Can You Eat Banana Peels?

Let's peel back the layers to answer this question.

Next time you’re whipping up a smoothie or baking a loaf of banana bread, pause before peeling the banana. It may be possible to save yourself a step and sneak more nutrients into your diet. You can eat banana peels!

Are Banana Peels Edible?

Yes, it turns out that banana peels are edible. The peel of a banana is tough and bitter, so it usually ends up in the trash. However, it’s possible to not only eat banana peels but to enjoy them as well. Find out if you can eat green bananas.

You can eat other fruit peels, too—start with kiwi skin or the white stuff on oranges.

Benefits of Eating Banana Peels

So why consider eating a banana peel in the first place? First, it’s good for you—there are all kinds of banana peel health benefits. They’re made up of about 71 to 83% fiber. This extra dose of fiber can help to keep you full and improve your digestive health, too. Fiber has been found to promote gastrointestinal health and prevent constipation. It can also help to stabilize blood sugar levels.

It’s important to remember that adding a large amount of fiber to your diet at once could cause abdominal cramping and discomfort, so go slow.

Bananas are also rich in important nutrients like potassium, polyunsaturated fats and essential amino acids. A 2012 study discovered that compounds in banana peels have anti-inflammatory properties as well.

Last but not least, eating or reusing banana peels cuts back on food waste. The peel makes up about 30 to 40% of every banana. That means that about a third of the fruit is wasted each time you eat a banana!

How to Eat Banana Peels

Now that we know that banana peels are edible, how do you actually eat them? First, start with the right type of peel. Banana peels are typically tough and bitter. As a banana ripens, the peel becomes thinner and sweeter. This makes it easier to cook or bake with. Once you’ve chosen a nice, ripe banana, cut off the thick stem and you’re ready to go.

Is It Safe to Eat Raw Banana Peels?

While it is safe to eat banana peels, it’s important to wash them thoroughly first. According to the Environmental Working Group, bananas are grown in a pesticide-intensive environment. This means that chemical residues may be left on the peel when you buy your bananas from a store.

This usually isn’t a problem when you only eat the flesh of the banana. However, if you’d like to eat the peel, consider buying organic bananas and washing them first. Get to know if you can eat brie rind.

Banana Peel Recipes

Banana peels can be used to make smoothies, bread and even hearty entrees. Start with banana bread if you’d like to stick with an easy option. After cutting off the thick stem, mash up your bananas with the peels on and follow the recipe’s instructions.

To make a banana smoothie, try slicing up a ripe banana with the peel on and then freezing the cut pieces. Toss a few in the blender when it’s time for breakfast and add some ice, fruit, liquid and any other smoothie mix-ins.

Banana peels are a favorite among vegans and vegetarians for their hearty, meat-like texture. Try sauteing a ripe banana peel for 10 minutes to make banana bacon. Peels can also be cooked in sauces and used in place of pulled chicken, pulled pork or Bolognese.

Keep in mind that banana peels are rich in fiber, so less is more when cooking with them.

Other Uses for Banana Peels

Not so sure about the idea of banana peel bacon? No worries. You can still keep your banana peels out of the landfill by using them around the house and yard.

Banana peels contain hydrating compounds. Try blending up the peels and using them as a mask for your skin or hair. They can be placed on circles under the eyes to brighten the skin and reduce puffiness, too.

For banana peel uses outdoors, make a banana peel fertilizer for your vegetable or flower garden. Or mix blended banana peels into your watering can for a burst of mineral-rich water for thirsty plants.

Carrie Madormo, RN
Now a freelance health and food writer, Carrie worked as a nurse for over a decade. When she isn't hunched over her laptop with a baby in hand, you will find her cooking her grandmother’s recipes, lacing up her running shoes or sipping coffee in the bathroom to hide from her three young children.