How to Freeze Bananas

Freezing bananas is an excellent way to save these quick-to-go-bad fruits and use them later in smoothies or baked goods like muffins and banana bread. Here's how to do it properly.

chocolate smoothies with bananas on top

How to Freeze Bananas: Three Ways

Bananas are wonderful quick breakfasts and snacks, and they're excellent in baking recipes like banana bread or banana muffins.

They're also wonderful in smoothies, as they add a silky texture and result in thicker smoothies.

But the thing about bananas is that they sometimes go bad before you've had a chance to eat the whole bunch!

The solution to that age-old problem is freezing leftover bananas. It's so simple to do and a great way to salvage these delicious and nutritious fruits for another day instead of making more food waste.

And the next time you're craving banana bread or a smoothie, having a stash in your freezer saves you a trip to the grocery store!

Luckily, the process is super simple, and there's a few ways to do it depending on what you plan to use them for. Let me break it down for you!

ripe bananas in skins on a gray background

What You'll Need

You'll need a cutting board, a knife and a baking sheet to prepare them. You can add parchment paper or wax paper if you want to keep your baking sheet clean, but it's not totally necessary.

Also, you'll need something to store the the bananas in, such as an airtight container or ziptop freezer-safe bag. Make sure it's freezer-safe so they don't get freezer burn.

Oh, and you'll need a bunch of bananas of course! This works with other types of bananas too, such as plantains.

It's best to do this with bananas that have ripened, so if they're still green, you should wait a few days until they are ripe. If they are about to turn (AKA they are overripe bananas with lots of brown spots), they are still okay to pop in the freezer.

Now, let's get into the different methods. Read through them all and decide which is best for what you'll use them for or prepare them a few different ways so you have options.

Freezing Sliced Bananas

One way is to slice the fruit first, then freeze the slices and stash them for future use.

This is my preferred way to freeze bananas for smoothies, because they go into the blender for my favorite chocolate banana smoothie so easily. (The whole ones tend to get stuck in my blender.)

To freeze slices:

  1. Peel the bananas.
  2. Slice each into ½-inch pieces.
  3. Arrange the slices in a single layer on a baking sheet, making sure they don't touch.
  4. Freeze for 1-2 hours, then transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 6 months.

Flash-freezing on the baking sheet keeps the slices from sticking together — they can be hard to break apart when frozen into a big blob!

Tip: Not all bananas are equal in size! Count how many slices you made on each banana (an approximate amount is fine). Write down something like "12 slices = 1 banana" with a Sharpie on the outside of the ziptop bag or on some painter's tape stuck to your airtight container. This will help you to know approximately how many individual slices you'll need for future recipes to equal a whole banana.

halved bananas on a baking sheet

How to Freeze Peeled Whole Bananas

If you don't want to go to the trouble of slicing, you can freeze them whole.

This method is great for baked goods especially, which tend to call for whole bananas. It's much easier to keep track of one or two pieces of banana rather than counting slices.

This method works well for blending into smoothies, too, like my husband's favorite tropical green smoothie.

Cutting them in half horizontally (like I did in the photo above) helps to save on freezer space, but you can leave them whole if you prefer. You can also cut them lengthwise.

To freeze whole peeled bananas:

  1. Peel the bananas and discard the banana peels.
  2. Cut in half horizontally or lengthwise, if desired.
  3. Place the bananas on a baking sheet, making sure they don't touch.
  4. Freeze for 1-2 hours, then transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 6 months.

The flash-freeze on the baking sheet keeps the fruit from sticking together in the bag.

Freezing Unpeeled Bananas

If you're feeling lazy, you can freeze bananas with the peels on. The skins will turn black and brown, but the fruit inside will be preserved. These brown bananas are a little more difficult to use because they have to be thawed, but it can be done.

Also, keeping the peels on does require a little extra space, so you may prefer one of the peeled options depending on your container.

How to freeze unpeeled bananas:

  1. Place unpeeled, whole bananas on a baking sheet.
  2. Freeze for 1-2 hours, then transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 6 months.

Peeling a Frozen Banana

Once frozen, bananas can be difficult to peel, so you'll have to thaw them first, at least until the peel has thawed enough to peel.

Bananas can be fully thawed at room temperature for a couple of hours, in the fridge overnight or in the microwave at half-power, approximately 1 minute per banana, though it varies by microwave.

To thaw it just enough to peel it, leaving it at room temperature for 30 minutes should be enough to remove the peel.

When the peel has thawed, you can peel it like a regular banana. You can also slice it with a sharp knife and unwrap the peel from the banana.

How to Freeze Banana Puree

If you made banana puree or mashed bananas for a recipe or baby food, you can freeze it!

