Caramelized Bananas Recipe (Fried and Microwave) | Cupcake Project
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The Complete Guide to Caramelized Bananas

Caramelized bananas are amazing on ice cream, French toast, cheesecakes and more. But, what is the best recipe? I tried three different methods – fried in a skillet, oven, and microwave, and share my results here.

a skillet of caramelized bananas with a spatula

If you’ve never had caramelized bananas, you are in for a treat! Bananas are naturally sweet, but once they are caramelized, they take on a more robust flavor and form a banana-flavored sauce that you can pour over just about anything!

What Are Caramelized Bananas?

caramelized banana halves on a plate with whipped cream

Caramelized bananas are bananas that are cooked with butter and sugar. Two main transformations happen during that process:

  • The bananas soften and are coated with with the caramel sauce.
  • The caramel sauce thickens and takes on a banana flavor.

How Are Caramelized Bananas Served?

Caramelized bananas over vanilla ice cream in a glass dish with a spoon

Caramelized bananas are delicious served in so many ways:

  • I love warm caramelized bananas over vanilla or cinnamon ice cream.
  • They are perhaps most famous as an ingredient in Bananas Foster where rum is added to the mix. The alcohol causes flames to shoot up while the caramelized bananas are cooking, making the dessert famous for showy table-side preparations at restaurants.
  • The sweet and buttery bananas are also amazing on French toast (like my brioche French toast) or as a topping for pancakes, waffles, or oatmeal.

Should You Use Overripe Bananas ?

Two yellow bananas with just a few brown spots on a cutting board

When you bake with bananas like in my banana cupcakes or my banana oatmeal chocolate chip muffins, using overripe, almost black bananas is really important. When you make caramelized bananas, the banana peels should be yellow with just a few brown specks. If the bananas are overripe, they will turn to mush when you cook them.

How to Make Caramelized Bananas

There are three different ways to make caramelized bananas: fried on the stove top, in the oven, and in the microwave. Each one uses the same ingredients of butter, brown sugar, and bananas, but the methodology is different.

We found that the stove top method produced the best results. It was the only method where the sauce truly thickened up. That said, the other two methods both produced delicious results. Let’s look at each one in more detail.

Stove Top Fried Caramelized Bananas

Using a skillet on the stove top is the most common way of making caramelized bananas. It’s a tried and true method and produces outstanding results.

To make stove top caramelized bananas, start by melting butter in skillet on medium heat. I use unsalted butter, but in this case salted butter would also work just fine.

A pat of butter melting in a skillet

Next, add sliced bananas and brown sugar to the skillet.

Brown sugar and sliced bananas in a skillet

Keep the heat at medium and start stirring. The sugar will melt and start to coat the bananas almost immediately. Keep on stirring until the sauce starts to thicken – about three minutes.

Tip: Keep a close watch on the sugar. You don’t want it to start boiling. If that happens, it can burn within seconds.

Caramelized bananas in a skillet with a yellow spatula

Oven-Baked Caramelized Bananas

I love the ease of making caramelized bananas in the oven. They come out perfect every time and they don’t need to be closely monitored like the caramelized bananas made on the stove top.

The downside of oven-baked caramelized bananas is that the sauce doesn’t thicken as much as the stove top version because the heat isn’t as high and direct. The dish tastes just as good, but the texture isn’t the same.

To make oven-baked caramelized bananas, place bananas in an oven-safe baking dish and dot with small pieces of butter.

Tip: As you see below, I sliced these bananas in long halves. You can slice the bananas any which way and the recipe will still work.

bananas in a glass dish topped with butter

Sprinkle brown sugar over the butter and bananas. It doesn’t matter if some of it ends up in the pan and not on the bananas; there will be sauce in the pan at the end no matter how you sprinkle the sugar.

Bananas sliced longways in a glass baking dish covered in butter and brown sugar

Bake at 400 F for 20 minutes. When you remove the bananas from the oven, use a spoon to cover all of the bananas in the caramel sauce.

oven baked caramelized bananas in a glass baking dish

Microwaved Caramelized Bananas

There is do doubt that the microwave is the EASIEST way to caramelize bananas. Caramelized bananas made in the microwave are so quick to make for a last-minute topping for a breakfast or dessert dish. However, like the oven-baked variety, the sauce on the microwave bananas doesn’t thicken. Additionally, the bananas get mushy in the microwave. Microwaved caramelized bananas taste fantastic, but the texture just doesn’t stack up to either of the other two versions.

