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How to Freeze Bananas for Smoothies, Banana Bread, and More

How to Freeze Bananas for Smoothies, Banana Bread, and More
 

Bananas were 33 cents down from 59 cents at my grocery store. Not a big per-pound savings but with groceries costing so much, I bought bunches (literally!). I freeze bananas often because my son eats them as snacks. He started doing this years ago when we learned palm oil was making him sick. It was a new treat at the time, and he loved them. He still eats them this way years later.

My son was in elementary school when he first ate frozen bananas. Do not give frozen banana slices to young children because it’s a choking hazard.

I freeze them in slices because they are easier to eat (if snacking on them) and easier to blend in my Vitamix for smoothies.

You can freeze bananas in slices, in chunks, or whole. Freezing bananas is easy. I explain lots of ways to prolong the life of your bananas. These two are my favorite:

  1. Fastest: Slice; bag; separate; freeze
  2. Also easy and to prevent browning: Slice; put on baking tray in freezer; once frozen, put in bag and back in the freezer 

To make this more eco-friendly, use reusable freezer bags and freezer-safe containers. These are convenient for storing bananas for smoothies, banana bread, banana shakes, and to eat for a late-night snack. 

How to Freeze Bananas the Easy Way

  1. Remove peel and slice bananas
  2. Put in freezer-safe bags
  3. Separate them so they aren’t clumping
  4. Freeze in bags, being sure to squeeze the air out before sealing 
sliced bananas in plastic bag

Getting ready to freeze raw sliced bananas in plastic bag

How to Freeze Bananas by Flash Freezing

  1. Peel and slice fresh bananas
  2. Line baking tray with parchment paper
  3. Put banana slices on tray in a single layer
  4. Put in freezer for 2 hours or overnight
  5. Remove from freezer and put sliced bananas in freezer-safe container or bag
  6. Store in freezer until you want to use them
how to freeze bananas so they don't stick together

Slice bananas and put them on baking tray in freezer to flash freeze before bagging so they don’t stick together

Should You Wash Bananas?

Many experts recommend washing fruits with peels, even if you don’t eat the peel. I wash all fruits except bananas. I unpeel all the bananas and set them aside, being careful the peels don’t touch my cutting board. Then I wash my hands again, and slice the bananas.

Removing Brown and Black Spots

I remove brown spots on bananas before freezing most of the time and always remove black parts.

How to Freeze Bananas So They Don’t Turn Brown

Flash freezing bananas helps them from turning brown. Slice them and put them in the freezer as soon as you can.

  1. Peel and slice or keep them whole, based on your preference.
  2. Dip the bananas in a mixture of lemon juice or pineapple juice. This prevents browning.
  3. Lay them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  4. Freeze for 1-2 hours until solid.
  5. Transfer to a resealable plastic bag and store in the freezer.

How to Freeze Bananas Whole

  1. Peel bananas.
  2. Place on parchment-lined baking tray.
  3. Freeze for 2 or more hours, until they are frozen solid.
  4. Remove from freezer, and transfer bananas to freezer-safe container or bags.
  5. Refreeze until ready to use.

Another option is to freeze them with the peels. However, I think it’s much easier to use them later when you peel them before freezing.

If you want to freeze chunks of banana, follow the steps for freezing them whole, and slice them into chunks instead.

How to Freeze Bananas with Peel

  1. Choose ripe bananas with a yellow skin.
  2. Place them in the freezer, away from the door where temperatures fluctuate.
  3. When ready to use, let them thaw for a few minutes before peeling.

I have frozen bananas with the peel a few times when the bananas were really ripe, and I didn’t want them to go bad. I used them for smoothies. It wasn’t hard to remove the peel but it was a bit messy. Still, it was worth it to not waste food (bananas overripening), and fast if you are in a hurry!

How to Freeze Bananas for Smoothies

When I’m saving bananas for smoothies, I slice and put them in bags. If they turn brown, it doesn’t matter to me because they are still sweet, and I’ll be blending them with fruit. These directions are for flash-freezing which is an additional simple step.

  1. Peel bananas.
  2. Slice them into 1/2 inch thick slices.
  3. Spread the banana slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  4. Freeze for 2 hours until solid (or overnight).
  5. Transfer the slices to a freezer-safe container or bag, and store in the freezer.
freezing bananas in reusable plastic bag

Freezing bananas in reusable plastic bag

How to Freeze Bananas for Banana Bread

Measure out how many bananas for each loaf in separate freezer bags or containers. Then, when you want to make banana bread, you can easily thaw, drain, and use without having to measure.

