As someone who’s spent many a late night glued to the infomercial channel, often with my credit card in hand, I’ve learned the hard way that it’s rare that anything “As Seen On TV!” truly lives up to the hype. So when a machine that promised to “turn any frozen fruit into soft-serve” showed up on my doorstep, I was understandably skeptical—especially given that I like to consider myself an ice cream aficionado (Pro tip? Order a side of sprinkles so you can dip long after the first layer has been licked off. You’re welcome.) But despite all my nay-saying, I have to admit: When I met the Yonanas Soft Serve Maker ($46), it was love at first bite.
The Yonanas machine came to me by way of a friend who had never opened it and was sick of watching it gather dust on her counter, and I was initially convinced that it would meet a similar fate in my own kitchen—much like the food processor that I still haven’t taken out of the box. But one Friday night when I was craving something sweet and out of actual ice cream, I decided to give it a try. Now, it’s become a full-blown staple in my after-dinner (and, ok my breakfast) routine.
Shop now: Yonanas Soft Serve Maker, $46
The device works by blending frozen fruit into soft-serve-style concoction that’s slightly thicker than your run-of-the-mill smoothie. The entire process takes less than five minutes—the fruit gets mixed in a matter of seconds—which makes using it about as quick and low effort as scooping from a pint. The machine’s main parts are also all dishwasher safe, which makes cleanup a cinch (for what it’s worth, my food processor doesn’t offer the same luxury).
Most recipes call for a base of frozen bananas, which create the creamy texture, but you can add almost anything else you want. It lends itself to major creativity as far as flavor combinations are concerned, which means you can take those quarantine cooking skills to the next level by playing around with your favorite ingredients. So far (on separate occasions), I’ve tried mixing bananas with with frozen strawberries, coffee beans, raspberries and my personal favorite, Oreo cookies. Top it off with nuts and hot fudge, and it’s basically the good-for-you version of a sundae.
While the frozen concoction that the Yonanas machine spits out is a far cry from ice cream—it’s literally just frozen fruit, after all—it has provided a healthy, dairy-free alternative to the nightly Ben and Jerry’s habit I picked up at the beginning of quarantine. The “nice cream” doesn’t have any added sugar or heavy cream, but still manages to be icy, delicious and refreshing. Plus, you can up the nutrient factor by using fibrous fruits like raspberries, or add some protein with peanut or almond butter—the world is truly your creamery. The Yonanas machine has convinced me that maybe you can believe what you see on TV after all. Especially when it involves ice cream.
Try this three-ingredient nice cream, which is chock-full of peanut-buttery banana goodness.