- The best way to freeze bananas is to freeze them in a single layer before transferring them to an airtight container.
- Bananas can be frozen whole, sliced or mashed, and with the peel or without.
- Frozen bananas are ideal for smoothies, banana bread, or other baking goods.
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Freezing bananas is a quick and easy process that preserves the sweet, fresh flavor of the fruit, while allowing you to save them for making something delicious.
We asked Courtney Alovis, co-owner of Sugar ‘n Spice in Newport Beach, California, for her best tips on freezing bananas. Her frozen banana stand has been open since 1945, and not to mention the inspiration behind the Bluth family banana stand on the cult TV show “Arrested Development.”
In general, bananas are best frozen when they’re ripe. “There is a peak ripeness when the banana is not too bitter or too sweet,” Alvois says, which is often when the peel is fully yellow. For smoothies or baking specifically, however, it’s perfectly fine to freeze overripe bananas that look like they’re ready to turn with brown spots.
The best way to freeze bananas in slices
Whether you’re freezing a whole bunch or just one or two bananas, the process is the same:
- Prep a baking sheet. Find a baking sheet that will fit inside your freezer and line it with parchment paper or waxed paper.
- Peel the bananas. Remove the peels and any stringy pieces from the fruit and discard.
- Slice the bananas. Cut into half-inch thick slices and arrange them in a single layer on the baking sheet. It’s best if they are not touching.
- Freeze until solid. Add the pan to the freezer and freeze for about an hour. The slices of banana should feel solid and frozen through.
- Store until ready to use. Transfer the frozen banana slices to a zip-top freezer bag, squeeze out the air, then seal and date it. Freeze for up to three months.
Quick tip: Freezing slices of banana on a tray ensures the fruit freezes evenly and not as one big clump. That way, you can reach in the freezer and grab as many or as few pieces as you like — a couple for a blended drink or more for a baking project.
How to freeze whole bananas
While freezing sliced bananas makes them convenient for storage and for dividing up for different uses, you can also freeze bananas whole.
For the best results, peel the bananas first. While you can freeze bananas with their peel on, it is difficult to peel a frozen banana. Freezing bananas without the peel saves you the hassle.
Alovis recommends you “peel the banana and place [it] on a piece of wax paper on a cookie sheet in the freezer.” Freeze until frozen solid, at least two hours. Transfer to a zip-top freezer bag and freeze for up to three months.
Quick tip: If you’d like to make frozen bananas on a stick, add the sticks before freezing. Alovis says “you can dip in your favorite sweet sauces, then top with anything your taste buds like, from nuts to cereals to chopped candies.”
How to freeze mashed bananas
If you’re planning to use your frozen bananas for baked goods like banana bread or cake, chances are they call for mashed bananas. You can mash the fruit before freezing: Peel the bananas, mash well, and add to a zip-top freezer bag. Squeeze as much air out as you can and seal and date the bag. Freeze for up to three months and thaw before using.
How to thaw frozen bananas
Depending on what you’re making with your frozen bananas, you may need to thaw them first. The best method for thawing frozen fruit and just about any other food item is to move the frozen food to the refrigerator and thaw overnight.
If you didn’t plan ahead and need thawed bananas as soon as possible, leave the bananas out on the counter for about 30 minutes until thawed. Only thaw the bananas you’ll be using right away and leave any extra fruit in the freezer for another day. Frozen bananas shouldn’t be thawed and refrozen.
What can I make with frozen bananas?
Banana bread is one of the best uses for thawed frozen bananas.
“Frozen bananas are a healthy sweet treat,” says Alovis, whether you’re eating them like a popsicle, turning them into drinks, or baking. Add slices of frozen banana to smoothies and other frozen drinks to help keep the drink cold and sweet. Dip sliced or whole bananas in chocolate for a healthy dessert.
Alovis points out that frozen bananas “have a creamy, ice cream-like texture when frozen,” and they can be easily turned into a one-ingredient, vegan dessert. Add frozen banana slices to a food processor (you’ll need at least two bananas for this) and process until a smooth soft serve forms, scraping down the sides periodically. You can add ingredients like cocoa powder or peanut butter to vary the flavor.
Thawed frozen bananas can be used in baked goods like banana bread, muffins, and cakes. They’re a handy addition to your freezer since it can be tricky to have ripe bananas ready to go when a baking mood strikes.
If you often make smoothies, enjoy frozen banana treats, or like to bake, keep a supply of bananas in the freezer. The fruit is easy to freeze and defrost and keeps well for a couple of months.
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