List of Substitutes for Bananas in Baking – Best Banana Alternatives

Published Categorized as Journal

Sometimes when cooking you come across a recipe that leaves you wondering what substitutes for bananas in baking might be out there. Whether you don’t have any bananas on hand, or you simply don’t like bananas, there are ways to get around using them if you understand what role they play in recipes. Join us as we delve deeper into the world of bananas and their substitutes in baking.

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yellow banana fruits

Table of Contents

what do you use banana for

What Roles Bananas Play in Baking

When you see a banana in a recipe, it is likely that the banana not only exists for flavor, but for other purposes also. 

For example, bananas are often used as binders in recipes. This means that they help hold your baked goods together. 

Aside from that, bananas can also help with the creaminess and richness of a dish as is the case when adding frozen or mashed banana to smoothies.

With all of this in mind, it helps to understand that banana substitutes in baking should do the same things as bananas (act as a binder, add creaminess and texture, and potentially change the flavor of the dish) so that you can properly replace it in a baked good recipe.

Banana Substitute in Baking: To Note

Whether you are making sweet bread, oatmeal pancakes, or muffins that call for bananas to act as a binder, know that leaving a banana out of a recipe may drastically change the recipe’s flavor and texture. 

Therefore, using a banana substitute rather than leaving the banana completely out of the recipe will help save your recipe. And though the banana flavor will still be absent, you will end up with a similar texture as the original recipe as the end result.

So, what are common banana substitutes when baking? We’re glad you asked!

A banana hanger decorating a white wall.

Substitute For Bananas Baking: What to use

Fresh Pumpkin

Using either fresh or canned pumpkin are great substitutes for bananas when baking.

To do this, try starting with ½ cup of pumpkin puree from a fresh pie pumpkin or sweet pumpkin as these varieties are best for cooking and baking

Additionally, you’ll want to make sure that you add a bit of additional sugar (or a natural sweetener like honey or maple syrup) to your mix, as pumpkin isn’t as sweet as bananas and may cause your final product to taste a bit flat.

Farmer's Market Foods Canned Organic Pumpkin Puree, 15 Ounce (Pack of 12)

Plain Yogurt

Both plain and Greek yogurt are great options when it comes to yielding a smooth texture in baked goods in place of bananas.

For reference, plain yogurt is thinner than Greek yogurt and also has less protein. Greek yogurt will have a much thicker consistency, so bear that in mind when substituting. 

To substitute, start with ½ cup of either type of yogurt per one banana used in your recipe. Bear in mind that yogurt takes on a sour and tart taste, so if you don’t like that, be sure to add a little more sweetener (or maybe a touch of fruit blended into the yogurt) to help cut the tang a bit. 

Note: Be careful not to use yogurt with recipes that call for lemon juice or anything acidic as this may negatively affect the final result of your baked good.

Chobani, Nonfat Greek Yogurt, Plain 16 oz

Sweet Potatoes

Substituting a sweet potato for one banana helps act as a binder and helps add thickness and creaminess to the dish. It can also help flavor your dish. 

Sweet potatoes are also loaded with vitamins and minerals that make them a great substitute for bananas, since bananas provide a wealth of nutrients on their own.

To use sweet potatoes as a substitute for bananas, simply cook the sweet potatoes and mash them. You can cook them by boiling them or baking them in the oven at a high temperature. As usual, you’ll want to use approximately one-half cup of mashed sweet potato per banana called for in your recipe. 

Coconut Cream

Coconut cream is much thicker than coconut milk, making it a great substitute for bananas when you don’t have any on hand. 

Because of its thickness, however, you may wish to use only about ¼ -⅓ cups of the cream, increasing to ½ if needed when replacing for one banana. 

Know that adding coconut cream will add coconut flavor that will subtly encompass your dish. For some, this coconut taste may be off-putting. Therefore, you should only use this substitute if you are okay with imparting coconut flavor to whatever you are baking. 

Also, be aware that coconut cream has a high-fat content, which is another reason you’ll want to be careful when substituting coconut cream for bananas in baked goods.

Thai Kitchen Gluten Free Unsweetened Coconut Cream, 13.66 fl oz (Pack of 6)

Plantains

Plantains are a type of banana that can be hard and give off a starchy flavor when unripe. Still, they can make great substitutes for bananas when baking if you make just a few minor tweaks.

If using unripe plantains be sure to boil or fry them first, and keep in mind that they aren’t as sweet as bananas. 

Moreover, plantains will not yield the same banana flavor to your dish that a banana would, however, they do yield a creamy texture once cooked or when used fully ripe.

Also, know that plantains are much bigger than bananas, so if a recipe only calls for one cup of sliced bananas, be sure to only use one cup of plantains (with additional sweetener to balance flavor) and not the whole plantain. 

List Of Substitutes For Bananas In Baking – Best Banana Alternatives

Egg Whites

Egg whites also prove to be a great replacement for bananas in a recipe, especially when the main purpose of the banana was to act as a binder in the baked good. 

Remember, however, that using egg white, or even whole eggs, doesn’t add much in terms of sweet flavor, so you’ll want to compensate by adding a bit of additional sugar or natural sweetener in your recipe.

Silken Tofu

Silken tofu is a good replacement for bananas because of its thick texture and mild flavor. However, it isn’t nearly as sweet as a banana.

Use half a cup of silken tofu if using to replace a banana. But also, be sure to add a bit of sugar to match the sweetness that bananas would usually provide. 

