A limp banana turning an ominous shade of brown is a common sight in fruit bowls across the land – the short window between the perfect banana and overripeness means we’re sometimes caught short. When a banana loses its firmness it becomes hard to eat as a snack, but it can be mashed and used up in a number of thrifty ways.
We’ve all been there: You purchased a big bunch of bananas only for most of them to go brown before you’ve had the time to eat them. So you should bake with them, right?
Sure, you can always banana bread, Hummingbird Cake, or even ice cream made from ripe bananas. But at what point are bananas too far gone to use? Can a banana simply be too ripe for baking?
If the peels have gone completely black, you might be thinking it’s time to dump them, but bananas are good for much longer than you may think. If you didn’t get a chance to freeze the bananas before they ripened, start preheating the oven, because more likely than not, they are perfectly fine to bake with.
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With their vibrant color and firm texture, bananas make for easy, tasty, and nutritious snacks. But what happens when the fruit loses some of its appetizing points as it ripens with brown spots and mushiness?
Most people will tell you to make some sort of break, but if you’re reading this, then you’re wondering what to do with ripe bananas besides banana bread.
To help your inner chef, we’ve put together a list of delicious ideas to turn your ripe bananas into a range of sweet and savory treats!
Have you ever wanted to make banana bread but found you didn’t have any bananas available?
That used to be a problem, but thanks to various substitutes for bananas in baking, now you can get your fix of banana-flavored treats without having to worry about missing ingredients.
In baking, you can use the likes of applesauce and mashed sweet potatoes as great alternatives to giving your dish the texture and flavor it needs.
To find out more about how to use bananas in baking and what the best substitutes are, keep reading this article.
- What Does Banana Do in Baking?
- The 5 Best Substitutes for Bananas in Baking 3 – Mashed Sweet Potatoes 4 – Eggs or Egg White/Flax Combo
- 3 – Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- 4 – Eggs or Egg White/Flax Combo
What Does Banana Do in Baking?
Bananas are a popular ingredient used in baking due to their convenience, affordability, and versatility.
An unripe banana adds more starch to recipes making them thick and dense, while ripened bananas add moisture, sweetness, and flavor.
Of course, adding bananas has different results depending on the recipe; when added to cakes, they soften the texture, and when added to muffins, they create a moist crumb and give off a delicious aroma.
Using banana when baking is incredibly simple; mash until it becomes thin so that it’s easier to mix into dough-like ingredients or at the end of your mixing process for icings or frosting.
Additionally, adding mashed banana can help add texture or extra flavor to batters like brownies or pancakes.
Overall using bananas allows you to bake something perfectly delicious every time.
If you’re looking for alternative ingredients to use in your baking recipes that call for bananas, there are several great options.
Here are five of the best substitutes for bananas in baking:
1 – Applesauce
Applesauce is so incredibly versatile; it can be a snack, breakfast, or even a topping for desserts.
It is made from cooked apples that are mashed or pureed into a sauce-like consistency and is often sweetened with sugar.
Applesauce has a soft and velvety texture which makes it great for baking as it adds moistness to cakes, muffins, and other treats.
If you don’t have any bananas at home but want to make banana bread, applesauce can be used as an alternative.
Applesauce will give the same moistness to the recipe but may leave a hint of apple flavor in the final result – and that’s nothing to scoff at.
2 – Canned Pumpkin
Canned pumpkin is a highly versatile ingredient and an excellent addition to any pantry.
Not only does it add rich flavor to sweet and savory dishes, but it’s also packed with health benefits thanks to its high nutritional value.
Pumpkin puree has a thick texture that makes it perfect for creating creamy soups and dips, but it also works well as an ingredient in baked goods like muffins and bread.
As an added bonus, it can be used to replace bananas when baking — simply substitute an equal amount of pumpkin puree for the amount of banana called for in the recipe.
3 – Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Mashed sweet potatoes are a delicious, nutritious, and versatile alternative to mashed potatoes or white rice.
The added bonus is that they’re low in fat, sugar, and calories.
Sweet Potatoes have an orangey-yellow hue and a naturally sweet flavor that brings out the sweetness in other ingredients.
In terms of texture, they are smooth yet creamy, which makes them ideal for putting in recipes like casseroles, smoothies, and even cakes instead of bananas.
To use them as a substitute for bananas in baking, you can mash the sweet potatoes until they become almost creamy and then add them to the recipe like normal.
You’ll add both flavor and texture to your finished product while still getting all the same benefits.
4 – Eggs or Egg White/Flax Combo
Egg yolk or a combination of egg white and flax are excellent substitutes for bananas in baking.
The egg-flax combo creates the same thick, moist texture that a banana provides while adding a slightly nutty flavor.
When using eggs as a substitute, it is best to use two eggs per banana called for and whisk them together until evenly combined.
To substitute with the flax and egg white combination, gently whisk together two tablespoons of ground flaxseed with six tablespoons of water, then add one egg white.
This mixture can be used to replace one banana in baking products like pancakes or muffins.
Additionally, using this combination eliminates the need to worry about adding too much moisture since the flax seed will absorb some of the work.
5 – Silken Tofu
Silken tofu is often used to replace eggs and dairy ingredients in vegan baking.
It has a smooth and creamy consistency, featuring neither salty nor sweet flavors, which makes it perfect for savory dishes as well as vegan desserts.
Many bakers find that it works wonders as a banana substitute in some recipes, such as bread, muffins, and cakes.
To use silken tofu for this purpose, blend the same quantity of silken tofu as bananas until the lumps are gone.
This blended form adds moistness and density to baked goods without a noticeable beany flavor.
In conclusion, bananas are a great addition to baking recipes.
However, there are many other ingredients that can be used as substitutes when you don’t have bananas available.
