Have you ever picked back up with an old hobby, only to wonder what it was that prompted you to put it down in the first place? Oat Milk Ice Cream is my first reunion with a past passion: homemade ice cream.
In an end-of-days scenario in which I have to pick just one dessert to enjoy for the rest of my life, my answer is ice cream.
I could eat ice cream twice a day, every day…and when this oat milk ice cream was in my freezer, that’s exactly what I did!
Ben and I share a weakness for ice cream. We have an unspoken agreement that when one of us suggests a spontaneous trip to our favorite local ice cream joint, the other one must oblige.
^^Secret to a long-lasting marriage right there, folks!
Thus when we were first married, I developed a serious homemade ice cream-making habit.
I tried a new batch almost weekly, cooking my way through what I lovingly called the ice cream bible.
Then for whatever reason (we moved? I ran out of freezer space? my pants stopped fitting?), I just…stopped.
Then one late night on Amazon (dangerous!) this shiny new toy made it into my cart. Here we are with oat milk ice cream!
This oat milk ice cream is completely dairy free, but all anyone will taste is rich, creamy splendor.
It’s pepped up with a touch of cinnamon and heavy pour of pure vanilla extract.
This oat milk ice cream is rich, creamy, and nothing short of marvelous.
While some homemade ice cream does not taste good because it can be too icy, for this recipe, I took special care to ensure it tasted fantastic, both in flavor and in texture.
Secrets to Creamy Oat Milk Ice Cream
This oat milk ice cream has two secrets to make it luxuriously creamy:
- Almond Butter. Ice cream needs fat or else it will taste like ice. Almond butter adds richness and is a healthy source of protein and essential omega-3s.
- Egg Yolks. Making the oat milk ice cream with eggs ensures it boasts the pleasurable, custard-like consistency of ice cream. The eggs also give it an authentic ice cream flavor.
A Healthier Ice Cream
While I would not describe oat milk ice cream as healthy per se (it still has a relatively high calorie count and sugar count), it is certainly a healthier option than standard ice creams.
- Because this oat milk ice cream is made without heavy cream, it contains fewer calories.
- The primary source of fat in this recipe is almond butter, a “good” fat. (Remember fat is what makes ice cream creamy. Without it, the ice cream will taste icy.)
- This oat milk ice cream is sweetened primarily with pure maple syrup, a more natural option.
- Those who are sensitive to dairy can enjoy this oat milk ice cream since it is dairy free.
You also can make oat milk ice cream with no machine at all.
- Making ice cream without an ice cream machine requires more active work (you need to remove it from the freezer and stir it at various intervals). When you use an ice cream machine, you simply pour in the custard and walk away.
- The results without a machine are not *as* creamy, but the flavor is still very yummy.
- See recipe notes for instructions.
How to Make Oat Milk Ice Cream
Like classic ice cream, oat milk ice cream has a custard base, but instead of milk or heavy cream, it uses oat milk.
- Custard is a mixture of eggs and milk or cream. It’s thickened by gentle heat, allowing the eggs to cook and thicken the mixture.
- Like dairy cream, oat milk is pleasantly flavored and creamy, making it a fantastic ingredient for custard.
- Oat milk is made with just oats and water and is a popular option for those who need a plant-based milk alternative.
The trickiest part of homemade ice cream (and it’s not at all tricky I promise!) is tempering (a.k.a. slowly cooking) the egg yolks.
Don’t doubt yourself. I have plenty of details for you in the recipe at the bottom of the post.
- Oat Milk. If you’ve never tried oat milk, it’s creamy, slightly nutty, and delicious. I love it in lattes too.
- Almond Butter. Any ice cream, whether it is vegan, dairy free, or classic, needs fat to keep it from becoming icy. I used heart-healthy almond butter.
- Eggs. Making this oat milk ice cream with egg yolks is critical to achieving its velvety texture and a true “ice cream” taste. To keep the oat milk ice cream healthy, I used a lesser number of yolks than standard ice cream recipes, with fantastic results!=.
- Maple Syrup + Granulated Sugar. These two make the ice cream just the right amount of sweet and the maple syrup has a cozy flavor that’s a dream alongside the oat milk.
- Pure Vanilla Extract. Because homemade ice cream is so few ingredients, the quality of those ingredients is ultra important. Be sure to use real-deal vanilla extract here (none of the imitation stuff).
- Cinnamon. While optional, a pinch here is soooo scrumptious. It makes this ice cream taste reminiscent of an oatmeal cookie (and now I’m craving a batch of Healthy Oatmeal Cookies to go along with it!).