  1. Determine how many bananas you need for the recipe.
  2. Peel bananas.
  3. Mash them in bowl.
  4. Put in freezer-safe container or bag.
  5. Mark date and quantity or “for banana bread”.
  6. Seal and freeze.
  7. Repeat for multiple loaves.

How to Freeze Bananas for Banana Muffins

Follow the same steps above for making banana bread. By measuring out how many bananas or cups of bananas you need for banana muffins, you can store them pre-measured. When you want to make the muffins, remove the frozen mashed bananas from freezer and let thaw before using.

How to Freeze Bananas to Top Ice Cream

  1. Peel bananas.
  2. Slice them into approximately 1/2 inch pieces.
  3. Place the slices on parchment-lined baking sheet, spaced apart.
  4. Freeze until solid, then transfer to a resealable plastic bag.

How to Freeze Bananas for Chocolate Dipping

  1. Peel bananas and chop them in half (so banana is intact; not lengthwise)
  2. Insert popsicle stick, skewer, or chopstick into the flat end.
  3. Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  4. Freeze until solid before dipping in chocolate.

Read labels, and buy palm oil free chocolate.

How to Freeze Bananas for Baby Food

  1. Peel bananas.
  2. Mash the bananas using a fork or blender until smooth.
  3. Portion the mashed bananas into ice cube trays.
  4. You can remove cubes and place in freezer bags or containers for longer term storage or pop them out when you are ready to thaw them.
  5. Thaw completely before giving to babies or toddlers. Do not give them frozen cubes which is a choking hazard.

If you don’t have ice cube trays, portion out servings in individual freezer bags. Thaw completely, and then serve.

How to Freeze Bananas for Long Term Storage

  1. Peel and slice bananas into 1/2 inch slices.
  2. Place on lined baking tray, and flash freeze for 2 hours or longer until they are frozen.
  3. Remove from freezer, and put bananas in vacuum-sealed bags. If you don’t have a vacuum sealer, you can put them in freezer-safe bags or containers. Remove all the air.
  4. Date and label each package. 
  5. Freeze in the back or bottom of freezer, away from door. 

For the freshest taste, it’s best to consume within 6 – 8 months though you can enjoy them longer. According to the USDA, at 0ºF (-17ºC), freezing keeps food safe almost indefinitely and that storage times are for quality only.

sliced bananas in bags to freeze

Sometimes I don’t flash freeze bananas. I just put them directly into the bags

Tips for Freezing Bananas

I certainly don’t want to make this more complicated because freezing bananas is easy. My biggest tips are:

  1. To prevent browning, flash freeze them soon after slicing them
  2. Slice them; don’t freeze chunks if you plan on blending them
  3. Use a freezer bag or container you can freeze 
  4. Don’t let them “nest” together; separate them with your fingers before freezing or flash freeze on baking tray first
  5. Get the air out
  6. Store in the back or on the bottom of the freezer
  7. Pre-measure if storing them for recipes such as banana bread, muffins, etc.
  8. If you are using them to add to yogurt, smoothies, oatmeal, etc., freeze individual portions

Here’s why these things are important.

Flash freeze them

Fresh bananas will start to turn brown when they are exposed to air. To minimize browning, slice bananas and quickly put them on a lined baking sheet and into the freezer. Freeze completely before transferring them into bags or containers for longer-term storage.

Slice them

When you slice bananas before freezing, it’s easier to blend them in a food processor or blender for smoothies and to measure them in cups for recipes. However, you certainly can freeze larger pieces or even whole bananas. Be sure to remove the peel before freezing. 

Use reusable bags or containers

If you are saving bananas for smoothies or recipes, I highly recommend using reusable plastic bags. You can also use reusable freezer-safe containers.

My family eats sliced frozen bananas as snacks (especially for night snacking in order to try to be healthy!). When we are being lazy, this means we usually take a bag and eat directly from it, using our fingers. For this reason, we throw these bags away. I don’t want to deal with washing out reusable bags.

NOTE: EATING FROZEN BANANA SLICES CAN BE A CHOKING HAZARD. 

On our better nights, we will empty the frozen bananas in a bowl and reuse the bag. This creates a dish to wash but isn’t as bad as wasting a bag.

