Chai Coconut Ice Cream

Chai coconut ice cream with sauce 1

This is a guest post by one of my favorite bloggers – Kimi Harris of the Nourishing Gourmet.  Kimi blogs about simple, affordable traditional foods with an emphasis on dairy-free and gluten-free cooking.  I hope you find her timeless approach to wholesome cooking as refreshing and inspiring as I do.  — Jenny

Vanilla swirls with spices such as cinnamon and cardamom in this coconut milk ice cream. The sprinkle of unrefined salt brings out both the sweetness of the maple syrup and the rich flavors of the spices. It’s very much like a favorite cup of chai in a frozen, creamy form. I’ll understate my joy in this recipe by saying, “ I love it.”

This ice cream can be enjoyed by anyone, but it certainly is a boon to the dairy-free person. Besides butter, dairy isn’t an everyday occurrence in our household as most of us have happier digestive systems without it. I went through a grieving process at first when we took out dairy. But the sadness didn’t last once I learned how to put coconut oil, coconut milk, and coconut cream to good use. Coconut truly is a gift to everyone, and a special one to those who can no longer have dairy.

I think that ice cream is one of the foods that all of us should be able to enjoy at least sometimes. Whether it’s a dairy-free recipe like this one, or Jenny’s Vanilla and Fresh Mint Ice Cream, Really Raw Ice Cream with Honey and Berries, or a daring olive oil ice cream  – we all should be able to revel in a lovely treat of ice cream.

Because I adore spices, this coconut milk ice cream version is definitely one of my favorites. But my seven-year-old and three-year-old still love Vanilla, Chocolate, and Cookie Dough Coconut Ice Cream a little more than mommy’s favorite. I don’t mind, as they complain less if their mother gets an extra scoop of this recipe.

Because I make the vast majority of our food at home, I don’t mind using the full-fat canned coconut milk rather than homemade. It makes this recipe incredibly easy and simple to throw together. I recommend Native Forest’s full-fat coconut milk. However, if you’d like to make it with Jenny’s homemade coconut milk  (or this one made with coconut flakes), just be aware that your ice cream will turn brick hard if frozen too long, so plan to enjoy it right out of the ice cream maker.

Speaking of hard ice cream, I notice that when I keep my homemade ice cream in my deep freezer it does get harder and I need to let it sit on the counter for about 15 minutes before scooping. But when kept in the small freezer above my refrigerator – which isn’t as cold – it is perfectly scoop-able straight away.

This ice cream is lovely served solo, but I also enjoyed it with a homemade and naturally sweetened caramel sauce. Next time I am also thinking of trying it with my bittersweet chocolate sauce, or making it into a banana sundae with both sauces and coconut whipped cream available.  Now that’s a party!

But I am getting ahead of myself. Let’s go to this simple recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Chai coconut ice cream with sauce 2 (1)
Chai Coconut ice cream with no sauce 2

Chai Coconut Ice Cream

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: makes about 1 quart

Just like a cup of chai, this recipe is easily adaptable to your favorite chai spices and you can tinker easily with spice amounts. Cardamom is one of my favorite spices, but not everyone has it in their cupboard. It’s more than worth seeking out; just make sure you don’t over measure, as it’s a potent, beautiful spice.


  • 2 14 ounce cans of full fat coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract (such as this one)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (such as this one)
  • 1/8 teaspoon each of ground nutmeg, cloves, and cardamom (such as this one)
  • A pinch or two of unrefined salt
  • 1/2 cup of pure maple syrup (I prefer grade B - available here) or a combination of maple syrup and raw honey – raw honey is sweeter, so a version made with 1/4 cup of each still has the maple flavor, and is also sweeter from the honey.


  1. If you own a large blender, blend all of the ingredients until smooth. Otherwise simply place in a large bowl and whisk well.
  2. Follow the instructions on your ice cream maker to freeze your ice cream (I always add just a couple of minutes to the time listed for coconut milk ice cream). It generally takes about 20 minutes. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you could consider trying one of these methods.

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