How to Freeze Bananas

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Learn how to freeze bananas to use in various recipes like smoothies, quick bread, baked goods, breakfast treats, and healthy snacks. This preservation technique will help to reduce waste and save you money.

Learn how to freeze bananas to preserve its natural sweetness and to use it for smoothies or baking.

Don’t throw away overripe bananas! Try my easy methods to preserve them for your next recipe that calls for delicious fruit. My step-by-step guide will show you how to prepare whole, half, sliced, and mashed bananas for freezing.

After a few hours, the bananas will harden. You can use them once frozen, or they store well for several months. They are a versatile ingredient that adds natural sweetness, creaminess, and nutrition to dishes.

Freezing mashed bananas

When you see many brown spots on a banana, and it starts to feel mushy, this is an excellent time to mash them up. Sweet ripe bananas are perfect for making banana bread, but if you’re not ready to make a loaf, freeze them instead. Portioning the mashed bananas into ¼ or ½ cup servings is easiest. Any larger and it will take a long time to defrost.

Typically a 7 to 8-inch banana yields ½ cup of mashed fruit. Add to a small resealable plastic bag and flatten for quick freezing. Alternatively, place it in a silicone ice cube tray to make portioning easy. Label the bag with the amount. Now you can defrost and use it with ease.

  • Freeze Time: 1 to 2 hours
  • Store: 3 months
  • Thaw Time: 1 hour
  • Uses: Banana bread, pancakes, waffles, bread pudding, oatmeal, muffins.

Freezing banana slices

Freezing banana slices makes for a quick option to add to smoothie recipes or acai bowls. Slice the bananas into ¼ to 1/2-inch thick rounds. Place the pieces in a single layer, not touching, on a parchment paper-lined sheet pan. This prevents them from sticking together once frozen.

Freeze for about 2 hours, or until hardened, then transfer to a freezer-safe bag or container to prevent freezer burn if not used right away.

  • Freeze Time: 2 hours
  • Store: 3 months
  • Thaw Time: 10 to 30 minutes
  • Uses: Smoothies, acai bowls, ice cream, chocolate-dipped slices, or French toast.

Freezing peeled banana pieces

Freeze whole peeled bananas, halves, or thirds. The larger pieces are great for making smoothies, banana nice cream, or acai bowls in a blender or food processor. They also make delicious, healthy frozen treats like chocolate-dipped bananas; just add a stick to the bottom. They are also easy to defrost for banana recipes with minimal browning on the surface.

Remove the banana peel, and cut it into halves or thirds. Place them on a parchment paper lined sheet tray, then transfer them to a bag or container. Alternatively, put them directly in a large freezer-safe bag with space in between to prevent sticking-remove as much air as possible. Freeze until hardened before using, about 2 to 3 hours.

  • Freeze Time: 2 to 3 hours
  • Store: 3 months
  • Thawing Time: 1 hour
  • Uses: Chocolate-dipped bananas, ice cream, smoothies, acai bowls.

Freezing a whole banana

A single frozen banana with frost on the peel.

Did you know that you can freeze a whole banana with the peel on? Yes! Just add the entire piece of fruit straight to the freezer. After about 2 to 3 hours, it will be completely frozen. The process will turn the peel slightly more brown, but the flesh will be off-white as long as it’s not bruised or overly ripe.

Once ready to use, defrost it at room temperature for about 1 hour. To speed the thawing process up, place it in a bowl of cold water, changing it out every 10 minutes until defrosted.

  • Freeze Time: 2 to 3 hours
  • Store: 3 months
  • Thawing Time: 1 hour
  • Uses: Banana bread, pancakes, waffles, bread pudding, oatmeal, muffins.

Tools for freezing bananas

There are different ways to store frozen bananas to prolong their shelf life and reduce freezer burn. Here are some storage items you can use:

  • Sheet Pan and Paper: Freezing the bananas on a pan lined with parchment or wax paper prevents the pieces from sticking together. The starches in the banana and sugars are sticky. Don’t leave them on the pan longer than 24 hours, or they will become freezer burnt.
  • Freezer Bags: Use resealable plastic freezer bags purchased at the grocery store. Add the already frozen slices or pieces. Once hardened, they can be stacked on top of each other. The fruit can be added directly to the bag but must be in a single layer with space between to prevent sticking.
  • Silicone Bags: Reusable silicone bags help to reduce waste and provide a thicker barrier. Add only frozen pieces to the bag or mashed bananas.
  • Silicone Trays: They look like ice cube trays but come in larger-sized cavities. These are great for portioning mashed bananas.
  • Containers: Plastic or glass storage containers work great for stacking and preventing bananas from getting smashed. Glass prevents off flavors from picking up smells from other foods.

