No bananas? No problem! These are the best banana substitutes for baking — and how to make them work for every recipe.
Bananas are widely used in baking for their natural sweetness, moisture, and binding properties.
However, sometimes, you may need to look for alternatives, either due to dietary restrictions, personal preferences, or simply because you’ve run out of bananas.
Here, we provide a comprehensive list of twenty substitutes for bananas, each with its unique characteristics and benefits.
Applesauce is a common substitute for bananas in baking because of its similar texture and sweetness. However, it may slightly alter the taste and color of your baked goods.
How to make it work: For every medium-sized banana in your recipe, use 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce.
To prevent your baked goods from becoming too moist, consider reducing other liquids in your recipe slightly.
2. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt works well as a substitute due to its ability to add moisture and protein. However, it might not be as sweet as bananas, so you may need to adjust the amount of sugar in your recipe.
How to make it work: Replace each banana in your recipe with 1/4 cup of Greek yogurt.
If your recipe already includes a leavening agent, consider reducing its quantity as yogurt is naturally acidic and might interfere with it.
3. Silken Tofu
Silken tofu is a great choice for vegan baking. It has a neutral flavor and a smooth texture which makes it a good binder.
How to make it work: Blend the silken tofu until smooth and use 1/4 cup per banana.
However, tofu won’t add any sweetness, so you may need to increase the sugar in your recipe.
4. Pumpkin Puree
Pumpkin puree can replace bananas in recipes due to its similar texture and moisture content. Its flavor might add a unique twist to your baked goods.
How to make it work: Use 1/4 cup of pumpkin puree per banana. Keep in mind that pumpkin puree might make your baked goods denser than bananas.
Avocado provides healthy fats and moisture to baked goods, similar to bananas. Its flavor is rather mild but may be slightly noticeable in your final product.
How to make it work: Use 1/2 an avocado for every banana required. It’s a good idea to puree the avocado first for a smooth texture.
6. Sour Cream
Sour cream can substitute for bananas because it adds a tangy flavor and extra moisture. Its acidic content may also activate baking soda or baking powder in your recipe.
How to make it work: Use 1/2 cup of sour cream per banana. Be aware that sour cream may make your batter denser.
Buttermilk is excellent for keeping your baked goods tender and moist. However, it lacks the sweetness and thickness of bananas.
How to make it work: You can substitute one banana with 1/2 cup of buttermilk.
Because of its liquid form, you may need to adjust the amount of dry ingredients to maintain the right consistency.
8. Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Mashed sweet potatoes can provide a similar texture to mashed bananas and add a unique flavor. They are also a good source of fiber and vitamins.
How to make it work: Use 1/2 cup of mashed sweet potatoes per banana. Ensure the sweet potatoes are well mashed for a smooth texture.
9. Prune Puree
Prunes can be pureed with a little water to provide a healthy substitute for bananas. They bring a unique flavor to your baked goods and may darken their color.
How to make it work: Use 1/4 cup of prune puree for every banana. To make prune puree at home, blend equal parts of prunes and water until smooth.
10. Ricotta Cheese
Ricotta cheese adds a creamy texture and protein to your baked goods. It’s lighter than bananas and may change the texture of your baked goods.
How to make it work: Use 1/4 cup of ricotta cheese per banana. Remember, ricotta is less sweet than bananas, so you may need to add extra sugar to balance the taste.
Zucchini is an excellent source of moisture when baking. Its neutral flavor won’t overpower your recipes, making it an ideal substitute.
How to make it work: Use 1/2 cup of grated zucchini for each banana. Make sure to squeeze out the excess moisture from the zucchini to avoid soggy baked goods.
12. Mashed Pumpkin
Similar to pumpkin puree, mashed pumpkin is an ideal vegan substitute for bananas due to its similar moisture content and texture.
How to make it work: Substitute 1/2 cup of mashed pumpkin for each banana. However, as it lacks the natural sweetness of bananas, you may need to add extra sugar to your recipe.
13. Mashed Potatoes
Plain mashed potatoes can provide moisture and binding properties without adding much flavor, making them a good substitute for bananas.
How to make it work: Use 1/2 cup of mashed potatoes in place of each banana. Ensure your potatoes are well mashed to avoid lumps in your baked goods.
14. Coconut Cream
Coconut cream is a rich and creamy substitute that adds moisture and a hint of tropical flavor to your baked goods.
How to make it work: Replace each banana with 1/4 cup of coconut cream. As it is denser than bananas, you may need to adjust your cooking time.
Rolled oats or instant oats can add a similar texture to mashed bananas, and they bring a unique flavor profile to your baked goods.
How to make it work: Use 1/2 cup of oatmeal per banana. Soak the oats in liquid first to soften them and prevent a dry end product.
16. Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese can add a creamy texture to your baked goods while providing a good amount of protein.
How to make it work: Substitute 1/4 cup of cottage cheese for each banana. Ensure it is well blended before adding to your batter for a smoother texture.
17. Mashed Pears
Mashed pears can bring a bit of sweetness and a similar texture to mashed bananas, which makes them a suitable substitute in baking.
How to make it work: Use 1/2 cup of mashed pears per banana. Choose ripe pears for the best flavor and texture.
18. Chia Seeds
When soaked in water, chia seeds form a gel that can act as a binder, making them a great vegan substitute for bananas.
How to make it work: Replace each banana with 1 tbsp of chia seeds mixed with 3 tbsps of water. Allow the mixture to sit for 15-20 minutes to thicken before using.
Ground flaxseed, when mixed with water, serves as a fantastic vegan substitute for bananas in baking due to its binding properties.
How to make it work: Use 1 tbsp of ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tbsps of water to substitute for each banana. Let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes to thicken before using.
20. Mashed Butternut Squash
Mashed butternut squash can add a similar texture to mashed bananas. It also adds a unique, slightly sweet and nutty flavor to your baked goods.
How to make it work: Use 1/2 cup of mashed butternut squash per banana. Make sure the squash is well mashed to ensure a smooth texture in your baked goods.
21. Nut Butters
Nut butters such as almond, peanut, or cashew butter can serve as a delicious alternative to bananas in baking. They can add a rich, nutty flavor to your baked goods and provide a good amount of healthy fats.
How to make it work: For each banana in your recipe, use 1/4 cup of your chosen nut butter.
It’s important to note that nut butters may make your baked goods denser, and their strong flavor may be noticeable in your final product.
Adjust the other ingredients as necessary to achieve the right balance of flavors and texture.
When it comes to substituting bananas in baking, there are a plethora of options that cater to various dietary preferences, flavors, and textures.
- Applesauce, Greek yogurt, and mashed sweet potatoes stand out for their similar texture and moisture content to bananas.
- Nut butters provide a unique, rich flavor, while zucchini and buttermilk are excellent sources of moisture.
- Flaxseed and chia seeds serve as powerful vegan alternatives due to their binding properties.
Remember, each substitute has its unique characteristics that can influence the final product’s taste, texture, and nutritional content.
In terms of substitution ratios, a general rule of thumb is to use the equivalent volume of the substitute as the amount of banana called for in the recipe. However, adjustments may be necessary, depending on the specific substitute used and the type of baked goods.
For instance, liquid substitutes like buttermilk might require an adjustment in the amount of dry ingredients, while ingredients lacking sweetness, such as silken tofu or mashed potatoes, might need an increase in the sugar content.
Ultimately, the best substitute depends on your personal preferences and the specific recipe you’re making.
Don’t be afraid to experiment and try different substitutes — this can often lead to exciting new flavors and textures in your baking.
Be sure to pay attention to the unique properties of each substitute and adjust your recipe as necessary to achieve the best results.