Sometimes my eyes are bigger than my stomach and I wind up with too many ripe bananas all at once.
But when you just can’t make one more banana smoothie or loaf of banana bread, make banana jam.
It’s fast, easy, vegan, gluten-free, and comes together in about 20 minutes.
It isn’t traditional jam and there’re no water bath or canning involved, so in case ‘jam-making’ instantly sets you into panic mode, don’t worry.
Just mash the bananas, add brown sugar, butter (or vegan butter), lemon juice, and let the mixture boil for 15 to 20 minutes, or until it’s thickened to your satisfaction.
While it boils, make sure to keep an eye on it, stirring intermittently because you don’t want your caramelized bananas to turn into burnt bananas. That would smell hideous.
After the jam has thickened, add cinnamon, vanilla bean paste, and vanilla extract. I have a heavy hand with both cinnamon and vanilla, but if you don’t love them as much as I do, add them slowly, and adjust to taste.
If you don’t have vanilla bean paste, use extra vanilla extract. You won’t see the tiny little black vanilla bean seeds in your jam, and it won’t have quite the same level of vanilla intensity, but it’ll still be scrumptious.
I don’t find the jam overly banana-ey. I know that’s paradoxical because bananas are the star of the show, but the lemon juice really brightens the jam, while balancing and tempering the banana flavor.
Yet here’s no overt lemon taste. It’s a non-specific background flavor, but adds such a refreshing quality. Since lemon juice is an acid, it also acts as a natural pectin, so your jam sets up without having to use boxed pectin.
The cinnamon is present, but subtle enough to let the vanilla flavor shine. I can never have too much vanilla.
The jam reminds me of the banana equivalent of apple butter.
My jam wasn’t overly sweet, but my bananas weren’t super ripe. The riper your bananas, the sweeter the jam.
Spread the jam on bread, toast, rolls, crackers, dip apples or pears in in it, or make peanut butter and banana jam sandwiches. It would make a great crepe or stuffed-French toast filling.
Use it as the filling in One-Hour Cinnamon Rolls. Incorporating a hearty dollop of it into banana bread or banana muffins would boost the overall banana flavor and moistness of the recipe.
Or just eat it by the spoonful which is what I did.
Now you know what to do with those ripe bananas.
Pin This Recipe
Vanilla Bean and Brown Sugar Caramelized Banana Jam
When you have too many ripe bananas and just can’t make one more banana smoothie or loaf of banana bread, make banana jam. It’s fast, easy, and it isn’t traditional jam, and there’re no water bath or canning involved. Keep an eye on mixture while it’s boiling, stirring frequently, so it doesn’t burn. Paradoxically, the jam isn’t overly banana-ey, because the lemon juice really brightens and balances the flavors. The cinnamon flavor is present, yet subtle enough to let the vanilla flavor really shine. If you don’t have vanilla bean paste or vanilla beans, substitute with vanilla extract.
- 2 medium/large or 3 small ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups, mashed)
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter or vegan buttery spread (half of 1 stick)
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice (juice of half of 1 juicy lemon)
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, or to taste
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or the scrapings of 1 or 2 vanilla beans (or substitute with extra vanilla extract, to taste)
- In a medium saucepan (err on the side of larger than smaller because mixture bubbles up), combine bananas, sugar, butter, lemon juice, and heat uncovered over medium to medium-high heat, allowing mixture to come to a rolling boil.
- Allow mixture to boil uncovered for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until thickened to desired level. Jam continues to thicken as it cools. Over the 15 to 20 minutes, stir frequently and make temperature adjustments to stove so mixture doesn’t burn.
- Turn heat to low, and add the cinnamon, vanilla extract, vanilla bean paste, and stir to combine. You may wish to add less than the full amount listed all at once, and first taste your jam and see what it needs. Then, to taste, tinker with the ratio of cinnamon and vanilla. I used the amounts listed.
- Transfer jam to 8-ounce glass jar or heat-safe container with a lid. Storage is up to you. I store mine airtight at room temp, for up to 5 days. It will likely keep longer, especially in the refrigerator, but I haven’t tested it. I have no idea about canning jam in a water bath if it will work or how long to process.
