Air fryer bananas are a quick and easy dessert that can’t be beat when you need something sweet in a hurry!
Just a handful of ingredients and 10 minutes in the air fryer transform the bananas into a sweet caramelized treat perfect for topping with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
There was a summer during college where I watched a Food Network episode (it was probably a Rachel Ray show if I’m being honest) that included a quick recipe for brown sugared bananas made in a skillet as a quick and easy dessert.
There weren’t many cooking shows where I happened to have all the ingredients on hand and could make the recipe immediately after the show ended, but that banana recipe was one of the few times.
I made and ate those bananas almost daily the entire summer.
Because why not?
Caramelized bananas with a scoop of ice cream is one of those simple yet incredibly indulgent and instantaneously gratifying recipes you need to have in your back pocket.
Fast forward almost 20 years since that college summer (ugh, why am I so old?!) though and we’re making these bananas in the air fryer.
If air fryers existed back in ’01 or ’02 I probably would’ve used it then too because it makes this simple recipe even easier.
There’s no monitoring the heat of the skillet and making sure to stir everything around while the bananas caramelize, you simply split them in half, sugar and spice them up and roast the bananas in the air fryer until golden and delicious a mere 10 minutes later!
INGREDIENTS TO MAKE AIR FRYER BANANAS
- 2-3 large bananas
- brown sugar (or coconut sugar)
- melted coconut oil
- vanilla ice cream (optional)
These are almost the exact same ingredients needed for making air fryer pineapple which is another simple fruit dessert in a pinch.
DO THE BANANAS NEED TO BE RIPE?
This isn’t like making banana bread or something like zucchini banana muffins where you want the bananas to be overly ripe and on the precipice of going bad.
The beauty of air frying the bananas is that the air fryer essentially roasts them bringing out their natural sweetness even if they’ve still got a tinge of green on the outside.
I personally love bananas at this ripeness stage so they never make it to having brown spots in my house! If they do though, I’m usually making double chocolate banana bread with them.
In fact, to hold up to the air frying process it’s best the bananas are ripe but not too ripe where they’ve become mushy.
HOW TO MAKE CARAMELIZED AIR FRYER BANANAS
Start by halving the bananas lengthwise and placing them on a plate or cutting board.
Liberally brush the cut side of the bananas with the melted coconut oil.
Mix together the sugar and spices in a small bowl then sprinkle on top of the bananas until they’re well coated with the mixture.
Place the bananas in the air fryer either on lightly greased trays or in the basket depending on your model.
Air fry at 400°F for 8-10 minutes until the bananas are golden brown and the sugar on top has caramelized into a bubbly coating.
Remove from the air fryer and serve warm. Vanilla ice cream is optional but highly recommended!
This is the exact same easy cooking method as making air fryer peaches if you prefer those.
HOW TO SERVE AIR FRIED BANANAS
You’re going to fall in love with this simple recipe the first time you make it and realize how many possibilities exist for enjoying the bananas!
For a quick and easy dessert, nothing beats a scoop of ice cream with some extra cinnamon sugar for serving.
I usually like to keep the oats simple though and use the bananas as the flavor component. A heaping spoonful of homemade nut butter like this creamy vanilla macadamia nut butter on top is simply divine.
You can also use them as a topping for smoothie bowls, yogurt bowls or your breakfast granola. I love pairing them with this nut-free granola and milk.
They can be eaten warm or cold so they’re even good cut up into small pieces with other fruit for a fruit salad with a little extra “wow” factor.
VARIATIONS ON THIS RECIPE
- Play around with the spices! For a fall vibe, use pumpkin pie spice. You can even make these more savory by using Chinese 5-spice powder. I love that spice mix for its versatility in both savory and sweet dishes like five-spice cream cheese chicken or five-spice plum jam.
- Add some booze. Brush the bananas with some rum (a spiced rum would be great), cointreau, brandy or whiskey for a fun adult version of this delicious dessert.
- Extracts are an easy way to enhance flavor as well. Add vanilla, almond or any extract you like to the melted coconut oil when preparing the bananas.
WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPE
The simplicity of air fried caramelized bananas just can’t be beat. You’ll also almost undoubtedly have all the ingredients for this recipe on hand.
When the dessert craving strikes and you need something sweet, these bananas can be devoured in just 10 minutes.
It’s also a dessert that fits any dietary need as they’re gluten-free and vegan (if served with a non-dairy ice cream).
From oil sprays to muffin cups and from pizza pans to racks, we've got them all, and they make fantastic Christmas presents, too!
HOW TO STORE LEFTOVER BANANAS
These are best enjoyed warm straight out of the air fryer when they’re made.
If you have leftovers, however, let the bananas cool completely and store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days.
They can be reheated in the microwave or the air fryer.
MORE RECIPES LIKE THIS TO TRY:
Maple Cinnamon Air Fryer Apple Chips
Warm Quinoa Cereal with Caramelized Bananas
Banana Nutmeg Pancakes
Coconut Ricotta Pancakes with Caramelized Banana Creme Fraiche Butter
Cinnamon Sugar Banana Pecan Bread
Air Fryer Bananas
- 2 large bananas, sliced in half lengthwise
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon cloves
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
- Place halved bananas on a plate.
- Combine the spices and sugar in a small bowl.
- Brush the melted coconut oil on the cut side of the bananas then sprinkle the sugar mixture all over the top until fully coated.
- Lightly grease the rack or basket (depending on air fryer type) with cooking spray then place the bananas in the air fryer. If using an oven model air fryer, position the tray in the center of the air fryer.
- Air fry the bananas at 400°F for 8-10 minutes until golden brown and caramelized.
- Remove from the air fryer and serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a dusting of cinnamon if desired.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.