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A Guide to Dairy-Free & Vegan Ice Cream

By KD Angle-Traegner on April 10, 2017

It’s true, life is better with ice cream. We love ice cream. We write songs about it. We write poems about it. We are even willing to run after trucks driving down the road for it. And lucky for vegans, there are tons of fantastic alternatives to dairy-based creams.

Vegan ice creams can be made from soy, almond, rice, flax or coconut milk. There are even frozen non-dairy desserts made from fruit or nuts. Not only are these options cruelty-free, they contain a lot less saturated fat than dairy-based ice creams, making them a healthier choice.

From soy ice cream to homemade coconut ice cream, this guide has it all.

FAQ: Animals aren’t killed for their milk, actually they need to be milked. So why shouldn’t we use it?

Most of us didn’t grow up on a farm. What we do know about farming comes from children’s books, toys, parents, or school teachers. These lessons are usually general and brief; animals live on a picturesque farm with a caring farmer and his wife who love them, and who take care of them. We’re taught that milk comes from a cow, but it’s never explained exactly how. What we didn’t learn from these sources, we learned from the dairy industry itself. The dairy industry has spent millions of dollars on advertising and media campaigns promoting dairy products as not only healthy, but necessary to obtain certain nutrients like calcium.

But these campaigns don’t tell the real, behind-the-scenes truth about dairy products.

Some well-intentioned caring people overlook dairy products because the cultivation of the raw material (milk) doesn’t always require the immediate death of an animal. This couldn’t be further from what really happens. The truth is, the dairy industry is one of the most heinous industries for animals. From forced pregnancies and births, to mechanical milking machines, deplorable living conditions, and it’s direct connection to the veal industry- the animal-based dairy is hell on the animals. Every single cow or goat used to produce milk will be slaughtered once their productivity lessens. In the end, they all die.

It doesn’t have to be this way. With so many dairy-free alternatives, there has never been a better time to go dairy-free. Please take some time to learn more about how the dairy industry is misery for mothers and their children by visiting A Guide to Dairy-Free Living.

Shopping Guide

Ice cream is a dairy product that is typically made with milk from animals like cows and goats. Obviously these aren’t suitable ingredients for vegans and those who must or want to abstain from dairy products. So, are there alternatives for vegans and those who must or want to avoid dairy products? Does dairy-free and vegan ice creams contain weird ingredients and are they a good replacement for vegans?

Oh, yes. Yes, indeed.

There has been an explosion of non-dairy frozen desserts on the market in the past few years. Even some large, mainstream brands now offer dairy-free versions to accommodate this growing demand. Generally speaking, you’ll be able to find non-dairy and vegan ice cream in almost any well-stocked grocery store, right where you’d expect them to be. Even Target stocks a few brands. Be sure to try a few brands and a few different bases to find the one you like the best. I’ve broken out this shopping guide to help you find the right dairy-free base for you.

If the ice cream isn’t specifically labeled vegan or dairy-free, be sure to check the label carefully before purchasing. Look for whey, lactose, casein, caseinate, sodium caseinate, lactic acid, capric acid and milk solids, which are common animal-based dairy derivatives frequently used in ice cream.


Aquafaba Base

Blackberry Basil Ice Cream | The Vegan Harvest

Coconut Milk Base

Fruit Base

Non-Dairy Blended Bases

Nut Base

Chocolate Hazelnut Vegan Ice Cream by The Minimalist Vegan | Your Daily Vegan

Chocolate & Hazelnut Ice Cream | The Minimalist Vegan

Strawberry Ice Cream | Eat Healthy Eat Happy

Tofu Base

Do you have a dairy-free ice cream recipe that I should know about? Please contact me.

Dairy-Free Books

Are you ready to try your hand at making vegan ice cream at home? These books will help get you started. They're filled with recipes, tips and tricks on blending up the perfect creamy treat.

Vegan Ice Cream Cookbooks

Truth in Advertising

I am committed to providing accurate information to the vegan community. The information and data presented on Your Daily Vegan has been meticulously researched, and is based on information available at the time of publication. Guides are periodically reviewed for accuracy and updated as necessary. Update dates can be found at the end of every guide. Please contact me if you find out-of-date or incorrect information.

Photo Credit

Header & Social Media: Matcha Tea & Banana Ice Cream | Thinkstock

The recipe photos in this guide belong to the recipe authors as noted with each photo. Used with written permission.

This guide is authored by KD Angle-Traegner. Last update April 2017


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A Guide to Dairy-Free & Vegan Ice Cream 🍨 | Your Daily Vegan

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