Bananas are one of the world’s sweetest superfoods and make the perfect snack. Full of essential vitamins and minerals, they help to support our immune and nervous systems.
And when it comes to baking, bananas are the perfect ingredient. They help to make your baked goods moist and tender, add a rich flavor, and act as a binding ingredient, keeping your muffins, cakes, and bars from falling apart.
If you’re wondering what to do with that bunch of bananas on your kitchen counter, you’ll want to try one of these simple banana bar recipes.
4 Tips for Baking with Bananas
Before you get started baking with bananas, check out these 4 tips:
- Choosing the right bananas – When choosing bananas for baking, ripe bananas are best. Avoid bananas that are yellowish-green or yellow with green near the stem. Search out overripe bananas, ones that have speckled peels and have started to brown near the tip and stem. This is the one time that having soft spots or bruising is OK, as this means they have a sweeter and more assertive flavor that’s perfect for baking.
- Using under-ripe bananas – If you must bake with bananas, but all you’ve got on hand is green or under-ripe bananas, don’t worry. You can still bake with them. To achieve the sweetness that you’re missing, increase the amount of sugar in your recipe by 15%. That’s equivalent to about 2-3 tablespoons. You’ll also want to increase the salt content by approximately 25% to help with the flavor intensity.
- Build a stash – If you want to always have ripe bananas on hand for baking, it’s a good idea to start building a stash. This means prepping and freezing them at just the right time to guarantee the best flavor and texture. Whenever you have bananas that you’re tempted to throw away because they’re too brown or squishy, store them in your freezer! Believe it or not, you can store overripe bananas whole and unopened in a freezer bag. Just know that as they freeze, the skins will turn dark brown or black. When you plan to bake, set them out on your counter to thaw at room temperature, or microwave them on low, skin and all, for about three minutes.
- Substituting with bananas – Bananas make a great substitute for other ingredients. If your recipe calls for oil or fat such as vegetable oil or butter, you can substitute it with a ripe banana. Simply mash up your banana and add it to a dry measuring cup. So, if your recipe calls for a ½ cup of butter, you can substitute it with ½ cup of banana. The same goes for vegetable oil.
6 Hacks for Making Bananas Ripen Faster
If you can’t find overripe bananas in the store, or you can’t wait for the ones on your counter to get to where they need to be for baking, try one of these hacks to help them ripen faster.
- Keep them in a bunch – Did you know that bananas ripen better together? It’s true. Resist the urge to separate them and keep them together to ripen faster. If your bananas are already separated, bunch them together by placing aluminum foil over the stems.
- Get them warm – To help your bananas ripen faster, you want to keep them warm. That may mean moving them to a new place in your kitchen. Try the top of your refrigerator or near a heating vent. You can even place them in an oven that is cooling down. Just be sure to check them frequently and pull them out when you see brown spots beginning to form.
- Use a paper bag – If you have a brown paper lunch bag or grocery bag lying around, you can use it to help your bananas ripen faster. Simply place them inside and close it loosely. Bananas give off a molecule called ethylene. That ethylene will start to build up inside the bag and will help to speed up the ripening process. The process should take about 12 to 24 hours. Check on the bananas in intervals until they’ve reached your desired level of ripeness. If you want to move the process along even faster, add a tomato or apple to the bag. They also give off ethylene and will help to enhance the ripening.
- Try your oven – The heat from your oven is a great way to ripen your bananas, because heat helps to bring out the sugar in fruit. Start by putting an unpeeled banana on a baking sheet placing it into an oven set at 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep checking on it at regular intervals, and don’t worry if it leaks a bit. You’ll know it’s done when the peel turns shiny and black. Important to note: If the banana is too green, this process will not work.
- Use the microwave – Putting bananas in a microwave is a quick and easy way to ripen them. Before placing the banana in the microwave, use a fork or a sharp knife to poke completely through the skin a few times on all sides. Microwave for a full 30 seconds, let the banana cool, and then check for softness. If it’s still not soft enough, continue microwaving at 30 second intervals, until your desired ripeness is reached.
- Put them in an air fryer – The heat from an air fryer can help ripen a banana. Start by lining your air fryer with aluminum foil or parchment paper. This is to help with clean up in case the bananas burst while frying. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and then add your bananas. Cook for about 8 minutes, until the peels have started to brown, and bananas are soft. Be sure to let them cool before opening the peels.
16 Banana Bar Recipes That Hit the Spot
- Frosted Banana Bars | Taste of Home
- Banana Nut Breakfast Bars | Cooking
- Banana Bars with Chocolate Chips | Well Plated by Erin
- Banana Bars | Betty Crocker
- Banana Oatmeal Energy Bars | Clean & Delicious
- Simple Banana Bars Recipe | Recipe Tips
- Banana Breakfast Bars | Crazy for Crust
- Banana Blondies | Life in the Lofthouse
- The Best Frosted Banana Bars | Design Eat Repeat
- Strawberry Banana Paleo Breakfast Bars | Paleo Grubs
- Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Bars | Erin Lives Whole
- Banana Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting | Kitchn
- Chocolate Chip Banana Bars | Butter with a Side of Bread
- Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Bars | Savory
- Banana Pudding Dream Bars | 365 Days of Baking and More
- 3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Banana Bars | Super Healthy Kids
Now it’s time to grab those bananas and bake up a batch of these simple banana bar recipes.
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