The Easiest Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe…Ever

Bailey's Banana Chocolate Ice Cream

This dessert is the result of a happy accident. I’ve been working with a liquor company on developing some recipes and after a couple furious days of recipe-testing, I had a zillion containers of various odds-and-ends lying around.

Some had banana, some chocolate. Most were spiked with various quantities of liquor and there were a number of orphans that I had no idea where they came from. And there was that bottle of dark rum that I needed to finish the last little sip of.

So what did I do?

I mixed them all up, tossed them in my ice cream machine and let ‘er rip. After 30 minutes or so, I dug in my spoon in and tasted the most delicious batch of ice cream I’d churned up in a while.

But soon after, I got to work and discovered something—the world’s easiest Chocolate Ice Cream…with no machine required!

Unfortunately I didn’t write anything down—how could I?—and once I hit the rock-bottom of that container in my freezer, I had a personal melt-down: it was all gone. But I really wanted to share the recipe here, so I decided to re-work recipe to re-create what I did.

Happily, I discovered that this all-new ice cream doesn’t require an ice cream-maker at all. Yes, really. So if you don’t have a machine, fear not: it’s simply blended up, poured in a container, and left to chill on its own in the freezer. And after four hours (no stirring required!), I dug my spoon into the most luscious, creamiest ice cream imaginable. Again.


Chocolate and Banana Ice Cream

Four to six scoops

From Ready for Dessert (Ten Speed) by David Lebovitz

This is the world’s easiest ice cream. It takes literally a minute to put together—since it’s winter, I simply set the bowl of chocolate and milk on the radiator, and while I leisurely and lovingly take the time to peel the banana, the chocolate melts and is soon ready to use.

You can easily increase this recipe to make more than it calls for. I haven’t tried it with any other liquor, but for those of you who want to experiment, you do need to include a similar amount and percentage of alcohol to prevent the ice cream from freezing too hard. The banana gives the ice cream a smooth, creamy consistency and provides the sweetness, so use a nice, ripe one.

I found that this keeps for weeks in the freezer and maintains it’s absolutely perfect consistency. Cheers!

  • 2 ounces (55 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 6 tablespoons (90 ml) milk, whole or low-fat
  • 6 tablespoons (90 ml) Baileys liquor
  • 1 medium-sized ripe banana, peeled*, and cut into chunks
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) dark rum

1. In a small bowl set over a pan of simmering water (or in the microwave), melt the chocolate with the milk.

2. Blend the melted chocolate the Baileys, the banana, and rum until smooth.

3. Pour into a plastic or metal container, cover, and freeze for at least 4 hours.

*To Peel the Banana: Hold the banana in one hand near the base. With your other hand, grab the top stem, and pull it firmly downward. If it gives you trouble, rock it back-and-forth, trying to break the area between the stem and the skin just beneath. If that doesn’t work, take a sharp paring knife, being careful not to cut yourself, hold the blade facing away from you and make a small incision on the side of the skin near the tip. Set the knife aside the tear the skin of the banana using your hands, which should make the skin peel away nicely.

Pull each side of skin down from the banana, exposing the fleshy fruit beneath. Once the banana is almost completely visible, firmly yank the skin down as far as possible and extract the banana from the skin. Discard the skin (it can be frozen, well-wrapped, for up to six month and saved for another use, if desired.) The banana should be used immediately. If not, it can be pureed then stored in a container with a sheet of plastic film pressed against the top, and refrigerated for up to 48 hours.

(Disclosure: The International Association of Banana Peelers, Slicers and Blenders, nor any liquor companies, are sponsors of the site. The instructions for peeling bananas and the recipe are a direct result of my trial-and-error methods, which I developed exclusively for readers.)

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  • When you started talking about ice cream (it’s about 5°C here), I scoffed. When you mentioned no machine, I sat up. When I saw chocolate, bananas and BAILEYs…..I started licking the screen. Da provare!!!!

  • David – I am sure everyone here would like to see a video of you peeling a banana. Please consider.

