Bananas Foster is a simple yet delicious dessert recipe, using brown sugar, rum, banana liquor, and banana sauce served hot over vanilla ice cream. Optionally served with that signature flare of fire, this New Orleans traditional dessert is easy to replicate at home.
Bananas foster is one of the few desserts that are indigenous to New Orleans and is somehow both incredibly simple yet super elegant and delicious at the same time.
Topped with all sorts of different things, the simple base of the recipe is some bananas, preferably overripe, some banana liquor, and rum that has been ignited, turning the brown sugar sauce into a smoky, intense, and delightful liquid that smothers ice cream and makes it delicious.
If making this recipe at home, feel free to skip the fiery part, but if you do want to keep the showy flames, make sure to keep a fire blanket or, at the worst, a fire extinguisher handy just in case. It should be safe, but the flames can be pretty high.
Bananas Foster Ingredients
Make sure you look at the recipe card at the very bottom for the exact amounts so that you know exactly what to buy for this recipe.
• Packed brown sugar
• Salted butter
• Spiced rum
• Banana liquor
• Vanilla ice cream
• White sugar
How To Make Bananas Foster
• In a large skillet, melt the brown sugar and butter, stirring it until the butter is melted
• Add in the banana liquor, heating until the mixture is bubbly
• Peel the bananas and then slice them lengthwise into two pieces
• Cut each piece into halves again so that you get 4 pieces per banana
• Add the bananas into the brown sugar mixture in the skillet and then cook until just heated
• Add the rum and heat it up
• Optionally, ignite the rum and let it burn
• Serve hot over vanilla ice cream
How To Get That Signature Flare of Fire
The best part of this recipe, other than its intensely delicious flavor, is that big jet of flames that gushes out from the pan, giving everything a smoky, fiery flavor.
Commonly ignited directly at the dinner table, the key to this big dramatic flair is to be very careful with igniting the rum.
After adding the rum and heating it in the pan, you can either ignite it using a long candle lighter or using the gas burner on the stovetop.
The long candle lighter is infinitely easier, especially if you are planning on lighting it at the table.
The burning of the rum isn’t just for flair, by the way; it also helps to actively burn off the alcohol, getting rid of the harsh flavor of the alcohol that might otherwise conflict with the rich sweetness of the sauce.
How To Pick The Right Bananas For This Recipe
Bananas are an incredibly fickle fruit to use in any recipe; either they are too young and are basically inedible, or they are suddenly overripe and are falling apart.
The best bananas for making bananas foster with are ones that are only just slightly a bit overripe. You want it to be firm enough that you can easily cut it into halves using a knife without it falling apart.
You don’t want it too tough, though, because otherwise, it will have an unpleasant chew when you bite into it.
A great trick to get perfect bananas for bananas foster is to buy green bananas at the store a few days before you want to make this dessert.
When most of the green has faded from the bananas, chuck them in the freezer with the peel still on.
After 24 hrs, the freezing will have encouraged more sugars to be released from inside the bananas, but they will still be able to hold up to the knife. Just make sure that you cook your sauce a bit longer to help reheat them because they will be very cold!
Store in a closed container at room temperature for up to 3-5 days or in the container in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Looking for more delicious dessert recipes? Try these out:
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- Prep Time
- 5 minutes
- Cook Time
- 15 minutes
- Karlynn Johnston
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup salted butter
- 4 ripe bananas firm, not soft
- 1/2 cup spiced rum
- 1/4 cup banana liqueur
- pinch of cinnamon
- pinch of nutmeg
- 4 servings vanilla ice cream
- Get out a long lighter for igniting the rum later on.
- In a skillet large enough to fit the bananas, melt the brown sugar and butter, stirring, until the butter has melted. Add in the banana liquer, then heat again until the mixture is bubbly.
- Peel the bananas, then slice them lengthwise into two pieces. Cut each piece into half again, so that you get 4 pieces per banana.
- Add the bananas to the brown sugar mixture in the skillet and cook until just heated, don’t overcook.
- Add the rum and heat up.
- If desired, remove the pan from the heat and ignite the rum. Let it burn, shaking the pan to baste the bananas with the sauce and le the flames go out, then stir in the cinnamon and nutmeg.
- Serve hot over the vanilla ice cream.
All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.