Applesauce, canned pumpkin, mashed sweet potatoes, egg or egg white/flax combo, and silken tofu are all excellent options if you want to get creative in the kitchen.
Each of these ingredients provides their own unique flavor, texture, and health benefits to whatever dish you decide to make.
- Canned Pumpkin
- Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- Eggs or Egg White/Flax Combo
- Silken Tofu
Credit: Caitlin Bensel; Food styling: Emily Nabors Hall and Kady Wohlfarth; Prop styling: Kay Clarke
When life gives you bananas, don’t think making banana bread is the only way to use them up. We’ve got nothing against the easy, classic quickbread, but if you’re looking for some new ways to use old bananas, you’ve come to the right place. There are plenty of quick ways to use overripe bananas, such as mixing them into pancake batter or pan-frying them with cinnamon, but if you want to take things up a notch, many beloved desserts, such as hummingbird cake and bananas foster, get their signature sweetness from the fruit. If you’re burnt out on banana bread, give one of these banana cakes, banana smoothies, banana shakes, or other banana treats a try.
Banana Pudding Cake
Banana Pudding Cake Recipe
One of our testers called this “the ultimate banana pudding in cake form.” Tender laters of cake, creamy vanilla custard, and bananas come together to create a mouthwatering dessert. Warning: There won’t be leftovers.
Susan’s Banana Cake with Chocolate Frosting
Credit: Stacey Ballis
Susan’s Banana Cake with Chocolate Frosting Recipe
On the surface, so simple. A moist, richly banana-flavored, two-layer cake with a dark chocolate frosting. No frills or fancies. No nuts, chocolate chips or chunks, no crispy bits or coconut. Just a basic banana cake with a simple chocolate frosting. And yet, in the marriage of these two tastes something extraordinary happens. It is cake alchemy.
Copycat IHOP Strawberry Banana King’s Hawaiian French Toast
Copycat IHOP Strawberry Banana King’s Hawaiian Sweet Bread French Toast
Credit: Photographer: Antara Sinha; Food Stylist: Briana Riddock
Copycat IHOP Strawberry Banana King’s Hawaiian French Toast Recipe
Strawberry-Banana Pudding Icebox Cake
Strawberry-Banana Pudding Icebox Cake
Credit: Iain Bagwell; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Hadas Smirnoff
Strawberry-Banana Pudding Icebox Cake Recipe
Strawberries add brightness to this fun take on banana pudding. Instead of the usual vanilla wafers, use graham crackers, which make neater slices. An instant hit with your family and guests, this recipe makes delicious use of the fresh strawberries you pick up at the local farmers’ market.
Peanut Butter and Banana Cheesecake with Candied Bacon
mr-Peanut Butter and Banana Cheesecake with Candied Bacon Image
Credit: Time Inc. Food Studios
Peanut Butter and Banana Cheesecake with Candied Bacon Recipe
For a cake that is truly impessive, look no further than this amazing cheesecake! Topped with candied bacon, this sweet and salty treat is truly a delight. Perfect for a celebration or just to satisfy a sweet tooth, this cheesecake will definitely be a crowd-pleaser.
Banana-Berry Smoothie Recipe
While the dishwasher runs after dinner, whip up a batch of this blended treat. Honey sweetens the banana-strawberry-yogurt mixture. Serve thick for a fun beat-the-heat dessert.
Banana-Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Banana-Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Credit: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Leigh Ann Ross
Banana-Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe
“Mashed ripe banana adds sweetness and flavor to these chocolate chip cookies. I found I could reduce the usual amount of sugar and butter.” –Cathy Brixen, Phoenix, Ariz.
Banana Caramel Cake
Banana Caramel Cake
Banana Caramel Cake Recipe
Forget banana bread, we’re craving this banana cake! A drizzle of sweet and salty caramel on the top works perfectly in this easy recipe, and it’s a great way to use up those overripe bananas.
Pan-Fried Cinnamon Bananas
EC: Pan-Fried Cinnamon Bananas Are Ridiculously Easy
Pan-Fried Cinnamon Bananas Recipe
One reviewer says, “Made it for my mothers for Mother’s Day and she loved it and with my lack of experience it was really easy to make and really simple and tasted magnificent. Will make this again for other events.”
Banana Peanut Butter Smoothies
Banana Peanut Butter Smoothies
Banana Peanut Butter Smoothies Recipe
Refreshing and packed with plenty of peanut butter flavor, these easy smoothies are the perfect afternoon pick-me-up.
Banana Almond Cake
Banana Almond Cake
Banana Almond Cake Recipe
A bag of ripe bananas inspired Jan McHargue to create this coffee cake. You can enjoy the banana cake with its spicy brown sugar-almond topping and filling for brunch, with coffee, or for dessert.
Cold Brew-Banana Smoothie
Cold Brew-Banana Smoothie
Credit: Sara Tane
Cold Brew-Banana Smoothie Recipe
Who says you can’t caffeinate and fill up on a hearty, wholesome breakfast smoothie all at the same time? In this cozy java concoction, prepared cold brew is blended into a banana and almond milk smoothie. Rather than using ice cubes which will dilute the flavor of the smoothie, the cold brew is cleverly frozen. With a dash of cinnamon and agave nectar, this healthy breakfast smoothie tastes like banana bread in a glass.
Double-Banana Pound Cake
Double-Banana Pound Cake
Credit: Randy Mayor
Double-Banana Pound Cake Recipe
For banana lovers: This cake packs a double punch of banana with the fruit and liqueur. The banana liqueur is a must; it gives the cake a sweet, rich banana flavor.
It’s such a bummer when bananas start to turn brown and mushy before you get to eat them. But don’t throw them away just yet!
