Chai Coconut Ice Cream

Chai coconut ice cream

Well, friends, it’s been a rough week. I’ve lost my appetite and shed my weight in tears. Fortunately, a couple of dear friends are coming into town this weekend and their presence will surely lift my spirits. In the meantime, I thought I’d share this chai ice cream recipe that I’ve been tinkering with over the past month. I brought the latest batch over to girls night this week and the girls say it’s just right. As a frozen treat with warming spices, it seems like an appropriate dessert for this in-between weather.

chai coconut ice cream ingredientsChai coconut ice cream spiceshoney chai coconut ice creamFrozen Chai coconut ice cream

Chai Coconut Ice Cream
4.8 from 10 reviews
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
Dairy-free, egg-free Chai ice cream made with coconut milk, honey and spices. It is perfectly scoopable from the freezer, but the texture is better if you let it rest at room temperature for five minutes before serving.
  • 4 bags Assam black tea or regular black tea
  • 2 cans (28 ounces) full fat coconut milk
  • ¾ cup honey (use ⅔ cup for slightly less sweet ice cream)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • pinch fine grain sea salt
  • 1½ teaspoon arrowroot starch whisked with a few tablespoons of the coconut milk mixture (optional, see note)
  1. In a liquid measuring cup, pour one cup boiling water over the tea bags. Let steep for 4 minutes, then remove the bags (squeeze out some of the water they have absorbed).
  2. Shake up your cans of coconut milk before opening in case the coconut cream has separated from the coconut water. In a Dutch oven or a big, heavy-bottomed pot, whisk together the coconut milk, tea, honey, vanilla, spices and salt until thoroughly blended.
  3. If you are NOT adding arrowroot starch, you can go ahead and chill the mixture (if the coconut milk cream is still floating around in bits, first heat the mixture over medium heat for a few minutes while whisking until it the cream is incorporated, then cool).
  4. If you ARE adding arrowroot starch, heat the mixture over medium heat. In a small bowl, whisk the arrowroot starch with a few tablespoons of the coconut milk mixture until thoroughly blended. Pour the arrowroot mixture into the warm coconut milk mixture and bring it to a gentle boil, stirring frequently for one minute.
  5. Remove from heat, let cool to room temperature, then place the bowl in the refrigerator until the mixture is completely and thoroughly chilled. While you're at it, place your future ice cream container in the freezer to chill.
  6. If you used arrowroot starch, scoop off the thickened top layer with a spoon and discard it. Whisk together the chilled mixture one last time, then pour it into your ice cream maker. Freeze according to your manufacturer's instructions, then transfer it to your chilled container and freeze for several hours in the freezer (let it defrost for five minutes before serving). Or eat immediately for soft serve texture.
Recipe created with guidance from Oh, Ladycakes and A Couple Cooks. This recipe yields a little over 1.5 quarts, which is about as much as my ice cream maker will hold.
Make it vegan: Substitute maple syrup or agave nectar for the honey. You're going to end up with ice cream that freezes harder than ice cream made with honey—let it sit at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
Arrowroot starch is a natural root starch that helps absorb the ice crystals. It's optional here; you can also help the ice crystals go away if you let the ice cream sit for five minutes before serving. Look for arrowroot in the baking section of well-stocked grocery stores.
Change it up: The girls added a few chocolate chips to their bowls of ice cream. I think finely chopped dark chocolate incorporated near the end of the freezing cycle would be a very good idea.


  1. says

    Oh no–I’m really sorry to hear things have been tough. I hope your friends do lift your spirits when they visit. My spirits are definitely lifted by this ice cream! It looks delicious, and you’re so right about the perfect flavor profile for this very in-between spring we seem to be having.

    • says

      Thank you, Elizabeth. My friend has certainly lifted my spirits already. We just ate a little bowl of this ice cream as a pre-brunch snack! xo.

  2. says

    Hey girl, I love the light in these photographs. It’s so perfectly warm and clear. This treat sounds so wonderful and transitionally spot on, especially with that chocolate suggestion. More importantly though, I’m sending you the biggest hug via the internet that I can manage, you magnificent lady. xo

  3. says

    I love the dairy free / egg free. It’s amazing how with a little (a lot) of brainstorming and tweaking [almost] everything can be healthy!

