How to Freeze Bananas for Smoothies, Baking, & More

Learn how to freeze bananas for later use. You can freeze them sliced or whole, depending on how you’d like to use them. Enjoy frozen bananas in smoothies or thaw them for banana bread and other baked goods.

Kirsten Nunez, MS

By Kirsten Nunez, MS

2 Ratings

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Frozen bananas on a gray background
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

There’s a lot to love about bananas. They’re budget-friendly, delicious, and packed with essential nutrients. Bananas are also perfect for traveling, as they come with their very own protective “packaging.” Moreover, the yellow fruit can be used as an egg replacer, so it’s a must-have in vegan recipes.

Since bananas are easy on the wallet, you may be tempted to stock up at the supermarket. This doesn’t mean you need to use them all at once, though. You can freeze bananas and use them in your favorite recipes later on.

This is ideal for reducing food waste and saving ripe bananas. And yes, this includes brown bananas! When a banana becomes overripe, its peel turns brown, but its inside is totally edible. In fact, the banana is at its sweetest during this stage, which is why it’s recommended to use overripe bananas for banana bread.

Whether you’re stuck with a bunch of bananas or want to ensure you always have bananas on hand, this guide for freezing bananas will come in handy. 

When Should You Freeze Bananas?

In general, it’s recommended to freeze bananas once they are ripe or overripe. (Ripe bananas range from bright yellow with green tips to yellow with brown spots; overripe bananas are mostly or completely brown.) That’s because bananas don’t continue ripening in the freezer. By freezing ripe or overripe bananas, you’ll be able to “capture” its sweetness and texture.

How to Freeze Bananas 

There are several ways to freeze bananas. The best method depends on how you plan to use them. 

Sliced Bananas

One method for freezing bananas is to slice and freeze them. This is the best way to freeze bananas for smoothies because the banana pieces can be easily processed by a blender or food processor. Whole frozen bananas, on the other hand, will be too much for a typical home appliance to handle.

Here’s how to freeze banana slices:

1. Unpeel the bananas. Slice each banana into 1/2-inch thick slices.

Banana sliced on a bamboo cutting board
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the banana slices in a single layer, leaving space between each one. This will ensure the bananas freeze separately and prevent them from sticking together.

Banana slices on a baking sheet with parchment paper
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

3. Flash freeze the bananas for 1 to 2 hours, or until solid. Flash freezing also keeps the banana chunks from sticking. Using a spatula, remove the frozen banana slices from the baking sheet and place them in a freezer-safe bag or airtight container. Return to the freezer until completely firm, about 6 hours.

Frozen banana slices placed in a freezer-safe bag
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

Whole Peeled Bananas

Peeling and freezing whole bananas is ideal for baking, as you’ll know exactly how much you’re using. (After all, with banana slices, it’s difficult to know how many pieces make up one banana.) 

Here’s how to freeze whole peeled bananas:  

1. Unpeel the bananas (and consider saving the peels for banana peel bacon!). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the unpeeled bananas on the sheet, leaving space between each one. Again, this will prevent the bananas from sticking.

whole peeled bananas on a baking sheet with parchment paper
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

2. Flash freeze the bananas for 2 hours, or until solid. Remove the bananas from the baking sheet and place them in a freezer-safe bag or airtight container. Return to the freezer until completely firm, about 6 hours.

whole frozen bananas in an airtight container
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

Whole Unpeeled Bananas 

If you’re looking for a zero-waste option, or if you don’t have any containers, you can freeze whole bananas with the peel. 

Freezing individual bananas with the peel is easy. Simply place them in the freezer until firm, about 8 hours. The banana peel will turn brown, but this won’t affect the actual fruit.

frozen brown unpeeled bananas
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

The drawback to this method is that whole unpeeled can be awkward to store in the freezer. (Bags and containers, on the other hand, can be neatly stacked on top of each other.) Also, when thawed and defrosted, whole unpeeled bananas can get very slimy. They’re safe to eat, but may be unappealing or inconvenient for some people.

Can You Freeze Bananas Without Plastic Bags?

Definitely! Instead of resealable freezer bags, you can use a freezer safe reusable bag, like Stasher bags. We also enjoy Souper Cubes, a silicone freezer-safe container. In either case, make sure your container is airtight. This will prevent freezer burn.

