December 8, 2022

Canadiannpizza

Cooking Is My World

How to Freeze Bananas for Baking

Use this page to learn how to freeze and thaw bananas to use in your baking recipes.

frozen bananas in glass container with words Freezing Bananas for Baking written on top.

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, and 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 you’re freezer is stocked. Go ahead and build up a frozen stash. 😉

ripe bananas on a white cutting board
overhead photo of sliced banana bread on wooden cutting board.

Peel & Freeze Bananas Whole (If Using for Baking)

If I’m freezing bananas to use in smoothies, I usually cut them in chunks since blenders can’t really handle whole frozen bananas. You usually do not have to thaw bananas if using them in smoothies.

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. But what I’ve found works best is peeling 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.

I also recommend freezing the bananas whole and here’s why:

  • Baking recipes usually call for a # 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.

5 frozen bananas in glass rectangle container.

You can freeze bananas in a large zipped-top freezer bag or any covered container. I like to use these glass freezer containers which are fantastic for freezer meals & snacks, too.

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 overtime 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

Two methods work:

  1. Remove the frozen bananas from the freezer and thaw at room temperature for 2 hours, or in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. 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:

brown liquid in liquid measuring cup.

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 two slices of banana bread:

photo showing 2 slices of banana bread comparing how they look when you use frozen, thawed bananas.
  1. 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.
  2. 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 chewy crust/skin, 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. (Because that’s what you’re trying to replicate.)

mashed bananas in glass bowl with spoon.

Use Frozen, Thawed Bananas in These Recipes:

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

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  1. Peel ripe bananas and place in a freezer container. You can freeze bananas in a large zipped-top freezer bag or any covered container, such as these glass freezer containers.
  2. Freeze bananas for up to 3-6 months.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.)
  5. Gently mash thawed bananas with a fork and then use in your baking recipe, such as banana bread.


Notes

  1. If it’s helpful: 1 very large banana usually gives you about 1/2 cup 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), you may need 5 frozen, thawed bananas.
  2. 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.
  3. 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