One-Ingredient Ice Cream

This month we’re featuring simple desserts. Today’s recipe, from The Kitchn Cookbook, uses just ONE ingredient to create creamy ice cream. Can you guess what it is?

Magic One-Ingredient Ice Cream
from The Kitchn Cookbook

We have some theories about why a recipe will go viral. There is a certain combination of easy, cheap and weird that causes a recipe to get passed from hand to hand, screen to screen, in an explosive train of links, growing more popular than it would with any promotion we could throw at it. So it was with this one-ingredient ice cream, which calls for nothing but bananas and your food processor.

Blend the bananas long enough, and the fruit morphs into creamy ice cream, with the texture of soft serve and the natural sweetness of fruit. It’s time you tried it.

Recipe: Magic One-Ingredient Ice Cream

What you’ll need:

2 pounds very ripe bananas

Peel the bananas and cut them into small pieces (the smaller the better). Place them in a freezer-safe container. (Line the container with parchment paper or wipe a little oil inside to help the pieces release more easily, if desired.)

Freeze the bananas overnight or until they are completely solid. Place the frozen bananas in a food processor. Blend for 2 to 5 minutes, stopping frequently to scrape down the sides of the bowl. At first the bananas will simply turn into smaller chunks, and then into a fine grit. Keep blending, and add a spoonful of water if the banana pieces get stuck on the blade. They will suddenly turn into soft, creamy ice cream.

Eat the ice cream immediately, or return it to the freezer to harden a little more, if desired. Banana ice cream can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.

For flavor variations, blend bananas in a food processor until they are the consistency of soft serve ice cream, and then add the additional ingredients.

Nut and Honey Banana Ice Cream
Blend in 1/4 cup almond or peanut butter and 2 tablespoons honey.

Nutella Banana Ice Cream
Blend in 1/3 cup Nutella spread.

Dark Chocolate Banana Ice Cream
Blend in 6 tablespoons cocoa powder, ¼ cup heavy cream, and 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Cinnamon Dulce Banana Ice Cream
Blend in 1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon.

Orange Dreamsicle Banana Ice Cream
Blend in 1/2 cup orange juice, 1/4 cup heavy cream, and 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Strawberries and Cream Banana Ice Cream
Blend in 2/3 cup chopped frozen strawberries and 1/4 cup heavy cream until smooth.
Thanks so much, The Kitchn!

P.S. More recipes, including a four-ingredient fudge and homemade tiramisu.

(Reprinted from The Kitchn Cookbook. Copyright ©2014 by Apartment Therapy LLC. Photos by Leela Cyd. Thanks to Caroline Donofrio for her help with this series)

  1. Jan Miller says...

    Won’t it taste like banana?

  2. Amelia says...

    this is what I call ice cream!

  3. Yes!! This is amazing. It is a perfect after dinner guilt free dessert.

  4. just made this and can’t believe how good it is!! put a little dollop of peanut butter on top and poured some home made almond milk over it. yum!!!!

  5. Great idea I’m looking forward to trying this.

  6. J says...

    Thanks for sharing Joanna! I’ve also heard about using a juicer to make frozen banana ice cream. Check out my blog at :)

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  8. Frozen pineapple chunks work the same way! Mmmmmm pineapple ice cream :)

  9. Try sticking a lolly stick in a whole banana – banana ice lolly!

  10. OMG, this is so healthy and easy!!! My dad is actually running the Boston marathon this year on behalf of Dana Farber, and though out his training, has consumed so many bananas! Am passing this recipe along as some final dietary inspiration during these last weeks leading up to Boston 2015! Thanks, Joanna :)

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  12. Awww! Remember when I used to make that for Toby?? One of my favorite things! Paleo approved! I like mine with almond butter and cinnamon!

  13. I have done this for breakfasts for my babes. They thought they were getting away with ice cream for breakfast and loved it.

  14. Sounds genious. And the fact tjat you can so easily mix it with anything!

  15. My boyfriend and I like to make this, in the vegan world it’s usually referred to as nice cream ;)

  16. Simple is best! Have you tried some really neat savory ice cream? They put uni, fried chicken and things in the ice cream, and believe it or not, they are delicious!

    I made some ice cream variations on my website, too that you can check out =)


  17. Anything and everything by Liane Moriarty – highly recommended!

  18. works in a blender, too, not just in a food processor.

  19. We’ve been enjoying this for years!

  20. @hayliebird, thanks for the tip!

    @samantha, as lee said, you can taste a bit of banana, but i actually think that it’s not *that* strong because it’s frozen (so the taste is kind of masked).

  21. Has anyone tried using a Vitamix to blend the bananas?

  22. jo, thank you! we just made those pancakes this morning!

  23. My first thought was…is it ice? Haha. This is GENIUS! I think I might go buy that cookbook now :) Thank you for sharing!

  24. @ Samantha B I’ve found that if you add peanut butter or almond butter and swirl it in then you can disguise the banana flavor, but it is pretty strong!

  25. Oh my days, this is the best idea!!!

    Is this what people call ‘nice cream’ these days? Gotta keep up with the cool lingo!


  26. This looks so awesome! Can’t wait to try it.

  27. frozen cherries work just the same! i make cherry ice cream almost every night.

  28. Brilliant idea!

  29. We have a special gadget called a Yonana blender just for this! At first I thought it would just be countertop clutter, but we use it more than the toaster! I love adding a scoop of almond butter… YUM!

    -Lindsay from Dearest Darling

  30. I’m really loving this series of simple recipes. The nutella variation has my name all over it.

  31. My husband and I make one-ingredient ice cream all the time! We like to call it “Ice Dream.” : )

    We’ve found that it is best to eat the ice cream immediately, as it doesn’t taste quite as good the next day.

    We like to make ours with cocoa powder and to top it with almond butter and cocoa nibs!

  32. Jo says...

    Oh my! This is genius! Thanks for sharing, Joanna!

    Which reminds me… I’m also going to make that two-ingredient pancake recipe that you posted before, the one your babysitter makes that Toby and Anton are in love with? :o) You know I was one extremely happy mama when I discovered that golden recipe. :-)

    Thank you for all the awesome recipes, always!

  33. Um, WHAT?! So excited about this.

  34. Does the ice cream have a strong banana flavor or does it work more as a base for the additional flavor combination? Like would someone who hated bananas (crazy brother-in-law) dislike this ice cream as well?

  35. I’ve tried this once and LOVED It! I need to try some of those variations!

    Kim .. Wedding Wednesday and how YOU can be featured!

  36. Another simple dessert: pitted dates with almonds and clementine oranges. If you zap the dates in the microwave for five seconds they get warm and nice wth the cold citrus. Yum!

  37. What a great idea! I really love all the different variations you came up with!

  38. Annnd….that would be whole30 approved I think! Woo!