Learn how to make campfire banana boats: a classic camping dessert and beloved campfire tradition.
What is a Banana Boat?
Like a cross between a s’more and a banana split, a banana boat is a quick and easy dessert to make while camping. Just split a banana in half, stuff it with toppings, wrap it in tin foil, and place it over the fire.
How to Build Your Campfire Banana Boat
The concept behind a banana boat is simple. Take a banana with its peel still on and cut it down the middle (along the concave side). Not all the way through, but until the tip of your knife just grazes the peel on the other side. You can then pull the peel and banana slightly ajar.
You then want to fill your banana with some ingredients. We’ve listed a bunch of specific flavor combinations below, but the basic idea is to include:
Something Melty + Something Sweet + Something Crunchy
Toppings are usually stuffed in a single line down the center of the banana. Feel free to mash your banana to either side to make some extra room.
Or, if you want to make yours a double stuffed banana boat, you can also put toppings between the banana and the peels as well. (Actually, if you stuff the center as well as the left and right edges, it would be a triple stuffed!) Don’t get too carried away otherwise you’ll have a hard time wrapping it in the next step. So stuff your toppings responsibly!
How to Wrap Your Banana Boat
Traditionally, banana boats are wrapped with aluminum foil. However, we’re not super crazy about cooking our food directly in aluminum. While there isn’t complete consensus about the overall health risks aluminum, we prefer to err on the side of safety. So we use a combination of aluminum foil and parchment paper instead.
Depending on the size of your bananas, you will want to cut about a 1 ft x 1 ft section of aluminum foil. We used heavy duty Reynolds Wrap. Then cut out a 1 ft x 1 ft section of parchment paper. We use the If You Care brand which we because it’s FSC certified compostable, unbleached, and 100% chlorine-free.
Place the parchment paper on top of the aluminum foil. You can crimp the aluminum foil over the parchment paper at the corners to help it stay in place. Then wrap your stuffed banana completely, using the parchment paper on the inside and the aluminum foil on the outside.
How to Cook Your Banana Boat
Depending on the state of your campfire, you have a couple different options to warm your banana boat. The goal here is just to warm the banana and melt the toppings, not turn the whole thing into a carbonized meteor. A controlled, even heat is what you’re looking for.
If your campfire is hot and there are still a lot of flames coming off it, you might want to cook your banana boats on top of a grill grate. Most campfires have adjustable grill grates and often time your banana boats will nest perfectly between the grates. Raise your grate so it’s up and out of the flames, place your wrapped banana boats topping side up, and let the heat rising off the fire warm it up for a few minutes.
If your campfire is low and starting to die down, then you might want to cook your banana boat in the embers. With a stick, spread out the embers a little bit and then nestle your banana boat – topping side up – amongst the coals. It will only take a few minutes to completely warm up.
When your banana is done, remove with a pair of tongs. A good way to check it to give it a light squeeze with your tongs. If it’s still really firm, it’s probably not done yet. If it’s a little squishy, then it’s ready to eat.
The aluminum foil should cool down very quickly once it is removed from the heat, but be careful about releasing trapped steam when unwrapping.
The end result should be a warmed banana filled with melty, delicious toppings. Grab a spoon and dig in!
9 Campfire Banana Boat Flavor Combos
Looking for some topping combinations to get you started? We’ve tested out 9 different versions so there is something everyone at your campfire will enjoy!
CLASSIC S’MORES: Banana + Milk Chocolate + Mini Marshmallows + Crumbled Graham Crackers
STRAWBERRY HAZELNUT: Banana + Strawberries + Nutella + Chopped Hazelnuts
SAMOAS: Banana + Chocolate Chips + Caramel Sauce + Toasted Coconut
DULCE DE LECHE: Banana + Chocolate + Dulce de Leche sauce + Coconut shreds
VEGAN: Banana + Dark Chocolate + Dandies Mini Marshmallows
PB & C: Banana + Peanut Butter + Chocolate Chips
HONEY GINGER: Banana + Honey + Candied Ginger + White or Dark Chocolate
BANANA SPLIT: Banana + Milk Chocolate + Marshmallows + Cherries
PECAN PRALINE: Banana + Pralines + Dark Chocolate