Vanilla Nice Cream (Vegan Ice Cream)

Smoothy creamy vanilla nice cream is the perfect answer to all-natural dairy-free ice cream. The texture is like ice cream; you might even think it is ice cream. However, ice cream is a plant-based, no sugar-added alternative to ice cream that can be made with just three simple ingredients!

Hand holding up a cone of nice cream.
Vanilla Nice Cream Cone Topped with Sprinkles

Have you gone dairy-free, vegan, or plant-based and missing the creamy perfection of ice cream? I have the perfect solution for you, nice cream! It has the same creamy texture as ice cream and can be made in many flavors. This particular recipe blends bananas and vanilla to make it smooth and creamy vanilla nice cream.

What is Nice Cream?

Vanilla nice cream is an all-natural, dairy-free alternative to ice cream using frozen bananas as the base. Nice creams are made by placing chunks of frozen bananas in a blender. Then, blend until smooth and creamy. The texture of frozen bananas makes for a creamy frozen treat, much like ice cream.

Nice cream is whole-food food, vegan, and plant-based.

Three cones filled with nice cream.

Ingredients and Equipment

Ingredients:

Vanilla nice cream is made with three simple ingredients:

  • Frozen bananas
  • Vanilla extract or vanilla beans
  • Non-dairy milk.

It is that simple!

Equipment:

There are three equipment options for making nice cream. Below is a breakdown of each option

  • High-Performance Blender 2 – 3 minutes of blending – A Vitamix or a Ninja is an example of a high-performance blender. While I love this option for how quickly nice cream can be made, it can be cost-prohibitive.
  • Household Blender average 5 – 8 minutes of blending – I often recommend household blenders for making nice cream. They are convenient and commonly found in households. Please note that the time it takes to make nice cream can vary depending on the wattage of your household blender. I recommend taking breaks so the motor does not burn out.
  • Food Processor average 5 – 8 minutes of blending – Food processors can leave the nice cream chunky. Depending on your preference, this might be a good option. Also, taking breaks is recommended so you do not burn out the motor. It is also a great time to scrape down the sides of the food processor.

Instructions

Prepare the Bananas

Slice the bananas into one-inch rounds. Place the bananas in a freezer bag and freeze for 2 hours.

Mix

Place the frozen bananas, vanilla, and non-dairy milk in the blender/processor of your preference. Start on a low speed, working up to a medium speed, until the mixture is at your desired consistency. Scrape the sides as needed.

Note: Starting at too high of a blending speed will result in the bananas on the sides of the blender. It is always best to start at a low speed and work up to a medium speed.

Freeze

For super soft nice cream, you can serve it immediately. For firmer nice cream, transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze for at least two hours.

Substitutions and Additions

  • Vanilla – You can use regular vanilla extract, imitation vanilla, or vanilla seeds. A benefit to using vanilla seeds or natural vanilla is increasing the amount of vanilla you add while avoiding an artificial taste. 
  • Non-Dairy Milk– Use any non-dairy milk (oat, almond, soy, etc.). Normally, you only need a tablespoon of non-milk for the blender. Adding too much milk will cause your nice cream to be runny instead of creamy. To avoid this, add the milk a tablespoon at a time and blend.

    A non-dairy milk alternative would be coconut cream, which has a rich flavor and a creamy texture. Coconut cream helps to reduce the banana flavor, resulting in a stronger vanilla flavor. You can substitute coconut for non-dairy milk at a 1:1 ratio. 
  • Fruit – Some fruits blend perfectly into a creamy texture, while others do not. If you want to use a fruit other than bananas, the flavor will change, but it will still be delicious. Try using one of these fruits:
    • Mangoes – Peeled and cut into chucks. I prefer frozen mangoes.
    • Peaches – Peeled and quartered. I prefer frozen peaches.
    • Cherries – Pitted. Frozen is the easiest.
  • Toppings – Top your nice cream as you would ice cream. Some topping suggestions include:
  • Chopped up fresh fruit or berries
  • Nuts (peanuts, walnuts, etc.)
  • Chocolate chips (dairy free)
  • Hershey syrup
  • Crushed Oreo cookies
  • Crusted nutter bites
  • Vegan cookie dough
  • Vegan marshmallows
Nice cream and suggested toppings used for recipe
Nice Cream with Toppings

Trouble Shooting Blending Frozen Bananas

Sometimes blending nice cream with a traditional blender or food processor is a challenge. It’s happened to me as well. Here are some tips to help if you run into this challenge.

