Skill Level: Easy | Time: 20 minutes | Servings: 6
Looking for a quick, easy dessert that’s vegan and gluten free? This tasty vegan pumpkin mousse is made with canned pumpkin and coconut milk along with tasty spices for a simple but delicious dairy free, eggless and gluten free dessert.
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Is Pumpkin Mousse Vegan?
Unless it’s clearly marked as vegan, pumpkin mousse is likely made with dairy, eggs and/ or gelatin.
Mousse recipes commonly use dairy and eggs to provide a fluffy base texture. Luckily, coconut cream is the perfect vegan replacement since it becomes super fluffy when whipped.
Gelatin is also commonly added to mousse to hold its shape. This recipe uses cream of tartar to help the coconut cream hold its light, airy texture. I’ve put this recipe through plenty of tests to make sure it doesn’t fall flat and I’ve yet to have an issue!
Ingredients to Make this Vegan Pumpkin Mousse Recipe
This recipe uses a few simple ingredients. It tastes like fluffy pumpkin pie as if you mixed coconut whipped cream straight into a pumpkin pie filling (which is basically what we’re doing!).
To make this recipe you need:
- Canned coconut milk: make sure to buy the regular (full fat) version of canned coconut milk and read the ingredient label before you buy! The only ingredients should be coconut and water. Pop a couple coconut milk cans into the fridge for at least two hours before attempting this recipe. We’ll skim off the top layer of coconut cream from these cans and chilling them helps (plus it helps the coconut cream whip nicely).
- Canned pumpkin puree: I love using canned pumpkin puree because I doubt I’d ever have the time to cook and puree my own pumpkin. When this delicious ingredient goes on sale I always stock up. Just buy plain pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling since we’ll add our own delicious spices.
- Sugar: We need some sweetness to balance the pumpkin pie spices and make this a nicely sweetened dessert. Don’t worry; the final product won’t be super sweet, and you can slightly adjust the sugar amount to your preference. Sugar also helps the whipped coconut cream hold its shape.
- Cream of tartar: this is a very old-fashioned ingredient, typically used to balance baking soda in recipes that were created before baking powder was invented. Cream of tartar is a key ingredient in baking powder, but also plays an important role in this recipe to help the coconut cream stay fluffy.
- Spices and vanilla: classic pumpkin pie spices and vanilla extract bring all the flavor you want to this delicious dessert. You can use a pre-mixed pumpkin pie spice, but I prefer to mix my own spices for full control of the flavor!
How to Make Pumpkin Mousse with Coconut Milk: Instructions and Video Tutorial
Coconut milk creates a delicious whipped cream substitute that’s the perfect base for this pumpkin spiced dessert.
Step 1: Chill Canned Coconut Milk
This recipe starts with two cans of coconut milk. Make sure to buy regular coconut milk and not a low-fat variety (which is watered-down coconut milk and won’t work for this recipe).
It’s also important to buy coconut milk that only has two ingredients, coconut and water. Other ingredients are often added as an emulsifier which means it prevents coconut solids (coconut cream) from separating from the water.
This is the exact opposite of what this recipe requires; instead, canned coconut milk is chilled in the fridge to allow the coconut solids to separate from the water.
Chilling canned coconut milk helps separate coconut cream from the water. Cold coconut cream also whips better so this is an important step!
If you have it available, it may be helpful to chill three cans of coconut milk in case one isn’t separated properly. If the first two you open are good to use that’s great; the third can is fine to either stay in the fridge or be returned to your cupboard! If one is not separated properly (coconut water and cream are mixed together), you can easily toss it into another delicious recipe that uses coconut milk.
Step 2: Whip Coconut Milk while Adding Sugar
Once the coconut milk is chilled (for at least 1 hour or overnight) carefully open the cans. Avoid shaking the cans since that may mix the coconut solids with the water.
Carefully spoon out the thick, white top portion of each can. This is the coconut cream/ coconut solids and provides a perfect texture for vegan pumpkin mousse. Once you start seeing thinner, clearer liquid, proceed with caution to only scoop the thick white portion.
With the brand of coconut milk I use, the coconut solids take up about half the can whereas the other half is water. This water can be added to other recipes for flavor but doesn’t have much fat or creaminess.
After the coconut solids are scooped carefully into a large bowl, sprinkle in cream of tartar and begin whipping with a hand mixer. The coconut cream will start to fluff.
At this point, slowly add sugar one tablespoon at a time. Sugar helps the coconut cream hold its shape and stay fluffy, so don’t skip this step. At least 5 tablespoons of sugar are needed but you can use up to 8 tablespoons depending on your preference for sweetness (I find 6 tbsp perfect!).
Each time you add more sugar, scrape down the edges of the bowl to ensure even whipping.
Step 3: Fold in Pumpkin Puree and Spices
After fully whipping in all the sugar, it’s time to add vanilla extract and the flavorful pumpkin pie spices.
I don’t have pumpkin pie spice mix around since I always prefer to customize spices and blends for each recipe. If you have a pumpkin pie spice blend around that you like, feel free to use it (about 2 tsp should do!).
Next, add pumpkin puree and carefully fold everything together. Folding is a delicate way of mixing and helps the whipped coconut cream hold its air bubbles and texture.
To fold, use a spatula and scrape along the bottom of the bowl. As you come up to the far edge of the bowl, lift the mixture up and bring it over the top, as if you were trying to literally fold the mix in half. Do not press the mixture down; use upward motions only.
Continue folding until everything is mixed. It takes time to mix this way, but it’s important to go slowly and be gentle to allow the coconut fluff to hold its texture!
Step 4: Chill before Serving
When everything is evenly mixed, chill the pumpkin mousse before serving. It needs at least an hour to firm back up! I like to portion out the recipe into 6 small jars.
Feel free to garnish with coconut whipped cream, pecans, other nuts and seeds or whatever else you enjoy!
How to Store Pumpkin Coconut Mousse: Refrigerating and Freezing this Recipe
Store the mousse in the fridge, in an airtight container for up to a week. It should hold its shape and texture for this long.
I prefer to portion the mousse into small mason jars for easy eating!
You can also freeze this mousse for up to 3 months if you have extra. Again, I’ve tested this and the mousse doesn’t fall flat after thawing in the fridge (do not thaw on the counter since the mousse needs to stay cold to keep its texture). I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do! If you make it, tag me @lettucevegout because I’d love to see what you make!
Vegan Pumpkin Mousse
- Large bowl
- Electric hand mixer
- Chill the cans of coconut milk for at least one hour.
- Carefully open the coconut milk cans and scoop out the top half that contains the coconut cream/ coconut solids into a large bowl. This is the thick, white part. Avoid scooping out any coconut water (clear, thin liquid portion).
- Add ½ tsp cream of tartar and begin whipping the coconut cream with an electric hand mixer.
- After about 2 minutes of whipping, add 1 tbsp of sugar at a time, whipping for about 1 minute after each addition of sugar. Each time you stop to add sugar, use a spatula to scrape down the edges of the bowl.
- After all the sugar is whipped in, add the remaining ingredients (1 C pumpkin puree 1 tsp vanilla extract, ¾ tsp cinnamon, ¼ tsp ground nutmeg, ⅛ tsp ground ginger, ⅛ tsp ground allspice, 1/16 tsp ground mace).
- Fold the spices and pumpkin puree into the whipped coconut cream gently.
- Once everything is mixed evenly, chill the mousse for at least 1 hour before serving (you can portion out the mousse before chilling if you like).
- Serve cold! Top with coconut whipped cream and/ or nuts of your choice if you like.