Caramelized Banana Ice Cream

Tested & Perfected Recipes

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

The first time I had real banana ice cream — as in made from actual bananas — was over 20 years ago when I was working as an au pair in Paris. Every morning after I dropped the kids off at school, my host mother would send me around the neighborhood to pick up fresh bread, meats, and seasonal produce for dinner. And if she was entertaining, she’d have me stop at Berthillon, a famous French ice cream shop on Île St-Louis, to pick up a block of freshly made ice cream or sorbet.

Paris

I tried many flavors from Berthillon on those little excursions, but banana was my absolute favorite. I’ve never been able to find the recipe but this caramelized banana ice cream from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop brings back all those taste memories for me.

Not only is this banana ice cream over-the-top delicious, it’s also naturally low in fat. The thick texture of the puréed bananas makes it incredibly rich and creamy without the addition of eggs or heavy cream. All the more reason to try it!

What You’ll Need To Make Caramelized Banana Ice Cream

ingredients for banana ice cream

To make the very best banana ice cream, it’s important to use very ripe bananas. To ripen bananas quickly, store them in a loosely sealed brown paper bag.

You’ll need whole milk for the recipe. If you don’t want to buy an entire carton of whole milk, you can use 1 cup of skim or low-fat milk plus 1/2 cup of heavy cream.

How To Make Caramelized Banana Ice Cream

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

Roast for about 40 minutes, stirring once during baking, until the bananas are soft and caramel colored.

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!

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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 had.

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
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1-1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Slice the bananas into 1/2-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.

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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Reviews & Comments

  • What an awesome recipe! I replaced the whole milk with almond milk (barista blend) and it came out perfectly. My family absolutely loves it! Thank you ☺️

    • — Shirley on November 1, 2019
    • Reply
  • I have made this twice in the past week, it is that amazingly delicious. It tastes like a super creamy banana foster ice cream. It’s extremely easy to make. It has became our favorite.

    • — Shelby Rainey on September 7, 2019
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  • Made this just as the recipe says, except doubled it for my larger ice cream freezer. DELICIOUS! I have been making homemade ice cream for decades, but this is the creamiest I have ever made. Perfect ice cream!! Thank you for the wonderful recipe!

    • — Lisa on September 2, 2019
    • Reply
  • This is a really wonderful recipe as is. Any suggestions for add-ins on the next go around? Raisins, maybe chocolate chucks? Any other ideas?

    • — Sandy on August 30, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Sandy, I think rum-soaked raisins would be delicious.

      • — Jenn on September 2, 2019
      • Reply
      • Thanks Jen
        Great minds think alike. That’s exactly what I did. I used a Rum that had large vanilla notes and soaked them. The only regret was I didn’t soak enough, only about a 1/4 cup. Next time I will go with maybe 1/2 cup. The husband thought it was the best yet. I appreciated you responding even if it is after the fact.

        • — Sandy on September 3, 2019
        • Reply
        • 😊

          • — Jenn on September 4, 2019
          • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, I’m making this recipe tonight. I didn’t have milk so I used a combination of almond milk and 35% fat cream. I did add in a splash of brandy and I doubled the sugar quantity (I have an extremely sweet tooth) tomorrow after churning and freezing we will have it with sourdough waffles and a raspberry cherry coulis featuring the caramelised banana icecream. Judging from the flavour before I froze it – it tastes amazing! I know the freezer will mellow out the excess sugar but if not, I won’t complain 😉 thanks for a great recipe thus far

    • — Ashleigh on July 15, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hope you enjoy, Ashleigh! 🙂

      • — Jenn on July 15, 2019
      • Reply
  • OMG, this ice cream is soooo good! Thanks for adding another fantastic recipe to your/my collection. It was so creamy, no ice crystals, not too sweet, just right… This ice cream will be a frequent visitor in my freezer..:-)

    • — Harry on July 7, 2019
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  • HI! Can I use 2% milk in the recipe?
    Thank you!!!

    • — Kim on June 28, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Kim, If you only have 2% milk, you can use 1 cup of that plus 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on June 28, 2019
      • Reply
  • Delicious, smooth and creamy with great banana taste. I made this two nights ago and froze in my Simac last night. I followed instructions exactly except my baking dish was a bit bigger than 2 qt so I removed the bananas/light brown sugar/butter from the oven at 35 minutes. I’ll eat it tonight!

