Homemade Banana Ice Cream Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 15 min. + chilling Process: 20 min./batch + freezing
The secret to this satisfying homemade banana ice cream is fresh fruit, and few fruits are more affordable or versatile than the humble banana. Betcha can’t stop at just one scoop!

Updated: May 22, 2024

Let’s be real here. If you’re going to the trouble of making homemade ice cream (not the no-churn variety, scrumptious as that is), the taste should make the effort worthwhile. This splurge-worthy banana ice cream recipe will make the prep and the wait more than worth it. Get ready for a treat with refreshing flavor and creamy texture, delicious on its own or with your favorite mix-ins.

Banana Ice Cream Ingredients

  • Half-and-half cream: Remember that creamy texture we mentioned? It starts with this, giving the banana custard (what it looks like before you freeze it) a rich, satisfying base.
  • Sugar: Bananas are quite sweet on their own. The starch-based fruit actually becomes sweeter as it ripens (what you are seeing as it ripens is actually the starch converting into sucrose, fructose, and glucose). Bear that in mind as you measure out sugar, depending on how sweet or subtle you want the banana flavor.
  • Salt: Same guidance as above. If you like your ice cream on the sweeter side, limit the salt to just a taste. Also keep in mind how you’ll be serving it. If your mix-in is also sweet (chocolate chips, anyone?), a dash more salt can balance out the flavor profile.
  • Eggs: If you forget to set them out ahead of time, not to worry (here’s the best way to get eggs to room temperature). Just don’t skip this step. It’s the difference between a perfectly creamy custard and a curdled base.
  • Heavy whipping cream: Heavy cream is the hero in so many recipes, and for good reason. High in milk fat (between 36% and 40%), this is the magic ingredient that makes ice cream taste so rich. There’s a practical benefit too: Heavy whipping cream aerates the ice cream and also lowers the freezing point, making it easier to scoop.
  • Evaporated milk: To stave off the undesirable icy, freezer-burn effect on homemade ice cream, evaporated milk is the answer. Not only that, but this dairy product (the result of sterilizing and heating cow’s milk after the majority of water content is evaporated) also gives the ice cream a denser texture.
  • Vanilla extract: Just as you would use vanilla extract in banana bread, opt for this flavor enhancer in your banana ice cream.
  • Ripe bananas: The riper the better. Not only will it make it easier for you to puree, but the banana flavor will also be more consistent in every bite.

Directions

Step 1: Assemble the pre-measured ingredients

To ensure your custard comes together well, and that you don’t scald the half-and-half, it will be easiest to have everything measured and ready. Also be sure you choose the right size saucepan. For testing purposes, we used a 3-quart pan. This gives ample cooking space and also fits neatly into the fridge.

Now to begin your custard prep. First, place the eggs in a larger mixing bowl and beat lightly with a fork. Use a glass or metal bowl; do not use plastic due to the heat. In the saucepan, heat the half-and-half to 175°F, then stir in sugar and salt until dissolved. Whisk a small amount of hot mixture into the eggs.

Fill a heat-safe container (13×9-inch Pyrex dish or similar) with ice water and set it in the sink. Return egg mixture to the pan, whisking constantly. Cook and stir over low heat until mixture reaches 160° and coats the back of a metal spoon.

Editor’s Tip: Invest in a food thermometer to eliminate guesswork. Our Test Kitchen loves the Thermapen One, useful for saucepan temp checks as well as internal meat temperature (it is grilling season, after all—banana ice cream for dessert!).

Step 2: Finish preparing the custard

Immediately remove the mixture from the heat. Cool quickly by placing the pan in the container of ice water; stir for two minutes. With a wire whisk, stir in the whipping cream, milk and vanilla. Carefully cover the saucepan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Step 3: Assemble bananas and custard in the ice cream maker

Stir in bananas. Fill the cylinder of the ice cream freezer two-thirds full. Freeze according to manufacturer’s directions. When ice cream is frozen, transfer it to a freezer container; freeze for two to four hours before serving.