  • David, my scale hates you. And so do I, for that matter. Up until now I’ve been resisting all the trials and temptations you have sent my way: I read you daily, I own your book. But somehow I’ve resisted buying an ice cream maker. And now you tell me I don’t even need it! Evil, evil person!

  • Just LOVE the instructions for peeling bananas – how did we ever manage without them?? ;)

    And as for the ice cream …

    Thanks for sharing, David

  • Thanks god, someone that can really give accurate information on how to perform elaborate and refined cookings techniques. I have several banana recipes just waiting to be realized but never found a proper explanation how to manage that hermetic fruit. Mr. Lebovitz, you cook life saver!!

  • So many small towns in Italy stop serving gelato during the winter, much to my dismay. Now I can whip up a suitable substitute any time I want. thanks!

  • i am amused at your fascination with peeling a banana. LOL

    btw, can you give me an approximation of how much the medium banana weighs? we’ve all different varieties and sizes of bananas here. 3 medium peeled lacatan bananas here are about 1 cup(250g) mashed.

    oh giddy! i just remembered, i still have a bit of bailey’s left hiding out in the cupboard!

  • Holy giraffes! I can hardly believe it. I have everything on the list and all the equipment needed even here in benighted Italy!

    I am so grateful for the instruction for peeling the bananaanana. It’s been bothering me a lot lately, that and the fact they they turn gray instead of brown.

  • Thank you for the explicit instructions on peeling the banana. Now I’m concerned about properly cutting the banana into chunks and chopping the chocoalte.

  • I have a couple of pears at the limit of their useful lives… do you think they would work instead of bananas, which I don’t really like?

  • Hmmm from ice cream maker to banana moyel!
    Nice work as usual!


  • I dont know why ppl say they can’t eat ice cream in the winter. Its still warm and toasty in your house right? We eat it all year round!!

  • Thought ice cream season was over but this might just change my mind. Do you suppose the recipe would work (maintain creaminess, etc.) without the Bailey’s? Not sure how my child will react to it and I won’t be able to keep him away..

  • I normally don’t get excited about ice cream– I’ll eat it maybe once a year at most– but this does look good. And unlike most ice creams, it doesn’t seem terribly fattening or unhealthy, does it?

  • So that’s how you peel a banana? OMG, I HAD NO IDEA. They’ve just been so intimidating. You make it sound so EASY. THANK YOU DAVID.

  • The banana aside made me giggle. Thank you! And thank you for this terrific site. I found you through the Amateur Gourmet, and now read you daily. Cheers!

  • Ooh! That sounds so good, I’m going to try it! Too bad I JUST made banana bread with the ripe bananas I had lying around and I ate the fourth one, lol! I don’t have a machine, so I’m going to LOVE this, and I LOVE ice-cream! Thanks! Love your blog. :)

  • I vote for the banana peeling video too!:D

    And one more thing – I always have a problem with opening milk cartons. A little help, please? Please?

  • Fantastic! Now I can get started on that pile of rotting black mush on my counter top now that I know how to peel them. Are they still peelable? I couldn’t find direction on how to work these mysterious packages in Joy of Cooking, Larousse anywhere! Thank you David… thank you.

  • How fantastic. I don’t have an ice cream maker. I could do this.

  • You’re supposed to peel bananas? Who would have guessed. That explains the lumps in my puree.

  • Joan: I think pears might make it too icy. If you try it, I’d cook down the puree pretty well to get rid of the water and add a bit of sugar. Good luck!

    Kayenne: Didn’t weight my banana—sorry!

    Evelin & Cenk: And apologies, you two…this blog is rated PG-13!

  • I see a Food Network special for you,
    David and the Banana

  • Connie: Well, since they just 86’d Emeril, perhaps there’s an opening for it!

  • Ooh, that looks great! Thanks for sharing the recipe — I know what I’m making for dinner tonight!

    About the banana: have you ever tried turning it upside down and peeling it from the bottom? A little fingernail action and it pops right open.

  • Don’t you say these word again, David. I’m only underage for some 250 more days:D
    Didn’t see that coming, eh?

