Dairy-Free Gelato

Cool Treats, No Dairy: The Ultimate Guide to Dairy-Free Gelato

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Updated on February 4, 2024

We completely understand how tricky it can be to fulfil those sweet cravings when you’re dealing with dietary restrictions. It’s a hurdle many people face, leading them down the culinary exploration and discovery path. You’d be surprised to learn that conventional gelato is full of dairy products, making it unsuitable for several dessert enthusiasts – including vegans and those who are lactose intolerant.

Fear not, though! In this blog post, we will let you in on some delectably rich, dairy-free gelato recipes to ensure you never have to skip eating gelato again! So prepare for an adventure into creamy, indulgent, yet incredibly vegan-friendly gelatos – nothing short of guilt-free deliciousness!

Is Dairy-Free Gelato Even Real Gelato?

Dairy-Free Gelato
Dairy-Free Gelato

Of course! Making dairy-free gelato is a delicious option for those seeking an alternative to traditional gelato that contains dairy. With a few simple ingredients, you can create a creamy and satisfying frozen treat that caters to various dietary preferences, including lactose intolerance and vegan diets.

One of the notable advantages of dairy-free gelato is that it caters to a broader audience. Those lactose intolerant or following a vegan lifestyle can enjoy this frozen delight without compromising on taste or texture. The absence of dairy doesn’t mean sacrificing flavour; many find the coconut-infused richness of dairy-free gelato to be a delightful and satisfying substitute.

The recipe’s versatility allows for creativity in flavours and mix-ins, making it a delightful treat for individuals with various dietary preferences. Whether lactose intolerant, vegan, or looking to explore new flavours, dairy-free gelato provides a tasty and satisfying alternative to traditional gelato.

Vegan Dairy-Free Gelato Base Recipe

Dairy-Free Gelato
Dairy-Free Gelato

Indulge in the creamy delight of coconut vanilla dairy-free gelato – a luscious frozen treat that’s both vegan-friendly and irresistibly delicious. With just a handful of simple ingredients, this recipe transforms chilled coconut milk into a velvety masterpiece, offering a satisfying alternative to traditional gelato.

Get ready to savour the sweet essence of vanilla with every scoop, making this dairy-free delight a go-to for all, regardless of dietary preferences. Let’s dive into a world of flavour without compromise!


Are you ready to make vegan gelato? Let’s get to know the things we need. We will start with our vegan, dairy-free gelato-based recipe.

  • 2 cans (800ml) full-fat coconut milk (chilled)
  •  1 cup sugar (adjust to taste)
  •  1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  •  Pinch of salt


Let’s learn how to make our vegan, dairy-free gelato base!

  • Chill the Coconut Milk: Place the cans of coconut milk in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. This step is crucial for separating the coconut milk, making it easier to extract the coconut cream.
  •  Separate the Coconut Cream: Open the chilled cans of coconut milk without shaking them. Carefully scoop out the thick coconut cream that has risen to the top of the cans. Set aside the remaining liquid for other culinary uses.
  •  Prepare the Gelato Base: Combine the extracted coconut cream, sugar, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt in a mixing bowl. Whisk the ingredients together until the sugar dissolves, ensuring a smooth and consistent mixture.
  •  Churning Process: Transfer the combined mixture to an ice cream maker. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for churning, usually taking around 20-30 minutes. This process incorporates air into the gelato, creating a creamy and smooth texture.
  •  Freezing the Gelato: Transfer it into a lidded container once it has been churned to the desired consistency. Use a spatula to smooth the surface, then cover with a lid. Freeze for 4-6 hours or until the gelato reaches the desired firmness.
  •  Serving: Allow the gelato to soften slightly at room temperature for a few minutes before serving. Scoop the dairy-free coconut vanilla gelato into bowls or cones and relish the creamy texture and rich vanilla flavour.

Vegan and Dairy-Free Flavors and Combinations

You can add countless delicious and creative vegan and dairy-free flavour combinations to the coconut vanilla gelato base. Here are some recommendations:

Dairy-Free Gelato
Dairy-Free Gelato

Chocolate Chunk Coconut Almond

Incorporate about 1/2 to 1 cup of dairy-free chocolate chunks and 1/2 cup of chopped almonds during the last few minutes of churning. This adds a rich chocolatey crunch with the nutty goodness of almonds.

Berry Bliss

Create a berry compote by simmering a mix of your favourite berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries) with a bit of sugar until it thickens. Swirl this compote into the gelato during the last minutes of churning, or fold in fresh berries for a burst of fruity goodness.

Mint Chocolate Chip

Add 1/2 teaspoon of peppermint extract to the base and mix in about 1/2 to 1 cup of dairy-free chocolate chips during the last minutes of churning. This classic combination offers a refreshing and satisfying treat.

Caramel Pecan Crunch

Prepare a dairy-free caramel sauce and swirl it into the gelato during the last minutes of churning. Add 1/2 to 1 cup of chopped pecans for a delightful combination of creamy caramel and crunchy nuts.

Coffee Caramel Swirl

Mix 1-2 tablespoons of instant granules or cold brew coffee into the base. Layer the gelato with ribbons of dairy-free caramel during the freezing process for a sophisticated coffee-infused treat.

Maple Walnut

Incorporate 1/4 to 1/2 cup of maple syrup into the base and add 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts during the last minutes of churning. This combination provides a rich maple flavour with the crunch of walnuts.

Peanut Butter Banana

Swirl in about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of smooth peanut butter and add 1 cup of diced ripe banana during the last minutes of churning. This combo offers a creamy and satisfying blend of nutty and fruity flavours.

