Banana loaf cake in slices, topped with banana chunks

Top 10 ways to use up ripe bananas

Have some overripe bananas languishing in the fruit bowl? Put them to good use with our leftover recipes, from banana bread and muffins to ice cream and smoothies.

A limp banana turning an ominous shade of brown is a common sight in fruit bowls across the land – the short window between the perfect banana and overripeness means we’re sometimes caught short. When a banana loses its firmness it becomes hard to eat as a snack, but it can be mashed and used up in a number of thrifty ways.

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Buying and storing bananas

Bunch of bananas in a bowl

Consider the shelf life when buying bananas. If you want to eat them over the course of the week, choose ones that have green tinges on the ends as they can be ripened at home. To eat straight away, choose bananas with small patches of black on the skin, which is a sign of ripeness. Store in a fruit bowl rather than the fridge, as the cold temperature will make the skins go black. They’ll also make everything else in the fridge smell like bananas.

Leftover banana recipes

1. Banana bread

A popular way of using up bananas is in a loaf or bread, and we have no shortage of recipes to keep you busy. Try a traditional loaf with icing, team it with Brazil nuts, or go healthy and eat a trimmer version with low-fat spread for breakfast.

Watch this video on how to make our brilliant banana loaf:

2. Baked bananas

Chocolate baked bananas in foil

Let your soft and squidgy bananas meld in heavenly fashion with chocolate buttons in these whole baked bananas. If it’s not barbecue season, they’ll cook perfectly well in the oven. Contrast all the steaming gooey sweetness with a dollop of ice cream.

Chocolate baked bananas

3. Banana muffins

Earn brownie points by tucking one of these moreish banana and pecan muffins into a lunchbox, or serve for an easy breakfast. If you prefer, you can swap the buttermilk for milk and lemon juice.

Banana muffins

4. Microwave banana pudding

The mashable nature of overripe bananas means they can easily be worked into a cake batter. This cheat’s pud takes merely 20 minutes in the microwave, making it an ideal no-fuss midweek pud.

Microwave banana pudding

5. Quick banana ice cream

Three bowls of banana ice cream covered in flaked almonds

You don’t need a fancy churner to enjoy homemade ice cream. For this version, chop your ripe bananas then freeze on a tray. Once frozen, whizz in a food processor with milk. It even counts towards your five-a-day – what more could you ask for?

Quick banana ice cream

6. Banana smoothie

Another way of getting benefits from nutritious, potassium-rich bananas is to blitz them into a smoothie. Hazelnuts, mango, citrus fruits and berries all complement bananas in rather fine fashion.

Banana smoothie

Blitz up some more delicious banana smoothies.

7. Banana pancakes

Banana and bacon pancakes on a plate

Go stateside at brunch time and flip up some fluffy pancakes with banana two-ways – sliced into thin rounds and mashed into the batter. Team with crispy bacon and syrup. Elvis would approve…

Banana pancakes with crispy bacon & syrup

For a delicious dairy and egg-free alternative, try our coconut & banana pancakes.

8. Banana fairy cakes

Dotty banana fairy cakes in paper cases topped with icing and round sweet

Use up your mushy bananas in a traditional sponge. These cake sale-friendly cupcakes with retro icing will go down a storm with kids.

Dotty banana fairy cakes

9. French toast

Pile of chocolate and banana French toast on a plate

This decadent fried sandwich will work as a brunch dish or pudding, but it’s not for the faint-hearted – double cream, maple syrup, chocolate and mashed banana combined will knock your socks off.

Chocolate & banana French toast

10. Feelgood flapjacks

Flapjack squares with oats and seeds

Be a little more virtuous with a nutritious flapjack, packed with hidden apple and banana, healthy seeds, chewy apricots and peanut butter.

Feelgood flapjacks

More brilliant banana recipes…

Banana recipe collection
Vegan banana pancakes recipe video
Easiest ever banana ice cream recipe video

How do you use up leftover bananas? Leave a comment below…

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As many countries urge populations to stay at home, many of us are paying more attention to our diets and how the food we eat can support our health. To help sort out the fact from the fiction, BBC Future is updating some of their most popular nutrition stories from their archive.