Banana Ice Cream (with Dairy-Free, Refined Sugar-Free, Vegan Options)

homemade banana ice cream, gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free, gluten free easily

Banana Ice Cream

You might remember that I had polled my Facebook readers on which of my recent recipes to share first—Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies or Banana Ice Cream—and the cookies had garnered quite a few more votes and, therefore, were featured earlier this week, but I promised to share the Banana Ice Cream as well this week. So I’m fulfilling that promise today.

I’ve made all kinds of ice cream since buying a “newfangled,” super easy-to-use ice cream maker several years back, but I realized recently that I hadn’t yet made banana ice cream. That was surprising because that had always been Mr. GFE’s and my favorite flavor to make in our old-fashioned ice cream maker. (You know the kind … those big behemoths that required ice and salt and lots of attention and were best used outside.)

Sure I’d made Caramel Coconut Chunky Monkey Ice Cream and Super Mini Chunky Monkey Ice Cream Sundaes, and in both recipes, bananas shine, but I hadn’t made “just” banana ice cream. So the other day I decided to change that. It turned out not only was this ice cream super easy to make, but it was also super good. The natural sweetness and creaminess of very ripe bananas is hard to beat!

This Banana Ice Cream is made using just a few pantry ingredients and is easily dairy free and refined sugar free. I made both versions and thoroughly enjoyed each! (Mr. GFE only helped out a little bit, but he approved of each!) Shown in the pictures below is the dairy version, which gets its coloring from the evaporated milk used. I do offer one note of caution for the dairy version … if you don’t care for the taste of evaporated milk, you probably won’t like that version. The evaporated milk taste does come through a bit. I found that it worked with the bananas and other ingredients, but some might not care for it.

FYI, the dairy-free version has more of a mocha coloring—which is also very nice—due to the combination of the golden brown coconut palm sugar and the white coconut milk.

homemade banana ice cream, gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free, gluten free easily

When I was “tired” of simply eating banana ice cream from taste testing these recipes, I suddenly had the idea to make a Root Beer Float using the dairy-free, refined sugar-free version of this ice cream. No doubt the recent Root Beer Float roundup from my other blog, All Gluten-Free Desserts, was working on my subconscious. Making a root beer float using homemade banana ice cream was a very, very good decision! It was heavenly!

Final note … several of you had suggested that I really needed to share both recipes at the same time, ideally making Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookie Banana Ice Cream Sandwiches. I did, in fact, make two such ice cream sandwiches with four of the soft-baked versions of the Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies. The resulting ice cream sandwiches were not very photogenic as I was not very neat in my application of the ice cream to the cookies. And while they were fun, they were much more than a mouthful and a bit messy to say the least. The flavor combination would seem to be another way to get one’s Chunky Monkey fix, but personally I found it all to be a bit much for me. But if you want some terrific ideas for gluten-free (and “more free”) ice cream sandwich recipes that do work, check out The Ultimate Gluten-Free Ice Cream Sandwich Roundup!


Banana Ice Cream (with Dairy-Free, Refined Sugar-Free Options)
  • 3 ½ large bananas, preferably frozen
  • 1 can evaporated milk (12 ounces, 1½ cups) or 1 can full-fat coconut milk (13.5 ounces, about 1¾ cup)
  • ½ cup brown sugar or coconut palm sugar
  • 1 tbsp liqueur, rum, or other alcohol of choice that would be nice when combined when bananas (optional, but preferred; I used American Honey---see notes OR use more vanilla instead)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional, but preferred)
  1. Add all ingredients to the blender (I used my Vitamix). Slowly increase speed from low to high and blend until smooth, about a minute or two.
  2. Add mixture to already frozen tub of your ice cream maker. Churn about 20 minutes.
  3. Serve immediately as soft serve ice cream or transfer to freezer containers and freeze longer for firmer ice cream.
The alcohol helps minimize the ice crystals in ice cream. The dairy version tends to stay nice and soft, like frozen custard, even after freezing a good while. However, the dairy-free version does get quite a bit firmer after freezing. Just let it sit about 5 to 10 minutes before scooping and serving.

This recipe is linked to Wellness Weekend, Foodie Friday, 5-Ingredient Monday, Gluten-Free Tuesday, Gluten-Free Wednesday, Allergy-Free Wednesday, and Gluten-Free Fridays.

Not just gf, but gfe!

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21 Responses to “Banana Ice Cream (with Dairy-Free, Refined Sugar-Free, Vegan Options)”

  1. Melissa on September 6th, 2013 1:21 pm

    Oooh, banana ice cream sounds interesting. AND very tasty. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted that combination before. You’ve inspired me. In fact, I haven’t even pulled out my ice cream maker once this summer. I better do it before the snow falls. Thanks for the nudge, Shirley. Much appreciated!

