A simple summer treat based on frozen bananas - this Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream is a great way to enjoy a guilt-free frozen dessert. The recipe is dairy free, vegan, has no added sugar and can be made paleo. A perfect healthy treat for kids, this peanut butter nice cream recipe is also great to involve them in the process.
What is Nice Cream?
Usually when you blend frozen fruit in a food processor you'll end up with an icy, slushy mixture that's not unlike a granita.
But if you do the same thing with frozen bananas, the fruit almost magically transforms into a super creamy consistency that is very much like the texture of soft serve ice cream.
This creamy 'magic' happens because of the natural pectin especially in not too ripe bananas, as well as the relatively low water content of bananas compared to other fruits.
So frozen bananas are a wonderful base to make homemade ice cream that is healthier, dairy free, vegan and most flavour variations are or can be made paleo. Therefore Nice Cream with an N - not technically ice cream but a great way to enjoy a healthy frozen dessert.
How to make Peanut Butter Ice Cream with Bananas
One of my favorite ways to flavor banana ice cream is natural peanut butter - the kind that is nothing but peanuts and maybe a little sea salt.
Start by freezing the bananas
I usually have frozen bananas already sitting in the freezer for smoothies or banana bread. But those I freeze when they are quite overripe and no one would eat them anymore. The sweetness and intense flavour is perfect for baking, but not ideal for nice cream.
For nice cream I prefer bananas that I have just brought home from the store. If they are still quite green I let them turn yellow first.
Otherwise I freeze them right away when they are bright yellow but before they develop any brown spots. That's when pectin levels are high and the flavour isn't too overwhelming.
If I am planning ahead, I just freeze the whole banana(s) and break them into chunks when I am ready to use them.
When I want to use the bananas the same day, I slice them and lay them flat in the freezer. This way they are ready to use for nice cream within about 4 hours.
Freeze the Peanut Butter
I don't do that always, but when I plan ahead I'll also freeze the peanut butter in an ice cube tray. Frozen peanut butter cubes make the peanut butter and banana ice cream firmer - more ice cream and less banana smoothie like.
Once the ingredients are prepped, making the peanut butter and banana ice cream is super quick and simple. Just place the frozen banana and peanut butter into a food processor, add salt, cinnamon and vanilla for flavour.
Turn on the food processor. At first it will be quite loud as the frozen ingredients move around the food processor bowl.
It gets quieter as the ingredients break down. It will look a little weird and crumbly, and you may need to scrape down the side with a spatula once or twice.
But keep going and soon this luscious creamy consistency appears.
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Serve the vegan peanut butter ice cream right away for a creamy soft serve like texture.
For a firmer ice cream texture, transfer the mixture to a freezable container and freeze for at least 2 hours before scooping.
Can I use a Blender to Make Nice Cream
Using a food processor is definitely my favorite way to make nice cream, because it can break down frozen ingredients without the need for added liquids.
But if you want to use a blender I would recommend only a high-speed appliance like a Vitamix or Blendtec.
Tools I used in this Banana Peanut Butter Ice Cream Recipe
My good old trusty Cuisinart food processor has whipped up so many batches of Nice Cream already and so many more things. There are days I use it EVERY.SINGLE.DAY!
This Costco brand peanut butter is by far our favorite brand of all natural peanut butters. Just organic peanuts and sea salt - yay!
And for making the cute little scoops, I am actually using my medium cookie dough scooper.
More Delicious Summer Recipes:
VIDEO: How to Make Nice Cream
Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream
- 1 frozen banana slices or chunks
- 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter* unsweetened
- pinch salt
- pinch cinnamon
- pinch vanilla extract
- Peel the banana and freeze overnight. If you don't have that much time, cut the banana into slices lay them flat in the freezer. They should be ready to use for peanut butter nice cream within 4 hours.
- If you froze a whole banana break it into chunks. Place the frozen banana into a food processor together with the peanut butter, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla.
- Process until smooth and creamy. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides as necessary.
- Serve right away for soft serve texture. For firmer ice cream texture transfer to a freezable container, and freeze for 2 hours before scooping.
- Serve with a drizzle of peanut butter or chopped peanuts if desired.