Thanks to the increasing popularity of plant-based food, there are plenty of delicious vegan ice cream brands to choose from. In fact, you might already have a few pints in your freezer right now.
However, if you’re craving certain flavors — or if you want to use up fresh ingredients — it’s worth learning how to make vegan ice cream at home. The trick is to use frozen bananas and a food processor or blender, which you likely already have on hand.
Also known as banana ice cream or nice cream, this recipe for dairy-free ice cream is the epitome of simple and delicious. Once you’ve this made vegan ice cream without a machine, be sure to pair it your favorite toppings like coconut milk whipped cream, chocolate chips, or chopped nuts and fruit.
Table of Contents
- Frozen bananas. This recipe features a base of ripe bananas that have been sliced and frozen. Check out our guide on how to freeze bananas.
- Maple syrup. This ingredient helps sweeten the ice cream, but you can also use brown sugar, coconut sugar, or honey if you are vegetarian. Another option is to omit it completely if your bananas are very sweet.
How to Make Vegan Ice Cream Without a Machine
Banana ice cream is a easy to make. The hardest part will be choosing which add-ins and toppings to use!
Here’s how to make vegan ice cream with bananas:
1. Add the frozen banana slices and maple syrup to a food process or blender. Blend until thick and creamy, about 5 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides.
2. For an ice cream that’s similar to soft-serve, you can enjoy the ice cream as is. Alternatively, for a thicker texture that can be used with an ice cream scoop, transfer the ice cream into an air-tight freezer-safe container and re-freeze for at least 2 hour.
Enjoy with your favorite ice toppings. Store leftovers in an air-tight freezer-safe container for up to 4 weeks.
Recipe Tips, Variations, and Substitutions
- Switch up the sweetener. White, brown, and coconut sugar all work well in place of syrup. Other options include dates or agave.
- Consider the ripeness of your bananas. For a less sweet ice cream, use yellow bananas with minimal browning. For a sweeter ice cream, use yellow bananas with brown spots. The darker the banana, the sweeter it will be.
- Use an air-tight container. When re-freezing your banana ice cream, be sure to use a container with a tight-fitting lid. This will prevent your ice cream from developing freezer burn.
Flavor Ideas for Homemade Vegan Ice Cream
There are endless ways to customize this frozen banana ice cream recipe. For most flavors, you can blend the additional ingredients with the frozen bananas, then fold in other ingredients as needed. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Strawberry: Add 1 cup frozen strawberries
- Chocolate: Add 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder.
- Mango: Add 1 cup frozen diced mango.
- Peanut butter: Add 2 to 3 tablespoons peanut butter
- Coffee: Add 2 teaspoons instant coffee powder or 1/4 to 1/2 cup cold brew coffee
- Vanilla: Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pumpkin: Add 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- Pineapple: Add 1 cup frozen diced pineapple
- Mint chocolate chip: Blend 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract into base and fold in 3 tablespoons mini chocolate chips
- Blueberry: Add 1 cup frozen blueberries
- Peach: Add 1 cup frozen diced peaches
How to Store Leftovers
This vegan ice cream is best eaten fresh. However, if you’d like to store leftovers, be sure to use an air-tight freezer-safe container and enjoy it within 4 weeks.
- Vegan Avocado Brownies — A classic partner for creamy ice cream
- Vegan Gingersnap Cookies — Use these spicy cookies to make mini ice cream sandwiches
- Coconut Milk Whipped Cream — Dairy-free whipped cream ready in just 5 minutes
Homemade Vegan Ice Cream Without a Machine
- 2 cups frozen banana slices
- 1 to 3 teaspoons maple syrup or sugar
- Add the frozen banana slices and maple syrup to a food process or blender.
- Blend until thick and creamy, about 5 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides.
- For an ice cream that’s similar to soft-serve, you can enjoy the ice cream as is. Alternatively, for a thicker texture that can be used with an ice cream scoop, transfer the ice cream into an air-tight freezer-safe container and re-freeze for at least 2 hours.
- Enjoy with your favorite ice cream toppings.
- Visit our handy guide on how to freeze bananas.
- Store leftovers in an air-tight freezer-safe container for up to 4 weeks.
- For fruit-flavored ice cream, blend the bananas with 1 cup of frozen fruit.
- You can also add 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, 2 tablespoons nut butter, and/or 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract for extra flavor.
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About the Author
Kirsten Nunez is a journalist who focuses on healthy food and cooking. Her vegan and plant-based recipes have appeared on VegNews, eHow, Shape, and more. When she’s not creating and photographing vegan recipes for Clean Green Simple, you can find her experimenting in the kitchen and sharing plant-based meals with friends and family. More articles by Kirsten.