Summer is here, and a guide on how to make banana ice cream is absolutely needed! After an intense spring on lock down, I am trying to spend as much of my summer as I can outside. Long evening walks have become a daily occurrence for Alec & I. And as much as I am enjoying the sunshine and freedom, the heat is a different story. Lately, I’ve been creating a fresh batch of banana ice cream a few nights a week for a refreshing night cap.
I know that the word “banana ice cream” might make you think that we are talking about a banana flavored ice cream, but don’t let the name fool you! Bananas are simply what we use as a base to make a creamy, healthy ice cream. But the taste is absolutely indulgent! If you’ve been around the blog for a while, you’ll notice that I’ve made it my mission to create healthy dessert recipes that actually taste good, and this banana ice cream is no exception!
Which is why you’ll find not one, but two, banana ice cream recipes in this post that are a little more special than blended bananas with chocolate & peanut butter. I already shared a mouthwatering Mint & Chocolate Chip Banana Ice Cream recipe in the past, but these two new ones are even easier!!
The key to creating the perfect batch of banana ice cream? Getting the perfect base – which starts with a perfectly frozen banana.
Freezing bananas the right way is hugely important for the success of your recipe!
The first time I attempted to make banana ice cream (quite a few years ago now), I had the genius idea of freezing my bananas just as they are: whole and with the skin… Duh! When I took them out of the freezer, in order to be able to peel them, I had to let them thaw and at that point they were a mushy, disgusting mess that ended up in the trash can 😉
Don’t worry. Freezing bananas correctly will allow for a much smoother experience!
How to Freeze Bananas to Make Banana Ice Cream:
- Make sure to only freeze bananas that are ripe and soft. This way your ice cream will come out perfectly sweet and it will be a lot easier to blend.
- Peel the bananas and cut them into about 10 coin-shaped pieces.
- Transfer the banana coins in a Ziplock bag. I usually put 3 bananas per bag as that is the perfect quantity to make banana ice cream for 2 people. Make sure the banana pieces have enough room to spread out.
- Place the Ziplock bag horizontally in the freezer, making sure the banana coins are separated and laying flat so that they don’t freezer together.
- Freeze your bananas for at least 4 hours or ideally overnight.
How to give your banana ice cream a well-rounded, more complex flavor:
Have I ever told you about the time I studied at the Gelato University in Bologna, Italy?
I was there reporting for a food magazine for which I used to write a column, and that was one of the best experiences of my life!
We learned to make all types of gelato and while I am well aware that technically we cannot consider a treat made with frozen bananas an actual gelato (gosh… my teachers would consider this comparison a pure sacrilege), I think that some of the tricks I learned there can be applied to making banana ice cream.
I remember that during one of the classes I took in Bologna, one of the gelato maestros asked me: “You want to know what’s the single ingredient that can enhance the flavor of ANYTHING you are doing in the kitchen?” “Lemon”, he explained, confident. And he was absolutely right.
That is why I added a splash of lemon to the blackberry banana ice cream you’ll find at the bottom of this post. Don’t worry, you won’t taste it. Adding even the smallest splash of lemon juice to a recipe allows all the other flavors to really shine – plus, it makes the color of your ingredients more vibrant and intense.
Another great piece of advice the maestro gave me? Make sure you always vary different textures when you assemble an ice cream cup. This way you can mix different sensations (creamy, crunchy, chewy) together and make your creation an unforgettable (& satisfying!) experience for your taste buds.
If you love the taste of bananas, you can simply blend frozen bananas with a little vanilla powder or extract and a splash of plant-based milk.
But if you crave something fancier, want to enjoy a more indulgent ice cream, or cover up the taste of banana, make sure to mix in some add-ons. From nut butters (almond butter is the best – it makes this frozen treat even creamier) to other frozen fruits (such as frozen berries, mangoes or peaches), and delicious powders like cacao or carob powder.
For a more complex and mouth watering texture, decorate your banana ice cream with a drizzle of nut butter or melted dark chocolate, sprinkle chunks of dried fruit on top for a chewy sensation or some cacao nibs, coconut flakes for a crunchy kick.
How to Churn a Banana Ice Cream:
High Speed Blender or Food Processor?
When it comes to churning your frozen bananas with the other ingredients to make ice cream, you have two different options: a high-speed blender (such as Vitamix) or a food processor.
Please make sure you don’t try to make banana ice cream with a regular blender as you are going to end up breaking your machine. Regular blenders can’t handle hard pieces of frozen fruit, so please don’t even try this option.