- Use the jam on bread, toast, rolls, crackers, dip apples or pears in in it, or make peanut butter and banana jam sandwiches. It would make a great crepe or stuffed-French toast filling or use as the filling in One-Hour Cinnamon Rolls. Incorporating a hearty dollop of it into banana bread or banana muffins would boost the overall banana flavor and moistness of the recipe. Or just eat by the spoonful.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 148Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 17mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 1gSugar: 16gProtein: 1g
40+ Banana Bread and Banana Recipes – A master compilation that I keep adding to as I make more
Fluffy Vegan Coconut Oil Banana Muffins and Mini Muffins
Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Mini Blender Muffins – Gluten-free, grain-free, soy-free, dairy-free, oil-free, refined sugar-free, and under 100 calories each
Pineapple Coconut Oil Banana Bread
Vegan Mini-Chocolate Chip Mini-Muffins
Browned Butter Buttermilk Banana Bread with Strawberry Butter – The flavors of browned butter and buttermilk add richness to this loaf that’s both flavorful, soft, and moist
Banana Bread Brownies with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting – Fudgy brownies meets soft, moist banana bread. Easy, no-mixe recipe
Vegan Chunky Apple Cinnamon Muffins
Pineapple Banana & Coconut Cream Smoothie (vegan, GF) – astes like a virgin pina colada. Sweet, creamy, refreshing & healthy! No need to add sugar since the fruit is sweet enough
Homemade Vanilla Extract – A mindlessly easy method for making your own vanilla
I just made this and it is so delicious that I ate quite a bit of it while still hot! I used a vanilla bean and a good quality natural vanilla essence. I’d highly recommend this! I wonder if you can freeze this. I’m going to experiment with a small portion of it, so I’ll put some in the freezer and thaw it out next week and see what happens.If this can be frozen it would be ideal!Thank you for sharing!
Thanks for the 5 star review and glad that you love it! Keep me posted what happens when you freeze/thaw it.
How long does this last canned?
I don’t know because I’ve never canned it.
This would not be safe to can. Bananas are low acid and dense leaving it at risk of botulism spores being able to reproduce (very rare but not worth the risk). Too dense and too high sugar to safely pressure can (would destroy the taste)
Thank you for this wonderful idea ! Was really looking for another interesting way to use bananas and your jam is it !!! I run a bed and breakfast and I could surely use this recipe for variety. So excited to try this pronto !
P.s. like all the others, I also noticed how pretty that blue board is ! :-)
Thanks for noticing and hope you enjoy this jam and another way to use up your bananas!
Genius idea! I think you must have peered in to the big fruit bowl in my kitchen bursting w/ overripe bananas when you came up w/ this one :-) Making today!!!
Thanks for the tweet, too! Lmk what you think of it if you make it!
Bananas are one of those things I either don’t have enough ripe ones or I have too many. Never get it right! Now I can make thus with extras :). Just discovered vanilla bean paste. It’s awesome – all the flavor and specs without the work of scraping the bean.
Agreed totally on the VB paste!
This is one amazing jam!
Oh wow!! This recipe is incredible, what an awesome flavor :) can’t wait to try it!
This is GREAT! We have a lot of banana lovers in our house and carmelized bananas are going to rock!
What a genius idea for a jam! I’ve gotten in the habit of having bagels in the morning and this would be so perfect on a toasted bagel.
Girl it was SO GOOD! The photos do not at all do it justice. I plan to put this on regular rotation!
Wow, this sounds divine. You’re so creative! I’ve never heard of banana jam before, but I’m positive I’d love it- and I’m with you on the heavy-handedness re: cinnamon and vanilla. YUM :)
Averie, this is the coolest, most unique way I’ve ever seen of using up ripe bananas. I ALWAYS have too many bananas that become too ripe for me to want to eat. I’ve got about 20 bananas in my freezer as we speak. I can’t wait to make this jam. There are so many possibilities on what to use it for! And lady, only you could make brown banana jam look this beautiful in photos. I laugh to think about what my pics would look like.
You could even take some out of the freezer and boil them down. It won’t matter. I mean, I haven’t tried but I am confident it won’t.
I hated these pictures. So thank you for saying “only you could make brown banana jam look this beautiful”. Truly so, so, so hard to make pretty. The only thing harder would be say, pureed brown lentil soup :) There are just some foods that taste so good but the camera is NOT kind to, at all :)
I am pretty sure I would eat this by the spoonful. With graham crackers and chocolate ;)
I dipped half the spoon in this, half in PB. Repeat :)
This would be so good spread on fresh bread!
WOAH! This looks amazing!!! I will probably have to make a double batch so I can eat one jar with a spoon!! Pinned!
Thanks for pinning and yes, a double batch is in order! I inhaled one jar so fast with a spoon :)
Wow, this is great! I didn’t know banana jam was a thing and I love it. The vanilla bean seeds look awesome, too.
