Freezing bananas is an easy way to extend their shelf life.

It can be especially useful if they start to turn brown and you’re not quite ready to use them — or perhaps, you simply have more than you can get through before they go bad.

Conveniently, frozen bananas can be added to a variety of recipes, including pancakes, baked goods, ice cream, and smoothies.

This article takes a closer look at how to freeze bananas and gives you a few ideas about how to use them.

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You can freeze peeled bananas either whole, sliced, or mashed, depending on how you plan to use them.

Ideally, you should only freeze bananas once they’re fully ripe and the peel has started to turn brown, as the fruit won’t continue to ripen once frozen.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to freeze whole, sliced, or mashed bananas.

Whole bananas

Whole bananas are easy to freeze and make a great addition to smoothies and baked goods like banana bread or muffins.

Simply remove the peel and place the whole banana in an airtight container or bag in your freezer.

You can also place several whole bananas in a single container or break them into smaller pieces as needed to save freezer space.

Sliced bananas

If you don’t have a high powered blender, slicing your bananas first can be a better option than freezing them whole.

You may also want to slice your bananas if you’re unsure how you plan to use them, as this can make them easier to measure out for recipes.

Simply peel the bananas and cut them into approximately 1/2-inch (1.3-cm) slices. Next, line a baking sheet with wax or baking paper and arrange the banana slices into a single layer. Place them in your freezer for about 2–3 hours. This helps prevent the slices from clumping together.

Once the slices have frozen, you can transfer them to an airtight bag or container and return them to the freezer until you’re ready to use them.

Mashed bananas

Some recipes, such as banana bread, require mashed bananas. Mashing the fruit before freezing can save you time when preparing baked goods in the future.

Simply peel and mash each banana and scoop it into a freezer-safe plastic bag. Be sure to squeeze out any extra air before sealing the bag and place it flat in the freezer.

It’s a good idea to freeze the mash in smaller portions so you can defrost only what you need for a particular recipe.

summary

You can freeze bananas whole, sliced, or mashed. You should wait until bananas are fully ripe and always peel them first.

If using frozen bananas for smoothies or banana ice cream, you can add them to the blender directly from the freezer.

On the other hand, if you’re planning to use the frozen bananas in recipes like muffins, banana bread, or other baked goods, you should thaw them first.

There are several ways to thaw bananas. A simple method is to place them in a bowl or plate and let them defrost at room temperature for about 2 hours.

You can also microwave them using the defrost setting for 2–4 minutes, or place them in a bag and submerge them in warm water for 10–15 minutes.

Ideally, use frozen bananas within about 6 months. If you leave them in the freezer any longer, they may develop freezer burn. Fortunately, while freezer burned bananas may be of lower quality, they’re still safe to eat.

summary

For recipes like smoothies or ice cream, you can use frozen bananas straight from the freezer. For most baked goods, you should thaw the bananas first. Generally, try to use frozen bananas within about 6 months.

Frozen bananas last much longer than fresh bananas and can be used in a variety of recipes.

You can easily freeze bananas whole, sliced, or mashed, depending on how you plan to use them.

You can use them directly from the freezer for recipes like smoothies or thaw them before adding them to baked goods like muffins, bread, and pancakes.