Instead, try these insanely flavorful recipes for ripe bananas.
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Ripe, and even overripe bananas make the perfect baking ingredient. In fact, the blacker the peel, the better it is!
It makes banana bread, cakes, and other baked treats moist and so much sweeter.
Don’t waste ripe bananas ever again! With these 35 recipes, you can give your aging fruit a new purpose. They’re so good, you’ll go bananas!
35 Easy Ways to Use Up Ripe Bananas
Give your regular pancakes a fun and fruity twist!
They’re crisp on the outside, tender on the inside, and loaded with ripe bananas. These pancakes have bananas in the batter itself. Yum.
Top with butter, maple syrup, blueberries, and even more ripe bananas, for a hearty breakfast the whole family will love.
Banana Ice Cream
What a perfect summer treat! This banana ice cream may be decadent, but it’s secretly healthy.
Freeze those mashed bananas to make the most luscious and velvety dessert!
Want chocolate, peanut butter, cookies ‘n cream, or pina colada ice cream? This recipe has it all, so take your pick.
This classic banana bread is tender and moist with a crisp cinnamon crumble on top.
I’ve made lots of banana bread loaves in the past, and I must say, this is one of the best banana recipes I’ve tried. It’s love at first bite!
Have a slice of warm banana bread with your favorite cup of coffee for a hearty, breakfast for the whole family.
These banana muffins are fluffy and tender. They’re my favorite breakfast on the go!
And as a quick bread, these muffins are quick and easy to make. You’re done in under 30 minutes.
It’s not magic, it’s Bisquick. The handy-dandy baking mix never disappoints. I’ve used it several times to trick my friends into thinking I’m a baking pro.
Double Chocolate Banana Muffins
Double the chocolate, double the fun!
Loaded with ripe bananas and chocolate chips, these muffins are an explosion of flavors.
This quick bread is a breeze to make, too, making it a perfect breakfast on the go or an afternoon snack.
Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
If you’re looking for something hearty and decadent for breakfast, look no further. We have a winner!
These easy banana chocolate chip muffins are both fruity and chocolate-y. They’re some of the best banana muffins I’ve had.
They’re freezer-friendly, too! Make a large batch, freeze, and reheat!
This moist cake is phenomenal. So sweet and tender!
The cake recipe makes a dense cake that’s light at the same time. It’s made even better with a sweet and tangy cream cheese frosting.
The balance of tastes is nothing short of amazing.
Want something exciting to do with your bananas? Well, bananas foster it is!
This sinful treat is made of sweet ripe bananas spiked with a buttery rum sauce.
With a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top, the dessert is impossible to resist. I dare you to try!
Pan Fried Cinnamon Bananas
This recipe may be simple, but it’s pure genius!
Just pan-fry bananas in cinnamon and sugar for the most drool-worthy dessert. These guys are heaven in a bite.
Eat them on their own, with a scoop of ice cream, or on top of French toast or pancakes. Delightful.
Here’s a simple 5-minute breakfast sure to make your mouth water. Who says healthy banana recipes can’t taste amazing?
This breakfast smoothie features the iconic combo of peanut butter and bananas. No one can resist this sweet and creamy breakfast treat!
For an extra dose of fiber and protein, throw in some chia seeds.
Strawberry Banana Smoothie
Strawberries and bananas together make a beautiful flavor harmony. That’s why I love these two fruits in my smoothie!
In this classic recipe, you can have the creamiest, tastiest smoothie with just 4 ingredients.
Again, if you have them on hand, add a tablespoon of chia seeds for a healthier, protein rich drink.
Chocolate Banana Smoothie
Minimal effort, maximum flavor: that’s what this chocolate banana smoothie is all about.
Chocolate, peanut butter, and banana. All those lovely tastes in one smoothie? Sign me up.
It’s not just rich in flavor and protein, but it also couldn’t be easier to make. All you need for this healthy treat are 6 ingredients and 5 minutes.
Tired of banana bread? Make banana cookies instead!
Tender and loaded with walnuts, these cookies are incredibly addictive. They’ll disappear so fast, it’ll be like they never existed!
As an added bonus, they’re also healthy and rich in protein.
They come together in no time, too! These crisp and tender cookies bake for only 15 to 20 minutes.
Chocolate Chip Banana Cookies
You can’t go wrong with these cookies. They’re sweet, fruity, and chocolatey. Get in my belly, already!
Banana Cream Pie
Indulge yourself with this sweet and decadent homemade pie. Buttery crust loaded with bananas, custard, and whipped cream.
It’s everything you can ask for in a dessert!
Ever heard of the hummingbird cake? If you haven’t, you’re in for a treat!
This Southern layer cake recipe combines flavors of bananas, pineapple, and warm spices, plus toasted pecans and a cream cheese frosting.
Imagine all those flavors and textures in one dessert! Like a cross between a butter cookie and a pina colada, it’s a moist cake that’s sinful and heavenly.
Banana Cream Icebox Cake
In need of a cake, but can’t bake to save your life? This banana cream icebox cake is the solution.
With layers of graham crackers, sliced bananas, pudding, and whipped cream, this dessert will absolutely knock your socks off. Plus, it’s a cinch to make.
Just arrange all the layers, refrigerate, and you’re done. Serve it to your friends, and in just seconds, poof, it’ll be gone!
This banana pudding has layers of vanilla wafers, ripe bananas, vanilla pudding, and whipped cream. It’s a simple dessert with perfect flavors.
All you need are 7 simple ingredients and 30 minutes of your time! It’s the most effortless way to impress your friends.
Banana Bread French Toast
This recipe combines the goodness of two dynamite dishes for an explosion of flavor.
Use slices of banana bread to make a sweet and fruity French toast. It’s so simple, it’s genius!
