Test Kitchen-Approved Methods for Freezing Bananas Before They Go Bad
Freeze a few bananas now, and you'll make smoothies, banana bread, banana cake, and a number of other recipes easier to prep later. Depending on how you're planning to use them later (or how much space you have in your freezer), we have two different methods for freezing bananas. Mashing a banana is a great way to freeze the fruit for banana bread and other baked goods, while cutting a banana into chunks is the ideal way to freeze bananas for smoothies. They'll keep in the freezer for a couple of months, so don't feel rushed to use them up. Though, admittedly, we can't wait more than a couple of days to whip up the next loaf.
How to Freeze Mashed Bananas
If banana pancakes, banana muffins, or banana baked goods are in your future, this is the ideal way to freeze bananas for you. Save yourself the prep work later by freezing mashed bananas now that will be ready to toss into any batter. Here's how to do it:
Peel and mash the bananas. Cut twelve 4x4-inch squares of plastic wrap and line each cup of a muffin pan with them. Or use a silicone muffin pan and skip the plastic wrap.
Measure your desired amount of mashed banana into each cup, cover and freeze overnight. Freezing time will vary depending on the size of muffin pan and measuring scoop you use. Once firmly frozen, unwrap the pan and remove the plastic wrap from the frozen banana cups.
Test Kitchen Tip: Use a common measurement like ½ cup so your mashed banana is premeasured for baked goods.
Transfer the frozen mashed banana cups to an airtight resealable plastic bag and label the bag with the date the bananas were frozen. Freeze 2 to 3 months.
How to Freeze Banana Chunks
Peel and cut bananas into pieces (it's up to you how large the chunks are). Arrange the banana pieces in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined tray or baking sheet. Freeze 2 to 3 hours or until the bananas are firm. Place the bananas in an airtight resealable plastic bag, label it with the date, and freeze 2 to 3 months.
If you're adding the banana pieces to smoothies, there's no need to let them thaw, they can go straight from your freezer to the blender. If you're planning to use them for baking and need to thaw them first, you can move them from the freezer to fridge to thaw overnight, or let them defrost in a bag on your counter for an hour or two.
Can You Freeze Bananas Whole?
Sure, though for most recipe purposes, having smaller or mashed bananas are easier to work with. You can freeze whole, peeled bananas in large plastic bags like you would smaller banana chunks. You may also freeze bananas whole in their peels, but this will only work if you want mashed bananas. After thawing and peeling a banana that's been frozen in its peel, it will come out of the peel in an essentially mashed texture. Freezing bananas in their peels causes them to turn a brown (or even black!) color, which can be offputting, but they're perfectly safe and delicious for that next loaf of banana bread.