Learn how to make delicious homemade Vegan Butterscotch Ice cream with just 6 main ingredients! Cashews, coconut milk, coconut sugar and molasses create that classic butterscotch flavor and creamy taste! Dairy-free, oil-free and naturally gluten-free!
VEGAN BUTTERSCOTCH ICE CREAM
One of my favorite candies to eat as a kid was the hard butterscotch candies. I stayed at my Grandma’s often on the weekends and she always had a glass bowl of candy and the butterscotch was my fave. That sweet, buttery, undeniable flavor.
Having been vegan for so many years, I have not had butterscotch anything until I created this ice cream with that flavor in mind. I actually wrote this recipe originally to go in my cookbook. It didn’t end up making the cut, since I had already written too many desserts (oops), so I finally decided to put it on the blog.
I chose to make this not only butterscotch flavor, but butterscotch espresso. My goodness, those 2 flavors together is just about the most epic combo I’ve come up with, if I do say so myself. Even the hubby loved this one.
Let me tell you, this vegan ice cream is a dream. It is exceptionally creamy, so smooth, indulgent, perfectly sweet and tastes every bit as delicious as any dairy ice cream. In fact, nobody would ever know it is dairy-free. My daughter absolutely loved it.
WHAT IS BUTTERSCOTCH?
Butterscotch is basically made by melting together butter, brown sugar and milk or cream. That is what gives it that undeniable flavor. It has a deeper flavor than plain sugar. To replicate that flavor in an ice cream, I used cashews and coconut milk for that creamy, buttery taste and mouthfeel and coconut sugar plus molasses in place of traditional brown sugar. Let me tell you, it’s fabulous.
(Only 6 main ingredients needed. Full details and measurements on the recipe card below.)
- Molasses: Traditional butterscotch is made using brown sugar, which contains molasses. This is key to getting that butterscotch flavor, so do not omit! I use the regular Grandma’s Molasses brand, not blackstrap. You can find regular molasses at most grocery stores, even Walmart and Target.
- Coconut sugar: rich brown sugar flavor, but not refined like brown sugar. This is crucial to the overall flavor. Regular white sugar will not work!
- Vanilla extract: Obviously, vanilla further enhances the overall flavor and gives it a gourmet taste.
- Cashews: butterscotch is creamy and buttery, so to get that in the ice cream, the cashews make it super creamy.
- Lite coconut milk: this additionally makes it creamy and gives a buttery mouthfeel.
- Ground espresso: I love and use the Illy brand, which can be found at many stores like Kroger, Williams Sonoma or online, but feel free to use any brand you like.
- Salt: this brings all of the sweetness together and gives an overall balanced flavor.
HOW TO MAKE VEGAN BUTTERSCOTCH ICE CREAM
Step 1: Make sure your ice cream bowl has been in the freezer for at least 24 hours so that it is solid frozen. Otherwise, the ice cream base will not turn into actual ice cream.
Step 2: Soak the cashews overnight if you don’t have a Vitamix. Drain and rinse. Add the cashews and all the remaining ingredients to the blender. Blend on high until completely smooth.
Step 3: Pour the ice cream base into the ice cream maker and churn until it reaches a soft serve consistency, about 20-25 minutes. Add the espresso in the last minute of churning. OMG, the creamiest dreamiest sight I ever saw.
Step 4: Add the ice cream to a stone or ceramic loaf pan or a metal one that has been lined. Or a freezer-safe glass container.
Step 5: Seal the top of the container tightly with plastic wrap. Chill for 2-3 hours or until firm enough to scoop.
MORE VEGAN ICE CREAM RECIPES
- Vegan Pumpkin Ice Cream
- Birthday Cake Ice Cream
- Starbucks copycat Mocha Ice Cream
- Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream
- 4 Ingredient Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream
- 5 Ingredient Peanut Butter Ice Cream
- Vanilla Cheesecake Ice cream
This post contains affiliate links. See my full disclosure policy here.
Vegan Butterscotch Ice Cream
- 1 1/2 cups (230g)
raw, unsalted cashews
- 1 13.6 oz can lite coconut milk (highly recommend the Thai Kitchen brand for the creamiest results, do not use the Polar brand)
- 1 tablespoon (20g) regular molasses, not blackstrap
- 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon (140g) coconut sugar, this is key to the butterscotch flavor, white will not work!
- 2 teaspoons (10g) vanilla extract
- 1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon fine salt, this enhances the overall butterscotch flavor, so do not omit
- 1/2-1 teaspoon ground espresso (use as much as you want) I use and love the Illy brand.
- I use this scale.
- I use this ice cream maker.
- Make sure your ice cream maker bowl has been in the freezer for 1-2 days and is solid, otherwise the ice cream will not work.
- If you don't have a Vitamix, you will need to soak the cashews for several hours (8-12) in a bowl of hot water so they can soften. Otherwise, the ice cream will turn out gritty. Drain and rinse the cashews after soaking and proceed.
- Add all of the ingredients (except the espresso!) to a blender and blend until completely smooth and no bits of nuts remain.
- Pour the ice cream base into the ice cream maker and churn until it reaches a soft serve consistency, about 20-25 minutes (depending on your machine). NOW is when you will add the ground espresso. In the last minute of churning, add the espresso so the flecks churn through the ice cream naturally.
- Add to a ceramic loaf pan or a metal one that has been lined. Cover the loaf pan very well with plastic wrap and chill in the freezer for 2-3 hours to become solid enough to scoop. If frozen overnight, it may need to sit out about 5 minutes before scooping. It will become creamy amazing magic!
- NO ICE CREAM MAKER: If you don't have an ice cream maker, you can still make this, just keep in mind that it won't be 100% as creamy and will form a bit more ice crystals over time in the freezer. You may need to let it thaw a bit longer before eating. Add your blended ice cream base to an ice cream storage container and place in the freezer. Set your timer for 30 minutes and stir the ice cream around really well, as the edges will start to firm up first. Add back to the freezer and do this every 30 minutes until it is solid or at your desired consistency. About 2 hours should do it, depending on your freezer temp. After that, if you let it freeze overnight, you may need to let it sit out at room temperature for about 10-15 minutes or so to soften a bit before eating. Again, this will depend on how cold you keep your freezer. You can also pop it in the microwave for 15 seconds too if you like.
- COCONUT MILK: Regarding the coconut milk, the “lite” does not leave any coconut taste whatsoever, yet has enough fat in it to lend a creamy texture when combined with the cashews. Please do not sub with soy, almond or rice. They simply are not creamy enough for the best ice cream texture and will create a more icy texture. Full fat coconut milk will make it TOO soft and leave a coconut taste. If you are allergic to coconut milk, you can try another really creamy milk, maybe like a high quality oat milk.
- MOLASSES: Traditional butterscotch is made using brown sugar, which contains molasses. This is key to getting that butterscotch flavor, so do not omit! I use the regular Grandma's Molasses brand, not blackstrap. You can find regular molasses at most grocery stores, even Walmart and Target.