Caramelized Banana Ice Cream

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From David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop, this banana ice cream is one of the best homemade ice creams I’ve ever made.

Caramelized banana ice cream cone in a glass.

The first time I tried true banana ice cream, made from real bananas, was at Berthillon, the renowned ice cream shop on Île St-Louis in Paris. This version, adapted from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop and made with caramelized roasted bananas, is rich and creamy, and brings back all those delicious taste memories. What’s great about banana ice cream is its naturally low fat content. The pureed bananas give it a thick, creamy texture without any eggs or heavy cream—making it a lighter yet utterly satisfying treat.

What You’ll Need To Make Caramelized Banana Ice Cream

ingredients for banana ice cream
  • Overripe Bananas: Provide intense banana flavor and natural sweetness to the ice cream, further enhanced by caramelization during cooking.
  • Light Brown Sugar: Adds a rich caramel-like sweetness to the ice cream, complementing the flavor of the bananas.
  • Butter: Combined with the brown sugar, it forms a rich caramel sauce that coats the bananas, infusing them with deep flavor and adding complexity to the ice cream.
  • Whole Milk: Contributes to the creamy texture of the ice cream, ensuring a smooth, indulgent consistency. If you have them on hand, you can substitute 1 cup of low-fat or skim milk plus 1/2 cup of heavy cream for the milk.
  • Granulated Sugar: Sweetens the ice cream base and helps to balance the flavors.
  • Vanilla Extract: Adds depth and enhances the overall flavor profile of the ice cream.
  • Lemon Juice: Brightens the flavors and provides a subtle tangy contrast to the sweetness of the bananas and caramel.
  • Jump to the printable recipe for precise measurements

Step-by-Step Instructions

Slice the bananas into 1/2-inch pieces and combine them with the brown sugar and butter in a 2-quart baking dish.

sliced bananas, butter and brown sugar in baking dish

Stir until the sugar dissolves into a wet caramel-colored coating.

stirred banana and brown sugar mixture

Bake for about 40 minutes, stirring once during baking, until the bananas are soft and golden brown.

roasted caramelized bananas

Immediately transfer the caramelized bananas to a blender or food processor (if you wait too long, the caramel will start to harden).

caramelized bananas in food processor

Add the milk, sugar, vanilla, lemon juice, and salt.

adding milk and flavoring to caramelized bananas

Process until the mixture is completely smooth.

puréed banana ice cream mixture

Chill the mixture in the refrigerator, then freeze in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

banana ice cream in ice cream machine

As with most homemade ice creams, the mixture will not get completely firm in the machine. It’s best to transfer the creamy ice cream to a container and freeze it for a few hours until firm enough to scoop.

banana ice cream in container

Enjoy!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I ripen bananas quickly?

To make the most flavorful banana ice cream, it’s important to use very ripe bananas. To ripen bananas quickly, store them in a loosely sealed brown paper bag. If you have other fruit on hand (an apple works well) put it in the bag with the bananas. The ethylene gas the fruit gives off will circulate in the bag and ripen the bananas within 24 to 36 hours. Just check them periodically to see how they’re coming along.

Can I make banana ice cream without an ice cream machine

Unfortunately not—to achieve the wonderful creamy texture, an ice cream machine is required. If you don’t have one yet, it’s worth considering, as homemade ice creams, yogurts, and sorbets are a joy to make. That said, if you’re not ready to buy an ice cream machine, you can still enjoy homemade no-churn ice creams, including key lime pie ice creamVietnamese coffee ice cream, and Oreo cheesecake ice cream.

Can I make banana ice cream ahead?

Yep, the ice cream will keep, tightly covered, for up to 1 week. Before serving, let it sit out on the countertop for a bit to soften enough to scoop.

Caramelized banana ice cream cone in a glass.

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Caramelized Banana Ice Cream

From David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop, this banana ice cream is one of the best homemade ice creams I’ve ever made.

Servings: About 3 cups (see note below)
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 40 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour, plus several hours to chill

