Kem Chuối (Banana Ice Cream) is a nostalgic childhood snack for almost Vietnamese kids. It’s super easy to make at home with simple ingredients—no churning, ice cream molds, or eggs needed, and it can easily be made vegan.

The classic summer treat that Vietnamese moms lovingly prepare for their kids.

Kem Chuoi (Vietnamesse Banana Ice Cream)

What is Kem Chuối?

In Vietnamese, Kem Chuối means Banana Ice Cream. It combines the sweetness of bananas with the richness of coconut milk.

Kem Chuoi (Vietnamesse Banana Ice Cream)

Bananas and coconut are popular ingredients in traditional Vietnamese desserts, especially in the South. This duo is featured in Bánh Chuối Nướng (baked banana cake), Bánh Chuối Hấp (steamed banana cake), and Chè Chuối (banana tapioca dessert).

Like avocado smoothie, yogurt and flan , this banana ice cream is a favorite summer snack for kids in Vietnam. It’s so easy to make that it’s practically foolproof.

Ingredients

  • Bananas: In Vietnam, we often use Thai Bananas (Lady Finger Banana, Sugar Banana, Pisang Awak Banana or Chuối Sứ / Chuối Tây in Vietnamese). They are creamier with a sweeter honey note. Even when ripe, they don’t turn too soft.
    • If you use regular Cavendish bananas, choose ones that are just ripe.
Thai Bananas
Thai Bananas from mom’s garden
  • Coconut milk: Use coconut milk or coconut cream with at least 15% fat.
  • Sweetened condensed milk: A beloved ingredient in Vietnamese cuisine, used pretty much in drinks like Vietnamese coffee and egg coffee , and even in BBQ marinades like Bún Thịt Nướng.
  • Tapioca starch / cornstarch: Helps thicken the coconut milk mixture and prevents the ice cream from crystallizing.
  • Yogurt: Balances out the richness of the coconut milk.
  • Laughing Cow Cheese (optional): The only cheese popular in Vietnamese cuisine. It’s widely used in both savory snacks like Rice Paper Pizza, Vietnamese Steak & Eggs, and Liver Pâté , as well as sweet treats like flan and yogurt.
  • Roasted peanuts and shredded coconut: Add more flavor and texture to the ice cream.
  • Salt: A bit of salt can enhance the flavor of the ice cream.
Vietnamese Banana Ice Cream Ingredients

Instructions

1

Cook the coconut milk mixture

  • Combine coconut milk, condensed milk, and Laughing Cow cheese in a pot. Cook on medium-low heat until just combined.
  • In a bowl, mix tapioca starch with some of the coconut milk from the pot. Pour the mixture back into the pot.
  • Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens and leaves a thin coat on the spoon.
  • Turn off the heat and stir in the yogurt. Mix well and let the mixture cool completely.
  • You can strain the mixture for a smoother texture, but I usually skip this step.
Making the base for kem chuoi
2

Assemble

  • Slice the banana into pieces that are 0.2-inch (0.5cm) thick and lightly crush the peanuts.
  • Line a mold with baking paper or plastic wrap.
  • Pour the coconut mixture into the mold, tilting it to spread the liquid evenly.
  • Add a layer of banana slices, then sprinkle with shredded coconut and crushed peanuts.
  • Pour more coconut milk mixture over this layer. Repeat until you have 2-3 layers of bananas.
  • Freeze the banana ice cream for at least 7 hours.
  • When ready to serve, remove the ice cream from the mold and cut it into 0.8-inch (2cm) thick pieces.
Assemble Kem Chuoi in a mold.
Assemble Kem Chuoi in a mold.

Another traditional method is to press the banana flat, place it in a small plastic bag with coconut milk, peanuts, and shredded coconut. This is suitable for individual portions, but I skip this way since I don’t want to use too much plastic.

You can also assemble the ice cream in popsicle molds.

Kem Chuoi popsicles
Kem Chuoi Popsicles

Variation & Vegan Adaption

Kem Chuoi (Vietnamesse Banana Ice Cream)
  • To veganize the recipe, substitute condensed milk with vegan condensed milk or sugar, and use plant-based yogurt instead of regular yogurt.
  • Besides bananas, you can add other fruits to the ice cream. In Vietnam, we often use jackfruit, but strawberries, blueberries, and kiwi are also great.

Bring more Vietnamese desserts to your kitchen

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Kem Chuoi (Vietnamesse Banana Ice Cream)

Kem Chuối (Vietnamese Banana Coconut Ice Cream)

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Kem Chuối (Banana Ice Cream) brings back childhood memories for every Vietnamese kid. It's super simple to make at home with basic ingredients—no churning, ice cream molds, or eggs needed—and can easily be veganized.
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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Course Dessert, Snack, Sweet treats
Cuisine Vietnamese

Ingredients
  

  • 1 can coconut milk (13.5oz/400ml) (>15% fat)
  • cup sweetened condensed milk (150g) (to your taste)
  • 4-5 Thai bananas (or 2-3 American bananas)
  • ½ cup yogurt (100g)
  • 1 wedge Laughing Cow Cheese (optional)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp tapioca starch (or cornstarch)
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • ½ cup lightly crush roasted peanuts

Instructions
 

Prepare the ice cream base:

  • Mix coconut milk, condensed milk, and Laughing Cow cheese in a pot. Heat over medium-low until blended.
  • In a separate bowl, combine tapioca starch with some of the coconut milk from the pot, then return the mixture to the pot.
  • Continue cooking over medium-low heat, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens and coats the spoon.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the yogurt. Mix well and allow the mixture to cool completely.
  • For a smoother texture, you can strain the mixture, though I usually skip this step.

Assemble:

  • Slice the banana into pieces (0.2-inch/0.5cm) thick.
  • Line a mold with baking paper (or plastic wrap).
  • Pour the coconut mixture into the mold, tilting it to ensure even distribution.
  • Layer the banana slices on top, followed by a sprinkling of shredded coconut and crushed peanuts.
  • Repeat this process, adding more coconut milk mixture and layers of bananas until the mold is filled (about 2-3 layers of bananas).
  • Freeze the banana ice cream for about 7 hours.
  • Once frozen, remove the ice cream from the mold and slice it into pieces (0.8-inch/2cm thick) before serving.
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