Whether it’s summer or not, why not enjoy the yummiest healthy banana ice cream recipes?
Sugary ice-cream made with heavy cream isn’t the healthiest option. Luckily, we have the inside scoop of a super healthy homemade ice cream—that’s right, you can make this right in your kitchen, and you don’t even need an ice cream maker.
We’ll share with you our favorite healthier homemade ice cream recipes and show you how to make banana ice cream using only a few ingredients.
These are the 9 banana ice cream recipes to look forward to:
- One-Ingredient Frozen Banana Ice Cream
- Quick Protein Powder Ice Cream
- Strawberry Banana Protein Ice Cream
- Vegan Banana Ice Cream
- Gluten-Free Banana Chocolate Ice Cream
- Mint Chocolate Chip Nice Cream
- Mango Nice Cream
- Very Berry Nice Cream
- Banana and Peanut Butter Ice Cream
All About Bananas
Bananas are among our favorite superfoods since they’re incredibly healthy. You see, eating one banana will provide you with fiber, vitamins, potassium, phytonutrients and antioxidants.
Bananas and Healthy Carbs
There are different sugars found in bananas, including fructose, glucose and sucrose. The total sugar content in ripe bananas can exceed more than 16 percent of the banana’s weight, which is less than an apple.
Although bananas are high in sugar, the sugar is natural, which the body processes more slowly, creating a fuller effect and preventing overconsumption of sugars.
Bananas are excellent to eat after a hard workout when you need a boost or when the kiddos are asking for a sweet treat.
The Type 2 Diabetes Concern
One concern with bananas is how they can affect the health of individuals with type-2 diabetes. However, studies have shown that although bananas are rich in carbs, starch, and sugars, they have a relatively low GI—glycemic index—which is a measurement of how quickly carbs will enter your bloodstream and cause blood sugar levels to rise.
Depending on the ripeness of the banana, its GI can range between 42 and 55.
Lots of Fiber
Most of the starch in unripe bananas is resistant starch, which the gut doesn’t digest. Bacteria inside the large intestine ferment the starch, and it then forms butyrate, which is a short-chain fatty acid. This fatty acid has proved to have beneficial effects on our gut health.
Pectin is another fiber found in bananas—some of which are water-soluble. As the banana ripens, the water-soluble pectin causes the banana to soften—it will continue to soften as it ages.
Banana Ice Cream vs. Regular Ice Cream
During the hot summer months, cooling yourself off with a scoop of your favorite ice cream is relaxing. That is, until you realize how much sugar, fat and calories you’ve just ingested.
In fact, one scoop (100 grams) of regular vanilla ice cream will cost you 207 calories—this, of course, depends on the brand, as well as ingredients.
Regular ice cream is usually made with some type of dairy product, such as milk, heavy cream, eggs or condensed milk. Then, a high amount of sugar used to create that lovely sweetness—this all can add up to about 11 grams of fat—6.8 of those being saturated.
Homemade banana ice cream, on the other hand, will only cost you about 61 calories. Keep in mind, though, this is by using only one blended banana.
You can then add your favorite flavorings and toppings—which should be accounted for in terms of nutrition, as well.
One concern many people have with frozen banana ice cream is that it will be icy, flaky, crunchy and not at all smooth.
But, thanks to all the pectin in over-ripe bananas, you’ll end up with a custard-like ice cream texture. You can then add milk or other liquids to create the texture you’d like.
Will Banana Ice Cream Suit My Diet, Though?
Banana ice cream will suit any diet. Bananas are highly recommended on gluten-free diets and vegan diets, and they’re paleo-approved.
To ensure it suits your diet, watch what you’re adding to the blender. For example, if you’re on a strict paleo diet, you shouldn’t add peanut butter to your banana ice cream.
Banana Ice Cream and Meal Planning
Whether you like to make your banana ice cream in advance or simply freeze your bananas in advance, it’s possible to include your banana ice cream recipe in meal planning.
You can easily make different flavors and store them in smaller tubs in the freezer to enjoy throughout the week as part of your meal prep.
It’s also excellent if you have children and want to have a healthy treat ready for them during the week. Just remember to let the ice cream sit at room temperature at least 30 minutes before enjoying it.
Choosing the Right Banana
If you want your banana ice cream to be creamy as can be, the bananas should be ripe or overripe. The riper a banana is, the more pectin is present, which will result in a creamier and richer ice cream.
