There is just something so amazing and nostalgic about a simple bowl of french vanilla ice cream. The difference between regular ol’ vanilla and French vanilla, is egg yolks. That’s why traditional French vanilla has a yellowish tone and more complex custard flavor compared to the creamy white color and flavor of plain vanilla. The secret ingredients in this recipe for getting that eggy, custard flavor are black salt and nutritional yeast. Sounds odd, but tastes delicious we promise!

French Vanilla Ice Cream [Vegan, Grain-Free]

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  • 1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked for about 4 hours, rinsed, and drained
  • Cream from the top of 1 can of full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 4 large Medjool dates, pitted (or 2 more tablespoons of maple syrup)
  • 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2-3 teaspoon nutritional yeast
  • 1-2 pinches of black salt (i.e. kala namak)
  • 2 or 3 pinches of turmeric, for color (optional)


To Make With an Ice Cream Maker:

  1. Blend everything in a high-speed blender until very smooth and silky.
  2. Taste, and add more sweetener or more nutritional yeast and black salt (for more custard flavor). Blend and taste until you have the level of flavor and sweetness you prefer.
  3. Chill in the refrigerator for about 2 hours.
  4. Run through your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. Pour into a freezer-safe container and cover. Freeze until firm enough to scoop.

To Make Without an Ice Cream Maker:

  1. Blend everything as above. Pour into several silicone ice cube trays. Freeze until just solid then empty the cubes into your high-speed blender.
  2. Blend, using the tamper, until you have a soft serve ice cream texture. Pour and smooth into a freezer-safe container and freeze until firm enough to scoop, about 1-2 hours.

To Make Without a High-Speed Blender:

  1. Substitute 1/2–3/4 cup of raw cashew butter for the cashews and use extra maple syrup to sweeten to taste, instead of dates.
  2. Blend everything in a regular blender or food processor then chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
  3. If you have an ice cream maker, follow the original directions at the top. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, try freezing in ice cube trays and then use a food processor to blend the slightly thawed cubes into a soft serve texture (make sure your food processor is strong/new enough to handle it).
  4. Pour into a freezer-safe container and freeze until firm enough to scoop. Or, you could try freezing the mixture in popsicle molds.


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  1. Delicious! The icecream was slightly gritty despite soaking the cashews for +4 hours, but the taste was lovely and amazing even though I couldn\’t find black salt. Saving this for later tinkering. Thanks!

    1. Bonnie Jay, I find that some seeds can replace nuts, not all of them, but maybe if we play around with them — a much less expensive alternative – we could come up with a great meal, sauce, dessert, etc. Sunflower seeds are a great replacement in pesto instead of $25.00 a pound for pine nuts, the same for carrot cakes instead of walnuts or pecans, in salads and smoothies, the flavour of these little seeds are incredible when crunched with garlic, olive oil, basil, etc. — I have a very picky eater at home and she doesn\’t even notice the difference. At $ 4.00 a pound I make my budget stretch a bit without sacrificing taste.

  2. Great recipe! This is good for those who follow diet rules. Best way to indulge yet still stay healthy. This is what\’s good about ice cream makers. Though not considered as an essential kitchen tool, it is still very convenient for those who love to have ice cream as desserts. Make one at home anytime. Get handy reviews to help you which models to choose that will fit in with your needs and budget.