Got a ripe banana or two sitting around in your kitchen? Don’t let them go to waste! Ripe and overripe bananas are superheroes in a healthy kitchen—especially when it comes to vegan baking, where they can bind and moisten ingredients while adding flavor and natural sweetness. Read on for a roundup of our tastiest banana recipes, including banana bread, muffins, pancakes, brownies, carrot cake, oatmeal, French toast, a smoothie bowl, and banana ice cream (aptly named “nice cream”), and more.
Bonus: At the end of this post we’ve included five handy hacks that will change the way you peel, use, and store bananas.
Frozen strawberries and bananas plus a splash of almond milk and pure vanilla extract get whirled together in a high-speed blender or food processor to make the berry nice cream for this deceptively simple dessert. Fresh strawberries and apples are the star ingredients in the warm fruit compote that tops it all off.
Perfect for a picnic or a kids’ party, these cute cupcakes get their sweetness from mashed banana, unsweetened applesauce, maple syrup, and fresh raspberries and blueberries. The easy vanilla frosting gets its rich texture from extra-firm silken tofu.
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A cross between French toast and bread pudding with a festive banana topping, this wholesome baked treat is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser for a special breakfast or brunch menu, or even dessert.
For a cool dessert that’s guaranteed to delight, layer three different flavors of nice cream in silicone cupcake molds for a tasty rainbow effect. Creamy layers of mango, banana, and berry nice cream will impress kids and adults alike. Serve them in their silicone molds, or turn them out onto dessert plates and top with fresh berries.
Ripe bananas never tasted so good as they do combined with fresh blueberries and choice greens in these sweet-savory wraps. As one reader puts it, “I’m pleasantly surprised and happy to say I have a new addition to my breakfast selection.”
These sweet and savory bites are the perfect finger food to serve at a tea or summer barbecue, or even as a cheery movie night snack. Brightly colored fruit balances on top of homemade savory walnut-oat biscuits, and a drizzle of pure maple syrup is an easy way to make it fancy.
Keep a store of frozen banana on hand and you’re mere minutes away from plant-based ice cream, aka “nice cream.” In this recipe creamy frozen banana is flavored with fresh vanilla bean for a heavenly effect.
Banana helps sweeten these chewy brownies on the inside. But it’s the sliced banana on top that’s really clever, adding a fresh creaminess to complement the rich chocolate-peanut flavor.
Banana is the main sweetener in this gluten-free banana bread. The end result is a deliciously moist loaf, fragrant with cinnamon and studded with walnuts and raisins.
For off-the-scale yumminess check out these frozen banana balls: Rolled oats, frozen banana, and cocoa powder combine to create chewy chocolate creaminess, and the cereal coating adds crunch.
In this incredible baked vegan French toast, two slices of bread are filled with sliced bananas then dipped in a plant-based custard mix. The secret ingredient in the dipping cream is aquafaba (canned chickpea liquid), which keeps the toast light and crunchy.
Loaded with oats, orange, banana, pumpkin, and cranberries these flour-less muffins are moist, fruity, and naturally sweet. Note: If you don’t have dried cranberries, raisins are a good substitute.
Stuffed with banana, oats, and wheat flour, these scrumptious pancakes will keep you powered up for hours.
Frozen banana plus cocoa powder (or cacao, or carob) equals creamy-dreamy chocolate ice cream. And you can make it quicker than you can drive to the store!
This banana muffin recipe really illustrates how useful bananas are in baking by adding sweetness and keeping things moist and tender at the same time.
This pretty pink ice cream tastes sensational—an easy dessert that the whole family will be excited about.
Got a ripe banana, fresh or frozen blueberries, and some sweet potato? These mouthwatering muffins are picky-kid-tested and plant-based mom–approved.
Black beans and mashed bananas work together to make these WFPB brownies extra moist and chewy. Don’t worry about the bean flavor: It’s masked by the delicious combination of dark cocoa, dried cherries, and shredded coconut.
The hint of orange in these cute Apple-Raisin Mini Muffins comes from orange zest and a dash of orange juice. Don’t be surprised to find yourself reaching for another. And another.
Proving once and for all that you don’t need oil or processed sugar to make golden, crunchy granola, this recipe is a sweet start to the day. It’s also a great snack or after-dinner filler.
Flourless and packed with goodness, these hearty oat bars are so good you’ll want to make plenty.
Ripe bananas, dates, and unsweetened applesauce keep these cute banana bread loaves sweet and moist. Top with toasted walnuts and enjoy as a breakfast, snack, or after-dinner treat.
Learning how to make healthy plant-based pancakes is a game changer when you switch to a WFPB diet. Because let’s face it, any day that begins with pancakes is a good day, especially when they’re nutritious, and delicious like these banana pancakes.
It’s hard to put into words how fabulous this mango and banana ice cream is. Sweet, sun-kissed, and refreshing, it’ll brighten your day, for sure.
Traditional carrot cake always sounded healthier than it was. But no worries with this recipe. Spicy-sweet and with no added oil or processed sugar, this vegan carrot tastes great served by itself or topped with cashew- and date-based Vanilla Cream Frosting.
This breakfast bowl is packed with nourishing ingredients to keep you full until lunch—and looking forward to making it again the next morning! Strawberries and pineapple add fresh flavor, and a light sprinkle of vegan chocolate adds a sense of decadence. To make gluten-free, be sure to use certified gluten-free oats and chocolate chips.
