Learn how to make a New Orleans classic! This bananas foster recipe is bananas smothered in a brown sugar and rum sauce, ignited in a flambé, and topped with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

This dessert is just too delectable to pass up!

A white plate with ice cream and a banana slice topped with bananas foster sauce.
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Bananas foster hit the scene at Brennan’s Restaurant in New Orleans in 1951. Brennan’s invented the decadent dessert to showcase the city’s bustling banana import business.

The owner named the creation after Richard Foster, his good friend and chairman of the New Orleans Crime Commission.

Their new bananas foster recipe was an instant success. It’s a classic Southern dessert. Of course, that comes as no surprise. Not only is it delicious to eat, but watching it be made is an event in and of itself.

Your guests will love to gather to watch while you flambé it.

A white bowl with a scoop of delicious ice cream and a tantalizing banana slice on top.

Bananas Foster Recipe

This bananas foster recipe feels like it should belong in upscale restaurants, yet it’s so quick and easy to make at home. It feels special, without a lot of effort. It only takes about 10 minutes start to finish – that’s longer than it will take for your friends and family to devour it!

Bananas Foster is one of my favorite desserts for entertaining. It’s the perfect dessert to take any occasion up a notch. Think of it for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, wedding receptions, and any other special occasion.

A white plate with a scoop of ice cream and a banana slice, perfect for making delicious Bananas Foster dessert.
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Why You’ll Love it

  • Presentation – Don’t let the flames scare you. Flambéing is actually quite easy and fun! Read on for my best tips and tricks.
  • Simple Ingredients – This dessert looks complicated, but it’s surprisingly simple to make and serve.
  • Flexible – You can top it with a variety of options, and customize it to your tastes!
  • So Much Fun – Flambéing Is Fun!
A plate with a delicious serving of bananas foster, topped with creamy ice cream and a caramelized banana.

Love everything banana? Don’t miss my incredible Banana Bread and Caramel Banana Muffins.

Shopping List

Copy and paste to add ingredients to your grocery list.

  • Bananas
  • Salted Butter
  • Brown Sugar
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Rum,
  • Vanilla Ice Cream, or Whipped Cream
Bananas Foster, a mouthwatering dessert made with bananas, butter, and sugar on a marble table.

QUICK TIP: I love these oval ramekins and they fit a single serving beautifully! Find an inexpensive set here, or a slightly larger and heavier version here.

A white bowl with a scoop of ice cream topped with a fresh banana.

Tools

A delicious white plate adorned with ice cream topped off by a tantalizing banana slice.

Variations

Banana foster sauce is really forgiving, and it’s easy to change it to suit your tastes. It’s basically a caramel sauce, so feel free to try different sweeteners!

  • Chopped Nuts – Stir your favorite type of chopped nut into the sauce – pecans are delicious in this recipe! Sprinkle a few more on top when serving for a little crunch.
  • Cinnamon – Add a few pinches of cinnamon to the sauce, at the same time as the brown sugar and vanilla. It gives the banana foster sauce a warm flavor that is so good!
  • Heavy Cream – Add a ¼ cup heavy cream for a richer, creamier banana foster sauce.
  • Honey or Syrup – Substitute a little of the brown sugar with honey or maple syrup for a slightly different flavor.
  • Banana – You can even blend an extra banana in your food processor and add it to your sauce in place of some of the brown sugar.
  • Different Fruits – You can actually make this with your favorite fruit – pears, peaches, cherries, and more. It won’t technically be “bananas foster” if you do, but it will be delicious!
  • Banana Liqueur – Replace rum with banana liqueur for extra banana flavor.
  • Alcohol-Free – Yes, you can adapt this into a no-alcohol bananas foster recipe, simply by omitting the rum! It won’t have exactly the same flavor as the classic New Orleans recipe, but it will be delicious! Note: If you choose to leave out the rum, do not flambé it – there won’t be any alcohol to burn.
A bowl of ice cream adorned with sweet bananas and drizzled with luscious caramel sauce.

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve over vanilla ice cream. Start with a scoop of ice cream in the dish, then spoon warm bananas around it and drizzle it all with the banana foster sauce. A slice of banana topped with a mouthwatering bananas foster sauce, elegantly presented in a white bowl.
  • Serve topped with a dollop of homemade whipped cream instead. Spoon bananas into dish, top with a dollop of whipped cream, and drizzle with sauce.
  • Sprinkle candied nuts on top.
  • Serve over pancakes, waffles, crepes, French toast, or cake for a delicious syrup.
A bowl of ice cream topped with a luscious banana foster sauce.
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Tips

  • Use barely ripe bananas yellow in color, ripe but not overly soft – for the best flavor and texture. Overly ripe bananas will turn to mush during cooking.
  • Slice bananas right before beginning. However, they don’t keep well if sliced far in advance. To keep bananas from turning brown right away, add a few drops of lemon juice over the top after slicing.
  • For a thicker banana foster sauce, allow to simmer a little before adding bananas, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. For a thinner sauce, add a tablespoon of water and stir until smooth. Continue adding water one tablespoon at a time, if needed.
  • Take safety precautions when flambéing. Make sure surrounding spaces are free from flammable items, have a fire extinguisher nearby, use a long lighter and keep your distance as much as possible. Tip: keep your pan’s lid close by, in case you need to quickly cover the flames. Of course, adult supervision is required if children will be nearby.
A white plate with ice cream and a banana slice drizzled in bananas foster sauce.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Bananas Foster be made ahead of time?

