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
Orange Sherbet Recipe
- 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. (If chilling the base mixture overnight in the fridge, there's no need to refrigerate the oranges and coconut milk). 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, or you can 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.
So good! Best homemade ice cream/sherbet thing I’ve made! Definitely orangey and delicious, but I may half the sugar next time…
Super happy to read your note! Thank you for giving the recipe a go, and your five star rating, Anna!
My oranges and coconut milk were cold, and when I blended everything together the cold coconut milk stayed in little clumps, separating from the rest of the liquid. I had to actually wait until the coconut milk solids warmed up before they would combine with everything. Curious no one else experienced this? (However final product was was super good!— just wish I hadn’t chilled the ingredients.)
Hi Leanne! Thank you for your note and giving the sherbet a go. I’m sorry to hear your coconut milk stayed in little clumps. Blending the ingredients should break the clumps up… I’m curious what brand coconut milk you used and if you blended using a high speed blender or food processor? So glad in the end you had a good set and enjoyed the sherbet! If chilling the custard overnight, you don’t *need* to refrigerate the coconut milk – but if chilling the base mixture in just a few hours, chilling the coconut milk first helps bring the mixture to temperature quicker (I’ll add a note in the recipe). I hope this helps!
This was honestly one of the best homemade desserts I ever had. My husband and I could not believe how good this was! (Almost ate the entire container in one night… a lot of self restraint required lol.) We did half the sugar and it was plenty sweet, and we just used the fresh-squeezed juice from the two zested oranges plus regular store-bought juice for the OJ. This will now be our new favorite tradition!
Hi Kaylee! Hooray for one of the best! Thank you for coming back, leaving a note and sharing your tips. SO happy to hear!
This Sherbet looks and sounds delicious. I plan to make it for summer. Thank you for your delicious recipes…they are simply the Best! I appreciate your blog so much.
Hi Brenda! Thank you for your note and sending a smile. SO appreciated! LMK when you give the sherbet a go! Would love to hear your thoughts.
Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen
Being in Florida for the winter, I’m all about fresh oranges Traci! And this sherbet looks so delicious and refreshing! LOVE all that orange flavor!
SO refreshing and such a treat! How wonderful you have all that amazing citrus so close by. I wish I could grow my own, but it’s too cold up here!
Katherine | Love In My Oven
Traci, this makes me want to run right over to my in-laws and steal their ice cream maker so I can make this! I really love sherbet. I find it so refreshing! Your orange recipe looks incredible!
DO it Katherine! You know, I borrowed one for years before I finally got my own. My neighbor was more than willing to lend as long as she got some of the ice cream! Isn’t sherbet so yum?!
Liz @ Floating Kitchen
Sherbert always reminds me of being a kid – we always had it in the house and I loved it! Perfect way to showcase beautiful Winter citrus!
I made this and it was great! The first time I churned it was totally soup, so I put the freezer bowl back (into the back of the freezer this time), and rechurned and it turned out soft serve texture. I’m honestly amazed I can just substitute coconut milk in dairy ice cream recipes and it will work, looking up cotton candy ice cream recipes right now.
Hi Dakota! So happy to hear you enjoyed the sherbet. Thank you for your note! I love this stuff! Glad you put the bowl back… it sounds like it wasn’t cold enough. Indeed, you can sub coconut milk, but if you can, try using cashew milk to reduce the coconut flavor. This would be more like ice cream. It’s so rich and closer to the real deal!
I grew up with Orange Sherbet and chocolate chips. So, I’m planning to use this recipe and add chocolate chips to it. So, i’ll let you know how it goes
I have an abundance of tangerines on my tree this season and finally had the motivation to do something with them. I bought an ice cream maker and made a couple batches of sorbet, which were fantastic, but I prefer ice cream to sorbet. My husband is vegan though, so I decided to try out your recipe. OMG it’s so amazing!! I wish I had more room in my freezer, I’d make nothing else with all this fruit! I am definitely going to repeat this every year.
Hi Jesse! Wow! So happy to hear you enjoyed the Sherbet and you’ve a new way to enjoy all those juicy tangerines! Thank you for coming back and leaving a note :D
We have made this recipe exactly as stated and it is so delicious. Just wanted to mention we also substitute the orange juice with pineapple juice and the rest the same ingredients it was so delicious:)
Hey Cinnamon! Oh my goodness! I’d never thought to make pineapple sherbet but I’m all in! It sounds so incredibly scrumptious. SO happy y’all enjoyed the recipe and made it your own. I can’t wait to give pineapple a go!
I just bought a CuisinArt sorbet/ice cream/frozen yogurt maker at a thrift store and can’t wait to put it to use. Very excited to see this recipe but I have a question. Do I have to use coconut milk or can I also use cashew milk which is a bit creamer, plus I don’t really enjoy the coconut flavor too much.
thank you so much,
Hey Renate! Congratulations on your new ice cream maker! For the sherbet, I’ve been told by people that’ve devoured this with me (as well as other coconut milk sweets recipes, if coconut flavor is not the objective), that the coconut milk is undetectable. That said, I make cashew milk ice cream all the time: https://vanillaandbean.com/bourbon-vanilla-bean-ice-cream/ But it also has coconut milk in it. I’m pretty sure you could sub cashew milk for the coconut milk (although I’ve not tried it) and would love to hear back if you give it a go!
Amazing. perfect for my daughter who can not have dairy. Creamy, firmed up perfectly, Love it thank you for the recipe!
Hooray! Thank you sharing. We love this recipe too! :D
Kelsey @ Snacking Squirrel
the flavor of this would be bursting with orange i bet its pretty much irresistable to eat!
Yeah, it’s pretty irresistible. I scooped the last scoop last night… and I’m thinking we need to have more in the freezer! Mandarins are still in season! :D
Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health
Wow, Traci! This looks so creamy and delicious!! I’m obsessed with citrus right now as well so I would love a bowl of this. As always, your pictures are stunning. Beautiful!!
Wow wow wow wow wow. Did I say wow? Wow!
I simply can’t wait to make this orange sherbet. I made your chocolate vegan ice cream before that was out of this world amazing so I can only imagine the goodness that will come from making your new sherbet recipe.
Love the pics as well. Makes me all giddy inside. :)