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16 Best Ways to Use Ripe Bananas

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Do you have ripe bananas sitting on your counter that you need to use? Ripe bananas are the perfect ingredient for so many baked goods adding natural sweetness, moisture and nutrition! I have 16 different ways you can use your ripe bananas with lots of yummy recipes to make sure you don’t ever have to throw them out.

a bunch of ripe bananas

Best Recipes for Ripe Bananas

Bananas are a great fruit to have around. They are inexpensive, naturally sweet, nutritious, and kids love them.   The one downside is that bananas can ripen before you know it and then it seems like no one wants to eat them. The great news is that there are SO many ways that you can use ripe and overripe bananas. We have so many delicious recipes that use ripe bananas, you don’t ever need to toss them!

Banana Muffins

Ripe Bananas are perfect for muffins. They add texture and sweetness to muffins, and that’s why banana muffins are so popular. Some of our favorite banana muffin recipes are:

banana muffin

Banana Smoothies

There are actually very few smoothies we don’t add bananas to!  In fact, when our bananas are VERY RIPE (meaning brown bananas), we toss them in the freezer to add to fruit smoothies later on. Bananas in a smoothie give a creamy, milkshake feel to them, and everyone wants more!  These smoothie recipes are perfect to use your ripe bananas in:

creamy chocolate banana smoothie

Breakfast Cookies with Bananas

Ripe bananas make breakfast cookies, sweet, moist and chewy. Bananas have soluble fiber which helps to moderate your blood sugar levels to avoid big blood sugar spikes and also help keep you feeling fuller longer. They are the perfect ingredient for breakfast cookies for this reason! Our favorite breakfast cookie recipes are:

healthy breakfast cookies

Banana Bread

The first thing that usually comes to mind when someone has overripe bananas on their counter, is that they need to make some banana bread. We agree! That’s why we have three different recipes we’ve been using for banana bread. 

healthy banana bread recipe

Frozen Dipped Bananas

There was a time when I would make frozen bananas dipped in chocolate for my kids all summer long.  The trick to these is to freeze the bananas FIRST, and then dip them in chocolate. We also loved frozen bananas dipped in yogurt! Here are some of our favorite frozen banana recipes:

frozen bananas dipped in yogurt and toppings

Oatmeal with Bananas

Ripe bananas are delicious sliced on oatmeal, or mashed and mixed in. We also love ripe bananas in overnight oats. Next time you have some ripe bananas, try one of these oatmeal recipes:

banana bread overnight oats

Banana Pancakes

Next time you are making pancakes, simply mash up a ripe banana and add it to the mix. You can also follow one of our pancake recipes.

 

Stack of banana nut pancakes

Banana Ice Cream

Super ripe bananas are so sweet that they make the perfect base for homemade ice cream! Start with frozen ripe bananas, and add other fruit to it.  Blend it up and re-freeze. Natural, delicious, and so good for you! 

chocolate almond ice cream made with ripe bananas

Banana Snack Bars

Bananas have sustainable energy and are a great ingredient for snack bars. When they are ripe, they are extra sweet and taste delicious with less added sweetener in a snack bar!

3 ingredient peanut butter banana snack bars

Banana French Toast

Ripe bananas are something we only recently started adding to our french toast!  WOW! You’ve got to try this.  We love a good french toast bake because you don’t have to cook french toast one by one, and the bananas make it naturally sweet!

baked banana french toast

Banana Popsicles

No matter how ripe your bananas are, you can blend them with other fruit to make a delicious frozen homemade popsicle.

Banana Waffles

Blend up your ripe bananas and add them right to your waffle batter. Sometimes, it’s just easier to get kids to eat a fruit or veggie when it’s incorporated completely into the mix. Plus ripe bananas add a delicious sweetness and amazing moisture for the best fluffy waffles!

Banana Cake

Ripe pureed bananas add a lot of moisture to cake and produces a more tender cake.

Banana Pudding

Ripe bananas are the perfect addition to banana pudding. Layer them inside the creamy pudding and then add them as a garnish on top with a little whip cream. This banana pudding recipe is one of the most popular on our site!

homemade banana pudding

Banana Sushi

My kids ask for this multiple times a week for breakfast. It is SO easy to make and is the perfect way to use bananas that are very ripe because they are covered in nut butter and crunchy toppings and so the texture of the banana matters less.

To make:

  1. Peel banana and place on a plate.
  2. Spread peanut butter, almond butter, or sunbutter across the top of the banana in a thick layer.
  3. Add toppings. We like mini chocolate chips, shredded coconut and crushed nuts.
  4. Slice into bit size slices and serve with chopsticks for fun!
banana sushi with nut butter

Banana Chips

You can make your own banana chips at home, even without a dehydrator! It is a great way to use up your ripe bananas and have a yummy and healthy snack for days.  To make them without a dehydrator, this is the method we use:

homemade banana chips

Frozen Bananas

If you really aren’t ready to make anything with your frozen bananas, just freeze them for later! There are a couple of methods you can use to freeze them:

Freezing Bananas Method 1:

  • Peel bananas and slice the banana into 3 or 4 pieces. Lay flat on a try covered in parchment paper and freeze until solid. (about 4-6 hours).
  • Place frozen banana pieces in an airtight container and freeze until ready to use. They will stay good in your freezer for about 3-4 months.

This method is good for when you need bananas to make:

  • Smoothies
  • Ice Cream
  • Dipped Bananas
frozen banana pieces

Freezing Bananas Method 2:

  • Peel bananas and place in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth and desired consistency is reached.
  • Add 1-2 teaspoons of lemon juice and place in an airtight container.

This method is good for when you need bananas to make:

  • Banana bread or muffins
  • Banana cake
  • Banana waffles and pancakes

How to Store Bananas to Slow Ripening

  • Store at room temperature away from direct sunlight.
  • Store bananas away from other ripe bananas or fruits.
  • Do not store in plastic bags as this traps excess moisture and may promote rotting.
  • Hang bananas on a banana ‘tree’ to help expose a cluster of bananas to an even amount of oxygen, and promote gradual ripening
  • Fully ripe golden yellow bananas may be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed produce drawer. It will preserve the flavor for another week, but the peel will turn brown. The inside will still be yellow and delicious!

How to Quickly Ripen Bananas

If you need ripe bananas quick for a recipe you are making, you can try these things to speed up the ripening process.

  • Store bananas in a brown paper bag along with a high-ethylene producing fruit, such as a ripe apple, pear, or even an avocado. This should ripen your bananas in a day or two.
  • If you really need them quick, (like now!) you can ‘bake’ them in the oven. Heat your oven to 300 degrees F. Place the unpeeled bananas on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake them for 15 to 20 minutes. The peels will turn really brown, and you can them scoop out the banana inside.

What are the health benefits of eating ripe bananas?

1 medium ripe banana has less than 100 calories, but those calories are packed with vitamins and minerals!

  1. Potassium– possibly the mineral that bananas are most popular for is their potassium! Potassium is essential in our diet to maintain fluid balance.  It’s vital for muscle and nerve function.
  2. Carbs– healthy, natural sources of carbs are vital for kids and even adults.  The natural sugar in bananas give our brains energy for the day.
  3. Fiber– with 3 grams of fiber per banana, this is a good source to keep kids full, and keep them regular!
  4. Other minerals like magnesium, calcium, manganese, and iron.
  5. Other vitamins like choline and a variety of B vitamins.

Natalie Monson

I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.

Learn More about Natalie

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