When I freeze bananas in reusable bags for smoothies, I either refill them right away with new bananas to freeze or rinse them out and set them out to dry. I don’t feel the need to wash them like I would if we were bag-feeding from them.

If you have a vacuum sealer, these are good to use for long-term storage.

Separate them

If you slice bananas and just put them in a bag, it’s likely they will freeze together in clumps. It’s important to separate them once you seal the bag. It will make it easier to break them apart for snacking or for using in smoothies.

I have a high-performance food processor (a Vitamix) but it will burn out quickly if I try to blend chunks of bananas.

Get the air out

Like with freezing all foods, you should squeeze out the air before sealing the bag completely. This will help prevent freezer burn. 

Store away from door opening

If you want to keep bananas in the freezer for a few months, be sure to put them away from the door. This means store them in the back of the freezer or on the bottom.

Pre-measure bananas before storing

If you are storing bananas to use in recipes, measure out what you need for each recipe while they are raw, and store each in its own bag or container.

Example: If you want to freeze bananas to make three loaves of banana bread, store the quantity of bananas you need separately (three bags or containers) to make each loaf.

If you mash or blend the bananas and freeze them all together, you will have to measure them later, after they’ve defrosted. This will be a gloppy hassle. My recommendation is to premeasure while the bananas are raw.

If you sliced them instead of mashed them, they will be easier to measure after freezing. 

remove black parts on bananas

Remove black parts on bananas

FAQs

What is the best way to freeze fresh bananas?

The best way to freeze bananas is to flash freeze them first. Slice and put them on a parchment-lined baking tray. Set in freezer for 2 hours or overnight. Remove, and put sliced bananas in freezer bags or containers that are freezer safe. Store in back of freezer, away from fluctuating temperatures when you open it. 

Is it better to freeze bananas with or without peel?

I think it’s better to freeze bananas without the peel because it’s less to deal with later. When the bananas are raw and intact, they are easier to deal with. You can freeze bananas with the peel, especially if you are in a hurry but frozen peels are harder to remove. 

Can you freeze bananas in a Ziploc bag?

Yes, bananas can be frozen in a Ziploc bag. Be sure to get all the air out. You can also use freezer-safe Ziplocs or reusable bags.

How do you freeze bananas so they don’t get mushy?

To freeze bananas without them getting mushy, slice them, and flash freeze them. Do this by laying them in a single layer on a parchment lined baking tray for easy clean up. Flash freeze them for around 2 hours until they are frozen solid. Then transfer them to a bag or container to store in the freezer. They won’t become mushy because they will be frozen when you put them with the other slices.

Can I freeze bananas with brown spots?

If your banana peels have brown spots, you can freeze them. 

What is the best way to freeze bananas for later use?

The best way to freeze bananas for later use is to peel and slice them, freeze the slices individually on a tray, put them in a vacuum sealed bag, and refreeze them. If you don’t have a way to vacuum seal, store them in an airtight container or freezer-safe bag.

How do I keep bananas from turning brown in the freezer?

Soon after you slice bananas, freeze them to stop them from browning. If you want to be sure they don’t darken in the freezer, lightly coat them with lemon juice. 

What is the best way to freeze bananas with or without peel?

The best way to freeze bananas is without the peel. It’s so much easier later on. It’s more difficult to remove a frozen peel than one that’s raw.  

Are frozen banana slices good?

Yes! My son and I eat frozen banana slices often. We think they make really good, filling, satisfying snacks.

What can I do with frozen bananas?

Most any recipe you make with bananas, you can make with thawed frozen bananas. Make “banana ice cream” by putting frozen banana slices in a Vitamix or high performance food processor. You can add any of these: cocoa powder, sliced strawberries, and pure vanilla extract. It’s delicious. 

You can also make banana shakes, regular or gluten free banana bread, muffins, cake, pancakes, and more.

Can whole bananas be frozen?

Yes, you can freeze whole bananas. However, it’s easier to peel them when they are fresh.

Freezing Fresh Bananas

Whether you are freezing bananas for recipes, for snacks, for ice cream, or for long term storage, it’s a great way to preserve bananas before they go bad. Use them to oatmeal, put them in yogurt, or add them to smoothies and milkshakes. They are versatile. 

Preserving food and keeping it from being wasted is eco-friendly. Thanks for reading and for learning about ways my family avoids palm oil. There is so much you can do with fresh foods. 

Recipe to try: Banana bread without flour

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