Banana Breakfast Bars
These bars will give you all the nourishment you need in the morning. They’re the breakfast of champions!
There’s no need to head to the bakery for fresh banana breakfast bars. They’re so easy to make at home!
You can have your favorite treats at a fraction of the cost!
Banana Bread Coffee Cake
Bananas plus coffee make the most delicious cake. This flavor combo truly hits the spot.
It’s perfect for breakfast, an afternoon snack, and even dessert. With how good this banana bread coffee cake is, you’ll definitely crave it for days.
Banana Bundt Cake
If you think this gorgeous cake requires expert baking skills, you are mistaken, my friend. It’s so easy, anyone can whip this up!
Peanut butter, mashed banana, and chocolate together in one brownie? Count me in!
Time to put a fun and creative spin on the classic. Combining the goodness of three yummy ingredients, these brownies are the bomb! They’re fudgy and chewy, too.
Banana Chocolate Cake
A cake that only requires 6 ingredients? You must think I’m crazy!
I’m not, though. This banana chocolate cake only calls for cake mix, oil, eggs, overripe bananas, and chocolate chips. That’s it!
If you’re looking for an impressive dessert that comes together in no time, this is it. It may be a simple recipe, but it makes a perfectly tender, moist, and delicious cake.
Vegan Banana Bread
For a healthy banana bread recipe, try this vegan banana bread recipe with whole wheat flour and almond milk.
In less than an hour, you’ll have warm banana bread perfect for breakfast, a snack, or anytime you need a little pick-me-up.
It’s one of the best banana bread recipes out there, so you’re in good hands.
Blueberry Banana Bread
Get ready for a berry delicious treat with this blueberry banana bread recipe.
This warm banana bread is packed with rich flavors from eggs & yogurt and sweetness from bananas.
And let’s not forget the star of the show: juicy blueberries that add a burst of flavor to every bite.
Want a fun twist on the classic banana bread? This one’s a must-try.
Banana Oatmeal Overnight Oats
Tired of the same old boring breakfast routine? Then it’s time to mix things up with these delicious and nutritious banana oatmeal overnight oats!
Loaded with rolled oats, chia seeds, bananas, peanut or almond butter, & almond milk, this recipe is a game-changer.
It’s delicious, easy to make, and packed with healthy, protein rich ingredients that’ll keep you feeling full all morning long.
Vegan Banana Muffins
Looking for healthy banana recipes to satisfy your sweet tooth? These vegan banana muffins are the perfect treat!
Made with whole wheat flour, almond milk, and brown sugar, they’re a wholesome alternative to traditional muffins.
And with their irresistible combination of chocolate chips and walnuts, they’re sure to be a hit with anyone who loves a little indulgence.
No-Bake Banana Cream Cheesecake
Say hello to this no-bake banana cream cheesecake for a sweet and creamy dessert that requires zero baking effort.
With its rich banana flavor and velvety texture, it’s the perfect treat for anyone who craves something indulgent.
It comes topped with a fluffy whipped cream layer sweetened with sugar, making it the ultimate dessert to satisfy your sweet tooth without the need for baking skills.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bites
Are you a fan of the delicious combo of chocolate, peanut butter, and banana? You’re in for a treat!
Made with two banana rounds filled with peanut butter and then dipped in rich chocolate, these bites are the perfect way to indulge your sweet tooth.
As a bonus, these bites are loaded with protein and nutrients, giving you the energy boost to conquer your day.
Vegan Chocolate Banana Bread
Calling all chocolate lovers! Indulge in the rich, decadent goodness of this vegan chocolate bread.
Made with wholesome ingredients like whole wheat flour, mashed bananas, and brown sugar, it’s the perfect way to satisfy your sweet tooth without any of the guilt.
And with its moist and fudgy texture, this bread is sure to become your go-to treat for any time of the day.
How about a banana split for an indulgent dessert?
This dessert isn’t only delicious but also versatile.
Top it off with pineapple sauce, chocolate syrup, whipped cream, nuts, and cherries – let your imagination run wild!
Perfect for sharing or enjoying all by yourself, a banana split is a classic dessert that never goes out of style.
Patti Labelle Banana Pudding
Get ready for a taste of southern heaven with Patti LaBelle’s famous banana pudding recipe. This dessert features layers of vanilla wafers, banana slices, and vanilla pudding that’ll leave your taste buds in pure bliss.
You can even add a dollop of whipped cream or sprinkle some extra vanilla wafers on top for that extra oomph.
Banana Pudding Cookies
Take your cookie game to the next level with these unique and delicious banana cookies.
Made with instant banana pudding, brown sugar, and white chocolate chips, these cookies are a true indulgence.
They’re topped with crushed vanilla wafers, adding the perfect amount of sweetness and crunch.
Prepare to be amazed!
These cupcakes are made with fresh, ripe bananas and baked to perfection, resulting in a moist texture that almost melts in your mouth.
And the cream cheese frosting is the perfect complement, adding a sweet and tangy flavor that will have you licking the bowl clean.
It’s hard to go to the grocery store without spotting it: That beautiful tower of yellow fruit, just begging to come home with you. Bananas are delicious tropical fruits with a soft and creamy texture and complexion. There are over 1,000 different kinds of bananas (via PBS), which come in many sizes and colors. However, most of the time, the bananas in the grocery store are the sweet yellow kind, also known as Cavendish bananas (via Healthline).
If you pick up a bunch of bananas though, you’d better act quickly. According to Glad, ripe bananas only last five to seven days, which is not very long. Even if you eat them every day, it is almost inevitable that some will go bad. Plus, once they’re overripe, you may not want to eat them at all. Don’t fret, though — there are plenty of ways to use up bananas by cooking them. So whether you are in the mood for sweet or savory, bananas can play an important role in recipes for all sorts of meals and snacks.
