This cherry chocolate ice cream reminds me of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia! And it’s made with coconut milk so perfect for anyone with lactose intolerance or following a vegan lifestyle!cherry chocolate chunk ice cream with a waffle cone

My kitchen is quickly becoming an ice cream factory. With two ice cream recipes on the blog lately and at least a couple retests each, it’s safe to say we’ve been eating ice cream on the regs. And I’m not mad about it. It’s been HOT here in Boston. This past weekend we hit a high of 99 degrees and all I wanted to do was eat cold and refreshing things (aka ice cream!)

frozen cherry chocolate chunk ice cream

I really do enjoy making ice cream at home now that I have my ice cream maker. It’s pretty easy and hands off – you add your mixture to the machine and let it do its thang! 20-30 minutes later, you’ve got soft-serve ice cream. But I’m also never opposed to grabbing a cone out or a pint at the grocery store. 

cherry chocolate chunk ice cream with ice cream cone

Ice cream is one of those desserts that my stomach doesn’t love, despite my brain and being loving it. So if I make ice cream at home, I’m usually making a dairy-free version. And canned coconut milk is by far my favorite base because it’s full-fat, which makes the final product rich and creamy. As ice cream should be!

cherry chocolate chunk ice cream with a waffle cone

Since cherries are in-season this time of year, I decided to make a cherry ice cream. But knew I’d need some chocolate in there as well. There’s this ice cream shop close to the beach we go to on the North shore of Boston in Ipswich called DownRiver Ice Cream and they make the BEST homemade ice cream. It’s become a summer/beach tradition that every time we leave the beach, we make a pit stop at DownRiver.

cherry chocolate ice cream

And guess what my favorite go-to flavor is? Cherry ice cream with fudge swirls – I think they call it Jerry Cherry but I forget the name of it. I just love how sweet and refreshing the fruit base is and then those fudge swirls make it taste more sweet and delicious. 

I wasn’t sure how to mimic the fudge swirls because the first time I tried adding melted chocolate to the ice cream, it basically all melted while it was churning, so I went with shaved chocolate, so that you get some chocolate without having to bite into a frozen chip.

cherry chocolate ice creamIf you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can still make this recipe at home! And if your stomach is fine with dairy, by all means, make it with cow’s milk! Also, I used frozen dark sweet cherries for ease and efficiency but if you have a bounty of fresh cherries, have at it!

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Dairy Free Cherry Chocolate Ice Cream

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This cherry chocolate ice cream reminds me of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia! And it’s made with coconut milk so perfect for anyone with lactose intolerance or following a vegan lifestyle! 


  • 12 ounces frozen sweet dark cherries (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2, 13.5 ounce cans coconut milk (or coconut cream)
  • 1/3 cup agave syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup shaved chocolate (about 3/4 of 3-ounce chocolate bar)


  1. Store your ice cream freezer bowl in the freezer for at least 15 hours before use.
  2. In a small saucepan, add frozen cherries, sugar, and cornstarch over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until brought to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about five minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature (cooling in the refrigerator speeds up the process).
  3. In a high-speed blender, blend coconut milk, agave, vanilla and salt until combined.
  4. Transfer coconut milk mixture to ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions, about 25-30 minutes.
  5. Once ice cream is thickened to soft-serve consistency, slowly add in cherries. Add in the shaved chocolate until combined.
  6. Using a spatula, transfer the ice cream mixture to a freezer-safe container (loaf pan works well).
  7. Transfer ice cream to a freezer to harden for at least 4-6 hours.
  8. Let soften at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before serving.


  1. I stored the shaved chocolate in the freezer while I waited for the ice cream to churn.
  2. It’s important to not add warm cherries to the mix or you’ll end up with melted soft-serve.
  3. If you have don’t have an ice cream maker, transfer coconut milk mixture to a large freezer-safe bowl. Freeze for 30 minutes and take it out to whisk briskly or blend using an immersion blender Repeat this every 30 minutes until your ice cream starts to turn creamy. Fold in cherries and chocolate and continue to repeat until ice cream is frozen through.
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 hours
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Freezer
  • Cuisine: Ice Cream

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  1. Theresa

    Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe. I would love to make it but I was wondering what is the purpose of using cornstarch and can it be used without or an alternative like arrowroot?

    Thank you,

    • Hi, Theresa! I use cornstarch as a stabilizer – it helps gel together ingredients to ensure that silky, smooth texture. You can absolutely substitute with arrowroot to achieve a similar consistency. If you prefer not to use an alternative, it will not affect the flavor at all, but your ice cream may be less thick and creamy. Let me know if you try a swap!

  2. Maria

    Does the coconut cream make it taste, “coconut-y”? I don’t like for all of my ice cream to have an undercurrent taste of coconut. What else would you suggest?

  3. Elton Harding

    I would please like to know how many ounces of coconut milk you use. Your recipe says a can but they come in different sizes.