7 Ways To Use Those Ripe Bananas (That Aren't Banana Bread)

by Ani Manukian, RDN, LD

Last Updated: May 26, 2020

Bananas consistently hold the top spot in grocery units sold. Beloved by monkeys and humans alike, bananas are a go-to fruit for good reason. Their peels provide them with protection, making them a durable, convenient option when on the go. Since nature has provided this fruit with its own biodegradable packaging, bananas are a top choice in today’s COVID-19 pandemic. Bananas are also one of the few foods well-liked by both kids and adults, and they make a sweet addition to almost any snack or meal. A medium banana provides 3g of fiber and about 420mg of potassium, a mineral that is essential for hydration and blood pressure regulation. For these and many other reasons, this fruit has undoubtedly earned a staple spot on our weekly grocery lists.

A quick peek at social media shows that many people are picking up baking as a pandemic pass-time, making everything from sourdough starters to banana bread. As you see those bananas browning day by day, here’s a handful of ideas for using them up without getting into a banana bread rut.
  1. Natural smoothie-sweetener.
    Peel and freeze bananas whole or in chunks in a freezer-safe bag or container. Replace the sugar or honey in your favorite smoothie recipe with banana for a creamy, fiber- and nutrient-rich alternative.
  2. Banana “nice” cream.
    Frozen bananas can be more than a great smoothie addition. Blend frozen bananas with any flavor-boosters until a soft-serve consistency is reached.
  3. Banana cookies.
    Take a break from your typical dessert and indulge in these banana cookies!
  4. The secret ingredient.
    Missing sugar, oil, or eggs for your next baking endeavor? Bananas can stand in for any of these ingredients. Check out this resource for these substitutions and more.
  5. Banana pancakes.
    Mash one ripe banana and combine with two beaten eggs, 1/4 cup oats, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and a dash of cinnamon. Blend the mixture in a blender or food processor for a smooth batter if desired. Prepare a skillet with your preferred cooking oil and cook for 2 minutes on each side. Top with your typical pancake fixings or mix it up with nut butter or yogurt.
  6. Baked banana chips.
    Top yogurt or oatmeal with these crispy banana chips for a sweet alternative to nuts or granola, or dunk them in your favorite yogurt or nut butter.
  7. Superfood chocolate banana chia pudding.
    Chia pudding has been popular for quite some time, and this recipe takes it to the next level with a smooth texture even your pickiest eater will enjoy.

As we visit the grocery store less often, it’s important to have a plan to prevent the foods we love from going to waste. Luckily, bananas can be used at all stages of ripeness. No matter which “banana rescue” option you prefer, you’re making a great choice for your nutrition, your wallet, and the environment.

Disclaimer: This information is educational only and not providing healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.

Ani Manukian, RDN, LD

Ani Manukian, RDN, LD

Ani is living her dream as a real food dietitian, helping her patients merge the science of nutrition with the art of creating tasty, balanced meals. She competes in the sport of weightlifting and has personal and professional experience in sports nutrition, flexible dieting, and weight loss.