Leftover Banana Peels Are The Secret To Juicier Chicken

If you frequently buy bananas to slice atop your breakfast cereal or to have on hand as a convenient afternoon snack, chances are you know the classic tricks of the trade to make use of leftover or ripened bananas — most notably, their role in making the best banana bread. But did you know there's a way to repurpose the fruit's skin while providing a boost to your chicken recipes? It all comes down to roasting the banana peel alongside chicken to keep the poultry nice and juicy.


To use leftover banana peels to roast a variety of moist chicken recipes, you can simply rip the peel in half and place each piece on a baking tray, under or on top of your chicken thighs, drumsticks, or any cut of the meat. Make sure the peel is directly touching the chicken, since as the chicken roasts, the banana peel will cook and release steam. This transfers extra moisture to the chicken as its own juices are released, preventing the meat from drying out.

Banana peels provide extra moisture

In the United States, it's common practice to toss away banana peels without much thought, but in other parts of the world like India and South America, banana peels have a role to play in cuisine. Banana peels are, in fact, edible and have a fibrous texture and high water content (about 85%) that makes them ideal for sauteing alongside veggies in curries and stews. And in recent years, the banana peel has also earned its claim to fame in a variety of vegan recipes, for its use as a plant-based pulled pork and bacon substitute.


When baked in direct contact with chicken, banana peels tenderize the meat as it roasts on the pan. This trick works under a similar methodology as steam-roasting — when you add some water to a pan of roast veggies or chicken. The extra moisture in the oven creates steam, which helps the chicken cook evenly and tenderly while developing a crispy, crunchy exterior skin. To make the most of the moisture and oils in the peels, some cooks even use what was once banana discards in their chicken marinades as an extra step to keep the meat juicy. It's best to use well-washed, organic bananas when cooking chicken with the peel to avoid any unwanted chemicals or residuals.

Your chicken recipe matters

If you've ever left a banana peel out on the counter, you know that it can become well, uh, let's say "fragrant." Bananas' distinctive sweet and floral flavor and aroma is part of what makes them a bit of a polarizing fruit — they are either beloved or not so much. So, when using banana peels to keep your roast chicken moist, it's wise to consider complementary flavors for your marinade or spice rub.


In employing the banana peel method, focus on chicken recipes that already go well with a bit of sweetness, since it's inevitable that some banana essence will be transferred to the chicken. It helps to find inspiration from chicken dishes that are paired with bananas or plantains like jerk chicken with allspice and cinnamon. Or try an Indian-inspired spiced roast chicken with garam masala and ginger. Avoid super savory recipes like smoked paprika and garlic chicken, since you might find that the banana peels not only keep your chicken nice and juicy, but they also add a subtle hint of floral fruitiness. In certain chicken recipes, these cast-offs can be a wonderful addition.