Bake Those Brown Bananas Into a New Life With These 15 Recipes
If the produce section was high school, the banana would be your high school sweetheart.
Banana is the total package: delicious, nutritious and versatile. He’s the most popular fruit consumed in the U.S., and while he may have a tough exterior, he’s really a softy on the inside. And he’s rich, so rich, in nutrients like vitamin B6 and potassium. What’s not to love?
Unfortunately, he has a very short shelf life. (He plays so hard to get!)
While your significant other may not live up to the banana’s reputation, don’t hold it against them. You can have the best of both worlds, whether your bananas are young guns or a little past their prime.
When it’s been a busy week and I choose other snacks (probably donuts) over my beloved bananas, that cheerful yellow starts to turn a sad, neglected brown. Then, I avoid the bananas for a few more days out of guilt until they’re completely inedible on their own.
I feel so guilty letting food go to waste, so I searched the internet high and low for what to do with overripe bananas.
By the grace of Google, I found more than enough banana recipes to give my little loves a longer life.
Banana Bread Recipes
I’m a fan of the classics, but I’m also the kind of gal who loves to try new spins on old favorites. I was pleasantly surprised to find foodies out there who share my love of innovation.
1. Banana Bread
Everyone should have a tried-and-true banana bread recipe. This one from Simply Recipes is mine. It’s been the most popular recipe on the entire site for 10 years, and with good reason: It’s foolproof and delicious.
2. Death by Chocolate Banana Bread
This chocolate banana bread from Delish uses cocoa powder and has a generous helping of chocolate chips, making it a chocoholic’s dream. (So, my dream.)
3. Cream Cheese-Filled Banana Bread
I’m always looking for ways to combine my love of cheesecake with, well, everything. I’m so glad Kristyn at Lil’ Luna shared this cream cheese-filled banana bread with us because I am in love. Bananas + cream cheese = BAE.
Banana Breakfast Recipes
You could just grab coffee and a bagel for breakfast, but why would you with all these sweet banana recipes?
They’re like eating a dessert that’s socially accepted as breakfast. Win.
4. Banoffee Scones
Banoffee is an English banana-toffee flavor traditionally appearing in pie form. This banoffee scones recipe from King Arthur Flour takes this combo to the breakfast table, and I’m not mad about it.
The reviews alone make me want to whip out my apron and get baking.
5. Nutella Banana Swirl Muffins
Confession: I once took my roommate’s jar of Nutella and ate the whole thing with just a spoon. I love this stuff. So, of course, I ogled this banana muffin recipe from Jessica at The Novice Chef!
6. Banana Bread Donuts with Browned Butter Caramel Glaze
Do I even need to justify why these are here? Averie from Averie Cooks is one of my favorite food bloggers, and this recipe for banana bread donuts with browned butter caramel glaze is one of the reasons why.
She even has a tutorial on how to brown butter in the microwave. If you don’t have a donut pan, these also make great muffins.
Banana Dessert Recipes
Bananas by themselves are the dessert of the produce section. But the real magic happens when you add a little flour and butter, and bam! You have desserts that make all the fruits jealous.
7. Banana Pudding Cake
Banana pudding is one of my husband’s favorite desserts, but you need pretty firm bananas to make it look good. Enter this banana cake recipe from Holly at Spend With Pennies. The mixture goes into the oven light and pudding-like and comes out as a cake with its own sauce. It’s the best of both worlds!
8. Banana Upside-Down Cake
Do you like the sound of caramelized brown sugar and bananas atop delicious cake? Then we can be friends. And we can go find find Jessica at Sprinkle Some Sugar and thank her for the genius idea of swapping out pineapples for bananas in this upside-down cake.
9. Velvet Elvis Cupcakes
I didn’t think a list of overripe banana recipes would be complete without the King’s favorite flavor combo. Elvis may be known for his fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches, but Ingrid over at The Cozy Apron has perfected PB&B in these Velvet Elvis cupcakes. I mean, look at that peanut butter-cream cheese frosting!
10. Banana Cookies
I’d never heard of banana cookies before and had no clue how popular they are. These banana cookies from Lovefoodies are basic, and you can customize them with your favorite add-ins.
Healthy Banana Recipes
I would rather work out every day than give up indulging my sweet tooth. So I had to find a happy medium with banana recipes that make me feel OK about skipping the gym.
11. Gluten- and Dairy-Free Strawberry-Banana Muffins
I have plenty of friends with gluten intolerance, so I have to include some gluten-free recipes. These strawberry-banana muffins from Delicious Obsessions are a cool spin on the traditional smoothie pairing, using coconut flour and coconut oil.
12. Paleo Banana-Blueberry Breakfast Bread
Michele at Paleo Running Momma runs 10 miles like I hit snooze in the morning (hint: very easily). And she still has time to bake delicious, healthy treats like this gluten-free banana bread! It’s virtually guilt-free.
13. 3-Ingredient Flourless Banana Bread Cookies
Arman at The Big Man’s World creates easy, healthy sweets and breakfast recipes. His banana-oatmeal cookies look insanely good and are manageable for even a novice baker.
14. Tropical Green Smoothie
I wanted to include one of the many banana smoothie recipes, but of course, I wanted it to be the best. I think I’ve found it with this tropical green smoothie from Ashley at Baker by Nature. Cut up your overripe bananas and freeze them so you can make this pina colada-esque smoothie any time!
When I said bananas were the total package, I meant it. For centuries, we’ve been naively typecasting bananas in these sweet roles. But bananas have a savory side, too!
15. Filipino Banana Ketchup
I almost didn’t think there were any savory uses for this sultry fruit until I found banana ketchup from Josh at Serious Eats. He adapted it from Ray "Dr. BBQ" Lampe's cookbook “Slow Fire: The Beginner's Guide to Barbecue.” It’s sweeter than tomato ketchup but spicier, with flavors like jalapeno, ginger and rum. Please let me know if you try this crazy sauce with your overripe bananas!
Your Turn: What’s your favorite way to use overripe bananas?
Jen Smith is a writing intern at The Penny Hoarder and the blogger behind Saving with Spunk.