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10 All-American Banana Recipes You’ll Go Bananas For
Banana bread is only the beginning of this ingredient's potential.
08-30-2018
Cook's Country

IT’S FAIR TO SAY Americans love bananas: Last year, they were named the most consumed fruit in the United States. Unfortunately, the window of opportunity to eat a banana once it ripens goes by quickly, and those last couple of bananas in the bunch often end up in the compost. To avoid having to sacrifice any leftover bananas—and to highlight recipe options beyond traditional banana bread—here are ten of our favorite banana recipes.

What’s your favorite way to use up ripe bananas? Let us know in the comments!

1. Banana–Chocolate Chip Snack Cake

For many of us in the test kitchen who grew up in the U.S., snack cake was a one-layer affair cut into squares and packed into our lunchbox or ready for us to eat when we got home from school. That’s because it’s simple to make, doesn’t require decoration (aside from perhaps a smear of frosting) and—most importantly—there doesn’t need to be a special occasion for us to enjoy it. [GET THE RECIPE]

Essential Equipment

Williams-Sonoma Goldtouch Nonstick 8-Inch Square Cake Pan

A square cake pan is a kitchen essential. This pan was crowned our winner because it left us with perfectly even gold color on our crumb cake and works wonders with other baked goods.

2. Banana-Walnut Pancakes

What’s better than buttermilk pancakes? Buttermilk pancakes that have your favorite ingredient stirred in, that’s what. We sprinkle the mixture of banana and walnuts over each pancake as they’re still forming for even distribution. [GET THE RECIPE]

Essential Equipment

OXO Good Grips Non-Stick 12-inch Open Frypan

This pan cooks and releases food perfectly, thanks to its darker finish and excellent nonstick coating.

3. Banana Cream Pie

Some banana cream pie recipes call for you to add banana extract or banana liqueur to the pastry cream. We liked the idea, but the extract tasted artificial, and it wasn’t worth buying a $15 bottle of liqueur for the small amount we'd need. We found a cheaper, better-tasting alternative: two sliced bananas added to our pastry cream, which we then strained to minimize the unappealing color change. [GET THE RECIPE]

Essential Equipment

KitchenAid Classic Plus Stand Mixer

This mixer aced every test. Testers praised the "intuitive" controls and "solid" feel. 

4. Bananas Foster

Iconic American dishes come from every corner of the map, but no city's food has more flourish than that of New Orleans. Take Bananas Foster—it quickly became, and remains, a mainstay at many restaurants in its hometown.

With a short trip to the supermarket, we were able to create a rich, creamy, sweet, buttery, rum-flavored sauce that pairs perfectly with ripe leftover bananas and vanilla ice cream. [GET THE RECIPE]

Essential Equipment

OXO Good Grips 12-Inch Tongs

Use our winning tongs to transfer the bananas to a rimmed serving dish, leaving sauce in skillet.

5. Banana and Brown Sugar Oatmeal

Americans love their instant meals. Yet, the choice between a bowl of creamy, plump, pleasantly chewy, slow-cooked steel-cut oatmeal and the gummy stuff you get from those just-add-water instant packets is a no-brainer. Our recipe gives you superior steel-cut oatmeal with pleasant banana flavor, all in just 30 minutes. [GET THE RECIPE]

Essential Equipment

All-Clad Stainless 4-Qt Sauce Pan

Most of us use a large saucepan daily, so it’s important to own one that performs flawlessly and will last for years.

6. Deluxe Peanut Butter and Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

Bananas, peanut butter, and chocolate chips are great on their own, but these ingredients form a magical partnership whenever they’re mixed together. With just two steps, our recipe provides you with four-dozen tasty treats. [GET THE RECIPE]

Essential Equipment

Nordic Ware Baker’s Half Sheet

Everything prepared in this sturdy, warp-resistant sheet cooks appropriately and evenly.

7. Chocolate-Banana Milkshake

For our Chocolate-Banana Milkshake recipe, we process a ripe banana until smooth and then add some cocoa powder and malted milk powder for a complex, round chocolate flavor. TIP: Serving milkshakes in chilled glasses helps the shakes stay colder longer. [GET THE RECIPE]

Essential Equipment

Cuisinart Custom 14 Food Processor

Milkshakes in the food processor? At home, most people make milkshakes in the blender, but we prefer the smoother shakes made in the food processor.

8. Banana Pudding

Roasting intensifies the flavor and sugars of fruits and vegetables, so we put the bananas in a 325-degree oven for about 20 minutes until their skins turned black, then placed the peeled bananas in the food processor. Instead of utilizing the cumbersome step of pushing the pudding through a fine-mesh strainer, we process the vanilla pudding right in there with the bananas. [GET THE RECIPE]

Essential Equipment

OXO Good Grips 11" Balloon Whisk

It whips cream and egg whites quickly, thanks to its 10 wires that are thin enough to move through the liquid quickly, but thick enough to push through heavy mixtures. 

9. Bahama Mama Fruit Salad

Most fruit salads—even those made with great summer fruit—are disappointingly dry and bland. The problem? Many cooks just toss fruit together in a bowl. What’s needed to add both moisture and flavor is a dressing. We use our simple syrup recipe, which uses ½ cup sugar and ¼ cup of water to make this fruit salad superior. (The rum helps, too.) [GET THE RECIPE]

Essential Equipment

Microplane Premium Classic Zester/Grater

This grater earns the top spot thanks to its great performance and its soft, grippy rubber handle. Use it to grate a tablespoon of lime zest in our fruit salad recipe above.

10. Grape-Nuts Banana Bread

Instead of throwing out those overripe bananas, use them for this recipe. In fact, the browner they are, the better the bread will taste. (Read more about Banana Ripeness in Banana Bread.) [GET THE RECIPE]

Essential Equipment

Williams Sonoma Goldtouch Nonstick Loaf Pan

This pan yields perfectly gold browning on both breads and teacakes.

What’s your favorite way to use up ripe bananas? Let us know in the comments! Also, when you get a chance, check out our article that highlights 10 Leftover Ingredients You Didn’t Know You Could Freeze. (Spoiler Alert: Bananas are one of them.)

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