Black Sesame Ice Cream (Vegan)


Well, the time has come. I’ve finally caved to my husband’s requests and dusted off the ice cream maker, which has been stored for the winter. I generally resist making ice cream because I love it so much that if it’s in the freezer, I WILL eat it. I’m sure most of you can relate.

And after tasting this recipe, I knew I was in trouble!

If you’ve never heard of black sesame seeds as flavoring for desserts, allow me to enlighten you! Black sesame paste, which is made of ground black sesame seeds and honey, is often used in Asian desserts, including ice cream. In fact, my friend from Nashville just returned from China and told me how much she loved the black sesame soft serve sold standard at the Chinese McDonald’s! If you research black sesame seeds, you will find that they are most often used in China and Japan, which is just another reason to travel there!

Here are some of the beautiful photos from Emily’s trip to China:




Photos courtesy of Emily Crowell

A couple of years ago I saw a photo of grey ice cream in a fashion magazine and thought the idea of black sesame ice cream was unusual. I was curious as to what it tastes like, but it never occurred to me to make it myself!

Well, until now.

Black sesame seeds are incredibly nutritious, and are thus consumed daily by many people in China and Japan. They are an excellent source of calcium and vitamin B1, and are believed to be good for the kidneys and hair. Additionally, they are anti-inflammatory, may contribute to cardiovascular and respiratory health, and may help protect against colon cancer and osteoporosis. Read more here.

Black sesame paste can be stirred into tea, eaten by the spoonful, or spread onto toast like jam.

My favorite method of consuming black sesame seeds, however, is via ice cream!


After a few minutes in my Cuisinart ice cream maker

ice cream maker

Ready to go into the freezer


You can see the flecks of black sesame seeds.

After your sesame ice cream has solidified in the freezer a few hours, you can scoop it and serve it like regular ice cream. The odd grey color makes it look mysterious, but the flavor is even more unusual. The toasted seeds give a slightly nutty flavor that is difficult to describe. This ice cream is not overly sweet, is satisfying, and is addictive (but also nutritious)!


sesame seeds


You can make your own black sesame powder or buy it by the can. I tried it both ways with similar results.

If you struggle with portion control, try freezing several small scoops made with a melon baller so you can easily regulate how much ice cream you eat in each sitting. For example, decide you’re only going to eat seven mini scoops, put seven in your bowl, and put the rest back in the freezer.

Bite-sized mini scoops are also a fun way to serve ice cream in general, especially to kids!

mini scoops

Bite-sized scoops made with a melon baller and returned to the freezer.

mini scoop

Black Sesame Ice Cream (Vegan)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Enjoy the toasted nutty flavor of black sesame seeds in this unique and delicious coconut milk ice cream!
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Asian
Serves: 1 quart
  • 2 cans full-fat coconut milk
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • Pinch sea salt
  • ⅔ cup toasted black sesame powder (Make your own using a spice grinder or coffee grinder after toasting seeds in a skillet over medium heat until fragrant.)
  1. In a saucepan over medium-low heat, whisk together the coconut milk and maple syrup until smooth.
  2. Whisk in the rest of the ingredients and remove from the heat to cool at room temperature for at least 20 minutes.
  3. Transfer to the fridge to cool at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight.
  4. Freeze ice cream according to ice cream maker instructions, then transfer to another container and place in the freezer to solidify.
  5. Remove container from freezer about 10 minutes before serving to allow it to soften slightly. Scoop into a cup or cone and garnish with black sesame seeds, if desired.
Instead of the standard ice cream scoop size, try refreezing a container of mini scoops made with a melon baller. This makes it easier to regulate portions and is fun for the kids!



overhead view

bowl of mini scoops

mini scoop

If you’re wary of the idea of black sesame seeds in your ice cream, I encourage you to be adventurous. Not only are the seeds incredibly good for you, but they also are a refreshing alternative to the overly sweet, candy-filled ice cream flavors we’re used to in the U.S. You may even decide that black sesame is your new favorite ice cream flavor!

If you try this recipe, please let me know what you think!

♥   ♥   ♥

Nutritious ice cream is a fun way to stay cool on these hot days. I predict several more ice cream recipes in the next few weeks!

staying cool

Abby’s summer tip: Stay close to the booze and avoid wearing pants whenever possible!

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  1. Let the record state that this is the only food item we purchased from the McDonald’s. And only because we were told it was the best place for ice cream (and it was!)

  2. Mary Ross made this for our church fellowship group this week. Y’all….it was INCREDIBLE!!!!!! So light and yummy. It reminded me of cookies and cream ice cream a little bit, honestly! I am not an ice cream maker, but I’ll be coming to Mary Ross’s house a lot this summer to eat more of this kind! 🙂