Inspiration from Meghan

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Dairy-Free Tiger Tail Ice Cream Recipe


This is it. A homemade, from scratch, food colouring-free and artificial flavour-free, dairy-free, Tiger Tail Ice Cream Recipe. With a little help from the purest essential oils and the mighty food-trending activated charcoal, I recreated this classic ice cream flavour of the 80's.

This whole exploration into Tiger Tail came about when Ashley, who runs the show over here, and I discovered our mutual affection for this very, very random ice cream flavour. Tiger Tail (or Tiger Tiger as I had known it growing up in Winnipeg) swirls together the unlikely combination of tangerine and black licorice.

Dairy-Free Tiger Tail Ice Cream

I thought this was a classic ice cream flavour, one that everyone who ever went for an ice cream cone knew about and either loved or loathed.  As it turns out, Tiger Tail is a Canadian classic, that was invented sometime in the 80's and like a good pair of high waisted jeans, it has recently started making a comeback. I'm here to help ensure it makes a comeback!

Dairy-Free Tiger Tail Ice Cream

I wanted to recreate this ice cream magic wonder using all awesome ingredients. I wanted to flavour it truly naturally ("natural flavour" is not natural!), and colour it without chemicals. This was what I came up with.

The Tangerine Orange Flavour

Dairy-Free Tiger Tail Ice Cream

For the tangerine flavour, I picked up a bottle of tangerine essential oil to give it a sweet and pure orangey orange flavour. Please ensure beyond a shadow of a doubt that your oils are truly pure if you're going to be ingesting them. I also added in some orange zest for a little extra tang. To bring in that orange colour my instinct was to use turmeric, but I feared it might bring too much of its own distinct flavour and likely be a little more yellow than I wanted. Instead I used goji berries for the colouring. Though they look pink, they are orange on the inside and produced the perfect colour.

The Black Licorice Flavour

Dairy-Free Tiger Tail Ice Cream

Creating the black licorice swirl was a really fun experiment. For this rich and unique flavour, I used the essential oil of Anise Myrtle which worked really well (I think my next adventure will be to make gluten-free black licorice).  And the real fun came in turning it black.

Dairy-Free Tiger Tail Ice Cream

For this, I hopped on the activated charcoal trend. You may have read about this ingredient recently. Commonly known as a supplement used to treat food poisoning or stomach flu (it helps bind up poison and toxins), more recently it's being used in beauty care products like face masks and toothpastes. It is black in colour (it is charcoal after all), and completely safe to consume. There are a few ice cream spots using charcoal with lineups down the street for this hipster grey/black ice cream. Count me in on the trend!

Dairy-Free Tiger Tail Ice Cream Recipe

Dairy-Free Tiger Tail Ice Cream

I dusted off my ice cream maker (not essential - a blender or food processor will work) and used it to create the orange ice cream. I then scooped the ready-to-go orange ice cream into a container, poured in the black licorice mix, froze the whole thing to let it all set, scooped and there I had it-- perfectly swirled, all-natural, homemade Tiger Tail Ice Cream.

Now it's your turn to try!

Dairy-Free Tiger Tail Ice Cream


Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Yield: 8 servings

A delicious homemade Tiger Tail Ice cream with orange and black licorice swirls

Orange Ice Cream Flavour
  • 2 cups coconut milk (or 1 can organic)
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp goji berries, soaked
  • 20 drops Tangerine essential oil
  • 2 tsp orange zest
Black licorice

Make It Like So
  1. Place all ingredients for the orange ice cream into your ice cream maker (follow ice cream maker instructions) or your high speed blender, or food processor.
  2. If using a blender, blend until smooth. Once smooth, pour into ice cube trays and freeze.
  3. While orange flavour is freezing, pour all black licorice ingredients into your blender or food processor. Blend until until smooth and set aside.
  4. Once orange ice cream is set, scoop out of ice cream maker, or pop out of ice cube tray and place in a large glass container with space between scoops or cubes. Slowly pour in the black licorice flavour so it pools around the orange cubes. Layer more scoops or cubes of orange and pour more black licorice.
  5. Once both flavours are used up, place the entire container in the freezer to to set.
  6. Remove from freezer about 10 minutes before you wish to serve.
  7. Scoop and serve it up!

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6 Responses to “Dairy-Free Tiger Tail Ice Cream Recipe”

  1. Suzanne MacFayden said…
    This recipe looks amazing! I am wondering which brand of essential oil do you use. I am always a bit leery when buying to ingest and would love some feedback. Thank you so much.
    • Meghan Telpner said…
      Hi Suzanne, thanks for your message! I use Living Libations oils.
  2. Donna said…
    Meghan! I grew up in Manitoba and I miss Tiger Tiger so much, we were eating it in the 70's from Dutch Maid! thank you so much for this recipe, as soon as I can get the essences, i'm going to try it out. Keep up the awesome-ness!!!
  3. Janet said…
    Dairymaid Tiger Tiger ice-cream was THE best. I’m so excited to try this recipe!
  4. Ben said…
    Ha, I was just having a debate with an Ontario friend on FB over "tiger tail" vs. "tiger tiger." I definitely remember tiger tiger in Manitoba too. Regional differences, eh? :)
  5. Chere said… March 7, 2020
    Thank you for your great articles. I came on your site looking for more on aquafaba which has seemed suspect since I read too good to be true recipe. From what I read in your article the one issue that is hard to get around is its gaseous nature. Essentially its not very digestible and has almost zero nutritional value. Thanks for the info! And super thank you for the tiger tail recipe. I loved licorice ice cream served with pumpkin spice ice cream as a kid. I am so excited to see licorice ice cream make a come back - I thought I single handedly willed it back to life :-) super excited this version of black orange colored nice cream option

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