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Crazy Banana Ice Cream · GF (1 quart)

If you flip through the recipe box, you’ll see that I don’t really believe in recipe titles with goofy names like Chocozuma's Revenge or even adjectives like Sinful, Decadent or Luscious. But just calling this “banana ice cream” would be totally misleading. This is nothing like the banana ice cream you’ve had before (unless you’ve been to Table 310, in which case it’s just like you had before.)

If you’ve ever made banana ice cream, you might have noticed it can get a little icy. No matter how finely you mash it, banana pulp freezes into crystals. Obvious solution that no one goes for: skip the banana pulp. Crazy, right?

Also crazy: steeping banana chunks in milk and cream for twenty four hours.

This long steep time extracts a banana flavor so intense, you can strain the banana pulp out, throw it away (crazy!), and still have ice cream twice as banana-y as anything you’ve ever had before. For a final dose of crazy, a shot of banana liquor goes the extra mile to help ensure creaminess and an extra hit of banana flavor.

scoops of ice cream with chocolate sprinkles

Like with banana bread, this recipe works best with extremely overripe bananas. As for banana liquors, look for ones that are all natural, or at least avoid ones that mention artificial flavor. Those have a creepy banana flavor like bad 80s candy.

10 oz cream
10 oz whole milk
4 overripe bananas, sliced into 1/2” pieces (about 12 ounces peeled)
1 Madagascar vanilla bean, split and scraped; seeds reserved
6 ounces egg yolks (from between 7-10 eggs, depending on size)
6 ounces sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt or more, to taste
3/4 ounce banana liquor

In a medium pot, bring the dairy to a simmer together with the vanilla bean and sliced bananas. Stir occasionally to break up the banana slices, which tend to stick together. When the mixture begins to simmer, shut off the heat and cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours or as long as a few days.

(The flavor doesn’t seem to get any better after the initial 24 hours, but sometimes a batch of overripe bananas needs to get used up now even though you don’t have the time to make ice cream just yet. Just letting you know you can take your time.)

When you’re ready to proceed with the recipe, return the dairy mixture to a simmer. Meanwhile whisk together the yolks, sugar, salt, and banana liquor together in a bowl.

Also have a medium bowl ready with a mesh strainer set over it set aside.

Once the dairy begins to simmer, pour the mixture into the bowl with the sieve. Press firmly on the bananas with a rubber spatula to release as much liquid as possible. Do not press so hard that you begin to force banana pulp through the sieve. You simply want to extract as much dairy as possible.

Next, fish out the vanilla bean and use a spatula to scrape out all of the heavily flavored cream from inside the pod and into the strained liquid. That stuff is liquid gold, make sure not to lose a drop. Discard the banana pulp. (If you’re super thrifty, you could use it in muffins.)

Whisk some of the hot dairy mixture into the egg yolks, one ladle-full at a time, until you’ve whisked it all into the bowl with the eggs. Leave the empty bowl and sieve set aside for later. Transfer this egg mixture back to the pot and cook over medium low heat. Stir constantly, remembering to reach into the corners to prevent the ice cream base from curdling.

Continue cooking and stirring until the ice cream base thickens markedly (“coating the back of a wooden spoon” being the popular description of done-ness). Immediately shut off the heat and strain the custard through the sieve back into the bowl.

Cool in an ice bath and refrigerate overnight. Process in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions.

This is especially delicious (and even “crazier”) with homemade peanut butter cups stirred in at the end.


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Any questions?

May 28, 2012 ·  6:34 AM

Nomm nomm. Bet this would be delicious with some Malibu in it too…

 · Lou · 

May 28, 2012 · 11:28 AM

@Lou, oh yeah! Absolutely, a number of different alcohols would work in place of the banana. Use what you like and have fun


May 28, 2012 · 10:35 PM

I guess it’s ice cream day today.. just whipped up a batch of grilled peach with a cinnamon crumble!

 · Ilan (IronWhisk Blog) ·

Jun 15, 2012 ·  7:40 PM

This ice cream is absolutely devine. I wish i had more bananas. Thanks for the recipe.

 · Luv2cook · 

Jun 16, 2012 ·  1:35 PM

@Luv2cook, I’m so happy you tried it out!! You can use this same technique on my pot de creme recipe to make banana custards too.


Jul 24, 2012 ·  9:58 AM

I LOVE banana ice cream but am (sadly) very lactose intollerant. Do you think this could be made with a non-dairy milk, soy milk, almond milk, etc?

 · Annie33 · 

Jul 24, 2012 ·  4:26 PM

@Annie33, I’ve had great success making lactose free ice creams using a blend of coconut milk and soy or almond milk. I use 2 parts coconut to 1 part soy or almond to replace the total dairy content of an ice cream recipe. Hope that helps!


