Salted Peanut Butter and Honey Ice Cream

Rich and creamy, dairy-free peanut butter ice cream -

Do you remember those “choose your own adventure” books from childhood? The books that let you choose how the story proceeds, with each option presenting different potential outcomes? Just thinking about those books makes me nostalgic for simpler times, when limited choices offered more clear-cut conclusions. Life’s not so simple these days.

Anyway, this peanut butter ice cream recipe is kind of like those “choose your own adventure” books, so I thought I’d present it as such. Fortunately, each option leads to a happy ending.

peanut butter and honey

Question no. 1: To add spice or not to add spice? The first time I made this ice cream, I added 1/16 teaspoon cayenne pepper, which lent a stronger jolt of spiciness than anticipated. The cold, sweet-and-spicy ice cream tingled my throat and kept me going back for bite after bite.

I loved the cayenne version, as did Tessa and Jordan. Alissa, on the other hand, much preferred my spice-free, salted second version. If you’re sensitive to spicy heat like Alissa or want a more traditional ice cream flavor, skip the cayenne.

peanut butter and honey swirl

Question no. 2: To use two cans full-fat coconut milk, or one full fat and one light? The first time I made this ice cream, I opted for the latter, thinking that I would even out the amount of fat when I mixed in the peanut butter. The resulting ice cream was creamy and scoopable, but only after it rested on the counter for five minutes first. My second ice cream was scoopable straight from the freezer and noticeably richer to me, but my friends couldn’t tell the difference. Regardless of which you choose, this is not a low fat ice cream.

Question no. 3: To add arrowroot starch or not? Arrowroot is a natural starch that is easy to digest. It’s used often in gluten-free baking. It can be used as a thickener, like corn starch. I’ve found that it significantly improves the texture of coconut milk-based ice creams by reducing the iciness, which makes it creamier.

You can often substitute arrowroot for corn starch in other recipes, too, but beware that it can make dairy-based substances sort of slimy. You can find arrowroot starch in the bakery aisle at health food stores or well-stocked grocery stores.

Salted peanut butter ice cream -

Bonus Q & A: Why coconut milk instead of cream? I prefer making coconut milk-based ice cream because it’s easier to make than custard-based ice creams and just as good. As an added bonus, it’s dairy free, so it won’t cause any problems for lactose-intolerant ice cream lovers.

While the ice cream is dairy free, it is not vegan because I sweetened it with honey. I’ve discovered that honey is the perfect sweetener for coconut milk ice creams. Since it never fully freezes, the ice cream stays soft enough to scoop straight from the freezer and offers a more traditional ice cream texture on first bite. Now you know!

arrowroot starch, coconut milk ice creamDairy-free peanut butter and honey ice cream - cookieandkate.comDairy-free peanut butter and honey ice cream - cookieandkate.comSuper creamy, dairy-free peanut butter ice cream -

Salted Peanut Butter and Honey Ice Cream
4.6 from 7 reviews
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 to 8
Creamy, dairy-free peanut butter and honey ice cream made with coconut milk instead of cow's milk. This ice cream is rich, delicious and easy to make! If your peanut butter already contains salt, reduce the amount of salt shown below (just add salt to taste). Don't forget to put the bowl of your ice cream maker in the freezer at least one day in advance. The recipe yields a little less than 1.5 quarts of ice cream.
  • 2 cans coconut milk (28 ounces total), either 2 cans full fat or 1 can full fat and 1 can light
  • ¾ cup honey
  • ½ cup creamy, natural, unsalted peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1½ teaspoon arrowroot starch (optional), whisked with a few tablespoons of the coconut milk mixture
  • Dash ground cayenne pepper (optional)
  1. In a Dutch oven or a big, heavy-bottomed pot, combine the coconut milk (don't worry if the coconut solids have separated from the liquid), honey, peanut butter, vanilla and salt. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat, whisking often to prevent scorching.
  2. By now, the mixture should be well blended, but if not, whisk vigorously until it is. If you are NOT using arrowroot starch, remove the pot from heat. If you ARE using arrowroot starch, transfer a few tablespoons of the ice cream mixture to a small bowl. Add the arrowroot starch to the bowl and whisk to get out all of the lumps. Pour the mixture into the pot and gently simmer for 1 minute, whisking frequently. Remove the pot from heat.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a heat-safe mixing bowl to aid the cooling process. Let the mixture cool to room temperature, then place the bowl in the refrigerator until the mixture is completely and thoroughly chilled. If your future ice cream container is made of glass or metal, place it in the freezer to chill.
  4. If you used arrowroot starch, scoop off the thickened top layer with a spoon (if there is one) 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.
  5. If you used 1 can light coconut milk, you might need to let the ice cream rest at room temperature for 5 minutes before scooping.
Recipe adapted from my chai coconut ice cream and honey-sweetened, spiced coconut milk ice cream.
Make it vegan: You can substitute maple syrup or agave nectar for the honey, but the ice cream will freeze harder. You might have better luck with granulated brown sugar. You may need to adjust the amount of sweetener to taste—add sweetener until the ice cream mixture tastes a tad too sweet (it tastes less sweet once frozen).
Serving suggestions: This ice cream would be awesome with crumbled graham crackers or magic shell on top.
Storage suggestions: This ice cream should keep well in the freezer for a couple of weeks, stored in an air-tight, freezer-safe container .
Change it up: Add finely chopped chocolate near the end of the churning process.A note on ice cream makers: I love-love-love my 2-quart Cuisinart. If you don't have an ice cream maker and don't want to buy one, here are a couple of methods that might work for this ice cream (I haven't tried them): how to make ice cream with a food processor (tips from Jeni Britton) and how to make ice cream without a machine (by David Lebovitz).