Apple Sauce

Applesauce is an excellent replacement for bananas in baking. Though it isn’t creamy like bananas, it does have sweetness and can act as a binder when used correctly.

Use half a cup of applesauce when replacing one banana, but be careful not to exceed this amount too much or your final product may become a bit too watery. 

Musselman's Chunky Applesauce 24oz Bottle (Pack of 4)

Soaked Cashews

Soaked cashews are often used in dishes to add creaminess and a slightly nutty flavor. While this may not be the ultimate banana substitution in baking, especially when it comes to binding, it may provide creaminess.

Avocados

Instead of using bananas for baking, try using avocado. Avocados are creamy and healthy, and they have a mild flavor.

To use avocado to replace a banana in baking, use only ½ cup of avocado along with sweetener for a near-perfect replacement. 

Note: The final product may change a bit in color due to avocado’s smooth green hue. 

Perfectly Ripe Avocado

Flaxseed

Flaxseeds are often used as a replacement for eggs. As mentioned before, eggs work well as a substitute for bananas (minus the flavor and sweetness). Which is why “flax eggs”, a vegan favorite, also work here. 

As always, be sure to add a bit of sugar or honey to the mix to add more sweetness to the final product since bananas are naturally sweet.

Oatmeal

Oatmeal can replace bananas in baking. So when a recipe calls for one banana, you may be able to get away with a half cup of prepared or pre-soaked oatmeal.

The oatmeal will act as a binder but won’t be as sweet as a banana. It also won’t provide any additional sweet flavor since we recommend you use plain oatmeal, not the kind that comes with sugar and flavorings already added. Unless, of course, you don’t mind this flavoring your final product!

Substitute For Banana in Baking

As you can see, substituting a banana in a baked dish is possible. But depending on what you’re going for, it may be better to reach for certain banana substitutes over others. 

Many banana substitutes offer a beautiful creamy texture that you may get from one banana. But they may lack the sweetness that accompanies a banana. 

Still, some of the substitutes mentioned for banana may provide their own flavor, such as the rich and warm flavor of pumpkin. Therefore, they may provide a welcome spin to whatever dish you are preparing.

When substituting something else for a banana, you’ll mainly want to go for substitutes that have a soft texture in baking recipes. Substitutes like avocado, oatmeal, yogurt, canned pumpkin, or cooked and mashed sweet potatoes are often recommended for this very reason.

Just remember that if you plan on whipping up delicious banana bread without adding any bananas, your final product will not only look different but may also result in a wildly different texture and flavor! As a result, your banana bread won’t really be “banana” flavored anymore. 

Still, depending on what you use, the results may be uniquely delicious. Just don’t forget to add additional sweeteners if the substitutions you choose lack sweetness!

banana bread

Substitute For Mashed Bananas in Baking

Remember that substituting for mashed bananas in baking is relatively simple.

For every ripe banana mashed, you will want to use about ½ cup of a substitute. Unless the substitute is too thick or has a high-fat content. In that case, reduce the amount a bit.

Most substitutions, like Greek yogurt, will still provide a smooth thick texture. But it will lack the flavor that naturally sweet bananas provide. Therefore, when replacing bananas, you’ll almost always want to add either a touch of sugar or natural sweeteners to help remediate this issue. 

Half a teaspoon of sweetener (or slightly more depending on the substitution used) should be plenty per banana used to compensate. This will produce a sweet flavor similar to what your end product would have if you had used mashed bananas. 

Banana Replacement in Baking: There’s Plenty to Choose From!

When replacing bananas in baking, you’ll likely be going for a smooth texture, moisture, and natural sweetness. To achieve all of this, select a substitution that can act as a binder or that is creamy. And be sure to add additional sweetener when necessary to make up for any loss of sweetness incurred by not using a banana. 

Remember that when taking bananas out of baked goods such as banana bread, you are seriously altering the flavor and general outcome of the dish. So expect your final result to be quite different than what you are used to. 

Still, replacements like mashed sweet potatoes, fresh pumpkin, and even avocado might add a flavor to your original banana recipe that is totally unexpected – yet totally delicious at the same time! 

We hope this helps you on your journey to finding the best banana substitutes available for baking!

You might find these helpful:

Substitutes for bananas in baking – FAQs

What can I use instead of bananas?

Possible substitutions for you to use instead of bananas when baking include sweet potatoes, pumpkin, avocados, yogurt, coconut cream, egg, flaxseed, oatmeal, applesauce, and so much more. Most of these can be substituted at a half cup per one banana used. However, some, like coconut cream, may require that you use a bit less due to fat content and the thickness of the substitution. 

What can I use instead of bananas in banana bread?

Without bananas, your “banana” bread won’t be banana anymore! If you’re okay with this, try adding fresh or canned pumpkin or cooked and mashed sweet potatoes in its stead. Then, add a dash of maple syrup or brown sugar to the mix to add sweetness. The final result will be a deliciously moist and comforting slice of sweet potato or pumpkin bread…which is a completely different result altogether! 

By Anna

Hey, I’m Anna; writer, editor and amateur cook extraordinaire! Food has been my life and my passion for the most of my life – it’s crazy to think I didn’t pursue a career in cooking. I’m obsessed! However, keeping cooking as an obsessive hobby has worked for me – my passion grows as the years pass by – maybe I wouldn’t say the same if it was also my day job! I hope you find cooking inspiration, entertainment and “stop and think interesting tid-bits” throughout my writing – and I’d love to hear from you if you’ve got anything you want to share. Food feeds the soul – so get eating!

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