As parents, we seem to often have leftover bananas that are turning browner each day. Whipping up a batch of banana ice cream is the perfect way to reduce waste—and get some healthy treats into the kids.
Using green or just ripe bananas in your ice cream isn’t recommended. This will interfere with both the texture and taste. You see, as the outside of the banana becomes brown, the taste of it becomes more caramelized and sweeter.
As a result, you won’t have to add much—if any—additional sweeteners, such as honey or maple syrup.
How to Make Banana Ice Cream With a Blender
The beauty of banana ice cream is that you can make it using a blender. There’s a range of recipes with frozen bananas to try out, but we’re going to share with you our favorites.
We’ll start with the basics of making a creamy-dreamy banana ice cream before we move into the different variants. There are countless banana ice cream flavors to try, so be imaginative.
One-Ingredient Frozen Banana Ice Cream
This easy banana ice cream recipe is the place to start. You’ll need nothing more than one or several frozen bananas, depending on the portion you’re going for.
It also requires minimal prep time.
Start by cutting your bananas into bite-sized pieces, place them on a plate or in a bowl (freezer-safe), and put them in the freezer for about two hours—or until frozen.
You can also cut and freeze your bananas in freezer bags. If packed properly in a vacuum-sealed bag, bananas can stay good in the freezer indefinitely. However, we recommended consuming them within six to eight months.
Quick Protein Powder Ice Cream
Protein shakes are excellent post-workout refuels for your body—the only problem is, they aren’t always easy to get down. But, by adding just a scoop of powder and a drizzle of milk to your banana ice cream, you can quickly get your needed protein.
The recipe we like uses only three ingredients—two bananas, one scoop of protein powder and milk or a milk substitute.
As a substitute, you can easily go for almond milk or any other nut milk that you prefer or that suits your diet.
For an even better taste, you can add a tablespoon of peanut butter or drizzle of honey for sweetness.
Top off your bowl of protein powder banana ice cream with your favorite toppings—it could be granola, dried fruit, or dark chocolate chips.
Strawberry Banana Protein Ice Cream
If you need a little more flavor to cover up your protein shake, this recipe will do it. It calls for 1 cup of frozen bananas, 1 cup of frozen strawberries, three tablespoons of your protein powder, vanilla extract and almond milk.
What you get is a lovely strawberry and banana flavor, sweetened by the added vanilla. We recommend that you use vanilla-flavored powder just to keep the flavors in sync, but you can easily use any protein powder.
Vegan Banana Ice Cream
If you want to make a healthy banana ice cream with a little extra crunch and sweetness, this recipe is a go-to.
It starts basic with a frozen banana (or bananas, depending on portions) and incorporates 2 tablespoons of maple syrup. It’s finished with peanut brittle and a little bit of sea salt.
Gluten-Free Banana Chocolate Ice Cream
This three-ingredient gluten-free ice cream recipe creates a creamy-dreamy chocolate banana ice cream. As with the other recipes, it starts with frozen bananas—you’ll then add cocoa powder and nut butter.
For the nut butter, you can easily use any type that you prefer—we highly recommend almond butter or peanut butter since they both go well with chocolate.
Now, because you’re adding cocoa powder and nut butter, the banana taste won’t be as prominent. The good thing is that the texture and taste closely resemble a rich chocolate ice cream.
For added deliciousness, you can add dark chocolate chips or chunks.
If you’re using a food processor, you might have to add a little bit of milk to help blend the bananas and create a creamy texture.
Mint Chocolate Chip Nice Cream
One ice cream flavor kids love has to be mint chocolate chip—it’s minty, refreshing and chocolatey. If you want a healthy alternative to the store-bought kind, this is the recipe for you.
It’s based on frozen banana ice cream with the addition of mint extract and, of course, chocolate chips. You can also use chunks of chocolate instead, which could make it more of an adult nice cream.
We recommend using sugar-free dark chocolate—this goes perfectly with the minty flavor, as opposed to milk chocolate.
To prevent your blender or food processor from tearing up your chocolate, mix them by hand before serving.
Now, mint extract is colorless and won’t give your ice cream that authentic green minty look. To give your ice cream a green hue, you can add a bit of natural food coloring or a pinch of spirulina.
