Bananas Foster in a Dutch Oven

Bananas foster is easily one of my favorite deserts.  The thick caramelized rum sauce and soft bananas melting some vanilla ice cream gets me going every time.  Cooking it is almost as fun as eating it and the kids love watching me flambe the bananas.  Bananas foster is actually a lot easier to make than people think which makes it perfect for turning into a dutch oven dessert.  It’s probably one of the best camp desserts I’ve ever made!

I really enjoy the looks I get when I start making challenging dishes in a dutch oven.  They’re almost as good as when they take that first bite.  Almost.

If you want to print the dessert recipe out, just scroll to the bottom.  It’s just as good at home on the stove as it is at camp.  If, however, you want to see how to make fantastic dessert at camp then read on.

This is going to seem a lot easier than you thought.  The steps are quite easy and I included a lot of pictures and even some video.

Bananas Foster Dessert in a Dutch Oven

Here are the steps, and then I’ll break each one down.

  1. Prepare Charcoal.
  2. Melt butter in the dutch oven.
  3. Add brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla extract.
  4. Stir until sauce comes to a boil.
  5. Add sliced bananas.
  6. Continue to stir until bananas begin to soften.
  7. Add rum and light!  <– This is really the best part
  8. Enjoy with vanilla ice cream. <– ok, I lied, THIS is the best part!

Now, let’s go make some smiles.

Prepare Charcoal

It takes a lot of heat to caramelize the sugar and have the alcohol boiling off fast enough to light.  I went with about 25 briquettes.  A charcoal chimney works good here but to be honest I use instant light charcoal when cooking with a dutch oven.  The briquettes all light at the same rate and you get really even heat.  Just be sure the charcoal is fully lit and doesn’t smell like lighter fluid anymore.

It should be enough charcoal to make a double layer for your dutch oven to sit on.  This is another reason the even lighting of the instant charcoal is great since all the briquettes should be the same size.

Melt Butter in the Dutch Oven

Set the dutch oven on the coals and add the butter.  You don’t need to worry about preheating here.  The butter will melt as it warms up.  You also don’t have to let the butter melt all the way before moving to the next step.  Margarine is NOT an acceptable substitute.

A whole stick of butter just starting to melt in the bottom of the dutch oven

Add Brown Sugar, Cinnamon and Vanilla Extract

I don’t know about you but I think brown sugar is THE secret ingredient to life.  You can see the butter isn’t fully melted yet and that’s fine.  In fact that’s what you want.  This is going to get hot and would scorch the butter real fast.  Get that stirred up and boiling.

A pile of brown sugar and vanilla extract added to melted butter in a dutch oven

Stir Until Sauce Comes to Boil

As that rich thick sauce starts boiling you should be getting really excited.  You can just tell this is going to be some good stuff.  I took this picture further away for some solid proof that this was done at camp as the fire ring and ashes are clearly in the picture.  There’s a flash too, because it’s night time.  Don’t worry, it’s easy enough to make in lantern light or even with just a flashlight hanging out of your mouth.

Thick butter and sugar mix starting to boil and caramelize in the dutch oven

Add sliced bananas

You should have these sliced in advance.  Dump them in and stir to coat with the sauce.

sliced bananas added to the caramel sauce in the dutch oven

Stir Until Bananas Begin to Soften

You want the bananas softened a bit and the sugars to start to caramelize.  Don’t stir vigorously.  Just give it a stir every 30 seconds to keep it from burning.

bananas foster with thick rum sauce boiling in my dutch oven

Add rum and light

“Whoa, that’s cool!”

Kids naturally love fire so this part is always a hit.  I think spiced rum is best as it imparts some extra flavor.  If you don’t like that feel free to use clear (white) rum.  This step is also optional if you want to avoid alcohol altogether.  The rum will only burn for a few seconds.  Once the flames go out it’s ready to eat.  And don’t worry about kids consuming alcohol here, it completely boils off.


Enjoy with vanilla ice cream

This definitely should be served warm.  It melts the ice cream and turns into a delicious treat.  It’s one of my favorites and is always a hit.  Give it a try, you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to make.  And don’t worry, I won’t spoil the fun and tell your camp-mates that it wasn’t that hard.

Be sure to read below for my tips on keeping ice cream at camp.

Bananas foster mixed with melting ice cream


Bananas Foster

Course Dessert
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Author David Brewer


  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 1/2 tbsp rum
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 bananas
  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream


  1. Light approximately 25 charcoal briquettes.  If preparing at home and indoors this will work perfectly fine on your stove.  Just use a high or med-high setting.

  2. While charcoal is lighting slice bananas and and set aside.

  3. When charcoal is ready prepare a bed of coals two briquettes thick.  Make sure it is level and place dutch oven on coals.

    Disclaimer: Things that are on fire are hot.  Use tongs to move the coals.  

  4. Add butter and let it start to melt.  When butter is about halfway melted add brown sugar, vanilla extract, and cinnamon. Stir until sauce begins to boil

  5. Add sliced bananas to sauce and stir to coat.  Continue to stir occasionally to keep from burning until be bananas begin to get soft and the sauce starts to caramelize. 

  6. Optional: Add rum and quickly light.  This will burn for just a few seconds.

  7. Serve warm over vanilla ice cream.  

Want more dutch oven recipes?  Check these out:


How to keep ice cream while camping:

Yes, I have a camper so I’m keeping this in the freezer but that doesn’t mean you can’t take ice cream tent camping.  There are two easy ways you can accomplish this.

The first is with dry ice.  It will freeze everything in the cooler as hard as a rock but it will keep ice cream a couple days in a good cooler if you don’t open it.  I would suggest a smaller cooler with room only for the dry ice and the ice cream.  Keep it closed.  Every time you open the cooler you will lose ice.  It will freeze the ice cream so hard you can’t open it, so be sure to take the dry ice out a few hours in advance so the ice cream can thaw.  Use gloves to handle dry ice so you don’t damage your skin.  If you have any left over there are tons of cool things you can do with dry ice.

The second is with salt.  Because salt lowers the freezing point of water your ice will stay below freezing and keep the ice cream frozen.  This is exactly how homemade ice cream was made before we came up with electric ice cream makers.  Again it’s best to dedicate a cooler to this.  Use 1 – 2 cups of kosher salt per bag of ice.  Kosher salt is a coarser salt so it works better than iodized table salt and it’s cheaper than sea salt.  Rock salt would work too.  This method will only work for a day or so unless you can keep adding salt and ice.  You will want to drain the water to keep the cooler reasonably dry and that will take salt away with it.  A plastic tub of ice cream is best since the cardboard will fall apart in a wet cooler.

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