Vegan Banana “Ice Cream”

This vegan banana ice cream calls for nothing but bananas and your food processor. Oh, and a spoon. It’s an easy, cheap, weird, healthy, and truly magical one-ingredient way to make frozen dessert at home. Here’s how.

Seven scoops of vegan banana ice cream with some small spoons tucked underneath.

We have some theories about why a recipe, including this magic one ingredient ice cream recipe, will go viral on the Internet. There is a certain combination of easy, cheap, and weird that causes a recipe to get passed from hand to hand, screen to screen, in an explosive train of links, growing more popular than it would with any promotion we could throw at it. So it was with this one-ingredient ice cream, which calls for nothing but bananas and your food processor. Blend the bananas long enough, and the fruit morphs into creamy ice cream, with the texture of soft serve and the natural sweetness of fruit. This is one of the biggest hits we’ve ever had, and it’s time you tried it.–Sara Kate Gillingham and Faith Durand

LC How Many Ingredients? Note

We’ve got nothing against the magic one ingredient ice cream recipe. Nothing at all. In fact, we’re quite fond of it. Though truth be told, some folks may find it just a touch one-dimensional. Should you find yourself craving more than one ingredient—or rather, more than one flavor—in your ice cream, take a gander at the variations beneath the recipe, each of which creates a ridiculously satiating flavor. They’re magic, too. (Boy, are they ever! Especially the dark chocolate variation. Try it. One taste and you’ll understand.)

Vegan Banana Ice Cream

  • Quick Glance
  • (1)
  • 10 M
  • 10 M
  • Serves 4
5/5 - 1 reviews
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Directions

Peel the bananas and cut them into small pieces—the smaller the better. Place them in a freezer-safe container lined with parchment paper or coated with a little mild olive or vegetable oil to help the pieces release more easily. Freeze the bananas overnight or until the pieces are completely solid.

Place the frozen bananas in a food processor (preferably a large food processor with a 14-cup capacity or more) or Vitamix. Blend for 2 to 5 minutes, stopping frequently to scrape down the sides of the bowl. At first the bananas will simply turn into smaller chunks, then into a fine grit. But at some point, the bananas will suddenly turn into soft, creamy ice cream. If at any point the banana pieces get stuck on the blade, keep blending and add a spoonful of water. You may need to hold onto the food processor, as it sometimes wants to hop around on the counter.

Stick a spoon in the ice cream and slurp it up immediately for soft-serve-like consistency or return it to the freezer to harden a little more. (Just a word of caution, we found the soft-serve version of the magic one ingredient ice cream served immediately to be far preferable to the hardened version that results from being in the freezer.)

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    Tuxedo Variations

    • For flavor variations, follow the instructions above, processing the frozen bananas in a food processor until they are the consistency of soft-serve ice cream, then add the additional ingredients below.

    • Dark Chocolate Ice Cream
    • Tux variation

      Blend in 6 tablespoons cocoa powder, 1/4 cup heavy cream, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

    • Nutella Ice Cream
    • Tux variation

      Blend in 1/3 cup store-bought or homemade Nutella.

    • Strawberries and Cream Ice Cream
    • Tux variation

      Blend in 2/3 cup chopped frozen strawberries and 1/4 cup heavy cream until smooth.

    • Cinnamon Dulce Ice Cream
    • Tux variation

      Blend in 1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon.

    • Nut and Honey Ice Cream
    • Tux variation

      Blend in 1/4 cup almond butter or peanut butter and 2 tablespoons honey.

    • Orange Dreamsicle Ice Cream
    • Tux variation

      Blend in 1/2 cup orange juice, 1/4 cup heavy cream, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

    Recipe Testers' Reviews

    This magic one ingredient ice cream recipe is truly one of the most magical recipes I've ever encountered. To tell you the truth, I did not believe that frozen bananas could turn into a soft serve ice cream with a brief whirl in a food processor...until I tried it! The results were a creamy, naturally sweet but not too sweet treat with a hint of banana flavor. In terms of the recipe itself, I did spray a touch of olive oil cooking spray in my freezer safe container before putting the diced bananas in, just so they would be easier to remove once frozen. It worked very well; the banana pieces came out in about 3 big pieces. I did have to add about 2 tablespoons water into the food processor while I was blending the frozen bananas, just to get the bananas moving a bit faster and keep them from sticking to the blade. I loved the texture and flavor of this ice cream! Can't wait to try a variation as well...but first, I think I'm just going to try it with some walnut pieces and a few semisweet chocolate chips. I also wanted to add a note about freezing the ice cream: it had a fabulous texture and taste right when it was made, but I found that once you freeze it, the ice cream changes color to a light brownish and loses its creamy, soft serve texture.