These easy vegan muffins are sweetened with banana and dates and are light and airy thanks to aquafaba—the liquid that comes in a can of chickpeas. The recipes calls for fresh blueberries and raspberries, but frozen work fine, too.
Banana gives this luscious green smoothie bowl its creamy texture, while kale, kiwifruit, and wheatgrass add a tangy-green punch of flavor. You can really have fun experimenting with whatever fruit and grains you have on hand.
Packed with tasty ingredients like dates, figs, banana, oats, coconut, and cacao, these divine little balls are ready in 15 minutes or less.
Studded with dried figs, this simple banana bread is replete with wholesome sweetness. If you’re not a fan of walnuts, simply leave them out.
These pretty parfaits are a treat to behold and to eat. One reader writes, “I think I make this almost every weekend! So nice to have a WFPB alternative to a favorite dessert of ours!”
Called baghrir in Morocco, these sweet pancakes are similar to crepes, with a light, spongy texture. They’re traditionally topped with honey and butter, but our version is topped with a naturally sweet chocolate sauce made with bananas, date paste, almond milk, and vanilla. Top the pancakes with sliced fresh bananas for a double dose of banana goodness in every bite.
This aromatic banana bread gets a mildly nutty flavor from spelt flour, while dates add a melt-in-your-mouth natural sweetness. Enjoy a warm slice of this wholesome banana bread at breakfast or as a wholesome midday snack, paired with a mug of herbal tea.
BONUS: 5 Banana Hacks
These helpful hacks will change the way you peel, store, and enjoy bananas from now on.
Roast or Grill with Skin On
Cooking bananas caramelizes their natural sugars, but it also softens the flesh and can make them tricky to flip and serve. For a sweet treat, split bananas lengthwise down the center, then leave the skin on for easy turning in a pan or on the grill. You can also roast or grill them whole in the skin, then slit them open and top with nuts, berries, or cashew cream.
If you hate banana strings, this tip’s for you. Instead of peeling from the stem end down, peel from the bottom up. Simply pinch the tip to break the skin and start peeling. It’s faster and a lot less stringy.
Bananas release ethylene gas, a ripening hormone, from their stems. Wrapping the stems as a bunch, or individually, in foil or plastic wrap traps the gas and slows the ripening process to keep bananas firm and bright yellow.
Peel and Freeze
Ripe and slightly overripe bananas can be frozen in a resealable bag or freezer container for later. Peel and break the fruit into chunks before freezing so that they can easily be added to recipes or whizzed in a food processor to make nice cream.
Bananas make great stand-ins for eggs, sugar, and fat—and in pancake batter they can replace all three. Simply blend 4 large bananas until smooth, then stir in 1 Tbsp. baking powder and ¼ tsp. salt, followed by 1 cup whole wheat flour. Thin the batter to desired consistency with ¼ to ⅓ cup water. Cook the pancakes 2 to 3 minutes per side in a nonstick skillet over medium. (Note: The batter makes delicious waffles too.)
Hungry for More?
We’ve put together a roundup of some of our most-loved vegan recipes of all time. Try one today!
This article was originally published on April 2, 2020, and has been updated.
All the banana ones I didn’t like.
Peeling bananas from the bottom up still has strings. I’m so tied of hearing it it has no strings, or less. I have been peeling from the bottom up for years.
I am from the Caribbean. Bananas are grown in my backyard. Taste great without fertilizers, chemicals and just left to
grow and ripen.
What are organic bananas? How is it grown?
I have been peeling my bananas from the bottom for years. There are still strings.
I’ll just add my 7 over ripe ones to my bag of 50 I already have frozen.
Ha, Ha, Ha – good one. Same with me and my girlfriend.
basic banana cake?
My greatest tip about bananas is to BUY ORGANIC. They last longer, are firmer, and taste SO much better! Plus the price difference is minimal. It’s the one food that I won’t buy if it’s not organic ☺️
thankyou for the tip i will only by organic BANANAS from now on !!!!!!!!!!
I add a mashed banana to my oatmeal instead of sugar or syrup.
let me present you the nicest way to do this..
first peel the bananas and cut them into small circular peels .
Boil hot water until it reaches it Bp and pour it gently in the dish containing the banana peels .
Crush it and squash it to a smooth paste… a smoothie.
I’m ROFLOL at these complaints, smh.
Don’t forget you can eat banana peels too. Google banana peel bacon.
Another great reason to buy only organic bananas.
Only if you wash really well. Lots of spray around and on bananas.
I have two bunches both getting ripe at the same time . I need recipes for twenty ripe bananas, not two.
Right ! People will complain about anything. Even a recipe.
I don’t understand why you think these were not banana recipes? They were all creative recipes using ripe or overripe bananas….so why the complaint?
I just started buying organic bananas and can’t believe how much better they are.
Some great ideas for slightly over ripe bananas caused by a bad choice of Tesco click and collect.
Love bananas and these recipes just add to ways of enjoying this wonderful fruit. Thank you for sharing.
This is so helpful! Every recipe includes bananas in some form and I was able to use up a bunch that were going to go to waste.
The nice-creams are a delicious treat for these hot summer days!
Thanks for these great recipes! Love the banana ice creams!!! So good!!!
Love all the nice cream recipes and I make the blueberry bars at least once a month for an afternoon snack.