How to Keep Frozen Bananas from Turning Brown

To prevent frozen banana slices from turning brown, store them in an airtight container. If the banana chunks are exposed to air in the freezer, they will turn brown. The same goes for frozen whole peeled bananas. 

When whole unpeeled bananas are frozen, the skin will turn brown. But this won’t affect the banana flesh. This part will stay yellow, given there are no breaks in the skin before the banana is frozen.

How Long Can You Keep Bananas In the Freezer?

For optimal flavor and texture, use frozen bananas within 3 months. If you need a reminder, write the date on a strip of masking tape and place it on the container.

How to Thaw Frozen Bananas for Baking

The best way to thaw frozen bananas depends on how you froze them. To thaw frozen whole unpeeled bananas, run them under warm water, then peel as usual. Alternatively, you can thaw frozen bananas (in any form) by transferring them to the refrigerator overnight. Keep in mind that frozen bananas will release liquid as they thaw, so you’ll want to place them in a bowl. This is especially important for frozen whole unpeeled bananas, which are typically frozen without a container.

How to Use Frozen Bananas

To use frozen bananas in smoothies, simply add the frozen banana slices (and other frozen fruits) directly to your blender. You can use this same approach if you’re making banana ice cream.

If you’re using the bananas for a baked good, like banana bread, thaw them first. Once defrosted, mash them with a fork. Mashed bananas can be used as an egg replacer in recipes.

Here are more ways to use frozen bananas at home:

Now that you know how to freeze bananas so you can use them later, you might be interested in learning how to ripen bananas that aren’t quite ready so you can use them now. Don’t miss our companion guide on how to ripen bananas quickly in the oven.

Frozen banana slices on parchment paper

How to Freeze Bananas

Learn how to freeze bananas for later use. You can freeze them sliced or whole, depending on how you'd like to use them. Enjoy frozen bananas in smoothies or thaw them for banana bread and other baked goods.
Click stars below to rate, or leave a full review in the comments
2 Ratings
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Keyword: how to freeze bananas
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Author: Kirsten Nunez, MS

Ingredients

  • Bananas ripe or overripe

Instructions

How to Freeze Banana Slices

  • Unpeel the bananas.
  • Slice each banana into 1/2-inch thick slices.
  • Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the banana slices in a single layer, leaving space between each one. This will ensure the bananas freeze separately and prevent them from sticking together.
  • Flash freeze the bananas for 1 to 2 hours, or until solid. Flash freezing also keeps the banana chunks from sticking.
  • Using a spatula, remove the frozen banana slices from the baking sheet and place them in a freezer-safe bag or airtight container.
  • Return to the freezer until completely firm, about 6 hours.

How to Freeze Whole Peeled Bananas

  • Unpeel the bananas.
  • Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the unpeeled bananas on the sheet, leaving space between each one. Again, this will prevent the bananas from sticking.
  • Flash freeze the bananas for 2 hours, or until solid.
  • Remove the bananas from the baking sheet and place them in a freezer-safe bag or airtight container.
  • Return to the freezer until completely firm, about 6 hours.

How to Freeze Whole Unpeeled Bananas

  • Place whole unpeeled bananas in the freezer until firm, about 8 hours.

Notes

  • To prevent banana slice or peeled bananas from turning brown, store them in an airtight container. 
  • For optimal flavor and texture, use frozen bananas within 3 months. If you need a reminder, write the date on a strip of masking tape and place it on the container.
  • Frozen banana slices can be added directly to a blender or food processor.
  • Frozen whole bananas should be thawed before adding to smoothies or recipes.
  • To thaw frozen whole unpeeled bananas, run them under warm water, then peel as usual.
  • To thaw frozen bananas in any form, place them in a bowl and keep them in the refrigerator overnight.

Recommended Tools & Products

Baking Sheet
Parchment Paper
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Kirsten Nunez

About the Author

Kirsten Nunez is a journalist who focuses on healthy food and cooking. Her vegan and plant-based recipes have appeared on VegNews, eHow, Shape, and more. When she’s not creating vegan recipes for Clean Green Simple, you can find her experimenting in the kitchen and sharing plant-based meals with friends and family. More articles by Kirsten.

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