How to Freeze Bananas

Don't toss your overripe bananas — freeze them.

One bunch of yellow bananas on yellow background
Photo: Mike Dieter/Meredith

Bananas are a kitchen staple, the kind of fruit most of us always want to have on hand. They're the perfect self-contained snack. They're great for slicing over cereal or blending into smoothies. And if you let them get a little too speckled, you can bake those bananas up into sweet treats.

But even if you try to use them as quickly as possible, there are always those last few bananas that become spotted, mushy, and maybe even unappealing.

So, what should you do with overripe bananas or those bananas you simply won't eat before they're too squishy? Don't throw them away — throw them in the freezer instead! Here's how to freeze and thaw bananas so they're ready to use in any recipe.

How to Freeze Bananas

The best way to freeze bananas depends on how you want to use them later. Try these recommendations for freezing based on what's most convenient for your needs and favorite recipes.

Banana Slices

1. How to Freeze Sliced Bananas

If you like to throw bananas in your morning smoothie, or you want to make ice cream, keep the pieces small (unless you have a very powerful blender). Here's how:

  1. Start by peeling the bananas and slicing to the desired size.
  2. Place the slices in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet or plate, and freeze for about two hours.
  3. Transfer the frozen slices to a resealable plastic bag, label, and date it. You can now grab as many frozen banana slices as you need.
Banana pieces

2. How to Freeze Large Banana Pieces

If you're working on a baking project where you mash your bananas before using, but you don't want to bother mashing them before you freeze them, you can leave them in larger pieces.

  1. Start by peeling your bananas, which will make defrosting them a breeze.
  2. Cut the bananas in half or large chunks, and throw them in a resealable plastic bag for later use. Seal and date the bag.
Ripe Bananas

3. How to Freeze Whole Bananas

Feeling less ambitious? Throw the whole, unpeeled banana directly in the freezer. It comes in its own natural storage container, making this the easiest way to freeze bananas. Simply defrost on the counter for an hour before you want to start baking.

The bonus, besides the time savings? Removing the banana from the peel naturally mashes them for your next baking project.

Mashed Bananas

4. How to Freeze Mashed Bananas

Mashing bananas before you freeze them is a quick and easy way to prep overripe bananas, especially if you're going to use them in recipes that call for mashed bananas, such as banana bread or muffins.

  1. Simply peel and mash the bananas, then scoop the mash into resealable plastic freezer-safe bags.
  2. Squeeze out extra air, lay the bags on their sides, and freeze them flat.
  3. Be sure to label the bags with the number of bananas or, better yet, the cup measurement, and the date.

How Long Do Frozen Bananas Last?

If you choose to peel your bananas before freezing them, they will last for about two to three months in the freezer. If you choose to freeze your banana in the peel, they will last for six months in the freezer.

When Is the Best Time to Freeze Bananas?

Bananas won't ripen any further once frozen, so the best bananas to freeze are those that have ripened fully first. In fact, the riper the banana, the sweeter it will be, as the starches turn to sugar. This will naturally kick up your baked goods and can help lessen the amount of other added sugars and sweeteners you use.

How to Prevent Frozen Bananas Turning Brown

If you freeze whole bananas, the peels will turn brown with time in the freezer. This is fine and doesn't affect the flavor of the fruit.

However, if your frozen banana slices, chunks, or mash turns brown, the container or bag is not airtight. Be sure to push all the air from the bags or containers before sealing and freezing them. Do this every time you open the container to remove any banana pieces.

Also, aim to use your bananas in the order you froze them, oldest first. The longer they're frozen the more likely they are to turn brown or pick up odors from the freezer.

How to Thaw Frozen Bananas

Thawing time depends on the size of your banana pieces. For banana slices or chunks, simply remove the amount you need and set them out to thaw at room temperature. If they're mashed and stored in a bag, you can run water over the sealed bag to speed up the defrosting.

If you want to thaw whole frozen bananas still in the peel, put them in a bowl and let them thaw overnight in the refrigerator or on the counter for an hour or two. To peel whole bananas after thawing, use scissors to cut one end then squeeze the softened banana out.

You can also thaw bananas in the microwave. Put the bananas, peel and all, in a microwave-safe dish and microwave for one to two minutes.

What to Make With Frozen Bananas

Once you have an assortment of frozen bananas in your freezer, you're prepped and ready to make any number of recipes. You can blend them into smoothies, make a simple one-ingredient ice cream, or use them in any of the recipes below:

Try these recipes that use banana slices:

Try these recipes that use mashed banana:


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