Ingredients

  • 3 medium-sized overripe bananas, peeled
  • ⅓ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1½ teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Slice the bananas into ½-inch pieces and toss them with the brown sugar and butter in a 2-quart baking dish until the sugar dissolves into a wet caramel-colored coating. Bake for about 40 minutes, stirring once during baking, until the bananas are soft and golden brown.
  3. Immediately transfer the bananas and caramel syrup into a blender or food processor (if you wait too long, the caramel will begin to harden). Add the milk, granulated sugar, vanilla, lemon juice and salt, and purée until smooth. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator.
  4. Give the mixture a quick whisk, then freeze in ice cream machine according to manufacturer's instructions. Transfer soft ice cream to plastic container and chill for a few hours until firm. Scoop and serve.
  5. Note: My only issue with this recipe is that it makes a rather small quantity of ice cream. If you double it, it makes 6 cups of ice cream base, which is too much for most standard ice cream machines. I have two bowls for my ice cream maker so I typically double the recipe and freeze it in two batches. If you only have one bowl and want to double the recipe, you can save half the base in the refrigerator overnight, then re-freeze your bowl for the second batch.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (6 servings)
  • Serving size: 1/2 cup
  • Calories: 169
  • Fat: 4 g
  • Saturated fat: 2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 32 g
  • Sugar: 26 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 3 g
  • Sodium: 79 mg
  • Cholesterol: 11 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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Comments

  • This recipe is a keeper! I live in Hawaii and periodically I have tons of bananas when my trees produce. They are called apple bananas and are naturally more tart than what you would buy in a store. I did follow the recipe but also added some toasted walnuts and most of a delicious dark chocolate bar from Manoa Chocolate Company. I also snuck in a scant 2 TBLs of some very nice rum my husband bought on a trip to the Carribean. WOW, this was sooooooo delicious!

    • — Marsha on May 15, 2024
    • Reply
  • Amazing recipe, the caramelised bananas are soooo good!

    • — Suzanne Rose on August 27, 2023
    • Reply
  • Hello! This recipes sounds great and seems accidentally vegan. Have you tried it with vegan butter, non-dairy milk? I would love to try the caramelized vegan version. Please let me know your thoughts. Thanks for your time!

    • — Rose on August 17, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Rose, I haven’t tried it with either of those so I can’t say for sure. The texture will definitely not be as rich with the almond milk, but I think it’s worth a try. Please LMK how it turns out if you try it!

      • — Jenn on August 17, 2023
      • Reply
  • Hi! This recipe sounds delicious! So once you transfer the cooled/refrigerated mixture to the ice cream maker do you let it freeze or are you supposed to put it in the ice cream maker and turn it on to let it mix and freeze? Not sure if I am explaining myself correctly but just trying to understand why ice cream maker is necessary, is it due to frozen bowl helping to freeze it or process of turning on ice cream maker to mix and then freeze again? Thank you. I love all of your recipes and really want to try this one!

    • — Steph on July 7, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Steph, First you put the mixture in the machine to churn. It will turn into a soft serve-like texture. After that, you’ll transfer it to a different bowl or container to chill until firm. Hope that clarifies and that you enjoy if you make it!

      • — Jenn on July 11, 2023
      • Reply
  • Brilliant! I almost didn’t make the ice cream, the caramelized bananas were so tempting by themselves But did make the recipe, as written. Wouldn’t change a thing, except would definitely double it next time. Have both your cookbooks, as well as the weekly emails, and haven’t made a loser yet! Thanks Jenn!

    • — Christine in Sandy Spring on July 31, 2022
    • Reply
  • The ice cream was bananas! I was following the recipe but found it already a bit too sweet with just the brown sugar so I skipped the white sugar then added more fresh bananas so that I could have a full 3 cups of ice cream base. 3 medium bananas = 390g for me, then added an extra 190g of fresh bananas, blended everything in a Vitamix, the ice cream turned out so delicious and smooth!

    • — Former Dairy Queen on July 9, 2022
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  • Hi Jenn. I had some v.ripe bananas to use up. I just got an ice-cream machine and yr caramelised banana recipe was my first go. OMG😍amazing. Thank you so much. I found Jersey milk discounted / short dated and I grated caramel choc on the surface of 6 ice-cream bars which I find easier to unmold than scooping when set. Will be making this a lot. Sue, former chef, 68yrs old, still experimenting. Love yr site.

    • — Sue Stewart on June 26, 2022
    • Reply
    • 🙂 Glad you enjoyed the ice cream!

      • — Jenn on June 27, 2022
      • Reply
  • Jen, could I thaw frozen bananas for this recipe?
    Thanks,
    Phyllis

    • Sure, Phyllis, frozen bananas will work. Hope you enjoy! 🙂

  • Well, with great success, I have made this recipe (quadrupled the quantities because I had a dozen over ripe bananas). I don’t have an ice-cream maker, so I took the two containers out of the freezer every 1-2 hours to beat the ice-cream. The result was a firm, thick and creamy tasting ice-cream/gelato. I’m not a fan of bananas, but I am a big fan of this ice-cream. Thank you for this quick and easy recipe.

