These vegan caramel ice cream cups are so amazingly delicious! They are sweet, rich and creamy even without any added sugar or heavy dairy cream. They make for a great grab-n-go frozen treat that's super satisfying while still being very healthy.
These ice cream cups are so DI-VINE.
It's like a single ice cream portion, all ready to-go at any time, no bowl or spoon needed, that's vegan, dairy-free and soy-free. And super healthy as well. Oh my goodness.
My kids are literally jumping with excitement when I get these out of the freezer. Even though they are made using only wholesome and plant-based ingredients, the combination between the nutty date crust with the smooth caramel-like filling is so darn good.
And they are surprisingly easy to make! I was looking for something I can make quickly-ish and stash in the freezer without having to thaw before eating. And these really hit all of the check marks. You won't actually be making real ice cream to prepare them, but they taste just the same. So, no need for an ice cream maker or churning cream; simply blend, freeze and eat!
Ingredients for caramel ice cream cups
Only nourishing simple ingredients are needed to make them:
- Dates: they are used to make both the crust and creamy filling. They are what bring the caramel flavor and their sticky texture helps keep the crust hold well together. Choose medjool dates for their softer and extra sweet flavor (you should find them in the produce section).
- Raw oats: the blended oats add a milky wheat flavor that work so well with the caramel-like dates. Also, when blending the oats, it will create a thick texture that's perfect to reach that ice cream consistency after being frozen.
- Almond: crushed into crumbs, it creates a perfect base for the nutty crust as well as bringing more protein and healthy fats to your dessert.
- Shredded coconut: used in the crust, you won't taste them much, but they help create a fun texture to the cups.
- Pumpkin seeds: just like the almonds, it makes for a hearty base for the crust plus added healthy benefits.
- Almond butter: its creamy texture helps blend the ingredients together to prepare the crust.
- Vegan milk: blending the raw oats with vegan milk makes a delicious thick base for the filling.
- Vanilla extract: super important to deepen the sweet flavor.
How to make these vegan caramel ice cream cups
These are SO easy to prepare! Using a muffin mold makes it much easier to shape them in cups and they should be all done within 20 minutes. The hardest part is to wait for them to be frozen before grabbing one!
First, make the crust. The crust ingredients are processed using a food processor then pressed and shaped in cups using a paper lined muffin mold.
Then, make the ice cream filling. The ingredients are blended until super smooth. It makes for a thicker creamy mixture that's easy to pour.
Assemble. Simply pour (or scoop!) evenly in between the nut cups and add any toppings you want (optional). I like to top with an extra vegan caramel sauce, but the cups are delicious even without it.
Freeze and enjoy! Hop in the freezer for about 4 hours or until completely frozen (transfer the whole muffin mold tray in the freezer). Eat while still frozen!
Watch how to make them
I often leave these frozen cups plain as they are so delicious on their own. But, adding a few garnishes makes them even more appetizing with an interesting added texture. Try adding ingredients that are easy to eat while still frozen. You can let your kids choose their own toppings too!
- If you have extra time, then make this vegan caramel sauce to top the ice cream cups. Use any leftovers over oatmeal bowls, muffins, cakes, etc.
- Sea salt goes so well with the caramel flavors.
- Shredded coconut or dark chocolate
- A swirl of coconut milk
- More chopped nuts
- Cacao nibs, hemp or chia seeds
- Fruits (sliced bananas, raspberries, sliced strawberries, etc). Don't forget to choose a fruit that's pleasant to eat while still frozen.
Tips when making these healthy caramel ice cream cups
- Make sure you process the crust into a very small crumble texture. To do this, you will need to stop the food processor 3-4 times, stir the mixture with a spoon and process again 30-60 seconds at the time. You want a small crumbly texture to ease the molding process, make the crusts hold better and make sure the crust is soft enough to eat in its frozen state.
- Use a paper lined muffin mold to build the cup. The paper cups make it easy to remove the tartelettes from the mold.
- You will need to distribute evenly the nuts mixture first in the 12 cups to separate it equally. Then, press on them with your hands to shape the nut mixture into a cup. Make sure the mixture is pressed nicely all around the wall of the cup as well as at the bottom without holes so it holds well the caramel filling. Press hard enough to make it tight!
- Blend the ice cream filling long enough to completely crush the dates. They can take some time to blend very smoothly and depending on your blender and how soft your dates are, you might have to take a few breaks to scrape the walls and blend again.
Once the cups are frozen in the muffin mold, then transfer them (still with their paper liner) into a container or plastic bag and store in the freezer.
Store the cups in the freezer for up to 3 months. We usually eat them straight from the freezer, but you can also let the cups thaw at room temperature for a few minutes just to let the crust gently soften.
Other frozen treat recipes you might like
I hope you enjoy these ice cream cups as much as we do! If you try them, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let me know how they were. Your feedback is so helpful!
Caramel Ice Cream Cups (Vegan and Healthy)
- Food processor
For the crust:
- 1 cup raw almonds - unsalted
- 15 large medjool dates - pitted
- ¾ cup pumpkin seeds
- ½ cup shredded unsweeted coconut
- ¼ cup almond butter
- 2-3 tbsp water
For the ice cream filling:
- 10 large medjool dates - pitted
- 1 cup rolled oat
- 1 ½ cup vegan plain milk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
Make the crust:
- Line a muffin pan with 12 muffin liners.
- Add the almonds to the food processor and process for about 30-60 seconds until crushed into very small pieces.
- Then, add the rest of the crust ingredients and process for about 2 minutes taking a few breaks to scrape down the walls. You will have to add a few tbsp of water to help process the ingredients together (it will depend on how soft your dates are, add 1 tbsp at the time). You should reach a crumbly texture that stick and hold well when pressed together.
- Separate the mixture with a spoon equally in between the 12 muffin liners. Then, using your hands, press on the nut mixture to create a cup shape making sure the mixture goes up the walls without any holes. Press hard enough!
Make the ice cream filling:
- Blend all the ice cream filling together until very smooth. You might need to take a few breaks to scrape the walls with a spatula and blend for a few minutes.
Build the ice cream cups:
- Separate the filling mixture evenly between the 12 crusts.
- Top with the garnishes of your choice, if desired (chia seeds, shredded coconut, flaky salt, cacao nibs, mini chocolate chips, fruits, etc). If you have extra time, then top the cups with this vegan caramel sauce.
- Transfer the whole muffin pan in the freezer for at least 4 hours (or until completely frozen). Eat while still frozen.
- Unmold the ice cream cups and transfer in a freezer safe container for storage (keep in the freezer for up to 3 months). Eat while still frozen, enjoy!
- If adding toppings, then choose ingredients that can be eaten while being frozen.