Dairy-Free Strawberry Brown Sugar Sherbet

The ingredients may be simple (only 4!), but this sherbet has the strawberriest strawberry flavor to have ever strawberried.

The funky, molasses-y nature of dark brown sugar beautifully boosts the strawberry flavor. The hidden fifth ingredient that makes all simple recipes delicious – time – preserves the strawberry flavor by macerating them for hours while avoiding cooking. Halfway between sorbet and ice cream, this sherbet is just creamy enough with evaporated coconut milk, which produces a satisfyingly light texture. Pretty in pink, enjoy this dairy-free strawberry sherbet all summer long!

Dairy-Free Strawberry Brow Sugar Sherbet

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print
Save time if you can find or order unsweetened evaporated coconut milk (e.g. from Nature’s Charm), otherwise make your own by reducing the coconut milk (slow cooker instructions are also provided). Select the ripest strawberries you can find – they should be bright red, shiny, and sweet-smelling. Allow the strawberries to macerate for a minimum of 2 hours, which pulls out all the liquid and ensures that the pieces of strawberry won’t end up too hard and icy in the finished sherbet. As always, make sure you follow the instructions to prep your ice cream maker well ahead of time, freezing the bowl for at least 24 hours to ensure the best texture for your ice cream.


  • 2 14-ounce cans full fat coconut milk (or 1 can evaporated coconut milk)
  • 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar, packed (200 grams)
  • 1 pound fresh strawberries, rinsed and dried
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


Evaporated Coconut Milk

Bring the coconut milk to a low boil over medium high heat in a medium saucepan. Rinse and reserve one can for measuring, storing, and cooling the finished evaporated milk. Once any solids have melted, reduce the burner to achieve the highest simmer you can – coconut milk will foam up when it boils too vigorously, so find the highest burner setting (around medium-low) that will achieve a stable simmer without it foaming. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the coconut milk is thick (almost pudding-like) and the volume is reduced by half to 14 ounces or 1 3/4 cups, about 30-40 minutes.

Alternatively, in a crock pot or slow cooker, cook the coconut milk on low and partially cover with the lid to allow evaporation. Cook for about 4 hours to reduce the volume by half.

Refill the reserved can with the evaporated coconut milk, cover laying the plastic wrap directly on top of the surface of the mixture (as with a custard), and chill. If you are not using the evaporated coconut milk immediately in the sherbet, it will keep for up to one week in the refrigerator.

Strawberry Brown Sugar Sherbet

Hull, halve, and thinly slice the strawberries into a large bowl. Stir in the dark brown sugar and allow to macerate for at least 2 hours (up to overnight covered in the refrigerator), turning occasionally with a spatula and making sure to stir in any sugar that falls to the bottom of the bowl.

After the 2 hours, once the mixture is very liquid and the strawberry pieces are reduced in size and soft, scoop out about half the strawberry pieces using a slotted spoon. Store, covered, in the refrigerator (to be added later, near then end of the churning process). Purée the remaining half the strawberries with all the strawberry-sugar liquid in a food processor or blender and strain through a fine mesh sieve back into the large bowl.

Whisk together the puréed strawberry mixture, evaporated coconut milk, and salt. Taste and adjust salt as needed. Cover, laying the plastic wrap directly on top of the surface of the mixture (as with a custard). Refrigerate until completely cooled to 39º F or below, at least 2 hours. While the mixture is cooling, also freeze the container you are going to use to store the finished sherbet.

Churn the completely cooled strawberry mixture in your ice cream maker, following the manufacturer’s instructions, which usually takes a total time of about 25-30 minutes. About 5 minutes before the churning is complete, usually after 20-25 minutes, add the reserved sliced strawberries into the ice cream mixture and complete churning. The temperature of the churned mixture should ideally get down to 21º F, although some of the more “budget” ice cream makers don’t have strong enough motors to keep churning when the mixture gets too stiff, so get as close to 21º F as you can!

Spoon the churned sherbet out of the ice cream maker bowl and into your chilled storage container. Tightly cover with plastic wrap or a lid and freeze until it is firm enough to scoop, usually after 4 hours (although, if you can’t wait, it’s perfectly soft-serve-ish after 1-1.5 hours). Enjoy!

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