This tasty pumpkin nice cream will satisfy your pumpkin spice cravings with no sugar added! This "nice cream" recipe uses bananas for sweetness and creaminess, making it the perfect option for dairy-free diets. Learn how to make this pumpkin nice cream recipe with both canned pumpkin and with fresh pumpkin. You'll love this vegan pumpkin soft serve frozen treat!
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Vegan pumpkin ice cream first made an appearance here in 2019. I've since made a small tweak to the recipe, along with adding new photos and videos. Some of my old photos really aren't doing my recipes justice.
In addition, I'm offering the option of making this recipe with either pumpkin from a can or with fresh, roasted pumpkin. I'm partial to the can pumpkin version, not only because it is easier, but also because it has a richer color. It might win out on taste as well (though not by much).
The madness that is Pumpkin Spice Season™ apparently drives some to stock up on all the canned pumpkin in the store. Unfortunately, this means that I can't get canned pumpkin some weeks. Luckily, fresh pumpkins seem to be readily available all autumn long.
In a pinch, the fresh pumpkin works. Whatever type of pumpkin you use, I'd call this a better-for-you dessert option. It has no added sugar and can help bump up your fruit and veggie intake. (Yay!)
Table of Contents
- Pumpkin Nice Cream Tips
- Pumpkin Nice Cream Benefits
- Pumpkin Spice Nice Cream Ingredients
- How to Make Pumpkin Nice Cream
- Blending Creamy Pumpkin Nice Cream
- Pumpkin Nice Cream with Bananas
- Expert Tips from a Dietitian
- Vegan Dessert Recipes
- Frequently Asked Questions
- What can you do with canned pumpkin that is not a pie?
- 📖 Recipe
- 💬 Comments
Pumpkin Nice Cream Tips
Before I get to details on the recipe, I wanted to alert my foodie readers about Yummly. Have you heard of Yummly? If not, I'm going to cover the basics in this section with a mini Yummly review.
Yummly is a website and app that is somewhat similar to Pinterest, except the focus is food only. Yummly offers benefits you don't get elsewhere, such as shopping lists and nutrition information for recipes. (Please note that the accuracy of their nutrient analysis is not guaranteed.)
You can even assemble your whole meal plan on Yummly, and they will have the groceries you need delivered! I love how they have integrated meal planning and shopping with the fun of perusing recipes on social media.
One of my favorite things on Yummly is the pantry-ready feature. Enter the ingredients you have on hand, and Yummly will show you recipes you can make. Fantastic!
Recipe recommendations on Yummly are tailored to your food preferences. Yummly collects this information during their free sign-up. Your preferences on Yummly include the following:
- Special diets
- Disliked ingredients
- Favorite international cuisines
Once you sign up, you are ready to yum some recipes! When you hit the Yum Button on a post, the recipe goes into your personal Yummly recipe box. You can categorize your recipe box recipes whatever way you'd like.
Why not start by checking out my Yummly publisher page? I'd love it if you'd Yum this pumpkin spice nice cream recipe and leave a positive rating.
Is Yummly free? Yes, it is completely free to use the basic features of Yummly. There is also a Yummly Pro subscription, where you can access step-by-step cooking lessons from pro chef instructors for a small monthly fee.
Ok, let's get back to the nice cream!
Pumpkin Nice Cream Benefits
There are so many reasons why you're going to want to make this healthy pumpkin ice cream recipe. Let me fill you in on some of the benefits!
It is SO GOOD.
Yes, nice cream recipes do tend to be a bit icier than ice creams made with dairy. However, the ice cream connoisseurs in my household still give it two thumbs up. (And I have some tips below to help you make nice cream less icy!)
This paleo pumpkin ice cream is also vegan, whole food plant based (wfpb), gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, vegetarian…
Since this recipe is only fruit, vegetables, and spices, it fits many special diets! We've got most of the most popular dietary approaches covered with this one (aside from keto and low carb).
It's just fruits, veggies, and spices.
As I mentioned in the previous point, this banana pumpkin ice cream is all plants. Hello, fiber and phytonutrients! It's hard to believe we're having dessert.
There's no added sugar in this pumpkin banana ice cream.
