Traditional coconut ice slice is a sweet treat that so many of us have grown up with. This recipe for dairy free coconut ice is an allergy-friendly and vegan version that is just as delicious. Easy to make and no baking required.
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Coconut ice is a traditional English sweet that many of us remember from our childhood. Depending on the recipe, it can be soft and chewy or quite hard. But it is always very sweet! Our vegan coconut ice is definitely on the softer side.
The traditional version has two coloured layers, usually pink and white. However you can have some fun and make the layers in different colours (and flavours) to suit the occasion. Just substitute your choice of food colouring and flavouring.
This easy dairy free coconut ice recipe only uses a few ingredients:
- 300g (2 cups) sifted icing sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 370g tin non-dairy condensed milk
- 250g (3 cups) desiccated coconut
- a few drops of vanilla extract
- 5-6 drops pink or red food colouring
Most coconut ice recipes call for pure icing sugar, not icing sugar mixture. To be honest, I don’t think it matters as long as your icing sugar choice is suitable for your allergies. (Soft icing sugar mixture can contain other ingredients like maize and tapioca starch). The most important thing for coconut ice is to make sure you don’t skip sifting the icing sugar, because lumps won’t give a good result.
Cream of tartar
Cream of tartar is a food acid that helps prevent sugar crystallising. It is usually available in the baking aisle at supermarkets. For those of you in the US, Judee’s brand is a good option as it is made in a gluten and nut free facility. And if you don’t have any on hand, you could just leave it out of this recipe.
Desiccated coconut is a finely grated, dry coconut product. Don’t try and substitute shredded coconut, as this will be too moist and the longer strands don’t give the same texture. Coconut flakes also won’t give the right texture. I usually buy McKenzies desiccated coconut.
Dairy free condensed milk
In days gone by, our grandmother’s would have used milk and sugar, not condensed milk, to make traditional coconut ice slice. Using condensed milk makes the process a lot quicker.
When I first started cooking for food allergies, the only option for dairy free condensed milk was to make my own. While this is definitely still a good option, I love the convenience of grabbing a can from the supermarket.
Fortunately there are now a few ready-made options. In this recipe I use Nestle Plant Based Condensed Milk Alternative. This is a vegan condensed milk made with rice and oat flour. I have also used Pandaroo sweetened condensed coconut milk in lots of recipes. As always, make sure you check the ingredients for your own allergens. If not suitable, definitely consider making your own from your choice of non-dairy milk. For a vegan sweetened condensed milk, reduce about 650ml of your non-dairy milk with 50g of sugar in a saucepan over low heat. You can also add a dash of vanilla.
Grease and line a 20x20cm (8×8 inch) baking pan with non-stick baking paper, allowing the paper to sit above the pan edge on 2 sides.
Combine the sifted icing sugar and cream of tartar in a large mixing bowl using a wooden spoon. Add the desiccated coconut and mix well.
Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the condensed milk alternative and vanilla. Mix these ingredients until well-combined. The mixture will be very stiff so this may take some time.
One you have a large well-formed ball of mixture, divide in half. Place one half of the mixture in a separate bowl and add the food colouring of your choice. Mix well until the colour is even.
Press the white coconut ice mixture into the prepared pan to create an even layer. Then press the coloured coconut ice mixture on top, pressing down until the top is smooth and even.
Chill the slice in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Once firm, cut into small pieces with a sharp knife.
This recipe makes about 30 small pieces of coconut ice. Prepared coconut ice will keep in air tight container for up to 4 weeks.
If you love coconut, you should also have a look at our recipes for:
- Zesty egg and dairy free coconut and lime cake;
- Gluten, nut, egg and dairy free lemon slice which is also made with dairy free condensed milk; or
- Coconut and maple dairy free fudge (vegan)
For more quick and easy allergy-friendly recipes, make sure to visit our recipe page.
Dairy Free Coconut Ice
- 20x20cm (8inch) non-stick baking tray
- greaseproof baking paper
- 2 large mixing bowls
- Wooden spoon
- Metal spoon
- 300g g (2 cups) icing sugar, sifted
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 370 g (13oz) can vegan condensed milk alternative
- 250 g (3 cups) desiccated coconut
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 5-6 drops pink or red food colouring
- Grease and line a 20x20cm (8x8inch) non-stick baking pan with baking paper. Allow the paper to overhang the edges on two sides.
- Mix the sifted icing sugar and cream of tarter in a large bowl. Add the desiccated coconut and stir until combined.
- Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the non-diary condensed milk alternative and vanilla extract. Stir with a wooden spoon until the mixtures creates a firm, well-rounded ball.
- Divide the mixture in half and place one half in a separate bowl. Add the food colouring to the separate portion and mix well with a metal spoon until the colour is even.
- Press the white coconut ice mixture into the prepared tin, taking care to spread evenly. Then press the coloured coconut mixture over the top of the white, spreading evenly to create a second layer.
- Chill the coconut ice in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
- When cool, cut into small pieces with a sharp knife. This recipe makes approximately 30 small pieces.