Yo, Nana! Does the Yonanas Work?

by Dorothy Reinhold on July 27, 2012

Print This Post Print This Post Does the Yonanas Work?

Does the Yonanas work? Yes, and very well!

Is it fun? Yes! Will your kids enjoy doing it themselves? Undoubtedly!

Do you need it? Depends. Probably! But that’s a bit longer, more complex answer.

Yonanas on Shockingly DeliciousFirst, let’s back up. Unless you have been living under a rock, no doubt you’ve seen TV ads for the Yonanas, a new gadget (about $50) that makes “ice cream” out of frozen bananas combined with other fruit. It shows kids having fun making, then eating the treats.

But with all such “as seen on TV” items, we always wonder, does it really work?

So we got one and put the Yonanas through its paces. Our kitchen looked like a banana packing house for awhile there, as we had bunches of bananas in various stages of ripening all over the counter.

As they ripened to cheetah-spot perfection, we peeled and froze them, along with various other fruits.

working the Yonanas Then we invited young friends over, read the simple directions, and set them free to do it themselves.

making YonanasThis is one of the best qualities and selling points of the Yonanas – once they understand how to do it, they can do it themselves.

making YonanasCreating a frozen treat is extra fun if you are in charge of making it.

making YonanasCome up with your own recipes!

In fact, it’s fun for my man-cub and his friends to come up with their own recipes. Want to try grapes in there with your bananas? Sure! How about strawberries? Why certainly! You are limited only by your imagination. And if a combo ends up being less than expected (you will see one of those examples below), well, at least you tried, and you can just dump it out and move on. Sometimes the failures in life are as instructional as the successes. And if you truly don’t like a fruit combo, at least the ingredients are not so expensive that it causes you pain to discard them.

Banana Berry YonanasBesides fun, the other main selling point – and this is a big one! – is the Yonanas creates an ice cream-like frozen dessert with no added sugar. It simply consists of the fruit you choose to use. This is a big plus for families looking to cut down on sugar consumption yet still retain the feeling of having a treat or dessert.

Yonanas fruitIn our house, the fruit bowl is always “open.” You never need permission to eat fruit, and you are welcome to help yourself. Consequently, both my children are big fruit eaters, and we can go through 10 pounds of tangerines in a 2-day stretch, for example. So if the man-cub wants to make Yonanas, it’s simply bananas and whatever other fruit he chooses, and the answer is a resounding yes.

The only downside I can see is that it must be unscrewed and washed after use. This is not difficult and only takes a minute, but children never want to do this (willingly, at least!). So that task may be up to a parent unless you make it a condition of use of the machine.

Do you need it?

Now, on to the question of do you need this? True, you can use your food processor to create frozen soft-serve treats out of frozen fruit, but (and this is a big but)…how many of us are comfortable allowing our 8- or 10-year-old to use the food processor without supervision? I’m not. I am afraid of the sharp blades and the potential kitchen-splattering mess if he makes an error.

Pushing a banana through the YonanasWith the Yonanas, the grinding mechanism is enclosed in the machine and not open to little fingers. It might be a tad loud, but literally, there is nothing to do except push a frozen banana down a feed tube with a plastic pusher, and watch it come out the spout into the bowl. There is no adjustment of blades, no figuring out what speed to put it on, no making sure the lid is actually on. You turn it on, insert the frozen fruit, push it through with a tool, and eat your dessert, minutes later!

kids enjoying YonanasSo the old hippie in me says I don’t need another kitchen gadget, but the modern-day mom in me says this is a really cool, fun gadget that encourages my kids to choose fruit for dessert. Nothin’ wrong with that!

10 tips for using the Yonanas

1. Wait for your bananas to be spotted ripe. The Yonanas booklet calls them “cheetah,” which is an apt description. The brown spots indicate they are getting super sweet, which is what you want.

2. Freeze the bananas and the other fruits separately so they are not touching. You need long slender bananas to go down the feed tube, not wide blocks or large chunks of fruit. I peeled a banana, inserted it in one of those plastic bags you get from the grocery store produce department, wrapped it, then put in another peeled banana and enclosed it in the same bag, but the bananas were not touching. This way I had 2 bananas per bag, and when ready, we just pulled out a single bag and our fruit was portioned.

3. Freeze them on plastic plates. It’s easy to clean and dry grapes or strawberries and put them on a plastic plate, pop them into the freezer and they will still be individual pieces, as opposed to a big glob of fruit.

4. Why a plastic plate? The icy fruit pops off plastic better than from a ceramic plate.

stirring Yonanas5. Don’t be afraid to stir ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract into any of your creations at the end. Vanilla increases the perceived sweetness, without adding sugar. This is good!

