A banana substitute could really come in handy when you are baking and see bananas listed in the recipe, but can't use them! Maybe you have an allergy or simply don't have any bananas at home. Either way, these substitutes are perfect for swapping out bananas!
Best Substitutes For Bananas
Bananas are a wonderfully versatile fruit. While they are delicious to eat on their own, they are also excellent ingredients for baking.
From bread and muffins to cookies, bananas can be used to add a delicious flavor to several recipes. Moreover, they can also be used as a substitute for eggs and even butter when baking.
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What happens when you run out of bananas, though? What can you use as a substitute for bananas? There are several easy-to-use and equally delicious alternatives to bananas, just take a look at the list below to find the best substitute for you!
Plantains may not be the most likely substitute on hand, but since they are an excellent substitute, I want to share them first. If you are familiar with plantains, you know they look much like bananas.
While plantains look like bananas and have a similar flavor and texture, there are some differences. They are less sweet than bananas and starchier.
Despite some differences, plantains are still a wonderful alternative to bananas. They provide the same creamy texture when mashed or blended. This makes them a great swap for baking and smoothies – especially if you want to maintain a similar flavor to bananas.
One thing to be mindful of is that you are using ripe plantains. Unripe plantains have a hard texture and are not very sweet, so the riper, the better when using them as a substitute.
Use in a 1:1 ratio when using measuring cups or ounces. Plantains are typically larger than bananas; therefore, if a recipe calls for “1 banana,” try to approximate how much of the plantain to use that is close to the size of a banana.
In baking, applesauce and bananas are often used as substitutes in the same way. They can both be used to replace the fat or the eggs in a recipe.
Since applesauce works in the same way that bananas do, it can be an excellent substitute for bananas. Moreover, since it is another type of fruit, it has a similar zero-fat content. This means that it will not change the texture of the recipe too much.
Obviously, applesauce does not taste like bananas. So, if you need a recipe to taste like a banana then plantains may be a better choice. However, the mild flavor of applesauce can be a nice substitute in many cases.
Applesauce can be used in a 1:1 ratio for mashed bananas in any recipe. If replacing a whole banana, use ½ cup applesauce for 1 banana.
When using applesauce, be mindful that it contains more liquid than bananas. Therefore, if you use more than 1 cup you may need to add more flour to balance out the moisture.
You may think of avocados as savory, but they are also great for sweet treats! They can be used as a base for many baked goods and smoothies.
When mashed, avocados have a wonderful creamy texture like bananas. Therefore, making them an excellent substitute for any recipe.
While avocados can be used instead of bananas in any recipe there are a couple of things to keep in mind. Avocados are a high-fat food, unlike bananas which are fat-free. This means that it will shift the texture a bit; however, it will just make baked goods moister.
In addition, avocado does not provide the bold banana flavor. However, avocado is excellent at taking on the other flavors around it. This makes it a great substitute for baked goods with chocolate or other strong flavors.
While avocado is excellent at taking on the flavors around it, it is not as sweet as bananas are. Therefore, you may need to add a bit of extra sweetener if it is not sweet enough for you.
Use mashed avocado in a 1:1 ratio for mashed bananas in baked goods and smoothies. You can also use ½ cup mashed avocado in place of 1 medium banana.
4. Sweet Potato
In addition to swapping bananas with other fruits, you can also use some vegetables in place of bananas. Specifically, starchy vegetables like potatoes and pumpkin.
When cooked and mashed, sweet potatoes have a similar starchy base that is absorbent just like bananas. Therefore, they will bind ingredients in a recipe a lot like bananas will.
In contrast, sweet potatoes are not as creamy or moist as bananas. Therefore, your final recipe may be a bit drier and denser. They are also not as sweet as bananas.
To counter the lack of sweetness and moisture, add extra sweetener and even a bit more milk, water, or oil (depending on what your recipe calls for). Just go slow so as not to add too much.
Like most of these substitutes, the flavor will not be close to a banana. This one will change the flavor quite a bit, so be mindful of that if you choose sweet potato as a substitute.
Use mashed sweet potato in a 1:1 ratio for mashed banana or ½ cup mashed sweet potato for 1 medium banana.
5. Pumpkin Puree
Do you have some canned pumpkins left over from the holidays? If so, you have a great banana substitute!
Canned pumpkin provides a similar starchy base that bananas do. Moreover, unlike mashed sweet potatoes, pumpkin is moist which is excellent for soft and tender baked goods.
While pumpkin will provide a great texture, it will drastically change the flavor of your recipe. Therefore, be mindful that the recipe can take on a nice pumpkin flavor before using this as a substitute.
Since pumpkin has a similar consistency to applesauce, you can use it in the same way as a substitute.
½ cup of pureed pumpkin in place of 1 medium banana or a 1:1 ratio of pureed pumpkin for mashed banana. *Just like with applesauce, be mindful that you don’t add more than 1 cup of pumpkin as it may make your recipe too runny.
6. Greek Yogurt
Since Greek yogurt is thicker than regular yogurt it works well as a substitute in baking because it provides a lot of moisture. Moreover, its creamy consistency is a lot like mashed bananas.
With many similarities in texture, Greek Yogurt is a quick and easy substitute for bananas in recipes where the bananas act as a binder. In addition, it can replace bananas as a base for smoothies.
While Greek Yogurt won’t replace the flavor of bananas in your recipe, it will take on the flavors around it. However, it is tangier than bananas and not sweet. So, keep that flavor profile in mind when using it.
