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Black Forest Chia Pudding Nice Cream Recipe (Healthy Banana Ice Cream) is fruit-based (cherries and banana), contains healthy fat (chia seeds), and is equally satisfying for breakfast or dessert.

Front View of Black Forest Chia Pudding Nice Cream Recipe

I remember the first time I tried my hand at making banana ice cream (aka nice cream). It was circa 2010 and I was living in Buffalo craving a soft serve from Kone King something fierce. A friend told me about nice cream and I decided to try it. Back then, I had no idea just how versatile nice cream is, and that it can be made into things like this Black Forest Chia Pudding Nice Cream Recipe.

I bought a bunch of bananas, peeled, chopped, and froze them. Once frozen, I blended the banana in my food processor (despite crazy noises the machine made), and I watched in awe as those chunks of frozen banana turned into something lusciously smooth and creamy. One bite and I was smitten.

Since then, I’ve played around with quite a few flavors of nice cream; once you learn the technique, the sky is the limit in terms of flavor possibilities. In this post I talk more about blending up the perfect bowl of nice cream, and I also give a few different flavor ideas, including a recipe for Black Forest Chia Pudding Nice Cream.

What is Nice Cream?

Banana ice cream has a few other names it goes by: nice cream, banana soft serve, vegan ice cream, healthy ice cream, and yonanas, to name just a few. It’s basically frozen bananas (or other fruit) that is blended until it becomes smooth like ice cream!

Vanilla Bean Banana Nice Cream with Berry Sauce

Above: Vanilla Bean Banana Nice Cream with Berry Sauce (Find this recipe below in the Notes!)

How to Make Nice Cream

What Fruits to Use for Nice Cream

The beauty of nice cream is that you can make it different fruit, not just bananas! The trick is to find a fruit that blends well once it’s frozen.

In addition to banana, I’ve successfully made nice cream with the following fruit: pineapple, mango, cherries, peaches, strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. However, if I’m using berries like blueberries, I find that a mix of blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries works better than using blueberries or raspberries on their own.

The Method to Make Fruit Ice Cream

  • If the fruit needs washing (such as peaches, etc.), wash it and pat it dry. If it needs to be peeled (like bananas), peel it (which is much easier to do before the fruit is frozen).
  • Make sure the fruit is chopped into chunks that are approximately the same size (around one to two inches) so they’re easier to blend. There’s no need to cut berries.
  • Spread the fruit out onto a large baking sheet and freeze completely, about two to four hours.
  • After freezing, you can transfer the fruit to a zip-top plastic bag and store it in the freezer, or blend it up right away.
  • Then go ahead and blend it up! You can do this in a food processor (no liquid needed) or a high-speed blender (I love my Vitamix!) with a splash of liquid, such as coconut milk (or any milk you like), cream, coffee, green tea, etc. Another option instead of liquid is to use yogurt to bump up the protein. Whether you use a food processor or high-speed blender, be sure to stop and scrape down the sides or tamp it down as needed.
  • Flavor it any way you like as you’re blending it. A few options are: vanilla extract, almond extract, fresh mint, cocoa powder, shredded coconut, etc. Additionally, you can sweeten your nice cream a bit if you like. I’ve found that stevia, honey, and maple syrup all work well and you don’t need much (if any) sweetener.

Peanut Butter Cup Nice Cream

Above: Peanut Butter Cup Nice Cream (Find this recipe below in the Notes!)

Different Ways to Serve Nice Cream

  • Serve it in a bowl like soft serve ice cream.
  • Put it in the freezer for a bit so it has a scoop-able consistency (not too long though, I recommend checking it every 30 minutes). This way, you can serve it in ice cream cones.
  • Layer it in a jar with chia pudding on the bottom (this is my go-to chia pudding recipe).

Is Banana Ice Cream Good for You?

Compared to regular ice cream, which usually contains a custard base of eggs, dairy, and sugar, banana ice cream is a healthier option. This is because the base of banana ice cream is just fruit! However, be mindful of what you put into it, especially when it comes to sweeteners (stevia, honey, maple, etc.) and hidden sugar sources (for example, chocolate chips).

How to Make Banana Ice Cream

Banana is quite possibly the fan favorite nice cream flavor, so I thought it would be helpful to go into a little more detail on how to make it.

Can You Freeze Banana With the Peel On?

The short answer is yes! However, your life will be easier if you don’t have to peel a frozen banana. Additionally, note that if you don’t remove the peel before freezing a banana, the peel will turn black (the banana is still edible though).

How Do You Get the Peel Off a Frozen Banana?

