2-Ingredient Banana Ice Cream (Cologne, Germany)

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This no-churn, 2-Ingredient Banana Ice Cream is incredibly easy to make, so just go ahead and make a double batch!

533 steps.  That might not sound like a lot, but it is.  Especially when those steps take you up a very narrow, winding stairwell to the top of the Cologne Cathedral.  Last summer, Laura and I visited Cologne, Germany as part of our Amsterdam-Basel Viking River Cruise.  In addition to my love of Roman history, I am particularly interested in medieval history as well.  Although not completed until 1880, the cathedral in Cologne was actual started in 1248.  Yes, it took over 600 years for the cathedral to be built!  (To be fair, there was a solid 400 year break for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was the enormous construction cost.)

But let’s turn our attention back to food.  After all, this is a food blog!  Cologne is home to a vibrant food scene with dozens of brauhauses serving up traditional German food and beer.  Laura and I met back up with my mother, sister and brother-in-law and we grabbed lunch at a busy brauhaus on the edge of a bustling square.  (Our philosophy when traveling is to get away from the touristy areas and then look for a busy restaurant.  More often than not, this leads us to some delicious local food!)  We enjoyed classic German dishes like sauerbraten, schnitzel, and spaetzle (we ordered communal plates and then shared), and we also had a couple Kölsch-style beers. 

Kölsch is a style of beer first brewed in Köln (the German spelling of Cologne).  This beer is very light in both color and body, and it pairs well with German food which is typically quite heavy.  Fun tip: In Cologne, waiters constantly circle the tables with trays of small (~7-8 oz.) glasses of Kölsch.  If your glass is empty, they will put another beer in front of you.  Without asking.  The way to signal that you’re done is to put a coaster on top of your empty glass.  I was planning on only drinking one beer, but that second one just magically appeared in front of me as soon as I finished the first.  (It’s also customary to order a Kölsch for your waiter.)  So if you ever find yourself in Cologne, make sure to drink a Kölsch…but make sure you keep that coaster nearby, too!

So what does this 2-Ingredient Banana Ice Cream have to do with Cologne?  Well, nothing.  But this 2-Ingredient Banana Ice Cream does have a lot to do with our Viking ship!  The food on board the ship was incredible.  I’m talking amazing cheeses, breads and all sorts of entree options, both local and traditional.  Every night, the dessert menu included some sort of ice cream.  (This was in addition to the warm cookies that were available right outside of our room all day long.)  Laura loves ice cream, so she opted for ice cream nearly every night.

However, one night, there was no ice cream.  (There were other amazing desserts…just no ice cream.)  We had been sitting at the same table for our entire trip, and we had gotten to know our waitstaff quite well.  Laura pulled Claire over to the side and asked if the chef happened to have any banana ice cream left from the night before.  Claire disappeared into the kitchen and came back shortly with a huge bowl of banana ice cream.  I was already impressed with the service aboard our Viking Longship Lofn, but this stands out as one of the more memorable examples.

2-Ingredient Banana Ice Cream


  • 4-5 ripe bananas
  • ¼ cup sweetened condensed milk
  • {optional} cinnamon, for garnishing


  1. Peel bananas and slice into ¾-1” pieces. Place bananas in a resealable freezer bag; freeze for at least 3 hours or overnight.
  2. Transfer the frozen bananas into a food processor along with the sweetened condensed milk. Pulse repeatedly until creamy. (Note: It might not seem like it’s working at first…keep going! The bananas will indeed transform into a creamy, fluffy ice cream.)
  3. For a soft-serve type dessert, serve immediately. For a harder version, transfer mixture into a freezer-safe bowl and freeze for 2-3 hours.

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