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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

Caramel Nice Cream (Best Healthy Ice Cream!)

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Try this guilt-free, creamy, healthy caramel nice cream to satisfy your sweet tooth! This smooth and luscious “ice cream” is made with blended frozen bananas, dates, and vanilla. Vegan, gluten-free, & plant-based. Customize with your favorite toppings like salted caramel sauce or sprinkles!

Two scoops of vegan caramel nice cream in a white bowl.

If you haven’t heard of nice cream before, you’re in for a treat! Frozen bananas blend into a smooth and creamy mixture that resembles ice cream. The flavor opportunities are endless, with different mix-ins, toppings, and sweeteners.

In this caramel nice cream recipe, I use soaked dates to achieve that caramel-like sweetness you know and love! It’s indulgent and decadent, with no refined sugars or weird ingredients. It turns out you can have your cake and eat it too.

Latest Recipe Video!

Next time you’re craving something sweet, try this salted caramel nice cream. It’s actually just bananas and dates! It’s naturally dairy-free, vegan, gluten-free, & plant-based!

Making this vegan ice cream is a great activity for kids too. Kids can help slice the bananas, place them onto a sheet pan, and drop them into the blender. And help devour it, of course!

👩‍🍳 Why This Recipe Works

  • Healthy yet decadent dessert
  • Creamy texture & smooth consistency
  • Bananas are easy on your digestive system
  • Texture of soft serve
  • Simple to customize (lots of topping options!)
  • Made with natural ingredients
  • Rich, caramel flavor
  • Easy to make & kid-friendly
  • Best vegan ice cream ever!

🥘 Ingredients

This caramel banana “ice cream” requires only four simple ingredients without the use of an ice cream maker!

Ingredients for caramel nice cream recipe on a white background.
  • Bananas: Ripe bananas are naturally sweet and creamy, which makes them the perfect base for ice cream. Avoid green bananas since their starch hasn’t converted to sugar yet. They taste chalky and bitter instead of sweet.
  • Medjool Dates: Dates are naturally high in sugar but jam-packed with nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants too! They have a caramel-like flavor and gooey texture that softens when soaked. Find them in the produce section or near the dried fruit.
  • Vanilla Extract: Caramel and vanilla are a match made in dessert heaven.
  • Salt: A little bit of salt accentuates the sweet flavors of the nice cream.

📖 Variations

  • Mix-Ins: You can add whatever you like to nice cream! The sky is the limit. Sprinkles, nuts, matcha powder, chocolate chips, cocoa powder, peanut butter, frozen berries, cacao nibs, shredded coconut, sandwich cookies, chocolate sauce, vegan caramel sauce, almond butter, and frozen pineapple are great options!
  • Caramel Pecan Ice Cream: Stir in chopped pecans along with a drizzle of vegan caramel sauce!
  • Flavors: This recipe creates a caramel flavor but you can easily change it. Simply leave out the dates and add the flavors you like. Mint, strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla are popular options.
  • Sweeteners: Bananas are already sweet so it doesn’t take much! Try honey, maple syrup, agave, soaked dates, brown sugar, date syrup, or protein powder.
  • Caramel Nut Ice Cream: Stir in chopped peanuts (or your favorite nut!)
  • Make Your Own Homemade Caramel Sauce: You can actually make a healthier vegan caramel “sauce” by stirring together 1 tablespoon of almond or peanut butter, maple syrup to taste, and a little bit of water to get the consistency you like!

🔪 How To Make Caramel Nice Cream

Freeze Bananas: Arrange the sliced banana coins onto a tray without them touching. Cover with plastic wrap & freeze overnight.

Frozen banana slices on a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Soak Dates: Place the pitted dates into a small bowl and cover with hot water. Soak for 10 minutes.

Dates for caramel nut ice cream in a small bowl.

Drain Dates: Drain the dates and place into a food processor or high-speed blender with the remaining ingredients.

Bananas and dates being blended in a food processor.

Blend Ingredients: Blend on high for 1 to 2 minutes. Stop the blender and carefully scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula. Blend again, just until smooth.

Healthy caramel nice cream mixture in a blender.

Serve Vegan Caramel Ice Cream: Enjoy immediately if you like a soft serve texture, or scrape the mixture into a flat freezer-safe container and freeze up to 5 hours, depending on how hard and scoopable you like your ice cream.

Caramel banana ice cream frozen in a baking dish.

❓ Recipe FAQs

Why is it called nice cream?