To freeze banana puree:

  1. Spoon the puree into a ziptop bag. Make sure to get out as much air as possible before sealing to prevent freezer burn.
  2. Place in the freezer for up to 6 months.
  3. When ready to eat, thaw the pureed bananas at room temperature for 2-3 hours or overnight in the fridge.

Keep in mind that the color and texture may change slightly, but it will be safe to eat.

black frozen bananas with peels on in a bag

How Long to Freeze Bananas

Bananas can be frozen for up to 6 months. After this time, the banana fruit will begin to brown and will thaw in a mushy fashion.

However, I wouldn't recommend putting thawed bananas into any recipe where fresh bananas would be better, like banana pudding or fruit salad.

Thawing Frozen Bananas

Though bananas can be tossed into smoothies while frozen, you will want to thaw them for baking.

There are two ways to thaw bananas that have been frozen:

  1. Thaw them at room temperature for about 2 hours or in the fridge overnight.
  2. Defrost them in the microwave at 50% power. This will vary by microwave, but 3 minutes should do it for 4-5 bananas.

No matter which banana you use to thaw the bananas, you'll wind up with brown liquid. You can toss this liquid for a chunkier banana mixture, but some recipes may suggest you mash the bananas with the liquid.

two banana smoothies on a wood board

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you freeze bananas?

Yes, you absolutely can! Frozen bananas are wonderful in smoothies and they can be thawed and used in recipes like banana bread.

What is the best way to freeze fresh bananas?

Though you can freeze bananas in their peels, freezing them without peels is a bit easier. You can freeze the peeled bananas whole, halved or sliced into pieces. Place them on a baking sheet and freeze for 1-2 hours, then transfer to an airtight container and freeze for up to 6 months.

Is it better to freeze bananas with or without peel?

Bananas can be frozen peeled and unpeeled, but peeling them makes them easier to use. If frozen in the peel, they will have to be thawed in order to peel them.

Can you freeze bananas in a Ziploc bag?

Yes, frozen bananas can be stored in a ziptop plastic bag. If freezing peeled bananas, they should first be flash-frozen for a couple of hours on a baking sheet, then transferred to the bag to freeze for up to 6 months. Make sure to get all the air out of the bag so the bananas don't get freezer burn.

Can you freeze whole bananas?

Yes, whole bananas can be frozen. They can be frozen with or without the peels.

Can you use frozen bananas for banana bread?

Yes! Frozen bananas should be thawed for 2 hours at room temperature or overnight in the fridge. Once thawed, they can be mashed and used in banana bread batter.

How long does it take a banana to freeze?

Peeled bananas can be flash frozen in 1 to 2 hours, meaning that the edges will be frozen enough so they don't stick together. Bananas will be fully frozen in about 3 hours.

Can you freeze banana puree?

Yes! Pureed banana can be frozen. The color and texture may change slightly, but it will be safe to eat. Place it in a ziptop bag and make sure to get out as much air as possible before sealing to prevent freezer burn, then place in the freezer. When ready to eat, thaw the pureed bananas at room temperature for 2-3 hours or overnight in the fridge.

Healthy banana chocolate chip yogurt muffins on a cooling rack

Uses for frozen bananas

Now that you have tons of bananas squirreled away in your freezer, what can you use them in? Well, that's up to you — there are so many options! Here are a few ideas that might become your new favorite banana recipes:

Baked Goods

Or make some banana nice cream for a tasty dessert!

Smoothies

You can also dip frozen slices in melted chocolate, then re-freeze for about 10 minutes for a super delicious snack! Sprinkle with sea salt for the ultimate treat.

Also check out how to freeze strawberries and how to freeze spinach.

Frozen Bananas

Frozen bananas are great for smoothies, baking and even snacking.
5 from 44 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Thaw Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 6 frozen bananas
Author: Madison | A Joyfully Mad Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 6 bananas
  • ziptop bag

Instructions

  • Peel the bananas. (See note.)
  • Leave the bananas whole, cut in half or slice them.
  • Place bananas on a baking sheet with space in between. Freeze for 1-2 hours. This prevents bananas from sticking together.
  • Transfer to a freezer-safe container. Use within 6 months.
  • Frozen bananas can be blended frozen into smoothies or thawed for baking recipes. Thaw at room temperature for 2-3 hours, overnight in the fridge or in the microwave at 50%. Time varies by microwave, but approximately 3 minutes will thaw 4-5 bananas. Any liquid accrued during thawing can be discarded or used in recipes.

Notes

Bananas can also be frozen with the peel on, but they will have to be thawed to remove the peel. If making frozen bananas for smoothies, you'll want to use peeled bananas.

Nutrition

Serving: 1frozen banana | Calories: 105kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 14g

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