Classic Bananas Foster: Made in minutes with just a few ingredients! Sweet bananas bathed in warm brown sugar sauce & flambeed for an amazing presentation!

Bananas Foster in a white bowl with vanilla ice cream.

Hey hey, it’s Fat Tuesday today!

I’m sure you already know all about Fat Tuesday, aka: Shrove Tuesday, but if not, it’s the Christian celebration that comes just before Lent. Lent is a 6-week period of preparation and sacrifice leading up to Easter. Many Christians observe by fasting and abstaining from foods that are rich, sweet, and indulgent, as an act of faith.

So naturally the day before this all begins should be a time to celebrate all those yummy things!

Here in Pennsylvania Dutch country, Fat Tuesday goes by the name Fastnacht Day. “Fastnacht” means donut, and I have shared many donut recipes over the years, in honor of this fun holiday. Be sure to check out my chocolate frosted donuts, glazed sour cream donuts, and baked apple cider donuts if you want to celebrate fastnachts today!

But this year, I decided to go in a different direction. Since Fat Tuesday is celebrated in New Orleans in a HUGE way (ever heard of Mardi Gras??), I thought it would be fun to share one of New Orleans’ most famous recipes: Bananas Foster!

Bananas Foster recipe prepared and served over vanilla ice cream in a bowl, with a text overlay that reads "Bananas Foster."

WHAT IS BANANAS FOSTER?

Bananas Foster is a simple yet decadent dessert that was invented at the world-famous Brennan’s restaurant in New Orleans, Louisiana. The name comes from a frequent customer of the restaurant, who’s name was Richard Foster.

It’s basically just bananas cooked in a buttery brown sugar sauce, then flambeed and served warm over vanilla ice cream.

It only takes a few minutes to make, and while the ingredients are few, they come together in the most incredible way. It’s no wonder this dessert has become so iconic!

HOW TO MAKE BANANAS FOSTER

If you’re in search of a quick and easy dessert that will really impress, then look no further. Bananas Foster whips up in a snap, you’ll only dirty one pan, and the presentation is truly spectacular!

Start by warming butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a skillet over low heat.

Butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a small skillet, for bananas Foster.

You may notice I forgot to show the salt going in in the video! Please don’t hold it against me! Making these videos involves a lot of moving parts and I’m doing it all by my lonesome!

Whisk these ingredients together as they cook, until the butter is completely melted and the sugar is dissolved. Be careful to whisk it constantly, and don’t let it get too hot or it could separate.

Whisking bananas Foster sauce over low heat.

Next, peel and split the bananas, cut them into big chunks, and add them to the sauce.

Adding fresh bananas to bananas Foster sauce.

Gently fold the bananas into the sauce, taking care not to mash them too much or break them apart.

Coating bananas in brown sugar sauce for bananas Foster.

Allow them to cook for a minute or so, until they become soft and fragrant. The aromas will make you swoon!

HOW TO LIGHT BANANAS FOSTER ON FIRE (FLAMBE)

This step is completely optional, but it will really take your dessert over the top!

To flambe the bananas Foster, first turn off the stove and add in a splash of dark rum.

Adding dark rum to bananas Foster.

If you don’t have dark rum, you could use white rum or spiced rum instead, or any other kind of spirit. Here are a few good options:

  • Bourbon
  • Whiskey
  • Brandy
  • Banana Liqueur
  • Coffee Liqueur, aka: Kahlua
  • Hazelnut Liqueur, aka: Frangelico
  • Orange Liqueur, aka: Triple Sec or Grand Marnier

All of these would work just as well and the flavors would compliment nicely; it’s just a little twist on tradition!

After adding in the liquor, stand back and carefully use a wand lighter to ignite it.

The alcohol will burn off in a blue flame, which might be kind of hard to see if you don’t turn the lights down really low. If you don’t see it, listen for it. You will probably be able to hear the flame flickering.

Lighting bananas Foster on fire with a lighter.

Once all the alcohol has burned off and the flame is out, it’s time to serve!

HOW TO SERVE BANANAS FOSTER

The classic way to serve bananas Foster is over vanilla ice cream. The contrast between hot and cold, sweet & creamy and rich & buttery is just out of this world.

Spooning bananas Foster into a serving bowl.

Spoon the warm bananas all around the ice cream, then drizzle with sauce.

For a quick & easy homemade vanilla ice cream recipe, click here: No-Churn Ice Cream. For a richer, more traditional slow-churned vanilla ice cream recipe, click here: Vanilla Ice Cream.

Drizzling bananas Foster over vanilla ice cream.

Bananas Foster also makes a great topping for all sorts of things! Try it spooned over:

IS BANANAS FOSTER GLUTEN-FREE

This dessert is 100% gluten-free and it’s also egg-free, so if you’re thinking about serving it to anyone with food sensitivities, it’s a great choice!

Bananas Foster served in bowls over ice cream or with French toast.

CAN YOU MAKE THIS WITHOUT ALCOHOL?

If you are serving it to children or if you’re pregnant, or if you just want to avoid alcohol for whatever reason, this recipe can definitely be made without the rum. It just won’t flambe, but it will still taste really good!

Just know that when you ignite the bananas Foster, most of the alcohol will burn and evaporate away, and you will just be left with the flavor of the rum, which goes really nicely with bananas and brown sugar.

CAN BANANAS FOSTER BE MADE AHEAD?

This dessert is best served immediately, while the sauce is warm and it can melt and meld with the ice cream.

But in a pinch, you could probably make it ahead and just gently reheat it just before serving.

It will keep in the fridge for a few days.

I would not recommend freezing it.

What is bananas Foster in a white bowl over vanilla ice cream.

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Bananas Foster
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
Total Time
10 mins
 

Classic Bananas Foster: Made in minutes with just a few ingredients! Sweet bananas bathed in warm brown sugar sauce & flambeed for an amazing presentation!

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bananas Foster, bananas Foster French toast, bananas Foster recipe, what is bananas Foster
Servings: 4
Calories: 451 kcal
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Place the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a large skillet over low heat.

  2. Whisk together while cooking, until the butter has melted and the sauce is smooth (about 3 to 5 minutes).

  3. Peel, split, and quarter the bananas, and add them to the warm sauce.

  4. Gently fold the bananas into the sauce, allowing them to cook until softened (about 2 to 3 minutes).

  5. Remove the skillet from the heat, add the rum (if using), and light it on fire with a wand lighter (the flame may be difficult to see but you will probably be able to hear it).

  6. When the flames subside (after a minute or two), spoon the warm bananas and sauce over vanilla ice cream.

  7. Serve immediately.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

*The same amount of dark brown sugar can be substituted.

**For a quick & easy homemade vanilla ice cream recipe, click here: No-Churn Ice Cream.  For a traditional, slow churned vanilla ice cream recipe, click here: Vanilla Ice Cream.

Recipe barely adapted from Brennan's.

Nutrition Facts
Bananas Foster
Amount Per Serving
Calories 451 Calories from Fat 108
% Daily Value*
Fat 12g18%
Saturated Fat 7g44%
Cholesterol 31mg10%
Sodium 164mg7%
Potassium 496mg14%
Carbohydrates 81g27%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 68g76%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 430IU9%
Vitamin C 10mg12%
Calcium 55mg6%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Bananas Foster over vanilla ice cream, with a text overlay that reads "Bananas Foster."

Bananas Foster over vanilla ice cream, with a text overlay that reads "Bananas Foster."

Bananas Foster over vanilla ice cream, with a text overlay that reads "Bananas Foster."