This vegan pumpkin mousse recipe is made with coconut milk, pumpkin puree and plenty of tasty, seasonal spices. It’s light, fluffy and easy to make as a delicious autumn dessert.
It tastes like pumpkin pie mixed with whipped cream, yet it’s completely dairy free and eggless!
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Is Pumpkin Mousse Vegan?
Most mousse recipes are made with dairy, eggs and/or gelatin. Dairy and eggs create the light and fluffy texture while gelatin helps the mousse hold its shape.
Luckily, coconut cream is an excellent replacement for dairy and eggs. It creates a rich, creamy and fluffy mousse! I also use cream of tartar to help the mousse hold its texture. While this ingredient is optional, I recommend it for best results.
Other ingredients in pumpkin mousse include pumpkin puree and spices which are already vegan!
Vegan Pumpkin Mousse Ingredients
This pumpkin mousse is made with a few simple ingredients that create a fluffy and creamy pumpkin dessert! Just combine whipped coconut cream into a mixture of pumpkin and spices.
- Coconut cream: For a fluffy mousse texture, start with chilled coconut cream. While you can buy canned coconut cream, it’s easiest to buy cans of regular, full fat coconut milk. Place the cans in your fridge for at least 6 hours (overnight is best) before starting this recipe. Once cold, you’ll skim the separated top layer of coconut milk (cream) from the coconut water below! Just make sure the coconut milk you buy only has 2 ingredients, coconut and water. Other ingredients are typically emulsifiers that prevent separation of coconut cream from the water (fine for some recipes but not this one).
- Pumpkin puree: I buy canned pumpkin puree since it’s easy to find where I live. If you can’t find this ingredient, you can steam or boil some pumpkin and puree it until completely smooth before making this recipe. Make sure to buy regular puree pumpkin and not a pumpkin pie filling.
- Granulated sugar: To sweeten this dessert, use regular granulated sugar. Cane sugar is the only viable alternative (if it has the texture of granulated sugar). Sugar substitutes including liquid or artificial sweeteners won’t work.
- Cream of tartar: You may not have this ingredient in your pantry as it’s not commonly used in baking anymore. However, it’s a great one for vegans to have on hand as it helps hold the texture of whipped coconut cream (and whipped aquafaba). It should be easy to find and not too expensive.
- Vanilla extract: Most of my baking includes vanilla extract because it’s delicious and boosts all the other flavors it’s paired with.
- Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, mace: This combo of spices creates a warm, pumpkin pie-like flavor. You can also use a pre-mixed pumpkin pie spice, but I prefer to control the level of each spice to my own preferences.
How to Make Pumpkin Mousse with Coconut Milk
Chilled, whipped coconut milk provides the perfect, fluffy base for this light and spiced dessert. Read the detailed directions below for a visual on how to make this recipe.
You’ll need an electric hand blender or a stand mixer.
Step 1: Chill Coconut Milk and Scoop from Cans
Before you start this mousse recipe, chill a couple cans of coconut milk. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours (but overnight is best).
This achieves 3 things:
- It helps separate coconut cream from coconut water in the can
- It firms the coconut cream so it’s easier to scoop out of the can without any water
- Chilled coconut cream whips better (won’t whip well at room-temperature)
This recipe will not work if your coconut milk isn’t cold.
You might be tempted to chill the canned coconut milk in a freezer, but this doesn’t work. Also, store your cans upright (to allow the coconut water to settle to the bottom of the can). Don’t shake or jostle the cans while they chill or after you take them out of the fridge.
If you’re able to, it may be helpful to chill 3 cans in case one doesn’t separate properly. On occasion, the coconut cream just doesn’t separate from its coconut water. If this happens to you, use the coconut milk in another tasty recipe (like a curry). If the first 2 cans you open separate well, keep the other can refrigerated or return it to your pantry.
After you’ve chilled the cans, open them and carefully scoop out the thick, white coconut cream into a large mixing bowl (or stand mixer bowl). Leave behind the thin, liquid coconut water. Do your best to get all the coconut cream without any liquid.
If using a can of pure coconut cream, you’ll still have coconut water at the bottom. Be careful to avoid getting this liquid into your mixing bowl.
Step 2: Whip Mousse
Add cream of tartar to your coconut cream, then start whipping.
Use the highest speed of an electric hand mixer or stand mixer (with the whisk attachment).
After 2 minutes of continuous whipping, stop and scrape down the edges. Then, slowly add granulated sugar while continuing to whip continuously.
Slowly add 1 tablespoon of sugar at a time (avoid just dumping it in). Whip for 45-60 seconds after you add each tablespoon. Every couple tablespoons, stop and scrape down the edges of your bowl.
Continue until you’ve incorporated all the sugar.
At this point, add the remaining ingredients including vanilla extract, pumpkin puree and spices.
I carefully fold these ingredients into the whipped coconut cream; if you’re curious about this technique, make sure to watch the recipe video.
You can also just whip them in using the stand mixer or electric hand mixer.
Step 3: Portion, Chill and Serve
At this point, you’ve fully prepared the mousse, but it needs to chill for at least 1 hour before serving.
It’s best to portion the mousse into small bowls/ jars before chilling. This also makes serving really easy.
Serve as-is or top with pecans, pumpkin seeds, a sprinkle of extra cinnamon, granola – whatever you like!
How to Refrigerate and Freeze Mousse
Refrigerate the mousse and keep it covered in some way (lids or plastic wrap). Only remove from your fridge right before you serve it.
You can refrigerate the mousse for up to one week; it should hold its shape the entire time.
You can also freeze this recipe very successfully. If you plan to freeze, use jars or containers with lids to portion out the mousse. Leave space at the top of the jar or container for expansion. When frozen, thaw in your fridge overnight before serving. Do not thaw on a countertop.
Vegan Pumpkin Mousse
Step 1: Chill Coconut Milk and Scoop from Cans
- Chill your cans of coconut milk for at least 6 hours before making this recipe (overnight is ideal).2 cups coconut milk
- Once the coconut milk cans are cold, open them and carefully scoop out the coconut cream (the thick, creamy, white layer at the top of the can) into a large mixing bowl. Discard the thin, liquid coconut water at the bottom of your can and try not to get any of this water into the mixing bowl.
Step 2: Whip Pumpkin Mousse
- Add cream of tartar to the coconut milk. Begin whipping it using the highest speed setting on your hand mixer (or stand mixer with whisk attachment).½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- After 2 minutes, scrape down the edges of your bowl. Then, slowly add granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Don’t just dump it in.8 tablespoons granulated sugar
- After every couple tablespoons, stop whipping to scrape down the edges of your bowl.
- When you’ve whipped in all the sugar, add the remaining ingredients including vanilla extract, pumpkin puree and spices.1 cup pumpkin puree, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger, ⅛ teaspoon ground allspice, 1/16 teaspoon ground mace
- Fold these ingredients carefully or whip them (by handheld or stand mixer).
Step 3: Portion, Chill and Serve
- It’s best to portion the mousse into small containers, jars or ramekins.
- Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Always keep the mousse cold.
More Vegan Dessert Recipes
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About Nicole Stevens
Nicole is a long-time vegan with a Masters of Science in Food and Nutrition.
She helps people thrive on a vegan diet with balanced recipes.