Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil in Ice Cream: FAQ

Coconut oil has many uses in food industries, including in ice cream making. Using coconut oil in our ice cream recipe is perfect for dairy alternatives. So, how does coconut oil in ice cream work?

Is coconut oil used in ice cream?

The short answer is yes, sometimes. However, it depends on which type of ice cream we are talking about. Sometimes, it uses coconut oil, sometimes palm oil, or other vegetable oil such as olive oil.

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Refined coconut oil is an edible oil made from the dried meat of the coconut palm. Coconut oil can be a fat replacement or a substitute when making ice cream. Roughly 90% of coconut oil is saturated fat, which has a high melting point. High melting point is a desirable ice cream characteristics, enabling it to stay solid in room temperature for some time.

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Some types of ice cream use cocoa butter substitute, such as chocolate coated ice cream like magnum. To create a hard-shelled coating that stays solid, ice cream manufacturers need a substance with high melting point. Why? So the coating will be able to stay hard and not easily melt. Usually, cocoa butter substitute (CBS) is used in this mixture, along with coconut oil. Moreover, saturated fat has a relatively high melting point, enabling it to stay in solid form when exposed to cold temperature.

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Although we use coconut oil in ice cream, it does not necessarily lead to coconut flavors. Refined or RBD coconut oil has been stripped of its coconut taste. Therefore, it will combine well with other flavors as well as toppings for the ice cream.

A study also found that ice cream with compounding coconut oil has good viscosity. It works as the resistance offered by liquid to flow and will give a fine mouth feeling, clean and fresh, as well as improve the quality of ice cream.

Is coconut oil in ice cream refined?

Yes. Many ice cream recipes use refined coconut oil. Refined coconut oil or RBD coconut oil is great for increasing ice cream fat content. It also made the ice cream creamier. Unlike virgin coconut oil, refined coconut oil does not have a coconut taste. Therefore, it is suitable to make strawberry, chocolate, or other flavored ice cream.

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Coconut oil is almost a staple ingredient in healthy vegan ice cream recipes. Vegan ice cream usually relies on coconut milk, coconut oil, or blended nuts so it can have a creamy texture without milk or animal products. Moreover, one can always customize the recipe to make a gluten-free and sugar free ice cream.

To make a vegan ice cream, there are some tips we can follow:

  1. No-churn method for vegan ice cream recipe without machine. This method won’t need us to use special equipment during the process of ice cream making. All we will need to do is blend the vegan ice cream ingredients with any additional flavorings until thick and creamy, then put into a loaf pan and freeze it.
  2. Let it soften slightly before serving because homemade ice creams lack stabilizers, so they are more firm out of the freezer.
  3. Incorporate mix-ins due to dairy-based ice cream that typically benefits greatly from mix-ins, like bites of vegan brownies, cookies, fudge, and so on. We can incorporate the mix-ins in the final stages of churning for even distribution.
  4. Choose the sweeteners because different sugars and sweeteners will affect the final flavor and texture of our ice cream.

What is the best stabilizer for ice cream?

Common stabilizers for ice cream are guar gum, xanthan gum, cellulose gum, and carob bean gum. Now, why does ice cream need stabilizer? Ice cream needs to be thick and does not easily melt. In chemical terms, ice cream needs to have high viscosity. Stabilizer is one of the food additives that manufacturers use to achieve high viscosity.

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Stabilizers help ice cream mix stay stable for a prolonged time. Meaning, it improves ice cream storage stability, reduces risk of shrinkage, and minimizes ice crystal growth. Stabilizers aid in preserving ice cream quality.

Nevertheless, other than stabilizers, the process of ice cream making also includes emulsifiers. It keeps everything together over time and ensures the texture of ice cream.

What is a natural emulsifier for ice cream?

Egg yolks can also be used as a relatively more natural emulsifier in ice cream. Several proteins and lipids in egg yolks help them work as emulsifiers. We can try to mix 0.5% to 1% egg yolk for an adequate effect on ice cream emulsification. That equals to ⅓ to ⅔ yolk per liter of the mix.

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During ice-cream making, emulsifiers are added during the freezing process. Its function is to promote a smoother texture and ensure that the ice cream does not melt too fast after serving. Emulsifiers also can improve the stability of freeze-thaw. Emulsifiers commonly used by ice cream manufacturers include polysorbates, mono-diglycerides, lactic acid esters, propylene glycol esters.

