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Sorbet 101 (vegan)

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Are you absolutely terrified of making your own ice cream? Has your ice cream machine sat untouched in your closet for years? Do you just eschew from frozen treats because of all of the cream and sugar? Then this recipe is for you: there’s no cooking involved, and all you need is a blender–you don’t even necessarily need an ice cream maker!

Use whatever fruit is in season, or use thawed frozen fruit or tropical fruits (like a combination of bananas and mangoes) in the wintertime.

Pictured in recipe index is an almond-dragonfruit sorbet I made in Hawaii. 🙂


Prep Time
Cooking Time
Total Time
Yield 6-8 servings

4-6 cups of fruit of choice (I love the combinations of strawberry/banana and raspberry/peach)

2/3-1 cup of unrefined cane sugar or coconut sugar

1 tablespoon of vodka or alcohol of choice

1/2-1 tablespoon of vanilla, almond, or citrus extract (optional)

1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice (optional)

Handful of herbs, like thyme, sage, or lavender (optional)


Here’s how it works: first, put all of your fruit in the blender with NOTHING else. Blend until everything is pulverized, then look on the side and see how many cups of fruit puree you have.

My rule of thumb is to use 3 tablespoons to 1/4 cup of sugar for every cup of fruit puree: for example, if you have 4 cups of fruit puree, use 1 cup (or a little less) of sugar. It doesn’t have to be exact: just round up or down to the nearest whole number if you have, say, 3 1/2 cups of puree.

Feel free to scale back the sugar a little bit, but DON’T overdo it. Because sorbet has no fat, you’re in a battle against liquid to prevent your frozen treat from becoming too icy, and sugar helps keep things from becoming an edible igloo. With tarter fruits–like strawberries and blueberries–you’ll definitely need more sugar, but with sweeter fruits–like bananas and really ripe peaches–you can use less.

Once the fruit has been blended, add the calculated amount of sugar, vodka (this also helps prevent the igloo problem), and extract/citrus juice/herbs, if you’re using them. This is your chance to be creative with your flavors, so go crazy! Here are some combos I’ve made:

  • Strawberry/banana puree with lemon juice and vanilla extract
  • Raspberry/peach puree with lavender
  • Dragonfruit puree with almond extract

Blend again. Once everything has been well-incorporated, pour the puree into a bowl and place it in the fridge to cool for 4-6 hours. This is critical: you don’t want to be putting warm ingredients into the frozen ice cream machine base.

When the cooling time has elapsed, pass the puree through a sieve to remove any seeds or big pieces of herbs that didn’t get blended properly. Now you’re ready to get things rolling!

Here are the two methods for churning the sorbet:

ICE CREAM MACHINE METHOD: Pour the fruit puree into the ice cream machine’s base and churn according to your manufacturer’s instructions. (I churn mine for half an hour, usually.) Once churned, pour into a glass loaf pan or plastic container, cover with a piece of plastic wrap or a lid, and let harden in the freezer overnight (or for at least 12 hours).

BLENDER METHOD: Pour the fruit puree into a large flat glass dish, cover with a piece of plastic wrap, and freeze until just solid, 1-2 hours. Remove the dish from the freezer and cut the contents into squares–it doesn’t have to be perfect–and put them into the blender. Blend until just incorporated, about a minute, then pour the puree back into the glass dish and freeze for another 1-2 hours. Repeat this process twice more, then pour the finished product into a glass loaf pan or plastic container. (The purpose of this is to add air to your sorbet, which will make it creamier and also allow it to freeze better.) Cover with a piece of plastic wrap or a lid, and let harden in the freezer overnight (or for at least 12 hours).

Let the sorbet sit out and thaw for 10 minutes before scooping and eating.

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