With Mardi Gras just days away, I thought I’d practice my flambé skills and whip up a Bananas Foster Recipe, a classic New Orleans dessert. 

Bananas Flambé is an impressive dessert with minimal ingredients and maximum deliciousness!

Bananas Foster with a scoop of ice cream on a round white plate.

Why You Must Make

  • This traditional New Orleans dessert is perfect for Mardi Gras AKA Fat Tuesday.
  • Bananas Foster is an easy, decadent dessert.
  • Fat Tuesday is one last day to gorge and a dessert your flambé will be especially memorable!

Fat Tuesday AKA Mardi Gras is upon us. Going into this Lenten season, I’m toying with giving up my guilty pleasure, cookie dough, or maybe sweets altogether. There is one last day to gorge, so it’s the perfect time to make a traditional New Orleans dessert.

This easy, yet decadent bananas Foster was created in 1951 by Paul Blangé at Brennan’s Restaurant. Their recipe uses banana liqueur along with the rum, but I elected to use vanilla extract instead (my palate is forever scarred after taking liquid banana Dramamine before our family vacations. I’m sooooo wary of banana-flavored anything).  This dessert was named after one of their patrons and friend of the owner, Richard Foster.

Ingredient Notes

  • Kitchen Staples – Butter, Cinnamon
  • Dark Brown Sugar – Has extra molasses added for a deeper caramel flavor.
  • Bananas – Peel and slice on the diagonal right before cooking so they don’t oxidate (brown). Don’t use over-ripe or underripe bananas. They should be yellow without green on the peels or they won’t have enough banana flavor.
  • Pecan Halves – Gently heat in a dry skillet to bring out their essential oils before using for the most flavor.
  • Real Vanilla Extract – Don’t use artificially flavored.
  • Dark Rum – Most of the alcohol will burn off as it’s heated.
  • Vanilla Ice Cream – To serve. Use your favorite brand.
Bananas Foster on a square white plate with a scoop of ice cream.

Expert Tips

This is one simple, delectable dessert, but it takes some patience. Bananas are sliced and sauteed in a mixture of butter, cinnamon, and dark brown sugar along with some pecans. After the alcohol is added, it is ignited for a show-stopping presentation.

  • Be patient while melting the brown sugar. If it still looks granular after a few minutes, lower the heat and give it more time.
  • For the grand finale, rum and vanilla are added to the pan. Add a banana liqueur, too, for a more traditional recipe.
  • With a flick of a lighter, the dessert is flambéed for a dramatic effect right before serving.
  • Use an 80-proof rum for the best flambé. Note that much of the alcohol, but not all, will burn off during this process.
  • Be very careful, though, as the flames shoot high and nobody needs a kitchen fire! Or singed eyelashes. If you have long hair, tie it back and be prepared to step back quickly after igniting the rum.
  • Spooned over vanilla ice cream, these boozy and caramelized bananas will impress your guests. Whipped cream is another delicious alternative.
  • If you happen to purchase some extra bananas, these Banana Muffins are outstanding!

I’m rethinking my view on banana desserts as this flambéed Bananas Foster was marvelous. If you’re a fan of banana desserts, try this Sour Cream Banana Cake, too!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Bananas Foster?

Bananas Foster is an impressive dessert that was created in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1951 at Brennan’s Restaurant. The name Foster came from a regular patron of the restaurant at that time. It’s meant to be prepared and served tableside.

What is the Difference Between Bananas Foster and Bananas Flambé?

Bananas Foster is a Bananas Flambé once it’s lit. The term flambé is the culinary term for a dish where alcohol is added and ignited.

Does the Alcohol Burn Off in Bananas Foster?

Much of the alcohol will burn off when the bananas foster is ignited, but there is a high likelihood that there is still some alcohol in the dessert when the flames die down. Be cautious with serving this to children.

What Can You Use Instead if You Don’t Have or Don’t Like Rum?

Though rum is classic in bananas foster other options include bourbon, brandy, or cognac.

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Bananas Foster

Bananas Foster

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Yield 4 servings

The classic New Orleans dessert. Adapted from Allrecipes.


  • ¼ cup butter
  • ⅔ cup dark brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 bananas, peeled, then cut on the diagonal
  • ¼ cup pecan halves
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 ½ tablespoons dark rum
  • Vanilla ice cream, to serve


  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add sugar and cinnamon and mix to combine.
  2. When the mixture starts bubbling, continue cooking until the sugar dissolves.
  3. Add the bananas and pecans.
  4. Spoon the sugar syrup over bananas and cook till bananas are hot, only a couple of minutes.
  5. Add vanilla and rum, and using a lighter, ignite alcohol if desired (be VERY careful as flames will shoot high!).
  6. Serve over ice cream.


You can also add Banana Liqueur before you ignite for a more traditional version.

Have a lid available to cover the flames if they get out of control.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 437Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 45mgSodium: 127mgCarbohydrates: 59gFiber: 3gSugar: 48gProtein: 3g


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