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How to Make Banana Ice Cream (Nice Cream!)

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Banana ice cream, also called “nice cream,” is my favorite healthy ice cream because it’s quick and easy to prepare, with only 1 main ingredient required. (Frozen bananas!) When you freeze a banana, it becomes unbelievably creamy, which is why it makes recipes like my Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie and Strawberry Banana Smoothie so milkshake-like. Today I’m going to show you how to make it, without an ice cream maker!

banana ice cream flavors in a glass

How to Freeze Bananas for Ice Cream

Before you freeze bananas for ice cream, it’s important that you peel them first (or the peel could be stuck forever), and then slice them into coins. I cut each banana slice about 1/2-inch thick, but it’s not important to be precise.

Cutting the banana into small pieces helps it break down faster when you blend it, giving you a thick & creamy ice cream, without making your food processor work too hard.

bananas sliced and on a pan to freeze

Once the bananas are sliced, arrange them in a single layer on a large baking sheet covered with parchment paper. You don’t want them to freeze stuck to the pan, so it’s important that there is a barrier like parchment paper or a silicone mat. I can usually fit about 4 to 5 large bananas onto a single pan.

Freeze the bananas overnight, then transfer them to an airtight container to store for longer. (This way they won’t pick up the tastes or smells from your freezer.) Freezing the sliced banana on a pan first ensures that they won’t stick together in a big clump, so they will be easier to blend for smoothies or ice cream.

banana ice cream in food processor

How to Make Banana Ice Cream

Making banana ice cream is as easy as adding the frozen sliced bananas to the bowl of food processor fitted with an “S” blade, and then pressing a button. You don’t have to add anything else, but you may need to stop and scrape the machine down once or twice to make sure everything keeps moving and blending.

Plain banana ice cream has a great texture, but it isn’t super-sweet if your taste buds are used to traditional ice cream. (If you don’t typically use sweeteners, it’s plenty sweet on its own.) For something a little sweeter, you can add a touch of maple syrup or honey to the food processor to blend along with the bananas, or try one of the flavor combinations below.

chocolate strawberry and peanut butter banana ice cream

Banana Ice Cream Flavors

If you want to jazz up the flavor of your banana ice cream, try one of the following options. Keep in mind that these measurements are just suggestions, so be sure to taste it as you go and adjust the flavoring until it tastes perfect to you.

  • Peanut Butter + Banana (Add 1 tablespoon all-natural peanut butter per frozen banana; this is my favorite version! I’ve been making peanut butter banana ice cream for years.)
  • Strawberry Banana Ice Cream (Add 1/2 cup frozen strawberries + 1 tablespoon of maple syrup per frozen banana; you can also replace the maple syrup with 2 pitted dates + 2 tablespoons water.)
  • Double Chocolate Banana Ice Cream (Add 1 tablespoon unsweetened cacao powder + 1 tablespoon maple syrup per banana + a sprinkle of mini chocolate chips; optionally you can also add a splash of vanilla and 1 tablespoon of almond butter for added creaminess.)
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream (Add 1 tablespoon peanut butter + 1 tablespoon cacao powder + 1 tablespoon maple syrup)

The combinations are endless, so feel free to also blend in any other ingredients you like, such as raspberries, blueberries, cinnamon, pumpkin, and more.

Can you Freeze Banana Ice Cream?

Banana Ice Cream has a “soft serve” consistency immediately after you make it, and you can serve it right away like that. However, if you want to make it ahead of time or if you want a scoop-able consistency more like traditional ice cream, transfer the ice cream to a dish that you can place in the freezer.

banana ice cream frozen and scooped

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I find that banana ice cream is the easiest to scoop after it’s been in the freezer for about 2 hours. If you freeze it overnight, it will be much harder in texture, and you’ll need to let it sit out on the counter at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes to let it thaw and soften up again.

You can freeze prepared banana ice cream in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Make sure it’s tightly covered to prevent freezer burn.

Banana Ice Cream Tutorial (1-Minute Video):

banana ice cream flavors in a glass
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5 from 9 votes

How to Make Banana Ice Cream (Nice Cream)

Here's how to make Banana Ice Cream at home, using only 1 main ingredient. This recipe includes 5 different flavor combinations and a video to show how easy it is!
Course Dessert
Cuisine gluten-free, paleo, vegan
Keyword banana ice cream, nice cream
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 121kcal

Ingredients

Plain Banana Ice Cream

  • 2 frozen bananas (peeled, sliced into coins, and frozen overnight)

Strawberry Banana Ice Cream

  • 2 frozen bananas (peeled, sliced into coins, and frozen overnight)
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (or 4 pitted dates + 1/4 cup water)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

  • 2 frozen bananas (peeled, sliced into coins, and frozen overnight)
  • 2 tablespoons all-natural peanut butter
  • pinch of salt (if using unsalted peanut butter)

