Who doesn’t like bananas? They are so sweet and creamy that your taste buds always delight when you take a bite.
Aside from that, bananas, unlike many other similarly sweet foods, are quite healthy since they are full of important nutrients, from vitamins and minerals to antioxidants.
And on top of that, they are a type of fruit that goes well in various dishes, from baked goods to desserts. They are one of the most versatile ingredients, especially when it comes to baking.
But, what if you don’t have any at hand and you are just gathering other ingredients to make your favorite banana bread? Are there any alternatives?
Well, yes of course and I am here to help you find your best bet among the substitutes for bananas in baking that are listed below.
Let’s start with our journey.
What Is The Best Substitute For Bananas In Baking?
I don’t know exactly what is the best substitute for bananas in baking for you because that mainly depends on what you are making, but this list of 13 options will surely help you find your ideal option. So, let’s see what it has to offer.
It is one of the most versatile ingredients in the cooking world and it is used as a substitute for so many types of other ingredients, like for example as a substitute for vegetable oil in brownies.
Considering this, it is no surprise why applesauce is first on the list of the best substitutes for bananas in baking.
Bananas are primarily used in baking to provide your dish with that desired sweetness and smooth texture, and as a binding agent for other ingredients.
Exactly for these things, applesauce can also be used.
However, you have to know that it is not all so perfect.
First, there is a difference in flavor because applesauce, aside from its sweet flavor, also possesses tart undertones, which is something that banana lacks.
Also, applesauce has a higher water content, so when you use it instead of bananas, you have to be careful not to overdo it.
The general rule of thumb is that you use ½ cup of applesauce for 1 banana. But, the problem is when you have to replace 3 bananas, for example.
In that case, you would have to use more than 1 cup of applesauce, but using that amount of applesauce can make the texture of your dish watery.
So, instead of using more than one cup of applesauce, it is best to use only one cup of applesauce combined with one whole egg or some egg whites. This will help thicken the butter.
As you can see, every problem in the cooking world can be solved.
If you know anything about bananas, then you know that plantain is also one of the types. However, plantains are not the same as ordinary bananas that you buy every day from your local grocery store.
They are not that sweet, but rather starchy with a bland taste. Although not so suitable for consumption on their own, plantains are perfect for cooking or baking.
Ripe plantains can serve well when you are trying to find an ingredient in your recipe that will be the binding agent for other components.
It is best to mash or puree the plantain before incorporating it into your dish.
Just keep in mind that, although you will achieve a similar texture, your dish won’t be so sweet because plantains have a lower level of sweetness.
So, it is quite logical that you add a bit more sugar into your baked goods, or some type of artificial sweetener if you don’t want to consume too much sugar.
3. Canned Pumpkin
Although pumpkin doesn’t sound appealing in terms of using it in baked goods, it actually works quite well as a substitute for bananas. Why is that so?
Well, the thing is that canned pumpkin is actually the pureed pumpkin that has similar characteristics to pureed bananas used in baking recipes, especially in terms of texture.
Aside from a similar texture, canned pumpkin will provide your dish with a similar moisture content. However, you should still be careful about that because canned pumpkin still has a higher moisture content than pureed banana.
So, it is not a good idea to overdo it. And it is also good to slightly reduce other liquids in the recipe, so your dish doesn’t end up being too watery.
Finally, there is the flavor profile, more precisely the level of sweetness. The problem is that canned pumpkin doesn’t have that level of sweetness.
So, when using it as a substitute in your baked goods, you will have to add some sweetener. I would suggest you add some spices like nutmeg, cinnamon, or allspice.
But, you can also add a bit more sugar or some type of artificial sweetener by your preference.
Did you know that avocado is actually a fruit? Yes, it is a fruit but a very specific one because it doesn’t have that natural sweet flavor like most other types of fruits.
Instead of sweetness, avocado possesses a rich, nutty flavor, as well as a creamy texture.
That creamy texture is what makes it a good substitute for bananas in baking, especially if the recipe calls for pureed ones.
You definitely won’t be able to find a better alternative in terms of texture than an avocado.
Again, the only real problem is in the flavor profile, i.e. the level of sweetness.
Avocados can’t catch up with the sweetness level of bananas. Actually, it is everything opposite of sweet.
Because of that, it is essential that you add some extra sweeteners where necessary.
5. Mashed Sweet Potato
I bet that most of you didn’t expect the potato to be on this list, even if it’s sweet. It is just so counterintuitive to add potato in your cake or cookie, especially to substitute a banana.
However, it can actually replace it in some baked goods quite well. First, because, when properly cooked, mashed, and pureed, sweet potato has a smooth and creamy texture.
The only real difference is the fact that it has a more light and fluffy texture, compared to pureed banana which is more starchy.
Second, it is full of natural sweetness that resembles bananas in some dishes very well.
However, it isn’t that sweet, so you will probably have to add a bit more sweetener to your baked dish. But that is not such a big problem, is it?
So, if you decide to eventually use mashed sweet potato as a substitute, freely use it in a 1:1 ratio and you can not go wrong.
6. Eggs Or Egg Whites
Then, of course, we have eggs. I must mention eggs when talking about baking because eggs are so essential in most baked goods.
