Yonanas: A Guilt-Free Dessert Maker?

Photo of Yonana dessert maker by Amy Van Male
Photo by Amy Van Male

Like many people, ice cream is my guilty pleasure. I consider myself to be an ice cream connoisseur. I could eat it every day; however, my jeans serve as a reminder to put the spoon down. With summer fast approaching, and stores displaying bathing suits already, I realize I ate too much ice cream over the winter. The Yonanas dessert maker promises to deliver a guilt-free, fat-free, and dairy-free soft-serve treat, and I’m here for it.

This “nice” cream, as it is often called, is perfect for those who are lactose intolerant, for vegans and is marketed as a healthier option than regular ice cream for everyone. You can customize it any way that you want. The go-to frozen fruit I use is strawberries, bananas, mango, pineapple, and blueberries. Some ideas that you could incorporate with the fruit are granola, honey, nuts, graham crackers, cinnamon, Oreo cookies, chocolate morsels, lime zest, and sprinkles. Make it your own every time. The Yonanas maker is fun to use and experiment with new recipes. My child even loves to use this to make healthy and sometimes not-so-healthy treats.

The Yonanas maker was established in 2011. It made it onto Oprah’s favorite things list in 2016. There are two Yonanas models, the classic and the deluxe. I own the classic version. The main difference between the two models is that the deluxe has a larger motor and can hold more fruit than the classic can. The deluxe model is advertised to be less noisy than the classic, though I cannot confirm that. The classic Yonanas maker comes with a booklet that contains 36 recipes, and the deluxe version has 75 recipes. They both come in a range of fun colors and are reasonably priced. The classic version will run you around $49.99, and the deluxe costs $69.99.

The Yonanas maker takes less than a minute to assemble and requires no tools. It comes with the base, which contains the motor and cord, and the five components that make up the machine are the fruit chute, the plunger, the blade cone, the screw cap, and its rubber seal.

Some preparation is required before using the Yonanas maker. To get started, you will need to unpeel and freeze over-ripened bananas and any other fruit that you want to add to your nice cream. I used bags of frozen fruit, but you could easily prep your fresh fruit and freeze them yourself. You can omit the bananas altogether if you prefer, which would make for more of a sorbet, but the banana is the magic ingredient needed to get the creamy texture of ice cream. Cheetah-spotted bananas contain the perfect amount of sweetness that you will want.

It is essential to take out your frozen fruit and let it sit at room temperature on your counter for ten minutes. This will allow the fruit to soften a little and will improve the end product. Do not skip this step. Sometimes I will take a teaspoon of sugar and sprinkle it onto the fruit while it dethaws. Although it is unnecessary to add sugar, especially with many fruits, the sugar helps the berries taste less tart.

Next, put the fruit down into the chute, start with half a banana, and add the other ingredients. Using the plunger to press the fruit down takes a little bit of force, and the cone blade does its job. Repeat the process until you get the desired amount, and in seconds you have a soft-serve treat.

I had my doubts that frozen fruit alone could deliver the consistency of ice cream, but Yonanas proved me wrong. Compared to the pricier name-brand ice cream makers, such as the Ninja, which work best when using dairy, the Yonanas outperforms. While you could use all frozen fruit in the Ninja ice cream maker, I find the texture more like ice cream with the Yonanas for a fraction of the cost.

There is a lot to like about the Yonanas maker. Yonanas is very easy to use, and the cleanup is a breeze. The components are all dishwasher safe. The Yonanas maker is compact and doesn’t take up much space. I like how customizable it is. But most of all, I love how the end product has the consistency of real ice cream without all the extra calories.

There is room for Yonanas to make some improvements. The machine eats up a good portion of fruit, and it would go to waste if you do not disassemble the pieces to scrape the frozen fruit out. Yonanas should attempt to correct this issue. It is the biggest complaint that I have noticed other customers make as well. Your fingers get sticky, and it can be a mess trying to get all that wasted product out. My only other dislike would be how loud the machine is.

All things considered, I give the Yonanas 4 out of 5 stars. This is a great soft-serve dessert maker that creates a health-conscious treat at a reasonable price. Yonanas is available to purchase on Yonanas.com, Amazon, Target, Wal-Mart, and Bed Bath and Beyond.