Homemade Cherry Garcia Ice Cream

Vegan Cherry Garcia Ice Cream

Before you feel sad that you don’t own an ice cream maker – don’t despair! This recipe can also be made using ice cube trays and a blender or food processor.

Vegan Cherry Garcia Ice Cream

I’ve mentioned before that I used to be an ice cream junkie. I actually don’t indulge all that often anymore, unless you count frozen banana soft-serve, in which case, yes – I indulge several times a week. For the most part, though, extra thick smoothies have replaced my once nightly ice cream (or frozen yogurt) habit.

Every so often, however, I get a craving for one of my old favorites: Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia.

The giant chunks of chocolate, the big pieces of sweet cherries…eating that ice cream was like digging for gold, except I came up rich with every spoonful. You would not have wanted to share a pint with me, unless you enjoyed smooshed around vanilla ice cream. I am a mix-ins hog and I selfishly have no plans to reform my chocolate and cherry-loving ways.

Frozen Cherries 2

Since Ben & Jerry’s doesn’t make a non-dairy Cherry Garcia (yet!), I made my own. And I made some for you too.

I used a combination of decadent full-fat coconut and rich, homemade cashew milks as the base. These are slightly sweet on their own, and I decided to play up that natural sweetness with medjool dates in place of sugar. It might seem overly healthy, but not to worry – I made up for that with lots and lots of chocolate chunks and slivers. I was heavy-handed with the cherries too, making sure each bite would have plenty of both.

Really, there’s no need to go digging for cherries and chocolate in this ice cream. I’ve got you covered.

Homemade Cherry Garcia Ice Cream

Ice cream confession time: are you guilty of eating all the mix-ins and putting a container of plain ice cream back in the freezer? Aaron loves when I do this.


Vegan Cherry Garcia Ice Cream

Homemade Cherry Garcia Ice Cream

Vegan Cherry Garcia Ice Cream

Gluten Free, Vegan,

Serves: 6-8

Prep Time: 4 hours 30 mins

This healthy Cherry Garcia Ice Cream uses decadent full-fat coconut and cashew milks as the base, medjool dates in place of sugar, and lots of chocolate chunks and cherries.

Homemade Cherry Garcia Ice Cream

Vegan Cherry Garcia Ice Cream



For the Homemade Cashew Milk:

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 3 1/2 cups filtered water
  • pinch of sea salt

For the Ice Cream:

  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cups homemade cashew milk
  • 7 pitted medjool dates, soaked for an hour & drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean powder
  • pinch of fine sea salt
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen pitted cherries, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup vegan dark chocolate chunks (or chips), divided

Cuisine: Gluten Free, Vegan Servings: 6-8

Prep Time: 4 hours 30 mins

This healthy Cherry Garcia Ice Cream uses decadent full-fat coconut and cashew milks as the base, medjool dates in place of sugar, and lots of chocolate chunks and cherries.


  • Prepare the cashew milk by soaking the cashews in filtered water for at least 4 hours in the refrigerator (overnight is okay too).
  • Once soaked, drain and rinse the cashews.
  • Add the cashews, water, and salt to a blender and blend on high for about 1 minute, or until the cashews are broken into very fine pieces.
  • Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the cashew milk for the ice cream recipe, and store the remaining milk in a covered container in the fridge.
  • You can add more water to the remaining milk for a less rich consistency. Homemade cashew milk should keep for 2-3 days. In the future, feel free to play around with the ratio of water to cashews. I typically use 1 cup cashews: 4 cups water, but I wanted a creamier texture for the ice cream.
  • Next, make the ice cream by adding the coconut milk, cashew milk, dates, vanilla, and sea salt to the blender and process until very smooth.
  • Pour the milk mixture into an ice cream maker* (see note at the end of the post for an alternative) for about 20-25 minutes, or until the texture resembles soft-serve.
  • While you're waiting for the ice cream, chop 1/4 cup of the chocolate chunks to create smaller slivers. You want a mix of small chocolate pieces and chunks in the final product.
  • Once the ice cream resembles soft-serve, fold in the chocolate and cherries until they’re evenly incorporated into the ice cream.
  • Enjoy immediately, or place the ice cream in a freezer-safe container and allow to firm up in the freezer for a couple of hours or overnight.

Notes [1]

I used an ice cream maker to make mine, but I know this can be prohibitive for a lot of people. Alternatively, you can make ice cream using ice cube trays and a blender or food processor. Here’s how:

Instead of pouring the milk mixture into an ice cream maker (step 7 in the recipe instructions), simply pour it into ice cube trays and freeze for two or three hours until it’s mostly solid (not rock hard). Next, place the ice cream cubes into your blender or food processor and process until smooth. Transfer the ice cream base to a large bowl and fold in the chocolate and cherries. Grab a spoon and dig in, or allow it to firm up a little more in the freezer!

Copyright © 2020 Amanda Maguire for Pickles & Honey

Leave a Comment

  1. cherry garcia happens to be one of my favorite too – i am absolutely digging this.

    1. Amanda says

      Cherry Garcia and Chunky Monkey were my favorites. Maybe I should attempt the latter one next? 😉

  2. The photos are killing me. I wish I had a bowl (or two) of this right now!

    1. Amanda says

      Thanks, Michelle! I had fun with the food styling on this one.

