Banana Equivalents

Take the headache out of exact measurements for bananas in recipes

Sliced banana
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Bananas are among the most popular fruits for fresh eating and for baking. Recipes call for sliced banana, mashed banana, diced banana and even whole bananas. It's difficult to know just how many bananas you should have on hand. Here's a list of equivalents that may help you the next time you are buying bananas for a recipe.

Banana Equivalents

  • 1 pound bananas = 3 medium bananas
  • 1 pound bananas = 4 small bananas
  • 1 pound bananas = 2 to 2 1/2 cups sliced
  • 1 pound bananas = 1 1/3 cups mashed
  • 1 pound dried bananas = 4 1/2 cups slices
  • 1 medium banana = 2/3 cup sliced bananas
  • 2 medium bananas = 1 cup diced bananas
  • 3 medium bananas = 1 cup mashed bananas
  • 2 medium bananas = 1/2 to 1 teaspoon banana extract

When you are in doubt about the quantity, buy a couple of extra bananas. You can always freeze them if they aren't needed in the recipe.

The Difference Between Small, Medium and Large Bananas

Not every banana is the same size, so these equivalents are approximate. Typically, bananas are classified by their length as follows:

  • Small bananas approximately 6 to 6 7/8 inches long 
  • Medium bananas are approximately 7 to 7 7/8 inches long
  • Large bananas are approximately 8 to 9 inches long

Substitutions for Bananas in Recipes

You can't make banana pudding or banana bread without bananas. However, if you can't stand bananas or are allergic to them, there are some substitutions you can make for bananas in other recipes in your home.

  • Applesauce can substitute for a banana in baked goods. Replace one banana with 1/2 cup of applesauce. Don't use more than 1 cup of applesauce, though, because the mixture will be too wet.
  • Canned pumpkin and silken tofu also work as substitutes for a banana in some recipes, although you may need to add sweetener.
  • Mashed cooked sweet potato works as a banana substitute in baked oatmeal recipes.
  • Plain yogurt might work in some recipes, but if the recipe calls for vinegar or lemon juice, choose another substitute. 
  • Egg whites (or a whole egg) can substitute for a banana in some baked goods.
  • Among the substitutes for bananas in smoothies are canned pumpkin, mango, avocado and frozen yogurt.

Using Bananas as Substitutes for Other Ingredients

Bananas can be used as substitutes for other ingredients in baked goods. Vegans, in particular, are familiar with using bananas to substitute for:

  • Eggs. One ripe banana replaces one egg in a cake. The banana will flavor the cake, so only use them when they complement the other ingredients in the cake. Extra leavening may be needed.
  • Butter. Substitute mashed banana for the butter in a recipe in equal amounts.
  • Oil. You can substitute 3/4 cup of mashed banana for 1 cup of oil in baked goods such as muffins, cakes, and breads, but you'll need to use a low-gluten flour and reduce baking time.

How to Freeze Bananas

Keeping a supply of banana slices in the freezer means you'll always have just the right amount of banana for baking, sauces, and smoothies—making substitutions unnecessary.

Freezing bananas is a simple process:

  1. Peel the bananas. They should be frozen at peak ripeness.
  2. Cut each banana into slices that are about 3/4-inch thick.
  3. Spread the banana slices in a single layer on a cookie sheet. The slices should not touch. Freezing them in this manner means they won't all clump together, and you'll be able to remove only as many slices as you need.
  4. Freeze for an hour or more.
  5. After the bananas are frozen, transfer them to plastic bags or containers. 
  6. Label and date the frozen banana containers and store them in the freezer.