How to Make Caramelized Fried Bananas

By Amy Lively

Start to finish: 20 minutes Servings: 4 to 6 Difficulty level: Beginner

Fried bananas dish
credit: Roxana Gonzalez/Hemera/Getty Images
Refrigerate leftovers and eat them cold.

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Directions for caramelized bananas fried with sugar are adapted from the recipe for Bananaque, or Banana Que, a favored Filipino "street food" cooked in deep fryers and served on bamboo skewers. You won't need a deep fryer for this stove-top version of caramelized fried bananas. Caramelize, or reduce the sugar to a syrupy liquid, using very little oil, and the result is sweet, sticky banana slices you can eat with a fork.

Ingredients

  • 2 bananas, just ripened
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup white or light brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Peel the bananas, cut them in half and slice the halves diagonally and set the bananas aside.

Set a large saucepan on the burner, set to heat to medium-high and add the butter to the pan.

Allow the butter to melt a little and add the sugar, cinnamon and salt to the saucepan, stirring to mix.

Lay the banana slices flat-side down in the saucepan and reduce the heat to medium to prevent burning the ingredients.

Allow the bananas to fry for 4 minutes and turn them over to fry them on the other side for 4 minutes. Adjust the heat as necessary to continue frying and caramelizing the bananas but prevent burning.

The caramelized bananas are done when the bananas are browned with a golden brown glaze of caramelized sugar and some crisping on the edges.

Sprinkle the vanilla extract over the bananas, if preferred, and turn them over several times to mix.

Remove the bananas from the saucepan to a serving dish. Allow the caramelized bananas to sit for about 1 to 2 minutes and serve hot.

Variations and Substitutions

  • If you prefer, cut the banana into small, round quarter-size pieces about 1-inch thick.

  • Substitute 2 tablespoons of honey for the sugar, as recommended by the Fifteen Spatulas website, if you prefer a natural sweetener. The honey will thicken and caramelize like sugar.

  • Replace the vanilla extract with another extract flavor, such as rum, maple, almond or coconut.

  • Substitute the bananas with plantain. Choose plantain that is blackened and very ripe when cooking sautéed or caramelized plantain.

Tips and Suggestions

  • Use bananas that are not too ripe so the caramelized bananas are not mushy.

  • Serve caramelized bananas alone as a desert or snack, add them to ice cream or hot cereal, or pile them up on French toast.

  • Add ingredients like raisins or coconut at any time but be careful when adding liquids, like fruit juice. Toss the banana slices in fruit juice and then add the slices to the saucepan so that the juice doesn't interfere with the caramelizing process.