  • Cut the bananas into small pieces. This will make it easier for the blender to blend. 
  • Allow the bananas to warm up for a few minutes, and try again. This is a process of trying, waiting, and repeating until the bananas were at the right temperature. 
  • Use a wooden spoon to stir around the bottom of the blender to loosen any chucks stuck in the bottom.
  • Start a low speed and work your way up. This will reduce bananas going to the side of your blender instead of blending. 

Be sure to take breaks in between to protect the motor.

Three ice cream cones topped with nice cream.
Three Cones Ready for Toppings

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Make Vanilla Nice Cream White?

That is an excellent question. Because bananas are the base of nice cream, there is no natural way to make vanilla nice cream as white as vanilla ice cream. I will keep experimenting, and hopefully, I can find a way. But as of right now, I cannot find a good way.

Can I Use Soft Bananas and Then Freeze the Nice Cream?

Unfortunately, no. If you blend unfrozen bananas and freeze them, the texture will be icy instead of creamy.

I Can Taste Banana

There will be a banana flavor to this vanilla nice cream. One trick to reduce the banana flavor is to use bananas just before their peak. At this time, the banana flavor is milder. You can also add more vanilla. However, in this instance, I recommend adding real vanilla to avoid an artificial taste.

What Other Flavors Can I Make Into Nice Cream?

The sky is the limit! If you are using a banana base, I recommend adding cocoa powder, just about any freeze-dried fruit, peanut butter, or pistachios, to name a few.

My Blender Won’t Blend

If using a traditional blender or food processor, let the bananas warm up for 2- 3 minutes and blend. Depending on your blender or food processor, this might take several tries. Stop between attempts to avoid burning out the blender motor. My blender is ancient, and I had to repeat this process 10 times.

In The Mood For Something Else?

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Hand holding up a cone of nice cream.

How to Make Vanilla Nice Cream

The texture is so much like ice cream; you might even think it is ice cream. However, nice cream is a plant-based, no sugar added, alternative to ice cream that can be made with just three simple ingredients!
5 from 10 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert, Treat
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Equipment

  • Blender or food processor

Ingredients

  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract (8g)
  • 1 tablespoon non-dairy milk (15g)

Instructions

  • Prep: Peel the bananas, slice them into 1/2 – 1 inch rounds. Place in a freezer bag and freeze for 2 hours.
    2 frozen bananas
  • Blend: Place the frozen bananas, vanilla, and non-dairy milk in a blender or food processor. Blend until creamy.
    2 frozen bananas, 2 teaspoon vanilla extract (8g), 1 tablespoon non-dairy milk (15g)
  • Freeze: For super soft nice cream, you can serve immediately. For firmer nice cream, transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze for at least two hours.

Notes

  • Start the blender or food processor at a low speed. If you start on too high of a speed the banana will be on the sides.  
  • If using a standard blender you might need to let the bananas warm up before blending. It is important to wait between blends so that you do not burn out your motor.   Here are the steps I follow:
    • Blend
    • Wait 3 – 5 minutes
    • Blend again
  • If you would like a stronger vanilla flavor, I recommended using natural vanilla extract or pods.  The artificial vanilla starts to leave a strange flavor if too much is added.
  • If the nice cream is not blending, just give the bananas a little more time to warm up.  If all else fails add a small amount of non-dairy milk. (No more than a tablespoon.)  Adding too much non-dairy milk will make your nice cream runny.  The bananas will eventually cream.  Again, you might need rests to avoid burning out your motor. 
  • Enjoy with your favorite toppings.  Mine include sprinkles, Hershey syrup, peanuts, and pistachios.  
The equipment section may contain affiliate links to products used in this recipe.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
How to Make Vanilla Nice Cream
Amount per Serving
Calories
 
8
Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
1
g
2
%
Sodium
 
2
mg
0
%
Carbohydrates
 
1
g
0
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
1
g
1
%
Protein
 
1
g
2
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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