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How to Make Vegan Gelato

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How to Make Vegan Gelato

Make rich and creamy vegan gelato with helpful tips and an easy recipe for a vegan gelato base you can turn into a variety of flavors.

How to Make Vegan Gelato + Mango Passionfruit Gelato // FoodNouveau.com

This post contains affiliate links. Full disclosure is at the bottom of the article.


Are you a gelato lover who needs to hold back because of dietary reasons? If so, I’m with you. I’ve had a lifelong love affair with ice cream and gelato, but because of the lactose-intolerance I finally self-diagnosed as a young adult, for years I couldn’t have any—or just a scoop or two over the summer, which was inevitably accompanied by tummy aches. This changed when I started making gelato at home many years ago. Making gelato from scratch allowed me to use increasingly available lactose-free products and finally indulge with abandon in the frozen treat I’d been missing so badly.

How to Make Vegan Gelato + Mango Passionfruit Gelato // FoodNouveau.com

Making gelato at home also led me to explore dairy-free gelato options. I started with my go-to Sicilian-Style Gelato Base and tested making it with many different combinations of plant milks and creams. To this day, my favorite—and simplest—way of making vegan gelato is to replace the usual milk, cream, and egg yolk with coconut milk. Coconut milk naturally has a rich texture that churns and freezes wonderfully. I mean really, making vegan gelato is easier and faster than making regular gelato. So why not give it a try?

How to Make Vegan Gelato + Mango Passionfruit Gelato // FoodNouveau.com


Helpful Tips for Making Delicious Vegan Gelato


Pick the Right Vegan Dairy Substitutes

For the best, most gelato-like texture, only use regular (full-fat) coconut milk. Coconut milk is sometimes labeled as coconut cream, and it’s not always easy to figure out the difference between canned coconut cream and coconut milk. What I recommend is to look for coconut milk or cream that contains at least 60% coconut extract. You’ll find this information on the ingredients label. If the percentage is not indicated, it’s usually because the coconut extract content is lower than 60%.

Choose Flavor Combinations Carefully

This dairy-free, vegan gelato base is super versatile—a blank canvas, really. But as you probably know, coconut milk has a smooth but specific taste, so I find it marries best to bold flavors such as chocolate and fruits. Vanilla bean vegan gelato is lovely too—but since vanilla is a more subtle flavor, the taste of coconut milk will carry through. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially if you like coconut milk, but if you don’t want your guests to even notice you’re serving them vegan gelato, I suggest using the vegan gelato base as a substitute in the following recipes:

Blueberry gelato, a flavor that works especially well when made with a vegan gelato base
Blueberry Gelato, a flavor that works especially well when made with a vegan gelato base // FoodNouveau.com

Always Bring Vegan Gelato Back to Room Temperature 15 Minutes Before Serving

One of the defining factors of gelato is that it is kept and served at a warmer temperature than ice cream. This gives gelato its signature creamy texture and allows flavors to shine brighter. It also makes gelato much easier to scoop and serve. Coconut milk freezes especially hard, so warming it up before serving is very important. Therefore: Always remember to bring gelato out to room temperature 15 to 20 minutes before serving. 


How to Make Gelato Video Class

If you’ve never made gelato, I invite you to read my detailed how-to post about the process. You can also watch my video class: How to Make Gelato: Tips and Recipes to Make the Delightful Italian Frozen Treat. In it, you’ll find out what makes gelato different from ice cream, how to make a versatile gelato base you can turn into a variety of flavors, and all my secrets and tips to churn and serve outstanding gelato. I even share how to make dairy-free vegan gelato! In short, it’s a very thorough, colorful class that will quickly turn you into a gelato master. Watch Now!

Video Class: How to Make Gelato: Tips and Recipes to Make the Delightful Italian Frozen Treat // FoodNouveau.com

 
How to Make Vegan Gelato + Mango Passionfruit Gelato // FoodNouveau.com

Vegan Gelato Base

Make rich and creamy vegan gelato with helpful tips and an easy recipe for a vegan gelato base you can turn into a variety of flavors.
Prep Time:15 mins
Cook Time:10 mins
Freezing Time:4 hrs
Servings 1 quart (4 cups/1L)