Nice cream is basically a healthier version of ice cream! Traditional nice cream is a cold, creamy mixture made from blended frozen bananas. It has the texture and consistency of soft-serve ice cream, but it has no dairy, fat, or added sugar. It’s “nicer” to your waistline and overall health than ice cream, this is why it’s referred to as nice cream.

Is nice cream healthy?

Yes, but it largely depends on what’s in it. Nice cream recipes with added ingredients like cookies or sweeteners are going to be less healthy overall, but are still typically healthier than regular ice cream, since the main ingredient is still bananas!

This caramel swirl nice cream is super healthy, because it only uses plant-based ingredients that are naturally sweet or creamy like bananas, fresh berries, dates, or nut butter.

How long does nice cream last?

Store nice cream in the freezer in an airtight container. For best results, enjoy within 3 months of freezing it. It will freeze hard, so be sure to leave it out for 20 to 30 minutes before you try to scoop it.

Does nice cream taste like bananas?

It depends on the flavor you make! Plain nice cream does taste like bananas, but once you add other flavors to it, it masks the banana flavor.

💭 Expert Tips

  • Use Ripe Bananas: Be sure to use ripe bananas for a smooth nice cream base! Unripe bananas aren’t sweet or creamy in texture.
  • Freezing The Bananas For Creamy Ice Cream: Slice the bananas thin to help them freeze faster. Thin banana slices blend up nice and smooth too.
  • Use A Good Quality Blender: You want all of the ingredients to get completely pureed for a creamy texture and consistency! If the bananas aren’t blending, add a splash of almond milk to the food processor to get things going.
  • Great For Using Old Banans: Don’t let bananas go to waste! If your bananas are ripe, slice and freeze them ahead of time. Throw the banana slices into a ziplock bag and freeze until ready to use.
  • Modify The Consistency: You can enjoy this soft serve or for a firmer consistency, freeze for an hour or two then enjoy!
  • Thaw Leftovers Slightly Before Serving: If you make a big batch and save leftovers for later, be sure to thaw the ice cream slightly in the fridge (for about 15 minutes) before serving so it’s not super icy.
Salted caramel nice cream in a baking dish.

🍦 More Ice Cream Recipes!

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📋 Recipe Card

Two scoops of vegan caramel nice cream in a white bowl.
Print Recipe
5 from 5 votes

Caramel Nice Cream

Try this guilt-free, creamy, healthy caramel nice cream to satisfy your sweet tooth! This smooth and luscious "ice cream" is made with blended frozen bananas, dates, and vanilla. Vegan, gluten-free, & plant-based!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time0 mins
Soaking Time10 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Dessert, Snack, snacks
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free, Low Fat, Low Lactose, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 156kcal
Author: Anjali Shah

Ingredients

  • 5 bananas peeled & sliced into rounds
  • 6 medjool dates pitted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp salt

Instructions

  • Arrange the sliced bananas onto a tray without the pieces touching. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze overnight.
  • Place the pitted dated into a small bowl and cover with hot water. Soak for 10 minutes.
  • Drain the dates and place into a food processor along with all remaining ingredients.
  • Blend on high for 1-2 minutes. Scrape down the sides if needed and blend again.
  • Serve and enjoy immediately or scrape out into a flat container, cover and freeze for 2-5 hours depending on the preferred consistency.

Video

https://youtu.be/_A0oXCe5ct8

Notes

  • Use ripe bananas as they provide fuller flavor than green bananas.
  • Slicing the bananas thinly helps to freeze faster and also helps the nice cream to be super smooth when blended.
  • If you’re having trouble blending the nice cream add a little non dairy milk to the food processor when blending.
  • Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • Feel free to add any toppings and mix-ins you like! Salted caramel sauce, chocolate sauce, chocolate chips, sprinkles, nuts, nut butter or fresh or frozen fruit all taste great!

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 156kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 0.4g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.03g | Sodium: 98mg | Potassium: 520mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 28g

Posted In…

Dessert ·

Indulge your sweet tooth with some of my lightened-up treats. From gluten-free brownies to fruity crumbles, there’s something for everyone.

Be sure to check out holiday favorites like my healthy pumpkin pie!

10 responses to “Caramel Nice Cream (Best Healthy Ice Cream!)”

  1. Ah you had me at caramel! This recipe was so easy to follow and turned out amazing. A great, healthy summer treat!

  2. Perfect for satisfying my sweet tooth. Plus, I don’t feel so guilty eating it for dessert at night.5 stars

  3. That looks so nice. Great idea to use the dates for that caramel flavour! Simple but delicious!5 stars

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