Cherry season is here, and this Cherry Chocolate Chip Vegan Ice Cream is a delicious way to beat the heat and soak up some of summer’s best fruit!
Cherries and I have a long, happy relationship.
Our second house in southeast Portland, Oregon had a cherry tree, and growing up, I used to love sitting on the lawn with friends soaking up the summer sun and eating all the cherries we wanted. Summer to me meant carefree long days of bike riding all over the city, swimming at the high school pool, exploring nearby forests, Sixlets from the 3D Market, and sticky cherry-stained fingers.
Ahh those were the days. I haven’t lived in a house with a cherry tree since then, but the memories come rushing back every time cherry season rolls around. I’m nine years old all over again.
Cherry Chocolate Chip Vegan Ice Cream
Now, nine-year-old me did not have a dairy intolerance, but (much) older me does. So I am celebrating cherry season this year with some yummy dairy-free, vegan ice cream.
NW Cherry Growers sent me some amazingly fresh, yummy cherries from Washington state. I couldn’t stop eating them as soon as they arrived!
Aside from just eating them by the handful, I decided to make an ice cream, since it’s been hotter than normal here in Portland this summer. We love staying in town during summer months since it’s normally between 70 and 80 with no humidity and light breezes, but this year we’ve been experiencing several days in the high 90s. Definitely ice cream weather!
Instead of my usual vegan ice cream base, I decided to try The Kitchn’s vegan ice cream base. Their method requires heating up the coconut milk and sweetener, then cooling to room temperature before churning in the ice cream maker.
The result is a slightly creamer vegan ice cream, more similar to regular dairy ice cream than a lot of other vegan ice cream recipes. It takes more time, but the results are delicious!
Even though I’m not normally a fan of chocolate and fruit together, I knew this ice cream needed just one extra little crunch factor and a hit of extra sweetness, so I added chocolate chips. I’m so glad I did! The sweetness of the cherries with the crunch of the chocolate chips and the creaminess of the vanilla ice cream make this a tasty winning combo. So good, you guys!
Cherry Chocolate Chip Vegan Ice Cream Recipe
- 2 cans full-fat coconut milk (14.5 oz cans)
- 1/2 cup sweetener (I use agave nectar or granulated sugar; I recommend you do NOT use maple syrup as it will change the flavor)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp cornstarch (or 1 tbsp arrowroot starch)
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup cherries, de-stemmed, pitted, and chopped into small pieces
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup dairy-free chocolate chips
- First, make sure you have placed your ice cream maker base bowl in the freezer for at least 24 hours before making the ice cream. It needs to be completely frozen, otherwise your ice cream will not turn out.
- Shake the cans of coconut milk to incorporate the layers. Open the cans of coconut milk. Measure 1/2 cup and set this aside in a small bowl. Pour the remaining coconut milk into a 2-quart saucepan set over medium-high heat.
- Add the sweetener and salt to the saucepan.
- Warm the coconut milk mixture, stirring occasionally, until the sweetener has completely dissolved, which takes 1-2 minutes.
- Meanwhile, whisk the cornstarch into the bowl that has the 1/2 cup coconut milk until the cornstarch has completely dissolved into the milk. Then add this mixture to the coconut milk mixture in the sauce pan and whisk gently.
- Cook this mixture in the saucepan and stir constantly until it becomes thickened, about 6-8 minutes. Do not allow the mixture to come to a boil.
- Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. This is your ice cream base.
- Pour ice cream base into a shallow pan and allow to cool at room temperature before covering and refrigerating for at least 4 hours.
- While the base is cooling, make the cherry sauce: Mash the cherries down in a small saucepan, sprinkle in the sugar, and bring to a low boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the berries start to lose their shape and become juicy. Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl, and allow to cool at room temperature for 30 minutes. Blend the mixture in a food processor or blender for just a few seconds until a thick sauce forms. Set aside.
- Once the ice cream base has been frozen for at least 4 hours, begin to churn it according to your ice cream maker's instructions. At about 10-15 minutes in, when you can see the base has thickened to a soft-serve ice cream consistency, slowly ladle the strawberry sauce into the ice cream maker while it's running. Allow the sauce to blend into the ice cream base.
- After about 5 minutes, slowly add in the chocolate chips while the ice cream maker is still running, and churn until your ice cream has reached your desired consistency. For me, this took about 5 more minutes after adding the chips.
- Spread the ice cream into a large loaf pan and freeze for a few more hours or overnight, until the ice cream has firmed up completely.
- When you're ready to serve the ice cream, take it out of the freezer and let it sit at room temperature for about 5 minutes before serving.
IF YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE, SHARE IT ON INSTAGRAM WITH #URBANBLISSLIFE AND TAG @URBANBLISSLIFE. I’D LOVE TO SEE WHAT YOU MAKE! AND IF YOU LIKE THIS RECIPE, PLEASE DO ME A HUGE FAVOR AND LEAVE A STAR RATING. THANK YOU, SWEET FRIENDS!
This post is in partnership with the NW Cherry Growers. All opinions, recipes, and photos are, as always, my own. Happy Cherry Season, everyone!