Use this page to learn how to freeze and thaw bananas to use in your baking recipes.
Can I Use Frozen Bananas in Banana Bread?
Yes, of course! You can freeze all of your ripe bananas to use in baking recipes like banana bread, banana muffins, banana cake, and (my favorite) chocolate banana muffins. If you have spotty, nearly black, heavily ripened bananas on the counter, but don’t have the chance to bake with them right now, go ahead and freeze them to use for your baked goods at a later time.
Time is on your side this way! You’ll always have bananas ready for banana bread if your freezer is stocked. Go ahead and build up a frozen stash. 😉
Freeze Bananas Whole (If Using for Baking)
If I’m freezing bananas to use in smoothies, I usually cut them into chunks first, because my blender can’t really handle whole frozen bananas. You usually do not have to thaw bananas if using them in smoothies, like my favorite green smoothie.
But to use in baking recipes, you need to thaw the frozen bananas first, because you need to mash them for your recipe. Many online tutorials may tell you to leave the peels on when freezing them, and that definitely works! I like to peel the bananas before freezing them. Here’s why:
- Peeled bananas take up less room in your freezer-friendly container.
- Peeled bananas thaw a little quicker.
Either way works. I also recommend freezing the bananas whole, and here’s why:
- Baking recipes usually call for a specific number of bananas, such as “3 large bananas.”
- Bananas can vary in size, so if you cut them up before freezing, it may be hard to determine how much you need.
Freezing bananas whole helps you determine exactly how much you need so you aren’t defrosting too little or too much.
Freeze Up to 3–6 Months
Freeze bananas for up to 3–6 months. Freezing bananas beyond 6 months may be fine, but the peeled bananas do begin to darken over time, and then they thaw into an overly mushy mess. I’ve found up to 6 months is fine, and under 3 months is even better.
How to Defrost Bananas for Baking
You can use either of these defrosting methods:
- Remove the frozen bananas from the freezer and thaw at room temperature for 2 hours, or in the refrigerator overnight.
- Defrost in your microwave at 50% power. The time varies depending on your microwave, but for 4–5 bananas, this probably takes around 3 minutes.
After thawing, bananas are slippery, mushy, and sitting in a pool of brown liquid.
#1 Success Tip: Strain the Brown Liquid
When thawing your frozen bananas, they release a pool of brown liquid. Pretty much any tutorial I’ve seen tells you to leave the brown liquid and mash the bananas and liquid together. Here is all the liquid that 5 frozen bananas released when thawing:
I actually strain all of this liquid out and discard it. (Tip: If your banana baked good recipe calls for a liquid (like milk), you could use this brown banana liquid instead.)
Mashing up your thawed bananas with this liquid might work for some recipes, but I’ve found it makes most baked goods overly dense and heavy. That’s because your mashed banana mixture is thinner, almost liquid-y instead of being chunky. In this banana bread, for example, you’re now adding 2 cups of a thin liquid instead of 2 cups of a chunky add-in. And there’s not enough dry ingredients in the batter to support that extra moisture.
The following photo shows 2 slices of banana bread:
- The left slice is from a loaf made with frozen, thawed, and mashed bananas with nearly all of the excess liquid strained off. This loaf rose nicely and was soft, moist, and tender as intended.
- The right slice is from a loaf made with frozen, thawed, and mashed bananas with the defrosted brown liquid. Even though this is the natural moisture from the thawed bananas, it produced an overly thin mashed banana mixture and therefore weighed down the banana bread. This loaf took much longer to bake, had a chewier exterior, tasted overly dense, and was quite squat.
You will notice a difference if you mash your thawed bananas with the excess liquid and that difference may not be desirable. Again, if your recipe calls for a liquid such as milk, you can replace some of it with the banana liquid. This banana cake, for example, uses 1 and 1/2 cups (360ml) buttermilk. You may get 1/4 cup (60ml) brown liquid from your 3 frozen and thawed bananas, so go ahead and replace 1/4 cup (60ml) of buttermilk with the banana liquid.
Here are 3 frozen, thawed, and mashed bananas with pretty much all of the brown banana liquid strained off. The mixture is chunky and pretty thick, which is how it looks if using regular ripe bananas that have not been frozen. (Which is what we’re trying to replicate.)
Use Frozen, Thawed Bananas in These Recipes:
- Banana Bread & Whole Wheat Banana Bread
- Breakfast Cookies
- Banana Muffins, Banana Chocolate Chip Streusel Muffins, & Peanut Butter Banana Muffins
- Hummingbird Cake
- Banana Cupcakes
- Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread
- Banana Nut Scones
- Banana Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookies
This isn’t really a “recipe” but I figured putting it all in a printable recipe card would be most helpful. Do you freeze bananas to use in baking?Print
Use this simple guide to freeze and thaw your ripe bananas for baking recipes. You can peel the bananas or leave the peel on, it doesn’t make a difference either way. If leaving the peel on, the peels considerably darken in the freezer.
- 4 ripe bananas (or however many you have)
- freezer container
- Place bananas in a freezer container. Feel free to peel first or leave the peel on. You can freeze bananas in a large zipped-top freezer bag or any covered container, such as these glass freezer containers.
- Freeze bananas for up to 3–6 months.
- Defrost: Remove the frozen bananas from the freezer and thaw at room temperature for 2 hours, or in the refrigerator overnight. Or you can defrost in your microwave at 50% power. The time varies depending on your microwave, but for 4–5 bananas, this probably takes around 3 minutes.
- Bananas release liquid as they thaw. For best success in your baking recipe, pour all or most of this liquid out because it could add too much liquid to your batter. (Tip: If your banana baked good recipe calls for a liquid like milk, you could use this brown banana liquid instead. See recipe Note.)
- Gently mash thawed, strained bananas with a fork and then use in your baking recipe, such as banana bread.
- If it’s helpful: 1 very large banana usually gives you about 1/2 cup (115g) of mashed banana. When freezing and thawing the banana, this amount may be a little less since you are discarding some excess liquid. So if a recipe calls for 2 cups of mashed bananas (usually about 4 very large bananas, or 460g), you may need 5 frozen, thawed bananas.
- Using the brown banana liquid: If your recipe calls for a liquid such as milk, you can replace some of it with the banana liquid. This banana cake, for example, uses 1 and 1/2 cups (360ml) buttermilk. You may get 1/4 cup (60ml) brown liquid from your 3 frozen and thawed bananas, so go ahead and replace 1/4 cup (60ml) of buttermilk with the banana liquid.
- Can I combine frozen, thawed, mashed bananas with bananas that have not been frozen? Yes. If you have ripe bananas on your counter AND frozen bananas in your freezer, you can combine the mashed ripe bananas and the frozen, thawed, strained, mashed bananas to yield however much mashed banana you need in your baking recipe.
Keywords: freezing bananas