Banana flour isn’t the typical flour you find at the grocery store, but it’s becoming more and more popular as a gluten-free and grain-free alternative.
Made from green, unripe bananas, banana flour is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes, from baked goods to savory dishes. But what exactly is banana flour, and what makes it so special? Let’s find out!
What is banana flour made from?
Banana flour is a type of flour made from green, unripe bananas which have a high starch content.
To make it commercially, they peel and chop the bananas, dry them out through a low-temperature process, and then grind them into a fine powder. The end result is a slightly sweet, pale-yellow flour.
Note: banana flour is not the same as plantain flour! Plantain flour is made with plantains (a type of banana), whereas banana flour is manufactured using green or young bananas.
What’s the difference between banana flour and regular flour?
In a nutshell, the difference between banana flour and regular flour is that banana flour is made from bananas and is gluten-free, while regular flour is made from wheat and contains gluten.
Banana flour has a slightly sweet taste with a hint of banana in contrast to all-purpose flour’s neutral taste.
Banana flour generally has a finer texture, but produces more dense baked goods than all-purpose flour, giving them very different uses. Find out more in our full comparison of banana flour vs all-purpose flour.
Benefits of banana flour
Since it’s made of 100% bananas, this flour is high in potassium and vitamin C, but low in sugar since the bananas used to make it are not ripe. However, banana flour has a mild banana flavor that can add a unique twist to your baked goods or savory dishes.
Banana flour is also rich in resistant starch, which is great for gut health. Plus, it’s naturally gluten-free, grain-free, fat-free, and paleo-friendly, making it a great option for people with allergies. It’s also a popular ingredient in vegan products and baking!
Banana flour nutrition facts
|Flour (¼ cup)||Calories||Carbs||Fiber||Sugar||Fat||Protein||Glycemic Index|
|Banana flour||160||40 g||<1 g||0 g||0 g||1 g||Unripe bananas = 42|
|All-purpose flour||120||24 g||1 g||0 g||0.5 g||4 g||85|
How to bake and cook with banana flour
Because of its high starch content, banana flour is much more absorbent than all-purpose flour, so you’ll want to use less of it when substituting. For example, if the recipe says 1 cup of all-purpose, use ¾ cup of banana flour.
Like other gluten-free flours, banana flour is best used in combination with other flours (like coconut or almond flour) for the best texture. This will also help to make sure the banana flavor isn’t too overpowering.
Due to its lack of gluten, you may need to add a binder like xanthan gum or chia seeds to help hold your baked goods together.
Banana flour can also be used in savory dishes like tortillas, noodles, and even as a thickener for soups and sauces.
Popular banana flour baked goods and dishes
Banana flour is a pretty versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of baked goods and savory dishes:
- Pancakes and waffles
- Banana bread and muffins
- Cakes and cupcakes
- Cookies and bars
- Tortillas and wraps
- Noodles and pasta
- Pizza crusts
- Soups and stews as a thickener
- Added to smoothies and shakes
How to make banana flour at home
To make banana flour at home, you can follow these easy steps:
- Choose green, unripe bananas that are not sweet.
- Peel the bananas and slice them into thin pieces.
- Dry the banana slices using a dehydrator or in an oven. Do this until the slices are completely dry and brittle.
- Grind the banana slices into a fine powder using a food processor or blender.
- Sift flour through a fine mesh sieve to remove any lumps or larger pieces.
How to store banana flour
To store both store-bought and homemade banana flour, keep them in an airtight container in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. When stored properly, banana flour can last for several months or up to a year.
In my experience, it’s important to make sure homemade banana flour is completely dry before storing it to avoid spoilage or mold. If you’re unsure about the dryness of homemade banana flour, I would store it in the freezer to be safe!
What are the best substitutes for banana flour?
Plantain flour is very similar to banana flour. It’s made from a different type of green, unripe banana and makes an excellent substitute in terms of flavor and baking properties.
Another easy, healthy alternative is cassava flour, which has a more neutral flavor compared to banana flour.
You can also try fufu flour or almond flour, but the final result may be slightly different.
Banana flour can be used as a substitute for all-purpose flour using a 3:4 ratio, but it may not always produce the same results due to its unique properties, such as its high starch content and lack of gluten. It’s best to use recipes specifically designed for banana flour or combine it with other flours to achieve the desired texture and consistency.
Banana flour can be used as a gluten-free alternative to wheat flour in baking, or as a thickening agent in soups, stews, and sauces. It’s also a great source of resistant starch, which can help support digestive health.
Banana flour is also known as green banana flour or unripe banana flour, or it can be found under the brand name “Musarina”.