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Thai Grilled Bananas With Coconut Caramel Sauce

Grilled bananas on a skewer being drizzled with coconut caramel sauce that's in a black cup.

Thai grilled bananas dessert with coconut caramel sauce is a tropical Thai street food delight you must-try. The secret weapon of this easy dessert recipe lies in the addictive sauce, made from creamy coconut milk, rich butter, and aromatic palm sugar. It's the perfect way to end your dinner on a warm, BBQ summer day.

Skewered grilled bananas on banana leaf, surrounded by fresh Thai bananas and a cup of coconut caramel sauce.

Thai grilled bananas

Bananas everywhere - that's the situation in our household! Between our weekly market trips to stock up on fresh fruits, we also have plenty of banana trees flourishing in our garden. We're fortunate enough to live in the rural part of Thailand, where fresh fruit is in abundance. We also have the pleasure of sharing our love for these yellow delights with our bovine friends, they just can't resist the peels!

Several flourishing banana trees, with a blue sky and blooming rice fields in the distance.

One of our favorite ways to enjoy them is by grilling them over charcoal or on the stove top. The combination of BBQ grilled bananas with the creamy coconut caramel sauce is love at first bite. When you try this restaurant quality dessert, which we name kluay ping in Thailand, you'll want to fire up the grill every week!

Close-up of BBQed bananas on a skewer, drizzled with a sticky, transparent sauce.

Let me share one of my secrets with you. When it comes to making the best version of this recipe, the key is to use Thai bananas. Known as 'kluai namwa', these bananas are naturally sweet, firm, and incredibly fragrant. You should be able to find them at an Asian supermarket year round.

Hand holding an unpeeled Thai banana (kluai namwa) over a wooden cutting board with 2 more peeled bananas next to it.

If you're looking for great food to grill that you can also enjoy as a side-dish or snack, this Thai-style dessert recipe is all you need. Even if you can't get your hands on kluai namwa, you can still use what you can find. Just make sure they're barely ripe, with a firm texture, and not too mature. Grilling over-ripe bananas will make them mushy, and that's not too appetizing.

Coconut caramel sauce

Now, here comes the real secret behind taking grilled bananas from good to absolutely amazing. It's all about this unique dipping sauce. A sweet, creamy, and syrupy coconut caramel sauce. It has just the right amount of sweetness to satisfy both kids and adults, just the right amount of stickiness, and the caramel notes will make you go absolutely 'nanas.

I added some pandan leaves, which add a delightful fragrance. But don't worry if you can't find them, the topping sauce tastes amazing without them as well.

And the best part? There are endless topping and twists to explore! For a chocolate twist, drizzle on some melted chocolate sauce or nutella. For a classic comfort food, serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Top with roasted peanuts, healthy fresh fruits, whipped cream, make this delicious Thai dessert your own.

Grilling tips

  • Choose Thai bananas that are barely ripe. Slightly under-ripe would be even better.
  • Slice them into even, bite-sized pieces for even grilling. Don't slice them too thin, as they might become too soft.
  • Put them onto skewers to make it easier to flip them.
  • Soak your bamboo skewers in water for 20 minutes before using them to prevent them from burning.
  • Grill over low to medium heat. High heat will cause them to burn.
  • Brush a small layer of oil onto the grill to prevent sticking.

Ingredients

Thai bananas, butter, white sugar, palm sugar, salt, skewers, pandan leaves, coconut milk on a wooden background.
  • Bananas - Choose bananas which are still firm, and have started ripening just a little bit. They should be firm enough, so they keep their texture on the grill, but also ripe enough to be a bit sweet.
  • Butter - Butter is the secret ingredient that adds a rich flavor to the creamy sauce. It's not often that we use butter in Thai cuisine, but this time I'm making an exception. With its creamy texture, it's a ticket to dessert heaven.
  • Coconut milk - Fulll-fat coconut milk is key for creating a smooth sauce that coats the grilled bananas. It also adds a tropical flavor, and a natural sweetness.
  • Palm sugar - Palm sugar is a natural sweetener widely used in Southeast Asia. The great thing about it is the extra caramel-ish taste it brings to the table.
  • White sugar
  • Salt
  • Pandan leaves (optional) - The pandan leaves are mostly for adding fragrance to the dessert.

