There are few things as refreshing as a scoop of ice cream in the summer, especially when it comes with the tart but fresh taste of lemons. This lemon gets its authentic, bright flavor from freshly squeezed lemons. Also, there are no refined sugars in this ice cream! Coconut sugar is used to sweeten this recipe and balance out the tartness. This lemon ice cream has all the refreshing goodness of a sorbet with the creaminess of ice cream.

Refreshing Lemon Ice Cream [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

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  • 2 13 to 15-ounce cans full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar, or sweetener of your preference
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest, from unwaxed lemons
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice


  1. Pour the contents of the coconut milk cans into a saucepan. Take a whisk and stir until everything is evenly combined.
  2. Take about 1/2 cup of the coconut milk out of the pan and set aside in a small bowl. Add the arrow root powder to the small portion of coconut milk in the small bowl. The arrowroot powder will make sure the base thickens once this is added to the bigger pan. Mix until it is perfectly combined and place aside for now.
  3. Zest the lemons with a zester or use a fine vegetable peeler. Make sure to only peel the outer, yellow layer of the lemon. Any white part of the lemon peel will turn your ice cream bitter.
  4. Return to the saucepan and add the sugar, salt and lemon zest . Gently heat over low to medium heat and stir until the sweetener is dissolved and all is well combined. Heat until warm but not boiling. Let the lemon zest infuse for about 5 minutes.
  5. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh sieve to remove the zest and return the liquid back to the saucepan. If you do not care about having a perfectly white ice cream and want to keep the zest then you can skip this step.
  6. Pour the arrow root powder and coconut mixture into the warm lemony milk and whisk. Increase the heat to medium and keep whisking – don’t leave the pot now. Make sure to whisk it every now and then while making sure the heat is not too high. It is crucial to never let it come to a boil.
  7. In about 5-7 minutes the arrow root powder will thicken the mixture and you will be left with a beautiful ice cream base that only needs chilling in the fridge. You will know it is done when you can draw a line with a fingertip on the back of a wooden spoon.
  8. I chill my ice cream base in a small metal bowl and place a plate on top of it. You will have a small layer of skin forming on the top of the mixture though you can prevent that by stirring it every 10 minutes while it cools down. It is not necessary though because the processing in the ice cream machine usually takes care of it.
  9. The ice cream base should be fully cooled down before you pour it into your ice cream maker. Add the lemon juice just before you process your ice cream base. Pour the juice into the base and whisk until evenly combined. I add it this late for two reasons. The first one is that I like the fresh taste of raw lemon juice that would get lost if you cook it in the base. The other reason is that it would curdle if you let it sit for too long. Now all you have to do is follow the instructions of your ice cream machine.
  10. Pour the ice cream into a suitable container and cover it with wax paper. Leave it in the freezer for another 2 hours. Doing this will give you the perfect ice cream that can be scooped neatly. To serve take it out of the freezer for a few minutes to soften. Scoop it into bowls and serve with lemon zest, fresh berries, mint or simply on its own.


Covering the ice cream base with wax paper or baking paper prevents ice crystals from forming on top of it.


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