- Bourbon or Vodka (Optional). Because homemade ice cream doesn’t contain fillers or preservatives, it freezers harder than store bought ice creams. Since alcohol doesn’t freeze, adding a splash (or three) to your ice cream custard can help your ice cream stay creamier in the freezer. The alcohol won’t cook out, so if you prefer you can certainly omit it.
- Mix-Ins! Chocolate chips or mini chips, sprinkles, chopped toasted nuts, sweet and spicy Honey Roasted Cashews: the possibilities are endless! You can add up to ½ cup, or enjoy this oat milk ice cream on its own.
When making ice cream custard, the most important thing to remember is to take it slowly. You do not want the mixture to boil at any point, or your eggs will scramble.
- Prepare your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions (my model does not need to be pre-frozen but many do).
- Place half of the oat milk in a large bowl and set a strainer on top. Whisk the egg yolks in a separate bowl.
- Heat the remaining oat milk, almond butter, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a saucepan over medium low heat and whisk until smooth.
- Slowly add the hot oat milk to the egg yolks, going a splash at a time and whisking as you go. Once it’s all been added, scrape it back into the saucepan.
- Thicken the custard on the stove, then pour it through the mesh strainer.
- Add the bourbon and vanilla.
- Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. Top it off as desired and ENJOY!
- To Store. Oat milk ice cream can be frozen for months before freezer burn hits, but you’ll crave it much sooner!
- To Serve. Before scooping, let the ice cream stand at room temperature for several minutes to soften.
Be sure that your container is air tight, otherwise your oat milk ice cream may develop freezer burn. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the ice cream’s surface to deter freezer burn.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Ice Cream Maker. This model is an investment, but you’ll love not having to pre-freeze the bowl! This is another excellent, economic option.
- Mini Whisk. Perfect for stirring the custard.
- Ice Cream Scoop. Serve it up!
This oat milk ice cream lasted all of 48 hours in our house—it might have made it a bit longer if I didn’t have two 11:15 p.m. “emergencies” in a row, but you know how that goes.
I hope this oat milk ice cream recipe inspires you to give homemade ice cream a try. It’s such a fun project, and the rewards couldn’t be sweeter!
Oat Milk Ice Cream
- 3 cups oat milk divided
- 1/4 cup almond butter*
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon optional
- 3 egg yolks use the whites for Egg White Frittata
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon vodka or bourbon optional, see note
- 1/2 cup mix-ins of choice: toasted walnuts chocolate chips, crushed cookies (optional)
- Place 1 ½ cups of the oat milk in a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top.
- In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Set near the stove.
- Warm the remaining 1 ½ cups of the oat milk, almond butter, sugar, salt, and cinnamon (if using) in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring until the almond butter melts and the mixture is smooth. Continue cooking, stirring often, until the mixture comes to a slight simmer, bubbling around the edges of the pan. Do not let come to a full boil.
- Slowly pour the warm oat milk mixture into the egg yolks, adding in a little at a time, whisking constantly (do not add it too quickly or the eggs will scramble). Scrape the mixture back into the saucepan.
- Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens slightly and easily coats the back of a spoon. DO NOT let the mixture boil. This will take about 3 minutes.
- Pour the thickened mixture through the strainer into the bowl with the oat milk. Stir in the maple syrup and vanilla.
- Let the mixture come to room temperature, then chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions (to make this oat milk ice cream without an ice cream maker, see notes). During the last few minutes of churning, add any mix-ins of choice. Enjoy!
- *For a more neutral, classic vanilla flavor, swap the almond butter for cashew butter.
- Because alcohol doesn’t freeze, adding 1 tablespoon helps keep the oat milk ice cream softer, less icy, and more scoopable. For a completely neutral flavor, use vodka (you can’t taste it!). If you enjoy whiskey, bourbon is a delicious addition to this ice cream. You also can omit the alcohol and let your ice cream sit out a bit longer before scooping.
- TO STORE. Freeze for 3 months or longer.
- TO SERVE. Homemade ice cream freezes harder than many store-bought brands. For easy scooping, let the oat milk ice cream sit at room temperature for several minutes prior to serving.
- TO FREEZE WITHOUT AN ICE CREAM MACHINE: Prepare and chill the custard as directed. Pour into a deep stainless steel baking pan and freeze for 45 minutes. Once it begins to freeze near the edges, remove the pan from the freezer and with a spatula, stir the mixture thoroughly with a spatula. Return to the freezer. Check and energetically stir the mixture every 30 minutes. (A hand held mixer or blender works even better). Repeat every 30 minutes for 2 to 3 hours, or until the ice cream is frozen.
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