Eggs actually work as a binder for other ingredients in baked goods and that is predominantly why they are used as a substitute for bananas in baking too.
Well, bananas are also a good binder in baked dishes.
However, you have to know that eggs can not provide your dish with the desired sweetness, so if you are relying on bananas for that purpose, you will have to add some type of sweetener to make up for it.
When it comes to egg whites, they provide an excellent structure for all baked dishes and they provide volume to the baked goods as well.
Because of that, egg whites are always a good solution.
7. Plain Yogurt
If you are looking for some type of ingredient that can decently mimic the soft and smooth texture of mashed bananas used in baking recipes, then you shouldn’t look further.
Plain yogurt is the one ingredient that you are looking for. It has a nice soft texture and can add volume to almost any baked good.
However, plain yogurt can not provide your baked dish with sweetness, so I would suggest you enrich it with some type of sweetener.
I would suggest you use one from nature, like honey or fruit.
Also, bear in mind that plain yogurt has a tangy flavor, so it is not wise to overdo it. Use only ½ cup of yogurt for 1 banana and your dish should be fine.
Finally, don’t use yogurt if the recipe requires some acidic ingredient like, for example, lemon juice because your dish can become overly tangy.
8. Greek Yogurt
Just like plain yogurt, Greek yogurt has a soft and smooth texture that makes it a great alternative. Aside from that, it also acts as a good binder in almost all baked dishes.
However, you should be aware of the fact that Greek yogurt is thicker than plain yogurt because of its higher fat content, and that means it is not suitable for all baked dishes.
It also has a very tangy flavor, even tangier than plain yogurt, so you shouldn’t overdo it if you do not want to end up with the sour cake.
What you should do is use up to ½ cup of Greek yogurt for 1 banana and add some sweetener to counteract the sour taste.
And of course, don’t use Greek yogurt if there are any acidic ingredients in the recipe of your baked dish.
9. Silken Tofu
I assume that you are confused about this since you probably know that the texture of tofu is hard and much firmer than that of bananas.
However, there are a lot of variations of tofu based on the water content, i.e. the more water, the softer the tofu.
Actually, that is the case with silken tofu which has a very high amount of water, so high that it makes it so soft that it is silky.
Silken tofu can therefore be an excellent substitute for bananas in baking in terms of texture and consistency and you can freely use it in a 1:1 ratio when substituting.
The only problem is the fact that every type of tofu is neutral in taste, so it is necessary that you add some sweetener to adjust the flavor.
10. Coconut Cream
After tofu, here is another excellent vegan substitute for bananas in baking. Coconut cream is a creamy variation of coconut flesh that has a thicker consistency than popular coconut milk.
However, that consistency can successfully replace bananas in baked goods.
But, you should still be very careful when using coconut cream in your baked dishes because, besides higher consistency, it has a higher fat content and intense coconut flavor that is not suitable for everyone’s taste buds.
So if you decide to use it eventually, use only about ¼ to ⅓ cup of coconut cream for 1 banana.
You can also add some sweetener if you think that coconut cream won’t provide your dish with the desired sweetness.
11. Soaked Cashews
Cashews might not be the typical substitute for bananas in baking, but they can decently serve to some extent.
When you soak cashews, they tend to soften and you can blend them in a puree that has a similar texture and consistency.
So, if you are looking for some ingredient that will give your baked dish some extra creaminess, pureed-soaked cashews can be a great solution.
But, you have to know that they are not so sweet, but rather have a rich, nutty flavor. So, you should consider adding some sweetener to the baked dish.
Aside from that, soaked cashews aren’t a good binder in baked goods, so if you are looking for an ingredient that will bind other ingredients in the recipe, skip this alternative.
Instead, use it in cookies, bread, or muffins.
If you are a fitness or health enthusiast, you certainly know the benefits and uses of oatmeal. But did you know that you can also replace bananas in baking with it?
Yes, and it will provide your baked dish with a similar grainy texture. All you have to do is to use ½ cup of prepared or pre-soaked oatmeal in your baking dish to achieve the perfect consistency.
However, not everything is so perfect because plain oatmeal has a neutral flavor, so you will have to add some sweetener to adjust the flavor profile.
One more note. Always use plain oatmeal because the flavored ones will mess up the flavor of your baked dish.
This is one interesting option and a bit of a surprise really. But if you know how to use flaxseeds properly in baking, they can be a great substitute.
These healthy seeds, which are full of vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids, are originally used as a substitute for eggs in baking, especially for vegans.
In the same way, they can be used as an alternative to bananas as well.
However, you can not just add flaxseeds to the recipe on their own. You have to make a mixture known as flax eggs.
In order to do that, you will have to mix 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed meal with 3 tablespoons of water and use that mixture in the recipe.
Just take note that this mixture is not sweet, so you will have to add some sweetener to adjust the flavor.
I don’t have much more to say than that. I hope that you were able to find your perfect substitute for banana in baking that will satisfy your dish, as well as your taste buds.
If you know what texture, flavor, consistency, or level of sweetness you want to achieve, I am sure that one of these alternatives will help you to do that in practice.