Vanilla Macadamia Ice Cream

July 23rd, 2012 at 1:01 pm

gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan ice cream with macadamia nuts

If there was ever a summer to learn to make ice cream, this would be it.

With soaring temperatures and hot sunshine all day long, cooling treats are a must. Baking cookies or muffins? Forget it! I’m all about the freezer these days.

Earlier this season I shared my recipe for Berry Bliss Ice Cream with you. While I love that custard-based ice cream with its richness and decadence, there’s a new flavor in town and I think it’s my new favorite. Say hello to Vanilla Macadamia Ice Cream.

With just six ingredients, this ice cream is every bit as satisfying as any dairy- and sugar-laden pint you’ll find in the store. The addition of the dates lends sweetness while also giving the ice cream a bit more “scoopability.” After a quick thaw on the counter for 5-10 minutes, it scoops out very well. That said, the more you thaw and refreeze your ice cream the firmer and more icy it will become, so I recommend eating it up within a day or two. But really, is that the worst problem to have? Oh, the things we must do to keep our homemade ice cream soft…

Raw macadamia nuts are one of my guilty splurges. Since they’re expensive, I save them for special occasions. Ice cream is definitely a worthy cause! They add body and flavor that keeps me going back bite after bite.

gluten-free, dairy-free ice cream, vegan

For vegan ice cream, use Grade B maple syrup instead of honey. Your ice cream may be a tad darker than what you see pictured here (I used honey). Maple Macadamia Ice Cream…how good does that sound?

Making ice cream bases with nuts and dates is a breeze when you have a high-speed blender or Vita Mix. They disappear into the coconut milk beautifully. If you are using a regular blender, soak your dates and nuts in advance for 6-8 hours. Then just give them a quick drain and carry on.

I’m dreaming of turning this ice cream into a dairy-free milkshake. I would blend a scoop with some almond milk and a half of a frozen banana…and maybe a touch of cocoa powder. And maybe I’d pipe some of this frosting on top just for kicks.

Oh yes, summer. Your hot sun is welcome anytime. With cool treats like these, we’re all set.

Vanilla Macadamia Ice Cream
Makes about 2  1/2  cups

1 (13.5 ounce) can coconut milk (full fat)
½ cup raw macadamia nuts
½ cup (packed) pitted Medjool dates
¼ cup honey or Grade B maple syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean

Place the coconut milk, macadamia nuts, dates, honey, and vanilla extract in a high-speed blender or Vita Mix. Using a sharp knife, split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Use the side of the knife to scrape the tiny seeds out of the pod. Add them to the blender with the other ingredients. Blend on high until creamy and smooth.

Transfer to an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Other cool treats you’ll like:

Find more healthy recipes, both savory and sweet, at Slightly Indulgent Tuesday!


  1. Hallie, love that you use macadamia nuts! I’m always a fan, but wish they weren’t so pricey.

    Happy vanilla ice cream day!

    (Beautiful pictures, btw)

  2. Sounds delicious! I love ice cream, and I always make my own. Rather than try to eat the batch in two days… which let’s face it – would be easy, I dish mine out into serving sizes, so I only need to thaw one serving at a time. Works out great.

  3. This sounds delicious Hallie! Can’t wait to try this. I love, love, love macadamias.


  4. This looks so good! I have book marked it to make when our summer rolls around :) thanks for sharing

  5. Oh my… this looks yummy.

  6. Swoon! I love macadamias, but you’re right, they are pricey! This looks delectable. I’d have to hide it from myself.

  7. Holy amazing recipe lady! I’m making a similar one for my next book, but just different enough. I’ll have to share with you later :) Pinned this!

  8. I just took this out of the ice cream maker, and the texture is a dream. I love the simplicity of this recipe too, and I’m sure it is going to be a hit with my family!

  9. I wish I had some Macademia nuts, I would be making this right now! Love it! Pinning it!

  10. “this looks so good, I will have to try this!”

  11. Rosanna said on March 2, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    I have all of the ingredients except the Macadamia nuts. I have hazelnuts, so I will try this recipe tonight!!! I can’t wait to have this wonderful ice cream:)
    Thank you Hallie!

  12. I’ve been eyeing this recipe for a while, Hallie. It’s now featured over at All Gluten-Free Desserts … All the Time! :-) Next up will be me actually making it … I already know that I and everyone making it will love it though. ;-)


  13. Caroline said on April 13, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    Must you use a blender for this recipe? Could you use a food processor instead?

  14. Omg this looks fantastic I must make! Paleo ice cream is real! Thanks for the delicious idea.

  15. I made this ice cream tonight to go with a paleo chocolate cake with a mint cream cheese frosting that I made. It was amazing! I could only find dry roasted and salted macadamia nuts, but I rinsed them to get most of the salt off. The ice cream came out great and was a hit! It’s incredibly rich and creamy, which can be hard to do when making paleo ice cream. I highly recommend this recipe! Delicious! And it doesn’t freeze solid like other home made ice creams; it stays soft enough to scoop.

  16. Can substitute honey for rice syrup. It has the same consistency but lovely flavour and is less sweet so perfect for vegan and people who are allergic to pollen or bees. :)

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