Bananas really are the ideal fruit. They’re a natural fit for breakfast, after school, or before a workout, and they taste great blended in a smoothie, as the highlight of a peanut butter sandwich, and, of course, eaten out of hand. But easy as they are to devour mindlessly, bananas shine most when they’re the star of a dessert—and let’s get real, banana bread pretty much qualifies even if you do eat it to start the day.
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They lend a light sweetness and almost floral quality to everything they touch, and when incorporated into baked goods, bananas impart a rich, earthy flavor that can’t be replicated. Don’t believe us? Here are 11 banana desserts that prove otherwise—and more importantly, don’t require a loaf pan.
This banana boat is a stupid-simple, know-by-memory, back-pocket treat to have in your arsenal for summertime, when the last thing you want to do is turn on your oven—but you still have a bunch of browning bananas on your counter. Get our Campfire Banana Boat recipe.
Related Reading: Easy Grilled Banana Dessert Recipes for a Sweet Summer
Is there any better crêpe filling than chocolatey Nutella and perfectly ripe banana slices? If you’re unsure, just get our Banana Nutella Crêpe recipe and remove all doubt.
If your kitchen’s prone to both stale bread and over-the-hill bananas, then you’re a prime candidate to make this gloriously gooey salted caramel banana bread pudding. And while it can absolutely be served at brunch, let’s be honest…it’s really dessert (especially if you add vanilla ice cream). Get our Salted Caramel Banana Strata recipe.
Re-create the flavors of classic bananas Foster—bruléed bananas, with a waft of rum—with just three ingredients, no lighter required. Get our Bananas Foster Milk Shake recipe. (Or if you feel a chill, try our Banana Hot Chocolate recipe instead—you can still add a splash of rum.)
Related Reading: More Amazingly Easy 3-Ingredient Recipes
Rounds of moist, tender yellow cake studded with chocolate chips, layered with bananas, dulce de leche, and whipped cream: What more could a birthday boy or girl ask for? Bonus: It’s perfect for those cake makers with a fear of frosting! Get our Chocolate Chip Birthday Cake with Bananas and Dulce de Leche recipe.
Let’s be honest: Banana bread is basically dessert in disguise. These moist banana cupcakes topped with fluffy buttercream and brown-sugar-glazed banana slices are just more upfront about it. We’d still eat them for breakfast. Get our Caramelized Banana Cupcake recipe.
Just when you thought chocolate crinkle cookies couldn’t get any better. Ripe bananas make these extra moist and lend a subtle tropical taste. Get the Chocolate, Banana, and Pecan Cookie recipe.
Does any banana lover not crave the banana pudding of yesteryear? This old-timey spoon dessert, dressed generously with whipped cream and Nilla wafers, is proof that even simple, unrefined desserts can stand the test of time. Get our Banana Pudding recipe.
The flavors of banana pudding also translate perfectly into pie—like our Banana Pudding Pie recipe—but for extra tropical vibes, add toasted coconut to the equation. Get our Banana Coconut Cream Pie recipe. Or try this coconut-free Banana Cream Pie recipe with a peanut butter cookie crust you just press into the pan.
Don’t be scared to light bananas and rum on fire for your next dinner party—it’s guaranteed to spark great conversation (no pun intended) and earn you pretty much a lifetime of kitchen cred. Get our Basic Bananas Foster recipe.
At the point where even a 3-ingredient recipe sounds like too much work? Banana nice cream is the OG 1-ingredient treat. Just blend frozen bananas into a creamy, fluffy concoction that actually scratches that ice cream itch (especially if you drizzle on chocolate sauce or caramel…or both). Get our Easy Banana Ice Cream recipe.
For another healthy dessert that’s still plenty sweet—and comes together even more quickly—this fruit salad combines ripe banana with kiwi, mango, and papaya; lime juice and agave balance the sweet-tart flavors, and cacao nibs and hazelnuts add crunch. Get our Tropical Fruit Salad with Cacao Nibs recipe.
Header image by Chowhound.