This no churn chocolate banana ice cream, or nice cream, is a healthy vegan dessert that is ready in just 5 minutes. Keep it like soft serve or freeze for a more traditional ice cream consistency. If you aren’t feeling chocolate, try vanilla, mint chip, or peanut butter!
I’ve been obsessed with chocolate banana ice cream for years, so it’s about time it made its way to the blog! This recipe is easy to make, healthy and requires just three simple ingredients. And how can you pass on ice cream from scratch?
It’s commonly called nice cream because it mimics traditional soft serve, but it’s much better for you and dairy-free! It’s made with just 1 ingredient-bananas, but you can add all sorts of add ins to mix it up. Strawberries, peanut butter, oreos, chocolate, mint extract, caramel, vanilla, there are so many ways to make this.
It’s healthy, no churn, vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free, naturally sweetened (with just bananas) and can be ready in 5 minutes if you remember to freeze your bananas ahead of time!
How to make this recipe
If your bananas are not already frozen, break them up into small pieces and add to a freezer safe bag or container. Freeze for at least 12 hours.
Once frozen, add the frozen bananas, cocoa powder, nut butter and vanilla to a high speed blender or food processor with an S blade. I find the food processor requires slightly more milk to help blend than the blender does. A high speed blender (like a vitamix) is necessary, a regular one won’t work!
Blend on high, using the tamper tool to push down as needed. It will be loud and seem like it’s not working at first, but keep blending and eventually you will end up with a soft serve like consistency. You can add more milk as needed, but only add enough to start the blending process.
Taste and adjust flavors as desired, adding more cocoa powder to give it a richer chocolate flavor. You can also add a touch of maple syrup or honey if you prefer it a bit sweeter.
Serve as is, like soft serve, or transfer to a loaf pan lined with wax or parchment paper and freeze for 2-3 hours to harden. Longer than that and you will need to let it thaw for 10-15 minutes before scooping.
Different flavors to try!
While I opted to make this chocolate nice cream (with oreos!), there are truly SO many different ways you can make it, with some of my favorites listed below.
Peanut Butter. Swap the almond butter for peanut butter and add more for a richer flavor. You can leave in the cocoa powder for a chocolate peanut butter flavor, or just swirl in the peanut butter before you freeze or serve.
Mint Chocolate Chip. A classic! Leave out the cocoa powder and add ½-1 tsp of mint extract and about 1 cup of chocolate chips. This is one of my personal favorite flavors.
Blackberry. Blackberry, strawberry, cherry… you can add any other fruit you can think of! Still keep the bananas as the base since this is what makes it creamy, but you can add 1 cup worth of frozen berries for a different flavor.
Vanilla Caramel. I’m a vanilla girl forever and always, and vanilla caramel nice cream is one of my favorites of all time. Start with a base of bananas and vanilla extract and swirl in my vegan caramel before serving or freezing.
Cookie Dough. Make a small batch of my classic vegan chocolate chip cookies and add small bites of dough to the ice cream. SO GOOD.
Should I use a food processor or blender? This chocolate banana ice cream is so easy to make, but the blending/processing can be a little tricky at times, especially if your bananas are very frozen. I highly, highly recommend using a high speed blender, like a vitamix, for this recipe.
A food processor will work, but it will take a bit longer to blend and it may require a few tablespoons of milk to facilitate blending. Either way, you want to blend just until combined so your blender doesn’t over heat and melt the nice cream! In either device, it’s much easier to blend when your bananas are sliced very small!
Does it keep? Yes! I prefer serving this right after it’s made since it’s like soft serve, but once it’s prepared, it will keep in the freezer for about 2 months. You’ll want to keep it tightly covered and let it thaw for 10-15 minutes after it’s been frozen for a few hours. It defrosts/melts more quickly than regular ice cream, so keep an eye on it!
Is banana ice cream healthy? I’d say so! Especially considering the only key ingredients are bananas and a nut butter! There is no added sugar in nice cream, so it’s a healthy treat that tbh you could even have for breakfast.
Try these next!
Chocolate Banana Ice Cream
- If your bananas are not already frozen, break them up into small pieces and add to a freezer safe bag or container. Freeze for at least 12 hours.
- Once frozen, add the frozen bananas, cocoa powder, nut butter and vanilla to a high speed blender or food processor with an S blade. A high speed blender (like a vitamix) is necessary, a regular one won't work! If using a food processor, you'll need about 2 tablespoons of non-dairy milk to help the blending!
- Blend on high, using the tamper tool to push down as needed. It will be loud and seem like it's not working at first, but keep blending and eventually you will end up with a soft serve like consistency. You can add more milk as needed, but only add enough to start the blending process. If using a food processor, stop to scrape down the sides as needed.
- Taste and adjust flavors as desired. If using the oreos, add them in now and blend for just a few seconds to combine and break up.
- Serve as is, like soft serve, or transfer to a loaf pan lined with wax or parchment paper and freeze for 2-3 hours to harden. Longer than that and you will need to let it thaw for 10-15 minutes before scooping, or microwave for about 1 minute or until soft enough to scoop.