First up, a classic: banana bread! Banana bread is not just a popular banana-based food, it is the most searched-for bread recipe online in the United States (via King Arthur Baking). Banana bread’s rise to fame has to do with exactly the problem all of us experience: Bananas are delicious but do not last very long once ripe. According to King Arthur Baking, during the Great Depression, throwing out food that was still edible was not an option. Additionally, the popularity of leaveners, such as baking powder, led to a rise in quick, no-yeast breads. It also probably didn’t hurt that overripe bananas have more sugar in them than underripe ones, adding more sweetness during a time of rationing (via Insider).
All of this led to a huge bump in banana bread recipes in the 1930s. And ever since we got a taste, we can’t go back. There are hundreds of recipes available online, each using different amounts of banana, adding different flavor elements, and including just about any extra ingredients you want. So whether you are looking for a breakfast treat, a quick snack, or an easy baking project, try a loaf of banana bread.
If you want a banana breakfast treat, one of the tastiest and simplest things you can make is banana pancakes. Not only are they easy and quick to whip up, they can also be made with as little as three ingredients.
All you need to make these quick banana pancakes are oats, bananas, and a milk of your choice. Simply dump all these ingredients into a blender, mix it all up, and voilà, you have pancake batter. These pancakes are a sweet and hearty breakfast made with cheap ingredients, and they can be completely vegan depending on your choice of milk.
Of course, there are plenty of other more complicated recipes if that’s the route you want to go. But these pancakes taste amazing and take so much less time than their traditional counterpart. To keep it simple while still adding a bit of pizzazz, you can add in some blueberries or chocolate chips. Or, finish them off with your favorite pancake toppings. The recipe can easily be scaled up, so no matter how many pancakes you want, this is a perfect option to use up your bananas.
Dina Photo Stories/Shutterstock
However, banana cookies don’t have to be oaty or made only with minimal ingredients. These more traditional banana cookies are more labor-intensive to make but result in a soft and pillowy chocolate chip cookie finish.
Finally, if you are making a batch of cookies and find that you do not have eggs, don’t fret. As we mentioned, bananas make an excellent binding ingredient, and according to PETA, you can substitute one mashed banana for one egg while baking. So no matter what your favorite cookie recipe is, why not try it with a banana instead?
Bananas Foster is a classic 20th-century dessert. It was originally invented in New Orleans, which was once home to an impressive banana trade (via NPR). The dessert was invented at the famous Brennan’s Restaurant in New Orleans back in 1951. A special visitor, Crime Commission Chairman Richard Foster, was dining there, and the owner wanted to make him a special dessert. So he asked his sister Ella to come up with something. Because their other brother worked in the banana business, there were extra bananas hanging around the kitchen, so thinking of a caramelized dish her mom used to make, Ella got to work. Then, for extra flare, she set the whole thing on fire. The dessert was named “Bananas Foster” and it was a hit. Seven decades later, the dessert remains a favorite.
Bananas Foster does not call for many ingredients. It is simply sugar, butter, cinnamon, bananas, rum, and banana liqueur. It all gets sautéed together before the big event — the flambée. This can be a bit of a frightening culinary experience for first-timers, but the bananas will be okay, and so will your kitchen as long as you take the proper precautions when working with fire. With this dessert, you get a treat and a science experiment all in one, while using up those extra bananas you have sitting around.
Dairy-free banana ice cream
Did you know that bananas are ideally suited for making ice cream? And yes, while they are delicious in traditional ice cream, we mean simple, one-ingredient ice cream.
You see, bananas are super creamy and sweet on their own. They do not need extra ingredients in them to create a smooth and rich-tasting dessert. Simply take overripe bananas — and remember, the riper, the sweeter – and freeze them. Then blend them until they create a smooth, soft-serve-like consistency. You may think this could never possibly make a good result. But trust us, it works.
The best part is that you can add extra ingredients to make whatever flavor combination you want, like mixed fruit or banana chocolate ice cream. And as bananas are so mildly flavored, they pair with just about anything. If you prefer to stick with something simple, try sprucing up your banana ice cream with a hint of nutmeg and salt.
Muffins are a great way to get all the joys of snacks in one easy-to-handle item. No more cutting and measuring; simply grab a muffin, and you are on your way.
As a food that can be used in both sweet and savory recipes, bananas are the perfect addition to muffins. As we mentioned earlier, their natural binding ability makes them a substitute for eggs in baked goods. Using bananas will also add a healthy dose of fruit to your muffins.
If you are not looking to sub out an ingredient for bananas in your muffins, do not fear. There are so many great banana muffin recipes out there that you are sure to find one to suit your taste. From vegan banana chocolate chip muffins to almond butter banana muffins to roasted banana muffins, and everything in between, you can find a banana muffin recipe that uses as much or as little banana as you want. You’ll be sure to enjoy these sweet treats once they’re done baking.
We all know frying things makes them absolutely delicious, so why would bananas be any different? Banana chips are usually made by slicing bananas thin, frying them in oil, and then sometimes adding extra sugar to create a crisp banana wafer. They are sweet and crunchy and make a perfect snack that is shelf-stable if appropriately stored (via Practical Action).
As Healthline points out, though, frying banana chips is not healthy and can create high-fat snacks. If you are looking to keep things a little healthier, there are other options. First, omit any extra sugar, and either bake or use a dehydrator to create your banana chips. This will prohibit any excess sugar or oil from finding its way into your snack.
The nice thing about banana chips is that, unlike other food options such as muffins, they don’t need to be eaten quickly before they mold or go stale. Instead, you can keep them in a bag and grab as many or as few as you want. This will give you your banana fix for up to two months without the need for fresh bananas (via Healthline).
