I’m a firm believer in the magic of bananas. At any given time, I have a bunch ripening on my countertop and at least six overripe bananas in my freezer waiting to be thrown into muffins, smoothies, and breads. Bananas are versatile enough to be used in a variety of recipes without overpowering the dish. Thinking of banana hacks was easy for me, as I rarely go a day without eating one.

If you’re tired of eating your bananas plain or just want to find more ways to use this incredible fruit, try some of these banana hacks the next time you’re in the kitchen.

Use instead of eggs

egg yolk, chicken, egg
Jocelyn Hsu

This trick works particularly well with chewy baked goods like brownies. For every egg the recipe calls for, use one mashed banana in its place. Make sure the banana is ripe so the consistency is right.

Make "nice" cream

chocolate, dairy product, sweet, cream, milk
Katie Walsh

Remember those frozen bananas I keep in my freezer? They’re perfect for “nice” cream in the summer. Simply puree ripe, frozen bananas in a blender or food processor until they’re a soft serve-like consistency. For more flavor, add in other frozen fruits. You can also make chocolate nice cream by adding in a drizzle of maple syrup and some cocoa powder.

Ripen them quickly in the oven

Jocelyn Hsu

A trick I use all the time is putting bananas in the oven to ripen them. To do so, poke holes in your bananas with a fork and place them on a baking sheet in a 300ºF oven. Bake the bananas for 15-30 minutes, or until they’re completely brown.

#SpoonTip: Let the bananas come to room temperature before adding them to baked goods, otherwise the texture of your muffins and breads will be off.

Peel from the bottom

sweet, vegetable, pasture, apple, banana
Jocelyn Hsu

We all have that one friend who peels their bananas the “wrong way” (from the bottom and not the top). As it turns out, this is a good way to avoid a mushy first bite of banana.

#SpoonTip: Be careful of the black thing at the end of your banana. No one really knows what it is, so flick it off when you peel from the bottom.

Wrap the top with plastic wrap

juice, sweet, apple, banana
Jocelyn Hsu

The next time you want your bananas to ripen more slowly, wrap the tops with plastic wrap. This helps prevent ethylene gas from escaping from the stems, which is what controls the ripening process of many fruits. Some also say that separating bananas from the bunch in addition to wrapping the stems with plastic wrap will keep them from browning, but it’s yet to be proved whether that actually works.

Store bananas with other fruit to ripen them quickly

vegetable, guacamole, avocado
Rebecca Holstein

I’m not sure what magic takes place in a banana, but putting a ripening banana next to other unripe fruits actually makes them ripen faster. I think this has to do with the ethylene gas emitted from a banana’s stem, which triggers the gas in other fruits as well.

Make 2-ingredient banana pancakes

syrup, peanut butter, pancake, butter, sweet, banana
Kristine Mahan

These banana pancakes won’t be the fluffy flapjacks you’re used to, but they’ll hit the spot nonetheless. Just whisk one mashed ripened banana with one egg until smooth (try and get all the lumps out), then drop spoonfuls of batter onto a greased pan. Garnish with sliced bananas or keep it simple with a drizzle of maple syrup.

In all honesty, I could keep listing my favorite banana hacks, but I’ll reign it in for now. These tricks are doubly amazing because bananas are one of the cheapest foods at the grocery store, meaning everyone can enjoy these hacks. So go forth and enjoy your bananas however you choose, but keep these clever hacks in mind the next time you’re in the kitchen.