Made with the season’s freshest citrus, this Orange Sherbet is creamy and bursting with the freshest orange flavor! Made with coconut milk, this frozen treat is sweet-tart with a hint of coconut and vanilla. This recipe is vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free.
This recipe was first published March, 2015 and has been updated with new photos and recipe notes March, 2021.
The Season For Orange Sherbet
The colors of late winter citrus are inspiring and bring so much sunshine to our kitchens. The seasons seamlessly slip from one to another, effortlessly shifting seasonal focus and culinary delights. It’s the simple things, right? Take citrus, for example. I’ve been drinking it up several times a week in this citrus ginger mint green smoothie and matcha orange green tea smoothie. It’s delicious in salad dressings, and dessert tarts with so much more to explore.
Murcott Mandarins, Cara Cara and Clementine, are my go-to late season citrus. They’re easy to peel, virtually seedless and over the top sweet and juicy. Murcott Mandarins (aka Honey Tangerines) start showing up right as California Clementines are ending their season. Any of these citrus is a perfect choice for this frozen dessert recipe.
Sherbet vs Ice Cream vs Sorbet
You might be wondering, is sherbet dairy free? What’s the difference?
Sherbet sets right in the middle on the continuum of frozen treats.
- Ice cream is made with dairy and egg yolks
- Sherbet is made with dairy only, no eggs, or in this case coconut milk
- Sorbet is dairy and egg-free and is fruit based
In this sherbet recipe, I use coconut milk for its flavor and ultra creamyness. I always have a can in the larder anyway, so why not? Coconut milk complements citrus beautifully and it’s a perfect sub for those have a lactose intolerance.
How to Make Orange Sherbet Ice Cream
Orange Sherbet is simple to make; it only requires six ingredients, an ice cream maker and a strong hand for juicing. It comes together with ease and is worth the effort. Even Rob is smitten; not an easy task. In summary, here’s how to make this creamy lactose-free orange sherbet recipe (see recipe card below for details):
- First, zest and juice the oranges.
- Second, blend or process the orange fruit juice, coconut milk, sugar, lemon juice, vanilla extract and salt.
- Third, strain into a bowl and stir in orange zest.
- Next, refrigerate the creamy mixture base until it reaches about 43F (6C).
- Last, churn the sherbet base according to your ice cream maker’s manufacture’s instructions.
Share this orange sherbet right away as soft serve or freeze longer for a firmer set.
A Few Recipe Notes
- This recipe includes orange zest. Use a fine microplane grater for the finest zest. It’s added last, just before placing the base in the fridge. After churning, scrape the zest off the churn paddle and mix it back into the sherbet as it tends to clump.
- Enjoy orange sherbet simply or with cake cones or sugar cones. That crunchy creamy experience makes the sherbet even better!
- Vegan and Diary Free: I make this orange sherbet with full fat coconut milk for a creamy texture and just a bit of tropical delight. The coconut milk complements the citrus and also, its fat makes this sherbet so creamy!
More Dairy Free (and Vegan) Ice Cream to Love
- Strawberry Chocolate Chip Nice Cream
- Vegan Bourbon Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
- Mexican Chocolate Nice Cream Bowls
- Vegan Bourbon Soaked Cherry Ice Cream
- 2 Tbs Orange Zest from about 2 large oranges
- 2 C (485g) Orange Juice fresh-squeezed. This will require 2-3 lbs of oranges (1 - 1.4 kg), Cara Cara, Clementine or Murcott Mandarins . Refrigerate the oranges overnight if possible.
- 1 Tbs Lemon Juice
- 1 C (210g) Granulated Evaporated Cane Juice Sugar
- 1/8 tsp Sea Salt
- 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 1/2 C (395g) Full Fat Coconut Milk refrigerated, 1 can
- The night before making the sherbet, place the oranges and coconut milk in the refrigerator. Place the ice cream maker's freezer bowl in the freezer.
- Zest the oranges, then set aside. In a high speed blender or 7+ cup food processor, blend the orange juice, lemon juice, sugar, salt, vanilla extract, and coconut milk until the sugar is dissolved. Strain into a large bowl or pitcher. Stir in the orange zest. Cover. Refrigerate until mixture is between 40F - 43F, usually a few hours. I refrigerate overnight to reach temperature.
- Process mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions. When finished, the sherbet will be like soft-serve (mine takes about 25 minutes).
- While the sherbet is processing, line a storage container with parchment paper and place in the freezer. Once frozen, spoon the sherbet into the storage container making sure to redistribute the zest evenly as it tends to get stuck and clump up on the mixer attachment.
- Place a piece of parchment paper directly on the surface of the Sherbet and freeze until desired consistency. I freeze overnight, but a softer serve consistency can be enjoyed in about three hours. Serve in a bowl or cone. Store for up to two weeks in the covered container in the freezer.