14 Banana Recipes To Sweeten Up Your Life

Bananas are one of the most popular types of fruit out there, and for good reason. Unlike some fruits that need a little jazzing up to be palatable, bananas are perfectly delicious all on their own, offering up nourishing sweetness and grab-and-go convenience all in one easily peeled package. While bananas certainly make for a great snack, they place well with other foods, too. In fact, there are quite a few unexpected ways to cook with bananas, though you can also take an easier route and incorporate the sweet fruit into baked goods.

There's no shortage of treats that bananas help bring to life, whether they be banana-centric dishes like banana bread or something like pancakes topped with slices of the fruit. In case you're looking to incorporate more bananas into your diet or you've got a bunch starting to accumulate brown spots, our best banana recipes will not only sweeten up your life, but they just might sweeten up the lives of those around you, too. Many of these recipes yield treats that can be shared with family, friends, neighbors, or even coworkers.

1. Brown Butter Banana Bread

A recipe for banana bread is nothing new, and you've more than likely already come across one that you follow religiously or was passed down in the family. If that old banana bread recipe is starting to feel a bit dull, you can easily switch it up without going completely off the rails. This brown butter banana bread recipe is the perfect example — the ingredients are all those that you'd find in a classic loaf, but the technique of browning the butter is where the real magic starts to happen.

If you haven't yet experienced the simple joy that brown butter brings to baked goods, allow this recipe to be your introduction. The process of actually browning the butter is a quick and simple one that happens on the stovetop, and the result is a rich, nutty tasting butter that adds a wonderful warmth and depth to banana bread. 

This recipe is especially ideal for those who might typically add walnuts to their banana bread, but are making adjustments for a nut allergy in the family. Thanks to brown butter, you can enjoy the nutty flavor without the risk of an allergic reaction.

Recipe: Brown Butter Banana Bread

2. Banana Cookies

At first glance, these cookies don't look like they incorporate bananas in any way — they just look like your classic chocolate chip cookie. This is a beneficial quality for those parents who want to get their kids to eat more fruit, or even for those who want to reap the health benefits of bananas but aren't big fans of the texture. While you will taste a subtle banana flavor in these cookies, the fruit mostly just contributes some extra sweetness, and who doesn't love an extra-sweet chocolate chip cookie?

Aside from the inclusion of mashed bananas, there are no oddball ingredients to look out for in these cookies. In fact, if you're a regular baker, then your pantry will likely already be stocked with the typical necessities. This recipe specifically calls for dark chocolate chips, but you can use whatever you have on hand, be it semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips. Whatever you do, don't skip the teaspoon of cinnamon in the batter — a small amount of the warming spice goes a long way to give these cookies a nice flavor boost that plays well with the bananas.

Recipe: Banana Cookies

3. Banana Lumpia

Lumpia is one of the world's great stuffed dough dishes, which is most often associated with Filipino cuisine. If you've ever travelled to the Philippines or dabbled in the cuisine, then there's a good chance you're familiar with these little fried rolls, and know that they most often come in a savory context. That said, the crepe-like pastry that encases lumpia can be stuffed with just about anything you'd like, and a common dessert variant involves bananas.

While bananas offer sweetness all on their own, these dessert lumpia combine the fruit with brown sugar to really hone in on the dessert aspect. No need to worry about making your own pastry dough, as this recipe calls for using pre-made lumpia sheets to make the process much faster. Once you have the lumpia rolled up, you'll give the rolls a quick fry to get the insides nice and warm, and the outside nice and crispy. Though these deep-fried treats are tasty enough on their own, you might want to serve them with a dip like caramel sauce to complement the flavor of the bananas and brown sugar.

Recipe: Banana Lumpia

4. Brown Butter Banana Crumb Muffins

It'd be pretty hard to dethrone banana bread as the absolute champion of banana-based baked goods, though banana muffins certainly fall into a close second-place spot. These brown butter banana crumb muffins are quite similar to classic banana bread, but in muffin form — though we'd argue that these muffins manage to make things a little more exciting thanks to the crunchy crumb topping.

A quick glance at the ingredient list for these muffins and you'll notice some expected players, like ripe bananas, flour, butter, eggs, baking powder, and sugar. The muffins themselves are delicious enough on their own, simple as they are, but the crumb topping goes a long way to add some textural contrast. The main crunch element comes from chopped walnuts, though the combination of flour, cinnamon, butter, and brown sugar also offer a certain crispiness that's somewhat similar to the streusel topping you might find on coffee cake

Another ingredient worth highlighting is the brown butter, which you'll make in a matter of minutes by melting regular butter on the stovetop. A simple but mighty addition to these muffins, the nutty flavor of the brown butter plays quite nicely alongside the walnuts in the crumb topping.

