Quick to make and sure to delight, this creamy, 5-minute pineapple ice cream can be whipped up at the last minute for a sweet, healthy dessert.
Over the years, one of my favorite uses for my food processor is to make quick-and-easy 5-minute sorbets and ice creams.
When I first shared my recipe for a quick and easy watermelon sorbet years ago, it was a bit of an experiment. I hadn’t seen anything like that before and was delighted by how delicious it turned out. (Since then, many similar recipes have appeared on the internet.)
My watermelon sorbet is one of my most popular posts with good reason. It’s the perfect way to treat yourself to something refreshing on a hot summer day. It’s not too sweet, and is about as healthy as a dessert can get.
Later on, I shared an even arguably healthier recipe, my refreshing mojito sorbet. It uses cucumber, so it has less sugar than the watermelon sorbet, and it can be enjoyed by people on the strictest of diets. (Yes, even the candida diet that doesn’t allow for the sugar in most fruits.)
Sometimes, though, you want something creamier, and something even easier. In those cases, this pineapple ice cream is a perfect choice.
Ice cream or pineapple sorbet?
Many would prefer to call this a pineapple sorbet. They wouldn’t be incorrect. This dessert is dairy-free, so it isn’t a true “ice cream.”
On the other hand, the pineapple combined with coconut milk blend up into a frozen treat that is so creamy, I couldn’t help but call it that. I’m not sure I’d be able to tell the difference if I didn’t know better.
This simple ice cream uses only 2 main ingredients, pineapple and coconut milk.
What’s especially great about this recipe is that many supermarkets sell frozen pineapple chunks. If you can find them, you can save yourself a bit of time and effort! If using frozen pineapple, this is truly a quick and easy 5-minute sorbet. (See, it is even easier than the other recipes!)
When buying frozen pineapple, know that not all frozen fruits are equal. I’ve been very lucky to find frozen fruit without any other added ingredients, but many of the frozen fruits have quite a bit of added sugar. If you aren’t avoiding added sugar, it probably won’t really make much of a difference to you, but for those who are trying to follow specific diet types or who just want to avoid added sugars, it’s definitely something to keep in mind.
If you can’t find frozen pineapple, just use a whole, real pineapple. The advantage to that is that you can even serve the final ice cream inside the hollowed out pineapple half for a super cool looking presentation!
As for the coconut milk, this is a great use for homemade coconut milk. That said, you can also use store-bought. (I prefer cartons to cans, but any coconut milk will work.)
If you’re starting with frozen pineapple chunks, there really isn’t more to this recipe than to blend it with a bit of coconut milk until you end up with a smooth and creamy ice cream consistency.
If you’re starting with a fresh pineapple, though, you’ll need to do a bit of prep work.
Remove the pineapple fruit from the outer skin and cut it into small chunks.
If you plan on using the pineapple rind for serving, you’ll want to slice the pineapple in half lengthwise and remove the fruit carefully without cutting into the rind. A spoon really helps to remove the pineapple that is closest to the rind.
Once you’ve removed the pineapple and have cut it into small pieces, spread it out over a tray or a silicone cake pan and place it in the freezer. Try to spread out the fruit evenly, keeping space between the pieces if possible.
Freeze the fruit for several hours, as long as it takes to freeze it solid. You can keep it in the freezer for as long as you like, until you are ready to make your ice cream (sorbet).
If you plan on serving it in the pineapple, it’s a good idea to freeze the rind too. That keeps it in optimal shape for filling later on!
Making the sorbet
Once you have some frozen pineapple chunks, you can quickly whip up your ice cream!
Place the frozen pineapple in a food processor along with some coconut milk. Blend until smooth. (This will be quicker and easier in a powerful food processor.)
If you want to serve it in bowls, that’s all there is to it! You can now scoop it and serve it. (Why not try making some homemade waffle cones and bowls while you’re at it?)
Serving in a pineapple
If you want to serve this in the pineapple itself, fill the hollowed-out pineapple half with the ice cream. Return the filled pineapple half to the freezer to harden it for easy slicing. Once frozen solid, it can be cut in half to form 2 pineapple quarters. (You may need to take the sorbet out of the freezer for a while before slicing it or it can be difficult to cut.)
Keep in mind that when you make this ice cream ahead of time and refreeze it, it will get hard. It’s best to take it out of the freezer a little while before serving so that it isn’t frozen solid. That ensures a soft and creamy dessert.
No matter how you choose to serve it, though, it is amazingly sweet and creamy with very little effort.
If you prefer, you can also pour the mixture into popsicle molds and freeze until solid. The resulting pineapple popsicles are delicious!
Because this pineapple ice cream recipe is so easy to make (and tasty), you can imagine that I’ve made it many times by now. During my various attempts, I’ve tried varying the recipe slightly with different ingredients.
I am a coconut water fanatic, so I expected that I would like a pineapple sorbet made with coconut water best. In the end, though, my favorite way to make this recipe is using coconut milk. When you use coconut milk, you end up with a nice, creamy texture that makes you think “ice cream” more than “pineapple sorbet.” I was really amazed by how creamy this dessert turns out without adding any other creamier fuits like bananas.
Speaking of bananas, I’ve also made this by adding frozen banana chunks. It’s not bad that way, but I generally make this without them. If you add frozen bananas, they can make this dessert slightly sweeter. So, if you’re looking for that, try adding some ripe, frozen banana slices to your ice cream and see if you like it that way!
Quick and Easy Pineapple Ice Cream
Preparation (If using fresh fruit)
- If using a fresh pineapple, remove the fruit and cut into small pieces. Spread them over a tray or a silicone cake pan (ideally, with some space between them) and place in the freezer until frozen solid.
- If you'd like to serve the ice cream in the pineapple, slice the pineapple in half lengthwise and carefully remove the fruit without cutting the rind. A spoon helps.
Make the sorbet
- Add the frozen pineapple chunks to a food processor. Start processing the frozen fruits with your food processor.
- Slowly add in a dash of coconut milk and blend until you get a creamy consistency. (Add slowly as adding too much will result in a slush rather than a scoopable ice cream.)
- Serve immediately or store it in the freezer for later.
- If you choose to store the pineapple ice cream in the freezer, take it out several minutes before serving to allow it to reach a creamy consistency again.
Serving optionsIf you want to serve it in the pineapple, fill the hollowed-out pineapple with your ice cream. Freeze the filled pineapple long enough to make for easy slicing. Slice in half lengthwise to give pineapple quarters. If you’re feeling fancy, you can also use a piping bag to pipe the ice cream into small bowls for serving. This gives it more of a soft-serve look, and a “Dole Whip” feel. The mixture can also be made into popsicles by pouring it into popsicle molds and storing in the freezer.
This post was originally published on August 18, 2015. It was rewritten, adding new photos and video in July 2021.