    • — Tom on June 27, 2019
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  • This ice cream is terrific! I needed to make a few adjustments; used bananas that I’d frozen for bread making and because of the warmer weather and not wanting to use the oven, I simmered the banana mixture in a heavy pan on the stove. It worked perfect. Thank you for another wonderful recipe!

    • — Millie on June 25, 2019
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    I would like to make this but I don’t have ice cream 🍨 machine any suggestions?
    Thanks
    Rose G.

    • — Rose G. on June 21, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Rose, Unfortunately, you really need an ice cream machine for this recipe. So sorry!

      • — Jenn on June 21, 2019
      • Reply
  • Sorry, this is the first time I was disappointed with one of your recipes. This was not ice “cream” – it was ice milk. It lacked the smooth, creamy texture of ice cream. It had terrific flavor (caramelizing the bananas is a great idea), but the final product was icy and reminded me of store bought ice cream that has been left in the freezer too long and becomes freezer burned. Not a recipe I will try again.

    • — Anne on June 20, 2019
    • Reply
    • So sorry this recipe didn’t work out for you, Anne. I have always found it to be very smooth and creamy. Did you use an ice cream machine? This recipe definitely requires it.

      • — Jenn on June 20, 2019
      • Reply
  • I will preface this by saying that I haven’t made the recipe yet, but my ice cream maker holds about 4 cups. So, I’m planning to use 4 bananas, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and 2 cups of milk. Most of the other ingredients can stay the same, although why measure out 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract when you can use a whole teaspoon! That should increase the ingredients to about 4 cups. And I’m planning to make one batch oat milk because of my husband’s milk intolerance. But, I’ll make the real milk version for me. I think it will make wonderful ice cream!

    • — Meg Mayo on June 20, 2019
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  • This was exquisite! I am following WW (formerly Weight Watchers) and was looking for a dessert to serve for a Jamaican dinner party. The only adaptation I made was to switch the milk to 1% vs. whole, strictly for calorie and fat (i.e.: WW points) purposes. This will be a part of the standard rotation for the ice cream maker this season!

    • — Maria on April 11, 2019
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  • We LOVE your frozen yogurt recipes, and I wonder if this recipe might work using yogurt in place of the milk.

    • — Judy on July 11, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Judy, so glad you like the recipes! I’ve never tried this with yogurt, so I’m not sure, but another reader commented that she replaced the milk with yogurt and was happy with the results. Please report back if you try it!

      • — Jenn on July 12, 2018
      • Reply
    • Can we make it without an ice cream machine

      • — Rehana Noufel on June 21, 2019
      • Reply
      • Hi Rehana, Unfortunately, this recipe won’t work without an ice cream machine. Sorry!

        • — Jenn on June 21, 2019
        • Reply
  • Dear Jen, Thank you so much for this amazing recipe. I was looking for a way to use up an excess of bananas and I’m so glad I decided to make this delicious ice cream. The recipe was so simple to follow with spectacular results. This is now my husband’s favorite ice cream!
    P.S. As I don’t currently have an ice cream maker I froze the mixture in a shallow Tupperware and then beat it every couple of hours to prevent large ice crystals from forming. Although not as smooth as using an ice cream maker the end result was still great.

    • — Val on March 5, 2018
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  • Great recipe, simple and light. I executed it with some modifications to reduce the calories, replaced the milk with yogurt, reduced the sugar a little, and skipped the butter. It turned out great, thank you 😀

    • — Dina on January 2, 2018
    • Reply
  • First off, I am not a fan of Bananas Foster. This ice cream reminded me of it too much. It is a tasty ice cream however its make good smoothies and other desserts using fruits and nuts so the banana played to background flavor. It was really good as a background flavor adding richness and subtleties to the dishes.

    • — Barbara on November 30, 2017
    • Reply
  • This recipe is awesome. I am a very picky person with my desserts… this is one of the best recipes. If you have a KitchenAid stand mixer with the ice cream maker attachment, the double batch will fit no problem. Towards the end when it’s almost finished in the ice cream maker, I’ve added crushed walnuts one time and it was pretty dang good. This ice cream is also good by itself without the nuts
    My husband and our friends Loved this. Third time today making it.

  • Great banana flavor, thanks for another keeper. At this point if someone didn’t rate your recipe with 5 stars, I assume they made it wrong, even if they are a “professional chef.” Everything on your site is amazing!

  • Very good & very easy. Love that the milk mixture doesn’t need cooking; I get so tired stirring on the stove top with other ice cream recipes. Roast the bananas & you’re nearly done. Stirred in some roasted salted almonds after the machine & before the hard freezing; next time might add a fudge ripple for a sundae-in-a-scoop.