I’m glad you can see and noticed the little seeds!
Looks great. I can’t wait to try it. If you don’t eat it all right away, do you know how long you can keep it for and how to store it?
I had the exact same question. I’d like to make this and then can it, freeze it, or whatever. Does it need to be refrigerated? My guess is it won’t last long and will get eaten before it expires. Yum.
Reread the post/recipe. It’s discussed.
Reread the recipe section. I discussed storage.
I would never have thought of this-genius!
Sunday, I was browsing TJ Maxx and saw chocolate banana jam! No joke! And then you made this :) It’s like you’re all telling me something…and my over-ripe bananas are saying the same thing!
What are the ODDS?! And I swear that TJ Maxx and Marshall’s have the best, most random food finds!
Yes!! I can get stuck in there for hours!
It was a Stonewall Kitchen find too, so I bet it was yummy! May have to go back and grab it ;)
You should (If it’s cheap!) and then you can make your own and compare! Add chocolate to the DIY batch of course for an equal comparison :)
Yum! I think I could eat this with a spoon…forget the bread :)
Thanks for a great recipe, pinning!
thanks for pinning!
Oh yum – this is a must-try! I’ve had banana jam here at a resort here in Thailand, but have never seen a recipe. Leave it to you, Averie – looks amazing!
Oh I bet the banana jam you had over there is/was AMAZING! So easy to DIY though I’ve now found!
This is such a unique idea! And would be great as a gift =)
I have 4 ripe bananas waiting to be cooked into this jam, which is great because I am personally and paradoxically NOT a raw bananas kind of gal (banana bread? absolutely. caramelized bananas? for sure! frozen chocolate-dipped bananas? yes! but raw bananas–whole different story…). I was just dreaming of caramelized roasted bananas this morning; I love tossing them in the oven with just a drizzle of honey and brown sugar. Such a healthy snack! However, I’ll opt in favor of this jam this time. (Plus, I have a batch of Reese’s PB cookie dough based on your recipe in my fridge waiting to be baked first thing tmw…) Thanks and cheers as always, Averie!
Sounds like this was meant to be. And with PB-based treats on the side, even better :)
This is such an amazing combo!! Love the bananas, that is genius! I could eat this with a spoon or better yet with a square or two of dark chocolate for dipping!!
And is that a new board? I am loving it! The rustic blue is so unique!
Thanks for noticing the board. I had to stalk it. It’s almost 250 years old, from the early 1800s. It was a dough board and is in spectacular condition, all original paint and hardware. I had to pay a small fortune for it, but I love it, and so far have been getting some decent use out of it!
Haha, I have the same issue with bananas. I buy a few to have for breakfast or asnack on while at work and they all don’t get eaten. I end up with some pretty nasty looking bananas. I think I’m going to have to buy some so I can end up with nasty bananas so I can make this jam. Wowza! It looks amazing, Averie!
And by no means do they have to reach the nasty status. Just normal yellow bananas are totally fine. That’s what I used for this batch :)
Well then that’s just awesome! Not that I mind nasty bananas. They look nasty but they’re great for banana bread or muffins! Excited to try this. I have everything but the bananas. :)
OMG this looks amazing! Can’t wait to make it! Any idea what the nutritional info would be?
No, but it’s bananas, a little butter, and sugar. You can do some rough math or use an online service to plug in the data yourself.
This is so awesome. And so pretty!! We are eating bananas too much lately, I want banana bread but they’re either green or gone!
And thanks for pinning!
Yes please! That sounds delicious, I bet that would make a delicious Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich :)
I agree, this is an excellent idea, getting people out of their comfort zones when it comes to making same old same old jams.
Cool idea, Averie! I actually saw a recipe for banana jam in an old canning cookbook and I was surprised that no one seems to know about it, it’s such a unique way for using up those ripe bananas and yours looks delicious!
Thanks, Katy, and that’s interesting about that old cookbook. Those things sometimes have great gems!
Hi Averie! Banana jam…what a novel and delicious idea! Thank you for sharing it. I always have extra bananas lying around the house!
Averie!! What a combo! I think I need some stat!! Lovely!
This reminds me of an apple butter! I’ve found myself with too many ripe bananas more times than I care to admit. Next time I will be trying this for sure! Looks wonderful!!
You know that is a great!! comparison – apple butter. Yes, this is the banana equivalent of apple butter!
Jam without the traditional jam work, and one that’s made of bananas no less? This is so unique, I love it! I may just have to hide a few out of sight in the kitchen so they’re left to become overripe!