6. If you are using bananas and other fruits, first send one banana through, then the other fruit, then the second banana. This helps in the final mixing in the bowl.

7. If you are making more than one batch in a row, open and scrape out the innards of the machine between batches, or you’ll get grape or strawberry colors/flavors in your second batch.

8. The booklet advises letting the fruit thaw just a tad (5-7 minutes) before putting it in the machine. While that ensures a creamier, more soft-serve consistency right out of the machine, we found that if we are impatient, we can do it right out of the freezer. Send the first banana through the chute into a bowl, and repeat with the other fruit, then the final banana. By the time you are done, it will have begun to thaw, and once you spend a minute stirring it together to blend, it will be sufficiently thawed to resemble soft serve. Your mileage may vary and you might prefer to slightly thaw first. 🙂

9. Use a big enough bowl to capture the fruit that is coming out of the chute. You will want to stir it together to blend it well.

10. When done pushing the fruit through, be sure to unscrew the tube assembly and scrape out the additional fruit that will be in there. Don’t let it go to waste!

Ready to make frozen treats? Recipes for Yonanas

We created the following Yonanas frozen treat flavors. All follow the basic Yonanas directions to use spotted bananas and freeze all the fruit.  For the non-banana fruit, wash, peel if necessary, segment and freeze individually on a plastic plate. Fruit is ready to use when it is frozen solid.

See what you think about our flavors, and then use your own imagination to create new flavors with your family!

Strawberry Mango Sorbet
1 basket fresh ripe strawberries, hulled
2 ripe mangoes
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Verdict: Light tasting, sweet, refreshing, gorgeous color…you don’t miss the dairy or the banana. My personal favorite. 

Banana Strawberry
2 bananas
1 basket of strawberries, hulled
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Verdict: Best banana combo yet! Beautiful pink color, appeals to everyone.

frozen grapes for YonanasBanana Grape
2 bananas
1 cup red grapes
Verdict: Good! The grapes added welcome sweetness.

Chunky Monkey
2 bananas
Handful of mini chocolate chips stirred in
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Verdict: What’s not to like about this classic combo?

frozen peaches for YonanasBanana Peach
2 bananas
2 peaches
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Verdict: Excellent! The riper the peaches, the better. 

Orange Dreamsicle
2 bananas
1 orange, peeled, separated into segments
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
Verdict: Good! We all liked it!

Date Shake
2 bananas
4 Medjool dates, pitted, halved, frozen
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
Verdict: Very tasty but the dates clogged the machine.

frozen fruit for YonanasTropical Banana
2 bananas
8 ounces canned pineapple chunks in juice, drained
2 kiwis, peeled and quartered
Verdict: Good idea in theory, but the kiwi or pineapple produced some odd flavors and no one really liked the result. Oh well. Back to the drawing board on that one.

I received a Yonanas machine for the purpose of testing and reviewing.

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence January 2, 2015 at 2:33 pm

So much fun!! I’d be all about that Chunky Monkey flavor ;)!!


Dorothy Reinhold January 2, 2015 at 3:58 pm

I can only imagine what you might come up with!


The Food Hunter January 2, 2015 at 10:33 am

I Need to get one of these!! Thinking of all the yummy possibilities


Dorothy Reinhold January 2, 2015 at 3:58 pm

Food Hunter,
They are pretty darn fun!


Linda January 2, 2015 at 7:06 am

I know my grandchildren would love making and eating these. Thanks for the ideas.


Dorothy Reinhold January 2, 2015 at 3:59 pm

This is a perfect gadget for the grands.


Ana December 4, 2014 at 3:11 pm

Hi there 🙂 I’m thinking about finally getting the yonanas, but we are kinda sugar crazy around here so I wanted to ask someone who has used the machine and tried a lot of different things… Are the deserts like sweet, os slightly sweet? I know fruits tend to lose sweetness when cooled, so how does this work to the sweetness of the result? Thanks you and sorry for my english, its not my mother language.. 🙂


Dorothy Reinhold December 4, 2014 at 4:25 pm

The desssert will be as sweet as your fruit! Bananas are super sweet if you let them get black specks on them (sugar specks). If you use a slightly green banana, it won’t be very sweet. HOWEVER, you can always stir in agave or honey or sugar or syrup or whatever is your sweetener of choice, once you shoot the fruit through the machine. Collect the frozen extruded paste in a bowl, and stir in your sweetener, and dish it up! Just mix in whatever sweetener you like, and you are good to go! Hope that helps!


Melanie October 7, 2014 at 8:46 am

Can I premake the ice cream and freeze? I’ve made this before and found that it’s no longer creamy afterwards and it turned brown from the bananas. I guess you have to eat it right away?


