Domestifluff - Food.Craft.Etc


  • I'm Kristen, a clumsy but determined home cook and crafter living in the Boston area with my husband, B, and I have an interest in all things food and craft.

    This blog was created to keep track of my various projects and adventures. They may not all be successes, but my goal is to remain unintimidated by whatever engages my curiosity.

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Dairy Free, Sugar Free Ice Cream

A few years ago, I bought my first ice cream maker. My head was filled with fantasies of making my own custom ice cream, flavored in any wild and wonderful way that I could imagine. It was a great time, and then I actually made something. My wild and wonderful custom ice cream ideas came crashing down when I discovered that, after an overnight session in the freezer, my ice cream was as hard as a block of ice. Like, a you-need-an-ice-pick-to-get-into-it hard.

After this unfortunate incident, I did much research on the topic of keeping your homemade ice cream soft and scoopable and came across several interesting suggestions. Ironically, my initial answer turned out to be guar gum, an ingredient that I had purchased for use in my gluten free baked goods. Most commercial ice creams contain either guar gum or xanthan gum, many times both, to help prevent crystallization when ice cream is frozen, and it makes sense that the same ingredients would work to this end in the homemade version. 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon per batch of ice cream, along with agave nectar (which also helps prevent crystallization) as a sweetener, did the trick and left me much closer to the texture that I had envisioned when I first started out on journey to the perfect homemade ice cream.

Due to its high fructose content, I use agave nectar sparingly these days, so I needed another trick to help me achieve a creamy, scoopable homemade ice cream. The key ingredient: arrowroot starch! Many vegan ice cream recipes use arrowroot starch/flour as an ingredient because it’s very helpful in preventing crystallization, aka rock hard ice cream, and I have to say that it’s fantastic! Though I’ve only used it in dairy free ice cream, I imagine that it would work in the same way for a milk/cream base. Your ice cream base will have a pudding-like consistency after it’s chilled, and it will stay scoopable and will have a great mouth feel. Yay, arrowroot starch!

The ice cream pictured above was inspired by a recipe found in the latest issue of Gourmet. Lemon juice and zest give the ice cream a bright flavor, almost a sherbert-y taste, and a swirl of blueberry jam is a nice compliment.

Dairy Free, Sugar Free Ice Cream



2 14oz. cans of coconut milk (full fat)
1/2 cup xylitol and 1/2 cup erythritol (or 1/2 cup agave nectar or 3/4 cup xylitol – if you’re not sugar free, use 3/4 cup sugar)
2 Tbsp. arrowroot starch


1 recipe dairy free ice cream base
1 Tbsp. grated lemon zest
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 3-inch strips of lemon zest
1 cup sugar free blueberry jam


1. In a medium saucepan, add the sweetener(s) and arrowroot starch. Stir together until blended, and add coconut milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring almost constantly, until the mixture just comes to a boil. You’ll notice that it is thickening. Continue to cook for 1-2 additional minutes, until the mixture is the consistency of a thick syrup. Remove from heat and, if you’re making a vanilla or other base that requires a flavor extract, add flavoring. For vanilla (example), add 2 tsp. vanilla extract.

2. Transfer ice cream base to a heat proof container, cover, and allow to come to room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours.

3. In the meantime, if you’re making the blueberry swirl, place blueberry jam, 1 Tbsp. lemon juice, and the strips of lemon zest in a small saucepan and heat until it starts to boil. Remove from heat and discard lemon zest. Cover and chill.

4. Pour chilled ice cream base into the frozen bowl of your ice cream maker and prepare according to your ice cream maker instructions. If you’re making the lemon ice cream: about halfway into the process, add 2 Tbsp. lemon juice and the grated zest.

5. When the ice cream is finished, transfer to a large bowl and gently fold in any mix ins or swirls (the blueberry swirl, if you’re making the lemon/blueberry ice cream) with a spatula. Cover and chill ice cream in the freezer for at least 4 hours before serving.

Posted in Alternatively Sweetened, Desserts, Favorites, Food, Gluten Free | 9 Comments »

9 Responses

  1. Meghan at Making Love In The Kitchen says:

    That looks so good. Need an ice cream maker before the summer is through.

  2. Erin at Vale Design says:

    You are crazy! Where do you find the time for all of this?! The shot is beautiful :)

  3. Lauren B says:

    That’s so cool the arrowstarch works like that in ice cream. The texture looks divine! I’ll definitely link to this recipe from my next blog post. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for arrowroot!

  4. Kristen says:

    Meghan – I’m definitely glad that I got one! Ice cream, sorbet, lots of great things to make in it.

    Erin – Thanks! Haha, I guess I am a just a lee-tle crazy. ;)

    Lauren – It’s amazing what the arrowroot does to the texture! If you have an Asian market nearby, you should be able to find some there, or in the international aisle at the grocery store.

  5. Sugar Free Cinnamon Ice Cream says:

    […] of using arrowroot starch to thicken the base, as I did with my original sugar free ice cream recipe, I went back to xanthan gum, which was my first choice in the ice crystal formation prevention […]

  6. Carole says:

    Interesting about the arrowroot. I’ll have to try that some time.

    When I first started making ice cream I had the same problem. Hard as a rock the second day (even with the use of egg yolks – we’re not dairy free). My trick turned out to be letting the milk get hotter than called for. lol No joke. The time it boiled over onto the stove turned out to be the best batch of ice cream we had ever eaten. I don’t recommend that method (it’s quite messy), but it does work. lol

  7. Megan says:

    Made this today with sugar, had run out of agave. Added finely diced set strawberry jelly and chocolate chips in the icecream as soon as it was out of the icecream maker. In New Zealand we have an ice block / ice lolly or ice pop called giant jelly tip. 2/3 rd vanilla icecream, 1/3 rd jelly and covered in chocolate. Being dairy intolerant I have really missed these, well not any more, I will use your base for more fun experimentation, the arrowroot or tapioca flour is genius, thank you

  8. Christine says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I have been searching for one that does not solidify into an ice block to make since I cannot have dairy. My husband laughed at me as I was so excited that I could just scoop my ice cream out of the container and eat it…no more needing to get out a chisel or microwave the ice cream first! Thank you!!

  9. Kevin says:

    So, to make vanilla do you boil the base with the Arrowroot and then chill before using in the maker? I have used Arrowroot for vanilla and get an icy texture no matter what but it is edible. I tried guar gum the other night and what a MESS. I used much more but the texture was still ice with some little bits of the gum that did not mix, do you still use guar gum with the arrow root? Any tips?
    By the way; if you are aware enough to know that agave is not healthy, Xylitol is actually much worse. There has been some very explicit information about this recently circulating on vegan pages on Facebook; it is CHEMICAL rich in its processing. Aloha!

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