You buy a bunch of bananas with the best intentions, mostly to slice and eat on cereal or mix with yogurt for breakfast.
Or maybe you plan to eat one every afternoon as a pick-me-up since bananas are loaded with natural sugars to give you a boost. Vitamin C and potassium provide more healthy benefits. Oh, and fiber.
Then two or three of the bunch turn on you as they ripen. First they sport tiny bruise spots, then the bruises overtake the fruit until they don’t look like anything you want to eat. Rest easy, overripe bananas are not inedible but have reached another stage in their development.
Something magical happens as bananas ripen and transform from bright yellow to that unappetizing brown/black. They get sweeter as the starches develop.
So before you pitch or compost them, heed our recipe suggestions on what to do with overripe bananas. Think banana ice cream (mix slices into vanilla ice cream), banana cream pie (a smoothie with a vanilla wafer crunch), classic banana bread and even banana pancakes and muffins.
How to Freeze Overripe Bananas
If you have overripe bananas but aren’t ready to use them right away, freeze them. You may be tempted to put the ripe bananas, peel and all, into freezer bags and toss into the chill. It’s best to peel ripe bananas first or you will struggle to get the thin peel from the frozen banana once it’s thawed.
Also, keep in mind that thawed ripe bananas are best for baked goods, smoothies, puddings, and anything where the fruit is mixed in. They will mostly be mushy when thawed so aren’t great for eating out of hand.
Here are two ways to freeze overripe bananas:
- Peel whole ripe bananas and put them into freezer bags. Squeeze as much air as you can from the bag, and write the date on it with a smudge-proof marker. The fruit can be used frozen or thawed depending on your recipe.
- Peel ripe bananas and then slice in ½-inch pieces. Place banana slices on a baking sheet lined with wax paper and freeze for about 2 hours. When frozen, place sliced bananas in a freezer bag, squeeze out air and mark the bag with date. Freezing them this way makes measurement easy for baked goods.
Three medium ripe bananas 7 to 8 inches long equal 1 cup when they are smashed. Most banana bread recipes call for 1 to 1 1/2 cups mashed bananas.
20 Recipes That Use Overripe Bananas
These 20 recipes for overripe bananas might have you leaving a couple on the counter to darken just so you can make them. A mashed ripe banana or two (maybe three) is all you will need for most of these recipes.
Banana Bread Recipes
Banana bread is the go-to plan for overripe bananas. Banana bread can be dressed up with chopped nuts, chocolate chips or even dried cranberries or other fruit. A tablespoon of banana liqueur or spice rum adds another flavor profile.
1. Banana Bread
Everyone should have a tried-and-true banana bread recipe. This one from Simply Recipes is one of the website’s most popular recipes and has nearly 6,000 reviews. The recipe makes a single loaf though many reviewers say you’ll be sorry if you don’t double it.
2. Death by Chocolate Banana Bread
This chocolate banana bread from Delish uses cocoa powder and has a generous helping of chocolate chips, making it a chocoholic’s dream. Warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream? We think so.
3. Cream Cheese-Filled Banana Bread
Looking for a way to combine a love of cheesecake with banana bread? Well, maybe not but now that you’ve got the suggestion, why not? Kristyn Merkley at Lil’ Luna shares this cream cheese-filled banana bread and it is totally decadent.
4. Gluten Free Banana Bread
There are plenty of recipes out there for gluten-free baked goods. One-Bowl Gluten Free Banana Bread from the Minimalist Baker calls for three bananas, plus avocado oil and almond meal, among other ingredients. It gets 4.76 stars from more than 800 reviewers.
Banana Breakfast Recipes
You could just grab coffee and a bagel for breakfast, but why would you with all these sweet banana recipes?
They’re like eating a dessert that’s socially accepted as breakfast. This is a win, especially if you add a punch of vitamin C from orange juice.
5. Banoffee Scones
Banoffee is an English banana-toffee flavor traditionally appearing in pie form. Banoffee Scones from King Arthur Baking Company brings this combo to the breakfast table. The reviews alone will make you want to tie on an apron and get baking.
6. Nutella Banana Swirl Muffins
Bananas love nuts and chocolate so the chocolate hazelnut spread Nutella is a perfect pairing. Nutella Banana Swirl Muffins from The Novice Chef satisfies all sorts of cravings.
