Vanilla Nice Cream With Real Vanilla Bean

Frozen bananas are the secret to the creamy texture of this nice cream, which is fabulous with warm cobblers and pies or as a refreshing treat on its own. For the sweetest results, be sure to freeze bananas when they’re very ripe. 

By Carla Christian, RD, LD,


  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 5 medium bananas, peeled, sliced, and frozen
  • ¼ to ½ cup unsweetened plant-based milk


  • Using a small sharp knife, scrape seeds from vanilla bean.
  • In a food processor combine vanilla seeds, frozen bananas, and ¼ cup of the milk. Cover and process until smooth, adding as much of the remaining milk as needed.
  • Serve immediately for a soft-serve ice cream or freeze at least 4 hours for a scoopable ice cream. Store in the freezer for up to 1 week.

Comments (57)

(5 from 20 votes)

Recipe Rating

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Suzie Jeffreys

All of my guys love this and when I make a big batch, it stays relatively soft for a few days.


If you like bananas, you're gonna love this. I used 1 tsp of vanilla extract in lieu of a bean. Shaved some dark chocolate for a topping. I also did not use plant milk but a yummy lactose free whole milk. Fabulous recipe!


I’m allergic to bananas, substitutions please


ok so


Really? A substitution for banana ice cream? Uhhh....


This is so gorgeous. I'll definitely make this again. I added blueberries and it is sooo good.


bruh, its a banana ice cream recipe, you can't really substitute the banana part


aaaah, let's see substitutions could be ice cream. Seriously you must have just wrote without thinking, then its kinda funny. How about the first three or five ingredients and fruit you can think of that you arent allergic to - say, dates, cardamon, molasses, pepper, and sweet potatoes. And now I've gotta try it, but I might vary up the milks in batches an almond milk possible vanilla and a soy perhaps the heavy silken; off to the grocery store.


Can this recipe work with liquid Vanilla flavoring? I don't know where to get vanilla seeds around me. Please, I will need an answer. Apart from that the recipe seems easy. Thank you.


This is for anyone asking the same question I asked: Yes, vanilla flavor works. Right now mine is in the freezer. Goodluck!


But how much Vanilla flavoring?

Leona Will

When I make ice cream, it develops ice crystals. I heard if you add some fat such as coconut cream or peanut butter, the crystals won't develop. Is that true?

Jane Terry

Leona, I just looked this up. I do know that adding alcohol (e.g., vodka), will help prevent the ice crystals from forming, but too much alcohol will prevent the nice cream from freezing. Sugar helps prevent ice crystals because it lowers the freezing point; the higher the proportion of sugar, the lower the freezing point, and this prevents crystals. Another option would be to place the nice cream in a shallow container and cover the nice cream with plastic wrap (pressing against the top of the nice cream) to prevent ice crystals from forming. Also, try to not freeze/thaw too much. I think that creates larger ice crystals, which are unpleasant; keeping the ice crystals tiny is the goal here. So, be sure to mix well in the first place, then freeze quickly (using plastic wrap on top). And here is this on fat: "Milk fat contributes to the smooth and creamy texture of ice cream by lubricating the palate, thereby reducing the perception of coarseness due to large ice crystals. Fat globules also mechanically obstruct growth of ice crystals during storage, thereby slowing the rate of recrystallisation and extending shelf-life." from So I suppose you could add coconut cream, avocado, nut butter, etc., and see if that helps. Personally, I think peanut butter pretty much makes everything better. :-)

Leona Will

I'm so embarrassed. It's taken nine months to read your reply. Thank you. I am making banana nice cream today. Will try full fat coconut milk and maybe a spoonful of banana.


Excellent!!!! Thank you for keeping us healthy!❤️❤️


The slower it freezes the more ice crystals you will have.


Topping this with cocao nibs adds a nice, crunchy touch. The super sweetness of the bananas is offset by the bitterness of the cocao nibs.


Serving size and nutritional content would help. I know I could look ingredients up and compute it myself as well.


I just had this 2 weeks ago. I did not have the bean but it turned out well. I did add 1 T Unsweetened Cacao in place of the vanilla.


So tiresome. I wish these healthy ice cream recipes and write-ups were more honest. We see separate recipes for: Cherry Nice/Ice Cream! Peach Nice/Ice Cream! Blueberry Nice/Ice Cream! In fact, they’re all bananas with fruit of choice. Where coordinating extract is available, add that.


