Make Ice Cream in 5 Minutes With 1 Ingredient

Easy, healthy, plant-based, and best of all: Delicious.

Glass bowl with pink ice cream and nuts.
This strawberry ice cream is mostly bananas.

 Jaymi Heimbuch

Did you know that all you need to have sweet, thick, creamy ice cream in five minutes is a blender and a single ingredient? Frozen bananas.

Blended frozen bananas are the perfect vegan alternative to ice cream. Instead of breaking up into slush like most frozen fruits put in a blender, bananas have more sugar than water, so they achieve a dense consistency just like dairy-based ice cream. The frozen sweet treat is the healthiest possible way to satisfy your ice cream craving, and there are countless ways to serve it up. Below, I've provided a list of 14 different ideas to try, but the creative options for this ice cream are virtually endless. For the photos shown here, I've added in frozen strawberry slices to the blender to make a delicious (and colorful!) summer strawberry flavor.

Ready to try it? All you need is three very ripe bananas. Make sure they have at least a few little brown spots on the peel, since the more brown on the peel, the more ripe they are. And the more ripe they are, the sweeter.

Peel the bananas and cut them into one-inch pieces. Put them in an air-tight container, pop them in the freezer and leave them overnight until they are frozen solid. If you have the space in your freezer, you can freeze them spread out on a baking sheet and then transfer them to a container—this way you don't have to break up a mound of frozen banana pieces. (But this is entirely unnecessary if you don't have the room!)

I actually keep a stash of frozen banana slices in the freezer for any time a sweet frozen treat craving pops up, so I don't have to wait. When the banana slices are frozen solid, break the pieces apart with your hands or a spoon and put them in a blender or a food processor. Blend until totally creamy, about two to three minutes. You'll have to stop the blender every so often to push down some pieces and make sure everything is getting blended evenly. If the blades aren't "catching" the banana pieces, adding a little non-dairy milk will help move things along.

This makes about three two-scoop servings. You can enjoy the ice cream right then, or place it in an air-tight container in the freezer to harden up a bit more before scooping into bowls or cones. Here are a few recommended variations:

Pineapple and Macadamia Nuts
Top with a few chunks of freshly sliced pineapple and chopped macadamia nuts.

Hazelnut Spread and Raspberries
Add one tablespoon of hazelnut spread to the bananas in the blender, and top with a handful of fresh raspberries.

Strawberry Chocolate Chip
Add one cup frozen chopped strawberries to the blender. When blended, stir in 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (or carob chips, or cacao nibs).

Cherries and Chocolate
Top with a couple of spoonfuls of canned cherries and a sprinkling of chocolate chips or cacao nibs.

Cinnamon Peanut Butter
Add two tablespoons peanut butter and one teaspoon ground cinnamon to the blender.

Cinnamon Pecan
Add one cup chopped pecans and one teaspoon cinnamon to the blender.

Mango Peach
Add 1/2 cup frozen chopped mango and 1/2 cup frozen chopped peach to the blender.

Raspberry Almond
Add one cup frozen raspberries to the blender. When blended, stir in 1/2 cup chopped almonds.

Chocolate Banana
Add two tablespoons of vegan chocolate sauce to the blender.

Apple Pie
Simmer chopped apples with cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Let thicken and cool, then pour over ice cream scoops.

Strawberry Pistachio
Add one cup frozen chopped strawberries to the blender. When blended, stir in 1/2 cup chopped roasted, unsalted pistachios.

Chai Spice
Add one to two tablespoons of condensed chai tea mix to the blender. Top with a small sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg.

Blueberry Banana
Add one cup frozen wild blueberries to the blender. Top with a sprinkling of chopped walnuts or almonds.

Salted Caramel
Top with a tablespoon of caramel sauce and a sprinkling of coarse sea salt.

ice cream with nuts sprinkled on top