Raw cacao ice cream

Raw cacao ice cream

The days of making raw ice cream with frozen bananas are over. You hear that? O V E R. Because I found a way to make raw ice cream that doesn’t involve it having a weird banana undertone. Unless you like the weird banana undertone – then, by all means, enjoy your banana ice cream. But for those of us who are sick of the freaking bananas, I found a solution. And best part about this ice cream? Only the fact that it doesn’t contain any dairy or refined sugar, but tastes like real ice cream. That alone is reason enough to celebrate.
I had my doubts about this stuff. Especially after the first night of trials had my kitchen floor covered in cashew milk. Yep, all down the stove, seeping into the burners, all over the floor. And me. Off went my pants in the middle of the kitchen. But when I dipped my spoon into the churning ice cream maker (yeah, you probably shouldn’t do that) and had a taste, I completely forgot about my milk soiled pajama pants. It was rich, creamy and flavorful. And considering my Ben & Jerry’s loving boyfriend gave it two thumbs up, I’d venture to say that this stuff rules. It rules so hard, you guys.

Raw cacao ice cream

There’s a lot to say about this ice cream, so follow along. First of all, it’s super versatile. If you prefer a sweeter ice cream, add more dates. Less chocolate? Reduce the cacao! The ice cream base is comprised of the cashews, water and dates – and there are so many flavor possibilities that it makes my head spin. You could ribbon in raw chocolate (cacao + coconut oil), or add cacao nibs and a few handfuls of unsweetened shredded coconut. How about whipping up some raw brownies and adding chunks of that? Completely omit the cacao and cinnamon, and add a vanilla bean for raw vanilla bean ice cream. You could even make a raw version of my blueberry frozen yogurt by adding lemon juice (2 tablespoons) and blueberries. Or any other fruit. AM I BLOWING YOUR MIND OR WHAT?

And don’t think I forgot about you people without fancy mixers or magical ice cream making devices. Because if you don’t have either, you can still make this stuff. Simply blend all of the ingredients together in your blender, then pour the base into ice cube trays and freeze overnight. Once frozen, transfer cubes to a plastic bag for storage, then mix in your blender whenever you get the sudden urge for ice cream (you may need to add a bit of liquid to get things moving). So, kind of like the whole frozen banana ice cream process, minus the whole banana flavor.

*A commenter pointed out the “high” calorie content of this ice cream (about 300/half cup) – so if that bothers you, you can strain out the nut pulp (although I don’t recommend it unless you’re seriously committed to sticking to your calorie counting diet). I, however, welcome high calories and good fat with an open mouth. Isn’t that the point of eating a diet full of mostly plants? So I can eat whatever the hell I want and not feel bad about it?


1 3/4 cups raw cashews
3 1/2 cups filtered water, plus more for soaking
15 medjool dates, pitted
6 tbsp cacao powder
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (I used Ceylon)

Place the cashews in a small bowl, cover with water and soak for 6 hours, or overnight (if you don’t have a high speed blender, the longer you soak the cashews, the better). Once the cashews have soaked, discard the soaking water and transfer the cashews to the container of a high speed blender, such as a Vitamix. Add the water and blend on high speed for 45-60 seconds. Add the dates, making sure each of them is submerged, then allow to soak for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, blend mixture on high speed for 30 seconds. Add the cacao powder and cinnamon; blend on high speed for at least one minute.  Transfer to the bowl of your ice cream maker and mix according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the ice cream to a container and freeze until ready to consume. Thaw for 20 minutes before serving. I like to top mine with cacao powder and a handful of cacao nibs. I highly recommend it.
Yield: about 1 quart

43 thoughts on “Raw cacao ice cream

  1. YES. Go away, banana under/overtone. This is about a jillion times better-sounding than banana soft serve. Yum. Probably gonna make this and shamelessly tuck a bit of brewed espresso in there. PUMPED.

  2. This looks amazing! I've made an "icing" for a cake similar to this and have thought about making it into some sort of ice cream. Good to know it works, and without anymore dang bananas!

  3. While I don't mind the banana at all, this looks awesome and a lot fancier. However, until I can afford cashews without feeling robbed, I'll stick to the banana.

  4. I love banana-based ice creams, but I get what you mean about the banana undertones – those can be a little too in-your-face sometimes. Your recipe sounds outstanding! I read your post at super speed so I could get to the recipe and see how you made it without the bananas. 🙂

  5. I'm new to raw foods so bananas haven't made me crazy yet, I actually wasn't eating bananas BC of the high sugar content (15g) so this is a hearty addition to my growing recipe list. I concur, cashews are so over priced, I plan meals around not using them but desert IDK if I can stay away 🙂

  6. That looks delicious! Great recipe!I have been following your blog for a while now, but just recently decided to start one myself and comment 🙂 I just wanted to let you know that I really like yours, all your recipes look scrumptious 🙂

  7. I can't wait to make this! Raw cashews are the secret weapon of vegan cooking.For everyone concerned about the price, Trader Joe's sells a 1 lb bag of raw cashews for $5.49. They also sell medjool dates.

  8. You beautiful little genius, you! How did you know I had OD'd on bananas and that I was craving a nice chocolatey frozen treat? Well played, my friend. Well played. 🙂

  9. And I JUST went to Trader Joe's on Saturday and I JUST bought a pound of dates (they are only $4.49, total steal) and two pounds of raw cashews (at my TJ's, 1 lb. of raw cashews is 6.99). But, keep them in the freezer and they last forever.AND blueberries, so I'd like to make the blueberry version. Do you think I could just add 2 cups raw blueberries (and the lemon juice) to the cashew base and blend it up in the Vitamix?

  10. This looks like a raw cacao ice dream to me! I'm glad you did all of the recipe testing, all I have to do now is to try it. Nice ice dream, nice pix, nice blog!

  11. Lol, I was just glancing at a frozen banana recipe before I found your blog, for this recipe! Hmm… do I really have to decide? Nope. This one wins hands down because it looks so smooth and cocoa-ey 😛 I don't eat ice-cream often but for this one, I can make an exception 😉

  12. beautiful! It's so simple too! I make my mousse with cashews and figured there was a way to translate that to ice cream, but I hadn't tried. And yes, I'm getting sick of the banana undertone! Thanks for the recipe. And as always, beautiful photography!

  13. Funny, I walk away smiling. But I don't count calories. If you're concerned about the "high" calorie content, you can strain the cashew pulp using a cheese cloth. That will greatly reduce the number of calories, but it will also not be as creamy. Or delicious.

  14. I made this last night in my Blendtec. I didn't have quite enough cashews so I ended up using about 1 1/4 c cashews with 1/2 cup raw macadamias. And I added about 2 tablespoons of maple syrup to sweeten it a tiny bit more. I may have done some sloppy measuring on the cocoa. Whatever, though, turned out yum!

  15. Hi and thank you so much for a wonderful recipe, I dont have an ice cream maker is it necessary? As you wrote (Transfer to the bowl of your ice cream maker and mix according to the manufacturer's instructions. )Thank you Sharon x

  16. Yes, but you'll have to whisk the crap out of it every 30 minutes until it really starts to freeze. And it'll also be a bit dense (compared to ice cream churned in a maker).

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