Here are the main differences between churning your banana ice cream with a high-speed blender versus a food processor:
- A high-speed blender gives you a smoother ice cream and breaks down all the pieces of frozen fruit completely, but it might require you to freeze your freshly churned ice cream for 15 minutes or so before serving it so that it hardens a bit more.
- A food processor makes an ice cream that is a little less smooth (but still very creamy) and it allows you to eat right after you scoop it out as the speed of the blades doesn’t heat it up as much and therefore the consistency is still pretty firm.
- If you use a high-speed blender, you don’t need to ever turn off the machine to scrape the ingredients down as you have the tamper tool to push down the frozen fruit pieces toward the blades and make sure they blend evenly.
- If you use a food processor, you will need to turn the machine on and off a few times to get things moving, or scrape around the sides with a spatula to move things to the bottom.
The order of ingredients matters:
In order to keep the blades moving, you should always put in liquids first. Just make sure to only add a little, otherwise you risk turning your banana ice cream into a banana smoothie.
I like to use coconut milk or another plant-based milk for a creamy, ice cream consistency. But coconut water and fresh juice work well too!
Once you add you liquid, scoop in any other liquid ingredients or powders (like cacao), followed by lighter frozen fruits (like berries) & finally your frozen bananas. Adding your bananas (which are likely the heaviest ingredients) last will make sure that everything gets blended evenly & your blades won’t get stuck.
When you’ve got all your ingredients layered in, blend them up until you achieve a smooth and creamy consistency that resembles soft serve. (Yum!)
Can I make banana ice cream without a machine?
Yes! If you don’t have a high-speed blender or food processor, you can still whip up a delicious batch of banana ice cream.
But instead of blending frozen ingredients, you’ll start at room temperature, like you might with a regular smoothie.
Once it’s all blended, pour the mixture into a bread pan (or similar tub) & put it in the freezer. After about an hour use a fork, spoon, or electric mixer to hand churn your ice cream. Repeat every hour or so for the next 3 or 4 hours.
NOW... Let's Get to our 2 Banana Ice Cream Recipes!
The first recipe (Dark Chocolate Gelato Gelato with Pear chips) is gluten, dairy and egg free, vegan and grain free. The second is also suitable for those who are on the elimination phase of the AIP (Autoimmune Protocol).
Creamy Blackberry Ice Cream
- High-speed blender (like a Vitamix)
- 2 frozen Bananas
- 3 tbsp full fat Coconut Milk
- 2 cups fresh Blackberries
- 1 tsp fresh Lemon Juice
For the toppings:
- 1 tsp Coconut Oil
- 1 tsp Coconut Butter
- 1 tsp Honey
- 1/3 cup Fresh Blackberries
- 2 tbsp Coconut Flakes
- Blend all ingredients for the blackberry ice cream in a high speed blender or a food processor and churn until smooth and creamy.
- Set the ice cream aside in the freezer while you glaze the fresh berries to use as a topping.
- Melt the coconut oil, coconut butter and honey in a small pan, add in the fresh blackberries and mix gently until they are all glazed (it should take about 5 minutes). Let them cool down.
- Scoop your blackberry ice cream in the bowls, top it with coconut flakes and glazed berries and enjoy!
Spicy Dark Chocolate Gelato/Ice Cream with Pear Chips
- High-speed blender (like a Vitamix) or Food Processor
- 3 frozen Bananas
- 3 1/2 tbsp Cacao
- 1 tsp Carob Powder
- 1/2 tsp Chili Pepper
- 1 tsp Mixed Spices Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Clove
- 3 ½ tbsp Plant Based Milk of choice
For the pear chips:
- 1 Pear not too ripe so the slices hold together better
- 1 tbsp Cacao Nibs to decorate
- To prepare the pear chips, slice the pear in really thin vertical slices and bake them on a grill tray at 350 F for 15 minutes. Keep an eye on them to make sure they don't burn and flip them upside down.
- After the pear chips have baked for 15 minutes put the temperature down to 200 F and leave them in the oven for other 20 minutes or until you see they are completely dry.
- In the meantime, process the frozen bananas together with the other gelato ingredients in a hight speed blender until you get a perfectly creamy mixture. Place the gelato in the refrigerator for 15 minutes, if you need it firm up.
- When the gelato thickens and gets to an ice-cream kind of consistency, scoop it out in a bowl, decorate it with the pear chips and some cacao nibs... And enjoy it!
Is your mouth watering as much as mine? I hope you loved this guide on how to make banana ice. cream, and it so, please save it on your Pinterest or Facebook so it’s handy when you’re ready to make it! And if you give one of these recipes a try, I’d love it if you would share your creation with me over on Instagram!
Lots of love from Italy,
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