Jul 29, 2012 ·  3:50 AM

Umm, Stella…that was AWESOME. Made it Friday, ate it tonight. It’s the best homemade ice cream I’ve ever made (doesn’t hurt that I LOVE banana flavored stuff in all forms). I added ~3/4 cup chopped semi-sweet chocolate. Thank you for sharing that!

 · Michelle Thomas · 

Jul 30, 2012 ·  6:51 PM

@Michelle, ahhhh! I’m so happy to hear it!! Banana chip ice cream? Sign me up!


Aug 22, 2012 ·  1:22 PM

thanks stella! i would love to make this. hm, is there any other liquor that might work? i wouldn’t know what to do with the rest of the liquor after I use it here. is it also in the recipe to help prevent the ice cream getting icy? (though I bet it would be eaten too quickly for that to happen ;d)

 · prpltrmpt · 

Aug 22, 2012 ·  6:49 PM

Prpltrmpt, you got it. The liquor serves to help keep the ice cream creamy, but also gives it an extra bump of banana flavor. I’m spoiled working in a restaurant where I can just run up to the bar and grab a shot of whatever I need; I know it’s not always the most practical for home, though. You can use a neutral liquor, or any sort of coordinating flavor (banana rum? bourbon banana? whatever’s lying around!). If push comes to shove, you can leave it out altogether. In that case, just be sure to dig in to the ice cream right away while it’s at its creamy best, or let it temper in the fridge for about 20 minutes before scooping.


Aug 29, 2012 ·  5:09 PM

I store my ripe bananas in the freezer after removing their peels to keep them ready for banana bread.Do you think it would work to use frozen ripe bananas after thawing them? When they thaw they give off a lot of liquid, but since getting the flavorful liquid out of the pulp is the point, would that matter?

 · MK · 

Aug 29, 2012 ·  6:06 PM

Hi MK. No problem at all! All that liquid’s inside the banana anyway, so you’re on the right track. Frozen bananas will be a-okay!


Aug 30, 2012 ·  8:07 PM

This looks amazing! Unfortunately I only have a small ice cream maker ): how big is the yield, and is there any way I can substitute the banana liquor so kids can eat this?

 · Sharon · 

Aug 30, 2012 ·  9:51 PM

Hi Sharon! This recipe makes a quart, which will fit perfectly in any standard ice cream maker. Unless you’ve got one that was designed to be particularly small, you shouldn’t have any trouble with a full batch.

As for the alcohol, you can feel free to leave it out although you’ll lose a touch of the banana intensity and the creaminess that it brings to the recipe. If you’re avoiding it for personal reasons, I totally understand, but if you’re just worried about boozin’ the kids up, that won’t be a problem in this recipe.

For comparison, vanilla extract is 35% alcohol (70 proof) and a banana liquor, for example creme de banane, may only be 15% alcohol (30 proof), although some are higher. 3/4 of an ounce of 30 proof liquor only works out to 3 grams of alcohol (about half of which will evaporate after its added and churned). But even imagining full potency, divided over a quart of ice cream it works out to one third of a gram per serving. I hope that gives you a better understanding of the alcohol in the recipe so you can decide if using it is right for you!


Mar 31, 2013 · 10:17 PM

Brilliant! THE best ice cream ive ever made. Soooo creamy. Soooo flavorful. I meant to share the batch, but ended up hording it. Definitely best on day one in terms of texture. Even made banana muffins.

 · Noneil · 

Apr 01, 2013 ·  9:36 AM

Hi Noneil! Hmmm, banana muffins a la mode, perhaps? Haha. So glad you enjoyed the ice cream, thanks for reporting back!


Sep 02, 2013 · 10:37 PM

I tried using this strategy in conjunction with this recipe:

to make a chocolate-banana pot de creme. Unfortunately, simmering the cream to release the banana flavor made it too thick to strain, so I ended up wasting the 1/3rd cup cream that got stuck in the strainer. As a result, the final product’s consistency was closer to fudge than to pot de creme.

I’d love to know how you’ve combined to two recipes. Pot de creme is one of my favorite desserts – I’d be thrilled to make it at home.

 · brenton · 

Sep 04, 2013 · 10:04 PM

Hi Brenton! Ugh, sorry to hear about the failed experiment. Banana pots de creme are one of my favorites! How many bananas did you use? I’d think with, say, half a banana it might turn out okay.

The deal is, 4 ounces isn’t much cream in the first place, and 100% cream is very low on water content (compared to milk, that is!) so by the time you simmer it twice, you’ve actually lost a lot of water and it’s thicker than ever.

Basically, it’s a technique that works best with a blend of milk and cream. I’ve got a pot de creme base recipe posted, so you might check that out and adapt it to your banana-y wishes. Hope that helps!


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