Thai-Style Coconut Milk Gelato

Growing up, I lived in the same zip code as the most famous old-fashioned ice cream store in Bangkok, ไอศครีมทิพย์รส, that, for more than four decades, have sold all kinds of Thai-style ice cream, the most popular of which is the fresh coconut milk ice cream (ไอศครีมกะทิสด). Every time our whole clan got together, we ordered from them by a truckload.

This mildly-sweet gelato is as close as it gets to that Thai-style coconut ice cream of my childhood. The texture is silky smooth and creamy. It never develops icy crystals and scoops easily right out of the freezer. I don’t remember which of my aunts came up with this recipe, but it has been with us since before I was born.

It is a gelato, really. No eggs are involved. No need to make a crème anglaise base. Mix. Heat. Stir. Cool. Churn. Freeze. Eat. Don’t you just love that?

5.0 from 2 reviews
Thai-Style Coconut Milk Gelato ไอศครีมกะทิ ตามแบบไอศครีมทิพย์รส
Prep time
Total time
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Modern Thai
Serves: makes nearly a quart
  • 2 13.5-ounce cans coconut milk (approximately 3 cups total)
  • 2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin powder
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup nonfat dry milk
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  1. Mix everything together in a medium saucepan.
  2. Bring the mixture to a very gentle boil over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally.
  3. Once the sugar and gelatin have dissolved (no need to boil), remove from heat and let cool completely over an ice bath.
  4. Churn in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Freeze for 3-4 hours.
  5. Serve Thai-style with roasted peanuts or your favorite toppings.

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