To peel a frozen banana, start by trimming off both ends. Next, carefully cut a slit lengthwise into the skin. After that, the skin should easily peel off.

Making Healthy Banana Ice Cream in a Blender

There are a few things to remember when you’re using a high-speed blender to make banana nice cream in a blender (instead of a food processor):

  1. You will probably have to add a splash of liquid to help the banana blend properly.
  2. Additionally, it helps to tamp down the banana.
  3. Lastly, don’t over-mix or you’ll end up with a banana smoothie, which is still delicious, but not what we’re going for!

Black Forest Chia Pudding Nice Cream Recipe with Vintage Spoons

How to Make Vegan Ice Cream

To make vegan ice cream, make banana nice cream and subsequently only add vegan ingredients. In particular, pay attention to the liquid (coconut or almond milk are great vegan options), and sweetener (no honey).

More Nice Cream Recipes:

Overhead View of Black Forest Chia Pudding Nice Cream Recipe

Black Forest Chia Pudding Nice Cream Recipe (Healthy Banana Ice Cream)
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 2 generous-sized servings
Smooth and creamy like ice cream, this nice cream is fruit-based, contains healthy fat, and is equally satisfying for breakfast or dessert.
Chocolate Chia Pudding Layer:
  • 1 cup (240 ml) plain unsweetened almond milk (or any kind of milk you like)
  • 3 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 packet (1g) stevia
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch sea salt
Cherry Jam Layer:
  • 1 cup (140 g) frozen cherries
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 packet (1g) stevia
  • ¼ teaspoon pure almond extract (or vanilla extract)
  • 1 pinch sea salt
Cherry Banana Nice Cream Layer:
  • 1 large banana, peeled, cut into 1 to 2-inch chunks, and frozen
  • 1 cup (140 g) frozen cherries
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  • 1 packet (1g) stevia
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons canned unsweetened full-fat coconut milk (or heavy cream)
  • 2 cherries, for topping
  • 2 teaspoons chopped dark chocolate
  1. For the Chocolate Chia Pudding Layer, stir together the milk, chia seeds, cocoa powder, stevia, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Once the pudding has “gelled”, divide it between two glass jars.
  2. For the Cherry Jam Layer, add the cherries and water to a small saucepan over medium heat. Cover the saucepan and cook until the cherries are soft, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding a splash more water if needed. Mash up the cherries a bit with a fork, and stir in the stevia, almond extract, and salt. Cool to room temperature, and then store covered in the fridge for up to 3 days. (Alternatively, you can make this in the microwave instead of on the stovetop.) Once cooled, spoon the Cherry Jam on top of the 2 chia puddings.
  3. For the Cherry Banana Nice Cream Layer, add all ingredients to a high-speed blender and process until smooth and creamy (adding only enough liquid so it reaches the right consistency), tamping down the ingredients as necessary. Spoon the nice cream on top of the Cherry Jam Layer. Top each with a cherry and 1 teaspoon chopped chocolate.
  4. Once the nice cream layer is added to the pudding, serve immediately.

Vanilla Bean Banana Nice Cream with Berry Sauce:

1. For the nice cream, use 2 large bananas, omit the cherries and cocoa powder, and add ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste.
2. Omit the chia pudding layer.
3. For the jam layer, use frozen mixed berries and make a double batch using the same method as the cherry jam recipe above (2 cups mixed frozen berries, 2 tablespoons water, 2 (1g) packets stevia, ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract, 1 pinch sea salt).
4. Top with chopped chocolate and frozen raspberries.

Peanut Butter Cup Nice Cream:

1. For the nice cream, use 2 large bananas, and omit the cherries and cocoa powder.
2. Once you make the nice cream, remove half (to keep it vanilla), and add 1½ tablespoons to the nice cream still in the blender and blend it (to make it chocolate).
3. Layer the two with melted peanut butter in the middle.
4. Top with chopped chocolate and salted peanuts.

Black Forest Chia Pudding Nice Cream Recipe with Description

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links to products I believe in, which means that even though it doesn’t cost you anything extra, I will receive a small amount of money from the sale of these items. Thank you for helping to support An Edible Mosaic!

Faith, author of An Edible Mosaic.
About Faith

I’m the writer, recipe developer, photographer, and food stylist behind this blog. I love finding the human connection through something we all do every day: eat! Food is a common ground that we can all relate to, and our tables tell a story. It’s my goal to inspire you to get in the kitchen, try something new, and find a favorite you didn’t know you had.

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One Comment

  1. Lewis Johnson says:

    That looks amazing!!

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