Dorothy Reinhold October 7, 2014 at 2:57 pm

We did eat it right away, did not make enough to save. You’re probably right, but you could add a little squirt of lemon juice and stir it in and then freeze. See if that works for you, to keep it from going brown.


Nordic June 22, 2014 at 10:37 am

Is anyone else thrown off by the little girl’s hairstyle?? I love it!


Dorothy Reinhold June 22, 2014 at 10:54 am

She is a rugged individualist! She creates her OWN fashion, and that’s one of the things we love most about her!


Kerrie December 30, 2013 at 2:15 pm

I do weight watchers & that’s how I heard about the yonana & had my husband get me one for Christmas. Are the bananas kind of hard to push (more like force) thru the machine or should I have thawed them more? Thawed them (3) for 11 mins. Froze them for over 24 hrs. like the book states. Also, got a package of frozen fruit at Sam’s. Can hardly wait to start mixing!!!


Dorothy Reinhold December 30, 2013 at 7:13 pm

I can never wait for the bananas to thaw slightly, so I just use them totally frozen. You can either let the fruit thaw just slightly, or you can let the resulting mush thaw just slightly…your choice! Yes, if bananas are rock hard, it will take a push to get them through. Have fun and experiment!


Kobe Bryant January 2, 2014 at 1:56 pm

I agree, the yonana is good but HOW good? I’m not sure. Will it replace my trips to dairy queen? Probably…


Norma Stamp August 5, 2013 at 1:29 pm

I want a Dreamsicle! I love that you have a dairy free alternative! I have 8 food allergies and miss these things!
But I have some questions. I want to be able to use frozen (canned) mandarin oranges (as our oranges don’t come in until winter here in Central FL). But I don’t know how many to use…Can you give me a kind of measurement? There is approximately 1/2 cup in the can I bought. Do I need more? Yonanas said to drain them before I frozen them so I did that on a paper plate. I’m ready! Please message me or email me at mustanglady2222@hotmail.com


Dorothy Reinhold August 6, 2013 at 5:13 pm

I sent you a msg.


Freya January 11, 2013 at 12:02 am

I got a yonana machine yesterday and love it already! It pays not to be inpatient like me and wait until the banana or other fruit is compleatly frozen unless you would like a yoghurt consinsesty! So far I am enjoying banana with cinnamon but pineapple is also very nice! It is not as loud as what I thought it would be. It is a bit annoying having to unscrew it for find another few tablespoons of yonana inside. It is super easy to clean. I just rinse it under hot water straight after I use it and it slides off instantly! Very happy with this product and would recommend it to other people 😀


Toni December 30, 2012 at 8:11 pm

When you made the orange dreamsicle, did you freeze the orange sections too?


Dorothy December 31, 2012 at 11:57 am

Yep, all the fruit is frozen. You separate the orange into segments for easy freezing and for easy feeding into the tube later. Enjoy!


jp December 28, 2012 at 4:16 pm

I got this for Christmas and I love it. This stuff tastes great and is technically zero weight watchers points if you don’t go crazy. I found the machine surprisingly easy to clean.


Lynn December 28, 2012 at 12:44 pm

I just received this for Christmas and love it! My only gripe is that at least 50% of the fruit remains in the gadget and you have to unscrew it to get it all out. Does someone have any tips for me so that more of the fruit mixture is extruded?


X December 15, 2012 at 12:08 am

This is awesome. Coming from a teen who loves icecream and froyo, but dont wanna get fat, this machine is amazing. Mum gets the fruits and freezes them when she gets home at night, the next evening after school i get to eat guiltfree desserts. Without all the “will i get fat if i eat this?” doubts.


D October 20, 2012 at 3:22 pm

I have this machine and it is SO AWESOME. It works great, tastes amazing, and its JUST FRUIT. My boyfriend and I were in love with ice cream and frozen yogurt, going several times a week – we got this machine and now we pass by Ben&Jerrys and Yogurtland without a blink, way more excited to have our guilt free Yonanas at home. Best desert invention ever. You’d be crazy not to have one if you like looking good and eating dessert everyday in the same lifetime.


CeCe September 19, 2012 at 8:11 pm

I saw this on The Doctors I want to order one.
Thank you


Christina July 30, 2012 at 9:31 pm

I too, apparently am with you under that rock, Adair! Looks interesting, but quite pricey for such a gadget, no?


Lentil Breakdown July 28, 2012 at 8:32 am

Uh oh. I’ve been living under a rock. Yo, guess it’s time to get my nana on.


Dorothy Reinhold January 2, 2015 at 3:58 pm



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