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Another great option for ice cream emulsifiers is soy lecithin which can be derived from soybeans, sunflowers, and rapeseed. It has a neutral taste that allows us to make eggless ice cream. However, it is possible that lecithin will have a detectable flavor of its own in a very delicately flavored ice cream.

How do you get a creamy texture in ice cream?

One of the main components that provide smoothness to ice cream is fat. We can use milk fat in ice cream in the range from 10 percent to a maximum of about 16 percent.

The higher the fat content, the richer the ice cream taste and creamier the texture will be. Ice cream fat can be animal-based (dairy, gelatin) or plant-based such as coconut oil.

How do you make frozen ice cream creamy?

If there are frosty shards of dairy in the freezer, there are some things that we can do to make it creamy again. First, take the ice cream out of the freezer and let it soften for not more than 5 minutes. We need to melt it down just long enough until we can extricate it out of the container.

Secondly, place the ice cream into a stand mixer, but if you don’t have one, you can try using a large bowl or knife. And then, mix until the ice cream is creamy and smooth. Make sure to not mix it for too long because it will get soupy.

What ingredient keeps ice cream soft?

Some ingredients that can keep ice cream at a softer consistency are sugar, corn syrup or honey, gelatin, and commercial stabilizers. We can also keep our ice cream in a shallow container to make it softer. Doing so will need us to cover the surface of the ice cream with plastic wrap to keep ice crystals from forming.

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You can try this easy vegan ice cream recipe that uses coconut oil as one of its ingredients:

First, prepare all the ingredients, that includes:

  • 2 cups of homemade cashew milk by soaking 150g raw cashew in a 270ml hot water
  • 240 ml of coconut milk
  • 200g of white granulated sugar
  • 60ml of water
  • 100g finely chopped cacao butter
  • 55g of coconut oil
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 2 tsp of vanilla extract

Then, we can start making homemade cashew milk. Soak some cashews in hot water for an hour, drain them, and then add to a blender with some water. Blend up until it becomes very thick and creamy.

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When we’re done with the cashew milk, add it to a mixing bowl with full fat canned coconut milk. After mixing it, add white granulated sugar and water to a saucepan and heat. Constantly stir until the sugar is melted.

Continue by adding chopped cacao butter, coconut oil, and salt to the melted sugar. Then, mix in until it’s all melted together. Next, pour into the bowl with the mix of coconut milk and cashew milk. Add vanilla extract and then use an immersion blender so it is all blended.

Put the bowl in the freezer for 15 minutes, then churn it in an ice cream machine until soft. Lastly, transfer the ice cream to a loaf pan to smooth it down, cover with foil, and place into the freezer to set.

What oil is best for vegan ice cream?

For vegan ice cream, you can use vegetable oil like palm oil, olive oil, coconut oil, or even a mixture of several types of vegetable oils. Palm oil can help give a frozen dessert its smooth and creamy texture at -15 degrees and so does olive oil that will make your ice cream smooth.

Meanwhile coconut oil also can add the creamy texture in ice cream, it can make the ice cream take a longer time to melt too. However, the other important issue with vegan ice cream is milk.

How do ice cream makers mimic the creaminess of milk in vegan ice cream without actual dairy? It is a big challenge because milk is a complex choreography of water, fat, sugar, and protein. Therefore, getting a vegan milk base is crucial.

Some vegan ice cream recipes for ice cream makers will need us to tackle the problem by making almond milk. For naturally low-fat almond milk, we can add coconut oil and it works well. Why is coconut milk used in cream? Due to its similarity with butterfat, you can use it to replace butter.

Many vegan dairy producers would agree that coconut is simply the easiest vegan platform to build milk or cream. It is because of coconut’s fat and sugar content. Moreover, we can use coconut oil to mimic milk fat and its pea protein to mimic milk proteins.

However, it is important to note that if we are using coconut oil at room temperature, it can be solid. It is because coconut oil is more saturated fat than dairy cream and freezes in a different way. So, under freezing conditions will make a very firm product.


To conclude, coconut oil in ice cream is usually used as a substitute for fat. Besides, coconut oil is excellent because its compound makes coconut oil very similar to cocoa butter and it has good viscosity. It is an essential part of ice cream mix and a certain amount of it will be useful for proper whipping and retention of air.

Coconut oil in ice cream is also great to combine with other flavors during the ice cream making since coconut oil won’t make our ice cream have a strong taste of coconut.

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