To make microwaved caramelized bananas, place sliced bananas in a microwave-safe baking dish, dot with butter, and top with brown sugar.

Bananas slices in a glass baking dish topped with butter and brown sugar

Microwave on high for two minutes. Add more time if needed based on the power of your microwave.

Caramelized Bananas in the Microwave

How to Slice a Banana Lengthwise

A knife slicing a banana

It’s easier to slice a banana lengthwise before you peel it. This helps to keep the banana from cracking. Slice through the whole banana, then cut off the ends and peel carefully.

Caramelized Banana Variations

Caramelized bananas are perfect with just three ingredients. However, if you want some variety, there are several ways to vary the recipe:

  • Add a couple of tablespoons of rum, brandy, or other liqueur. We love it with Grand Marnier around here!
    • If you are making the bananas in the oven or microwave, just pour the alcohol over the other ingredients before cooking.
    • If you are using the stove top method, add the alcohol last. To give a great show, step back and tip the skillet over the stove’s flame or use a culinary torch to set the alcohol on fire for a moment or two.
  • Add a couple of tablespoons of orange or pineapple juice. The juice adds depth to the caramel sauce.
  • Try adding some spices like cinnamon or cardamom.
  • Go for a major twist and make honey caramelized bananas like the ones from Fifteen Spatulas.

Best Tips for Making Caramelized Bananas

Close up of caramelized bananas in a pan

  • If you have the time, use the stove top method. The results are the best!
  • Use bananas that are just ripe – without too many brown spots. This helps to ensure that the bananas don’t turn to mush.
  • When using the stove top method, don’t step away from the stove while the bananas are cooking. The sugar can burn really quickly.

If You Like Caramelized Bananas, You May Also Like…

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a skillet of caramelized bananas with a spatula
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5 from 2 votes

Fried Caramelized Bananas

Perfect caramelized bananas to use over ice cream, French toast, pancakes, oatmeal and more! 
Course Condiments
Cuisine American
Keyword bananas, caramelized bananas
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Total Time 9 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 224kcal
Author Stef

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter unsalted and salted both work
  • 4 ripe bananas sliced in small rounds or in halves lengthwise
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar

Instructions

  • Melt butter in a small skillet on medium heat.
  • Once the butter is melted, add the bananas and brown sugar.
  • Stir continuously to coat the bananas in the brown sugar and butter. The brown sugar should melt almost immediately.
  • Keep stirring for about three minutes or until the caramel sauce thickens. Remove from the heat as soon as it thickens as it can quickly burn if kept on the heat for too long,
  • Serve immediately.

Notes

  • If you have the time, use the stove top method. The results are the best!
  • Use bananas that are just ripe - without too many brown spots. This helps to ensure that the bananas are sweet, but don't turn to mush.
  • When using the stove top method, don't step away from the stove while the bananas are cooking. The sugar can burn really quickly. 
For An Oven-Baked or Microwave Alternative:
  • Use the same ingredients.
  • Place bananas in an oven-safe or microwave-safe baking dish, cut the butter into small pieces and distribute them evenly over the bananas.
  • Top with the brown sugar.
  • Bake at 400 F for 20 minutes or microwave on high for two minutes (microwave time may vary based on the power of your microwave).
  • Use a spoon to cover any bare spots on the bananas with caramel sauce before serving.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Fried Caramelized Bananas
Amount Per Serving
Calories 224 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Saturated Fat 3g15%
Cholesterol 15mg5%
Sodium 56mg2%
Potassium 446mg13%
Carbohydrates 44g15%
Fiber 3g12%
Sugar 32g36%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 250IU5%
Vitamin C 10.2mg12%
Calcium 21mg2%
Iron 0.4mg2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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A delicious treat and quite easy to make, you\'ll find caramelized bananas in fancy restaurants. Caramelized bananas are amazing on ice cream, French toast, cheesecakes and more! Here\'s the complete guide in making your own Caramelized Bananas!
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