Ingredients

Instructions

  • In a medium saucepan, whisk together the coconut milk, sugar, cornstarch, and vanilla bean, if using. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Lower the heat and simmer until the mixture thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for 4 hours, or preferably overnight. (Leave the vanilla bean in while the vegan gelato custard cools.)
    The vegan gelato base must be thoroughly cool before churning: this will produce the smoothest, silkiest texture.
  • Once cool, fish out and discard the vanilla bean, or, if making a fruit-flavored vegan gelato, whisk the fruit puree of your choice into the vegan gelato base. You need 2 cups (500 ml) fruit puree to produce a flavorful fruit-based vegan gelato.
  • Strain the vegan gelato to get the smoothest texture. Pour into the bowl of an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions. Stop the machine when the gelato is thick and icy but still easily spoonable.
  • STORAGE: Transfer the vegan gelato to an airtight container and freeze until firm, about two hours. The gelato will keep, frozen, for up to two weeks.
    Vegan gelato is at its creamiest and best if enjoyed within 2 weeks. Past that, some ice crystals will inevitably start forming (especially if the gelato is kept in the freezer section of a regular fridge, as opposed to a chest freezer) and the texture won't be quite as smooth. The gelato will still be perfectly edible for up to 2 months, but my advice is: enjoy is as quickly as possible after churning.
  • SERVING: Always take vegan gelato out to room temperature 20 minutes before serving to make it easier to scoop and enjoy it at its ideal temperature and texture.

Did you make this?

Tell me how you liked it! Leave a comment or take a picture and tag it with @foodnouveau on Instagram.

 

How to Make Vegan Gelato + Mango Passionfruit Gelato // FoodNouveau.com

Vegan Mango and Passion Fruit Gelato

This zesty, exotic-tasting Vegan Mango and Passion Fruit Gelato will cool you off even on the hottest summer days.
Prep Time:20 mins
Cook Time:15 mins
Freezing Time:4 hrs
Servings 1 quart (4 cups/1L)

Ingredients

  • 1 batch Vegan Gelato Base, recipe above—see note

For the Mango and Passion Fruit Puree

Instructions

  • Make the Vegan Gelato Base, then pour into an airtight container. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate overnight. The gelato base must be very cold before churning: this will produce the smoothest, silkiest vegan gelato texture.
  • For the Mango and Passion Fruit Puree: In a medium saucepan, combine the mango, sugar, and water, and set over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring regularly, then lower the heat and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the mango is very soft and broken down. (If using frozen mango, simmer for 2 to 3 minutes more to evaporate excess water.) Remove from the heat. Stir in the passion fruit puree. Using a stand blender, a stick blender, or a food processor, puree to a smooth consistency. Transfer the mango and passion fruit puree to an airtight container and refrigerate until completely cool.
  • Make the Vegan Mango and Passion Fruit Gelato: Measure out 2 cups (500 ml) of mango and passion fruit puree to use in the gelato. (Save the remaining puree, if any, to spoon over the churned gelato as a coulis, or add to a smoothie.)
  • Whisk the mango and passion fruit puree into the prepared Vegan Gelato Base. Strain to make sure the gelato is silky smooth. Pour the vegan mango and passionfruit gelato mixture into the bowl of an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions. Stop the machine when the gelato is thick and icy but still easily spoonable.
  • STORAGE: Transfer the gelato to an airtight container and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.
    This Vegan Mango and Passion Fruit Gelato is at its creamiest and best if enjoyed within 2 weeks. Past that, some ice crystals will inevitably start forming (especially if the gelato is kept in the freezer section of a regular fridge, as opposed to a chest freezer) and the texture won't be quite as smooth. The gelato will still be perfectly edible for up to 2 months, but my advice is: enjoy is as quickly as possible after churning.
  • SERVING: Always take vegan gelato out to room temperature 20 minutes before serving to make it easier to scoop and enjoy it at its ideal temperature and texture.

Notes

  • Passion fruit puree is sold in specialty stores, most often frozen. The brand I recommend using is Les Vergers Boiron, a renowned French brand that is used by restaurants and chefs and is widely available in North America. Buying frozen passion fruit puree is usually cheaper and easier than buying enough passion fruits to produce 1 cup (250 ml) juice. If you can’t find frozen passion fruit pulp you can also use fresh passion fruit juice: cut open a passion fruit, then scoop out its flesh and seeds into a strainer set over a measuring cup. Using the back of a spoon, stir and press down the pulp and seed to extract all the juice. Discard the seeds. Repeat to gather enough juice to make the recipe.
  • You can also make this gelato using my (non-vegan) Sicilian-Style Gelato Base. Simply prepare the gelato base as instructed, then refrigerate until cool. Whisk in the cool mango and passion fruit puree, then strain and churn as instructed.

Did you make this?

Tell me how you liked it! Leave a comment or take a picture and tag it with @foodnouveau on Instagram.

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Author: Marie Asselin

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Freezing Time: 4 hrs

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  1. Hi Marie, im planning to make coconut flavored gelato, will this recipe alone bring out the smell and taste of coconut that i need? Thank you!

    • Hey Shanty! The vegan gelato base, when used plain, delivers a smooth, subtle coconut flavor. You can assume the flavor that carries through is just a bit softer than that of coconut cream, if you taste it from the can. Freezing tends to turn down flavors a bit. For a real coconut flavor kick, I’d add a teaspoonful of coconut extract!

    • Hi Lauren, I’m sorry the recipe didn’t show the serving size properly! This recipe produces 1 quart (4 cups) of gelato. Depending on your serving size, I’d say it serves 4 to 6 people!