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 made.

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 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
  • 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.

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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Reviews & Comments

  • 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.

    • — Dionne on August 7, 2021
    • Reply
  • 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!

    • — Emily H. on July 19, 2021
    • Reply
    • 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.

      • — Jenn on July 22, 2021
      • Reply
  • Heavenly ✨

    • — Linda on July 1, 2021
    • Reply
  • 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!

    • — Kathy T. on June 17, 2021
    • Reply
  • 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!

    • — Sara on January 22, 2021
    • Reply
  • 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?

    • — Simone R on November 22, 2020
    • Reply
    • No, I think you can stick to the timing in the recipe. Hope you enjoy! 🙂

      • — Jenn on November 23, 2020
      • Reply
  • 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 🙂

    • — Marina on November 13, 2020
    • Reply
  • 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 on November 5, 2020
    • 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?

    • — Bri on October 5, 2020
    • Reply
    • Sure, Bri, I think that would work. Please LMK how it turns out if you try it!

      • — Jenn on October 6, 2020
      • Reply
    • Is this really much healthier..?

      • — Emily H. on July 30, 2021
      • Reply
  • 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? 😁

    • — Carl Schena on August 27, 2020
    • Reply
    • Oh yum…

      • — Jenn on August 27, 2020
      • Reply
  • Loved this ice cream. I did use 1 cup skim and 1/2 cup heavy cream. Worked really well and very creamy.

    • — Romi on August 24, 2020
    • Reply
  • I really want to try this, but I don’t have an ice cream maker. Can I just freeze it?

    • — Kathy Bedard on August 21, 2020
    • Reply
    • 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 on August 21, 2020
      • Reply
  • 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

    • — D Nolan on August 4, 2020
    • Reply
  • Very excited to try this recipe. I want to use a Cream and Milk mixture. What would the ratio be?

    • — Laura on July 23, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Laura, I’d use half of each. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on July 25, 2020
      • Reply
  • 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.

    • — Bonnie on June 26, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Bonnie, I think almond milk will work. You can read about Barista Blend almond milk here.

      • — Jenn on June 27, 2020
      • Reply
      • 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.

        • — Bonnie on August 3, 2020
        • Reply
        • 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!

          • — Jenn on August 4, 2020
          • 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.

    • — Andrew on May 26, 2020
    • Reply
  • 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 ?

    • — RAMYA on May 21, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Ramya, Unfortunately, you really need an ice cream machine for this one. Sorry!

      • — Jenn on May 21, 2020
      • 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!

    • — Elaine B on May 16, 2020
    • Reply
  • 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.

    • — Kris on April 20, 2020
    • Reply
  • 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!

    • — Marcie on April 17, 2020
    • Reply
  • 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.

    • — Teague on March 3, 2020
    • Reply
  • Disappointing – I followed the directions exactly, and it turned out a lot like whipped frozen bananas. Not at all creamy. Not really delicious either.

    • — Bonnie Miller on February 17, 2020
    • Reply
  • What is the nutritional value for this recipe please?

    • — Teague on February 13, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Teague, I just added the nutritional information to the recipe. 🙂

      • — Jenn on February 13, 2020
      • Reply

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