16 Healthy and Easy Ways to Use Overripe Bananas
Peel them, freeze them, use them in everything.On the one hand, bananas are incredibly convenient: They come naturally pre-packaged in a protective peel, they’re cheap, and they’re available pretty much everywhere, from the grocery store to the corner deli. On the other hand, they inconveniently seem to go from green to black in the blink of an eye. The elusive ripe-but-not-too-mushy phase is when bananas taste best on their own, and it’s hard to catch them at that perfect moment. The good news is, overripe, mushy bananas are super sweet and exactly what you want when it comes to baking and blending.
To make sure I always have overripe bananas on hand, I buy a bunch at the grocery store before I even think about cooking with them, then let them sit on my counter until they’re almost black. (I also used to take almost-dead bananas from the office fruit basket at the end of the work week, to save them from the garbage.) I peel them, throw them into a freezer bag, and freeze the whole bunch. For things like smoothies, pudding, and oatmeal, frozen bananas are perfect. If I’m mashing them into a batter or a cookie, I’ll nuke them in the microwave to soften them up before mixing them in. Either way, it’s super simple.
Whether you find yourself with a bunch of overripe bananas accidentally or on purpose, there’s so much you can do with them. They add sweetness to whatever you’re using them for, and a little bit of springy texture to baked goods. Here are some suggestions for how to use them up, whether you’re in the mood for breakfast, dessert, or a snack in between.
1 Four-Ingredient Fudgy Protein Brownies from Gimme Delicious
Bananas add sweetness and moisture to these super chocolatey brownies. They get their protein from protein powder and peanut butter
2 Whole Wheat Coconut Oil Banana Muffins from Sweet As Honey
Between the banana and the coconut oil, these muffins are wonderfully moist. Bonus: They’re free of nuts and other sophisticated mix-ins, meaning they’re perfect for kids (or, you know, picky grown-ups).
3 Three-Ingredient Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies from Curls ‘N’ Chard
All you need to whip up a batch of these guys is bananas, oats, and chocolate chips! If you want to make them a little more breakfast friendly, swap the chocolate chips out for a nut or a dried fruit.
4 Chocolate Chip Banana Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting from Running With Spoons
This cake is totally a legit dessert, but it’s got good-for-you ingredients like Greek yogurt, whole wheat flour, oats, and bananas.
5 Five-Ingredient Gluten-Free Banana Bread from The Baker Mama
Make sure to use gluten-free oats in this one, if gluten is a thing you’re trying to avoid. Even if you’re not gluten-free, though, this easy bread is like oatmeal you can slice (and lather with butter, if you want…).
6 Baked Banana Chips from Diethood
These could not be easier, and they’re actually a genius way to add crunch to parfaits or bowls of oatmeal.
7 Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Smoothie from The Schmidty Wife
The situation: A smoothie doesn’t seem like enough, oatmeal seems too hot, and you didn’t have the foresight to make overnight oats. The solution: This banana oatmeal smoothie that’s got all the whole-grain goodness, without the heat or the wait time.
8 Flourless Peanut Butter Banana Blender Muffins
Honestly, I wrote this recipe because I wanted to meal prep some breakfast options for the week but didn’t feel like doing lots of dishes. The whole batter comes together in the blender, and then you pour it straight into greased muffin cups. Get the recipe here.
9 Chocolate Banana Chia Pudding from Veggie and the Beast
Bet you’d never guess that this Snack Pack-looking treat is made with stuff like bananas, chia seeds, and…spinach. More proof that a Vitamix is a magical, magical tool that’s totally worth the investment.
10 Simple Green Smoothie from SELFstarter
Don’t underestimate the power of a good, simple green smoothie on days when you want to feel extra-healthy in the morning. Freeze bananas, kale, and avocado together in individually portioned freezer bags to take the guesswork out of your mornings. Get this recipe when you sign up for a seven-day free trial of SELFstarter, a new site from the
11 Blueberry Banana Baked Oatmeal from Live Well Bake Often
This sweet-ish breakfast recipe is a great for meal prep, since you can make a tray on Sunday and have oatmeal squares all week! When blueberry season is over, swap them out for chopped apples, grapes, or dried fruit.
12 “Whipped” Banana Oatmeal from Kath Eats Real Food
One of Kath’s original blog recipes, this whipped oatmeal is what happens when you stir chopped or very thinly sliced banana into oatmeal while it’s cooking. The banana sort of just melts in, and it makes the finished oatmeal sweet and a little fluffier.
13 Edible Banana Bread Batter from The Big Man’s World
This is so easy, so gooey, and so perfect for stay-at-home Saturday nights.
14 Two-Ingredient Banana Pancakes from Top With Cinnamon
Gluten-free, grain-free, and paleo.
15 Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes from Sally’s Baking Addiction
Grain-free banana pancakes have gotten a lot of love in recent years, but regular old banana pancakes are a healthy classic! Use whole wheat flour to up the fiber and get in some whole grains.
16 Three-Ingredient Banana FroYo from SELFstarter
Sure, you can make banana soft serve with bananas, a food processor, and nothing else. But why not add some protein and healthy fats by throwing Greek yogurt and peanut butter in there? It makes for a much more satisfying snack.