DIY: Make Vegan Ice Cream with Your Students

Whether it’s the beginning or the end of the school year, you can engage your students by making vegan ice cream in the classroom! This activity involves active participation from your students. Use this lesson to explain how the dairy industry harms cows and to shed light on nondairy alternatives to cow’s milk.

Why We Prefer Nondairy Milk

Female cows produce milk in order to feed their babies. In the dairy industry, they’re forcibly impregnated, and when their babies are born, the milk that’s meant for them is taken for human consumption. Many male calves are torn away from their mothers’ sides shortly after birth, locked in a veal crate, and killed before their first birthday. Mother cows cry out in anguish when their babies are taken from them.

Apart from humans, no species drinks milk beyond the natural age of weaning or drinks the milk of another species. Cow’s milk is suited to the nutritional needs of calves, who have four stomachs and gain hundreds of pounds in a matter of months, sometimes weighing more than 1,000 pounds before they turn 2 years old.

Explore Versatile Vegan Options

Fortified plant-derived milks provide calcium, vitamins, iron, zinc, and protein and don’t contain any cholesterol. Soy, rice, oat, and nut milks are perfect for cereal, coffee, and soups and also work well in baked goods and other recipes. Many delicious nondairy products are available at grocery and health food stores. Visit for recipe ideas and to order a free vegan starter kit.

Sweet Ritual's Banana Split

Try our recipe for vegan ice cream in four easy steps:

Shake-and-Make Vegan Ice Cream

1 gallon-size zip-lock plastic bag

Ice cubes

6 Tbsp. rock salt

2 Tbsp. sugar

1 cup soy milk

1/2 Tbsp. vanilla

1 pint-size zip-lock plastic bag

  1. Fill the gallon-size bag half full with ice cubes. Add the rock salt and set aside.
  2. Place the remaining ingredients in the pint-size bag and seal.
  3. Place the smaller bag inside the larger bag and seal. Shake for 5 to 7 minutes.*
  4. Remove the smaller bag, cut off the corner, and then squeeze out the vegan ice cream. Serve in cones or a bowl and add desired toppings.

Makes 4 servings

*Note: Use oven mitts to protect your hands from the cold.

When engaging your students in this fun and messy activity, it’s important to remember that it’s possible thanks to science! After five to seven minutes, the liquid soy milk (with the sugar and vanilla added) turns into ready-to-eat ice cream because of the rock salt and its direct impact on the melting point of the ice. Another topic of discussion for your students to address would be how ice cream is a compound. Not only will your students create a delicious end product, they’ll also become well versed in these essential scientific topics!


To print out the ingredients and instructions for students to use in the classroom or to take home, click here.


Like this idea? Please share this activity to inspire other teachers to incorporate compassion for animals into their lessons.


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