Banana ketchup is not something that many people in the United States are accustomed to. Despite being an incredibly popular condiment, many people think of ketchup simply as a tomato-based product in a Heinz bottle. However, ketchup is so much more than that.
According to History, ketchup goes all the way back to imperial China. In fact, before the 1800s when tomato ketchup first came into vogue, ketchup was made from any number of ingredients, including fruit.
Ever since Heinz took over the ketchup market in the United States, we have had a fairly limited scope of what ketchup can be, but other ketchup still exists. Banana ketchup, for example, is a popular variety in the Philippines (via Uwajimaya). Banana ketchup uses similar ingredients to tomato ketchup, using vinegar, sugar, and spices, but instead of tomatoes, bananas are used. While you can purchase this condiment at the stores, why not try and make some at home? Especially since many of the ones found in stores are colored to resemble tomato ketchup, making your own would be a fun experiment that would give you a unique condiment. Plus, you’ll be aware of every ingredient that goes into it!
For something that is a little sweet and a little spicy, look no further than banana curry. Many people think of curry as something for savory ingredients such as meats and vegetables, but there is a rich tradition of fruit being utilized in curries.
As Atlas Obscura notes, it is not unheard of to use fruits in curries in India. These fruits range from pineapple to jackfruit and, yes, bananas. In some religious orders, such as the Jain community, both unripe and ripe bananas could be used as a substitute for eating “bulbous root vegetables and tubers,” which are forbidden to adherents. However, if this is not part of your religion, you are free to use both to create your appetizing curries.
Atlas Obscura also notes that using unripe bananas as a stand-in for vegetables in curries can help when supplies are low. Additionally, many will employ overripe bananas in curries as a way to use up large supplies of the fruit. So, no matter what state your bananas are in, green or going brown, why not try making a banana curry such as this Lamb Banana Curry? It will break away from the monotony of banana-based dessert cooking.
Arroz a la Cubana
Arroz a la Cubana can also be called huevo frito con arroz. It is a dish made in Hispanic countries as well as in the Philippines (via Panlasang Pinoy). The dish starts with a base of rice and often ground beef. Then, it is topped with a fried egg.
In addition, though, this selection is often served with a fried banana or plantain. According to Panlasang Pinoy, the fried banana is ubiquitous in the Filipino version of the dish.
One of the advantages of this dish is that it uses bananas in a savory way, pairing them with other meat and eggs. Unlike many of the other items you can cook with bananas, this is neither a dessert nor a snack. You can eat arroz a la Cubana as a meal and still use up those pesky bananas. Frying bananas and their cousin, plantains, in other parts of the world such as Latin America is not uncommon and makes an excellent addition to dishes (via Eat Peru).
We’ve already discussed how frying foods makes them infinitely better. If you’re not feeling the banana chip, why not take a leaf out of author Ayesha Curry’s book, and make some banana fritters?
Banana fritters can be made in any number of ways. You can batter and deep fry whole pieces of banana, or the bananas can be cut in different shapes and sizes or mashed and mixed with other ingredients. Whatever your choice, banana fritters are a delicious way to use up bananas.
Banana fritters are made in different cultures around the world. For example, according to Indoindians, banana fritters are called Pisang Goreng in Indonesia. Meanwhile, in Cambodia, they can be purchased as street food (Khmer Times).
Banana fritters can become a savory treat by omitting the vanilla from the batter and pairing the fritters with savory sauces. Or they can be made sweet with decadent toppings and a sweeter batter. No matter what your fried banana preference is, once you make and taste a banana fritter, you will never go back.
It is no secret that oatmeal and banana taste amazing together. So why not work some extra bananas into your morning routine by adding them to your oatmeal? Not only will this add a bump of sweetness and creaminess, but bananas and oatmeal are also a healthy pairing.
According to SF Gate, bananas and oatmeal are both high in fiber, which increases your heart health. Plus, fiber helps keep you full and satisfied for longer. While oatmeal on its own is good for this, including fiber-filled bananas adds an extra kick to your breakfast, helping you power through the day.
Plus, bananas will add potassium, as well as magnesium, folate, and a whole host of other vitamins and minerals, to your breakfast (via Verywell Fit).
What’s even better is that banana oatmeal is super easy to make. You can slice a banana on top, or mash it and mix it in for an extra creamy texture. For those who do not want to have to wake up and cook, you can make overnight oats and simply throw in your banana the next morning. It could not be easier to pair this iconic duo together.
P Maxwell Photography/Shutterstock
If you have some perfectly ripe bananas that are just begging to be used, why not make the classic banana split? This dessert elicits retro soda fountain vibes and is the perfect treat on a hot summer day.
The creation of the dessert is hotly contested, but the most likely story is that it was created by David Strickler in 1904 while he was working at a soda fountain in Latrobe, Pennsylvania (via Pennsylvania Center for the Book).
Because the banana split was invented to be made quickly and served to customers, it is easy enough to make at home. Typically a banana is sliced the long way and opened up. From there, vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry ice creams are added and topped with chocolate syrup, nuts, whipped cream, and of course, a cherry. Some variations use strawberry and pineapple sauce or even caramel sauce. However, when making it at home, what you use is entirely up to you. Use whatever ice cream and toppings you have around and make your split perfectly suit your tastes. Not only will this be a delicious treat, but it can be made entirely without turning on a stove.
10 – Ice Cream
You can transform your ripe bananas into ice cream — how awesome is that?
The process couldn’t be easier. Here are the steps:
- Chop the ripe bananas and place them in an airtight container then put the container in the freezer for a minimum of 2 hours.