  • This is a pretty cool accident. I like the ones of that type! The two banana slices make me think of two big ears. What animal, I am not yet sure!

  • :) Why you gotta be so crazy, David L?

  • I’m sharing this with every chocoholic I know. Plus my cat will be happy to hear she doesn’t have to help me roll that coffee can with the ice cream mix any longer :D

  • Wow! I have never seen a more elegant way of peeling bananas! Will try to do this some other time! :3

  • This reminds me of the chocolate covered bananas my mom made when we were kids in Hawaii. Love the combination with the Baileys. BTW, I peeled bananas with a knife and fork when I worked as maitre d’ in a fancy-schmancy restaurant; we called it French service and made Bananas Foster with the results. Oh those silly 70’s, if I had just had your instructions then!

  • i didn’t know that peeling bananas would be such a difficult task for you guys over at the other end of the globe! is it because it’s not eaten frequently where you guys are?

    over here i eat them all the time and they can be found at all wet markets and in supermarkets too, so it’s really convenient. wish you guys could try the great banana cakes, fritters and more!

    just grab the fruit along its length, twist it off the bunch and peel the skin down along the sides! then eat! :D

  • Ahhhhhhhh Chocolate!!! Can you fedex a scoop for me? Pleeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaasssssseeeeeee :-)

  • David- thank you for the recipe it was devine! And the easiest ice cream I ever made!
    And the whole peeling banana thing- thanks for clearing that up!

  • No ice cream machine! Yay!!! This sounds great – can’t wait to try it!

    PS — what happens if you use skim milk? Will it still work?

  • Connie and David: I can’t decide if “David and the Banana” sounds like an episode of a children’s show or an adult movie.

  • I made this last night but with a Chai Cream Liqueur I spotted at the liquor store last night. I snuck a taste this morning before work and it is DELICIOUS! I used skim milk though b/c that’s the only thing I had on hand and it’s a tiny bit icy. It tastes sort of like a mix between ice cream and sorbet. It’s delicious and like you promised, super easy to put together right before bed.

    Thanks David!

  • ” no ice cream maker required”

    DAMN YOU ! that was my only reason not to have ice cream every day :)

  • Sounds and looks delicioso –
    A question: Why is it that when you err, it turns out to be something fantastic and when I make a mistake it turns out that it’s thrown out? Is this where the years and years of experience come in to play?
    Thanks again for the recipe(s) – my wife and I have gained about 10 lbs each since we became devotees.

  • I’m trying this tonight, using rompope instead of Baileys. I wonder if Kahlua (coffee liquor) would also work well. Yum!

  • Even though the weather is getting cold here,
    But I still want your ice cream!

  • just found your blog and am thoroughly enjoying it. love your recipes, can’t wait to try them. belated birthday wishes!

  • Love chocolate and banana together! My new fave is brownies with banana rum in the ganache and TJ’s chocolate-covered banana chips liberally sprinkled on top.

  • Oh, my goodness.

    I haven’t been able to try any ice cream without an ice cream maker, so I was terribly excited to see this.

    I also made it last night and it’s brilliant. Is there a reason you can’t substitute another tablespoon of the Bailey’s in place of the rum?

    Thank you!

  • Hi Gina & Vida:

    I haven’t tried substituting other liquors in the recipe. If Bailey’s is 17% alcohol vs. rum at 40%, so there may be a textural difference, although perhaps just slight.

    And taste as well. Don’t know much about Kahlua but I’d be interested in hearing from anyone who varies the recipe and their results. It was so fun to come upon this one and share it!

  • Oh, this chocolate ice cream does look divine…too bad it’s supposed to be -18 here in Western Canada this weekend…although is it ever really too cold for ice cream? I mean, a cake or cookies right out of the oven would warm this right up, no?

    Congrats on the ‘Amazon 10 Best’ list for your book – I bought it on Smitten Kitchen’s recommendation and absolutely adore it. I read it cover to cover before I even bought my KitchenAid attachment!

