Cocoa powder, cinnamon, and ancho chile powder give a basic banana nice cream the rich, decadent flavor of spiced Mexican hot chocolate. If you don’t have ancho chile powder, substitute ¼ to ½ teaspoon finely ground black pepper.

By Mary Margaret Chappell,


  • ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 large frozen bananas, broken into pieces (4 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  • In a small bowl combine cocoa powder, ancho chile powder, and cinnamon. Whisk in ⅓ cup boiling water; let cool to room temperature.
  • In a high-speed blender or food processor pulse banana pieces on low to medium-low until crumbly, stopping and scraping down sides once or twice. Add cocoa mixture and vanilla; blend continuously 30 seconds to 1 minute or until smooth and creamy, adding 1 to 2 Tbsp. cold water if needed.
  • Serve immediately or transfer to a 1-qt. container and store in the freezer up to 1 week.

Comments (29)

(5 from 15 votes)

Recipe Rating

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I prefer to cook the bananas with the seasonings and then freeze them. I add the cocoa powder and vanilla when I put it in the blender, along with a pinch of salt. It makes for a richer tasting ice cream, in my opinion.


too much ancho chili powder, it's all i can taste


OMG this is amazing


OMG…this is amazing!




Hi, do you know if you use raw cacao powder instead of cocoa powder? Thanks


Either should work.


I cut the bananas in slices before freezing them, and when while using the food processor, the frozen bananas broke the blade (11 cups Cuisinart, 6 years old) :( The final product was ok, it lacked a bit of sweetness and was banana forward. It's edible. I now placed in popsicles molds and it's in the freezer. I won't make it again.


Not a big banana fan so I use mostly frozen baked and chopped sweet potatoes... that I let sit and defrost a bit while waiting for step 1 to cool. I also add a few dates for sweetness to the soaked mix in step 1. The final result isn't quite as silky as plain banana and has a little more "texture", but I find it satisfying! (I've even added black beans when I've had a open can, to boost nutrient and fiber intake.)

Katherine Kanna Modisette

Really good and easy. I didn't add the Chile and used a splash of unsweetened almond milk and a bit of artificial sweetener, it turned out delicious.


Liked it! Would double the ancho chili powder, couldn’t taste the spice.


A perfectly healthy indulgence; yumm!

Lisa King

My husband liked it!


I made this last night and it's a winner. I used really banana-bread-ready bananas the the initial consistency was more like a smoothie. Were the bananas too ripe? In the freezer (what's left) and of course solid now.


Those bananas should be fine but they need to be in frozen chunks or the nice cream is too thin.


I made this last night and it's a winner. I used really banana-bread-ripe frozen bananas and got more of a smoothie consistency. I added another frozen banana which didn't help too much. Were my bananas too ripe? In the freezer overnight it's now solid of course.


Great flavor, though mine had a stronger banana flavor than chocolate. Nonetheless, yummy! A great relief for my newly-denied ice cream taste buds. I also tried adding nuts. Delicious!


I use white sweet potatoes so the chocolate outshines the base flavor. If I'm craving chocolate, I'm not craving banana! Haha


Question for Penny about white sweet potatoes. Did you sub out all the bananas in favor of the white sweet potatoes or part? Thanks


Delicious and so simple to make. I love the variation on chocolate nice cream which I've made many times. You don't taste the banana! It's spicy chocolatey goodness.


Please, please put nutritional information with your recipes, including what is a serving!


The nutritional information for this will be dominated by the four bananas. If you divide the recipe into four servings, then the nutritional values be what they are for 1 banana. The cocoa power will maybe add about 10 calories per serving considering 4 servings, but you can probably have almost that variation depending upon the size of your bananas (small vs. medium vs large)


Can you idea cayenne instead of ancho chili (noting it might be spicer)?


Ummmm. YEAH, it will be a LOT spicier and won't have the same smoky flavor that the ancho chili does.

Dorothy Oconnor

Definitely a keeper! I topped each scoop off with a salt blend of salt/cinnamon (purchased locally) and it was delicious. Can't wait to try adding espresso powder and/or chocolate nibs.

Cindi M.

The ancho chile powder was an interesting twist for those who like to experiment with flavors. I’ll probably try it without next time, but it was tasty and came together easily.

Donna Van

I use 1/4 tsp. black pepper, instead of ancho chili powder, and this makes an excellent chocolate nice cream. It's as good as any standard chocolate ice cream I used to eat before becoming a whole food, plant based eater. I love it!


Try it with a teaspoon of expresso powdered coffee! Talk about punching up the chocolate flavor!

Lowell Rhodes

Honestly this is a no stars recipe, sorry I just dont like banana nice cream I guess or at least this one. I’ll keep looking

About the Author

Headshot of Mary Margaret Chappell

About the Author

Mary Margaret Chappell

When Mary Margaret Chappell first started out in the plant-based food world as a writer, editor, and recipe developer, she was a bacon-loving former pastry chef who didn’t think she could ever cook without butter. Fourteen years, four cookbooks, dozens of cooking classes, and hundreds of recipes later, her favorite thing in the world is sharing the tips, techniques, and recipes that show just how easy and delicious whole-food, plant-based cooking can be. The former food editor of Vegetarian Times magazine has done away with her dependency on butter and is honing her skills at baking with natural sweeteners. Chappell lives in France, where plant-based eating can often be a challenge, but the fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes available are simply amazing. Find her on Instagram and Facebook.
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