3 Simple Saba Banana Substitute

Saba banana substitute

Saba banana substitute? Raw Saba bananas can be substituted with “regular” Cavendish bananas, plantain bananas, Cardaba bananas, etc. However, saba bananas have a unique flavor when compared to other banana varieties.

Saba banana is a type of banana originating from the Philippines. It is less sweet than most other banana varieties, and it has a slightly tart flavor. Saba bananas are more often cooked in various sweet and savory dishes instead of eaten raw. You can even cook unripe bananas of this variety.

To learn more about this interesting banana and how to substitute it, keep reading this article!

Saba Banana Substitute

Saba banana substitute pin

1. Cavendish banana

This is the most common banana variety found all over the world. It has a sweet flavor and starchy texture, and it is eaten raw, as banana puree, banana fritters, in cakes, fruit salads, and smoothies. This sweet banana is not suitable for cooking, although you can make delicious banana bread out of it.

2. Plantain banana

A great replacement to the Saba banana, plantain is a fruit that’s not actually a banana, although plantains and bananas belong to the same plant group. Plantains look almost the same as bananas, but their flavor profile is quite different. Bananas are sweet and usually eaten raw, while plantains can be eaten raw but are usually fried. When ripe, plantain fruit has a sweet flavor but without that distinct banana taste.

3. Cardaba banana

Another Filipino banana cultivar, Cardaba banana is so similar to the Saba banana that they are often mistaken for each other. It can be eaten raw, but it tastes the best when cooked first.

Saba Banana Alternative

Latundan and Lakatan bananas are also good alternatives to Saba bananas in ice creams, cakes, smoothies, and other desserts. Lakatan banana looks like a smaller version of Cavendish bananas, and Latundan bananas are short and sturdy, just like Saba bananas. Both cultivars are pleasantly sweet.

Saba Banana Recipe No Bake

  1. Heat a non-stick skillet with a few drops of olive oil or a pinch of butter.
  2. Slice Filipino Saba bananas lengthwise into equal halves.
  3. Place banana halves onto the heated skillet and brown them on both sides for half a minute per side. They should get a deep amber color.
  4. Remove the sliced bananas from the skillet and place them on a paper towel-lined plate.
  5. Drizzle with honey, brown sugar, or sweet syrup, and serve.

You can use plantain bananas for this recipe. It is also worth mentioning that both plantain and saba banana peels can be eaten.

Saba Bananas Recipe

  1. Preheat your air fryer to 380 degrees F.
  2. Peel ripe saba bananas and slice them into 1/4 inch thick slices.
  3. Place the sliced bananas into the air fryer basket.
  4. Air fry for 6-8 minutes, flipping halfway through the cooking time with thongs.
  5. Serve with cinnamon, sugar syrup, and peanut butter.
  6. Pro tip: sprinkle the banana slices with a pinch of salt before air frying. This way, they will have an interesting sweet and salty flavor.

How To Make Sweetened Saba Banana

Sweetened Saba banana, also known as Minatamis Na Saging, is a popular Filipino dessert. Follow the recipe to learn how to make it:

  1. Bring 1-1,5 cups of water to a boil in a medium-size pot.
  2. Add 1 cup of brown sugar to the water and stir.
  3. Let simmer for 2 minutes.
  4. Add 2-3 lbs of Saba banana and cook for 15-20 minutes, occasionally stirring.
  5. Add tsp vanilla extract and 1tsp lemon peel.
  6. Stir and cook for another minute.
  7. Remove from the heat and allow the banans to cool before serving.
  8. Serve with ice cream, yogurt, or coconut milk.

Is Saba Banana Same As Plantain?

Saba bananas and plantains are similar in size, but Saba bananas are more angular in shape. Saba bananas are sweeter than plantain. You can eat raw Saba banana and plantain, but plantain is rarely eaten raw. Plantains have thicker skin than Saba bananas.

That’s why plantain is often called cooking banana. Plantain fruit usually comes in the form of two cultivars: French and Horn plantain.

Can I Use Plantain Instead Of Saba?

You can use plantain instead of cooked Saba. However, for raw Saba, you should find another substitute, such as Cardaba banana. Plantains are rarely eaten raw because although they have a sweet flavor, they don’t have that pleasant banana flavor.

What Do You Call Saba Banana In English?

Saba bananas have several names in English. Most often used names are “sweet plantain,” “Cardaba” (although Saba and Cardaba aren’t the same banana cultivars), “compact banana,” and “papaya banana.”

Some other names for Saba bananas used worldwide are Bluggoe, Orinoco, Horse, Lago, and Hog bananas. All of these names describe the same banana cultivar, with a short, thick, and sturdy body, and a rich flavor profile, especially when cooked.

Are Thai Bananas The Same As Saba Bananas?

Thai bananas look similar to Saba bananas, but they are not the same. Thai bananas are the most similar to unripe Sava bananas. There are more than 50 Thai banana cultivars, and although they may vary in size, they can all be eaten raw or cooked, and even their peels can be used as food packaging or wrapping.

Thai bananas have a mild flavor and a soft, creamy texture. They are not as sweet as Saba bananas. Some cultivars have large black seeds.


Now you know how to find a good Saba banana substitute! The best choice is Cardaba banana, but you can also substitute Saba banana with plantain fruit or even Cavendish banana. However, when substituting a Saba banana, be aware that not every substitute will be good for every recipe.

For example, for sweet dishes and desserts, you can easily substitute Saba banana with Cavendish sliced or mashed bananas. If you plan to cook a savory dish, you will need to use plantain or Cardaba bananas because they taste the best when cooked, and even their peels can be cooked.

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