8 Genius Uses for Overripe Bananas (Besides Banana Bread!)

We love you, banana bread, but it’s time to see other people. These recipes are all free from added sugar, oil, and flour.

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Banana “soft serve”

iStock/Tatiana Volgutova

Literally all you need for a frozen, spoonable treat is some overripe bananas. Freeze banana chunks for at least two hours, then puree them in a food processor or blender for about five minutes. You can add vanilla or cocoa powder if you want, but it makes a tasty dessert as is, too. You can eat it right after blending or pop it back in the freezer to harden a bit more. Did you know you can grate frozen bananas too? Here are more foods you never thought to grate.

Two-ingredient pancakes


Skeptics, take note: These two-ingredient pancakes taste way closer to your favorite brunch recipe than you’d think. Just mash two large eggs into a medium banana until the batter is liquidy. Drop the batter onto a griddle and flip when the bottom is golden brown. Cook for another minute or so, then serve it with toppings like syrup, jelly, or fresh fruit. Check out these other delicious pancake mix-ins and these tricks to cook perfect eggs every time.

Oatmeal mix-in


When you cook overripe banana, it becomes melty and caramelized—a great substitute for brown sugar in your morning bowl of oatmeal. Just pop however much banana you want in the microwave until it gets gooey, then stir it into your normal bowl of unflavored oatmeal. If you want, you can add peanut butter, cocoa powder, or fresh or dry fruit. Here's how to make oatmeal quickly without resorting to instant packets.

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Strawberry banana colada smoothie


Banana is a go-to smoothie ingredient, and the overripe ones in your freezer make it even better. Try this tropical-inspired recipe: Blend a frozen banana with 1 cup coconut milk. Add ¾ cup strawberries, 1/3 cup pineapple, ½ cup Greek yogurt, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Top it with toasted coconut if you want. Now put in a straw and a mini umbrella, and pretend you're on a beach getaway. Here are tricks to make a healthy smoothie so it's not a total sugar bomb.

Homemade fudge pops

iStock/Lauri Patterson

For a chocolaty treat, make your own version of a fudge pop. Combine three bananas, 1 cup coconut milk, 4 tablespoons cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt in a blender. Pour into Dixie cups, put in a popsicle stick, and freeze for at least four hours. For more ideas, check out these deliciously refreshing ice pop recipes.

Oatmeal raisin breakfast cookies


These handheld bites won’t taste like grandma’s oatmeal raisin cookies, but they do make a great grab-and-go breakfast. To make them, preheat your oven to 350°F. Mash an overripe banana, then mix it with ¼ cup peanut butter. Add in ½ cup rolled oats, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, 3 tablespoons of raisins, and a pinch or two of salt. Roll balls and flatten, then bake for about 14 minutes. Keep them in an airtight container for tomorrow’s breakfast or for a quick snack. These are healthy-eating mistakes you might make at breakfast.

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Four-ingredient sweet potato muffins

iStock/Yula Zubritsky

These sweet potato banana bites aren’t overly sweet, but they’re an easy snack that’s versatile to your taste. Cook a medium sweet potato (nuking it will speed things up), then mash it with a medium overripe banana. Stir in ¼ cup nut butter, two eggs, cinnamon, and any mix-ins you want, such as chocolate chips or fresh blueberries. Spoon into a greased mini muffin tin and bake at 375°F for 18 minutes. Do you know the actual difference between sweet potatoes and yams? Here are more commonly confused foods.

Vegan oat bars


Mix 1 ½ cups mashed banana, ¼ cup ground flaxseed, ½ cup walnuts, ½ cup water, and ½ teaspoon salt in a bowl. Once it’s all stirred together, add 3 cups of oats. Transfer the mixture to a large baking pan, pressing it down with your fingers. Bake in a 350°F oven for 25 to 30 minutes, then let cool for another ten minutes putting it upside down on a cookie sheet and cutting it into squares. Pop in the oven for another 15 minutes, then flip the squares and cook five minutes more for an even brown color. Here's what happens to your body on a vegan diet. Sources: greenlitebites.com, thekitchn.com, chocolatecoveredkatie.com, halfbakedharvest.com, alimentageuse.com, theleangreenbean.com, lovefoodeat.com

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