13 Delicious Things You Can Make With Bananas

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.

Banana bread

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.

Banana pancake

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.

Banana cookies

Who doesn't love a batch of freshly baked cookies? Bananas make an excellent addition to any cookie, bringing a sweet and creamy note to them. Plus, as recipe developer Catherine Brookes points out to Mashed, bananas work as an excellent binder for other ingredients. She shared a recipe for three-ingredient banana oatmeal cookies that are quick and easy to make, as well as delicious and healthier than traditional cookies. The cookies use mashed banana to hold the oats and chocolate chips in.

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

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.

Banana Muffin

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.

Banana chips

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

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!

Banana curry

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).

Banana fritters

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.

Banana oatmeal

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.

Banana split

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.