Make this easy Chocolate Banana Ice Cream anytime a frozen dessert craving hits you this summer. Made with all natural ingredients this homemade chocolate nice cream recipe is vegan, dairy free, paleo, and a great treat to make together with your kids.
What is Nice Cream?
Nice Cream is an amazing healthy ice cream made from frozen bananas as the base. There is no cream, milk or dairy whatsoever needed; which makes this a fantastic vegan, dairy-free, and paleo option.
Bananas are unlike most other frozen fruits that turn more into an icy slush when blended. Frozen bananas - once blended - have this wonderfully smooth and creamy texture.
There is a science behind it all. Something about bananas having a high pectin and low water content. But really I just want to call it MAGIC!!
How ripe should the bananas be?
Usually I freeze bananas once they are too ripe and mushy for anyone in our family to enjoy eating them as is. At that point they are super sweet, soft and have lots of brown spots.
Those bananas are perfect for making banana bread or any other baked treat. They are also great for adding to smoothies to give them natural sweetness and creaminess.
But as bananas ripen they also develop a very strong banana flavour. And the pectin (remember the stuff that makes nice cream magic happen) starts to break down as well.
In conclusion, for making nice cream not too ripe bananas actually work best. I like to use those that are already mostly yellow on the outside (not green anymore) but before they develop brown spots.
How to make Ice Cream from Frozen Bananas
If you are starting with a fresh banana, peel and slice it. Lay the slices flat in a single layer into a freezable container. This way they should freeze up solid within a couple hours. Whereas a whole banana might take overnight to freeze firmly.
If you are like me and already always have whole frozen bananas in the freezer, simply break it into chunks. The pieces don't have to be too small.
Then you add the frozen banana into the bowl of a food processor together with any flavouring ingredients. Today we are making frozen banana and chocolate ice cream, so the additional ingredients are cocoa powder, a touch of maple syrup, a pinch of salt and cinnamon.
This could be a super simple 2 ingredient banana ice cream of just bananas and cocoa powder, but I definitely prefer it with the additional 3 ingredients. Here is why:
Because I want a strong chocolate flavour, I add a good amount of cocoa. Which in turn can overpower the natural sweetness of the banana a little. So the teaspoon of maple syrup just balances everything out again.
The same goes for the sea salt. By contrasting the natural sweeteners it makes those pop more.
And cinnamon is always great with banana. I find it helps make this treat less overwhelmingly banana flavoured.
Once all the ingredients are in the food processor, close the lid and turn on the machine until everything is processed into a smooth and creamy consistency.
Stop the food processor as necessary to scrape down the sides, so that all the good stuff gets incorporated into the vegan chocolate banana ice cream.
Soft-serve or firm ice cream texture?
For soft-serve texture you can serve the healthy banana chocolate ice cream right after blending.
If you prefer a firmer ice cream texture, transfer the paleo chocolate banana ice cream mixture into a freezer safe container and let it firm up for a couple of hours.
If you leave it in the freezer longer than that, it may firm up quite a bit. In that case, let it sit at room temperature for a little bit to soften before attempting to scoop.
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How To Make Chocolate Banana Ice Cream In a Blender
In general I find that food processors do a much better job of transforming frozen bananas into delicious, creamy nice cream without added liquid. Most regular blenders require a good amount of liquid to be able to blend frozen ingredients. So most likely you will end up with a thick smoothie texture instead of ice cream.
But some high-speed blenders like Vitamix and Blendtec can work well too. Here is how:
When making Vitamix Chocolate Banana Ice Cream I recommend using a tamper. With the help of the tamper you can push the frozen ingredients down into the blades to be turned into nice cream more efficiently. It will also help keep the blender from overheating.
To make Blendtec Chocolate Ice Cream I highly recommend the twister jar. It is specifically designed for thicker mixtures like ice cream, hummus, or nut butters.
While blending the ice cream turn the twister jar lid. The prongs on the lid will help scrape down the sides and move the ingredients towards the blades.
Tools I used for this Frozen Banana Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe
My trusty Cuisinart Food Processor has made countless batches of nice cream and has never let me down.
I used Mexican pure cocoa powder that I bought locally. You can find a similar quality option here.
For myself I usually don't even bother to make scoops, but my daughter likes nice cream better in scoops. I like to use my cookie scoop for portioning because it makes smaller spheres.
Love healthy frozen treats? Here are some more recipe ideas
- The Best Nice Cream Recipes - all the flavours in one place
- Coconut Strawberry Popsicles
- Black Currant Ice Cream
VIDEO: Even more delicious Nice Cream Flavors
Chocolate Banana Ice Cream
- 1 frozen banana in chunks or slices
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon maple syurp optional
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 1 pinch cinnamon
- Add the frozen banana (slices or chunks) in the bowl of your food processor together with the cocoa powder, optional maple syrup, sea salt and cinnamon.
- Turn on the food processor until the mixture is combined to a smooth consistency. Stop the machine as necessary to scrape down the sides with a spatula.
- To enjoy the vegan chocolate banana ice cream as soft serve, it is ready to eat right away. If you prefer a firmer ice cream texture, transfer the mixture to a freezable container and let it freeze up for a couple hours.
- To make this chocolate nice cream in a Blendtec, use the smaller twister jar. Add the ingredients and turn the twister lid while blending. The prongs of the lid will scrape down the sides and force the ingredients down into the blades.
How long can you store nice cream in the freezer?
Regina | Leelalicious
I would estimate about a month? It has never lasted longer than a couple of weeks here. Sometimes it becomes quite solid after freezing, so I quickly reblend it to make it creamy again.
Do you use sweetened of unsweetened cocoa powder?
I use unsweetened cocoa powder for this