This Healthy Chunky Monkey Ice Cream is a fruit based nice cream recipe that’s super popular with kids! It’s gluten free, dairy free, egg free, and vegan as well. It’s all fruit based with no added sugar, but there’s plenty of chocolate peanut butter flavor to go around. Try it with any and all optional toppings!
A couple years ago when we started to get a little more serious about eating healthier, there was this popular idea floating around about making ‘ice cream’ out of frozen bananas. I was more than a little skeptical because ice cream is a food group unto itself in our family – it’s serious business to say the least. For years I used to make a different flavor of homemade ice cream every Sunday, (and yes… we went through a lot of heavy cream).
But I wanted to try and be open minded, so I froze some bananas and gave it a whirl. As my husband and I were trying the first spoonfuls straight out of the food processor, I think my exact response was, ‘this doesn’t taste like ice cream at all, I feel like I’m eating frozen baby food’. Since Tyler wasn’t a fan of it either, I gave up on the idea for awhile. After some time passed I just had to try it again, but this time with other ingredients instead of straight up banana.
I had a hunch that adding some peanut butter and creating some sort of chunky monkey situation might be a good place to start. And as a side note, you can use any nut butter here in place of the peanut butter if that’s not part of your diet. The peanut butter added just enough richness, and the cocoa powder cuts the straight up banana flavor, and a shot of vanilla extract rounds it all out.
I didn’t tell Tyler I had made another ‘banana based ice cream’ before he tried it, and he absolutely loved it! I’ve started making it almost every week as a little something sweet to have around for late night chocolate cravings. It keeps really well with a fairly soft creamy texture in the freezer above my fridge, but it does get a little too hard to eat when I put it in the chest freezer.
Let’s jump in and talk about how to make this Healthy Chunky Monkey Ice Cream!
For this recipe you want ripe speckled bananas, which is another bonus I love because I almost always have bananas going brown before I can use them. Now, when I know I’m not going to use them in time, I break them up into quarters, and freeze them for ‘ice cream’.
I just froze mine in a plastic bag, but you can use any kind of reusable container you have as well.
I wasn’t very careful about chunking up my bananas before freezing them and there are some bigger pieces in the above photo. But over time I’ve learned that it’s better to break them into quarters or smaller before freezing them because it’s easier to process them into ice cream.
I usually have to stop the food processor a couple of times to scrape down the sides. Break up and chunks that form and process again.
You’ll know your ‘ice cream’ is done when it’s all smooth with no chunks remaining.
I love how this ‘ice cream’ is so creamy with the texture of soft serve. And I would’ve never thought that bananas could create such magic!Print
Healthy Chunky Monkey Ice Cream
- Total Time: 15 mins
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Diet: Gluten Free
This Healthy Chunky Monkey Ice Cream is a fruit based nice cream recipe that’s super popular with kids! It’s all fruit based with no added sugar, but there’s plenty of chocolate peanut butter flavor to go around. Try it with any and all optional toppings!
5 ripe bananas, peeled and frozen
1/4 cup peanut butter, or any other nut butter
1/4 cup cocoa powder, I used Dagoba
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt
Optional ‘chunks’ for mixing in:
sliced bananas, chocolate chunks/chips, roasted peanuts/nuts, and cacao nibs
At least 8 hours or 1 day before you plan to make this recipe, cut/break the bananas into quarters and freeze them.
Remove the bananas from the freezer, and place them into the food processor. Sometimes they freeze together and you’ll need to break them up as you put them in.
Add the peanut butter or other nut butter, cocoa powder, vanilla, and a pinch of sea salt.
Secure the lid and process until the mixture gets stuck in the food processor. Stop and scrape down the sides, breaking up and chunks that have formed. Continue processing, stopping when necessary until the the mixture forms a creamy smooth ‘ice cream’. This takes anywhere from 3-5 minutes.
Serve immediately or place in the freezer for a few hours to create a firmer texture.
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 5 mins
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Food Processor
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Chocolate Banana Nice Cream, Peanut Butter Nice Cream, Banana Nice Cream Recipe
30 thoughts on “Healthy Chunky Monkey Ice Cream”
Just verifying the chocolate powder blends with the cold ingredients before I try to serve it tomorrow.
Yes it goes in all together, and only the mix-in chunks are added at the end. I sure hope you enjoy this, and be sure and let me know how it goes!
When will your new cookbook be out??
I’m not sure what you’re referring to by ‘new cookbook’ if you could add some details? I do have an e-book called Inspired Ice Creams if that’s what you meant, I’ve left the link below. I sure hope you enjoy this ice cream!
Wow! This is amazing! It tastes so good. The banana and chocolate flavors were perfectly balanced. I already want to make it again!
Thanks so much, and I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed it! 🙂
Seriously delicious! Is it terrible that between myself, my 4 year old, and my 20 month old there were no leftovers?? We’ve been dairy free for 4 years and this is way better than any store bought dairy free ice cream. Thank you!
I’m so glad you enjoyed it, and it’s not terrible at all! I’m sending you a link to my dairy free category on the blog, and hopefully that will be of some help. I also have a dairy free ice cream e-book that I’ll include a link to, but don’t feel like you need to have a look or anything, I just thought you might enjoy it since you’re dairy free! 🙂
We happen to have a machine especially made for this- and somehow the thought of cocoa ANDpeanut butter has escaped my mind! But yes, you have to add the extracts to have a flavor beyond baby food with bananas! And this recipe is SO getting transcribed into my cookbook, out is sooo delicious!!!
