This classic Bananas Foster recipe is full of rich flavor thanks to the butter, dark brown sugar, and rum. Crunchy pecans are the perfect contrast to tender, caramelized bananas. Spoon over ice cream for an amazing dessert!
There aren’t many desserts that earn the label of “exciting,” but I’d say that Bananas Foster is one of them. I mean, you set it on fire before serving—can it get any more exciting than that?!
But Bananas Foster isn’t all about the spectacle. Even setting aside the whole fire thing, it’s an incredible dessert, loaded with rich flavors. The combination of butter, dark brown sugar, and rum creates a sauce that’s nothing short of intoxicating. And the pecans add the perfect level of contrast, both in terms of texture and flavor.
(Looking for more classic American desserts? Try my Old Fashioned Red Velvet Cake or Shoofly Pie next!)
Easy Bananas Foster Recipe
This Bananas Foster recipe is pretty straightforward and simple to make. If you’ve never made it before, I think you’ll find that it’s easier than you expected, and I promise you won’t set your kitchen on fire—well, as long as you’re careful!
Bananas Foster is easy enough to make as a special treat on a weeknight, but impressive enough that you can make it for a party. Your guests will be in awe of your culinary skills!
See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Pecans – Toast and chop these before starting the recipe.
- Unsalted butter
- Dark brown sugar – I recommend sticking with dark brown sugar, rather than substituting light brown sugar. It will give you that deep, molasses flavor.
- Ground cinnamon
- Vanilla extract
- Ripe bananas – Halve them lengthwise, then cut them in half again.
- Kosher salt
- Dark rum – You’ll need 80-100 proof rum.
- Vanilla ice cream
How to Make Bananas Foster
1. Start the Sauce
In a large skillet, heat the butter, sugar, and cinnamon until it thickens and bubbles, whisking constantly. Stir in the vanilla and cook for another minute.
2. Add the Bananas
Place the bananas into the pan with the caramel sauce cut-side-down. Cook, shaking the pan occasionally until the bananas are browned, about 1 minute. Flip the bananas over, sprinkle them with salt, and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
3. Flambé the Bananas
Pour the rum into the pan and return it to the heat. Carefully ignite the sauce and flambé, shaking the pan, until the flame goes out.
Serve with a generous scoop of ice cream, spooning the Foster sauce over the top, and the toasted pecans.
How to Store Leftover Bananas Foster
Bananas Foster is best served immediately, but if you have leftovers, they will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat on the stovetop before serving.
In addition to vanilla ice cream, you can serve bananas foster with:
Bananas Foster was named after Richard Foster, a friend of the owner of the New Orleans restaurant where it was created. You might be surprised to learn that Foster wasn’t a chef or restauranteur; instead, he served as chairman of the New Orleans Crime Commission, which was responsible for reducing crime in the French Quarter in the 1950s.
While the rum does contribute to the flavor of this dish, if you’re looking for a non-alcoholic version, you can substitute the rum with orange juice and skip the flambéing.
The alcohol does burn off when you flambé the dish, but there is still a small amount remaining.
Use an 80 to 100 proof dark rum for Bananas Foster. Dark rum is distilled from molasses, which gives it a deeper, richer flavor that complements this dish. A spiced rum will work, too.
This dish is best made fresh, so I don’t recommend making it in advance.
More Banana Recipes
- 3 tbsp pecans toasted and chopped
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar packed
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 2 bananas halved lengthwise and cut in half
- kosher salt
- 3 tbsp dark rum 80-100 proof
- vanilla ice cream
- In a large sauté pan, heat the butter, sugar, and cinnamon until bubbling and thick while whisking constantly. Add vanilla and cook sauce for 1 minute.
- Place cut bananas into the pan, cut side down, and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until the bananas are browned, about 1 minute.
- Using a spatula, turn the bananas over and sprinkle with salt. Cook, shaking the pan, until bananas are browned and cooked, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- Add the rum to the pan and return to the heat. Carefully ignite the rum and flambé, shaking the pan, until the flame goes out.
- Serve with vanilla ice cream and garnish with the toasted pecans.