  1. says

    I’m fairly new to this homemade ice cream thing, and I’m super intrigued by your honey advice! My boyfriend’s dad makes his own honey, so I have a bunch of local, rich stuff at home that I wanted to use for something special. I’m thinking this ice cream is going to need to happen this weekend!

    I love that you talked about Choose Your Own Adventure Books. I wrote a Choose Your Own Adventure blog post about almond butter cookies once – 90s kids forever :)

  2. says

    Wow–this looks amazing! Salted desserts are my absolute favorite.

    Sadly, I found out this spring that I am allergic to coconut. The two things I miss most are dairy-free ice creams like this one and Thai curry with coconut milk! Since I’m obsessed with ice cream (and also lactose intolerant), I’ve been playing around with cashew and almond milk ice creams. They can be delicious, but are not super scoopable. I might try your arrowroot trick with that and see how it works!

    Also, I have a suspicion that cayenne pepper randomly varies significantly in its spice level. I am not sure if it’s truly random variation, or just how fresh it is or how long it’s been open…have you noticed anything like that?

    • says

      Hey Becky, I know you weren’t asking me but I have DEFINITELY experienced wide variations in the level of spice in my cayenne. Some are just ridiculously hot while others are very, very mild. Not sure how to tell before you taste it though! I don’t think I’ve seen different types being sold before. I’m not certain it couldn’t be an age thing because we had some cayenne that was about a year old and OMG it was so HOT. So we went out and bought some fresh, in the hopes it might be milder, and the fresh cayenne has literally 1/2 the amount of spiciness. Weird and a little frustrating!

    • says

      What a bummer! Wish I had a creamy coconut-free ice cream recipe for you. From what I’ve read, arrowroot requires a little heat to activate. If you eat honey, you might have better luck using honey as your sweetener. I know that some red pepper flakes are way hotter than others, so I bet you’re right about cayenne. The nice thing about making ice cream is that you can easily season it to taste!

  3. says

    Yet another reason I need an ice cream maker. Thanks for the ingredient analysis–I love having the “why’s” behind the recipe.

  4. says

    Oh – you are soooo baaad!!!! This has my name written all over it. My daughter is allergic to peanuts, so I haven’t made anything peanut buttery in 18 years. But she just left for college! (I didn’t mean that to sound as gleeful as it did). I am so making this!!!! Thanks!

  5. says

    This looks SO good, Kate! As soon as I get an ice cream maker… Also, you really can’t beat the honey/pb combo (though I might be tempted to toss a little cinnamon in the mix!).
    By the way, my family is nuts. We are going to our cabin in the woods (town population=157, one store the size of my kitchen at home) and we are making slaw. My cousin is coming up with us and she hasn’t had it before, and my dad is really [slightly irrationally] excited to have her taste the wonder that is Slaw. So. Yeah. Just thought I’d let you know.

    • says

      Cinnamon would be a stellar addition! Totally giggling about your dad’s enthusiasm for The Slaw. I love it! Thanks for sharing!

  6. says

    I loved those books as a kid! And of course, when you didn’t like the outcome of one of your decisions, you could always flip back and say “no, I didn’t meant to pick that! Just kidding!”

  7. Maddie says

    I just had to make this! The mixture is chilling in the fridge now to be ready for the 4th of July! Yum :)

  8. says

    I haven’t seen an ice cream I wanted so much in quite some time! Peanut butter and honey was THE sandwich of my youth, so I could eat quite a bit of this. :) Just have to find room for the ice ream maker bowl in the freezer!