I've skipped the white sugar, brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, and other added sugars in this recipe. Overripe bananas provide plenty of sweetness, but I did not add so many that they overwhelm the pumpkin!
This pumpkin cinnamon ice cream is a super easy recipe.
If you use canned pumpkin and frozen bananas, all you have to do is throw everything in a food processor. This will get you something that is the consistency of a pumpkin spice soft serve. Put it in the freezer for an hour or two for a firmer pumpkin nice cream.
The whole family may love this recipe.
Are kids more likely to eat fruits and veggies if they are served in the form of ice cream? I tend to think so. But be sure to save some of this for yourself; adults like it too!
Pumpkin Spice Nice Cream Ingredients
Here's what you'll need to make this vegan pumpkin nice cream recipe:
- Frozen overripe bananas (preferred) OR fresh overripe bananas
- Unsweetened canned pumpkin (preferred) OR fresh pumpkin and olive oil
- Dried ginger spice
For the sake of the photos, I included toppings with my nice cream. Normally, I skip the ice cream toppings and enjoy this recipe without them. If you do want to make a sundae with your nice cream, have these on hand:
- Whipped cream (sugar-free, regular, or try whipping coconut cream for a non-dairy whipped cream)
- Caramel syrup (ChocZero has a sugar free caramel syrup, or regular caramel syrup works too)
- An additional sprinkle of cinnamon (a dusting wand is a really helpful tool for neatly dusting the tops of foods with spices)
The equipment needed for nice cream is minimal. If you're roasting fresh pumpkin, you will need a roasting pan and cast iron skillet.
You'll also want to have a large-capacity food processor as well as a spatula to make nice cream. Most blenders won't cut it for this recipe.
How to Make Pumpkin Nice Cream
Making pumpkin nice cream is not difficult! If you are using fresh pumpkin, preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Wash your pumpkin, scoop out the seeds, and cut the pumpkin into wide wedges.
Put the pumpkin wedges skin-side down on a roasting pan. Brush the tops of the pumpkin wedges with olive oil. Roast the wedges for 40 minutes until the pumpkin flesh is very soft.
After roasting the pumpkin, tent it in foil for 10-15 minutes to let it steam a bit. Now, scrape the pumpkin out of its skin into a food processor. I was able to peel the skin of the pumpkin off with my fingers.
Puree the roasted squash until it is completely smooth. If you are using a large pumpkin, you will most likely need to do this in batches.
After pureeing, put the pumpkin in a dry cast iron skillet. Let the water evaporate off of the puree over medium heat, stirring frequently.
The pumpkin puree will get thick like tomato paste. The amount of time it takes to get to this point will depend on how watery your pumpkin is. It generally takes about 10 minutes or so.
Let your thickened pumpkin puree cool and then measure out ⅔ cup. You can freeze the rest of your pumpkin to use in other recipes. I like to make pumpkin Bolognese sauce (where pumpkin puree is used in place of the tomatoes).
P.S. If you are using canned pumpkin, you can skip all of the above and get straight to making nice cream! How's that for convenience?
Blending Creamy Pumpkin Nice Cream
Now's the time to get out a large-capacity food processor! For the creamiest pumpkin spice nice cream, I recommend starting with frozen banana pieces.
However, what if you forget to freeze your banana pieces ahead of time? Hey, no worries, this has happened to me too. I'm going to tell you what to do in the next section.
All you need to do is put all of the ingredients (spices, pumpkin, and bananas) in the food processor and blend until smooth. You may need to stop the processor and scrape down the sides with a spatula if ingredients are sticking to the processor's sides.
If you start with frozen bananas, you can serve the nice cream immediately as a soft serve. If you'd like firmer ice cream, pop it in the freezer for one hour before scooping. Don't leave the nice cream in the freezer for more than 1-1.5 hours for the best consistency.
That's it, really. That is the recipe.
You can serve this nice cream with the toppings of your choice. Make it a pumpkin pie nice cream with some whipped cream and caramel sauce. YUM!
If you're going the sugar-free route, my Strawberry Shortcake recipe includes instructions to make sugar free whipped topping. There are many sugar free caramel syrups available, including this low-carb and high-fiber syrup by Choc Zero.