Recipe: Brown Butter Banana Crumb Muffins

5. Deep-Fried Bananas

There's really no stopping what we can deep-fry. So long as it holds its shape well enough and takes to a flour-based batter, then just about anything can get a hot oil treatment — case in point, these deep-fried bananas. If you've ever enjoyed deep-fried Oreos at a carnival, then you can about imagine what the outside of these banana treats tastes like. The inside, of course, features a humble slice of banana ... a fruit that did not ask to be deep-fried, but benefits from such a decadent cooking process nonetheless.

If you enjoy having fruit for dessert but really want to up the ante, then this recipe is the perfect solution. You'll make a simple batter consisting of flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, milk, and an egg, then you'll coat individual banana slices with it before dunking them into a pot of hot vegetable oil. The result is a deep-fried dessert that's a little bit sweet, a little bit crispy, a little bit rich, and very much delicious. You can enjoy these fried bananas as-is, or you can finish them off with a simple sprinkling of cinnamon sugar à la elephant ear.

Recipe: Deep-Fried Bananas

6. Classic Banana Muffins

For those days when you want to enjoy a freshly baked good but don't want to make a trip to the grocery store, this classic banana muffin recipe will come in handy. Believe it or not, you can whip up an entire batch of 12 muffins with just 10 ingredients, none of which are out of the ordinary or hard to source. This means that seasoned bakers can make this recipe whenever the craving strikes, or whenever those bananas are starting to brown and you need to use them up in a pinch.

Another big perk to this recipe is that it yields muffins in just 25 minutes flat. You'll start by mixing the dry and wet ingredients separately, then you'll combine them before portioning the batter out into a muffin tin. After as little as 15 minutes in the oven, these classic banana muffins will be ready to go — and while they make for a great grab-and-go breakfast, something tells us you won't be able to wait until morning before enjoying a muffin or two.

Recipe: Classic Banana Muffins

7. Banana Cream Pie

We'd like to extend a sincere apology to banana cream pie, a dessert that often goes overlooked in favor of other types of pie, like coconut cream or cherry. Indeed, banana cream pie is far from the most popular variant out there, but it really is incredibly delicious, from the pudding-like banana filling all the way to the layer of whipped cream on top. If you, too, have overlooked banana cream pie in your dessert rotation, then perhaps this recipe will provide an easy way to bring it out of the dark and into the spotlight it so solemnly deserves.

This pie, though it doesn't require too many ingredients, is the true definition of a from-scratch dessert. You'll start by making the pie crust before whipping up an eggy, milky banana filling. Once the crust is baked and cooled, you'll transfer the banana custard to it before letting the whole thing chill for a few hours. We can't lie and pretend like this isn't a time-extensive process, with the whole thing ideally chilling overnight, but for those who are always planning ahead, you've met your match with this recipe.

Recipe: Banana Cream Pie

8. Chai Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

If you love banana bread but classic recipes just aren't cutting it anymore, then this chai chocolate chip variation will no doubt add plenty of sweetness to your life. This bread recipe is nothing short of special, adding the warming flavor of chai tea along with the simple rich touch of chocolate chips. Paired with the foundation of a subtly sweet banana loaf, the chai and chocolate come together to create a flavor profile that is warming and exciting.

Instead of adding a chai concentrate or syrup to your batter, you'll instead steep Earl Grey in milk to accomplish a tea flavor profile. Of course, chai tea is nothing without a plethora of warming spices, so cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, and black pepper all lend a hand in yielding a truly irresistible chai tea flavor.

While you could easily make a chai banana bread and call it a day, the addition of chocolate chips adds an extra sweet factor that really takes this recipe over the edge. Because this banana bread is packing in plenty of flavor all on its own, enjoy a slice of it as-is, perhaps with a little bit of butter, or with a warm cup of black coffee.

Recipe: Chai Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

9. Classic Banana Pudding

Sometimes the simplest desserts are the biggest crowd-pleasers. We think that will most likely be the case with this classic banana pudding recipe. Whether you're looking for a special treat to serve at a kid's party or an adult gathering, no one can resist the temptation of good old banana pudding, adequately layered with vanilla wafer cookies and slices of fresh banana. You'll get bonus points if you portion the pudding out into single-serve cups, because after all, who can resist an adorable mini cup of pudding?

