35 Ways to Use Overripe Bananas That Aren't Banana Bread
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 Upside-Down Pancake Cake
This incredibly tender, delicious spice cake has a secret… Aunt Jemima pancake mix. That’s right, this brunch-worthy cake starts with boxed pancake mix (but no one would guess it). The added bonus of brown sugary caramelized bananas, toasted pecans, and a hit of rum only makes the idea of cake-for-breakfast all the more appealing.
Bananas Foster with Pound Cake
The quick dessert popularized in New Orleans in the 1950s features bananas warmed in a dark-brown-sugar caramel sauce. It’s even better made and eaten outdoors.
Hummingbird Deep-Dish Skillet Cookie
Hummingbird cake, a classic Southern layer cake that features banana, pineapple, and coconut meets a deep-dish skillet cookie in this tropical dessert. Although the origin of the name "Hummingbird" is somewhat a mystery, one thing we know for sure is that this skillet cookie is the perfect combination of fruity, exotic, and sweet. Somewhere between a warm, butter cookie and a piña colada, this dessert is certainly going to be a crowd-pleaser.
Chocolate-Banana Cream Tartlets
Individual tartlets are ideal for entertaining and this recipe is like an elegant version of a banana cream pie with a sweet chocolate crust.
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.
Chocolate Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting
Banana Ice Cream with Berries, Chocolate, or Cinnamon
Freezing bananas transforms them into a sorbetlike treat in this easy, healthy dessert. Make sure to use very ripe bananas with lots of brown spots.
Banana-Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
"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
Caramelized Banana Split
Give your favorite ice cream treat a serious upgrade by caramelizing the bananas before building your sundae. Broiling the banana with brown sugar and a dash of cinnamon intensifies the fruit’s sweetness and adds a layer of rich depth to your dessert. This recipe is for a single split, but is easily multiplied to serve more.
Pan-Fried Cinnamon Bananas
Dealing with bananas is an art. You need to buy them when they have just enough green. The colors should provoke a sense of equilibrium, suggesting that they’re running on the same schedule as you. How else will you make that banana smoothie approximately 4.6 days from now? And then you need to do the math (or cross your fingers) and hope that your beloved bananas will be ready when you are. Yet, even after all the sweat, blood, and research—you’ll probably have overripe bananas anyway. Hey, you tried. But now you have an excuse to make pan-fried cinnamon bananas.
If you’re on Team Banana Bread, hear me out. Yes, homemade banana bread is objectively the best thing you can bake. Heck, you can even make an easy three-ingredient banana bread if you’re feeling lazy. Or what about three-ingredient banana pancakes? And then there’s banana bread hummus, a unique alternative to the typical dip.
Don’t limit yourself, though. You’re better than that. Pan-fried cinnamon bananas are the answer to all of life’s questions. (Or at least the ones you have in the kitchen.) All you need is cinnamon, sugar, and ten minutes.
Pan-Fried Cinnamon Bananas
Double-Banana Cream Pie
Thick vanilla custard is layered with ripe bananas in a sweet arrowroot-cookie crust. You'll hear "mmm" with each bite.
When the Hummingbird Cake was first submitted to Southern Living in 1978 by Mrs. L.H. Wiggins of Greensboro, North Carolina, we had no idea the cake would become our most popular and beloved Southern cake recipe ever. Without a doubt, the cake is a beauty with its three moist layers topped with cream cheese frosting and pecans; but it’s the taste that really keeps us coming back. There are a few rules for success in this recipe that make it truly stand out. First, vegetable oil is used instead of butter to get the moist, quick-bread-like texture of the layers. The original recipe, as printed below, calls for 1 1/2 cups of oil. Over the years we reprinted the recipe several times and, in keeping with cooking trends of the time, altered the amount of oil and sodium called for in the ingredient list. The quality of the finished product was never altered, however. Second, you need a can of crushed pineapple in its juices (such as Publix Crushed Pineapple in Pineapple Juice), which you will NOT drain. The juices add so much flavor to the cake batter and keeps it incredibly moist. Lastly, always take the time the toast your pecans. It’s a game-changer. Forty years may have passed since we discovered this Southern gem, but we keep making it year after year!
Mini Bananas Foster Sticky Buns
We turned one of New Orleans’ famous desserts into a sweet brunch treat. These Mini Bananas Foster Sticky Buns are perfect served alongside your usual breakfast casseroles and egg dishes, or alongside a hot pot of tea or coffee. And because they are made with refrigerated crescent roll dough, they’re much easier to whip up than cinnamon rolls. Choose bananas that are starting to show signs of ripeness (small brown dots). They will have just the right amount of sweetness and won’t turn to mush when cooked.
Banana Bread Hummus
Banana bread has the power to bring on so many feelings. Maybe it’s the sweet aroma that reminds you of Grandma’s house. Or the fact that you saved those overripe bananas from the trash—again. There’s a lot of potential reasons why those emotions take over. Regardless, you can’t deny the greatness of homemade banana bread. But when you’re having a day, you don’t want to deal with baking. Sure, there’s always pancake batter banana bread. But that involves bowls and loaf pans. The next best thing? Banana bread hummus.