    • says

      Peanut butter and honey on toast is still one of my all-time favorite breakfasts! I know you’d love this ice cream, Eileen. :)

  9. says

    I loved Choose Your Own Adventure books, too! Also, Encyclopedia Brown. The stories where the answers to each mystery were in the back, did you read those? I could never figure it out without the answers! He was too smart.

    I’m so glad you posted this because a friend of mine just had to go dairy-free and a July 4th cookout is NOT a July 4th cookout without ice cream! I will treat us all to some of this — LOVE the peanut butter flavors :)

  10. Kaela says

    This looks so delicious! If I don’t have arrowroot powder and substitute cornstarch, can I still use the coconut milk? Thank you!

  11. Cindy says

    This looks delicious!!! Is it a strong coconut flavor? I have a family member who isn’t as fond of coconut :(

    • says

      Thanks, Cindy! The peanut butter and honey flavors are so pronounced that I honestly can’t detect the flavor of coconut in the ice cream. I guess others may be more sensitive to the taste of it, but I think there’s a pretty good chance your family member will enjoy it!

  12. says

    Sounds awesome, Kate! And thanks so much for the tip on arrowroot starch. I usually make my “ice creams” banana based, but they could do with a little bit of softening to make them easier to scoop. Might try adding a bit of arrowroot next time!

  13. says

    So many useful tips, I am bookmarking this ASAP. Wish I had known about the arrowroot starch before I made coconut horchata popsicles, they were good but turned out a bit icy despite using full fat coconut cream and coconut milk. Also was thinking *shrug* I’ll just use corn starch and then read about the potential sliminess….again great tips, I’ve been wanting to make coconut based ice cream and apparently you know all the secrets :)

    • says

      Happy to share! I just got more popsicle sticks so I’ll be trying arrowroot coconut milk popsicles soon! I once made horchata popsicles out of regular almond/rice milk horchata. They were terrible!

  14. says

    Haha… Aaron and I often talk about choose your own adventure books. We both owned quite a few as kids and I have no idea where mine disappeared to… but I loved them!! You’re entirely right in saying that adulthood isn’t quite so simple though. Issues like chilli vs no chilli are seriously complex life decisions!! Whether to eat this ice cream would be a simple one though. I’d be going back for more! Do you think I could use the same quantity of tahini instead of peanut butter? I happen to have some in the fridge at the moment! Gorgeous as always Kate xxx

    • says

      I’ll admit that I was more of a Nancy Drew girl than a choose your own adventure reader. If you love the flavor of tahini, I think it’d be a fine substitute for the peanut butter! (I think.)

  15. says

    Kate – This sounds amazing, and I love all the variations! The spice addition is totally up my alley. I forgot about the choose your own adventure books, but I could read those and dig into all the different outcomes for hours – wonder if they still make those….

    • says

      Hey Sharon, I don’t have much experience with sunbutter, but if you enjoy the flavor of it, it’s worth a try. I think almond butter would be a great substitution.

  16. Michelle says

    Went out and bought an ice cream maker the day I saw this! Made the ice cream yesterday to celebrate Independence Day. It was amazing! Now I am going to hunt down other coconut ice cream recipes since we are non-dairy. So fun to be able to make our own ice cream again! Thanks!

    • says

      Well, I’m glad this recipe made your ice cream purchase worthwhile! I have chai ice cream and honey-vanilla ice cream recipes on the blog that are also coconut milk based. has coconut/cashew-based ice creams and has some other coconut milk ice creams.

  17. says

    Hi Kate! I was going to give this recipe a try today (looks amazing!), and wanted to ask a question. What’s the reason for simmering the ingredients together first and then cooking them, vs. just blending them together and throwing them in the ice cream maker? I’m assuming there’s a chemistry-related reason for needing to simmer them first, but just curious since I’m always looking for an excuse not to use my stove/oven in the summer. Thanks!

    • says

      Hey Jessica, good question. Arrowroot starch needs to be heated in order to activate. If you’re not using arrowroot, you probably could blend it up, but I’ve found that heat helps the mixture blend together. Honey, thick peanut butter, and separated clumps of coconut cream and coconut water aren’t the easiest things to whisk together, I know that much! Please let me know how it turns out if you try using your blender for this one.