This sounds like such an amazing flavor. Pass the spoon! :)
Thanks, Amanda :)
Caramelized banana jam? Your creativity has my jaw dropping every single day. The vanilla bean and banana are delicious together … especially by the spoonful!
Thanks for the creativity compliments!
Say what – banana jam?! Wow… would never of thought of to use over-riped bananas for banana jam. Genius idea!
This sounds way too good, Averie! :)
Banana JAM?! Awesome. I don’t even like bananas, but I can see how this wouldn’t be too banana-y. And I love what lemon does in recipes like this – on it’s own, I don’t like lemon juice at all, yet I add it to all my jams and chutneys and you can never taste IT, but if you leave it out, the final product just tastes off. It’s magic, I tell you.
This is so intriguing!
It was super intriguing to me too b/c it’s not too banana-ey nor is it too lemony, and on both accounts, I thought of you. It was excellent. Loved it. Will be making more, that is for sure!
This looks freaking amazing. I can’t wait to make this!!
What a neat idea, Averie! I’ve never thought of banana jam and I most definitely have thrown a few very ripe bananas away more than once because I just couldn’t stand making any more banana bread with them. It’s amazing how fast those things go brown! I will definitely be trying this recipe out – thank you for sharing! xo
Yes it’s the perfect recipe for those times you cannot deal with another loaf of bread (or smoothie) – and it’s a fast recipe, too!
Totally creative use of brown bananas, Averie. Genius!
This looks divine! I also am loving that so many of your recipes are gluten free and vegan! Kudos to you for making tasty, gorgeous food that also caters to food allergies and preferences! You rock!
When it’s easy to keep things naturally GF or vegan, or make 1 small tweak to preserve the status, I do!
delicious… I want this right now and spread this on your recipe for vegan bread sticks!
Spread some Pb for just that extra yum factor.
And I did just that. A little jam with PB, mmmm, so good :)
The flavors sound so good in this… want!!!
What a fabulous combination! We typically freeze the bananas around our house to add to smoothies later. But, I think this might use up the last bit of bananas we have that need to be eaten! Thanks!
And if you get sick of smoothies (sometimes I am just burnt out), this is an easy way to go!
What a creative idea! I’ve never seen banana jam before, but this looks delicious! I think it would be great warm over some vanilla ice cream. Pinned!
Thanks for the pin!
I LOVE the idea of caramelized bananas jam!! Can’t wait to make this!! Pinned!!!
Thanks for the pin, Ceara!
oooh. This looks like the kind of thing that you’d need a spoon for and nothing else. English muffin who?
I can’t even name the ways I love this recipe! The banana, vanilla, and brown sugar will make a great combo. I’ve tried many different types of jams but have never seen this before You did it again- Averie!
Thanks, Layla :) All those things are my faves, too!
Banana JAM?!?!?! OMG this would take a PBJ to a whole new level… I love this.
This is so interesting. I can totally see incorporating this into a dessert somehow. I love caramelized banana flavor. So good!
My husband would go crazy for this banana jam! Thanks for a great recipe!
Neat!! I’ve never tried any sort of banana jam, but it sounds awesome!
Oh my goshhh–this looks so good. Who knew banana jam could be so fabulous? Only YOU! :)
I’ve never seen or had anything like this before but it looks and sounds delicious! You have so many great bread recipes to put it on too–though I’d probably be eating it by the spoonful as well. Jon might like it swirled in his oatmeal and I’d swirl it into plain Greek yogurt (no need to buy the flavored kind when you have homemade jam)!
Thanks Paula & yes there are soooo many ways to use it. Add some to banana bread or cake batter, brownie batter even, to oatmeal, greek yog, by the spoonful, on toast, crackers, as a dip. It was so versatile and I’ve made it twice now and both times ended up just…eating it with a spoon for the most part :)
What a creative way to use leftover bananas! I have so many as my hubby always asks me to buy them for his snacks…and then forgets to eat ’em! I want to put this banana jam on eryyythang…face included!
P.s I am having board envy over that gorgeous, blue scratched one you are using!
Thanks for noticing the board. I had to stalk this one. It’s almost 250 years old, from the early 1800s. It was a dough board and is in spectacular condition, all original paint and hardware. I had to pay a small fortune for it, but I love it, and thanks for noticing :) And yes, the jam is the perfect solution to those forgotten snacks turning black!
This looks delicious! It would be perfect on toast in the morning or as snack in the afternoon. For totally banana craziness…. you could have it on banana bread :)