This hybrid dip combines the best elements of banana bread with the faint nutty notes of hummus. (Thanks for that, tahini.) It only makes sense to combine the two. And while most hummus flavors are savory or spicy, this one stands out from the crowd/fridge. For ultimate customization, treat this hummus as real banana bread batter. Mix in some mini chocolate chips, chopped strawberries, or crushed cookies. Walnuts are classic, but not necessary. Basically, if you’d use it in the bread, use it in the hummus. It might sound weird, but trust me on this one.
Banana Bread Hummus
Banana Peanut Butter Smoothies
Tyler Florence made these pancakes at home one weekend morning with his son Hayden. They're a slight variation on a recipe from his book, Tyler Florence Family Meal.
Strawberry-Banana Pudding Icebox Cake
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.
Fried Banana Bread (a.k.a. Mangalore Buns)
While one side of the globe was frying bread and calling it fried bread, we called it Mangalore buns (banana puri). This comes from Mangalore, a land of pretty ladies, they say. I feel extremely lucky to have friends like family in every stage of my life. Moving from a cozy apartment to our own home was a new venture, and an exciting one. My very pretty neighbor and I formed a bond over the fence. From passing a cup of sugar or liquid detergent, nothing was out of bounds when it came to needing something urgent. One rainy day she shared this banana puri with spicy lentil curry. All I could say was that I wanted more. Served with something spicy, it makes the slight sweetness of the puri a bit subtler and the sharp spice of the curry a bit milder. It’s a little deviation from the usual puri (a deep-fried flatbread); this has a bit of a spongier and denser feel to it, with a breadlike texture.
Fried Banana Bread
From Masala & Meatballs by Asha Shivakumar, Page Street Publishing Co. 2018
From Masala & Meatballs by Asha Shivakumar, Page Street Publishing Co. 2018
Banana Snack Cake
Garnish this fun cake with glossy roasted bananas for a chic, modern spin, or simply gild it with the cream cheese frosting.
Peanut Butter and Banana Cheesecake with Candied Bacon
It's a cake fit for a king.
Banana-Coconut Ice Cream
Use very ripe bananas for the richest flavor.
Copycat IHOP Strawberry Banana King's Hawaiian French Toast
A partnership between IHOP and King’s Hawaiian Sweet Bread led to the creation of the ultimate breakfast mashup—Hawaiian sweet bread French toast… Yeah, we are just scratching our heads wondering why we hadn’t thought of this first. This dish has transformed the classic, cult favorite dinner rolls into a morning must-have, that may just replace basic sliced bread forever. The pillowy rolls are dunked in a rich vanilla custard and pan-fried with butter to golden perfection. The French toasts are then topped with a simple strawberry syrup made from fresh berries and sugar, simmered for just a few minutes, followed by a handful of banana slices for a sweet finish.
Banana Almond Cake
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.
Grilled Bananas on Sugared Rum Toast
Who knew toast could be so delicious? Brushed with butter, dipped in sugar, and grilled, the bread (a nice enriched challah) becomes almost brûléed. The riper the bananas, the quicker they will soften during cooking; be mindful when handling.
Susan’s Banana Cake with Chocolate Frosting
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.
Peanut Butter-Banana Milk Shakes
Try this thick and creamy Peanut Butter-Banana Milk Shake as a nutritious breakfast or an indulgent after-dinner treat. Perfect for any nut-lover, this decadent, frozen treat packs on the protein that is sure to keep you full and satisfied. Not only is this simple drink kid-approved, they'll be asking for it again and again.
Banana Split Waffle Cake
Talk about a birthday breakfast—inspired by the flavors of a classic ice cream treat, this impressive waffle stack makes for such a fun way to kick off an extra-special day. Using store-bought waffle mix keeps this decadent breakfast-for-dessert recipe easy to execute, while sprinkles, whipped cream, and a cherry on top make it feel like a total party on a plate.
Hummingbird Cake Shake
As the most requested recipe in Southern Living history, the Hummingbird Cake is a staple for southern flair and charm. We decided to put our own spin on the iconic dessert by shaking it up. Now you can enjoy the classic pecan, pineapple, and banana flavors in a shake! Southern never tasted so good.
Berry-Banana Overnight Oats
Speed up your morning routine with a low-maintenance breakfast made the night before. Studies show frozen blueberries have considerably greater polyphenol concentrations than fresh, while most other nutrient levels are comparable between the two. Walnuts deliver a one-two punch of crunch and nutrition: They are a top nut for brain health thanks to the powerful combination of omega-3 fats, vitamin E, and antioxidants.
Fried Bananas Foster
The Big Easy’s signature banana and caramel dessert—invented at Brennan’s in the French Quarter—gets a sweet and inventive update. Wrap baby bananas, available at Asian and Latin markets, in spring roll pastry wrappers, fry, and serve over butter pecan ice cream—topping with caramel rum sauce not optional.
Hummingbird Oatmeal Cookies
No time for frosting? Bake anyway! We loved these plain too.
Cold Brew-Banana Smoothie
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
Banana Pudding Cake
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.