- Transfer the frozen banana to a powerful food blender, processor, or chopper.
- Start pulsing to break up the banana.
- Keep blending until the banana looks gooey then looks like oatmeal.
- Continue blending and you’ll see the banana smooth out into a soft ice cream texture.
- At this point, you can gently stir in any extras such as peanut butter, honey, chocolate chips, nuts, cocoa powder, cinnamon, or ginger.
- Feel free to eat the banana ice cream right away or pour it into an airtight container and freeze it until solid then serve.
2 – Muffins
Walking the fine line between cake and breakfast, muffins are one of the blessings that baking can bestow upon our days.
Making muffins with bananas? Not only do these fruits add extra tenderness and moisture, but their creaminess just makes the treat more addicting.
Not to mention, ripe bananas provide a candy-like flavor that works great with the richness of muffins. The browner the bananas get, the more will the notes of vanilla, honey, and rum come through.
For the batter of your banana muffins, one of our favorite recipes uses walnuts, pecans, brown sugar, and cinnamon. We also love the combination of orange juice, canned pumpkin, date paste, flax seeds, and dried cranberries.
9 – Oatmeal Bowls
Be it a healthy breakfast, a nutritious lunch, a filling snack, or a light dinner, there’s nothing easier to make than an oatmeal bowl.
Just grab a couple of your ripe bananas, cut or mash them up, and stir them into your bowl of oats. You can add warm milk for cold days or mix in some yogurt for a refreshing touch.
Banana oatmeal bowls are super versatile depending on what you like. You can go ahead and add strawberries, blueberries, walnuts, pecans, cinnamon, pineapples, apples, and so on.
3 – Pancakes
Who doesn’t love pancakes? Whether it’s a hearty breakfast or a Sunday brunch, bananas can add an extra dose of moisture, sweetness, and butteriness to your fluffy pancakes.
Don’t just stop at slicing ripe bananas to top your pancakes, instead incorporate the mashed fruit into the batter to really get the flavor in there.
One of our favorite banana pancake recipes uses a mixture of mashed ripe bananas, milk, oat flour, oats, and chocolate chips. Some diced strawberries on top will make them perfect!
You can also try making 2-ingredient pancakes using mashed ripe bananas and eggs (2 large eggs for each banana). Top with maple syrup, powdered sugar, or jam, and dig right in!
Why It’s Best To Bake With Brown Bananas
Ripe bananas are not only softer, and therefore easier to mash and blend into a batter, but they are also sweeter, which is why baking recipes specifically call for ripe bananas in ingredient lists. As the bananas ripen, the fruit converts starches to sugars, which makes them not only sweeter but more flavorful.
If you’ve ever had a slice of banana bread that barely tastes of banana it’s probably because the bananas used weren’t quite ripe enough.
Plus, using brown bananas prevents baked goods from becoming gummy or starchy in texture, which often happens when green or under ripe bananas are used.
What To Do With Those Brown Bananas
You’ve determined that your brown bananas are still good to use, but you need to get a move on and bake with them soon. So, what should you make?
Banana bread is far from the only thing you can make with ripe bananas. Try our Bananas Foster Coffee Cake with Vanilla-Rum Sauce or an easier version of a classic with our Hummingbird Bundt Cake. Skip desserts altogether and blend them into a smoothie. Just don’t use them for desserts where you want pretty and neat slices of fresh banana, like in a Classic Banana Pudding, because while sweet and delicious, these bananas are not all that pretty to look at.
6 – Cookies
An easy and delicious dessert you can make with ripe bananas is none other than cookies. You can have these for breakfast, pack them for lunch, eat them as a tea-time snack, or serve them after dinner.
After you mix the butter, sugar, and eggs, add some mashed ripe bananas, baking soda, flour, cinnamon, and salt. When the batter is just combined, stir in white or milk chocolate chips, toffee bits, or your choice of nuts.
Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown. You can enjoy your banana cookies as is or top them with some chocolate or caramel frosting.
Leftover banana recipes
A popular way of using up bananas is in a loaf or bread, and we have no shortage of recipes to keep you busy. Try a traditional loaf with icing, team it with Brazil nuts, or try our healthy banana bread with low-fat spread for breakfast. Check out our collection of banana bread recipes for lots of inspiration.
Let your soft and squidgy bananas meld in heavenly fashion with chocolate buttons in these whole baked bananas. If it’s not barbecue season, they’ll cook perfectly well in the oven. Contrast all the steaming gooey sweetness with a dollop of ice cream.
Chocolate baked bananas
Earn brownie points by tucking one of these moreish banana and pecan muffins into a lunchbox, or serve for an easy breakfast. If you prefer, you can swap the buttermilk for milk and lemon juice.
Microwave banana pudding
The mashable nature of overripe bananas means they can easily be worked into a cake batter. This cheat’s pud takes merely 20 minutes in the microwave, making it an ideal no-fuss midweek pud.
Microwave banana pudding
Quick banana ice cream
You don’t need a fancy churner to enjoy homemade ice cream. For this version, chop your ripe bananas then freeze on a tray. Once frozen, whizz in a food processor with milk. It even counts towards your five-a-day – what more could you ask for?
Quick banana ice cream
Another way of getting benefits from nutritious, potassium-rich bananas is to blitz them into a smoothie. Use a pack of silken tofu to add extra protein, making it super filling.
Blitz up some more delicious banana smoothies.
For a delicious dairy and egg-free alternative, try our coconut & banana pancakes.
Banana fairy cakes
Use up your mushy bananas in a traditional sponge. These cake sale-friendly cupcakes with retro icing will go down a storm with kids.
Dotty banana fairy cakes
Try this moreish French toast with spiced banana and honey for brunch this weekend. Serve with whipped cream for a real treat.