Bananas foster is best served warm, right after cooking. However, you can make the sauce (without the bananas) ahead of time and store in the refrigerator or freezer. When you’re ready to serve, reheat in a saucepan over medium heat, add the banana slices, and follow the recipe instructions (above) to finish.

Can you make Bananas Foster without rum?

Yes, you can make this recipe alcohol free! Simply omit the rum and follow the instructions. You may need to add a tablespoon or two of water to thin down the sauce. If you want to keep the rum flavor in the sauce without the alcohol, you can use a non-alcoholic rum extract in place of rum. Kid friendly bananas foster!

Do you have to flambé bananas foster?

Classic bananas foster calls for flambéing the sauce to cook down the rum and soften its flavor. You can make this dish without flambéing, however. You can keep the rum and enjoy a stronger flavor, or omit the rum altogether.

A plate with ice cream and a banana on it, topped with banana foster sauce.

Baking Conversion Guide

Print this Measurement Conversion Chart for easy reference when halving or doubling a recipe.

A white bowl with a scoop of ice cream topped with a fresh banana.

Shortcuts

  • Make the sauce in advance, without bananas, and store in freezer or refrigerator. When ready to serve, reheat sauce and follow instructions to finish.

How to Store

  • Refrigerate – Store in an airtight container for up to 2-3 days without ice cream. Store ice cream in a freezer as usual, and top when you’re ready to serve.
  • Freeze – Store in a sealed, airtight container for up to one month in the freezer. Thaw in a refrigerator overnight and reheat in a saucepan over medium heat.
A bowl of ice cream with a banana and caramel sauce, inspired by the classic bananas foster recipe.

What to Do with Leftovers

  • Reheat frozen leftovers and serve over pancakes, waffles, French Toast, or crepes for a scrumptious breakfast or brunch. The banana foster sauce acts like a delicious caramel syrup!
  • Serve over cake in place of frosting. Leftovers may look a little different, but they will taste just the same as fresh banana flambé.

Dietary Considerations

  • Gluten Free
  • Dairy Free
  • Nut Free – Simply eliminate optional nuts for garnish.
A white plate with a scoop of ice cream topped with a delicious banana slice.

More Fruit Desserts

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A white plate with banana foster sauce and bananas on it.
5 from 2 votes

Bananas Foster

This recipe feels special, without requiring a lot of effort. In less than 10 minutes, you'll have delicious bananas in a caramel rum sauce!
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 10 minutes
Servings: 8
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Ingredients  

Instructions 

  • Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add brown sugar and vanilla. Whisk until smooth.
  • Add bananas and allow them to soak for 2-3 minutes, without letting them brown.
  • Add rum over the top. Standing back, user a lighter to light the sauce. Remove from heat when the flame extinguishes (about 10-15 seconds).

Tips

  • Use barely ripe bananas yellow in color, ripe but not overly soft.
  • Slice bananas immediately prior to making. 
  • For a thicker banana foster sauce, allow to simmer a little before adding bananas, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. For a thinner sauce, add a tablespoon of water and stir until smooth. Continue adding water one tablespoon at a time, if needed.
  • Take safety precautions when flambéing. Make sure surrounding spaces are free from flammable items, have a fire extinguisher nearby, use a long lighter and keep your distance as much as possible. Tip: keep your pan’s lid close by, in case you need to quickly cover the flames. Of course, adult supervision is required if children will be nearby.

How to Store

  • Refrigerate – Store in an airtight container up to 2-3 days. 
  • Freeze – Store in an airtight container up to one month in the freezer. Thaw in a refrigerator overnight and reheat in a saucepan over medium heat.
 

Video

Calories: 278kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 110mg | Potassium: 252mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 34g | Vitamin A: 392IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 1mg

Estimated nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is not guaranteed.

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How to Make Bananas Foster

You can watch how to make it step-by-step in the video in this post!

  1. Prepare – Cut four bananas in half lengthwise or into slices. Set aside. Bananas, sliced in half on a white plate.
  2. Melt – Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. A stick of butter melting in a silver saute pan.
  3. Stir – Add brown sugar and vanilla. Stir until sugar is dissolved and sauce is smooth and bubbling.Bananas foster sauce in a silver saute pan with a wisk to the side. Bananas foster sauce in a silver saute pan with a wisk to the side.
  4. Cook – Add bananas and allow them to soak in the sauce for 2-3 minutes. Do not let them brown. Bananas flambe in a silver saute pan surrounded by caramel sauce.
  5. Flambé – With a lighter within easy reach, add rum to the bananas. Standing back, light the mixture with the lighter. The rum will burst into flames. Remove pan from heat once the flame extinguishes itself (about 10-15 seconds). Bananas flambe in a silver saute pan surrounded by caramel sauce.

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2 Comments

  1. I have been asked to make a bananas foster cheesecake. I have to ship this to several states away. Do you think its possible to make the fosters topping and freeze it to warm back up and pour over a cheesecake?

  2. Oh my word, I think I am drooling! That looks to die for, I have to try that sometime..and I am pretty sure it is good for you because there are bananas!! ha Stoppin by from Tatertots & Jello!