Use Greek Yogurt in a 1:1 measurement for mashed banana or ½ cup Greek yogurt in place of 1 medium banana.
7. Coconut Cream
Coconut cream comes in a can and has a higher fat content than coconut milk. When whipped it creates a wonderfully rich and creamy texture that can be used as a substitute.
Like avocados, this alternative is high in fat. Therefore, while it will provide a lovely moist, and creamy consistency to baked goods it will also add fat. So, if you are looking to keep the fat content low aim for Greek Yogurt or another zero-fat fruit or veggie.
Use coconut cream in a 1:1 ratio for mashed banana or ½ cup of coconut cream to replace 1 medium banana.
Raw oats (aka oatmeal) are sometimes used to bind ingredients in baking. Therefore, they can work as a substitute for bananas in some recipes.
While oatmeal can work as a substitute keep in mind that they have a very different consistency than bananas. In contrast to bananas and the other substitutes listed above, raw oats are very dry. They also have a mild nutty flavor in contrast to a sweet fruit flavor.
Although this is not the ideal substitute for smoothies or many baked goods it can work in a bind for quick bread, cookies, and muffins.
If using oats as a substitute it is best to grind them into a powder before using them. Simply toss them into a blender and pulse.
Because oats are much more absorbent than bananas it is best to start with a small amount. Begin with ¼ cup of ground oats in place of ½ cup of mashed banana or 1 medium banana. If needed, add more until you reach the desired consistency. You may also need to add some additional sweeteners.
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9. Shredded Zucchini
While zucchini will not act as a binder in the same way the other substitute will, it will work as a flavor substitute. For example, if you do not have bananas on hand to make banana bread or muffins you can use shredded zucchini.
If you choose to go this route, the best thing to do is make a complete swap and look for a new recipe. Therefore, rather than just swapping zucchini for bananas you would want to find a zucchini bread (muffin or cookie) recipe.
Since zucchini bread and banana bread have a similar base and flavor profile this is an excellent way to shift to a new recipe when you are craving banana bread but don’t’ have bananas on hand.
10. Silken Tofu
Silken tofu, or bean curd, is an incredibly popular banana alternative for vegans! It has no flavor, making it very versatile in the types of dishes you can use.
The texture is super soft and jelly-like. This substitute does a great job at replicating the consistency of bananas but will not contribute any flavor. As an added bonus, tofu will increase the protein content of your dish!
Silken tofu can be used to replace bananas in a 1:1 ratio.
You may have seen bananas listed as a great substitute for eggs, and it goes the other way around as well! These ingredients have great binding properties, so they can be swapped for one another.
Of course, eggs do not taste like bananas, and rather take on the flavor of those around them. So, make sure to have some sugar or another sweetener on hand.
You can use eggs to replace bananas in a 1:1 exchange. 1 egg can substitute 1 mashed ripe banana.
Similarly to chia seeds, flaxseed is commonly used as a substitute for eggs. This is because they are great binders and relatively flavorless.
However, it works great as a swap for bananas, too! You can mix ground flaxseed with water. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes and the result will be similar in consistency to an egg white (this is called a flax egg).
Then, use this substitution in the same way you would use an egg or egg white to replace a banana. *Just make sure to add in some additional sweeteners.
Mangos make a great banana substitute for dishes such as salads, desserts, and smoothies. They are naturally sweet but not overpowering. However, they are not ideal for baking.
Mangos can be used in a 1:1 exchange with 1 cup of diced mango, replacing 1 banana in smoothies.
14. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are known for their binding properties! Plus, they have an incredibly mild taste that won't really affect the flavor of your dishes (but they won't add any sweetness either).
When added to liquid, chia seeds expand and become somewhat gelatinous. Whether you should add the chia seeds as-is or let them soak in a liquid first would depend on the recipe.
Swap 1 tablespoon of chia seeds for one medium-sized banana.
15. Soaked Cashews
Soaked cashews have a mild flavor and a creamy consistency. However, unlike bananas, they are high in fat. Due to this, you may need to reduce the amount of oil or butter in your recipes to ensure the dish is not oversaturated with fat.
To soak your own cashews, simply add them to a container and cover them with water. Then, let them sit for 4 hours (or overnight). Then, drain off the water and pop the cashews into the blender for a great banana replacement!
Soaked cashews will make a great alternative to bananas in cookies, bread, and muffins. However, they do not act well as a binder.
16. Pureed Fruit
When pureed, almost any fruit will have a similar consistency to a mashed banana! This makes pureed fruit a great option for muffins or bread. You can easily choose a fruit that will complement the other flavors in the dish.
Swap pureed fruit for mashed banana in a 1:1 exchange, but be mindful of the flavor differences.
I hope this list of banana substitutes has helped you out! Which alternative is your favorite? Leave a comment down below and let me know!
Best Banana Substitute: Applesauce (+More Great Alternatives To Use In Recipes!)
- 1 cup plantains
- ½ cup applesauce
- ½ cup avocado (mashed)
- Plantains can be used in a 1:1 ratio when measuring cups or ounces for bananas.1 cup plantains
- Applesauce can be used in a 1:1 exchange in recipes. If needing a whole banana, use ½ cup of applesauce per banana.½ cup applesauce
- Avocados can be used in a 1:1 exchange for bananas. If need a whole banana, use ½ cup of mashed avocado.½ cup avocado
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Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!
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