Crafting Banana Flavors

Crafting Banana FlavorsCrafting Banana Flavors

Banana is one of the most common and popular flavors. There was a time when buying bananas was a luxury in North America. Only a couple of red and yellow bananas existed in North America until the Gros Michel rhizome was imported from Jamaica. The typical banana candy that we are familiar with today mimics the natural flavor of the Gros Michel, which became extinct in the 1960's. That is why the candies don't taste like the most common variety of bananas that we can buy in stores today, the Cavendish.


Cavendish bananas are a common staple in practically every house as they are an inexpensive, delicious fruit packed with beneficial nutrients. Its taste is the classic sweet banana that most of us are used to eating. It has a good number of esters that increase as it ripens. It also has spicy warm notes that compliment the taste, a combination that is helped by a hint of floral notes. 

Developing Cavendish banana flavors will require more complexity than just using the "banana" esters. In addition to the isoamyl acetate, isoamyl butyrate, ethyl butyrate, and butyl butyrate used to make the candy flavors, you will also need eugenol or clove oil. Additionally, the flavor would need leaf aldehyde, caryophyllene, maltol, and vanillin. Lactones, butyric acid, and a touch of floral notes like linalool or ionone may give a nice finish to the flavor.

While Cavendish is by far the most common, it’s not the only banana; there are at least 25 varieties of bananas with diverse flavors, including citrus, tropical, honey, berry, creamy vanilla, and custard notes. 

Customers may want a different type of banana depending on the region or specific product. Below are some examples of notes that would have to be added to a flavor to get closer to other varieties of bananas. 

Burro Bananas

Burro bananas are similar to the cavendish variety but are shorter and squarer. Their flesh is creamier and has a lemony and guava note when it ripens.

To make a flavor that mimics the burro bananas we will need to add more ingredients to the typical banana base. For example: lemon oil, linalool, raspberry ketone, and ethyl cinnamate could help to get closer to the original fruit flavor.

Manzano Bananas

Manzano bananas are very short and chubby. They have an apple-like flavor when raw, for that reason, they are sometimes called the apple banana. Once they ripen, they have a more tropical, pineapple-like flavor.

Adding allyl caproate, ethyl caproate, leaf acetate, and leaf aldehyde would get the flavor closer to the Manzano banana taste. 

Baby Bananas 

Baby bananas are very sweet and creamy. They have sweet vanilla and caramel notes with some honey-like flavor.

Vanillin, ethyl vanillin, maltol, and strawberry furaneol quantities should be higher for this banana variety flavor.Adding propyl acetate, phenethyl acetate is recommended as well.

Red Bananas

These bananas are very sweet. Their flavor is sweet and creamy with raspberry notes. To make this type of banana flavor we would need to add raspberry ketone and ionone to the banana base. 

Pisang Mas Bananas

They have similar flavor to the baby bananas, with stronger honey notes. Using the same baby banana as a base but adding more honey-floral notes using more ingredients from the phenyl ethyl family is recommended.

Blue Java Bananas

This delicious banana is very creamy with sweet honey and vanilla custard notes. To make this flavor we could increase de vanillin, ethyl vanillin, and add dihydrocoumarin and lactones to get us closer to this delicious banana.  

The above examples are just a selection of ingredients that could be used to develop different banana flavors; just mixing the above-suggested ingredients would not make a great banana. Flavorists go through many years of training to gain the knowledge needed to allow them to create or re-create delicious flavors.

There are many other exotic bananas such as Thousand Fingers Bananas, Isla Bananas, Praying Hands Bananas, Pisang Tanduk Bananas, Pisang Susu Bananas, Brazilian Dwarf Bananas, Pisang Tanduk bananas, Horn Bananas, Guineo Bananas, Hopa Bananas, Pitogo Bananas, Nam Wah Bananas, Plantains, Saba Bananas, Kandrian Bananas, Pisang Barangan Bananas, and Goldfinger Bananas among others. 

At Renaissance Flavors, we can make anything that our customers want to taste, from simple flavors, such as the typical banana candy, to a more sophisticated and exotic flavor. We are ready to accept any challenge to please even the most demanding markets. 

Contact us today to spice up your next product with that little extra kick of flavor!

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