How to thaw frozen bananas

  • Refrigerator: Place the frozen bananas in the fridge to defrost for about 1 to 2 hours or overnight.
  • Room Temperature: Defrost sliced pieces or whole frozen bananas at room temperature. About 15 to 30 minutes for slices and 1 hour for larger pieces or mashed. Do not leave at room temperature for longer than 2 hours.
  • Cold Water: Add the frozen bananas still in the storage bag and submerge them in a bowl of cold water. Change out the water every 10 minutes. About 10 minutes for slices, about about 30 minutes for larger pieces or mashed.
  • Microwave: Defrost the bananas on a plate at 50% power in 30 to 60-second intervals until thawed. If your microwave has a special defrost setting, use it per the manufactures directions.

Frequently asked questions

How to freeze bananas for smoothies?

Slice the bananas into 1/2-inch thick rounds. Freeze in a single layer on a parchment paper lined sheet pan for 2 hours. Transfer to a container if not used right away.

How long does it take a banana to freeze?

About 2 hours for slices, 2 to 3 hours for halves or whole bananas.

What is the best container to freeze bananas in?

To reduce freezer burn, containers that are less porous and thick are best for storing frozen bananas. Silicone bags, thick plastic containers, or glass containers work best for long-term storage. Use freezer plastic bags if used within 1 month.

Ways to use frozen bananas

Frozen bananas are a versatile ingredient to use in baking, breakfast, drinks, and snacks. Here are some tasty ways to use them!

How to keep frozen bananas from turning brown

Bananas brown quickly once peeled or cut and exposed to oxygen due to oxidation. The color change can happen within minutes. When freezing bananas, quickly transfer the pieces to a parchment paper lined sheet pan, then to the freezer. Cover them with another piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap to reduce air exposure. Once the fruit starts to harden within the first 60 minutes, browning is halted because the enzymes that cause the browning are inactive in the cold environment.

How to Freeze Bananas

If you're worried about wasting bananas before they go bad, you might want to learn how to freeze them so you can have them on hand for smoothies or baking projects.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time2 hours 5 minutes
Cook Time0 minutes
Total Time2 hours 5 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Course Condiment
Cuisine American

Ingredients  

  • 2 ripe bananas

Instructions 

  • Freezing Mashed Bananas – In a large bowl, use a fork to mash the peeled bananas. Measure out ¼ to ½ cup portions and place them in a small resealable bag, container, or silicone mold. Freeze until solid, about 2 hours.
  • Freezing Banana Slices or Pieces – Remove the peel. Leave the bananas whole, or cut them into halves, thirds, or ¼ to ½ inch-thick slices.
    Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or wax paper. Place the bananas in a single layer so that they are not touching. Freeze until the fruit is hardened, about 2 to 4 hours, depending on the size.
  • Freezing Whole Unpeeled Bananas – Place the entire banana in the freezer. Freeze until solid, about 2 to 3 hours. Defrost at room temperature for about 1 hour, then peel before using.
  • Storing – If not using the same day, transfer sliced, pieces, or whole bananas to a resealable plastic bag, silicone bag, plastic, or glass container.

Recipe Video

Notes

  • Banana Yield: About ½ cup slices or mashed banana for every 7 to 8-inch banana. 
  • Storing: Freeze for up to 3 months
  • Thaw in the Refrigerator: Thaw for about 1 to 2 hours or overnight.
  • Thaw at Room Temperature: Thaw the slices for 15 to 30 minutes or 1 to 2 hours for larger pieces.
  • Thaw in Cold Water: Thaw bananas in a plastic bag in a bowl of cold water, changing out the water every 10 minutes. 
  • Thaw using the Microwave: Use the microwave on 50% power in 30 to 60-second increments until thawed.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 4 servings
Calories 53kcal (3%)Carbohydrates 13g (4%)Protein 1g (2%)Fat 0.2gSaturated Fat 0.1g (1%)Polyunsaturated Fat 0.04gMonounsaturated Fat 0.02gSodium 1mgPotassium 211mg (6%)Fiber 2g (8%)Sugar 7g (8%)Vitamin A 38IU (1%)Vitamin C 5mg (6%)Calcium 3mgIron 0.2mg (1%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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  1. James says

    Jessica, what are your thoughts on refrigerating ripe bananas? Some say it is OK. Others say it is not OK. I see you mentioned thawing bananas in the refrigerator, so this must be OK.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Great question! It’s okay to refrigerate bananas for a few days to slow down ripening. However the skin will become brown, and the bananas will be get softer if not eaten within a few days. Freezing is the only way to preserve the color.