I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I was really surprised how little it takes in the way of extracts/nut butter/cocoa powder to take nice cream from a baby food flavor to actual ice cream!
So delicious! Just made it, it is perfect and so easy and quick to make, I love it! It even past the kids test! Thank you!
I’m so glad you enjoyed it, and there’s no better compliment than passing the kids test!!!
Can this be done with strawberries instead of bananas
I’m don’t think strawberries would give you the texture you’re looking for. Bananas get super creamy when they’ve been processed in a food processor or blender, but I haven’t had any lucky with berries. You could still try it, but I think it would be more like a textured sorbet or granita instead of being like ice cream.
I tried this today and we loved how it turned out! I used slightly questionable cocoa powder (it’s hard to find in Argentina) so I’m sure it’s EXTRA delicious using a high quality ingredient! I added a bit of milk to help ease our old blender along but that didn’t seem to affect the overall texture at all. Thanks Kari!
I’m so glad you enjoyed it! If you can’t find good cocoa powder, you can always just go with the peanut butter banana combo which is always great as well. 🙂
Just tried this and it was absolutely delicious. I am transitioning to vegan, and this really REALLY tastes like ice cream. I can’t get over it! And it was so easy. I did it in my regular old kitchen aid blender.
The only thing I had to do differently was add a little almond milk – about 3 Tbsp or a scant 1/4 cup. My poor blender couldn’t mix it unless I did that.
Thank you for this – another great recipe.
I’m so glad you liked it! I was pretty skeptical of banana ice creams at first, but after I started adding extra ingredients, I’ve been hooked ever since. Thank you for writing about adding almond milk, I’m sure that will be a help to lots of other people. I’m not a Vegan myself, but both my husband and I eat Vegan about 75% of the time because we feel really great when we’re eating lots of fruits and veggies. Two things that have helped my change my diet is a good blender (I have a Vitamix) and a powerful food processor (Cuisinart 12-cup) – between these 2 machines, it takes so much of the work out of eating healthy. And just one final thing, if you’re looking for more Vegan ice creams, I hoping to have my e-book out in the next few weeks with 32 recipes of ice creams and toppings. There are just a few recipes for brownies and such that call for an egg, but that’s easily swapped out, and all the ice creams are Vegan! 🙂
Made this tonight and loved it! So glad there was no added honey or agave! Total treat. Thank you!!!
I’m so glad you enjoyed it! As a complete sugar addict myself, I’m always looking for ways to have dessert without any added sweeteners and still be happy!
Absolutely delicious! We tried cashew butter. Oh my… this is going to be a nightly snack in our house… I can see that now!
Thank you! 🙂
I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Cashew butter is pretty much my favorite thing, but I haven’t tried it in this recipe yet. I guess I know what we’re having for dessert tonight!
Thank you for the recipe! For one serving, I made it with one frozen banana, 1T chocolate almond butter, a large squirt of vanilla and a small squirt of agave syrup. After I blended it, I stirred in some chocolate chips and chopped walnuts to give it the chunky part. Amazing! I can’t wait to make some for my husband. It’s his favorite ice cream.
I like your idea to use chocolate almond butter, I have some chocolate hazelnut butter in the fridge right now that I’m going to try out! I’m really glad you mentioned mixing some chunks in, I forgot to write that into the recipe as an option, so I’ll have to fix that asap! I’ve been making this for my husband quite a bit and he loves it, so I hope it’s a hit with yours as well!
This is amazing Kari!! I’ve been a follower/big fan of Get Inspired Everyday! for a while, but a quiet one 🙂 Steph T and Heidi H both told me about your website and we’ve enjoyed a lot of your recipes! We made this one yesterday and LOVED it!! I decided I had to break my silent following to rave about it 🙂 We have two little boys and I’m always looking for fun + healthy things for our family to eat. This was a big hit and no doubt will be made again and again!!
I’m so glad to hear that you’ve been enjoying the recipes, and it always makes my day when I hear about kids eating healthy and loving it! 🙂
This looks awesome Kari, love your pictures! I’m allergic to bananas, but I can drool. 🙂
Oh I’m so sorry you’re allergic to bananas, that must be hard! I’m actually experimenting with one that’s avocado, frozen cherries, cocoa powder, and maple syrup, so hopefully that will work out because you could actually have that one. 🙂
I do the exact same thing with my bananas! Except I cut them super small because my blender is crappy and won’t chomp them unless pint size. Except I usually make smoothies for the family with them. And I’ve been a bit skeptical too about the banana ice cream but you’ve won me over, especially with the addition of the vanilla. That’s the difference for me so I will most definitely be trying this! We’re eating pretty healthy here too, I’m just too old to down a pint of i.c., my metabolism can’t burn it at 36 =) I enjoyed reading your post on your spiralizers too last night and have found that I dislike extra gadgets in the kitchen but enjoyed your comments about how much you use your. Will be spiraling today like a mad woman!
I hope you enjoy it, I’m working on some new banana ice cream combos this week to see if we can’t find some more healthy ice creams to put into rotation! For me the key really is to have other flavors going on because otherwise it tastes too much like banana purée. Although I was thinking that plain banana might make for a great frozen smoothie bowl when summertime rolls around again.