Bananas are a healthy and delicious on-the-go snack. Or sit-down snack when you have time—preferably with almond butter. Or topping for oatmeal. Or… you get the idea. Yet despite the various ways to enjoy them, they inevitably end up overripe and brown before you eat the entire bunch. Whomp whomp. And while mushy bananas make super moist bread, sometimes you end up tossing a few. (Because how much banana bread can one person eat?)
No more! We found 31 recipes for new, tasty, banana-infused dishes. Paired with everything from chocolate and peanuts to chicken, vegetables, and rice (trust us on that one!), they prove that b-a-n-a-n-a-s are great any time of day.
Basically a healthy breakfast cake, this has a gooey center and deliciously crisp edges—and it’s super easy. Mix together oats, banana, milk, chia seeds, dried fruit, and seasonings; pour into a pan (or mini mason jars for easy portioning); and bake. Drizzle with PB—because everything is better with nut butter.
It’s hard to beat cookies for breakfast, and it certainly doesn’t hurt that these hearty ones are loaded with good-for-you ingredients like oats, nut butter (we like almond for a dose of anti-inflammatory vitamin E), cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and raisins. Freeze a few to warm up and take on busy mornings.
This classic takes 10 minutes to mix, so there’s really no reason to buy from the bakery. Plus, your kitchen will smell amazing. Tip: Use mixed nuts for a larger variety of vitamins and minerals, and extra fiber and protein.
A New Orleans dessert meets a brunch favorite in this delightful, indulgent mash-up of cinnamon-y, fluffy bread topped with caramelized bananas. There’s no booze in this version, but we won’t tell if you add a little rum.
This make-ahead breakfast is perfect for stumble-out-of-bed mornings. Blend the pudding ingredients and let it sit overnight to thicken, then layer it with banana, oats, walnuts, and coconuts. It’s a great mix of filling fiber, plus some heart- and brain-boosting omega-3s delivered in a sweet, beachy flavor.
Proof that banana bread doesn’t need butter, eggs, or sugar, this vegan version uses dates to let the natural sweetness of the nanas shine through and flaxseed to bind all the ingredients together. It’s topped with sesame seeds for some crunch, but you can also mix in walnuts.
Paleo pancakes can be made with only three ingredients, but using a few more jazzes them up and still keeps them friendly for cavemen and gluten-free eaters. Plus, using coconut flour adds more fiber than regular flour. Adjust the honey in the homemade topping to suit your taste buds—it’s so good, you’ll never buy fake syrup again.
Boxed granola usually tastes, well, like a box. This recipe combines fresh bananas with almonds, pumpkin seeds, oats, and a touch of maple syrup for a crunchy treat that goes great with yogurt and fresh fruit.
Anytime we can have cookies in less time, we’re happy. Needless to say, no-oven-required is our kind of baking! Gluten free and vegan, these fudgy cookies use all unprocessed ingredients to make a treat that tastes just as decadent as something from the bakery (without the sugar coma).
10. Banana Butter
Bananas and peanut butter are like meat and potatoes—it’s almost a sin to have one without the other. So why not blend them together for an addictive spread that’s great on muffins, sandwiches, and pancakes; in oatmeal—or just straight off the spoon!
It’s about time this kid favorite graduated to a grown-up snack. Roll in pistachios for some B6 (important to help your body make disease-fighting antibodies), cocoa nibs for fiber, or chili almonds for spicy magnesium (a mineral that supports a strong skeleton). This recipe is like a more sophisticated ice cream bar.
Just about anything with oats, bananas, and walnuts tastes good. When dates join the party, it tastes even more amazing. These bars are pretty simple, and the mix-in options are nearly endless. They also keep for up to a week in the fridge, but we doubt they’ll last that long.
Perfect for an afternoon treat, this recipe starts by making a banana filling and letting it set in the freezer. Scoop out little balls and roll in toppings like cocoa or nuts. They keep in the freezer, so they’ll always be on hand for when that sweet tooth flares up.