    • Shirley on September 6th, 2013 10:38 pm

      Hey Melissa–Bananas are just a natural for natural sweetness and creaminess in ice cream. :-) Wow, no homemade ice cream at all this summer? You have been busy though! Yes, make some … what flavor will it be this time? Beets? Corn? Kale? ;-) I know you love using unexpected, healthy ingredients.


  2. Angela on September 6th, 2013 3:31 pm

    Oh my goodness, this looks wicked good! Weather forecast predicts extreme hot temperatures over the weekend – perfect setting for some home made banana ice cream!
    Especially since I have a ton of frozen bananas in the freezer…..

    • Shirley on September 6th, 2013 10:42 pm

      Hey Angela–Thanks! It’s cooler here this weekend, so I’m glad I made this last weekend and earlier in the week. Happy that the recipe is right on time for you though! :-) I totally get having tons of frozen bananas in the freezer. I even have a post in draft, “Confessions of a Banana Hoarder.” No kidding. ;-)

      Happy weekend, dear!

  3. Alisa on September 6th, 2013 5:54 pm

    Yum! I am such a banana girl. This looks like heaven to me. I’ve yet to try alcohol in ice cream, but really need to. I’ve heard it helps so much with preventing ice.

    • Shirley on September 6th, 2013 10:42 pm

      Alisa–The added alcohol is quite lovely for both reducing the ice crystals AND adding rich flavor. :-) Thanks!


  4. InTolerant Chef on September 6th, 2013 7:45 pm

    Sounds great, banana is such a great icecream flavour and I love it with coconut

    • Shirley on September 6th, 2013 10:43 pm

      InTolerant Chef–I so agree! Loved both versions. :-)


  5. Kim-Cook It Allergy Free on September 10th, 2013 11:12 am

    So…homemade banana ice cream has always been my favorite favorite ice cream flavor. My mom used to make a version all of the time when we were kids and I vividly remember sneaking bites from the freezer when no one was around even after I had finished my bowl. LOL What a perfect recipe, Shirley11 :D

    • Shirley on September 10th, 2013 11:54 am

      How about that, Kim! I love that we have that in common. :-) Homemade banana ice cream is pure comfort food if you ask me. And just for the record, to hear you tell it, you were always sneaking little bites of treats when neither mom nor grandma were looking! Hehe! I have more super ripe bananas on the counter. Now I’m tempted to try another variation. Banana Ice Cream with Pralines, perhaps? How does that sound? ;-)


  6. Heidi on September 10th, 2013 11:31 am

    How many cups is one can of coconut milk? I have only seen it by quarts or half gallon , not by the can here… Thanks :)

    • Shirley on September 10th, 2013 11:51 am

      Welcome to gfe, Heidi! :-) I’ve just updated the recipe to include that info. I use canned coconut milk in this recipe, but the kind you’re talking about (like So Delicious, right?) *should* work fine. I believe it is thinner since it’s a coconut beverage vs actual coconut milk, so you might use a bit less in the recipe. Perhaps 1 2/3 cups instead? If you want to try canned coconut milk for this recipe or others, try looking in the Asian section of your grocery store (most stores carry Thai Kitchen products, including their coconut milk) or ordering through Amazon. Hope you enjoy this ice cream when you make it!


  7. Jenna on September 12th, 2013 9:16 pm

    This looks great, my grandson is gluten and dairy free so I am forever looking for treats I can make him. Thanks

    • Shirley on September 12th, 2013 9:35 pm

      Hi Jenna–Welcome to gfe! It’s good to have you here. :-) I hope your grandson and you both enjoy this ice cream!


  8. Erin on September 16th, 2013 5:25 pm

    Wow, this ice cream looks so decadent! Thanks for linking-up to 5-Ingredient Mondays. Hope to see you back this week :)

    • Shirley on September 17th, 2013 9:41 pm

      Hi Erin–Thanks! Always happy to join in on 5-Ingredient Mondays! :-) I was a little late to the party this week, but I just got in my “Better Than Sliced Bread” Popovers. ;-)


  9. amber on September 17th, 2013 2:06 pm

    Hi Shirley,

    This looks just perfect for an afternoon snack. It’s still very hot here in my neck of the woods, so I’ve been making smoothies and ice pies to cool off. I can’t wait to make this recipe!!!!

    Thank you for sharing. :-)


    • Shirley on September 17th, 2013 9:57 pm

      Hi Amber–It’s pretty much perfect ANY time! ;-) We’re having a much cooler phase, but it’s warming up the next few days. I’m pretty sure I could enjoy this ice cream during any weather though. :-) Hope you like it, dear!


  10. Cindy (Vegetarian Mamma) on September 18th, 2013 2:46 pm

    Oh, this is on my make immediately list!! YUM Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! :)

    Hope your week is great!

    Cindy from

    • Shirley on September 18th, 2013 7:34 pm

      Hi Cindy–Thanks so much for sharing and hope you love this ice cream when you make it! :-)

      Hope you have a good week, too!

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