Double Chocolate Banana Ice Cream

  • 2 frozen bananas (peeled, sliced into coins, and frozen overnight)
  • 2 tablespoons cacao powder (unsweetened)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup , or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon mini chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life brand to keep this dairy-free)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream

Instructions

  • Add the ingredients to the bowl of a food processor fitted with an "S" blade. If using dates in your recipe, process them with water first to help break them down, then add in the bananas and any other ingredients.
  • Process the bananas until they break down and have a smooth and creamy ice-cream-like texture. Serve right away for a soft serve consistency.
  • For a scoop-able ice cream, transfer the banana ice cream to a freezer-safe dish and freeze for 2 hours. Scoop and serve.
  • Leftover ice cream can be stored in a tightly covered container for up to 3 months, but it will harden so you'll need to let it thaw on the counter for 15 to 20 minutes before serving again.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 121kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 487mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 87IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 1mg
Banana Ice Cream Nutrition (for 1 banana): Calories: 121, Fat: 1g, Carbohydrates: 31g, Fiber: 4g, Protein: 1g

Recipe Notes:

  • I typically use 1 frozen banana per person when making this healthy ice cream, but I’ve found that my 12-cup food processor handles 2 to 3 bananas better than just one on its own. You can use a mini food processor when making this ice cream for only one person, or you can make a larger batch and freeze it for later.
  • This recipe is a taste-as-you-go kind of process, so don’t stop adjusting the flavor until it tastes perfect for you! You can always place the ice cream back in the freezer if it gets too soft from over-processing.

If you try this recipe, please leave a comment below letting me know how you like it. And if you try another flavor combination, I’d love to hear about it! We can all benefit from your experience.

Reader Feedback: Have you tried banana ice cream yet? I first started making it over 10 years ago, during a brief “raw food phase” that I was trying out, and it’s stuck with me ever since!

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Comments

Tracy

Love banana ice cream! I’ve been making your peanut butter banana ice cream for years, and I’m excited to try the strawberry version next.

Sanjana Bhatia

I’ve been making the chocolate recipe using almond butter for a long time. My son loves it. Thanks for the storing idea as I have a ton of frozen bananas to use up. Going to try the other flavours! 😋

Maggie

Tried the peanut butter tonight and it was a big hit! We have made banana ice cream for years but, o do t know why, we never attempted flavors! Do you think this would freeze in popsicle molds? Or would it stay too soft to set?

    Megan Gilmore

    The peanut butter banana version will be great in popsicle molds! Sometimes banana ice cream freezes too firmly, but I think the peanut butter gives it a nice and creamy texture for a popsicle.

heather

I made the strawberry one tonight using maple syrup, and it’s delicious! I think next time I’ll add some raspberries to the mix, too. Thank you for your helpful and easy recipes.

Lori

I have made this “ice cream” over the past 2 weeks now. I love it! I always want something sweet and this does it for me. Thank you!

Mary

I am wondering if the instapot blender ace replaces the blender in my kitchen?

Teemmy

Thank you Megan for such great recipes. Is it okay to freeze the bananas whole for ice cream like you did for your strawberry smoothie and cut it up before putting it in the food processor?

    Megan Gilmore

    Yes, I actually have a post on the two ways I freeze bananas here: https://detoxinista.com/how-to-freeze-bananas/ I tend to freeze them whole most often, because it’s so much faster. 🙂 You just have to be more careful if you try to cut into the frozen banana later.

      TEEMMY

      Awesome! Thank you for such quick response.

    Michelle Henry

    Made this tonight for my 2 ice cream snobs…they both loved it…I added peanut butter and nutella

Debbie

Made the chocolate peanut butter and added a few blueberries. I love it! Many thanks!

Lucia

Thanks for the recipe! I did a strawberry-peanut butter mix and it was yummy. I skipped the vanilla essence but will add it next time, I think it will give more depth to the flavor.

Emily

Hi! I am going to try this recipe tonight, but was wondering if I can use a strong blender? Thanks.

    Megan Gilmore

    I believe you can, but you might need to add a little liquid to help it blend, and use a tamper to help push the frozen bananas towards the blade. (My Vitamix has a really narrow base, so it needs a lot of help at first.)

Jen

I Made this in reverse. I started with soft bananas, added cacao and maple syrup and I mixed it with a wand blender in the cup of my Nutra bullet. Then I put it into an airtight container to freeze. Yes, then I have to wait for it to soften up a little bit on the other end, but this feels easier to me and it works! I am making more banana ice cream today.

Liz

I just made the strawberry nice cream. It was great! Thanks so much!

Dianne

love it, can’t wait to try more flavours!

Star

If you don’t have a food processor can you use a blender?

Aisha

A++++ Tastes amazing! I’ve tried them all. Also do one with banana, mango and honey 🍯 Husband approved too! thank you!

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