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Banana Bread
Helena Lin / Spoon
Life

Ways to Use Ripe Bananas (Besides Banana Bread)

When life gives you bananas, bread is not the only way to use them. Every time I go on Snapchat or Instagram lately, it seems that all I’m finding are posts of people baking banana bread. Of course, I like the recipe as much as everyone else, I mean, there’s a reason it’s a classic. But there are still plenty of other ways to use overripe bananas, and if you are looking for some new ways to use the fruit, you’ve come to the right place. Why not give some of these creative sweet treats a try!

Smoothies

Starting it off simple, what better way to get a couple servings of fruit in your day than a sweet and refreshing smoothie? Bananas are full of flavor and bring a creamy component to the best blended drinks, as well as being a great source of potassium. I suggest using frozen bananas for these drinks, since it uses them to help chill the smoothie and make it extra thick and creamy, similar to a milkshake.

“Nice” Cream

Banana ice cream, also called “nice cream,” turns the frozen fruit into a sorbet-like treat. They are quick and easy, usually only requiring one main ingredient (can you guess what it is?). When you freeze bananas, they come out unbelievably creamy, creating a guilt-free dessert without even the hassle of an ice cream machine (I’m looking at you Chopped!). I’m definitely going to be eating these to curb my sweet tooth!

Cookies

I put some fruit in my cookies…that makes them healthy, right? Okay, you got me there, but adding bananas definitely makes cookies softer and delicious. Most recipes are soft, and not too crispy, giving it an almost cake-like quality. Although you might need a few more of the regular pantry staples, I’m still sure that any cookies around the house will disappear rather quickly!

Oatmeal

Usually people associate oatmeal with being a bland and boring food, but toss that idea out the window. Take your overripe bananas, mash it up with a fork, and stir it into you warm bowl of oatmeal. Go ahead. You are about to have the creamiest, coziest oatmeal ever. Simple, healthy, and oh so delicious.

Pancakes

Pancakes are one of the best breakfasts in my book, and bananas only add freshness to this dish. Either slice up some bananas to put on top, or mash them up to stir into the batter. They will keep the pancakes moist and sweet, so you might not even want to add honey or maple syrup. Fluffy on the inside, crispy on the outside, and you got yourself some phenomenal breakfast food.

Popsicles

There’s nothing better than a frozen treat as we are about to enter the hotter months of the year. Like a smoothie on a stick, banana popsicles make for a perfect refresher. These treats are tangy, sweet, and healthy, and can be covered with a variety of different toppings for you to enjoy! I personally prefer chocolate and coconut, but feel free to try mixing it up!

Bite-Sized

Another easy and healthy warm weather treat. These recipes can’t get much simpler than this. Banana bites are a perfect after dinner treat when you’re craving something a little bit extra but want to keep your calories in check. Just try not to eat all of them at once!

Brownies

Who would have thought that brownies could be even better when filled with fruit? Bananas naturally have a small amount of fat in them, making them the perfect substitute for other sources of fat in baking, such as oil or butter. When you pull these pipin’ hot from the oven, the brownies will be a hit for all banana and chocolate lovers alike.

Muffins

Think of a muffin as a mini banana bread, as well as another fabulous use of your overripe bananas. Fun fact, most banana breads and muffins are actually better the second day because the banana flavors starts soaking in, making them extra moist. Nothing says homemade goodness like freshly baked muffins from the oven!

In a Mug!

I know I said I wouldn’t include banana bread, but this has become a personal favorite treat of mine! Got a ripe banana, five minutes, and a microwave? Like magic, it creates a single-serve personal cake for you. Plus, it’s a great way to portion control for those of us (myself included) who lack the will power to not eat an entire serving of the delicious comfort food.

So, did you see something you want to try? I hope that one of these manages to satisfy that sweet tooth! There are of course still so many different uses you can find for your ripening bananas; plus there’s lots of varieties you can make with recipes! I listed a few of my favorites here, but I’m always open to a new dessert…or you know, eating a banana before it goes bad for once.

Anyway, during this time, stay safe, try to stay healthy, and bake to your heart’s delight. You’ll catch me in my kitchen mixing up the next batch!

Tara Wilson

Washington '22

Tara is currently a third year at University of Washington that is majoring in Creative Writing and pursuing a job in creative development. She is originally from Southern California, which is probably why she loves Disney and the ocean so much. In her free time, she enjoys reading, baking, and exploring the city.
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