      • says

        Good to know, thanks! It will be interesting because I’m halving the recipe and using Trader Joe’s light coconut milk only—I bought it a while ago because a bunch of other recipes said that TJ’s light had the same creaminess factor as most brands’ full-fat, so it’s all I have on hand. So it might be awesome or I might need to give it another try later. Thanks for your help and I’ll keep you posted!

    • says

      Also, even if you blend the mixture together rather than heating it up, you definitely need to chill the mixture before pouring it into your machine. Otherwise the ice cream won’t freeze properly and you’ll end up with icy/not fully frozen ice cream.

  18. Kristi says

    I made the base last night and ran it through the ice cream maker this morning. Amazing! I’ve been sneaking little bites of it out of the freezer all day. Subbed cornstarch for the arrowroot with no adverse effects. Thanks for a delicious, easy recipe!

  19. says

    Tried it last night—was SO good! I just blended the ingredients and then chilled them. Used the Trader Joe’s light coconut milk which is insanely creamy, and the overall texture was great! Will definitely be making it again, and trying out different flavor combos as well. Thanks!

    • says

      Yay! Thanks for the update, Jessica! I will have to check out Trader Joe’s light coconut milk. I wonder why it is so much more creamy than other light coconut milks (maybe a higher fat content?). I’ll have to try your blender method next time.

  20. says

    I am so making this!! Thank you for sharing the recipe, and for explaining your ingredient choices. I’m sold! Those flavors sound awesome together.

  21. Christopher K says

    You have wonderful recipes Kate !

    Will try it out when I have my own kitchen later this yr. Plus, you are so charming ;-) Keep up with the good work cos it’s a great way to connect with people.

  22. Laura says

    I was so sad that this has peanut butter, cause it looks so good but I’m allergic…but then I scrolled down and saw a link to your chai coconut ice cream and felt much better :) Thanks for giving me a reason to dust off the ice cream maker, I haven’t used it in ages!

    • says

      Laura, I hope you love the chia ice cream! It’s delicious. If you aren’t allergic to almond butter (and like almonds), you could trade almond butter for the peanut butter in this recipe!

  23. says

    Kate…did you read my mind….this sounds like a dessert perfectly designed for this ice cream lover (yep, even in the middle of winter I love a scoop or two).
    I loved all of the advice and explanation about your recipe choices as well. I am a food nerd (there had to be a reason I studied dietetics) and I love to know the science behind a recipe. Thanks for an interesting read and a yummy recipe :)

  24. says

    I was recently wondering about making some pb ice cream as a friend mentioned how it is often sold out at her local supermarket because it’s so popular. Soooo … great timing. Thanks for all the super tips!

  25. says

    I made dairy-based peanut butter ice cream this weekend…but now I’m thinking I’ll have to churn up this variety next for my lactose intolerant brother! We are both peanut butter addicts, so I might even share. :P

  26. says

    Wow this looks amazing! I just made ice cream tonight for my family using just frozen mango and banana. I’m always looking for yummy ice cream recipes without dairy! Thanks for the recipe. Definitely going to make this over the weekend :)

  27. says

    Oh my gosh. This is just what I feel like right now. I’m in a total peanut butter phase this summer for some reason and this is extremely appealing to me. And it doesn’t get much better than coconut/peanut. This is lovely!

  28. Mike says

    I strongly dislike the taste of coconut. Whats a good substitute that isnt soy?

    Also I wonder how using just light coconut milk and using more peanut butter for the fat would affect the results

    • says

      Hey Mike, the flavor of coconut is masked by the peanut butter and honey (in my opinion). I’m not sure what to substitute for the coconut milk other than traditional cream. You need to make up for the fat in the coconut milk so maybe extra peanut butter would help.

  29. Jess says

    So excited to see a non dairy ice cream recipe with my favorite ingredient- peanut butter! I would eat peanut butter for every meal if I could (well, okay, maybe I already do ;) ). Trying to resist eating the ice cream mixture straight out of the bowl in liquid form as it cools right now!

  30. says

    I have fond memories of choose your own adventure books! This ice cream looks heavenly. Just discovered your blog…I love your writing style and photography skills!

  31. Hailey says

    May be a bit late in posting but just discovered your blog!
    My mummzy just bought an ice cream maker and now me and my sister bug her all the time to make this! :D

    Only thing that worries me is it will make me fat but I can’t stay out of it! Soooooooo good!

    • says

      Hey Hailey, glad you found my blog! If it’s any consolation, our bodies tend to burn off coconut fat immediately rather than storing it for later. :)

  32. Katie says

    Have you tried giving this to your dog? Ive been looking for a dog friendly recipe to try in my ice cream maker :)

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