Customise Your Ice Cream (Or, how to create 15+ flavours from a tub of vanilla ice cream)

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This post may contain affiliate links (see full disclaimer here). This means if you make a purchase after clicking, I may get a small percentage of the sale, at absolutely no extra cost to you.

When I moved to the UK, I immediately noticed a serious lack of interesting vegan ice cream flavours.  Sure, there are a few different flavours of Swedish Glace, Bessant and Drury and Booja Booja, and some shops even stock a couple flavours of Rice Dream, but most of the flavours are pretty standard: chocolate, vanilla, Neopolitan, coconut…  I missed all the inventive flavours of So Delicious/Purely Decadent in the US.  Where is my So Delicious Peanut Butter Zig Zag?!  So I decided to make my own ice cream… I don’t have an ice cream maker but I’ve discovered you can make a pretty wide range of flavours by customising a plain old tub of vegan vanilla ice cream (which is much more widely available, in the UK and beyond, than Peanut Butter Zig Zag!).  You can also make a delicious ice cream out of frozen bananas (see below the list) which you could customise.  To customise vanilla ice cream, all you have to do is leave it out to soften for 5-10 minutes, mix in your add-ins, and then put it back in the freezer for a few hours until it refreezes.

A few flavour ideas to get you started:

  1. Cookies ‘n’ cream: mix crumbled Oreos or Newman Os + vanilla ice cream
  2. Mint choc chip: mix mint extract + choc chips into vanilla ice cream.  Or, mix chopped vegan peppermint bark (or vegan mint fondants, if you can find them, would also work nicely) + vanilla ice cream + vegan chocolate syrup
  3. Speculoos/Biscuit: mix speculoos paste (an ingenious ‘cookie butter’ made of crushed Speculoos biscuits!) + vanilla ice cream
  4. Nutella: mix your favourite vegan chocolate-hazelnut spread + vanilla ice cream
  5. Coffee: mix instant coffee (I used the Starbucks Via, as these are very finely ground) + vanilla ice cream
  6. Dairy Queen-style Blizzard/McDonald’s McFlurry-style:  In a blender, mix vegan M&Ms  or chunks of a GoMaxGo candy bar (pick your favourite flavour between Snickers, 3 Musketeers, Milky Way and more) +  vanilla ice cream + a splash of non-dairy milk
  7. Strawberry: mix vegan strawberry syrup + chopped fresh strawberries into vanilla ice cream
  8. Chocolate covered pretzel: mix chopped up pieces of vegan chocolate covered pretzels (like these or you can make your own) + vanilla ice cream, or mix pieces of pretzels + chocolate chips + vanilla ice cream
  9. Cookie dough: mix chunks of vegan cookie dough + vanilla ice cream
  10. Chocolate cherry: mix cherry syrup or cherry extract or cherry liquor + chocolate chips + fresh cherries (if you have them available) + vanilla ice cream
  11. Peanut butter chocolate: mix peanut butter + chocolate chips or vegan chocolate syrup + vanilla ice cream
  12. Rocky road: mix vegan mini marshmallows (or chopped larger vegan marshmallows) + chocolate chips + almonds into vanilla or chocolate ice cream
  13. Dulce de leche or butterscotch: mix butterscotch syrup (Lyle’s brand is vegan and you can buy it in supermarkets in the UK or on Amazon here) or dulce de leche (you can make your own vegan dulce de leche with coconut milk and soya milk, or you can buy it if you’re in Argentina) + vanilla ice cream
  14. Praline pecan: Mix praline pecans (try making this recipe) + vanilla ice cream
  15. Pumpkin pie: Mix pumpkin puree + pumpkin pie spices + vanilla ice cream

You can create a healthier version of many of these flavours by using the frozen banana technique (if you don’t mind a banana flavour).  To make ice cream from bananas, all you need to do is to slice and freeze ripe bananas, then blend them in a food processor (you’ll need a good food processor to do this without clumps!) until they reach a creamy, ice cream-like consistency. Click here to read my food processor buying guide. Then, add any other flavours (above) as desired.

You can create just about any flavour this way, so try making your own favourite flavour, or a flavour you can’t find a vegan version of!

You can also make a milkshake from any of these flavours. Just add dairy-free vanilla ice cream, non-dairy milk and your add-ins to a blender and blend. (Find my blender buying guide here.)


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8 thoughts on “Customise Your Ice Cream (Or, how to create 15+ flavours from a tub of vanilla ice cream)”

  1. Sweet mary jane, Speculoos is available at Waitrose? I’m planning a trek over there to get me some sharpish! And I can get vegan chocolate pretzels? This post has completely made my day better!

    • Yes and it’s on offer at Waitrose so you should hurry and buy some! :) Kosher Kingdom sells vegan chocolate pretzel, among a million other amazing things, such as vegan cheese puffs, vegan caramel chips… It’s worth the trek to Golders Green, just make sure you check a Jewish calendar to make sure it’s not a holiday or phone ahead or else you may go all the way there and find it closed!

  2. WOW, these ice cream ideas look amazing cant wait to start making more! I recently tried the chocolate cherry idea and loved it, absoloutly to die for!!

  3. I want to add black walnuts to vanilla ice cream do I have to crush the walnut meats and do I have to let it set for any length of time for the ice cream to get the flavor all through it.

  4. I’m a very big fan… I want to start up an ice cream shop in Nigeria…i need help making new flavours… Your stuff is really nice


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Caitlin Galer-Unti

Hi, I’m Caitlin and I’ve been vegan since 2008 and vegetarian my whole life. Since going vegan, I’ve lived in 4 countries and travelled to over 30! I’ve also published two bestselling vegan books (The Essential Vegan Travel Guide and The Barcelona Vegan Guide) and had my work featured in The New York Times, Vegetarian Food & Living and Vegan Life magazine. I’ve veganised my life and I’m here to help you design your life around your vegan values. 


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