14. Banana Guacamole
The thought of bananas mixed with onions and hot peppers sounds weird—we know. But the sweet tempers the heat for a dip that also makes a great topping for any protein. Just one more way to get more heart-healthy avocados into your daily diet!
15. Banana Chips
Ever wonder how banana chips are made? They take some time to bake, but they’re a snap to do at home. This is more of a method than a recipe, so it’s just as easy to make a boatload as it is to make a small batch.
Good looking meets good eating with this easy, light, and colorful dinner. Brown the fish (tilapia is a low-fat source of protein and omega-3s), then top with a fruity salsa with a touch of heat from some jalapeño (omit if you prefer things mild).
It doesn’t get better than sweet and savory. A spicy coconut sauce (a good source of fats that boost “good” cholesterol) with bananas and raisins gets a salty kick from roasted peanuts for a meal that tastes like a tropical vacation. Replace the chicken with sweet potatoes and chickpeas for a vegetarian version.
Snap peas, cinnamon, and saffron take this creamy rice dish far away from the classic Italian flavor. No one will miss the Parmesan cheese once they get a taste, though. Be sure to wait until the very end to stir in the bananas to keep them from getting too mushy.
This stir-fry features a zesty soy-orange-ginger sauce to coat plump shrimp, crisp peas, and creamy bananas. Pecans not only add crunch, they also bring oleic acid, an omega-9 fatty acid that lowers “bad” cholesterol.
Most curries call for coconut milk to lend a sweet and creamy flavor, but this curry uses puréed banana and unsweetened almond milk instead. Cook up some veggies and tempeh, and then finish with the thick, sweet yet sour sauce. It’s as easy as mixing everything in a blender, making it a perfect meal for busy weeknights.
Four ingredients and a blender are all that’s needed to make this healthy, nutty treat. The whipped cream and chocolate peanut butter drizzle are optional—but are they really? The topping is only three ingredients stirred together. You can make that. And trust us, you’ll want to!
22. Vegan Eggnog
Vegans rejoice! There are plenty of dairy-free, egg-free eggnog products on the market, but most are filled with all sorts of freaky fillers. This simplified eggnog whizzes a frozen banana with soy milk and spices for a treat that’s good any time of the year. We recommend soy milk with fat, though, since the fats in soy aren’t bad for you and will keep you fuller.
This drink tastes like dessert but packs in great nutrition thanks to banana, antioxidant-rich cacao powder, spinach (a source of lutein and zeaxanthin to protect against cataracts and macular degeneration), and hemp seeds, which provide 10 grams of protein plus omegas.
Bananas always seem to get left out of all the juicing fun, but no more. Bonus: The recipe works even without a juicer. Just blend and strain for a healthy pick-me-up. You don’t even need to add sweetener!
For those days when a simple banana shake won’t cut it, one with fried bananas certainly will. The extra step of caramelizing the bananas in brown sugar and butter is totally worth it on a #treatyoself day.
26. Banana Hot Cocoa
Truly great hot cocoas have a little bit of thickness to them, and this one doesn’t disappoint. The banana adds a little bit of texture and froths nicely after a quick trip through the blender. It also means you can cut way back on the added sugar.
Cakes, Pies, and Tarts
Even those without a dairy or gluten intolerance will go nuts for this pie. It’s essentially one giant banana peanut butter cup—and there’s definitely nothing wrong with that. Grab the food processor and get to work!
This might actually be better than the apple version, and frozen puff pastry makes it super easy (read: no need to make a crust!). The petite size is perfect for date night or movie night.
It doesn’t matter if it’s not your birthday. This beauty sandwiches a date cake and a banana cake with dripping chocolate glaze for a real treat. It is a fair number of ingredients, but both layers use almost the same things, and every part is easy to make.
Super moist and slightly spicy with cinnamon and nutmeg, these cupcakes are topped with a please-give-me-more cream cheese icing that’s spiked with a touch of brown sugar. This is proof that you don’t need chocolate to make delicious sweets.
This creamy, dreamy pie gets its luxurious texture from puréed cashews and coconut milk. And the crust is just walnuts and dates—that’s it! With nothing but wholesome ingredients you can find in any store, this is how you do dessert.