I am making coconut milk ice cream with alcohol. I'm using 28oz of coconut milk, fruit macerated in 1/4 cup of alcohol, another 1-2T of alcohol, and 1 1/2 tablespoons of arrowroot. It tastes great, but it melts way too fast. What can I use besides xanthum gum, guar gum. Could it be the freeze time? Or the tupperware containers I use in the freezer? Any suggestions are appreciated.

  • 1
    Is your freezer cold enough? Stabilizers will keep it softer (less icy) when frozen, but it'll still melt when it warms up.
    – Cascabel
    Jun 19, 2013 at 3:21
  • I'll check. Must it be on the coldest setting? The ones without alcohol freeze really well.
    – Julie
    Jun 19, 2013 at 4:59
  • 3
    Well, how much alcohol are you using? Maybe just post your whole recipe? Alcohol is a great way to soften ice cream and sorbet - but if you add enough it won't freeze.
    – Cascabel
    Jun 19, 2013 at 5:02
  • I went ahead and edited your clarifications into the question for you, so people will see them more easily - you can edit your own question too!
    – Cascabel
    Jun 20, 2013 at 21:52

2 Answers 2


Assuming a few things about your recipe - your coconut milk is full fat, your alcohol is a liquor at 80+ proof, it sounds like you're just adding too much stuff that doesn't really freeze. You've got a total of maybe 3/8 cup of alcohol, when just 2T is enough to soften ice cream noticeably. Ice cream made with just cream is already plenty soft, so adding that much alcohol can make it really soft. You didn't mention sugar, but that would make it softer as well. This is the opposite of the normal problem of too much water, not enough fat/sugar, making ice cream freeze too hard.

The simple solution is to just add more water, in whatever form suits you. Since you're using fruit, I'd suggest simply adding more of that! You could also try using light (reduced fat) coconut milk so that you have less fat. I suppose you could even reduce the booze - just slowly simmer it until the volume is reduced, so it'll have less alcohol, but retain flavor.

Otherwise you're going to have to dilute things - use less coconut milk or alcohol and add something more water-based that freezes harder. For example, you could replace alcohol with some kind of flavored extract, or replace some coconut milk with milk.

(The arrowroot isn't making your ice cream melt. It'll thicken it a bit, and stabilize it (keep the fat and water from separating), both of which are fine things. The stabilization is probably good, since coconut milk does separate eventually.)

  • Your statement "coconut milk has about twice as much fat as cream, and ice cream made with just cream is plenty soft". Is incorrect. Coconut milk has 24% and 'cream' used for ice cream is not 12% fat, as that would be near half and half (10%). Real ice cream (like hagen daaz) has about 20% milk fat. And by adding stuff to her coconut milk, she's in the right ballpark.
    – MandoMando
    Jun 21, 2013 at 3:36
  • 2
    @MandoMando Sorry, I looked at the wrong number; I'll fix that part. The fact that the ice cream is over-softened is unchanged, though.
    – Cascabel
    Jun 21, 2013 at 3:52
  • Guess i can't map soft and hard to freezing temperature right now. I do know that if she removes the fat an replaces it water, she'll have the same problem of melting too fast. I also know that some LN2 will fix this problem in a shake of a tail ;)
    – MandoMando
    Jun 21, 2013 at 4:19

Alcohol lowers the freezing point (and melting point), you can use this calculator to figure out the melting point.

For other additives, you can use the turkish ice cream method with gum arabic and salep to give it more strength.

  • That calculator isn't going to do you much good when there's also a ton of fat from the coconut milk, and also some sugar from the fruit (if not added sugar).
    – Cascabel
    Jun 20, 2013 at 21:50
  • @Jefromi it'll do a lot of good. She can choose the right alcohol percentage to freeze properly. It's a limoncello calculator, so it's assumed the balance is sugar. The coco-fat actually helps raise the freezing point as added bonus.
    – MandoMando
    Jun 21, 2013 at 3:25
  • Fat raising the freezing point isn't a bonus, it's an enormous systematic error in the calculation (depending on how much fruit there is, her ice cream might be 20% fat!), which makes it melt more easily, which is the problem the OP is trying to solve.
    – Cascabel
    Jun 21, 2013 at 3:35
  • @Jefromi i knew we were going to have another physics debate. When you put ice cubes in the fridge they melt, tell me what happens when you put coconut oil, or even chicken fat in the fridge? It Goes solid. And particularly coconut fat remains solid (frozen) at temperatures above zero. 20% is near ideal for ice cream. Manufacturers cheat by putting less cream and upping the thickening agents so that their ice cream doesn't melt faster. You may wish to buy cheap ice cream and a hagen daaz and compare for yourself.
    – MandoMando
    Jun 21, 2013 at 3:46
  • I don't see how this is a debate. Her ice cream doesn't freeze solid enough and melts too easily; it has too much fat and alcohol so the freezing point is too low. Providing a way to calculate the freezing point for something with an entirely different composition doesn't really help you find the freezing point of the ice cream, so it doesn't help you keep it from melting.
    – Cascabel
    Jun 21, 2013 at 3:51

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