Banana nut ice cream, inspired by the famous chunky monkey ice cream is irresistibly delicious. So creamy, luscious and flavorful, this also uses less cream to give you the same indulgent taste.
Ben and Jerry’s chunky monkey ice cream used to be my favorite when I was studying at Purdue university. Walking down the campus streets, I would invariably stop by to get this famous treat.
I wanted to recreate that incredible tasting ice cream at home. And so was born my homemade chunky banana ice cream with walnuts and chocolate chunks.
Why This Recipe Works
Bananas are a boon for any ice cream recipe. They naturally sweeten it, while also giving that amazing creamy texture. So it’s like a double bonus. You can reduce the amount of cream as well as sugar, and still have a rich and creamy ice cream.
Another trick I use with this ice cream, is blending in walnuts to make the ice cream base richer. This works well with the flavors of the recipe too. And can do wonders for other recipes such as our incredible healthy hot chocolate.
Table of Contents
Some notes on ingredients and susbtitutions. Check recipe card below blog post for the quantities.
- Bananas: Choose ripe and flavorful fruits, which will give you optimal sweetness, texture and taste.
- Walnuts: Shelled walnuts that taste fresh will give a nice creamy milk. You may use toasted and chopped walnuts as an add-in at the end of the ice cream cycle.
- Milk: It is better to use whole milk for this recipe, as we are using less cream.
- Honey: You may use honey or sugar. Choose honey that does not have a strong flavor. I have not tried maple syrup, but that may work as well.
- Chocolate: I use semi-sweet chocolate to make the sauce for the swirl. Bitter-sweet chocolate can work too.
How To Make Banana Ice Cream
Below is a brief overview with process pictures. Full recipe is at the end of blog post.
Step 1 - Walnut Milk and Custard: Process walnuts with milk and filter. Prepare milk custard and cool on ice bath.
Step 2 - Ice Cream Base: Blend bananas and nut-milk. Combine, milk custard, nut-banana mixture and heavy cream. Chill the mixture overnight.
Step 3 - Churning and Add-Ins: Freeze the mixture in ice cream maker. Add nuts and chocolate chunks when ice cream starts to set. Transfer ice cream to container and drizzle chocolate sauce between the layers.
- Sweetener: It is important to use the right amount of sugar or honey to achieve a smooth ice cream. This ingredient cannot be lowered in an ice cream recipe beyond a certain level without compromising the taste.
- Cream and Walnuts: For this banana ice cream recipe, the fat content is provided by cream and pulverized walnuts. Use the optimal amount for a creamy texture.
- Corn Starch: Most often eggs are used to thicken the ice cream base. I have found that corn starch works very well for this recipe as it also includes bananas which provide an extra boost to creaminess.
- Ice Cream Machine: For a fluffy and creamy result, with no ice crystal formation, try to use the best ice cream machine you can buy in the market. The slow churning of the ice cream mixture ensures optimal air incorporation for amazing homemade ice cream.
- Thaw the banana ice cream a bit at room temperature or in the refrigerator to soften its texture before serving.
- This ice cream is great as it is but you can jazz it up even further. By serving with wafers, more roasted nuts or crushed praline, chopped fruits, and chocolate or caramel sauce. Enjoy it in a cone or a waffle cup.
This banana ice cream is vegetarian, gluten free, egg free, low sodium and soy free. Below are a few ideas, some of which I have not tried.
- Vegan/Dairy free: Try coconut milk instead of dairy milk; coconut cream instead of heavy cream.
- Refined Sugar Free: Use maple syrup or honey instead of sugar. Although these sweeteners will add sugar, they do provide some nutrients.
- Nut Free: Replace walnut milk with one cup cream. And skip adding chopped walnuts.
- Flavor Variation: Use toasted almonds or hazelnuts instead of walnuts. Add toasted coconut flakes.
- Ice Cream Maker: I have a model that has a built-in compressor and is great for making ice cream anytime your heart desires homemade ice-cream, without needing to chill the mixture overnight.
- Ice Cream Container: I like to use this double-walled container that keeps it softer and minimizes ice crystal formation.
To prevent ice crystal formation, place a piece of parchment paper on top of the banana ice cream and store in an airtight ice cream container. Store it in the door section of your freezer as the temperature is slightly warmer and that will keep the ice cream softer.
For an ice cream, this is as healthier as it can get while still keeping it very indulgent. And it includes several nourishing ingredients.
This ice cream is sweetened with bananas. The natural sugars from this fruit come along with several other nutrients. Bananas are an excellent source of fiber, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B 6 and magnesium.
Walnuts provide healthy fats — monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, fiber and protein. They are also a good source of certain minerals — copper, manganese, magnesium. These nuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and therefore are a great choice to include in your diet.
More Banana Recipes
★ DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? PLEASE COMMENT AND GIVE IT A STAR RATING BELOW!
Chunky Banana Nut Ice Cream
Banana Ice Cream
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1½ cups walnuts chopped
- ½ cup honey or sugar
- 1½ tablespoons corn starch
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 bananas large, ripe
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon vanilla natural extract
- 2 oz semi sweet chocolate chopped
Chocolate Swirl (optional, recommended)
- 2 oz semi sweet chocolate
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream optional
- 1 teaspoon light olive oil neutral tasting oil
- 1 teaspoon instant coffee powder see note
- Creamy Walnut Milk: In a high speed blender such as Vitamix, blend one cup of walnuts with one cup of milk until very smooth. Pour the mixture through two layers of cheesecloth or a nut bag. It will take time to pass through the cloth. Just stir occasionally to dislodge solids lining the cloth.
- Transfer nut milk back to blender, add bananas and blend it until very smooth.
- Dissolve corn starch in ¼ cup milk and stir well until smooth.
- Take the remaining milk and honey (or sugar) in a large saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium high heat.
- Lower the heat and whisk in the corn starch-milk mixture, stirring constantly. Simmer until it reaches a thin custard consistency or coats the back of a spoon. Take the pan off the heat and let it cool on an ice bath (by setting the saucepan in a larger bowl partially filled with ice and water).
- Stir in vanilla, salt, nut-banana mixture and heavy cream until well combined.
- Chill the mixture in refrigerator for several hours/overnight or over an ice bath.
- Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Add the chopped walnuts and chopped chocolate in the end just when the ice cream is starting to set.
- Storage: Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the ice cream and store in an airtight container to prevent ice crystal formation. If possible, store it in the door section of your freezer as the temperature there is slightly warmer.
- Choose ripe bananas. If using honey, make sure it does not have a strong flavor.
- For other variations and serving suggestions, scroll up the page to the blog post.
More Summer Treats
This post was first published on 15th February 2021 and has been updated with process pictures, video, recipe formatting and additional enhancements.
Such wonderful flavors in this ice cream! I love how you blended the walnuts too. The texture looks amazing.
Yes, great for flavor and richness. Double bonus :)
Such delicious ice cream, the perfect treat for the whole family! I might have to make this with the kids this week!
I love banana flavoured ice cream. Using cornstarch instead of eggs is brilliant.
Yes it works great.
My son loves banana ice cream I always buy the banana split kind he will love this and can add what he likes on it instead of all those fillers they have, thanks!
What a great recipe! I love the tip about putting a piece of parchment to stop crystallization - now I know how to avoid this problem!