Heloisa Bacellar: Easy Banana Ice Cream

If you love bananas, this easy banana ice cream will certainly become a favorite. It’s perfect to make ahead and keep in your freezer for any weekday or as a gathering dessert.

Photo: Ana Bacellar

As a tropical country, Brazil has lots of varieties of bananas, which are one of our most beloved fruits. Every market sells at least two or three different kinds. The most popular are “nanica”, “prata”, “maçã” and “da terra”.

“Nanica” is a Portuguese term to describe something short and small. However, the name refers to the tree, which is one of the smallest banana trees: its fruit is actually one of the largest banana types. “Nanica” is a flavorful, very sweet, tender and versatile banana, as we eat them raw and also use them in lots of sweet and savory recipes. It’s the most adored banana!

The “prata” (silver banana) is also sweet, delicious and nice to simply peel and bite. This variety may also be cooked with, although “nanica” is better.

The “maçã” (apple banana) is also sweet, but with a mild taste and very tender, being the best choice for little kids. It’s better to eat raw, as it’s not good to cook with.

“Da terra”, which means something like “from this land”, is big, thick-skinned, very starchy and not always so sweet – suitable only for cooking. It’s also known as plantain outside of Brazil.

There are also other varieties, as the “ouro” (golden banana), the smallest and sweetest of them all. This type is great both for eating raw and to cook.

Worldwide the most popular banana is similar to our “nanica”, but the main difference is that in Brazil we let the banana ripen until the skin is dark yellow and with little black spots, as just at this point it gets sweet, soft and delicious.

The recipe below requires only 5 ingredients: very ripened bananas, lime or lemon juice, milk, cream and sugar to taste, as fruits always have different degrees of sweetness. To prepare it, you only need to mix the bananas, juice, milk and cream using a mixer or a blender, taste it and add sugar to taste. After that, you just need to churn the mixture in an ice cream machine, or simply take it to the freezer for about 3 to 4 hours. By using the ice cream machine the final texture will be more creamy, but as bananas are naturally creamy, simply freezing it will also be good.

Yields: 8 portions
Total time: 30 minutes (prep time) and about 4 hours to freeze


  • 4 ripened bananas, dark yellow and with black spots
  • 2 tbsp lime or lemon juice
  • 1 cup milk (240 ml)
  • 1 cup cream (240 ml)
  • Sugar to taste (usually about 2/3 cup, or 100 g)


Using a mixer or a blender, mix bananas, lime or lemon juice, milk and cream. Add sugar to taste.

Put the mixer into an ice cream machine to churn or place the mixture in a bowl and freeze for about 45 minutes, remove it from the freezer, stir vigorously, return to the freezer and repeat this process for 3 more times until creamy and frozen (about 4 hours).

Store ice cream in a sealed container in the freezer for about a week.