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Bananas Foster Recipe – A Classic New Orleans Dessert

Bananas Foster is an impressive dessert that requires only a few ingredients to make. Slices of bananas that cook in a brown sugar and cinnamon sauce and then flash flavored in banana liqueur and rum.

If that wasn’t good enough by itself, the warm and flavorful bananas have a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Drizzle the remaining caramelized sauce over top and you have a dessert recipe to die for!

This dish is popular any day of the year but especially on Fat Tuesday in Louisiana. Not only is it a delicious dessert to celebrate the end of Mardi Gras, it was actually invented in New Orleans.

skillet bananas foster
Bananas Foster Dessert served in an individual cast iron skillet. A classic New Orleans dessert recipe.

In the 1950’s New Orleans was the major port of entry for bananas that were being imported from Central and South America.

Because of the recent influx of bananas in the New Orleans area a local restaurant owner challenged his chef to create a unique dessert using this widely available fruit.

And the result, the birth of Bananas Foster. The owner loved the dessert so much that he named it after his good friend Richard Foster who was a local business leader.

And as they say the rest is history! You can find this decent dessert served all over Louisiana. From dive bars to gourmet restaurants it is one of the most sought after desserts.

What is Bananas Foster?

So what exactly makes this dessert so delicious? Traditionally it all starts with peeld bananas that have been sliced in half horizontally.

They are then sautéed in a cinnamon sugar and butter mixture until they become nice and caramelized. Then banana liqueur and dark rum drench the tender banana pieces.

sliced bananas
Slice the peeled bananas to make two long halves. Then cut each one in the center to make 4 pieces. This will give the bananas enough surface areas to absorb the delicious sauce.

Minutes later, the liquid in the skillet is set on fire so the liquor can quickly burn off. This leaves you with soft bananas in a smoky rum flavored sauce.

It is customary to serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. However the bananas and caramel sauce have taken center stage at breakfast as a topping for pancakes, waffles and more!

Is The Fire Necessary?

At high end restaurants this dessert is prepared at the table side by an experienced chef. A cooking cart is brought to the table so that the guests can witness the impressive burst of flame when the rum is lit on fire.

However, this process can be intimidating to the novice Bananas Foster chef, especially if you don’t have experience with flambé desserts.

The timing of the flaming of the bananas is important. Therefore it is crucial that the liquor burns quickly to remove the alcohol from the dessert without the bananas becoming too soft.

But don’t worry. Even the novice at home cook can master this process. However there are a few tips that you will want to follow for maximum safety when completing this at home.

bananas in caramel sauce
The bananas are added in the skillet with the cinnamon-sugar and butter mixture.

Safety First

First and foremost, be sure to have a large lid that will fit over the skillet readily available during the cooking process. If you feel like the flame is out of control, simply place the lid on the skillet and the flame will be snuffed out.

Secondly, wait until the rum is warmed up before lighting it on fire with a long lighter. This will allow time for alcohol to heat up and burn off quickly.

And finally, be sure to remove the skillet directly from the heat source and tilt it away from you and at an angle. This allows the alcohol to gather in one area rather than over the entire surface of the skillet.

And if you are totally terrified to try to this technique there is another option. Place the rum in a separate sauce pan and bring to boil.

Boiling for 30 seconds will allow the alcohol to evaporate. After that, it can be added to the bananas to provide the rum flavor to the dessert without the alcohol.

It doesn’t look as impressive to your guests, but it will still taste delicious!

Bananas Foster Recipe

*Specific measurements and complete recipe instructions are located in a printable recipe card at the bottom of this article. However, be sure to continue to read the tips and tricks to making this recipe below.

Equipment Needed

  • Flambé skillet
  • Long lighter

Flambé skillet – You want a skillet that will be able to withstand the heat of the flames. The best type of skillet to use is stainless steel, copper or cast iron.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup banana liqueur
  • 1/4 cup dark rum
  • 4 bananas, cut in half lengthwise, then cut in half
  • 4 scoops vanilla ice cream
fire in cast iron skillet
The alcohol in the rum is being burned off directly in the skillet.

INSTRUCTIONS

Start making the bananas foster by peeling and slicing the bananas in half lengthwise, then in half cross wise so that you have manageable size pieces. Technically you could also slice them into 1 inch rounds, but the more surface area you have the more that the bananas can absorb the caramel flavors.

Place a deep sided flambé skillet over low heat. Add the butter, sugar and cinnamon to the pan.

On low heat stir the mixture until the sugar completely dissolves. This will take a little time but it is important to keep the heat on low.

Stir in the banana liqueur and then place the bananas in the pan. When the banana sections soften and begin to brown, carefully pour the rum into the skillet.

When the liquid begins to heat up and bubble lift the pan off the burner and tip it so that the liquid runs gathers towards the bottom of the pan. Use a long lighter and ignite the liquid.

new orleans dessert
Bananas Foster dessert served right in the same skillet that it was made! It’s a great option for serving when making a dessert to share with others.

Be sure to have a lid handy just in case you need to quickly extinguish the flames. When the flames subside use a long spatula to take the bananas out of the pan.

Place 4 slices of the bananas in a bowl, being sure to drizzle some of the caramel over top of the bananas. Then add a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

Spoon more of the warm sauce over the top of the ice cream and serve immediately. Repeat the process with the other servings.

Other New Orleans Inspired Recipes

If you are looking for other authentic and traditional recipes that are common to the New Orleans area, be sure to check out my New Orleans Recipe Page.

Here you will find recipes such as gumbo, jambalaya, beignets, pralines, and more!

Enjoy! Mary

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Bananas Foster

bananas foster

A warm dessert consisting of bananas cooked in a brown sugar and cinnamon sauce and then flavored in banana liqueur and rum and served over a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup banana liqueur
  • 1/4 cup dark rum
  • 4 bananas, cut in half lengthwise, then cut in half
  • 4 scoops vanilla ice cream

Instructions

  1. Combine the butter, sugar and cinnamon in a deep sided flambé skillet.
  2. On low heat stir the mixture until the sugar dissolves.
  3. Stir in the banana liqueur and then place the bananas in the pan.
  4. When the banana sections soften and begin to brown, carefully add the rum.
  5. When the liquid begins to bubble tip the pan slightly and ignite the rum with a long lighter. *Have a lid handy just in case you need to extinguish the flames.
  6. When the flames subside take the bananas out of the pan and place 4 slices of banana over a scoop of ice cream.
  7. Spoon the warm sauce over the top of the ice cream and serve immediately.

Notes

Be sure to heat the rum prior to lighting it on fire as cold alcohol will not flame up.

You can omit the flaming process if you prefer and boil the rum for 30 seconds before adding it to the bananas.

Recipe provided by Make Your Meals

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 580Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 60mgSodium: 158mgCarbohydrates: 92gFiber: 4gSugar: 77gProtein: 4g

Nutritional Information is to be used as a general guideline only . Nutritional calculations will vary from the types and brands of the products used.

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