Homemade Dairy-Free Strawberry Ice Cream for July 4th

Homemade Dairy-Free Strawberry Ice Cream. Dina Cheney

An intense rosy hue, this vegan, dairy-free ice cream boasts way more flavor than your standard scoop—thanks to homemade strawberry syrup, the basis of the recipe. If you’re in a rush, feel free to use an equivalent amount (2-1/4 cups) of high-quality store-bought strawberry preserves or syrup.

To vary the recipe, try blueberries or raspberries (with the latter, add a bit more agave nectar, to taste) and honey, sugar syrup, or even maple syrup instead of the agave nectar.

I use cashew or macadamia nut rather than coconut milk to allow the berry flavor to shine through. However, if you’d like to prepare Strawberry Coconut ice cream, you can substitute coconut milk, ideally canned (full-fat or light).

If you’re bringing the ice cream to a 4th of July BBQ or other event, transport in a freezer-safe container. Freeze upon arrival. Then, remove from the freezer about 15 minutes before serving.

This ice cream is delicious as is. However, to make it into a decadent sundae, top with whipped coconut cream or nut cream; chopped toasted nuts; additional chopped fresh strawberries; and dairy-free chocolate sauce.


Makes 4-1/2 cups

2 lbs. (about 31 large) fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered (about 5 cups)

1 cup plus 2 TBSP light agave nectar, divided

1 Tablespoon fresh, strained lemon juice

¼ teaspoon salt

2 5.4-ounce-each cans coconut cream (about 1-1/4 cups)

½ cup unsweetened cashew or macadamia nut milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Add the quartered strawberries, 1 cup of the agave nectar, the lemon juice, and salt to a medium-large saucepot; stir; and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once at a boil, reduce to medium-low heat, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the berry mixture thickens and reduces to 2-1/4 cups, 25-30 minutes. (Watch the pot to prevent spillovers.)
  1. Pour the berry mixture into a large bowl, and stir in the remaining agave nectar, coconut cream, cashew milk, and vanilla. Cover and chill for at least 3 hours.
  2. Pour into an ice cream machine and freeze, following the instructions. Transfer to a freezer-safe container, and chill for a few more hours, until hardened. (If you serve the ice cream straight from the ice cream machine, it will be more like soft-serve in consistency. Placing in the freezer for several hours will result in a consistency akin to traditional ice cream.)

Allergy Notes: This ice cream is free of dairy, lactose, soy, and gluten (make your own nut milk, or purchase one that’s marked “gluten-free”). It’s also vegan, kosher, and paleo. If you or someone else who will be eating the ice cream has nut allergies, substitute coconut or soy milk for the cashew or macadamia nut milk.