Sugar-free lemon poppy seed ice cream

Sugar-Free Lemon Poppy Seed Ice Cream | A Dash of Compassion

I’ve been dying to share this recipe with you all summer, but due to a hectic freelance schedule, obligatory summer events, book work and house stuff, I didn’t get around to final testing until now. But for this, the wait was worth it.

Ice cream season isn’t over just yet even though Toronto’s weather lately might say otherwise—we somehow went from 30+ C to low 20s in a matter of a week. Go figure. It might still be hot where you live though, so ice cream for everyone, I say!

Sugar-Free Lemon Poppy Seed Ice Cream | A Dash of Compassion

It was a visit to Sweet Ritual back in May where I experienced my first taste of lemon poppy seed ice cream. It was a scorcher of a day and Lisa and I were enjoying our last day in Texas before jetting back home. We decided to make a quick stop for ice cream, and boy am I ever glad we did.

I have not stopped thinking about that ice cream since.

Sugar-Free Lemon Poppy Seed Ice Cream | A Dash of Compassion

The bright, refreshing flavour of lemon is most definitely a summertime favourite so turning it into ice cream made perfect sense, but I had never even considered the idea until I saw it at Sweet Ritual. Fresh lemon, lemon zest and poppy seeds are used to make this ice cream taste just like a lemon poppy seed muffin. Seriously, it was like heaven—creamy and sweet with that signature citrus tang.

Of course, as any good food blogger would do when she experiences a food epiphany, I had to recreate it as soon as I got home. For this recipe, I used a blend of full-fat coconut milk and cashew milk, some lemon extract (Simply Organic brand of lemon extract is one of my new favourite discoveries; it should be fairly easy to find at Whole Foods or online) to allow the flavour to shine through the frozen blend and, rather than dumping in heaps of sugar, I decided to give xylitol a go. And guess what? It worked out fabulously. It’s light and luscious and totally satisfying.

Sugar-Free Lemon Poppy Seed Ice Cream | A Dash of Compassion

Now I don’t have to travel to Texas to get my lemon ice cream fix.


Print Print

Lemon poppy seed ice cream

Yield: about 4 cups


  • 1 can (13.5 ounces) full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup unsweetened nondairy milk (I like cashew)
  • ½ cup xylitol (or use cane sugar, if desired)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons lemon extract (I used Simply Organic brand)
  • ½ teaspoon xanthan gum (optional but recommended)
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds


  1. Using a blender, blend together the coconut milk, nondairy milk, xylitol, lemon zest, lemon juice, coconut oil and lemon extract until smooth. Add the xanthan gum and blend briefly on low speed to incorporate.
  2. Transfer the liquid mixture to a shallow bowl and stir in the poppy seeds. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, about 2 to 3 hours.
  3. Once chilled, churn the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If you’re after a soft serve treat, serve as soon as the process is finished. Otherwise, transfer the ice cream to an airtight container, place a piece of parchment paper on the surface and press down lightly (this avoids ice crystals from forming on the surface) before sealing the lid. Store in the freezer. Allow to sit out at room temp for about 10 minutes before serving.


Receive new posts via email:

Follow Me

2 Responses to “Sugar-free lemon poppy seed ice cream”