    I'll admit I was very skeptical about this magic one ingredient ice cream recipe. How can frozen bananas become ice cream? I have no idea, but I’m really glad they do. I popped the banana chunks into a large resealable container and froze them for about 24 hours. Whatever you do, use at least a 14-cup food processor so the bananas have room to groove and HOLD ON TO IT when you hit the on button, as my food processor took off across the counter! I scraped down the sides every minute or so and let it process for about 5 minutes. All of a sudden, the bananas go from a clumpy sand-like consistency to soft and creamy ice cream. I prefer the texture as soon as it’s made. After being in the freezer, I think it gets a little grainy. Just remember, this is ice cream made from bananas, so it will taste like bananas if you don’t put anything in it.

    #leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

    Comments

    1. Great recipe. We’ve been making this for years now, but in lieu of heavy cream I suggest adding one tablespoon of Greek yogurt for every two bananas you use. It’s much healthier and adds a tart dimension to the “ice cream.” We also like to mix it up with different frozen berries—you can use any combo you can think up. Lastly, we like to make a chocolate-peanut butter version using cocoa powder and powdered peanut butter, which doesn’t alter the consistency as much as regular peanut butter. We’ve even found a local grocery store that sells us their overripe bananas for $.29/lb. We usually stock up our freezer with like 10 lbs at a time.

      1. Brilliant, Aaron! Love how you stock up on overripe bananas for so cheap. And the powdered peanut butter is crazy clever—just saw a container at a local chain grocery store, so it should be pretty widely available. Thanks for sharing your tips and tricks and tactics. Greatly appreciate it! And if you’re seeking other great-tasting yet not overwhelmingly caloric recipes, we have a stash of them that we call Leite’s Lite.

    2. My Sweet Tooth thanks you! Pure, natural, and delicious. When I’ve made that banana ice cream recipe but in the past, I added Greek yogurt to it (instead of cream). Can’t wait to try the Dark Chocolate Ice Cream. 🙂

      1. You are so very welcome, Randi K.! And yours is another vote of Greek yogurt in place of cream. We’re definitely going to try that. Thank you! And do let us know your thoughts when you make that Dark Chocolate Ice Cream variation. Our testers were seriously going crazy for it.

        1. Just made the dark chocolate ice cream (with organic plain nonfat yogurt ) and it was smooth and very creamy, almost airy, too. It looked like chocolate ice cream but tasted like banana. It could’ve been sweeter, so next time I think I will melt dark chocolate, thin it with milk, and then add it to the bananas in the food processor. That should taste richer and do the trick.

          1. Hmmm. I wonder if the degree of ripeness or overripeness of the bananas affects the flavor, Randi K.? Because I haven’t heard that from any of our testers who tried the chocolate version. Am terribly sorry for that. I like your idea of adding a little milk–preferably 2% or whole fat. Mind telling me how brown or yellow your bananas so we can try to replicate your experience in our kitchens?

            1. Hi Renee,
              The bananas were yellow, not over ripe. Yes, I think the ice cream would be sweeter if I let the bananas over ripen, then freeze them. I’ll try it next time with very soft bananas and melted Ghiradelli 60% cacao bittersweet chip that’s thinned out with 2% milk, omitting cream and yogurt.

            2. My guess is that the problem was the yogurt. Adding milk or cream would add richness and moisture without altering the flavor, but plain yogurt has a distinct tartness.

    3. I Just Love Ice Cream but I like to make more than just one bowl or cup, whatever you prefer, and I like several bowls of ice cream so if it loses its soft serve texture then I would only make enough for One TIME … 🙂

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