Bananas Foster

Banana liqueur heightens the flavor of the fruit in this flambéed dessert from legendary New Orleans restaurant Brennan’s.

  • Serves


  • Cook

    15 minutes


By SAVEUR Editors

Updated on February 12, 2024

Ah (or maybe ugh), to be the sole female sibling running a family-owned business some 70 years ago. In 1951, the late Ella Brennan, manager of the still-famous Brennan’s restaurant on New Orleans’ Bourbon Street, found herself saddled with one older fruit-broker brother unloading his banana surplus, and another one demanding she devise a dessert to honor of his crime-commissioner crony, Richard Foster. Ella’s epiphany—bananas sautéed in brown sugar, butter, and combustible liquor, then torched—remains a top reason to eat in the Crescent City. Our Bananas Foster recipe uses banana liqueur in addition to classic rum, heightening the banana flavor in this caramelized dessert.

When choosing a banana liqueur, steer clear of the artificially flavored party mixers. We fuel the flames with Giffard’s Banane du Brésil, made with real bananas and cognac, and finished in oak barrels.

Featured in “New Orleans” by Lolis Eric Elie in the April 2013 special feature.


  • 4 ripe medium bananas, peeled
  • 8 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 cup light-brown sugar, packed
  • 1⁄2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1⁄4 cup banana liqueur
  • 1⁄4 cup dark rum
  • Vanilla ice cream, for serving


Step 1

Quarter the bananas by cutting them in half once lengthwise, then once again crosswise. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, combine the butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon, and cook, whisking frequently, until the butter is melted and the sugar is fully incorporated, 4–6 minutes. Add the banana liqueur and bananas, and cook, stirring gently, until the bananas are softened and slightly caramelized, 4–6 minutes more. Add the rum, then carefully light with a long match or lighter to flambé, shaking gently until the flame dies down. Divide the bananas and their sauce among individual bowls and serve hot, with vanilla ice cream.

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