We’ve been there before. You buy the bananas. You eat maybe one or two, and then all of a sudden boom. Time has gone by. And now you’re wondering what to do with these very ripe bananas. You know they’ve got all sorts of great benefits, they taste nice and sweet and are super portable, but now what do you do?!
We know that the number one thing someone will tell you to do is to make banana bread. And indeed, the sugars in very ripe bananas are absolutely perfect for this job. And the consistency—mashable—is a huge help, too.
Bake With Them!
So we will start off by saying MAKE BANANA BREAD, but specifically, here are a couple of options right off the bat.
Loaded Vegan Banana Bread. It is everything and more. We also include instructions for adapting this, including making it a gluten-free recipe.
Two other faves:
Banana Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookies (noticing a theme here?!)
Ok, now that we have the obligatory ideas out of the way. What else!?
Peel, Slice, and Freeze
One quick thing to do with ripe bananas when you don’t have time for a baking project or don’t want to transform them into bread is to freeze them. Just peel them and slice them. Once they are sliced, lay them out on a baking sheet (rimmed works best so they don’t go flying off into the depths of your freezer) lined with parchment or wax paper so that they aren’t touching each other and therefore won’t clump together. Freeze them solid. Once they are frozen, transfer to a zip-close bag and use them for smoothies and other baking projects.
You can of course chuck them into the freezer unpeeled and unfrozen but they’ll be much more difficult to deal with that way in the future, trust us.
There’s been a trend in recent years to use bananas in a lot of vegan and/or gluten-free recipes, and breakfast–i.e, these pancakes–is one idea. They’re banana oat and easy to do. Check out our recipe for these 3-Ingredient Banana Oatmeal Pancakes!
So technically this one has more than three ingredients, but the core ingredients are bananas, oats, and eggs. You can add in other ingredients such as cinnamon and of course trusty chocolate chips, if desired.
Make a Smoothie Bowl
If they’re very ripe, you can use them the next morning for this Smoothie Bowl Recipe for Meal Prep, which is very adaptable but includes, you guessed it, bananas. Berries, flaked coconut, nuts, granola–the sky is the limit here.
Turn them into ICE CREAM
You may have seen recipes and posts around social media about making ice cream out of bananas, and it’s not a joke. You have to freeze the bananas first but once you freeze them and put them through a food processor or a high speed blender like a Vitamix, you can have something resembling ice cream. It’s often considered a “vegan” ice cream recipe because frozen bananas get creamy once they’re whipped up but definitely do not include cream. You can literally process them as they are, or add a bit of a sweetener like agave, maple syrup or honey. (Liquid sweeteners are going to incorporate better!)
Freeze the bananas in slices (you don’t want to put a whole frozen banana in your food processor, it’s not a good scene), and then add a little sweetener if desired. Turn it chocolate with some cocoa powder. Or add a little protein powder if you want, or a couple of tablespoons of peanut butter. You don’t really need anything other than frozen bananas, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make it even better by adding more of the things you like with bananas!
Similarly, you can use the banana as a base for all kinds of OTHER “ice cream” flavors, whether it’s coconut, mango, blueberry, or others, like these from Chocolate Covered Katie.
What’s YOUR favorite way to use up VERY RIPE bananas?