Why This Recipe Works
- Raw turbinado sugar is used to keep this ice cream truly vegan, but you can also sub in an equal volume of refined white sugar for a cleaner flavor.
- Lime juice adds acid and keeps this ice cream from being too bland.
As I wrote in my primer on how to make great vegan ice cream:
Most vegan ice cream isn't very good for a few reasons. Any putz can cook dairy and eggs together and make something reasonably good. But vegan ice cream takes more technique and ingredient knowledge, and considering the captive audience for vegan packaged food, there's not enough pressure to make a premium vegan ice cream. The result? Ice cream that's watery, thin, and often flavorless. No thanks.
Home recipes can be just as bad. They treat lean almond milk like full-fat cream, rely on starches to fill the place of egg custards, or just don't have enough fat to make creamy ice cream. The result may be something tasty and sorbet-like but not rich and creamy—ingredients like soy, almond, or rice milk just don't have enough fat to behave like real ice cream. You may also have seen recipes that call for freezing bananas and puréeing them in a food processor for a product that's "just like ice cream." It's not—I've tried it many times, and every time I do it tastes like frozen baby food.
This recipe, on the other hand, uses buttery avocados brightened with lime make for a smooth, creamy, dairy-free ice cream. You'll want to add lime juice in small increments to taste—too little and the ice cream turns out bland, too much and it becomes overly savory.
If your diet permits white sugar refined with bone char, feel free to substitute an equal volume of it for the raw sugar in this recipe for a cleaner flavor.
This recipe was cross-tested in 2022 to guarantee best results.
Vegan Avocado Lime Ice Cream
Buttery avocados brightened with lime make for smooth, creamy, dairy-free ice cream.
- 4 cups diced avocado (about 22 ounces; 624g from 6 avocados)
- 1 cup raw (turbinado) sugar (about 6 ounces; 170 g), see note
- 1 cup (237ml) water
- 1 tablespoon grated lime zest from 3 to 4 limes
- 4 to 6 tablespoons lime juice, to taste, from 3 to 4 limes
- Kosher salt
In a blender or food processor, combine avocado, sugar, water, lime zest, and 2 tablespoons lime juice. Blend until very smooth, about 30 seconds. Transfer to an airtight container and stir in remaining lime juice and salt to taste in small increments. Ice cream base should have a subtle lime flavor but should taste mainly like avocado.
Cover mixture and chill in refrigerator until it is very cold (at least 45°F or 7ºC, about 4 hours), then churn in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to an airtight container and chill in freezer until ice cream is firm enough to scoop, about 5 hours. Let sit at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
Blender or food processor, ice cream maker