    • Thank you so much for your ‘no machine’ recipe. I’ve been looking for one around the net but only found recipes for ice-cream makers or large blenders.
      I’ve used frozen sliced bananas with great success, but it took a toll on my hand-held blender, even though it’s metal.
      I’m making caramel/banana tart for Christmas, and Jenn’s recipe along with your know-how will be a treat as an accompaniment.
      Have a safe and wonderful Christmas and New Year!

      • — Liz - Australia on December 16, 2022
      • Reply
  • OMG, so so good. I followed the recipe for preparation but made this without the sugar and no dairy. I used maple syrup and a little melted butter in place of the sugar and I used coconut milk and coconut cream (from Trader Joe’s) and it is Ah-mazing! Honestly better than most store bought ice cream seriously.

    • How much maple syrup did you sub for the sugar?

  • Hi Jenn, I plan to double this recipe as we purchased a large capacity ice cream maker. However, most of the ice cream recipes I’ve historically used are from NYT, and call for a 1:2 ratio of milk to heavy cream. Do you think this would taste alright if I did 1 cup milk, 2 cups cream instead of just milk? Thanks!

    • Hi Emily, Yes, that should work; it will just be richer and thicker. (I use the milk here because the bananas already add a fair amount of thickness to the ice cream.) Please LMK how it turns out.

  • Heavenly ✨

  • I was looking for another way to use up some ripe bananas that I had on the counter, and this recipe was a perfect alternative to banana bread during these hot, summer days! It was absolutely delicious! I used one can of full-fat coconut milk (Taste of Thai brand) instead of regular milk and it was perfect. Just a hint of coconut in the end result. My bananas were also way past the point of slicing, which ended up not being a problem. However, I did notice that when the bananas were caramelizing, they didn’t get as deep of a caramel color as the pictures, but it didn’t matter. Great recipe – once again!

  • This recipe is delicious! I was too lazy to freeze my ice cream maker so I put the blended mixture straight into popsicle moulds. They came out perfectly and they’re so creamy!

  • Hi Jenn,

    I was initially going use my bananas to make your coconut/pecan banana bread, but stumbled upon this recipe, so my bananas are really overly ripe. There’s one that cannot hold up to being sliced…LOL. Using the bananas for this ice cream recipe, do I need to reduce the time for the caramelization process?

    • No, I think you can stick to the timing in the recipe. Hope you enjoy! 🙂

  • Just made this …wow fabulous- really creamy with great banana flavour …
    think it will become one of my husbands (a banana fiend) favourites!
    Followed recipe but substituted cup of skimmed milk and 1/2 cup double cream for the whole milk and used dark brown sugar ( as it was all I had) rather than light .
    Thank you .. ! another one to add to our list to make 🙂

  • Wow…absolutely brilliant recipe. Used Elmlea Double and oat milk instead of milk and it was amazing!! Consistency was soooo smooth and it tasted divine. Super impressed!! Thanks for sharing!!

    • — Jayne Maddison
    • Reply
  • Could I put the bananas in the oven by themselves and blend them with maple syrup in the food processor instead of baking with brown sugar For a healthier alternative?

    • Sure, Bri, I think that would work. Please LMK how it turns out if you try it!

    • Is this really much healthier..?

  • I’ve made this a couple of times now and each time it’s better than I remember from the previous time. Today I made the “Elvis” version by adding chopped chocolate covered peanuts and bacon. The chocolate keeps the peanuts from softening, and the bacon?…do I really need to explain? 😁

    • Oh yum…

  • Loved this ice cream. I did use 1 cup skim and 1/2 cup heavy cream. Worked really well and very creamy.

  • I really want to try this, but I don’t have an ice cream maker. Can I just freeze it?

    • Unfortunately, that won’t work — you really need an ice cream machine for this one — sorry! I do have a few no-churn ice cream recipes if you want to check those out.

  • Jenn,
    THANK YOU. WOW, this was divine. I will forever let my bananas ripen so that I can whip this FABU recipe up. I was so inspired I actually swapped out some ingredients and tried it with 1 cup Vanilla whey protein shake liquid and 1/2 cup greek yogurt and swerve brown sugar with the bananas and swerve powdered with the liquids and the remaining ingredients from your recipe. The final result out of the ice cream machine, smooth and creamy, next day out of freezer, much harder had to let it sit out a bit to soften up but still delicious. Not true ice cream as in your original recipe but a wonderful alternative. THANK YOU so much for this recipe.
    Cheers
    D

  • Very excited to try this recipe. I want to use a Cream and Milk mixture. What would the ratio be?

    • Hi Laura, I’d use half of each. Enjoy!

  • Any suggestions to make this dairy-free? I saw that someone used almond milk but added “barista blend” and i’m not sure what that is or if I can find it.