Pumpkin Nice Cream with Bananas
It's not a big deal if you did not freeze your bananas ahead of time. However, your nice cream will not be ready to eat coming out of the food processor. Using fresh (not frozen) bananas results in a concoction that has a pudding-like consistency.
After blending all of the ingredients for pumpkin nice cream, put the mixture into a freezer-safe container. You will need to freeze this mixture for 6-8 hours.
If you leave your nice cream alone in the freezer for many hours, it will freeze into a solid block. You'll find that it is difficult to get a spoon into. To create a creamier nice cream, stir and break up the ice chunks every 2 hours or so.
When you stir the nice cream, pay special attention to breaking up the frozen icy chunks on the edges of the container. This will help to ensure that you end up with a better, smoother texture.
This version does not come out quite as creamy as when you blend frozen bananas. That said, it works when you need it to.
If you've accidentally left your pumpkin spice nice cream in the freezer a little too long, the microwave can help. Try microwaving for 10-15 seconds (or more as needed) to make your nice cream softer.
Expert Tips from a Dietitian
This is a level 2 recipe (transition or weight maintenance). The nutrition information for this recipe does not include any of the optional toppings. For a higher calorie nice cream, consider adding some toasted walnuts or pumpkin seeds.
I haven't tried this (yet!) but if you need a level 1 snack, try freezing the ice cream in popsicle molds. Using this recipe to make ice pops breaks this dessert up into smaller portions that will take longer to eat. This may also be a potential solution to salvage any leftovers.
The photos accompanying this post show the entire recipe (2 servings) on a white rectangular plate. My family typically splits what is pictured, enjoying 1-1.5 scoops each. If you are learning to eyeball portion sizes, keep in mind that many recipe blogs show you multiple servings on a plate.
Vegan Dessert Recipes
This vegan pumpkin nice cream recipe isn't the only wfpb dessert on the site. If you're looking for more plant-based dessert ideas, check these out:
Sometimes I might want something savory instead of sweet. If this describes you as well, here are a few savory vegan snack ideas:
- Chickpeas for Babies (try the family version!)
- Nut Free Trail Mix – No Added Sugar!
- Roasted Garbanzo Beans Recipe – Easy Plant-Based Snack Recipe
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the origin of pumpkin spice?
"Pumpkin spice" is not a new idea at all. The spices commonly used in pumpkin spice blends have been used by humans for millennia. They are referenced in American cookbooks from the end of the 19th century.
McCormick started selling their pumpkin pie spice back in the 1950s. Pumpkin spice cakes and pumpkin pies were enjoyed by Americans long before Starbucks introduced their Pumpkin Spice Latte.
Over the past couple of decades, the term "pumpkin spice" has evolved. Nowadays, a food labeled "pumpkin spice" is generally something with cinnamon and sugar. The pumpkin has become an optional part of "pumpkin spice."
Is pumpkin spice really squash spice?
"Pumpkin spice" is something used to flavor pumpkin; it does not come from squash at all. Pumpkin spice is typically a blend of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and cloves. Sometimes other spices are in the mix as well, or certain spices may be omitted.
What is nice cream?
"Nice cream" generally refers to a non-dairy ice cream alternative made with a frozen banana base. Some nice cream recipes use a base of fruits other than bananas, such as dates.
Sometimes nice creams contain no added sugar, though some recipes for nice cream do contain refined sugars. When you see a recipe for nice cream, be sure to check the ingredients to see what you're getting.
Is nice cream healthy?
Yes and no – all nice cream recipes are not created equal! I would consider this pumpkin spice nice cream recipe to be a healthy snack option because it has no added sugar. On the other hand, I've seen recipes for nice cream that are loaded with added sugar, and I would not consider those a great choice.
In addition, most people aren't meeting the recommendations for fruit and vegetable intakes. Making (and eating!) this pumpkin nice cream recipe may get you a little bit closer to the guidelines.
One thing to note is that, unlike dairy ice cream, most nice cream recipes are not providing important dairy group nutrients. The protein, calcium, and vitamin B12 in most nice cream recipes is not significant.