  4. says

    I’m sorry that you’re having such a rough week. Hopefully a weekend with good friends will lift your spirits.

    This ice cream sounds fantastic…warming spices in a refreshing treat.

  5. says

    What a great idea! I love this chai variation on coconut ice cream. And I too want to send a cyber hug your way!! So sorry to hear you’re down, but hoping your friends’ visit is just the thing you need. XO

  6. says

    Aww, I’m so sorry to hear you’ve had a rough week. Hang in there and have fun with your friends! The ice cream sounds fantastic. Love chai flavors!

  7. Grace says

    Once again you come through with a recipe that speaks straight to me. Definitely making this this weekend. Chai is on the list of my ultimate favorite things. Enjoy the time with your friends. Wishing you well. Love and light to you!

  8. says

    This sounds delicious Kate! I love dairy free ice creams, I find they have just as much flavor and are so much better for you. I will have to try this one, I love the chai flavoring. Hoping your friend time will cheer things up for you :) Good friends have a way of making everything better.

    • says

      Thanks, Jodi. I was pleasantly surprised to find that coconut milk ice cream has such great texture, even without eggs. Hope your weekend is off to a great start.

  9. says

    Oh, dear. I don’t know what’s made for the rough week but I’m so sorry to hear it. In my experience, ice cream makes a good bedfellow in hard times (and good). Hope time with friends brings even more comfort!

  10. Janet says

    This looks so amazing, it may inspire me to purchase an ice cream maker. I love all the spices. Hope your days get sunnier soon!!

  11. Claire says

    Kate, I’m so sorry you are having a grubby week. I know I’ve never met you, but I (and I’m sure tons of your readers) feel grateful for little ol’ you. I work in a tiny office and whenever you update your site it makes my day. I print off your recipes and take them to my little kitchen and improve my health in doing so. I’ll even be making your recent chocolate chip cookie recipe next Friday for my wedding. So even though you don’t know me, you impact me. (…I’m sounding more and more like a stalker here, aren’t I?) Anyway, I guess what I’m trying to say is that you’ve touched a lot of people through your writing and I hope that this reminder lifts your spirits a little. And I’ll ask the big-man upstairs to make your tomorrow better than yesterday.

    P.S. How did you know I’ve been lobbying for my local sweet frog to make this flavor?!

    • says

      Claire, thank you so much for your kind comment. It really brightened my day. I’m so glad to know you’re out there and that you appreciate what I do. Thank you for reading and cooking my recipes, and for your support! Hope the cookies turn out beautifully for your wedding.

      • Claire says

        Update! The cookies turned out great! The cookie bar was a success and I was very happy to have a sweet available that everyone could enjoy! Thanks! xo

        P.S. Hope you feel chipper soon and very soon. I’ll keep you in my intentions.

        • says

          I’m so glad your wedding guests enjoyed the cookies, Claire! Thank you for the update. Hope your week is off to a great start.

  12. says

    This looks delicious! Can’t wait to try it. I’m not seeing where the tea is added into the mix. Is that just boiled along with the coconut milk, honey, and spices? Thanks for the perfect recipe!

    • says

      Ashley, thank you for pointing out the missing step. Yes, just boil the tea along with the coconut milk. I’ve corrected the recipe, so it should be good to go.

  13. Jenna says

    I echo what Claire said above! And I don’t have an ice cream maker but it sounds so good I might have to make this into a smoothie.

    • says

      Thank you, Jenna! I bet a smoothie with frozen bananas, coconut milk, and some of these warming spices would be a delicious treat.

  14. says

    Oh Kate! :( I am so sorry it’s been a rough week. God, have we all been there! You are such a beautiful young lady with an equally beautiful spirit. I truly and sincerely hope your sorrow fades quickly and you have lots of fun with your girlfriends coming into town. Even though it takes time, sometimes a good movie, blanket, and enormous bowl of ice cream is what is needed :). Smile- you are amazing and all things are temporary. Pinning this to my ice cream board now and making this weekend. Sending you lots of love. Hang in there, sister!

