozen, allow ice cream to thaw 15 minutes before scooping into bowls and serving.

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  1. Erin @ The Speckled Palate

    Oh my goodness, YESSSSSSSSSS. Roasted strawberries in VEGAN ice cream that’s naturally sweetened?! Sign me up! I’ve only made homemade ice cream, like, twice because I don’t have an ice cream maker, and I think it’s high time I got one because, well, every girl needs ice cream like this during the summertime!

  2. Judy@ImBoredLetsGo

    Great tips (and awesome looking ice cream!). After several batches of ice cream this summer I’ve quickly discovered that I hate hard chunks of nuts or fruit too! This last batch I cooked the peaches and it was much better. I have yet to fix my hard as a brick frozen yogurt problem however.

  3. Joanne

    I am VERY into all things coconut milk right now and all things FRUIT! This means I pretty much HAVE to make this ice cream…and inhale it. Possibly even at breakfast.

  4. Geneviève

    We have maple syrup whiskey in Canada. It’s called “Sortilège”, which translates to “Curse”. If you can get your hands on some, I can assure you that it puts a delectable spin on this amazing recipe hat I MAY have doubled and made twice already since July 1st…. And it’s actually the only coconut milk base that I’ve made where the coconut is barely detectable, which means my kids have no idea this is good for them! Except the whiskey, of course! 😉

  5. Terri

    I am going to give this recipe a try, it looks delicious. I would like to ask what is the reason for the tequila and if I don’t have it on hand would another hard liquor such as vodka work? Thank you.

    1. Geneviève

      I’ve used this recipe as a base for many other creations, and I’ve used vodka, tequila, chocolate liqueur… And it all works! Enjoy!

  6. Lisa Nissenbaum

    I just made this. I followed the directions exactly and it is perfect. I first had roasted strawberry and coconut vegan ice cream this summer in Portland, Oregon. It’s been so hot here on the east coast that I was craving this treat. I can’t wait for a bowl this evening!

  7. Robert

    Just to clarify. It says 1 ounce can of full fat coconut milk with 14 at the end. Does it mean one 14 ounce can of coconut milk. ? Please advise. Thanks

    1. Julia Post author

      Hi Robert,

      My apologies for the confusion! I changed recipe plugins recently, which caused some of my recipes to have errors. The ingredient should be one 14-ounce can of full-fat coconut milk. So a can of coconut milk 🙂 Hope you enjoy! xo


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