And you're complaining why? Sorry, I just get tired of the negativity. :)


What's your beef (pun intended).


I did use with whipped heavy whip cream instead of milk, hmmmm even better! best topping for cakes as well!

Sylvia Kilgore

Frozen banana with frozen pineapple is divine!! I use a few drops of coconut extract in the soy or almond milk I add. Coconut milk is delicious but I want to avoid the saturated fat of coconut milk.


Hi - we have ground vanilla powder A how much do you think would equal to one vanilla pod? (Ground includes both the seeds and the pod itself) would this even work? Tia


White sweet potatoes are so much better than “banana” for this as bananas are overpowering….but for those that love bananas THIS much…go for it. So many alternate versions of this…including adding mint for chocolate chip mint, pb powder and chocolate for Reese’s version….options are limitless…but I still recommend white flesh sweet potatoes and possibly a few dates for sweetness to get out of just “banana” flavor,

Danni A.

Since someone else asked below without a reply... I am guessing to cook the white sweet potato (bake whole, cool, then cut into cubes or cook on stove top, maybe by boiling, until tender then cube) then place them in freezer to freeze thoroughly before use. Freezing is how the nice cream gets its firmness and ice cream consistency. You may need to experiment a few times to get it down.

Guest Commenter

Wow very interesting, but potatoes and fruit (bananas) is such a terrible food combination.

Mona Gersky

Our local grocery store sells bananas just past their "yellow" skin stage for $1.99 for a huge bag, usually 20-25 bananas. I found this recipe searching for recipes with ripe bananas. I made it this morning and it is glorious. I didn't have actual vanilla beans but I do have a quality organic vanilla extract and used 1 TBS. I can't wait to try it again with different smidges of other fruits tossed in...blueberries, strawberries...maybe even coconut and shreds of chocolate. Thanks so much.


How do you prepare the white sweet potatoes for this rescipe


Very good and simple. I think it could use with something else for flavor, but I don't know what exactly. I added brownie bits as a topping.


Awesome... Used cocont cream/milk... Delush!!!


Can I use sweetened condensed milk? Or do you think it will be too sweet. I’m also substituting cocoa powder with chocolate protein powder.

Donna Poppe

Can’t wait to try this


Has anyone tried adding cinnamon? If so, how much? Thx for any response.

Steven, FOK Support

We think it's a fun and tasty idea, Anne! You may wish to add a little bit at a time, taste, and then add more if you'd like!


This is delicious ice cream. I don’t Add the milk but, I add some nut oil and juice of one orange per 4 sliced and frozen bananas. This makes it more creamy and fluffy and reduces the taste of plain bananas. Add any other fruit with it eg: strawberries or mulberries…. Just the best! So yum!

Richard Williams

So far, the recipe is a success. Delicious. Why only store frozen for one week?



Because of the bananas probably they will go bad

Christy Owens

Made the chocolate version of this by adding cocoa powder. Turned out really good! I was surprised by how good it was. Not quite ice cream, but a delicious and healthy treat. Definitely will make again.


Can you substitute hot chocolate powder for the cocoa powder?


How much does this taste like bananas ??? I really only want the vanilla flavor. (thanks)


dont use the banana then


I use vanilla extract. I can't taste the bananas.

Susan Tidey

If we use vanilla extract instead of the bean, how much should be used? Thank you!


About a tbsp, may need more of less depending on strength and quality :)


The lady above said she used a Tablespoon.

Darren Watts

Delicious and so easy!

Terri Gibson

Before I went vegan Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey was my favorite so after I blended the banana, vanilla, and oat milk, I stirred in cocoa nibs and walnuts. It is how I remember the dairy version :)


I am amazed at how easy and delicious this is! Thank you!

Vivian D Payne

Can vanilla extract be used instead of bean?

Mary doherty

My thoughts too

Elaine Rosen

Yes, you can also leave this out. My dad made this for us for years without the vanilla.


Easy and delicious!!


Can a blender be used instead of food processor?


Yes, a blender would work for this as well.

About the Author

Headshot of Carla Christian, RD, LD

About the Author

Carla Christian, RD, LD

Carla Christian received her associate’s degree in culinary arts from the Culinary Institute of America in 2006 and her bachelor’s degree in dietetics from Michigan State University in 2009. She finished her dietetic internship from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in 2010 and is a former chef in the Better Homes and Gardens® Test Kitchen. Find her on LinkedIn. Photo by Jason Donnelly.

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