  15. says

    Sending you big hugs. And loving this ice cream flavor idea. If only NYC would arrange such in-between weather…still too cold for ice cream!

  16. Doreen says

    I was more taken to comment on your rough week than the recipe. I am sorry to hear it was bad and I am sending good wishes your way. You sure brighten my life and thank you!

  17. ByGodsGrace says

    My boys and I are huge coconut and chai fans. Great combination!! I can’t wait to try.

    I can relate to your tears… I shed many over the last 10 months. You are in my prayers.

  18. says

    I’m so sorry to hear you are not having a good week. I hope that the isit from friends and a few cocktails will cheer you up! This is a fancy ice cream, so pretty!

  19. says

    Oh girl I am so sorry. If this is boy-related, you should know that I would be more than happy to come down there and kick some butt! You are an amazing person and deserve so much happiness!!

  20. Barb says

    I’ve recently found your blog & am always inspired! Also recently became vegan & so appreciate your tips. I can tell that you are a kind and caring person and am sorry to hear about your week. I wish you the best as you spend time with your friends!

  21. says

    Kate, so sorry to hear you’re going through a tough time. This too surely will pass. Hope the weekend with the girls helps.
    The ice cream looks yum…..will try the smoothie version.

  22. says

    There’s nothing like a good girls weekend to lift spirits. I am sorry you went through a rough week. Still you produce amazing recipes, very inspiring. I am a huge ice cream fan….to a fault. This is one that I will have to try as well as the smoothie version.

  23. Holly says

    I’ve been wanting a recipe for coconut ice cream, and I love chai, so this is perfect. Thank you for the recipe and hope you’re feeling better.

  24. Gunhild says

    I am joining the chorus of well wishers here, so sorry you are having a rough week, I wish I could make it all go away for you, but then again I always find that the tears we shed always have a healing effect, even if we can only see it when the troubles are behind us. Am glad to know that you are not alone though, as one should never have to cry alone. I wish you strength and love and hope you will not have to suffer for much longer. You touch so many of us through your writing and I wish that somehow we, your readers, can pass some strength on to you through the vast mystery of the universe, which connects us all.

    On a different note, I have been eating like a gallon of that tahini dressing from your previous post over the last few days and I’m planning to try out a few more of your recipes in the coming week. I have saved this one on my computer, but I’ll save it for later, as I’m having HUGE craving these days and need to keep them under control so as not to start ballooning all over the place, and I know that if I make this (and I know I will love it), I’ll just gobble it all up in one sitting and then go make some more. Veeeery dangerous!

    Kate, I send you a huge hug and wish you love and sunshine!

  25. says

    Aw Kate, I’m so sorry to hear you’ve been having a rough time. I’ve had my fair share of cries over the past couple of months, and although I don’t know your situation, I know what it’s like to feel like I’ve just knocked back a cocktail of crazy emotions that makes you feel totally all over the place. Whatever it is, I hope you had a great time with your friends, and that you’re starting to feel a little more like your old self. This ice cream sounds absolutely to die for – I LOVE Chai spices! Enjoy the rest of your weekend and here’s to a better week next week!

  26. says

    Oh, this looks just heavenly! My sister (and favorite neighbor!) is in India right now, and I’ve been wishing she were here to whip up a cup of her signature chai. Maybe I’ll just make this instead!

  27. says

    I hate to hear that you’ve shed your weight in tears. I’m so sorry.

    I’ve never made ice cream with coconut milk, but it sounds so delicious. And with chai spices – even better.

    • says

      Thank you, Marissa. Hope you’ll try coconut milk ice cream soon—it’s so so good. I’m not sure I can even tell coconut milk is in this spiced version.

  28. Jennifer says

    This. Is. Amazing. Just made it this afternoon and couldn’t even wait for it to freeze all the way through before sneaking a few spoonfuls. It will be even better for dessert tonight. Thank you for sharing – one of many of your recipes I have bookmarked! (this one’s my personal record for saw-on-a-blog-and-then-made… I couldn’t wait)

  29. says

    I can’t stand to hear that things have been rough. Because I think we all know what “can’t stop crying” rough feels like. I’m so sorry, Kate. The pain will pass, slowly or quickly. But it will. That’s the one thing we can count on. Your ice cream sounds delicious, as a reformed coconut hater I’ve been making up for lost time on a “put coconut in all things” kick lately. I will be making this during the summer, for sure. Take care & thoughts are with you upon reading this today.

