Bananas linger on the counters of many kitchens throughout the world, because they are a perfect snack and a healthy companion to things like yogurt, peanut butter and cereal. But it doesn’t take long for them to move past peak ripeness and start getting covered in brown spots before turning black. Just because they are past their prime doesn’t mean that overripe bananas need to be tossed in the trash. To reduce your food waste, try some of these creative and delicious ideas for overripe bananas instead of throwing them away.

banana nut muffins in a muffin tin

Bread and muffins

Banana bread and muffins are the perfect options for overripe bananas. Believe it or not, dark and ugly bananas bring a ton of flavor. Simply put your blackened bananas in the fridge, and when you are ready to bake, smash them up and try recipes like flourless peanut butter banana muffins, banana bread or chocolate chip and banana muffins.

round banana rum cake in a red pan


Bananas add sweetness and a springy texture to cakes, and there are amazing banana cake recipes out there that are surprisingly healthy. This recipe for chocolate chip banana cake with cream cheese frosting doesn’t have butter or oil, but you would never know it. The bananas and light cream cheese frosting bring amazing flavor, and this sweet treat is still low in calories.

stack of brownies on white plate


You can make amazing vegan brownies with just four ingredients: overripe bananas, peanut butter, protein powder and cocoa powder. The bananas make these guilt-free brownies sweet and moist. They are also full of protein, making them the perfect, quick breakfast. If you prefer, you can sub almond or cashew butter for the peanut butter.

yellow smoothie next to bananas and yellow striped cloth

Smoothies and milkshakes

When your bananas get ripe and mushy, try adding them to a smoothie or milkshake. Bananas will make your smoothie or milkshake super creamy and add loads of flavor. Try this frozen banana, peanut butter and chocolate chip milkshake for a nice light treat, or you can opt for a smoothie like this banana oatmeal breakfast smoothie.

Related: Fight food waste with these 11 ways to use leftover greens before they spoil

stack of pancakes topped with cinnamon and bananas


You can either slice some banana onto your pancakes while they cook or smash them up and add the bananas to the batter. Either way, the bananas will make your pancakes so sweet, you will probably have to cut back on the syrup.

oatmeal chocolate chip cookies in a bowl


Adding bananas won’t necessarily make your cookies healthy, but they do make them delicious. Try this recipe for Mindy Segal’s banana Nilla cookies or these three-ingredient banana chocolate chip cookies from Curls ‘N’ Chard.

dehydrated banana chip on a dehydrator shelf

Banana chips

One of the quickest and easiest options for overripe bananas is to make sweet, guilt-free banana chips. This is an extremely healthy snack to have on hand, and all it takes to make this treat is ripe bananas and some fresh lemon juice.

wooden bowls of oatmeal and bananas


Another quick and easy option for your overripe bananas is to add them to oatmeal. Simply smash up an overripe banana, and then stir it into a warm bowl of oatmeal. This will give your oats a naturally sweet flavor, and if you add some cinnamon and chopped walnuts, it will be even more delicious. You can also use overripe bananas for baked oatmeal, like in this recipe from Live Well Bake Often.

whisk in bowl of batter

Banana bread batter

This idea from The Big Man’s World is an easy, gooey, healthy treat perfect for any time, day or night. It will take you less than five minutes to make, and it is naturally gluten-free and vegan. It is also full of protein and comes with a paleo and grain-free option.

light yellow frozen yogurt in white bowl with bananas in background


With just three ingredients, you can make amazing banana frozen yogurt. Throw your overripe bananas into the freezer. When you are ready to make this dessert, simply peel two bananas and cut them into chunks. Put them in a food processor, and add a half-cup of plain, 2-percent Greek yogurt and one-and-a-half tablespoons of peanut butter. Puree all the ingredients until they turn into a smooth, fluffy paste. Then, freeze your fro-yo for about 15 minutes before serving.

Images via Jeffrey W., Green Guavas, Marco Verch, Theo Crazzolara, Cara Faus, Ella Olsson and Shutterstock