Vegan Spiced Pumpkin Ice Cream

Imagine you’re hosting a dinner party. The lights are soft, the conversation bright, the food scrumptious. You’ve just finished a rich veggie lasagna and are eagerly looking forward to dessert: vegan spiced pumpkin ice cream, fresh from the ice cream maker a few short hours ago. Having tasted it upon completion, you already know it’ll be a hit. You proudly set it between your guests and invite them to “dig in with gusto”. One guest grabs a spoon and dives at it …


… only to be rejected by the rock-hard surface of a concrete sweet treat. That’s right, folks: the vegan ice cream you so carefully prepared and served with pride is the consistency of French bread roasting in the Sahara for about a year. I think the spoon was two molecules away from shattering on impact. Not quite the way I wanted to end our dinner party. (Yep, replace “you” with “I” and you pretty much have a snapshot of the THIH household last Friday evening. But you knew that, didn’t you? See this post.)


Having never made vegan ice cream before, I didn’t realize the large quantity of pumpkin puree in this batch would make the final product a block of pumpkin-flavored coconut milk (tsk tsk, Jessie). Our poor guests had to wait fifteen minutes while I submerged the bottom half of the ice cream container in blisteringly-hot water before they could hack bits off the side.

It was only after I did some research did I learn vodka or other alcohol is often added to this type of ice cream to keep it from freezing solid. Even though I haven’t tried it myself yet, I’ve added it into the recipe below. If you choose not to add it, let your ice cream sit at room temperature for at least an hour before serving (I’m not kidding. It takes concrete a long time to melt.).

And so, vegan spiced pumpkin ice cream as it SHOULD have been served (apologies, honored guests):

Vegan Spiced Pumpkin Ice Cream

  Prep Time: 45 minutes – 2 hours

  Keywords: dessert vegan pumpkin coconut milk ice-cream


  • 1-14.5 oz. can coconut milk (regular works better than light)
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground nutmeg
  • Pinch salt (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon vodka (optional)


Combine all ingredients and stir well. Pour in bowl of ice cream maker and make according to manufacturer’s directions. OR, if you do not have an ice cream maker, pour in chilled metal bowl and freeze, stirring every ten minutes, for at least two hours.

If alcohol is not added, allow to sit at room temperature for at least an hour before serving.

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Q: Have you ever tried vegan ice cream?  What’s your favorite flavor?


  1. This sounds like a delicious science experiment! I’ve never attempted to make any sort of ice cream, especially vegan ice cream! The vodka trick is intriguing 😉 Since I moved here, the main ice cream I’ve eaten would probably be Dreyer’s Slow Churned Frozen Yogurt. Yummy 🙂

  2. I’d love to see a recipe for that rich veggie lasagna you mentioned! 🙂

    1. Hmm, I guess I’ll have to post it then 🙂

  3. Glad you found a reason to add vodka to ice cream! 😉 Spiced pumpkin is a great flavor! I’m sure your guests didn’t mind waiting…

  4. I’ve been wanting to try making vegan ice cream because the thought of coconut milk ice cream just sounds so appealing.
    That sucks that it hardened so much though 🙁

  5. It happens with non-vegan pumpkin ice cream also! I had a recipe sort-of fail that I never posted because I wanted to experiment more with alcohol in it. But I bet when it melted a bit it was delicious!

  6. This sounds fantastic!!! Oh my gosh, I want to try this so bad! I think the coconut milk would add a nice flavor, but I’m not sure my stomach could handle it. Perhaps I’ll try this with almond milk…..but the heavier non fat free version for some extra “creaminess”.

    1. I think that’s a great idea! Let me know if you try it – I’m curious how almond milk would work.

  7. Yum that sounds delicious. A spiced rum would probably taste good in it instead of vodka.

    1. A spiced rum sounds delicious! I’ll try that next time – perfect excuse to pick up some rum 🙂

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