  3. Lauren says

    Yum! I love the combination of chocolate and cherries! We used to buy the chocolate mint ice cream from TJs, and I would always dig around for the chocolate chips. I have a few weird habits that would drive an ordinary husband nuts, but mine just laughs at me. 😀

    1. Amanda says

      Mmmm, now you have me thinking about mint chocolate chip ice cream. 🙂

  4. I am definitely NOT guilty of eating the mix-ins because plain ol’ vanilla is my FAVORITE ice cream. 🙂 I can’t even remember the last time that I had Cherry Garcia ice cream- but I know it’s been too long! I also think I’ve only used my ice cream maker a total of 3 times ever- this would be worth breaking it out for. 🙂
    Do you think regular (store-bought) cashew milk would be okay?

    1. Amanda says

      Vanilla is good too! Any ice cream is good. 🙂 Store-bought cashew milk should work just fine! The ice cream may turn out a little lighter since I made my cashew milk on the richer side, but if you’re using full-fat coconut milk as well, it’s probably a small difference. Almond and soy milks, or even more coconut milk, should also be really tasty.
      And I know what you mean about breaking out the ice cream maker – mine basically just collects dust. Very sad.

  5. I love that you gave an alternative method to making ice cream without an ice cream maker, so often I would love to make the ice cream, but am not sure it’s possible without the ice cream maker. Would your method work for all kinds of ice cream do you think?

    I am definitely an add ins hog too, love digging out the chunks!

    1. Amanda says

      I think the ice cube/blender (or food processor) method should work for most ice cream recipes. 🙂

  6. Staci says

    Hey Girl!

    I’m loving your blog. I also live right outside Boston in Natick. I’m stepping my toes into vegan-ism but love cooking- thanks for the inspiration and yummy recipes!

    1. Amanda says

      Hi Staci! Thanks for the kind words about my blog. I’m happy to hear that you’re trying some vegan recipes! Let me know if you have questions about any of mine, or are looking for recommendations. 🙂

  7. *Raises Hand* I am totally guilty of being a mix-in digger outer. THOSE ARE THE BEST PARTS!

    As for this recipe, it looks freakin’ incredible, and the photos are absolutely gorgeous. Bravo!

    1. Amanda says

      Thanks, Jackie! 🙂

  8. Ceil Tulloch says

    Hi Amanda,

    I hope that you had a nice Labor Day holiday. Your ice-cream looks DELISH! I wish that I had your patience and skills to prepare this recipe. Btw, there’s a 2 for $7 sale this week on Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream at my local supermarket.

    1. Amanda says

      Thanks, Ceil. I had a very nice holiday. The weather could have been less humid and sticky, but it did feel like summer in Boston. 😉 You can totally make this ice cream – it’s easy! Promise.

  9. Cherry Garcia is a favorite of mine as well. These pictures made me want to have ice cream in -20F weather — now that’s what I call a good recipe 😉

    1. Amanda says

      Thanks, Audrey! When I was adding that cherry garcia photo, in particular, I definitely started craving it…cold weather and all. 🙂

  10. Laura S. says

    Hey Amanda,
    Just saw this again on your Valentine’s Day recipe recommendations. My hubby and I definitely make the most of our ice cream maker! Although all we usually make is vanilla flavored from this recipe (we have added the chocolate and some peanut butter once or twice), but we’re eager to branch out to other flavors!

    Do you think vanilla bean powder could be substituted with vanilla extract without any issues?

    1. Amanda says

      Hi Laura! Yes, vanilla extract will be great! I’d say double or even triple the amount (so 1-1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract), as the vanilla bean powder is quite strong.

      1. Laura S. says

        OK, great, thanks! And here is the other link from Keepin’ It Kind since I forgot to include it before!

  11. Vivian says

    Hello Amanda, I just found this recipe for cherry garcia ice cream, and it looks delicious, although I have some doubts, do you think I can use only homemade cashew milk instead of the coconut milk, you see I am not from the US and it’s hard to find coconut milk, and a can of coconut milk has how many ounces?

    1. Amanda says

      Hi Vivian! A can of coconut milk usually has about 14 ounces. You can certainly use all homemade cashew milk. I’d just make sure it’s on the richer side so the ice cream will be creamy.

      1. Vivian says

        Hi Amanda,
        Thank you for answering so quickly, sorry to keep bothering you.
        So do you think that besides making a thicker cashew milk maybe I should use a little less quantity so that it wont be so watery?
        Thanks, kisses from Brasil!!!

      2. Amanda says

        I think you should be fine with keeping the quantity the same. Let me know how it turns out!

  12. sonaly says

    PEPPERMINT CHOCOLATE This is pure delight for your taste buds.

    CHERRY-MINT CHOCOLATE a burst of cherry zest

    Both are great flavour

  13. I was wondering if I could use dried prunes or apricots instead of dates. Those are what I have.

    1. I would think dried prunes would be a pretty good substitution. Just make sure to soak them (as you would dates in the recipe instructions) so that they’re easy to blend. 🙂

      1. Sondra says

        Thank you, I actually use dried apricots. And it turned out fine. Then I made it again I just used raw honey.


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