Enjoy healthy frozen treats in the form of Banana Nice Cream. This refreshing dessert is vegan, dairy free, has no added sugar and endless flavor options. We have compiled the best nice cream recipes here!
Healthy Nice Cream is such a wonderful way to enjoy a frozen treat without the guilt. This banana ice cream is vegan, dairy free, most flavors are paleo friendly, there is no added sugar and the flavor options are endless.
And because it is so easy to make, making nice cream is a fantastic way to involve even your littlest in the kitchen.
In this post I’ll first explain what nice cream is, how it is made and answer some other frequently asked questions.
–>> If you are only looking for recipes only, scroll down to the roundup of all of my nice cream flavors.
What is Nice Cream?
Nice Cream is a healthy frozen treat made from frozen bananas as the base ingredient. It is a no-churn way to make ice cream without any dairy cream or milk.
Why it works:
Unlike most other frozen fruits that turn into an icy slush once blended, blended frozen bananas have a super smooth, thick and creamy consistency very much like soft-serve ice cream.
It has to do with the high pectin content of bananas and the fact that they are one of the lowest water fruits. If this science-y explanation does nothing for you, just go ahead and join me in calling it pure MAGIC!!!
How ripe should the bananas be?
I used to think that the riper the bananas the better. Turns out I was wrong! So wrong.
The first time this dawned on me was when I made chocolate banana nice cream with super ripe bananas and I couldn’t help but notice some slight compost-y flavour notes. Yeah, it tasted as bad as reading this sounds.
Extremely ripe bananas that are almost on the verge of going bad are perfect for baking things like banana bread or banana muffins. They provide lots of natural sweetness and intense banana flavour.
But when that intense banana flavour isn’t combined with flour, eggs and other ingredients to tone it down a bit, it’s just too much.
Also, as bananas ripen the natural pectin (what makes the nice cream magic possible) starts to break down. You may have noticed that when you freeze very ripe bananas they never actually solidify fully. Less pectin and higher sugar content are the cause for that.
So you don’t want too ripe bananas. And also not green ones. Green banana flavor also isn’t very pleasant and they have low natural sweetness.
In conclusion: Use bananas that are firm, uniformly yellow on the outside (a little green towards the top is fine) before they start developing too many brown spots all over.
How to Freeze Bananas for Nice Cream
I usually just peel and freeze my bananas in bulk. This way I am always ready and prepared to make nice cream whenever a craving hits.
In this case I just add the whole peeled bananas to a freezer bag (use Stasher bags to avoid plastic). The whole bananas will take at least overnight if not 24 hours to freeze fully.
When I am ready to make nice cream, I simply break the whole frozen banana into a few chunks. There is no need to make super thin slices.
When I don’t have a lot of time and want to enjoy nice cream the same day, but don’t have frozen bananas in stock, I peel and freeze the banana in slices.
I lay out the slices in a single layer into any freezer safe bag or container. The banana slices will be ready to be turned into banana ice cream within 2-4 hours.
How to make Nice Cream with a Food Processor
Unlike many other recipes, I prefer not to add any extra liquid to my banana ice cream recipes. This way I can eat healthy ice cream in a matter of minutes.
Personally, I find a food processor does the best job of turning mostly frozen ingredients into a smooth and creamy healthy treat without the need for added liquid. Then I can just grab a spoon (or an ice cream scoop, if I am feeling civil) and enjoy banana based ice cream straight from the machine.
Whenever extra liquid is added, it usually makes the nice cream too liquidy as well. And it’s most likely necessary to refreeze the nice cream mixture before it resembles ice cream texture.
I use an older Cuisinart Food Processor which has now been replaced by this sleek new model:
The process is as easy as adding the frozen banana slices or chunks to the food processor bowl together with any other ingredients to make the flavor you want (check out my flavor suggestions at the end).
Put on the lid and blend the ingredients until they turn into a smooth and creamy consistency. Stop the appliance as necessary to scrape down the sides.
Within a couple of minutes your soft-serve like banana ice cream will be ready to enjoy (read below for how to make firmer nice cream).