If you've tried banana-flavored pudding mix in the past and it left a bad taste in your mouth, fear not. The base of this pudding recipe is actually a vanilla mix, and the banana comes into play by way of actual bananas. No artificial banana flavor here, just a whole lot of creamy goodness. Also, no baking or cooking is required — once you mix up the pudding and assemble the cups, you'll just have to give them as little as 30 minutes to chill, then they'll be ready to go, just like that.

Recipe: Classic Banana Pudding

10. Banana Split Chocolate Bark

Fans of banana split sundaes and chocolate bark have double the reason to be excited about this recipe. Featuring layers of chocolate, peanuts, and strawberry-infused white chocolate, this colorful bark mimics the flavors of a classic banana split, but in snack-size bark form. Of course, layers of chocolate and peanuts wouldn't be enough — you'll also find dried bananas, cherries, and pineapple on top of the bark, aptly representing toppings that typically adorn the iconic sundae.

This is also an ideal recipe for those who enjoy sweet treats but aren't too fond of baking. No cook time is required (well, save for a few zaps in the microwave), and the biggest test of your patience will be to simply wait for the bark to chill in the fridge. Break off a piece of your hard work and enjoy it as soon as it sets, and maybe package up a few pieces of bark to hand them out as gifts.

Recipe: Banana Split Chocolate Bark

11. Fluffy Sweet Potato Banana Bread

There's really no shortage of ingredients that you could throw into banana bread batter, with some of them being obvious inclusions like nuts, dried fruit, or chocolate chips. Of course, there's always room for some oddball ingredients in baking, and this banana bread recipe takes a unique approach by including sweet potato in the mix, making for a fluffy bread that has a little more bulk to it than your average loaf.

Though sweet potato certainly isn't the most common banana bread inclusion, it makes sense when you think about the subtly sweet flavors that the classic bread offers to begin with. Sweet potato adds earthiness to your batter, and while you will certainly taste hints of the tuber with every bite, it won't overpower your bread.

To take things a step further, this recipe also calls for chopped pecans, both in the batter and sprinkled on top of the loaf. This means that each bite will have sweet banana flavor, sweet potato earthiness, a nutty crunch from the pecans, and an overarching warming factor that sets this bread apart from the rest.

Recipe: Fluffy Sweet Potato Banana Bread

12. Upside-Down Banana Cake

While pineapple may be the first fruit that comes to mind when you think of an upside-down cake, that doesn't mean that there isn't room for other fruits at the topsy-turvy party. Take this upside-down banana cake, for example — it's got a similar look to the pineapple variety, but with long slices of banana adorning the top instead.

Aside from the banana topping, which stays snug thanks to a caramel-like layer, there's a lot to love about this tasty treat. The cake itself isn't banana-forward, and instead just offers notes of vanilla, ginger, and cinnamon. Together with the caramel-flavored bananas, this cake breathes new life into both upside-down cakes and plain vanilla cakes in general.

Recipe: Upside-Down Banana Cake

13. Fluffy Banana Pancakes

No slow Saturday morning is truly complete without pancakes for breakfast, and if that old boxed mix is starting to get boring, then perhaps these fluffy banana pancakes will help liven things up. Fortunately, whipping up these from-scratch pancakes really isn't any harder than making the boxed stuff. A few pantry and fridge staples go a long way in creating the pancake batter, and the fruity addition of mashed bananas will help sweeten things up considerably. Because the bananas add sweetness to the batter, you don't have to overdo it with the sugar — in fact, you won't add any granulated sugar to the batter, but instead rely on a couple of tablespoons of maple syrup.

Speaking of maple syrup, you'd be wrong not to serve these pancakes without a final drizzle on top, though you can actually serve them with any toppings that you'd like. Extra banana slices also make for an appropriate topping, but why stop at one type of fruit? Strawberries or blueberries would also make for a delicious garnish on your sweet stack.

Recipe: Fluffy Banana Pancakes

14. Pumpkin Banana Bread

Pumpkin certainly gets a popularity boost each year when fall rolls around, though we think that the orange gourd deserves a place in recipes year-round. If you also think the pumpkin parade should never come to an end, then perhaps this pumpkin banana bread recipe is perfect to add to your baking catalog. You've got all of the goodies that you'd find in any banana bread with the addition of pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, chocolate chips, dried cranberries, and walnuts — what's not to love about that?

Despite the added ingredients, we can assure you that this pumpkin banana bread isn't any more difficult or time consuming than a classic recipe. Naturally, a simple pat of butter makes a perfect pairing with this sweet bread, though a drizzle of honey or a hot cup of tea would also be great accompaniments.

Recipe: Pumpkin Banana Bread