Homemade vegan ice cream sandwiches are one of our favorite frozen desserts. They're not only fun to make, but they keep in the freezer for weeks! Enjoy endless cookie and ice cream flavor combinations (pictured are sunbutter cookies and strawberry-banana nice cream)! Read on to learn a few key tips for making the best cookie ice cream sandwiches at home.
Originally published June 2019, this post has been updated with new photos and recipe options.
Why You'll Love Making Your Own Ice Cream Sandwiches
The convenience of store-bought frozen treats is great, but they can also be VERY expensive, especially vegan options.
Plus, like many of you, I often like to enjoy desserts that are on the healthier side, which is why I share a lot of oil-free, refined sugar-free, whole-grain recipes here on the blog.
Making your own vegan ice cream sandwiches is the best way to get exactly what you want and avoid what you don't, like gums, refined oils and flour, and tons of sugar.
And since cookies are ridiculously easy to make.... and ice cream is so easy to make.... why not combine these two for the ultimate in healthy homemade desserts?!
This post includes gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free, and oil-free options.
The Best Cookies For Freezing
The key to the perfect ice cream sandwich is to use a cookie that's on the softer side. Not over-baking the cookies is also important.
Certain types of cookies, ones that are really crisp or high in saturated fat, tend to get too hard in the freezer. Then your ice cream is more likely to squish out everywhere when you take a bite. That's no fun!
All three of these cookie recipes are butter-free and oil-free, which helps keep them softer in the freezer than cookies that contain a lot of saturated fat.
It also gives you some fun and unique flavor combinations to try! Why stick to plain ol' chocolate chip and vanilla?
Vegan Ice Cream Options
Whether you choose to make your own ice cream or use store-bought, think outside of the box when it comes to flavor pairings. Here are some recipes to consider...
Low-Fat Banana Nice Cream
Pictured below: classic frozen banana nice cream (left) and strawberry-banana nice cream (right; recipe included below).
The strawberry banana nice cream you see in the photos pairs really well with either peanut butter cookies or sunbutter cookies. It's sort of a PB & J vibe!
Pair with the sunbutter cookies or tahini cookies (if you're okay with sesame) for a nut-free treat.
- chocolate chickpea ice cream (pictured below)
- or banana nice cream
The sky is the limit as far as flavor pairings go! Here are a few ideas:
Pair the peanut butter cookies with:
- classic frozen banana nice cream
- banana nice cream with frozen blueberries or strawberries added
- peanut butter banana nice cream - add peanut butter to the food processor while blending frozen bananas
- store-bought or homemade vegan ice creams like vanilla, chocolate, coconut, etc.
Pair the sunbutter cookies with:
- Same as above! And remember, this Chocolate Chickpea Ice Cream is also nut-free. So you can have a 100% dairy-free, nut-free ice cream sandwich!
How to Make Vegan Ice Cream Sandwiches
If using homemade ice cream, you'll want to prepare it first and possibly even the day before. Set the ice cream out on the counter to soften while you bake the cookies.
Whichever cookie recipe you choose, follow the instructions to let them cool first on the baking sheet, then move to a cooling rack. Once completely cool, move the cookies to the refrigerator to chill.
When the cookies are cool and the ice cream has softened enough to be scoopable or spreadable, it's time to bring 'em together!
Softening the Ice Cream
If you prefer a perfectly smooth disc of ice cream, spread the softened ice cream in a freezer-safe dish and then freeze it again until firm enough cut into circles using a knife or biscuit cutter. Use one of the cookies as a guide to see how large the discs of ice cream need to be.
Or if you're like me and don't mind more rustic ice cream sandwiches, just use an ice cream scooper to place one scoop per sandwich.
Place the assembled ice cream sandwiches back in the freezer for about 15 minutes, then serve.
If not enjoying right away, wrap the firm, frozen ice cream sandwiches individually in plastic wrap.
How to Store
For longer storage, place the ice cream sandwiches in an airtight container, or wrap them individually and place inside a freezer bag. Freeze for up to one month.
Once the ice cream sandwiches have been frozen for an extended period, say 4+ hours, the ice cream will be quite hard. So be sure to transfer individual cookie sandwiches to the fridge 10 to 15 minutes before you'd like to eat.
Tips if Using Banana Ice Cream
The only issue with using banana nice cream is that the absence of fat means it freezes much harder than higher fat vegan ice creams. But it still works! Here are a few things to keep in mind...
Right out of the food processor (or high speed blender) banana nice cream is a soft-serve consistency, so you'll want to freeze it for about 2 hours before assembling the sandwiches.
Having said that, I was in a hurry to photograph the ones you see here and only had the blended nice cream in the freezer for about an hour.
Even though it was soft, it still turned out fine. If you also find yourself in a rush, just put a scoop between the cookies, gently squish it down, and place the sandwiches uncovered on a plate or baking sheet in the freezer. The smaller amount of ice cream and the increased exposure to the cold mean they freeze more quickly.
After long-term storage in the freezer, sandwiches made with nice cream may take just a tad longer to soften before they're ready to eat.
I hope you enjoy these Vegan Ice Cream Sandwiches. If you find a flavor combo you love, be sure to share it with us in the comments below!
More Frozen Desserts:
Vegan Ice Cream Sandwiches (Allergy-Friendly Options)
Choose a cookie:
Strawberry-banana nice cream recipe (see other homemade ice cream options in post above, or use store-bought):
- 3 frozen very ripe bananas - To freeze bananas: peel, cut into pieces, place in an airtight container or sandwich bag, and freeze overnight
- 10 to 12 frozen strawberries
- splash of non-dairy milk
- sweetener of choice, optional - If the bananas aren't sweet enough, add a small amount of maple syrup or sugar to taste.
- Planning: If making banana nice cream, do this at least 2 to 3 hours in advance so the ice cream has time to firm up in the freezer. If making any of the other homemade ice creams mentioned in the post above, it's best to make it the day before, or at least 5 hours in advance.
- To make the strawberry nice cream: add the bananas, strawberries, and a splash of milk to a food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- It will be similar to soft serve at this point. Scoop it into a freezer-safe container and freeze for about 2 hours. This will give you a firmer, scoopable texture for building the ice cream sandwiches.
- If using store-bought ice cream or one of the other homemade ice creams: set out at room temperature to soften right after you put the cookies in the oven (next step). If you prefer a perfectly smooth disc of ice cream, spread the softened ice cream in a freezer-safe dish so that it's about 1-inch thick. Freeze it again for about 45 minutes or until firm enough cut into circles using a knife or biscuit cutter. *Use one of the cookies as a guide to see how large the discs of ice cream need to be.
- Bake the cookies: select a cookie recipe and bake the cookies. Once the cookies are cool, place in the refrigerator until cold.
Assemble the ice cream sandwiches:
- Once the ice cream is firm enough, place one scoop or one disc of ice cream on a cookie and place another cookie on top, gently pressing them together. If needed, place ice cream sandwiches on a baking sheet or plate in the freezer for a few minutes. The amount of time needed depends on how soft the ice cream is when you make the sandwiches.
- Enjoy ice cream sandwiches right away or wrap the individual sandwiches in plastic wrap and place inside an airtight freezer bag or other freezer-safe container. Transfer hard-frozen ice cream sandwiches to the refrigerator 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
Estimated Nutrition (per serving)
Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary depending on the exact amounts and specific products and ingredients used. We calculate this information using the online calculator cronometer.com.