How to Use Up Ripe Bananas

Tasty treats made with bananas await

Those beautiful, just a tiny bit green bananas you bought just a few days ago all of a sudden are overripe and too soft to eat. That's a positive development if you love the foods you can only make with bananas that are soft, like banana bread, banana smoothies, banana pancakes, and banana pudding. And who doesn't adore banana cream pie? Here are some tasty ways to take advantage of this situation.

Banana Bread

Homemade banana bread
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Overripe bananas are great for adding moisture and flavor to bread recipes. Banana bread is a taste treat for breakfast and a relatively healthful dessert, thanks to those potassium-packed bananas. You can even freeze extra loaves to eat later. Just wrap them well, and they should freeze beautifully. More

Banana Cake

Banana Cake
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Bananas can take the place of some of the oil in cake recipes, making them lower in fat, without sacrificing any flavor. In fact, adding bananas actually makes a cake taste better. You can also add bananas to buttercream frosting for a full-on sweet banana dessert experience. More

Banana Muffins

Banana Muffins
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Muffins also benefit from the flavor and moisture that bananas give to the recipe, and they make an easy and tasty grab-and-go breakfast or snack. Whip up one of these recipes on the weekend and enjoy easier mornings throughout the work week. More

Banana Pancakes and French Toast

Bananas Foster French Toast
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Dress up basic pancakes or French toast by adding your overripe bananas to the batter. It'll turn them into a more filling, restaurant-quality meal that your whole family is sure to enjoy. If you have trouble getting your kids to eat fruit, this is a sure-fire solution. More

Banana Smoothies and Milkshakes

Banana and Chocolate Smoothie
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Bananas give smoothies and milkshakes a creamy texture and add just enough sweetness than you can often skip adding sugar to the recipe. Freeze the bananas before you toss them in the blender for the best results in these super-quick recipes. More

Banana Puddings and Custards

Banana Pudding
Diana Rattray

Whip up a quick banana pudding to enjoy with tonight's dinner. This dessert with Southern roots is simple but elegant, with a garnish of sliced bananas and a little (or a lot) of whipped cream. More

Banana Cookies

Banana Cookies
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Bananas make a great companion to chocolate, and this recipe combines the two for wondrous results. Add almonds for an interesting variation. More

Banana Cream Pie

Banana Cream Pie
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Banana cream pie is at the top of the list of just about everyone's favorite kinds of pie. It's especially good in the summertime but, really, who cares what season it is.  More

Short on Time

howtofreezebananas.jpg
Photo © Erin Huffstetler

If you don't have time to use your ripe bananas before they go completely over the hill, toss them into the freezer with or without the peel and pull them out when you're ready to use them. You can slice them and put them in a freezer bag or freeze in the peel. Banana peels turn black when refrigerated or frozen, but that doesn't mean that the fruit has gone bad. More