Spirulina is a type of cyanobacteria that lives in both fresh- and saltwater. It has a deep green color, so by adding just a pinch, you’ll achieve a light green color.
If you find the color to be too dark, you can add a bit of coconut milk. Coconut milk has a richer texture and color compared to regular milk, plus it adds a nice flavor.
Mango Nice Cream
Two fruits that go oh-so-well together are mangoes and bananas. Mangoes have a slight sourness to them but also a fruity sweetness, which works nicely with the sweetness of bananas.
This recipe uses only a medium-sized frozen banana but lots of mangoes, as well as a pinch of salt and non-dairy milk.
It requires some prep time—the mangoes should be peeled and pitted, then cut into small bite-sized pieces. You can then arrange them in a single layer in a freezer-safe tray and freeze for about four hours—do it overnight if you’re impatient.
Very Berry Nice Cream
Berries in ice cream just make so much sense—the tanginess of berries mixed with bananas creates a lovely balance that you can’t get enough of.
This recipe calls for three bananas, two cups of blueberries, coconut cream and maple syrup.
It’s a bit of a cheat banana ice cream recipe since it uses coconut cream, but it does add a richer texture. If you want to make it healthier, swap the coconut cream with coconut milk—you get the same flavor minus the added fat.
Adding white chocolate chips could make a fun and healthy treat for children. You can also top it off with roasted coconut flakes, roasted almond flakes, or any other nut that you like.
Banana and Peanut Butter Ice Cream
Whether you prefer your PB chunky or creamy, you can make a delicious ice cream that’s a hit with both kids and adults.
Again, cut and freeze your bananas, then add unsweetened peanut butter and your frozen bananas to the blender. You add a bit of almond milk to help it smooth out well.
For children, add chocolate chunks or chips to really replicate store-bought ice cream.
Can You Blend Bananas Then Freeze?
You can blend bananas then freeze them, but doing so will create a watery mush rather than a creamy texture. Freezing this watery mush can lead to icy flakes in the bananas.
When you first freeze your cut banana, the water content within the fruit will freeze, eliminating the watery mush part. The pectin will kick in as you blend it, and the banana will turn into creamy ice cream.
Is Banana Ice Cream Good for You?
Yes, banana ice cream is good for you. It’s a healthy homemade ice cream and used to be somewhat of a vegan secret—to substitute dairy products with bananas to create a creamy texture.
Additionally, there are so many health benefits of eating bananas that it would be bananas not to eat them! They’re high in fiber, which is beneficial for our digestive system and can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. They’re also a good source for healthy carbs and sugars to give you energy without spiking your blood sugar levels.
How Long Does Banana Ice Cream Last in Freezer?
Banana ice cream can last up to two weeks in an airtight container in the freezer. However, it will become rock hard as it freezes solid.
Before you plan on eating your banana ice cream, remove it from the freezer to achieve your desired softness—about 30 minutes prior.
If you prefer soft-serve blender ice cream, definitely get a spoon ready as soon as the banana leaves the blender—it’ll be creamy, rich and ready to eat.
Tools to Help You Make Banana Ice Cream
As parents, we’ve looked up lots of ice cream recipes only to find that they all require an ice cream maker. Ice cream makers are fun tools to have at home, but they can be pricey and take up a lot of counter or storage space.
For the creamiest and easiest banana ice cream, we recommend a strong blender, such as the Vitamix E310 Explorian Blender. It can make 48 ounces at a time and blends at high speeds for better and faster results.
If a large blender is out of your budget, you can also easily achieve creamy ice cream using a food processor—such as the Hamilton Beach 10-Cup Food Processor. You might need to add a drizzle of milk or non-dairy milk to help it along, but the results should be the same.
If you like to store your banana ice cream in the freezer, containers such as these Tovolo Sweet Treat Mini Tubs will be handy. You can make different flavors in one go and store them in the freezer.
Banana Brain Freeze
If you’re on the look-out for healthy ice cream, there’s not much healthier than banana ice cream. The basic banana ice cream recipe consists of only bananas—nothing more. You can then experiment with different flavors, toppings, and other frozen fruit to suit your ice cream cravings.
However, if you’re trying to avoid bananas, these non-banana blender ice cream recipes are just as healthy too!
Nonetheless, always freeze your bananas for at least two hours before blending them. This will give you that instant soft-serve texture.