Does the summer heat have you craving a sweet frozen treat? You’re not alone! Ice cream is no doubt a nostalgic (and effective) way to cool down on hot summer days. But if you’re vegan or lactose intolerant (or you just prefer a dairy-free lifestyle!), viable ice cream can be hard to find.
Luckily for you, we’ve rounded up eight delicious ice cream alternatives even you can indulge in. And even better? They’re made with healthy ingredients and are fairly easy to prepare in your own kitchen. So, leave the FOMO at the door because this summer is about to get pretty delicious for everyone around! Here’s our dietitian-approved list of the best dairy-free, icy treats anyone can make at home.
1. Vegan Roasted Peach Ice Cream Sundae
This dreamy sundae not only features luscious vanilla bean coconut milk ice cream (made with just a handful of ingredients!), it’s also topped with gorgeous roasted peaches, which are in season! The two together make this a drool-worthy summery treat that we need right this second.
Image source: Kara Lydon
2. Lavender Oat Banana Ice Cream
This vegan lavender ice cream contains fiber-rich oats and naturally sweet bananas, which will keep you satisfied and relaxed on those balmy summer nights. What makes it one of our favorite dairy-free ice cream recipes is how easy it is to make — all you need to make it is a few ingredients and a food processor!
Image source: Stephanie McKercher
3. Balsamic Roasted Strawberry Popsicles
Popsicles are those treats that will make you feel like a kid again, no matter your age. But there’s a healthier way to enjoy these nostalgic treats without heading to the freezer aisle at your grocery store. Load them up with fresh summer fruit and they make a nutritious, fiber-filled frozen dessert. Plus, they’re super easy to make! Here’s what we really love about this recipe: Roasting the strawberries concentrates the sweet strawberry flavor and makes the final product more creamy than icy.
Image source: Dixya Bhattarai
4. Strawberry Ginger Beet Sorbet
Sorbet is a classic nondairy ice cream alternative that’s perfect for dessert any time of the day. Strawberries and beets give this sorbet an antioxidant and fiber boost and a beautiful color. Naturally sweetened with just fruit and a touch of honey, this sorbet is perfectly refreshing for the summer!
Image source: Kaleigh McMordie
5. Vegan Nutella Banana Ice Cream
Who doesn’t love a good hazelnut chocolate spread? But if you’re trying to avoid dairy, you might run into a problem finding a vegan option at your store. Worry not, because you can whip up your own at home! Top some dairy-free banana ice cream with this healthier homemade cocoa-hazelnut sauce, and you’ll have a vegan-friendly bowl of deliciousness you’ll be making more of ASAP.
Image source: Abbey Sharp
6. Baby Blueberry, Lemon, and Mint Sorbet
Another yummy sorbet we love, this one is loaded with vitamins and antioxidants thanks to wild blueberries. It’s made with simple ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen. Refreshing mint and lemon make this sorbet a great choice for cooling down on extra-hot days, and you’ll feel good knowing you’re indulging in a guilt-free dessert.
Image source: Jenny Shea Rawn
7. Watermelon Lemon Italian Ice
No summer is complete without watermelon. It’s so refreshing, and it does double-duty by filling you up and hydrating you through its high water content. Plus, with all of watermelon’s fiber and antioxidants, this Italian ice recipe is a healthy way to beat the heat and give in to your sweet cravings!
Image source: Jessica Penner
8. Strawberry Banana Soft Serve
Last, but certainly not least, this strawberry banana soft serve couldn’t be any easier to make. It contains only three ingredients: naturally sweet, fiber-rich strawberries and bananas, and your choice of nondairy milk. There is nothing about it we don’t love!
Image source: Chrissy Carroll
Kaleigh is a registered dietitian, food blogger at Lively Table, writer and recipe developer passionate about making healthy living fun and accessible to everyone. She believes in a non-diet approach to healthy eating and strives to help clients develop a positive relationship with food. When she’s not in the kitchen, Kaleigh can be found hanging out with her husband and three Brittany spaniels.