  • This is great ice cream. I add a little whiskey after it starts to freeze it still freezes solid. Delicious.

  • Today I will be making this for our THIRD time this month! We follow the recipe exactly and it comes out perfect every time! The kids LOVE this banana ice cream. I do think we will double it this time around as it seems to disappear in our household quite quickly. Thank you again for helping us put over ripe bananas to good use!

    • — Christine Chippindale
    • Reply
  • The instructions are a bit off. I am a professional chef and just for kicks I tried at first per your instructions. After only 10 minutes at 400 F, part of the caramel had burned black and the bananas were golden and mush. I knew this would happen. So I separated the bananas from the burnt caramel and cooked (just for fun) an additional 10 min. I would never submit to using milk in ice CREAM so I used 35 % cream instead since I don’t care for ice crystals which is what you get if you use milk. My modified version was beautiful so thanks for the idea.

    • — Shelley Richards
    • Reply
    • I too am a pro chef and your comment is RUDE.

      There is NOTHING wrong with this recipe “as is” or using MILK to make Ice CREAM and MILK does NOT produce ice crystals.

      • — Vera on June 23, 2018
      • Reply
    • Damn. Clearly manners are not your thing, huh? Also, this turned out delicious in my non-professional kitchen with my rather basic cooking ability. Perhaps you did it wrong?

      Thanks for yet another fantastic recipe, Jen. I’ve made SO many of your recipes, literally closing in on 100 between the blog and the book – you’re my first resource when planning the week’s meals!

      • — Wendy on August 10, 2018
      • Reply
      • This is an exceptional recipe! I made it exactly as written using lactose free whole milk and found the flavor and creamy texture to be perfect. Reminds me of gelato I ate in Rome. Bonus that it’s low fat.

        • — Miriam on June 21, 2019
        • Reply
    • I’ve been making ice cream for 34 years. Caramelizing the bananas removes moisture that cause ice crystals. Another factor besides fat that creates smooth texture in ice cream is sugar content as it prevents crystallization. Using very ripe bananas, high in sugar, plus the light brown sugar and granulated sugar is the reason this ice cream is creamy, smooth and tasty without using heavy cream. The issue with high fat levels is it masks flavor. My guess is your recipe was smooth but lacked taste. As does your comment.

      • — Tom on June 27, 2019
      • Reply
  • Hello Jenn,
    All your recipes have been wonderful so am wondering what we did wrong.
    We followed the recipe exactly and used our new Cuisinart ice cream maker. We made a vanilla last week and it turned out {otherwise I would wonder if something wrong with machine.) However, after 20-25 minutes it remained in the same liquid consistency as when poured in ice cream maker. Do you have any ideas for me as we would like to try again. Thanks again for all of your awesome recipes!

    • Hi Cheryl, sorry to hear the ice cream didn’t turn out as expected! This is a softer ice cream but it should firm up significantly in the ice cream machine, and then continue to harden in the freezer. Is it possible you measured something incorrectly or that your ice cream bowl wasn’t completely frozen?

      • Thanks for replying Jenn. I appreciate your availability. I know we measured correctly but it is a possibility that ice cream bowl was not frozen properly as we had it in garage fridge. I’m going to try again. Again thanks for all of your wonderful recipes.
        Cheryl

        • Hello Jenn,

          Tried again with freezing in another freezer and it worked fine. Thanks for your suggestion and availability.
          Cheryl

          • So glad it worked this time Cheryl!

            • — Jenn
  • Hi Jenn! Just made this in two batches and it is absolutely delicious! First time using my ice cream maker and it could not have been easier! I’ve always been a fan of bananas and this ice cream is so wonderful and decadent. Would love if your cookbook included other ice cream recipes!

  • This looks delicious! But do you think I could substitute coconut milk for the milk?

    • Hi Katherine, I’ve never tried this with coconut milk, so I’m not certain, but I suspect it should work. I’d love to hear how it turns out if you try it that way!

  • Hi Jenn,
    Wondering if it would be possible to make this without an ice cream maker? Any ideas how to proceed?
    Thanks! 🙂

    • — Mary-Rose Higginson
    • Reply
    • Hi Mary-Rose, Unfortunately, you really need an ice cream maker for this one. Sorry!

  • How much is a pad of butter?

    • Hi Mary, It’s about a teaspoon.