    I’m planning on making your Salted Butter Caramel ice cream for our Christmas dinner and I mentioned it on my blog, so please check it out if you have a moment!


  • No rompope at home, so I used anis liquor (38% alcohol) + rum. It turned out to be too alcoholic to be eaten as-it-is, but it makes a great grownup milkshake.
    I already have some more bananas ripening for the next round, and my shopping list of Kahlua, Baileys and rompope.. I’ll let you know the results over the weekend.

  • Seeing as we are talking about ice cream, does anybody know if Rival White Mountain ice cream maker is available as european model, and conforms with 240 voltage. (I can’t remember anymore, is it 240 here in europe?).

  • hey David,

    The ppl at The International Association of Banana Peelers, Slicers and Blenders, should there ever be one, would be ever so proud of how you explained everything very well. hehehe.. I’m proud of you!

    Will give this a go. Got 2 bananas in my kitchen ripening as we speak! Never tried a banana chocolate ice cream before. Definitely a MUST TRY before 2008 creeps along.

  • David, you know the way to my heart! Hehe…this ice cream looks fantastic! Yay for being friends on Facebook! And thanks again for participating in the Monthly Mouthful!

  • oh this is delicious! and so easy! i just made it. i didn’t have baileys so i added kahlua and it is divine.
    my only issue is that this recipe is supposed to make four to six scoops of ice cream. i just got one large, decadent scoop!

  • Priya: The recipe calls for almost a full cup (250 ml) of liquid ingredients, plus the banana.

    That’s one giant scoop you must be using! : )

  • Today I spotted and bought Caramel Bailey’s just for this recipe. Caramel Bailey’s-banana-chocolate has got to be even better. Will let you know how it turns out.

    DJ: It’s never too cold for ice cream.

  • I tried this recipe a few days ago and it was fabulous! I don’t even like banana and I made a special trip to the supermarket to buy one solitary banana just to try the recipe. My husband (who is a banana fan) liked it too. It’s so exciting that I can make ice cream without an ice cream maker.

  • Please please please let me in on the secret of “other uses for frozen empty banana skin” before they overwhelm my freezer.

  • This is the same recipe i have in my Kathleen Daehlman’s cookbook – cooking thin, sans the alcohol. I teach cooking classes and I used this recipe 2 years ago. I used frozen banana chunks and it was ready to eat.

  • OK, so I tried it with what I had on hand (in DL style). I used Grand Marnier and I think the fact that GM is 40% abv is the reason for my failure — it’s WAY to boozy to eat. What to do, what to do…

  • o mi goodness gracious, bananas are meant to be peeled to use them in recipes? I never understood before I read this page why my banana bread never would turn out as good as Mildred’s from next door. Thank you so much, you have changed my life.

  • The ice cream is in my freezer and is going to be ready at 19:00!

    I didn’t do a very good job of melting the chocolate though so I need to work on this basic technique. I haven’t done this in decades :/

  • David–

    I am new to your blog, and I have to admit it is rocking my world! Thank you so much.

    My boyfriend and I picked up our shipment of Pasolivo olive oil this weekend. We live on the Central Coast of CA where they have amazing wine, and the most insanely delicious olive oil. Just last week they pressed their Olio Nuovo. It’s a cloudy, grassy, raw olive oil and it is decadent. The shipment came with a recommendation from a local chef to pour the olive oil over chocolate ice cream, and top it with cyprus black lava salt (a flaky black salt also sold at Pasolivo.) The resulting sundae was beautiful and addictive. The olive oil adds a creamy mouth-feel to the ice cream, and the salt adds crunchy texture. The sweet and salty flavor combination leaves you wanting more once the bottom of the bowl has been scraped.

    I’m making your ice cream and trying this combination tonight! I can’t wait!!

  • I made this yesterday and it was wonderful! I plan on making it again for the adults for Christmas dinner. The kids will get easy Pots de Creme.. their loss! ;-)

  • Wow, simply delicious! I’ve been thinking about this for nearly a month and had a chance to make it last night.

    On to the cake recipe now!