Editor’s Tip: Refrigerate any remaining custard mixture until ready to freeze (it will keep for up to three days).

Banana Ice Cream Variations

  • Make it Elvis-style: Peanut butter and banana is already a spectacular duo, but the King (see what we did there?) of all banana ice cream variations has got to be the one with a drizzle of honey and crunchy, salty, smoky bacon. Save the bacon crumbles for topping.
  • Spice it up: Sprinkle a little cinnamon or nutmeg on top (even better with a toasted crunchy topping like almonds or walnuts). For a dessert that is truly over the top and worthy of company, soak the nuts with plump golden raisins in bourbon or rum. Bonus: The alcohol won’t freeze and will help to keep ice cream soft.
  • Add a little crunch: Cacao nibs are a great way to add more texture, and they pack a big nutritional punch too. If you’re feeling especially indulgent, upgrade your banana ice cream with chocolate-covered espresso beans. The ultimate in savory sweetness!

How to Store Banana Ice Cream

Take care to store your homemade ice cream in the correct containers. Rather than using the same ones you use to store and freeze soup, opt instead for insulated, silicone containers with tight-fitting lids.

How long does banana ice cream last?

For the freshest flavor, enjoy your homemade labor of love within a month. Any longer and you risk freezer-burn disappointment.

Banana Ice Cream Tips

Should I freeze the bananas first?

Maker’s choice. If you have frozen bananas on hand (so easy to do—bookmark our how to freeze bananas primer for later), go for it. You definitely don’t have to, though. Those overripe bananas on the counter will work just as well.

Can I use a blender instead of a food processor?

If you’re using fresh, overripe bananas, a blender works well. If you’re using frozen banana slices, however, it’s best to use a food processor, unless you have a high-powered blender with a food processor setting. (Psst! Combo blenders are a game changer. These are the best blenders according to our Test Kitchen.)

Just make sure the fruit is very ripe; overripe is even better. Remember how the starch converts to sugar as the banana ripens? For ice cream, this is exactly what you want. Using barely ripened bananas can produce a bitter taste. To encourage faster ripening, put bananas in a brown paper bag with the top folded over and set on the kitchen counter for a day or two.

Should I add sweetener to frozen bananas?

If you’re preparing your ice cream from frozen banana slices, keep in mind that freezing the fruit can make it a little bitter, so add a bit more sugar (or a liquid sweetener like honey or maple syrup). Note that frozen bananas will also work best if you first allow them to thaw before blending.

Watch how to Make Homemade Banana Ice Cream

Best Banana Ice Cream

Prep Time 15 min
Cook Time 20 min
Yield 3 quarts.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups half-and-half cream
  • 2-1/2 cups sugar
  • Dash salt
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 4 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 can (5 ounces) evaporated milk
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups mashed ripe bananas (4 to 5 medium)

Directions

  1. In a large heavy saucepan, heat half-and-half to 175°; stir in sugar and salt until dissolved. Whisk a small amount of hot mixture into eggs. Return all to the pan, whisking constantly. Cook and stir over low heat until mixture reaches 160° and coats the back of a metal spoon.
  2. Remove from the heat. Cool quickly by placing pan in a bowl of ice water; stir for 2 minutes. Stir in the whipping cream, milk and vanilla. Press plastic wrap onto surface of custard. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
  3. Stir in bananas. Fill cylinder of ice cream maker two-thirds full; freeze according to manufacturer’s directions. Refrigerate remaining mixture until ready to freeze. When ice cream is frozen, transfer to a freezer container; freeze for 2-4 hours before serving.

Nutrition Facts

1/2 cup: 308 calories, 20g fat (12g saturated fat), 98mg cholesterol, 55mg sodium, 28g carbohydrate (26g sugars, 0 fiber), 4g protein.

My son-in-law says this is the best banana ice cream he’s ever had. It’s always requested at family gatherings. —Donna Robbins, Skiatook, Oklahoma