This creamy coconut sorbet is made from scratch and is the best frozen dessert for summer! Made with either an ice cream maker or blender, this dairy-free and vegan dessert can be served in a coconut shell for an extra festive treat!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
This recipe is SO refreshing, creamy, and the perfect treat to cool off on a hot day. To ensure the sorbet stays extra creamy, this sorbet is made with coconut water, coconut milk, and coconut cream.
Because the coconut cream has a high-fat content, this sorbet is not super icy like some other sorbets and replicates a slightly more ice cream texture.
Though you can eat it exactly as is, it's also great to add some toasted coconut flakes, or fresh fruits like mango, pineapple, raspberries or strawberries to the tops.
Finally, while it is easiest to make this sorbet in an ice cream machine, there are also instructions on how to make this without it! All you need is an immersion blender or standard blender (though I find an immersion blender to be easiest).
And, if you're just here for the coconut, this Coconut Almond Cake is one of my absolute favorites!
- Coconut water
- Coconut milk
- Coconut cream
- Granulated sugar
- Whole coconut. This is totally optional but is great for a cute and fun way to serve the coconut sorbet. See instructions further down in the post for instructions on how to crack open a coconut!
See recipe card for full ingredient quantities.
Coconut Water, Coconut Milk, Coconut Cream
Note that there are differences between these coconut varieties and they cannot be used interchangeably. I can typically find all of these in the international section of the grocery store.
Coconut water is the water that comes from the center of the coconut. Coconut milk is both coconut water and coconut cream (once the pulp is blended). Finally, coconut cream is strictly the thick cream (which contains the fat content), though there is also typically a small amount of coconut water, as well.
While there aren't many variations to this recipe, there's a few ways to switch up this recipe:
- Texture - add ½ cup sweetened shredded coconut at the end of the mixing portion. You could also toast the coconut and add it to the tops of the sorbet, instead.
- Rum - add one shot of rum at the end of the mixing portion to turn this into a boozy treat!
- Fruit - top the coconut sorbet with fresh fruit like mango, pineapple, raspberry, strawberry, or blueberry for a pop of fresh flavor.
How to Make This Recipe
Before starting, you'll need to make the coconut simple syrup, then add that to the fridge overnight along with the coconut milk and coconut cream. It's crucial that everything is as cold as possible before beginning.
You'll also want to be sure the bowl of your ice cream mixer can freeze for at least 12 hours, as well.
One: Add the cold coconut simple syrup, coconut milk and coconut cream to a large bowl.
Two: Blend them together with an immersion blender (or use a blender/food processor).
Three: Turn on the ice cream machine and pour the blended coconut mixture into the machine.
Five: Churn until soft-set where the texture has developed, but it's not getting too hard.
Four: Blend for 15-20 minutes. Be sure to follow your particular machine's instructions.
Six: Transfer the coconut sorbet to a metal dish, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze for 2-3 hours before serving.
Hot tip! Place the ice cream scoop in hot water in between scoops for clean removal.
How to Make Sorbet without an Ice Cream Maker
To make the coconut sorbet without an ice cream machine, follow all the blending steps, then add to a freezer-safe container and freeze for two hours.
Every 30 minutes of that time frame, use an immersion blender to get in there and re-blend the mixture, then cover and place back in the freezer.
After the two hours, allow the sorbet to set for one more hour in the freezer, then scoop and serve.
- Be sure the ice cream machine bowl is completely frozen. I like to freeze mine for at least 12-16 hours prior to making.
- All ingredients should also be incredibly cold. It's best to leave them in the fridge overnight.
- Use a touch of coconut extract to round out the flavor, if needed. Coconut cream can sometimes taste a bit "soapy" so the coconut extract helps to offset that flavor.
- I truly love to serve these in coconut shells and they're actually incredibly easy to open (when you buy the perforated varieties from the grocery store).
- Add a small piece of plastic wrap to the bottom of the coconut shell if it was one of the halves that you had to tap to remove the water before opening. This prevents the sorbet from leaking out.
How to Crack a Coconut
First, you want to be sure you're buying a brown, hairy coconut that has a perforated area in the center belly of the coconut. This is how almost all of them come in the grocery stores and you can see a small indented line around the center of the coconut.
You'll see three dark spots or indents in one side of the coconut. Find a spot that seems the softest, the use the screw of a wine opener to turn it the whole way into the coconut center, then pull it out. Pour and shake out the coconut water and reserve for the recipe or drink it!
Then, line the perforated line in the center of the coconut up with the edge of a stair, counter, curb, etc., and hit it along the edge, rotating it after each bash. Continue until the coconut opens.
I then like to rinse out the center of the coconut and snip off any hairs that are coming over the edges.
Sorbet is not meant to be super creamy. This is because it is made of fruit and simple syrup and does not contain excess fat like in ice cream. If sorbet is made correctly, it should not be overly icy in taste or texture. This has to do with the amount of simple syrup used.
However, this specific coconut sorbet recipe remains incredibly creamy due to the fat from the coconut cream.
Sorbet is incredibly easy to make. It can either be made with blended fruit or just fruit juice, and it has simple syrup (water and sugar) added. It then gets blended in an ice cream machine until smooth, then frozen completely.
This can be made with pretty much any fruit!
Store the coconut sorbet tightly covered in the freezer for up to one month. I like to store my in reusable ice cream containers, but you can store it any airtight, freezer-safe container.
Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the sorbet each time. This protects the sorbet and limits the amount of freezer burn and ice crystallization.
More Frozen Treats
- Immersion blender
- Ice cream maker or immersion blender
- 1 cup coconut water 8oz
- 1 cup granulated sugar 200g
- 1 can coconut milk 13.5 fl oz
- 1 can coconut cream 13.5 fl oz
- 1 teaspoon coconut extract optional
- ½ cup sweetened shredded coconut optional
- Heat the coconut water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, then transfer the simple syrup to a jar and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight. Also refrigerate the coconut milk and cream, as freeze the ice cream bowl until solid.
- Combine the coconut water, coconut milk and coconut cream and blend until smooth.
- Add the mixture to an ice cream machine and churn for 15-20 minutes until it begins to ice but is still very soft. Add in the coconut extract during the last minute, if using.
- Remove the insert and scrape off any sorbet, then fold in the shredded coconut, if using.
- Transfer the sorbet to a freezer safe container and seal. Freeze for at least 3 hours.
- Allow the sorbet to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes, then scoop and serve.
- Blend all ingredients with an immersion blender, then add to a freezer-safe vessel and freeze for two hours (covered with plastic wrap).
- Every 30 minutes of the two hours, use an immersion blender to blend the mixture, stopping once it becomes too difficult to blend.
- Freeze for one more hour, then scoop and serve.