It's fine to enjoy nice cream as a snack instead of ice cream. However, you should make sure you are getting adequate protein, calcium, etc. in at other parts of your day. Problems can arise when you always substitute foods in the dairy group for alternatives lacking in calcium and protein.
What can you do with canned pumpkin that is not a pie?
Do you have some leftover pumpkin after making this pumpkin spice nice cream? No worries! I have many suggestions for recipes to use canned pumpkin, such as these:
All of the above canned pumpkin recipes can be used with fresh pumpkin as well. If you wanted, you could have something with pumpkin for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert! Who knew there were so many uses for canned pumpkin besides pumpkin pie?
Watch How to Make It!
Pumpkin Spice Nice Cream (Vegan Ice Cream Alternative)
- 2 medium overripe bananas, frozen in chunks (OR overripe fresh bananas may be used)
- ⅔ cup canned pumpkin (OR one fresh pumpkin plus olive oil)
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ginger
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon allspice
- ⅛ teaspoon cloves
- sugar-free whipped cream, sugar-free caramel syrup, and/or other ice cream toppings (optional)
- If you are using canned pumpkin and frozen bananas, all you have to do is blend all of the ingredients together in a food processor until smooth. You may need to stop the processor and scrape down the sides with a spatula if banana bits insist on sticking to the processor's sides.
- Divide into two bowls and enjoy as a soft serve. For a firmer ice cream (pictured) freeze for one hour before scooping. Top with optional ice cream toppings if desired.
Instructions for making pumpkin nice cream with fresh pumpkin:
- Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Wash your pumpkin, scoop out the seeds, and cut the pumpkin into wide wedges.
- Put the pumpkin wedges skin-side down on a roasting pan. Brush the tops of the pumpkin wedges with olive oil. I used one tablespoon of olive oil per 2.5 lbs. (1.1 kg) of pumpkin (approximately)
- Roast the wedges for 40 minutes until the pumpkin flesh is very soft.
- After roasting the pumpkin, tent it in foil for 10-15 minutes to let it steam a bit. Now, scrape the pumpkin out of its skin into a food processor. I was able to peel the skin of the pumpkin off with my fingers. Very little was wasted.
- Puree the roasted pumpkin until completely smooth. If you are using a large pumpkin, you will most likely need to do this in batches.
- After pureeing, put the pumpkin in a dry cast iron skillet over medium heat. Let the water evaporate off of the puree, stirring frequently. The pumpkin will get thick like tomato paste. This will take approximately 10 minutes, depending on how watery the pumpkin you started with was.
- Let your thickened pumpkin puree cool and then measure out ⅔ cup to make this pumpkin spice nice cream. You can freeze the rest of your pumpkin to use in other recipes.
- Now, take your cooled pumpkin puree, and blend all of the nice cream ingredients together in a food processor until smooth. You may need to stop the processor and scrape down the sides with a spatula if ingredients are sticking.
- Divide your ice cream into two bowls and enjoy as a soft serve. For a firmer nice cream freeze for one hour before scooping.
Instructions for making pumpkin spice nice cream with fresh (not frozen) bananas:
- If you use bananas that are not frozen, your nice cream will not be ready to eat coming out of the food processor. Put the mixture into a freezer-safe container and freeze for 6-8 hours.
- For the best results (i.e., the creamiest nice cream possible) stir and break up the ice chunks in the pumpkin mixture every 2 hours or so. Pay special attention to breaking up the frozen icy chunks on the edges of the container.
- If you've accidentally left your pumpkin spice nice cream in the freezer a little too long, try microwaving for 10-15 seconds (or more as needed) to make it softer.
- Note: My preference is to start with frozen bananas, as I think the finished nice cream ends up creamier. Starting with frozen bananas also means less work for you, as you won't need to stir the nice cream every couple of hours.
nutrition info disclaimer
All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.
The nutrition information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be inaccurate, so please don't sweat the numbers too much.
Hello! I'm Summer, a registered dietitian and home chef who loves to cook, eat, and create high quality content for you! Every recipe on this site has been tested by me to help ensure your success in the kitchen. All eaters are welcome here 🙂