Made with coconut cream instead of milk, this homemade lemon ice cream is seriously flavorful.
I got some great feedback on the homemade peach ice cream recipe I shared. I seriously appreciate it, and it inspired me to make even more ice cream this week. Of the lemon variety!
Of all the ways to make ice cream without a machine, I think my favorite is this one by Dana from Minimalist Baker. This lemon ice cream starts with her basic method, and then a whole bunch of lemons happen and the rest is history. The main ingredients are whipped coconut milk or cream and pureed dates – if that doesn’t sound good, take a leap of faith and trust me that it is.
I only had lemon ice cream one other time before the batches I made here. It was a 90’s flavor called lemon creme cookie or something delicious like that. And yet, there was barely any lemon flavor to be had. I’ll never forgive it.
You won’t need to forgive this ice cream for lack of lemon flavor. It looks all innocent and cute sitting there in it’s little dish, but take a bite and pow! Lemon yellow stars.
If you can’t get enough ice cream (me either), don’t miss this yuuuumy peach ice cream. Make it using the same easy, no-machine method!
Tips for whipping coconut milk and coconut cream/creamed coconut –
Refrigerate the coconut milk or cream overnight or longer.
Freezing your mixing bowl or container, beaters/blade, etc. is helpful, particularly on hot days.
You can whip by hand, with an electric mixer, or by pulsing it with a stick blender or in a food processor. Stop when it holds firm peaks. Don’t over-do it, or it will separate and turn into coconut butter.
Don’t confuse coconut cream/creamed coconut with cream of coconut, a sweetened cocktail ingredient.
If you’re using cream instead of milk, whip the entire contents of the can or container without draining the liquid.
Avoiding additives –
Coconut milk and cream often contain additives you might choose to avoid these because they aren’t Paleo, or for a number of concerns. Some, like guar gum, can also interfere with whipping (although a handful of bloggers say it actually helps).
Some very common brands add guar gum only. They may be your only option if you live in a rural area and don’t shop online. Guar gum has pros and cons healthwise, and people’s experiences with it differ.
If you do decide to use a brand with guar gum and it won’t whip, don’t worry. The ice cream will be more solid and harder to scoop, but will still taste great. Thaw it a little longer and you’re set.
Adding Sweetness Without Adding Calories-
Adding more than 1/2 cup of maple syrup (or any “real” sweetener) to this recipe makes the calories per serving very high. Avoid the extra calories by adding some calorie-free liquid stevia extract if you’d like it sweeter. Start with 1/8 teaspoon and add more to taste, and factor in that it will taste slightly less sweet once frozen.
- 2 14 oz. cans (4 cups) full-fat coconut milk or coconut cream (see notes)
- 1¼ cups pitted dates, Medjool or any kind (about 8 oz.)
- ½ c boiling water
- zest from 3 lemons
- juice from 2 lemons (about ¼ cup)
- ¼ cup - ½ cup maple syrup (start low, add more to taste)
- Optional - stevia liquid, concentrate or extract powder to taste (see notes)
- a few dashes ground clove
- The night before: pop the cans of coconut milk or cream into the fridge to chill.
- Combine the dates and water in a food processor and let stand 5-10 minutes.
- Pulse and process until the dates are light and creamy. If you're using Medjool, it will only take a few minutes. Regular dates can take 8-10 minutes total.
- Zest the lemons.
- If you're using coconut milk, drain the liquid from the chilled coconut. Skip this step if you're using coconut cream.
- Beat or process the coconut until it's the consistency of whipped cream. (see notes for tips)
- Stir in the dates, lemon zest, maple syrup, lemon juice and clove.
- Taste and see if you'd like more maple syrup, or want to add stevia.
- Transfer to a freezer safe plastic container and freeze 2-3 hours before scooping.