Homemade No Sugar Ice Cream

As a big dessert aficionado, ice cream will always hold a special place in my heart.  I’m mainly perfectly happy with some of the better store-bought brands–chocolate chip cookie dough and Drumstick ice cream to name just a couple among so many others.  But since I started this site about 5 or 6 months ago, I’ve forced myself to pay attention to the ingredients in these ice creams a little more closely, and as you can imagine, it’s not a pretty picture- each typically comes with a very long list of ingredients.

‘But is there a way to get ice cream satisfaction without paying a heavy sugar-and-chemical price?,’ I wondered.  What about a no sugar ice cream?  About a month ago, I stumbled onto one of the many blogs that have been promoting an incredibly resourceful recipe that calls for just one ingredient.  A one-ingredient ice cream?  OK- I’ll bite.  Well, if you think about one of the sweetest natural foods out there, it shouldn’t come as too much as a surprise that it’s the banana.


photo: Roberto Verzo, Flickr

One of the original sources touting this recipe breakthrough, so I’ve read, is The Kitchn, which provides some very alluring – if not especially realistic – photos of this new gem of a homemade, sugar-free ‘ice cream.’  Ice cream gets quotes because there’s no need for ice, nor cream, though you may want to try experimenting with various non-dairy milks if you’re not finding the bananas alone getting creamy enough.

Top Tips for Making No Sugar Ice Cream

Credit also goes to How to Cook Like Your Grandmother, which provides quite a bit more detail in describing how to best create this no sugar ice cream miracle.  In fact, I’d like to build upon what Drew of HTCLYG doles out in his version of the recipe:  when you select your bananas, you really do want to be sure that they’re over-ripe, which is not necessarily the easiest call to make:  you’re not only looking for blackening over the skin, you should also feel each banana to make sure it’s no longer stiff (some will have plenty of dark spots, but not be all that ripe).


photo: edwardkimuk, Flickr

The reason you want this full ripeness is to cut out the bitterness that comes when the bananas aren’t ripe enough.  I’ve learned this the hard way, from trial-and-error, and I continually try and improve  The trick is to find that perfect balance of sweet, banana bread-ready ripeness, yet not so soft that it’s all mush.  After all, you’ll want to be able to freeze the chunks/pieces that you’ve cut without them sticking to the plastic bag or freezer wrap.


photo: floridecires, Flickr

Once ripe, if you’re storing your bananas for future use, you’ll want to let them de-thaw at least a little before sending to your blender or Vitamix- that way you’ll eliminate ice crystals that reduce the creaminess factor.  Your final result will vary on a case-by-case basis, since you’re depending completely (or almost completely) on the bananas, so have a couple additional ingredients at the ready:  a dash of pure vanilla to bring out the flavoring; just a little bit of milk – preferably non-dairy for Eco-conscious reasons, such as almond, soy, or goat milk, depending on what you like – if it seems as though the ‘ice cream’ needs a little lubrication.  And lastly, if when you taste your homemade no sugar ice cream, you’re finding that it’s not sweet enough, go ahead and add just a little bit of raw honey, or pure maple syrup, to bring the dish closer to your standards.  There’s no shame you’re not a purist yet.  Instead, join me, and we’ll think of it as something to strive towards.

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