  • I was looking for something to do with 3 very ripe bananas and some leftover heavy cream (it was almost expired and I hate to throw food away). My bananas were already mashed with some lemon juice when I found this recipe, but as I’ve been craving homemade ice cream lately, I just put the mashed bananas with brown sugar and butter in the oven anyway. This is absolutely AMAZING. I ate with with Cameo cookies and I didn’t care that it was midnight or that I would gain fat. It is so delicious that I don’t even care if someone doesn’t like it (whoever doesn’t like it is just wrong). Now I wanna try other recipes from you but I’m also afraid that I will have to workout more haha just kidding. Thanks!

  • i am trying this caramelized banana ice cream for the first time but it does’nt say how much milk to add

    • Hi Gloria, It’s 1-1/2 cups — you can click on the recipe tab for all the quantities.

  • Fantastic recipe, I made this last night everyone absolutely loved it! Definitely using this recipe many more times, thanks

  • Oh my word!!! I thought it would be good but I didn’t think it was going to be utterly divine!! I didn’t have whole milk so I improvised with 1cup 1% milk and 1/2 cup of half & half. I used frozen bananas because I always have them on hand now. I’ll never throw away bananas again. I split the batch into 2 servings and I was ‘almost’ not able to finish eating it. Rest assured I managed. Totally rich and scrumptious!!! And it truely did have that deep baked banana bread flavor. Many thanks Jen!!

  • All I can say is you have to try this it’s awesome.

    You have the best banana recipes!

  • Wow – love this ice cream! What a great way to use ripe bananas. This was my first time on your site and I had to try this – it was easy and delicious – thanks so much!!

    • — Valerie Williams
    • Reply
  • I made this ice cream for a group of friends after a delicious dinner (that I got from this site). I may have cooked the banana’s too long because they took on almost a burnt caramel taste. Everyone like it but they felt almost too done for me. I think I would just cook a little shorter on time. (That is strictly a problem on my side, definitely not the recipe.)

  • Very rich flavor. I made a single batch, and it made about 8 large scoops. At first I thought it didn’t make enough, but it’s so rich, one scoop is very satisfying. Yummmmm.

  • I had several recipes that did not turn out, they were “icy”. I think because I used 18% instead of 35% in the other recipes. Needless to say I was almost ready to throw in the ice cream scooper BUT this recipe worked out amazing, in texture and taste!!! Everyone loved it. I have to double the recipe next time!!

    • Glad you enjoyed it, Tarbo. This is one of my favorites 🙂

  • I cannot WAIT to make this variation of banana icecream using my new Cuisinart icecream maker. Yay!

    • — Elizabeth C. in Kansas
    • Reply
  • This was my first try at ice cream and we loved it! This is an amazing recipe and was so easy. Thanks for sharing it!

  • I’ve heard great thinks about the “Scoop”. I just ordered Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home, which also has gotten great reviews. Thanks for posting this recipe, plan to make this weekend.

    Jay

  • Last weekend, for Mother’s Day, I received a KA ice cream maker; okay there were plenty of breadcrumbs that lead to DH purchasing this including the most obvious – a 20 percent off coupon clipped to the product picture. Our maiden recipe was Caramelized Banana Ice Cream.

    Heavenly Mother’s Day.

    This is an intriguing and simple recipe that pays off with a delectable treat. Our next culinary experiment may be the Tangy Frozen Yogurt.

    Thank you, Jenn.

  • I agree with the other commenters — this is the best ice cream. My whole family loved it. Very healthy. The bananas are good alone, too.

  • This is one of the best ice creams I have ever made! I have made a bannana ice cream before but this one beats it!

  • I love the Perfect Scoop. Such great recipes. This one looks like a winner!

  • OMG, this is insanely delicious. this rivals some italian gelato i had in venice recently, and that is a high bar to match! unbelievable. i don’t know how you got it so creamy and the carmelized banana flavor is out of this world. thank you. keep them coming!

  • This recipe looks delicious. I love bananas and the thought of caramelized banana ice cream sounds incredible. I am going to have to get The Perfect Scoop book. I’ve seen so many foodies adapting delicious ice cream recipes from it.

  • Caramelised bananas sound delicious! In ice cream, they must be just splendid!

  • This recipe is delicious and easy! I used frozen over-ripe bananas that I had saved to use for banana bread and it turned out great. You’ve rekindled my affection for my ice cream maker that had been collecting dust in the closet.

  • I’m gonna bookmark this and will make it when I buy that ice cream maker I’ve been eyeing!

  • Yum! I can’t wait to try this as I have been freezing bananas to make into my own “ice cream” for ages. It’s my husband’s favorite!

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