    • says

      Thank you, Beth. Sincerely. Glad you’re getting on the coconut bandwagon. I hated the stuff until I tried the not gooey, unsweetened varieties.

  30. says

    So I’ve seen a lot of chai ice cream but the addition of coconut is pretty amazing. I love to make my chai tea with coconut milk and I imagine this ice cream with some roasted coconut chips on top would be lovely :)

  31. says

    It’s amazing how ice cream (and girlfriends) can heal so much! I hope this week is starting out much better for you! Anyway, love this recipe. I love Chai and love ice cream and have needed a recipe to inspire me to bring out my ice cream maker! Thank you for yet another great recipe and gorgeous photos.

  32. Alicia says

    Hi Kate, hope you are feeling better, sending my best wishes to you. I’ve only recently found your site and just wanted to let you know how much I am loving it. Over the weekend, I tried a number of your recipes, including the Blueberry Lemon Yogurt Pancakes, Curried Red Lentil Soup, Butternut Squash Chipotle Chilli, Aragula & Walnut Pesto and of course, this one, the Chai Coconut Ice Cream. I’ve also previously tried your Meyer Lemon Curd (which went so well with the pancakes!) I can tell you that it was a weekend of awesome eating for my husband and I – we loved them all! So thank you for your beautiful (and well tested!) recipes. Your genuine blog posts make inspired reading. I can’t wait to try some more recipes.

    • says

      Alicia, thank you so much for your sweet words. It really means so much that visitors actually make my recipes. You make my work worthwhile! I’m amazed that you made so many of them in one weekend, too. I think you set a record. :)

  33. says

    Aw, Kate. Sending you a big hug through my computer. I hope that you are feeling better. If you’d like, I can send you some Scout Mint ice cream…or I can just make your Orange Poppy Seed cake and send it back to you :) Food helps, but so do great friends. I hope their visit brought cheer and smiles. Best :) (And this ice cream looks delicious too…)

  34. says

    Awesome, I’ve been meaning to try my hand at coconut milk icecream but didn’t know where to start! Great sounding flavour combination too

  35. says

    I’ve tried replacing heavy cream with coconut cream in the past, and found that the ice cream came out really tough. Does heating it help it reach a creamier consistency? I see that you said arrowroot helps with the ice.

    • says

      Hi Angela, great question. I heated the mixture to activate the arrowroot starch. I’ve never tried using coconut cream, but I have played around with light and full fat coconut milk. I felt like using two cans of coconut milk without dilution via tea/natural sweetener produced ice cream that seemed a little too chewy. I think it might be because the fat content is too high? I really like the way this ice cream has turned out. Hope you’ll give it a try.

  36. says

    Oh girl!! You are speaking my language with this post!! I love LOVE chai and coconut flavored anything. I’m sure this is amazing!!

    I’m so sorry to hear you had a bad week. Praying things turn up for ya :)

  37. says

    Hello Kathryne,

    Sorry to hear you’re going through a rough patch. I don’t know the nature of your sadness, so I sure hope my attempt at empathy isn’t insulting, I can say I was in the same boat two weeks ago when we had to make the decision to get rid of our dog Iggy. I thought I would never be able to go a day without crying, so I definitely know what you mean when you say you cried your weight in tears. I hope by now you realize, like I have, that misery is temporary. When you make it through to the other side, you’ll find you’re stronger and richer in experience.

    Good luck!

    PS — The ice cream looks great…it’s just the reminder I need to bother my husband yet again for an ice cream maker. Although since we’re moving to Alaska in five months, I’m pretty sure the answer will be no :/

    • says

      Hey Crystle, thank you so much for your kind words. I’m still sorting through things. I’m so sorry to hear about Iggy. I know you loved him immensely. Wish I could teleport some of this ice cream over to you. My freezer is full of it! Congrats again on your baby girl. She’s beautiful.

