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7 Surprising Uses for Overripe Bananas

Bored with banana bread? Try these creative yet simple ideas for new options


spinner image left banana pancakes right banana chia seed pudding
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It’s a common experience: You buy a bunch of bananas and don’t eat them all, and slowly they turn brown and a little mushy. They may not look appetizing, but you don’t have to toss those overripe fruits.

Brown bananas are still OK to eat (as long as they’re not slimy or moldy), and though they might not look appetizing, there are a lot of ways to use them that will satisfy any skeptic, says dietitian, author and podcaster Jessica Cording.

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Banana bread may be a typical choice, but Cording has ideas for other ways ripe bananas can show up on breakfast and dessert menus, as a snack or a side.

If your bananas are brown but you’re not ready to use them just yet toss them in the freezer where they will keep for months until you’ve got a plan in hand. Freeze whole bananas in their peels if you plan on mashing them or cooking after defrosting. You can cut a peeled banana into chunks and use the frozen versions for a smoothie.

Here are some new ways that Cording suggests to use overripe bananas:

Breakfast

Pancakes: For a healthy mix of protein, fat and carbs that will energize you all morning, blend a ripe banana with two eggs and use as a grain-free pancake batter. Add milk or spices to taste.

Muffins: Mash and add bananas to your standard muffin batter. They lend sweetness and moisture, so you can cut back a little on sugar and oil.

Oatmeal: Cook mashed bananas with oatmeal to add natural sweetness and nutrients.

Snack or side

Bars: Mix mashed bananas with rolled oats, the nut butter of your choice and chia seeds, then bake in a preheated 400°F oven for 20 to 30 minutes and cut into bars.

Panfried: Fry thick slices of ripe banana with a bit of avocado oil for 2 to 3 minutes, sprinkle with cinnamon, flip and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. For a savory version, sprinkle with curry powder instead.

Dessert

Creamy frozen treat: Freeze peeled and sliced bananas, then puree them in a blender or food processor to make “nice cream.”

Chia pudding: Prepare your favorite overnight chia pudding recipe using the milk or plant-based milk of your choice. Before blending, flavor with cocoa powder and vanilla extract; add sliced ripe banana. Sweeten with maple syrup or honey.

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