  • Is there any way to replace the alcohol with something else, if you can’t have alcohol?

  • Zoe: The alcohol is necessary to prevent the unchurned ice cream from freezing too hard. You could use another liquid, like sweetened coffee, although the results won’t be the same.

  • Bonsoir David, and happy Bastille Day for yesterday!

    Just a quick question, because I’m dying to try this recipe out: What kind of rum do you recommend for it? Do you have a particular brand that’s your favourite?


  • Dang! (Can’t have coffee either — I’m Mormon.) Oh well — guess I will have to buy an ice cream maker after all. ;-)

    Thanks for the quick answer David.

  • What’s with the scientific banana peeling guide? Are bananas that exotic in your place? Just rip the skin off and mush the flesh.

  • does soy milk work in place of milk, or almond milk if i want to make this nondairy?

    I haven’t tried this with other kinds of milk, but soy milk would likely work. Bailey’s, which is an essential component of this ice cream (the alcohol keeps it from freezing too hard), does have dairy in it, however. You could try something like Kahlua or another liqueur. -dl

  • anyone tried this without the rum? can you taste the alcohol?

  • Perfect timing! I volunteered to make the desserts for my sister-in-law’s Thanksgiving Dinner … then I know for sure there will be something my kids will like! LOL!

    The prospect of making 6 gallons of home-made ice cream and gelato in 3 days is a bit overwhelming if I have to wait for the ice cream machine tub to refreeze between batches. You have solved the dilemma! Thank you so much, David

    PS I’ll make the Cheesecake Chocolate Brownies, too. Thanks again Chef.

  • Dear Mr. David Lebovitz,

    As a card carrying member of the The International Association of Banana Peelers of San Francisco, I’m afraid you instructions for peeling bananas are completely wrong.

    The appropriate (but sadly little known method) for peeling bananas is to turn the banana “upside down” and hold it by it’s stem, while peeling it from what most people think is the “bottom” of the banana.

    The banana is actually a fruit that grows from the stem, and hence, the banana “bottom” as most people like to think of it, is actually the top of the banana. Once you start peeling the banana “upside down” or as nature designed it “right side up” you will discover not only is peeling bananas a pleasure, but you will never bruise the banana, or have to get a knife out. You will also find that once you start peeling it this way, you will get less of the banana strings.

    As a side note, this is also the way that chimps and apes peel their bananas.

    Your sincerely.
    member of the IABP-SF chapter.

  • Lovely recipe but even better if instead of milk you use coconut cream.

    It’s lovely and thick and creamy this makes an excellent ice cream that every one will be able to eat and enjoy.

    Try it and see.

  • Excellent ice cream and just the right amount for a 3-person dinner party. I poured the ice cream mix into to some Belgium chocolate dessert cups, which made them perfect finger food.

  • i added bits of pretzels for some crunch. holy crow, it’s delish. thanks!

  • David, it did not work…the ice cream became too hard…may be my freezer is too cold? :(

  • Gotta concur with upside down banana peeling people: there’s no “working back and forth” and getting out a knife if you just peel the banana from the bottom. Just give the black knob at the bottom of the banana a nice pinch, and it’ll pop right open. Pull the peel off, and you’re done. This is how cartoon bananas have always been peeled, haven’t you noticed? The stem is always in the middle of the peel, with peel tentacles coming off of it.

  • Touche! :)

  • Haha, I was just going to comment about how peeling a banana from the bottom is easier, but I see others have already taken up the cause!

  • David,

    Regarding your banana-peeling instructions, have you ever considered peeling your bananas as apes and monkeys do? They grasp the banana with one hand, holding it down towards the STEM END (what would be ‘upside-down’ for us, we ever so wise Homo Sapien Sapiens). Then, they use their thumb and forefinger of their other hand to pinch and sqeeze the nubby, dark END of the banana until it opens. Then, each peel can be easily pulled down without any any fingernails, knives, tearing, tugging, yanking, nor rocking the stem, and all done without bruising the banana! And who said we were the smartest of all apes….