Spiced banana honey French toast
Be a little more virtuous with a nutritious flapjack, packed with hidden apple and banana, healthy seeds, chewy apricots and peanut butter.
8 – Fritters
You’re probably more familiar with savory fritters that use potatoes, meat, seafood, or other similar ingredients. But have you tried making sweet fritters before?
These battered, deep-fried treats taste amazing when you add ripe bananas into the equation. The extra creaminess and honey-ness take this comfort food to a cozier place.
All you need to do is mix mashed ripe bananas with flour, baking soda, water, and oil. Then shape the batter into disks and deep fry until golden brown.
When done, drain the banana fritters on paper and sprinkle with a cinnamon-brown sugar blend.
More brilliant banana recipes.
Banana recipe collectionVegan banana pancakes recipe videoEasiest ever banana ice cream recipe video
As many countries urge populations to stay at home, many of us are paying more attention to our diets and how the food we eat can support our health. To help sort out the fact from the fiction, BBC Future is updating some of their most popular nutrition stories from their archive.
1 – Milkshakes and Smoothies
One of the simplest things you can whip up using ripe bananas is a drink, and no drinks are more suitable than milkshakes and smoothies for the incorporation of fruits such as bananas.
Since they’re already mushy, the bananas will blend with other ingredients more smoothly. Bananas also add a delightful creaminess to your smoothies or milkshake, along with a healthy dose of nutrients.
One of our all-time favorite banana milkshake recipes uses peanut butter, chocolate chips, and vanilla extract. Blend everything with your choice of milk and you’re ready to drink up!
As for smoothies, pair bananas with dried dates, chia seeds, lime juice, and cinnamon for a yummy breakfast on the go. You can also couple bananas with other fruits including strawberries, mangoes, and pineapples.
11 – Pudding
How about a rich banana pudding to indulge your taste buds? Here’s how you can make it:
- Start by cutting some brioche slices in halves, coat them with some butter, and arrange them in a greased baking dish.
- Then, slice the ripe bananas and arrange them between the brioche slice along with some pieces of your favorite chocolate type.
- After that, whisk some milk and custard in a bowl then pour the mixture over the arranged slices.
- Transfer the baking dish to a larger baking pan and pour boiling water enough to reach halfway up the sides of the baking dish.
- Take the baking dish out of the oven and let it rest at room temperature for a minimum of 15 minutes.
- Serve warm or cold with a sprinkle of icing sugar.
Buying and storing bananas
Consider the shelf life when buying bananas. If you want to eat them over the course of the week, choose ones that have green tinges on the ends as they can be ripened at home. To eat straight away, choose bananas with small patches of black on the skin, which is a sign of ripeness. Store in a fruit bowl rather than the fridge, as the cold temperature will make the skins go black. They’ll also make everything else in the fridge smell like bananas.
Can Bananas Be Too Ripe?
As with most produce, there comes a point of no return. If the bananas have any visible signs of mold, throw them out. If they smell off, that’s another good indicator that they are no longer okay to use.
Rotten bananas will often have a fermented or alcohol-like smell. While it’s okay if the banana peel is dark brown or even black, if the inside is too, then the fruit is beyond ripe and now on its way to rotten.
Another sign that bananas have gone bad is if they start leaking any fluids. When in doubt, just toss the bananas out.
How To Pick The Best Bananas For Baking
When it comes to baking, you want bananas covered all over in brown spots that smell very fragrant. These are signs that the banana is fully ripe, although you can wait longer until the bananas are completely brown or even black on the outside for the most flavor.
If your bananas are perfectly ripe and ready for baking, but you aren’t, freeze them so you’ll always have ripe bananas on hand for baking.
If you have the opposite problem and need to ripen bananas quickly, store them in a warm spot or inside a paper bag; these methods will speed up the ripening process.
4 – Meatballs
You’ve probably never thought of bananas and beef teaming up for a recipe, but nothing is impossible; just meet these meatballs!
That’s right, you can use ripe bananas the next time you’re making meatballs. The fruit will help the meatballs become juicier and more tender with a hint of smokiness that blends smoothly with the rest of the flavors.
This recipe uses1 large mashed banana for every pound of minced beef steak. Add torn bread, chopped bacon, grated carrot, and diced onion to create the mixture.
Don’t forget to mix in an egg to better bind all the ingredients. You can also throw in some powdered curry for a kick of spice.
Once you roll the mixture into balls, feel free to cook them in a pan or grill on a BBQ.
7 – Cake
If you’ve got leftover ripe bananas and don’t want to make traditional banana bread, why not use them to cook up a banana cake?
Bananas in a cake don’t just mean more flavor, but they also give your baked creation a more moist and tender texture. You don’t need us to tell you that you can have cake anytime; you’ll even feel less guilty if you only opt for sweetness from the bananas.
What you need to do is cream some butter, vanilla, and sugar, then mix in eggs, mashed bananas, milk, baking soda, and flour. Feel free to add grated carrots, chopped dates, or chopped walnuts.
After that, pour the batter into a greased pan and bake for about 40 minutes.
5 – Tartes
Bananas have a unique sweetness that makes them a great ingredient in dessert recipes, particularly when whipping up a tart. Their creaminess, notes of honey, and vanilla undertones can boost the flavor profile of your tart to a whole new level.
One of our favorite recipes calls for brown sugar, chopped butter, bananas in cut halves, cinnamon, and macadamias. Combine the ingredients and place the bananas on top before baking.
Once out of the oven, sprinkle with macadamias and serve with some vanilla ice cream.
Wondering what to do with ripe bananas besides banana bread? As you can tell from today’s list, there’s no shortage of options!
From baked goods to ice cream to savory treats, the sky is your limit!
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.