7. Banana Bread Donuts with Browned Butter Caramel Glaze
A tutorial on how to brown butter in the microwave from Averie Cooks blog will set you up to make Banana Bread Donuts with Browned Butter Caramel Glaze. If you don’t have a donut pan, these also make great donut holes using a muffin pan.
8. Banana Pancakes
This Banana Pancakes recipe from Once Upon a Chef calls for just one overripe banana and the “browner, the better.” There’s double banana flavor thanks to the smashed banana in the batter and sliced just-ripe banana on the top. Would it be too much to top with whipped cream?
Healthy Banana Recipes
If you would rather work out every day than give up your sweet tooth, we’ve rounded up some healthy — or healthy-ish — recipes. Share them with family and friends and spread the joy around.
9. Gluten- and Dairy-Free Strawberry-Banana Muffins
Strawberry-banana muffins from Delicious Obsessions are a cool spin on the traditional smoothie pairing, using coconut flour and coconut oil.
10. Paleo Banana-Blueberry Breakfast Bread
Michele Rosen at Paleo Running Momma is an avid runner and still has time to bake delicious, healthy treats like this gluten-free banana bread. The antioxidant properties of fresh blueberries pack an additional nutritious punch.
11. 3-Ingredient Flourless Banana Bread Cookies
Arman Liew at The Big Man’s World creates easy, healthy sweets and breakfast recipes. His banana-oatmeal cookies look really good and are manageable for even a novice baker.
12. Tropical Green Smoothie
This tropical green smoothie from Ashley Manila at Baker by Nature makes it easy to be green. Use frozen overripe bananas for this pina colada-esque smoothie. The vivid color comes from spinach, kale or Swiss chard. Use what you’ve got on hand.
Ripe Bananas Dessert Recipes
Bananas by themselves are the dessert of the produce section. But the real magic happens when you add a little flour and butter. Now, you have desserts that make all the other fruits jealous.
13. Cinnamon-Banana Cake with Chocolate Ganache
If you’re baking to impress, Cinnamon-Banana Cake with Chocolate Ganache is the ticket. It may sound fussy but know that the cake is baked in a Bundt pan and the ganache is dripped over the top in an irregular pattern. No need to be precise. Plus, it’s from Eating Well magazine via Diabetic Living Magazine which means it has less processed sugar.
14. Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Shake
Is Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Shake a dessert, breakfast or serious afternoon pick-me-up? Maybe all three once you make this great recipe from Blissful Basil. It’s vegan and gluten free but chock full of delicious flavors, for sure.
15. Banana Pudding Cake
Banana pudding is a favorite dessert, but you need firm bananas to make it look good. Enter this banana cake recipe from Holly at Spend With Pennies. The mixture goes into the oven light and pudding-like and comes out as a cake with its own sauce. It’s the best of both worlds!
16. Banana Upside-Down Cake
Do you like the sound of caramelized brown sugar and bananas atop a delicious cake? Then we can be friends. And we can go find Jessica Kraft at Sprinkle Some Sugar and thank her for the genius idea of swapping out pineapples for bananas in this upside-down cake.
17. Velvet Elvis Cupcakes
A list of overripe banana recipes would be complete without the King’s favorite flavor combo. Elvis Presley may be known for his fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches, but Ingrid Beer at The Cozy Apron has perfected PB&B in these Velvet Elvis cupcakes.
18. Banana Cookies
These banana cookies from Lovefoodies are basic, and you can customize them with your favorite add-ins, including Heath baking chips, chocolate chips or chopped nuts. This is a soft cookie no matter how you make it. The moisture from the banana makes sure of that.
19. Rock Lobster Cocktail
Is it a cocktail dessert? Well, it certainly can be if you’re making the Rock Lobster Cocktail from Spruce Eats. The adult drink gets plenty of tropical kick from coconut rum, dark rum and banana liqueur. What a way to use a very ripe banana. Cheers!
20. Chocolate Chip Banana Bars
Tuck the recipe for Chocolate Chip Banana Bars away for when you’ve got a bunch of overripe bananas. This great recipe from Butter with a Side of Bread calls for five of them. Wrap a bar (or a square depending on how you cut them) and tuck into your kids’ lunch boxes.