Bananas are a great ingredient for a variety of different recipes, including smoothies, desserts, and bread!
However, if you’re baking and a recipe calls for bananas when you don’t have any, you might be wondering what you can use as a substitute.
In this article, I will explore 10 banana substitutes. So, next time you’re in a bind without bananas, your recipe won’t suffer!
So, let’s get started.
There are a variety of different substitutes for bananas, and which you choose will largely depend on the recipe that you’re making as these substitutes can vary in flavor. Bearing this in mind, some of them are better suited for certain recipes than others.
An excellent substitute for bananas are plantains, as plantains are part of the same family as bananas.
You can substitute bananas for plantains in both baked goods and smoothies. That being said, it’s important to note that you will not get the same sweet flavor profile from plantains as you would bananas. Plantains are starchy, mild, and not very sweet in flavor.
However, they can bring a beautiful creamy texture if they’re ripe enough, and can make a good substitution in savory and sweet recipes with the addition of a little sweetener.
Unripe plantains, on the other hand, have a hard texture so it’s best to boil them or fry. When using them as a substitute for bananas, it’s best to wait until they are fully ripe.
Applesauce is a great substitute for bananas, as it works to keep your recipe moist and provides it with a boost of sweetness.
To use this substitute, simply replace one banana with 1/2 cup of applesauce. However, depending on the recipe, you will want to be wary of using more than 1 cup of applesauce because it can loosen the mixture quite a lot.
You will also need to note that the distinct flavor of applesauce might also alter the taste of your recipe, meaning that you might need to balance the flavors with another ingredient depending on your preference.
Chia seeds are often used as an egg substitute in vegan baking, and they work beautifully as a substitute for bananas, too!
If you soak chia seeds in water, they expand when wet into a gelatinous substance that is similar to banana, which makes them a great thickening agent. In fact, chia seeds are able to absorb 10 to 12 times of their weight in liquid.
You can ground them or use them whole in numerous recipes, including smoothies, acai bowls, puddings, protein bars, drinks, salads, and baked goods such as cakes and breads.
For every banana that you’re replacing with chia seeds, you will need to use a tablespoon of chia seeds. However, you should be aware that chia seeds can work too well if you’re not mindful, meaning that it can thicken your mixture too much.
As a result, it’s better to start off small and add more if you deem it necessary for the recipe.
Another great substitute for banana is avocado! Avocado has a gloriously creamy texture that is similar to bananas but is much more mild in flavor.
This means that it won’t greatly affect the taste of your recipe and can easily be covered up, whether it’s a sweet or savory recipe!
Using avocado instead of banana is best for recipes such as smoothies, providing a velvety texture and creamy mouthfeel while also acting as a thickening agent for your smoothie.
When using this substitute, simply replace one banana with half of an avocado.
You will also need to note that the green color can affect the color and overall appearance of your bake, so make sure that you take that into consideration too. However, if it’s a cake with a darker colored batter, such as chocolate cake for instance, you won’t notice the difference!
Egg Whites Or Whole Eggs
Bananas are often used in vegan baking to replace eggs, and the same can be said for eggs as a substitute for bananas. Due to the gelatinous nature of egg whites, eggs can easily replicate the texture of bananas in some baked goods.
If you’re trying to cut the calories in the specific recipe, you can just stick to using egg whites and save the egg yolks for another recipe.
When using eggs as a substitute for bananas, you will need to use one egg for every banana that you’re substituting.
Greek yogurt is another great substitute for bananas, as it is almost the same consistency as mashed banana but is significantly lower in sugar.
When using this substitute, you will need to use ½ cup of yogurt for 1 banana. The main difference, as I’ve mentioned, is that mashed banana is naturally much sweeter than yogurt, so you will need to accommodate for this by adding a tablespoon or so of sugar or the equivalent alternative sweetener to each ½ cup of yogurt.
Greek yogurt is thicker and creamier than regular yogurt, and it contains more protein and less sugar than standard yogurt. Greek yogurt is great to use for a variety of recipes, and is perfect for dressings, sauces, dips, marinades, and smoothies.
However, if the recipe calls for vinegar or lemon juice, you will need to make sure that you choose another substitute as this can cause the yogurt to curdle. You will also want to check the ingredients of the yogurt to ensure that there aren’t any thickeners and additional sugar if there’s already sugar in your recipe.
Although it’s an entirely different fruit, coconut cream can also be used as a substitute for bananas if you don’t mind the coconut flavor.
Coconut cream is a key component in several sweet and savory recipes, from adding a creamy touch to spicy curries to acting as a thickening agent in desserts.
When using coconut cream as a substitute, you will need to use ½ cup of cream for every banana used.
However, you will need to consider that coconut cream has the tendency to dominate dishes in that it has a fairly strong flavor and will therefore affect the taste of your recipe. It also has a creamier taste and texture, so you will also need to accommodate for this in your recipe.
Believe it or not, baked sweet potato that has been mashed makes an excellent substitute for bananas.
While sweet potatoes don’t have the same flavor to bananas, their nutritional value is very similar to bananas in that they are packed with similar vitamins, minerals, and calories.
Mashed sweet potatoes provide a smooth texture and mild sweet flavor to a variety of dishes, but work as a great substitute for bananas in recipes such as baked oatmeal recipes.
If you think pumpkin is only good for pumpkin pie, you’d be wrong in thinking so! Fresh and canned pumpkin also make suitable substitutes for bananas.
If you opt for fresh pumpkin, you will need to boil and mash your pumpkin before adding it to your recipe. For every banana that the recipe calls for, you will need to use ½ cup of pumpkin as a substitute.
Pumpkin is perfect for recipes such as muffins, breads, and cakes. That being said, it does have a distinct flavor that you will need to either mask or compliment with other ingredients. In addition to this, you will also need to adjust the sugar content of your recipe, as bananas are significantly sweeter than pumpkin.
You can use oatmeal as a substitute for bananas to thicken up the mixture. That being said, you don’t want the oats to dry out your recipe, so you will only need to use a small amount.
Oats have a mild flavor, and are great to add to smoothies, crumble, or cakes. To use this substitute, use ¼ cup of rolled oats for each banana that you’re replacing.
It’s also important to mention that you will have to grind the oats for a smoother texture and to ensure that you’re not able to detect them as much in the recipe.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you use eggs as a substitute for bananas?
Yes, you can use egg whites or whole eggs as a substitute for bananas in the same way that you can use bananas as a substitute for eggs in vegan baking!
Both bananas and eggs share a gelatinous texture, making them great thickening agents in many different recipes.
To use eggs instead of bananas in a recipe, you will need to use a 1:1 ratio. This means that you will need to use one egg for every banana that the recipe calls for.
What fruit is the most similar to a banana?
The most similar fruit to bananas are plantains. That being said, there are significant differences between them.
Although they come from the same family and look very similar, the plantain is often described as a savory banana as it is much more starchy and is less sweet than bananas.
As a result, plantains are often fried and served in savory contexts, whereas bananas are primarily served in sweet recipes.
What can you use to substitute bananas in a smoothie recipe?
Avocado makes a great substitute for bananas in a smoothie recipe as it provides a deliciously creamy texture without altering the taste of the smoothie too much!
Alternatively, you can substitute bananas for chia seeds in your recipe, as they also work as a great thickening agent. For every banana, you will need to use a tablespoon of chia seeds.