Wondering what goes with banana? Learn the best ingredient pairings, meal ideas, popular flavor combinations, and other helpful tips.
Knowing what goes well with banana gives you a starting point for putting meals together using the ingredients you already have on hand.
Whether you want to reduce food waste, get more creative in the kitchen, or improve your cooking skills, it starts with understanding what flavors pair well together.
What Are Bananas?
Bananas are elongated, curved fruit that grow upward in clusters in hot, humid climates. Although they vary in size, color, and firmness, all varieties have starchy, soft, flesh with varying levels of sweetness. The rind color may be green yellow, red, purple, or brown when ripe.
There are several varieties of bananas that range from starchy and savory to sweet. Here are a few of the most common:
- Plantains (sometimes referred to as cooking bananas) - this variety has a higher starch content, a more neutral taste, and is often used in savory dishes.
- Cavendish - the most commonly found and commercialized yellow banana in the Western world. It's what you'll find at every grocery store in the United States.
- Apple Bananas - these short, stubby bananas are half the size of Cavendish. They got their name because of their sweet-tart flavor similar to that of an apple.
- Red Bananas - these have a reddish-purple peel and a sweet taste with a hint of raspberry.
- Lady Finger Bananas (also called sugar bananas or baby bananas) - this variety is slightly smaller than the Cavendish variety but is significantly sweeter with a honey-like flavor.
When To Buy
Bananas are in season year-round. Look at the seasonal produce guide to see what else is in season right now.
What To Look For
Look for a bunch of bananas that are yellow with some hints of green and no brown spots.
If you're buying them to use them right away to make banana bread, then you can choose spotted bananas, just ensure they aren't slimy, split open, or too brown.
How To Store
Countertop: Store unripened bananas on the counter at room temperature, away from the sun as heat causes them to ripen faster.
Fridge: While you can refrigerate bananas to slow down the ripening process, I only recommend doing this once the banana has started to show signs of ripening (spots) otherwise, it'll affect the taste and texture.
Freezer: Freeze ripe bananas by peeling them, cutting them into slices, and arranging them in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Once frozen, transfer the banana slices to a freezer-safe bag until ready to use.
What Goes Well With Banana?
Chile peppers, ginger, and sweet potatoes.
Apricots, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, coconut, figs, guava, lemons, limes, mango, oranges, papaya, passion fruit, pineapple, pomegranate, raspberries, and strawberries.
Allspice, black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and sesame seeds.
Lemongrass and parsley.
Nuts & Seeds
Almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts, pecans, pistachios, and walnuts.
Butter, buttermilk, butterscotch, caramel, cream: coconut cream or cashew cream for dairy-free, cream cheese, ice cream, sour cream, and yogurt.
Chocolate: dark and white, coconut milk, coffee, cognac, dates, honey, maple syrup, oats, peanut butter, raisins, rice, rum, sugar, tabasco sauce, vanilla, and vinegar.
Popular Banana Pairings
- blackberries + cream
- brown butter + caramel + citrus + peanuts
- caramel + chocolate
- coconut + cream
- cream + honey + macadamia nuts + vanilla
- mango + cream
- dates + oatmeal
- honey + sesame seeds
- oats + pecans
What To Make With Banana
Depending on the variety, bananas can be eaten raw or cooked such as baked, broiled, caramelized, grilled, fried, poached, or sautéed.
Plantains need to be cooked due to their high starch content but once cooked, they can be eaten no matter what color the peel is - green, yellow, or black. Green/yellow plantains are used for savory appetizers such as tostones, as a gluten-free breading for chicken or coconut shrimp, eaten as a snack in trail mix, or sprinkled onto a sushi salad for a crunchy tempura-like topping.
Ripe plantains are most commonly used to make maduros, but can also be substituted in place of sweet bananas when you want a not-as-sweet flavor profile.
Sweet bananas (these include the Cavendish, Lady Finger, Red Banana, and Apple Banana varieties) are often used in baked goods such as banana bread and banana blueberry oatmeal muffins, breakfasts such as 3-ingredient pancakes, oatmeal, and smoothies, and are a common ingredient in fruit salads.
Popular desserts include pudding, flan, custard, banana cream pie, chocolate banana popsicles, creme brulee, ice cream, and banana splits. For more simple dessert or snack ideas, you can caramelize bananas and serve them with whipped cream, dip them in melted chocolate, or serve them with miso caramel for that delicious sweet and salty combination.