Step-by-step instructions

Time needed: 20 minutes.

  1. Slice each banana into bite-sized pieces and put them onto a skewer.Banana skewers on a wooden cutting board.

  2. Grill the banana skewers over low heat, flip regularly, until the outside is slightly firm, and the inside is soft. This typically takes about 10–15 minutes.Top-down view of banana skewers being grilled in a grilling pan.

  3. Meanwhile, you can prepare the sauce. In a small pot, melt the butter over medium heat.Overhead view of melted butter in a small cooking pot.

  4. Once the butter has melted, add the remaining ingredients (palm sugar, white sugar, pandan leaves, salt, and coconut milk) to the pot.Top-down view of coconut caramel sauce in a pot.

  5. Cook the sauce while stirring regularly until it reaches your desired texture. As the sauce cools down, it will naturally thicken up a bit. I like it best when it's still a bit runny, not too thick. Serve immediately.Top-down view of small cooking pot with coconut caramel sauce.

How to serve

Place the skewers on a serving dish. Drizzle with the coconut caramel sauce, or serve the dip separately in a sauce cup.

Serve the grilled bananas without the sauce as a healthy snack. For an extra touch, you can garnish with peanuts. Additional options are to serve with nutella, chocolate sauce, fruit, or ice cream. Remember, this dish is best enjoyed when served warm.

Grilled bananas on a skewer being drizzled with coconut caramel sauce that's in a black cup.

How to store

Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

To reheat the leftovers, you can heat them in the microwave briefly, or put them back on the grill until warmed through. Reheating may result in a softer and possibly mushier texture, so it's recommend to consume this recipe in one go.

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Ratings 5 from 1 votes
Cooking Method
Cuisine
Courses
Time
Prep Time: 5 min Cook Time: 15 min Total Time: 20 mins
Servings 4
Calories 486
Description

This Thai grilled bananas dessert is easy-to-make in a grilling pan or over charcoal.

Ingredients
  • 12 Thai bananas (kluai namwa, cut in 4 pcs)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup palm sugar (chop to measure)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 pandan leaves (optional)
  • 1.5 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • bamboo skewers
Instructions
  1. Slice each banana into bite-sized pieces and put them onto a skewer.

  2. Grill the banana skewers over low heat, flip regularly, until the outside is slightly firm and the inside is soft. This typically takes about 10–15 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, you can prepare the sauce. In a small pot, melt the butter over medium heat.

  4. Once the butter has melted, add the remaining ingredients (palm sugar, white sugar, pandan leaves, salt, and coconut milk) to the pot.

  5. Cook the sauce while stirring regularly until it reaches your desired texture. As the sauce cools down, it will naturally thicken up a bit. I like it best when it’s still a bit runny, not too thick. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts

Servings 12


Amount Per Serving
Calories 486kcal
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 21g33%
Saturated Fat 16.3g82%
Total Carbohydrate 81.7g28%
Dietary Fiber 5.5g22%
Sugars 39g
Protein 3.2g7%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Note
  • Use the nutrition card in this recipe as a guideline.
  • Grill over low heat to prevent burning.
  • If you're using bamboo skewers, soak them in water for 20 minutes before using them to prevent them from burning.
  • In this recipe I used "kluai namwa" which are the most common type of Thai bananas.
  • Choose bananas which are still firm, and have started ripening just a little bit. They should be firm enough, so they keep their texture on the grill, but also ripe enough to be a bit sweet.
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Keywords: grilled bananas, grilled bananas dessert, Thai grilled bananas dessert

Thank you so much for trying my recipe!