  38. says

    Hang in there, Kate. Thanks for this great post. I hope your spirits are lifted by knowing how many lives your are touching through this great recipe.

    • says

      I’m really glad I took the plunge and bought an ice cream maker. It’s especially fun to make easy ice creams like this coconut one!

  39. says

    This looks AMAZING. I have been on a coconut kick so I will try. I am afraid to make ice cream, but most things that I think are complicated turn out to be the BEST recipes. Thanks for sharing–and don’t cry the weekend is almost here.


  40. says

    Hi Kate, first of all great recipe I have become slightly addicted to making ice cream over the past few weeks and have been making more ice cream than I can eat. I would also like to say what a great website and I shall be trying out some of the other non ice cream related recipes soon. :)


  41. Grace says

    What is the volume of a ‘can’ of coconut milk? We have different can sizes in Australia so I’m not sure how much to use. :)

  42. says

    I’m sorry you are sad, but I’m happy to have found your site (via OhLadyCakes). This recipe looks delicious and since my wife loves making ice cream, and we make our own home made chai, I think we’ll have to try it! Now I have to run as I have lot more of your blog to pore over. I’ve followed :-)

  43. says

    I am involved in a serious relationship with all things chai, and coconut can do no wrong. Naturally, I am looking forward to trying this recipe. Wishing you well and hoping things look up for you soon.

  44. says

    I just posted a homemade hot fudge recipe and said that I don’t even need ice cream for it. Well, I take that back. This is outstanding. Coconut milk AND chai are faves! I put coconut milk in my chai tea…I love this! Gorgeous spices you used, too. Mmmm, the flavors! Pinning!

  45. Brianna says

    Hi Kate! I just made this recipe last night! I followed your steps without the arrowroot, and I’m a little miffed at the coconut milk texture. I shook the cans like crazy and poured them into the tea and honey mixture, but there were still tiny bits of the solid coconut cream. I whisked and whisked to mix it all up and thought maybe that’s just how it’s supposed to be. Should I have strained it first? Or maybe it needs to be heated first to melt into the other ingredients (even without arrowroot)?

    Maybe it was just the Goya coconut milk that gave me trouble…. In the end, the flavors are amazing, but the texture leaves a bit to be desired. What would you suggest to fix it next time?

    • says

      Hey Brianna, I’m so sorry your coconut milk gave you trouble! I’ve run into that before, and the only way I’ve found is to gently heat the mixture on the stove while whisking until the coconut cream incorporates into the other liquid. I tried to explain that in my instructions in step 3 (if the coconut milk cream is still solid, heat the mixture over medium heat for a few minutes while whisking), but I must not have been clear enough. I’ll revise the instructions. I hope you’ll give the coconut ice cream another shot! It’s wonderfully creamy and even textured when the coconut cream is all mixed in.

      • Brianna says

        Thanks, Kate. I did consider heating it but I guess I convinced myself it didn’t matter (when it does!). And next time I’ll try some arrowroot, I just couldn’t find it in the grocery store. Thanks so much for the recipe!

  46. Amber says

    Great recipe. I subbed the honey with agave nectar and it still turned out great. Love you blogs and recipes. I hope you are feeling better and that some sunlight shines through this crazy weather just for you.

  47. Kim says

    I was so excited to make this today! I mixed it up last night and put it in the ice cream maker this morning, nice and chilled. Unfortunately for me, I used raw honey that someone had given me a few months ago. Little did I know, raw honey doesn’t freeze totally. So, I have very delicious soft serve! Tastes great, but I can’t wait to make it again to get the real texture :-)

  48. Emily says

    I don’t know you but have read your blog for years now and I just wanted to say that your food, your photos and your commentary have brought me so much joy over the years (in dark times and light). I truly believe you will get back all the positivity you have sent into the world. Also, thanks for the ice cream, veggies and cocktails. Those are always important. :-)

  49. Lisa Nolen says

    This sounded fantastic until I discerned this wasn’t an ice cream recipe. Disappointed… there is no cream so the title misrepresents the offering.

