Frozen Banana Smoothie




About: Tim Anderson is the author of the "Heirloom Technology" column in Make Magazine. He is co-founder of, manufacturers of "3D Printer" output devices. His detailed drawings of traditional Pacific...

This is one of my favorite summer concoctions. Dr. Dan Baca taught me this years ago, before the word "smoothie" existed. We called it "banana milkshake", and then had to explain that it didn't contain icecream. For some reason it tastes like it has many spices and ingredients such as icecream in it. But it's just milk and bananas. A mystery.

Here are the steps:
Freeze bananas.
Cut into chunks.
Put in Blender with milk, kefir, and other stuff
Repeat. It is very delicious.

Note: There is no watermelon in this recipe.

Step 1: Freeze Bananas

First peel the bananas. Some lazy people freeze their bananas with the skins on.
Like many lazy acts, it results in much greater work for a worse result.

Peel your bananas and freeze them in plastic bags. Regular grocery store plastic checkout bags are fine. Use double bags if you expect your bananas to remain long, to avoid freezer flavor mixing.
The bags pack together more efficiently than tubs or tupperware.

I used to get very cheap crates of bananas at closing time at Haymarket in Boston.
When you have peeled bananas in one pile and the peels in another, it's amazing how much peel a banana has.
My current batch of bananas came from a Trader Joes Dumpster.
I have so many it will be a long time before I have an opportunity to take the "peel bananas" picture.
In the mean time, here's what they look like after being frozen for a few months.

Be aware that some people prefer to peel their bananas from the wrong end.

Step 2: Cut Bananas Into Chunks

Pry bananas one by one from the block of frozen banans. It's easier than you'd expect.
Cut them into chunks about as long as they are wide.
It's tempting to put whole bananas into the blender, but they tend to jam and take a lot longer.

Step 3: Put in Blender

Use about this many. Then someone came into the kitchen so I added a few more chunks for them.

Step 4: Add Milk

Add enough milk to come up to the top level of the banana chunks.
This is the right amount for them to blend to the proper consistency.
The same theory works if you're using icecubes to make a slushy.

I prefer it with skim or 1% milk.
Kefir, yogurt, etc are also good.

Soy milk isn't, for some reason.
I like soy milk a lot by itself, but it doesn't seem to mate with the bananas in the same passionate way as mammal milk.

Step 5: Blend

Hit your favorite buttons on the blender until it looks like the second picture.

Make sure the bottom is actually screwed onto the pitcher so it doesn't get flung around the room and make a huge mess, feeding a pest problem, leading to a plague that ends civilization.

Step 6: Drink It and Make Another

Here it is garnished with cinnamon for photo purposes.
Actually you shouldn't add anything to your first one, so you can be overwhelmed by the myriad flavor nuances of the basic concoction.

Step 7: Go Nuts With Variations

Okay, now that you've mastered the basic piece, you can start to improvise.

Here's a black-and-tan with a half-batch mixed with cocoa and coffee over the basic, sprinkled with sesame seeds. Mmm good.



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    17 Discussions


    11 years ago on Step 2

    This might take more time than its worth, but I usually freeze the banana chunks in a single layer on a french fry tray covered in parchment paper. Once they're frozen I chuck them in a bag and put back in the freezer. End result, frozen chunks of banana that aren't clumped together in one giant mass of frozen banana.

    3 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    just froze a whole bunch of bananas like this! They would have been thrown out otherwise I bet. They will go so well in this recipe or in other smoothies. I wounder if freezing them like this would make it easier to coat them in chocolate...?


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Also, I was looking for a use for some kiefer in the fridge as well. Two things I needed to use in one great recipe! woohoo!! Thanks! I'll have to try dumpstering some bananas and keeping these on hand!


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    The best cheat here is to split the bananas in thirds lengthwise, along their natural shear planes, with your fingers, instead of cutting them. That keeps the pieces drier, so they break apart more easily. Also, that leaves them thin in two dimensions instead of one, so the frozen thirds can be broken further, easily. You can split them right into the container you're going to freeze/store them in (er, like the empty half of a box of ice cream).


    11 years ago on Introduction

    I made a couple of these the other night. They were quiet good. Mixing in a dab of cinnamon give it a touch of spice to. Thanks for the instructable! :)


    11 years ago on Introduction

    This is a great recipe, i made my first one with just banana and milk, it was pretty good. today i made one with banana, milk, cinnamonn applesauce, and chocolate syrup. it was great!


    11 years ago on Introduction

    well done! use fresh bananas and you have i great drink in 2 minutes! try strawberry too!


    11 years ago on Introduction

    I will have to try! I even have the bananas! Sounds almost too simple! Would be great to drink on the way to work. Thanks!


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Duuuude, NOOOOOOOOOOO... we are out of bananas, I'm gunna go sit in a dark corner and cry, lol This looks really good I'm gunna try it as soon as I can get some bananas


    11 years ago on Introduction

    I sometimes add yogurt to my shakes/smoothies to make them thicker.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Add peanut butter or chocolate syrup and even some almonds for additional enjoyment. I hate bananas but I love these shakes.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    If you have a bit of unsweetened applesauce around, add that for a great additional flavor. Warning: makes it much sweeter, even the natural "just apples" applesauce!