Lemon Blueberry Burst

Add the zest of one lemon to the base and fold in about 1 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries during the last minutes of churning. This combination brings a zesty kick with bursts of sweet blueberries.

Hazelnut Chocolate Swirl

Mix 1/2 teaspoon of hazelnut extract into the base and create a chocolate swirl by layering 1/2 to 3/4 cup of dairy-free chocolate sauce into the gelato during the freezing process. This creates a luscious blend of hazelnut and chocolate.

Coconut Pineapple Paradise

Fold in about 1 cup of fresh pineapple chunks and 1/2 cup of shredded coconut during the last minutes of churning. This tropical combination transports you to a paradise of coconut and pineapple delight.

Feel free to adjust the quantities of add-ins based on your preferences, and don’t hesitate to get creative with your unique variations!

Tips for Making Perfect Vegan Dairy-Free Gelato Every Time!

To make delicious vegan gelato, it is crucial to pick the right dairy substitutes that enhance the flavour and texture of your frozen treat.

Pick the Right Vegan Dairy Substitutes

Getting the right vegan dairy substitutes is key to a tasty gelato. We love using coconut milk! It gives our gelato the perfect texture, much like regular gelato. There are also other plant-based dairy substitutes you can try.

Cashew milk or almond milk works well, too. If you want a creamy and rich taste, go for cashew milk! Vegan butter is another good pick–it’s great in flavourful recipes like chocolate vegan dessert recipes. With these non-dairy options, your vegan frozen desserts will turn out amazing every time!

Choose Flavor Combinations Carefully

Picking flavours for your vegan gelato is like painting a picture. You get to mix and match tastes to create your masterpiece. We love using coconut milk as my base; it brings a hint of the tropics that pairs well with many fruits.

Try mango and passion fruit together; they make a zesty duo! Don’t avoid trying new flavour pairings; you might find your perfect blend. Always use high-quality ingredients for the best taste and creamy texture in every scoop of your plant-based frozen treat.

Bring Gelato to Room Temperature Before Serving

Getting the ideal dairy-free gelato temperature is easy. We just need to let it sit at room temperature for a bit before we serve it. This boosts its flavour and creaminess, making it more enjoyable.

Our home freezers can make the dairy-free gelato too cold, so around 10 to 15 minutes of sitting out should do the trick. It’s about taste and ease; warmer gelato scoops are better! With this tip, every bite of your vegan gelato will be a creamy delight.

Dairy-Free Gelato
Dairy-Free Gelato

Other Dairy-Free Gelato Recipes For Your Enjoyment

Here are some delicious dairy-free ice cream recipes to try at home.

Coconut, Caramel and Pecan Dairy-Free Ice Cream

Create a delectable dairy-free ice cream by combining chilled coconut milk with a homemade dairy-free caramel sauce, chopped pecans, and a pinch of salt. After blending, churn the mixture in an ice cream maker for a creamy texture. Freeze until desired consistency. The result is a delightful coconut-infused ice cream with layers of sweet caramel swirls and crunchy pecan bites – a perfect indulgence for those seeking a dairy-free frozen treat.

Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream

This vegan chocolate ice cream recipe utilises chilled coconut milk for a rich, creamy base. After blending coconut cream with cocoa powder, sugar, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt, the mixture is chilled and churned in an ice cream maker. The resulting chocolate ice cream is luscious and satisfying. Customise by incorporating dairy-free chocolate chips or other desired add-ins. A perfect treat for indulging in a dairy-free, vegan-friendly chocolate delight!

Avocado and Strawberry Ice

Dairy-Free Gelato
Dairy-Free Gelato

Avocado and Strawberry Ices is a creamy and delicious dairy-free frozen treat. It’s a great alternative to traditional ice cream for those who can’t have dairy. It’s a refreshing and healthy dessert made with ripe avocado, sweet strawberries, and balsamic vinegar. Blend ripe avocados with fresh strawberries, sugar, and a splash of lime juice for a luscious dairy-free ice cream base. Churn in an ice cream maker until smooth and creamy. Freeze until firm. The outcome is a refreshing avocado and strawberry fusion, offering a unique and delightful twist on dairy-free ice cream perfect for summer indulgence.

In conclusion, making dairy-free gelato is easy and delicious. Many options, whether coconut, almond or another alternative, suit your taste preferences. Don’t let dietary restrictions prevent you from enjoying a creamy and indulgent frozen treat! So grab your favourite ingredients and start making your homemade dairy-free gelato today.


Is dairy-free gelato suitable for vegans?

Dairy-free gelato is entirely plant-based and suitable for vegans, using ingredients like coconut milk instead of dairy.

Can I use other non-dairy milk alternatives in place of coconut milk?

Yes, you can experiment with other non-dairy milk alternatives like almond milk or soy milk. However, remember that the fat content and consistency may vary, affecting the texture of the gelato.

What can I use instead of sugar in dairy-free gelato?

You can use alternatives like maple syrup, agave nectar, or coconut sugar as sweeteners. Adjust the quantity based on your desired level of sweetness.

Do I need an ice cream maker to make dairy-free gelato?

While an ice cream maker helps achieve a smoother texture, you can make dairy-free gelato without one. Simply freeze the mixture, stirring it every 30 minutes until it reaches the desired consistency.

How can I soften dairy-free gelato if it becomes too hard in the freezer?

Allow the gelato to sit at room temperature for a few minutes before serving to soften it. Alternatively, briefly microwave individual servings at low power, checking frequently to avoid melting.

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