    My best! ~Heather

    Heather: You mean, like this? ; ) -dl

  • I made this ice cream last night – with a few changes since I only have brandy and 2 types of gin in my alcohol collection :) I substituted the 6 tbsp of baileys and 1 tbsp rum with 4 tbsp of cream (whipping cream, but not whipped) and 3 tbsp of brandy.
    Delicious, rich, creamy, sweet and bitter all in one go! Thanks!

  • I made this ice cream yesterday, but instead of melted chunks of chocolate, I used spiced drinking Hot Chocolate cooked in 50% milk and 50% heavy cream until it became a thick chocolate sauce. I also added extra Baileys & rum. The result is AMAZING. Very creamy and rich. Thank you for this recipe!

  • Hey David,

    Tried out this recipe. Just replaced Bailey with Kahlua. it was a soooper doooper hit. Only thing, it required more than 4 hours of freezing (I guess due to the difference in freezer temperatures). But it stayed quite well for 3 days.

  • David, I made this by gently heating two cans of lite coconut milk, and several scoops of dark unsweetened cocoa until blended nicely. I then added about 1/2 cup Kahlua and froze overnight. It was PERFECT – and gives a pleasant little buzz, too.

  • I have peeled the banana but how do I get the lid off the Bailey’s bottle?
    Thanks for the great recipe!
    Its hard to find recipes for ice cream without dairy but the small amount of milk allows this to work well with soy or another substitute.

  • This worked so beautifully — absolutely thrilled to be able to whip up creamy ice cream without a machine! I added Vietnamese cinnamon for an extra kick. For better or for worse, it gets gobbled up really fast, so grab your bowlful first!

  • nice recipe!

  • I love chocolate, I love Bailey’s but I don’t like bananas… Can I also make it without the banana? Or will I have to use a substitute?
    Many thanks for your awesome website.
    Anna from the Netherlands

  • I’ve not tried it with any other fruit so don’t know if it’d work. But if you try it with another fruit, I’d use one that was starchy and sweet

  • Hey, this recipe looks super tempting! Was just wondering if the bananas are supposed to be blended in or remain as chunks? thanks!

  • Hi, I’ve got 4 batches of this ice cream cooling in the freezer right now. It really was easy to make, and I can’t wait to try it.

    However, I’d like to point out that 6 tablespoons is not 80mL as shown in the recipe but 90mL. I realize the difference is smaller than the different banana sizes, but I just wanted to point that out in case anyone was making a big batch like I did.

  • Hey, I love your website and I’m elated to know I can still make ice cream without a machine. I don’t have any liquor or rum on hand, but I do have Bailey’s Irish Cream (44%). Do you think there’s any way I can still make this?

  • I have not tried it with other liquors so can’t advise. If you want to try another alcohol, such as rum (which is twice as strong) please let me know the results. I would advise to keep the volume and percentage the same so perhaps use less rum but add more milk or cream to make up for the remaining Irish cream.

    For further information, check out Baking Ingredients and Substitutions.

  • David, I am going to make this ice cream for kids (and their parents). Will it knock them for six? What if I used Amarula instead of Bailey’s? Thanks and greetings from East Africa!

  • I have an ice cream recipe that has egg yolks, cream, alcohol, sugar and a liquid of your choice in it. I’ve been making it for many years (about 30) and have never owned an ice cream maker. The right amount of alcohol lets the ice cream freeze without forming ice.

    I just finished making a butterscotch schnapps and orange ice cream (with orange juice as the liquid) and now I’m looking for other flavor ideas. Thank goodness I found your blog, David. I can finally use that exotic banana fruit I see in the shops :)

  • Wonderful recipe!

    Also, if you’ve never heard of the *superior* banana-peeling method, let me tell you: You start from the bottom. Way easier, and it never gets all squished and gross at one end from yanking the top around. Changed my world.

  • Madeleine: I’ve actually tried that method of peeling a banana from the non-stem end. The problem is that that end of the banana has a lot of small, granule-like bits and when one rips the banana there, those get on your hands and on the banana pulp.