Some people say their favorite fruit is a “banana,” but often don’t realize how many different types of bananas there actually are!
Bananas come from many different regions around the world, and each type has its unique flavor. You may have traveled and seen smaller, rounder, browner, or more yellow bananas, and all of these may be slightly different varieties.
If you’re interested in learning more about different types of bananas, you’ve come to the right place.
Types of Bananas
Read on to understand these bananas’ regions, appearances, and standout qualities.
Red bananas are fruit from Southeast Asia and have distinct reddish-purplish skin and a small, plump body.
I like mashing red bananas and combining them with pineapple or vanilla to add sweetness, as they are not as sweet on their own as other bananas.
Lady Finger Banana
Lady Finger Bananas are from Southeast Asia and Australia.
They are bright yellow, plump, and deliciously sweet.
I appreciate that they have a thin layer of skin, leaving more room for the tasty “meat” of the bananas.
Lady Finger bananas are great for smoothies due to their natural sweetness.
Blue Java Banana
Another Southeast Asian variety of banana is called the Blue Java banana.
As you might expect from Blue Java’s name, it has a bluish tint.
The creamy consistency and vanilla-like flavor make it agreeable for smoothie bowls and other desserts.
It is also a great accompaniment to chocolate, as it helps balance out the sweetness of the treat.
Goldfinger Bananas are from Honduras, specifically developed at the Honduras Foundation for Agricultural Research, and can be identified by their slightly oval shape.
I appreciate their subtle sweetness, making them an excellent snack.
They taste great as-is or in a fruit salad with other sweet fruits like mangoes and papayas.
Pisang Raja bananas
Pisang Raja Bananas have a dark yellow color and are native to Southeast Asia, specifically, the Philippines.
They are slightly longer than other bananas but have plumper bodies that might make them look short in the distance.
Either way, their lack of starchiness when ripe makes them great to eat with no added ingredients.
Cavendish Bananas were imported into and re-developed in England, presumably from a plant variety in Mauritius.
They are named after Duke William George Spencer Cavendish, and you can find these long, delightfully yellow bananas in grocery stores across the U.S.
They are not the sweetest or tastiest but are very versatile.
A Barangan Banana is an Indonesian variety with small black dots throughout the rind.
People who don’t like any dots on their bananas might initially be opposed to their appearance.
However, once open, the fruit looks fresh and white and, more importantly, tastes sweet as ever!
Burro Bananas are from Central and South America.
These bananas are short, stubby, and have a reddish-purple hue on their rinds.
I find that they have a unique flavor profile and are ideal for use in baked goods like banana bread or pancakes.
They’re best when cooked slowly and with a bit of sugar.
Manzano Bananas are native to South America, specifically Ecuador, and have a distinct flavor.
They have a yellow-green color, and the skin is firm and thick.
They have notes similar to that of apples and strawberries, which is why some people refer to them as the “apple banana.”
Given their apple-like taste, they go well in desserts like cakes and tarts.
Gros Michel bananas are native to Southeast Asia but heavily produced in Jamaica.
They have an intense tropical flavor that is to die for, in my opinion.
Unfortunately, they are no longer commercially grown or exported, so you’ll be lucky if you can find one from a small-scale farmer.
If you happen to travel to Jamaica, it’s worth your while to try and find one of these rare treats!
Macho Plantains are native to Africa and Central America, and they have a unique shape with no stem.
The skin is thick and dark, and the texture is firm yet slightly soft.
These plantains are cooked in savory dishes like stews or curries, but they are also great for baking.
I love their rich, subtly sweet flavor that pairs nicely with lots of spices and herbs.
Plantains are a savory, starchier variety of bananas native to Africa and Southeast Asia.
The green, firm skin of the plantain is a telltale sign of its lack of sweetness.
I love to use plantains in savory dishes, but they are also great for making chips.
Roasting or frying them brings out their delicious flavor. They are heavily found in Mexican cuisine.
The Praying Hands banana is a rare variety of bananas with an oblong shape and yellow skin, originating in Indonesia.
It’s often found in specialty stores and farmers’ markets. The flavor is quite floral and musky, with slight notes of vanilla, making it a great addition to smoothies or milkshakes.
Check your local farmers market in the summer or in a specialty grocery store to see if these bananas are in stock.
The Blue Banana is a smaller, almost round banana from South America.
It has greenish-yellow skin and is sweet with an acidic aftertaste.
I like to use Bluggoe Bananas to make delicious smoothies or pair them with desserts like cakes.
They are easy to find in the U.S., especially if you live in Southern California or the Gulf Coast.
Specialty grocery stores are a great place to find the Bluggoe.
Fehi, or Fe’i bananas, originally come from West Guinea but have expanded to the east and west and are now a combination of wild banana species.
These unique bananas have a shorter body, deep orange color with black splotches, and a tangy flavor when you cook them.
They tend to become more firm than a typical banana when cooked.
A Nanjungud banana is a banana from India and Mysore known for its unique aroma and ice cream-like flavor.
It has red freckles when ripe, and I love putting them in smoothies mixed with mango and yogurt.
I also enjoy using them in desserts like ice cream and puddings, as their flavor really shines through.
A Dwarf Jamaican banana is a reddish-brownish banana variety from the Canary Islands.
They turn sunset yellow when ripe and have an interesting raspberry-like flavor that goes well with other berries in a morning parfait, like strawberries and blueberries.
You can also blend this banana into a smoothie.
The Orinoco banana originated from Venezuela’s Orinoco River Basin and was planted in Florida back in 1610.
Therefore, this delightfully yellow, long banana is a highly common variety throughout Florida and the southern U.S.
Rajapuri bananas are from India and are one of my favorite bananas.
I appreciate the combination of flavors within them.
Much like a lot of Indian cuisines, you can find dynamic hints of sweet, tart, fruity, and vegetable tones, making for a dynamic yet overall balanced flavor.
This banana goes swimmingly in spicy curries.
Last but certainly not the smallest are the Rhino Horn bananas, which are hybrid banana cultivars from Africa.
These bananas can grow up to two feet long, which makes them great for grilling – and impressing your guests!
I love their sweet and subtly nutty flavor that pairs well with ice cream, yogurt, or other desserts.
Types of Bananas
- Red Banana
- Lady Finger Banana
- Blue Java Banana
- Goldfinger Banana
- Pisang Raja bananas
- Cavendish Banana
- Barangan Banana
- Burro Banana
- Manzano Banana
- Gros Michel
- Macho Plantain
- Praying Hands
- Dwarf Jamaican
- Rhino Horn
Now that you know about the 20 most popular types of bananas, you can try them all!
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