    • says

      I’m sorry you’re disappointed, Lisa. Although the recipe doesn’t call for cream, it is as creamy as regular ice cream without it. It’s a great option for vegans/lactose intolerant individuals/ice cream lovers in general.

  50. Tessa says

    I love your blog! I just now found it and I can already tell that I’m going to be looking on here a lot. The ice-cream looks really good! And I really liked how you have pictures of the ingredients. Your blog is really inviting to me. I think its really cool that you have a vegetarian blog. The ice-cream looks awesome!

  51. carisa says

    Thank you for this recipe. Do i just follow the instructions on my ice cream maker? Sorry you mention your ice cream maker but only briefly.. as you say put the base in an ice cream container and then in the freezer.. but I have an electric ice cream maker so do I just follow my machines instructions? thank you

    • says

      Hi Carisa, sorry for the confusion. Yes, once the mixture has chilled, just follow the instructions for your ice cream maker and freeze as usual.

  52. dabd says

    Tried this yesterday, it is delicious! I did it without arrowroot starch and used light sugar instead of honey. Since I don’t have an ice cream maker I took it out of the freezer every 30 minutes and used a blender to mix. It took a long time to get consistent (+6 hours) but it was worth it! Thanks for sharing!

  53. Brenda says

    All I can say is WOW!!!! I only recently stumbled upon your blog and I bookmarked it as soon as I saw it – I look forward to making many of your recipes.

    I made this tonight and it is delicious! I don’t really do sweets, so I used 2/3 c. of honey, as suggested, and it is the perfect amount. I loe the intense chai flavor and they also lend a beautiful color to the ice cream; that it’s dairy free is just an added bonus.

    Thank you so much for an absolutely terrific blog! :)

  54. says

    I made this today, and it was awesome! I made 2 batches of ice cream prior to this, using cream and I was surprised to find that the texture of the coconut milk ice cream is far superior. Thanks for this great recipe. I am hoping to use it as a base for other flavors. Mint chocolate chip is next on my list. :)

    • says

      Thanks, Carrie! I love the texture of coconut ice cream so much that I don’t want to go back to custard-based ice creams. They’re so much easier, too. I think Jeanine of Love and Lemons has a mint ice cream recipe like you’re describing. Can’t wait to try it!

  55. Tammy says

    Hi there

    Would golden syrup be substitute honey or will it be to overpowering? Also if you don’t have a machine, with food processing every few hours have the same effect?

  56. bakedalove says

    Wow. This was really good. I tried to make it without an ice cream maker…and it was taking forever to freeze so I couldn’t continually mix it every 30 minutes and it turned into an icy without an odd texture. But! I almost “ate” a whole cup of this before it even went into the freezer it was soooooo good. I will definitely have to buy an ice cream maker at some point just so I can make this again. I have a sweet tooth and I would say the 3/4 cup honey was just the right sweetness for me. Perfect amount of spice in my mind as well. So good! Thank you!

  57. Julie says

    THIS is seriously the best vegan ice cream I have ever had. Made it for the first time last summer and can’t wait to play with it some more this summer. Thank you so much for the recipe!

    • says

      Hooray! So glad you’re loving the chia ice cream, Julie. I have a couple of other coconut ice cream flavors to publish before summer’s over!

  58. LisaA says

    Well, I made this today and all I can say is, “WOW”! The Chai flavor is wonderfully complex without being overpowering. It has fabulous flavor and has a nice, creamy consistency. I modified it a bit…I used Peet’s decaf Irish Breakfast tea instead of Assam, and substituted one can of coconut cream for regular coconut milk, because that’s what I had on hand, and also added two egg yolks instead of arrowroot to provide a thicker, silkier texture. I’m definitely making this again. Thanks so much for sharing this great recipe!!!

  59. Chelsea says

    Spreading some coconut oil in your measuring glass before adding the honey will help it to roll right out, no mess!

  60. Ana says

    I have made this ice cream several times. It’s consistently delicious. My hubby and sons love it. I add almond slivers. Yummy in my tummy. Thank you for sharing. Your site is awesome and I refer to it often. You are the best.

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