    • Hi Bonnie, I think almond milk will work. You can read about Barista Blend almond milk here.

      • Almond milk worked very well, thanks, and everyone loved the ice cream. Now I’m curious about coconut milk. I saw that someone else asked about that and wondered if there was any follow-up. Also wondering if/how/when I could add crushed graham crackers to this. Thanks for your guidance.

        • Glad to hear the almond milk worked well! (And I’ll let others weigh in if they’ve tried this with coconut milk.) If you’d like to incorporate graham crackers into this, I’d recommend going this route. I think they’ll get soggy if you just incorporate them into the ice cream. Hope that helps!

        • Did you add the cream also along with the Almond milk? I am dairy free.

          • — Bev on February 2, 2024
          • Reply
  • I tried this over the weekend, and it worked brilliantly. I made double the quantity, and let the mixture chill in the fridge overnight before putting it in the ice cream machine.

    I didn’t adulterate the first batch, and it was fabulous. For the second, I added some small pieces of high-cocoa content dark chocolate and a splash of dark rum. It was even better, although the rum did make it difficult to get the ice cream to set, so I did have to put the bowl of the ice cream maker back in the freezer for a while.

  • I so would love to make this ice cream, but I have no ice cream maker. I have a Vitamix, do you think I can use it ?

    • Hi Ramya, Unfortunately, you really need an ice cream machine for this one. Sorry!

      • Can I use a Ninja Creami machine for this? It seems like if I am freezing it in the pint containers that come with the Creami machine, it would work the same way. Thanks.

        • — Sheila Smith on July 28, 2022
        • Reply
        • Hi Sheila, I’m not familiar with the Creami machine so I can’t say for sure, but based on what I read about it online, I think it should work. I’d love to hear how the ice cream comes out if you make it in that!

          • — Jenn on July 28, 2022
          • Reply
    • Since you have a Vitamix, which is a good thing, may want to splurge just and purchase the Cuisinart Ice Creami

      • — Cheryl Cabral on July 28, 2022
      • Reply
  • I made this recipe for the first time yesterday and it turned out wonderful! I don’t even know if I had ever even had banana ice cream before, but if so, the caramelized bananas made this memorable! By mistake, I received 18 bananas from a grocery delivery service. I expected only 5 or 7. This recipe was a great way of using a lot instead of making the usual banana nut muffins or bread. I doubled this recipe. I wish I had tripled it. I have an old-style bucket type ice cream maker where you use ice and salt. The metal canister could easily have held a tripled recipe. Even my two William’s Sonoma ice cream containers, together, could have handled a triple batch.

    I followed this recipe to the “T”. No deviations. No add-ins. The result is a creamy delicious banana perfection! I don’t know why some commenters attempts failed. I would not put that blame on this recipe. The only things I’ll emphasize is that it is important to work quickly at transferring the caramelized bananas into the blender and quickly adding the milk, etc. and blending well. I also think chilling that mix thoroughly (at least 4 hours) before putting in the ice cream maker is important. I found the oven temp and time just right for caramelizing my bananas. Those who say theirs burnt, maybe should consider their oven and/or the pan they caramelized them in as possible culprits. Or the banana slices size? It’s definitely important to stir the mix at least once or twice during the baking, when you can gauge the caramelization status. I used a Pyrex lasagna pan. My oven can sometimes be a bit “slow” so to speak. Perhaps the 400 F was too high for some people’s ovens?

    Maybe this made no major difference, but I make my own brown sugar using white granulated and blackstrap molasses. I happen to think it’s more delicious, cheaper, and longer-lasting (doesn’t harden easily) than store-bought brown sugar.

    I did also make a homemade wet walnut topping for this ice cream. Delicious!

  • This was absolutely delicious! Wonderful texture and great-tasting. I’ve had the recipe on hand a couple years and so glad I finally made it. I added some raisins soaked in bit of rum and some toasted walnuts for my 1st batch. I can see taking it in my directions with add-in’s. Many thanks for a great recipe.

  • AMAZING! I am not one to eat bananas but I can promise I will be buying them more regularly now! I am excited to try this with strawberries, pineapple sauce and chocolate as a banana split. Very good and so easy to make!

  • I used this recipe in a GCSE investigation into how to add more fibre to the diet. Worked really well. Personally would have put more sugar in to make it more sweet but the recipe used both complex and simple skills. I served it with brownies to make a delicious dessert.
    Really recommend.

  • Disappointing – I followed the directions exactly, and it turned out a lot like whipped frozen bananas. Not at all creamy. Not really delicious either.

  • What is the nutritional value for this recipe please?

    • Hi Teague, I just added the nutritional information to the recipe. 🙂

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