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How to Make Nice Cream in a Blender
As I just mentioned, my personal preference is definitely for making nice cream in a food processor. This is because most regular blenders won’t be able to process frozen ingredients without adding a good amount of liquid. With that you run the risk of ending up with something like a smoothie rather than ice cream.
Making nice cream in a blender isn’t entirely impossible though. Some high-speed blenders like the Vitamix or Blendtec are up for the task. Here is how:
How to Make Nice Cream in a Vitamix
This will process everything more efficiently and also keep the blender from overheating.
Blendtec Nice Cream:
When the blender is turned on, turn the lid of the twister jar. With this movement the prongs of the lid will scrape down the sides and also guide the ingredients down and towards the blades.
The nice cream will be ready in no time!
Soft-serve or firm ice cream texture?
One of the reasons I love nice cream so much is not only because it is made from simple, all-natural ingredients, but also because of how very convenient it is.
If a craving for a frozen treat hits or my daughter begs for ice cream, we are just minutes away from enjoying it – as long as I have some frozen bananas to go around.
This nice cream that you can enjoy within a few minutes definitely has a melty, creamy soft-serve texture to it. All you have to do is eat the nice cream fairly soon after making it – before it becomes too melty and liquidy.
If you prefer firmer ice cream texture, that’s definitely possible too. You just have to be a little more patient.
After making the banana ice cream in your blender or food processor transfer the mixture to a freezer safe container and let it freeze and firm up for a couple of hours. Or until it has your desired texture and level of firmness.
Can you Store Banana Nice Cream?/Can you freeze Nice Cream?
If you read the above paragraph then you already know that, yes, you can freeze nice cream. You can do that whether you want to achieve a firmer texture, to store leftovers or to make ahead a batch of nice cream to enjoy later.
If you freeze nice cream for longer than 2 hours though it might firm up significantly. Like rock solid, frozen hard.
In that case take out the container with the ready made healthy nice cream and put on your counter. Let it soften up at room temperature for a little while to soften before attempting to scoop and serve it.
Best Nice Cream Recipes
The options for banana ice cream flavors are really only limited by your imagination, but I have a few favorites. I am showing you how to make the best of the best in this video:
Chocolate Nice Cream Recipe
Making a healthy frozen treat couldn’t be easier than this. Simply blend up a frozen banana together with good quality cocoa powder. Take the flavour to the next level yet with 3 little ingredient additions that you already have in your kitchen anyway.
Strawberry Nice Cream
Strawberry Nice Cream is a simple all fruit ice cream. Just frozen strawberries and bananas blended together for creamy, fruity refreshment. Switch it up into any other fruit flavor by substituting frozen strawberries for a different frozen fruit.
Nutella Nice Cream
Can you believe that the flavor of the popular chocolate spread can be captured in form of Nutella Nice Cream? It’s true! Roasted hazelnuts and cocoa added to the banana base turns into this awesome creation.
Piña Colada Nice Cream
Is there anything more summery than Piña Colada? Frozen coconut milk cubes and pineapple give this Piña Colada Nice Cream it’s distinct flavor.
Peanut Butter Nice Cream
Peanut Butter Nice Cream is endlessly creamy and the touches of vanilla and cinnamon take the flavor over the top. To make this flavor paleo friendly use almond butter instead.
Mocha Crunch Ice Cream Recipe
This Chocolate Banana Ice Cream is as simple as blending frozen banana with cocoa powder. But take it to the next level yet with a touch of instant espresso and chopped nuts.
Raspberry Peach Nice Cream – Peach Melba
This Peach Nice Cream is another fruity flavor variation. Blended frozen peaches and banana with a bright pink raspberry swirl.
Blueberry Nice Cream
This Blueberry Nice Cream is actually one of the oldest healthy recipes on this blog. I wasn’t familiar with the term nice cream yet and I have learnt a lot about food photography since then, but the flavor was spot on from the start.
Be sure to pin this post to save all these yummy Nice Cream Recipes for later:
Disclaimer: A few of these recipes were created for a sponsored collaboration with eBay two years ago.
This post includes affiliate links. If you end up buying through one of my links, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!