The short answer is yes! But there are tricks to make sure those frozen bananas last until you're ready to enjoy.
Bananas make a fabulous (and healthy) snack—and serve as the basis of many delicious baked goods and smoothies. But they also have a notoriously short shelf life (especially if your family doesn't dig the brown spots!), so finding a way to save ripe bananas is essential to avoid food waste. The answer: freezing your bananas.
But while you can freeze bananas, there are tricks you should follow to ensure your bananas avoid freezer burn and are ready to use whenever you need them. Here's how to freeze bananas for your next smoothie or banana bread fix.
How to Freeze Banana Slices
Freezing bananas already sliced is great for smoothies, as they'll be easier to break up in your blender. They'll also thaw faster when you need them for baking, as there's more surface area for warmer air to hit. And these slices will still hold their shape, so you can use them in recipes that call for sliced bananas, such as a banana cream pie.
To freeze banana slices:
Peel the banana
Slice the banana as you wish (into coins, or long slices)
Place slices in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Put them in the freezer for four hours
Move banana slices to a freezer bag to store
How to Freeze Whole Bananas
Freezing whole bananas is great for using in recipes like banana bread or muffins, where they're more likely to be mashed. To freeze whole bananas:
Peel the banana
Place the bananas in a freezer-safe bag, on a baking sheet
Put them in the freezer for several hours, until they are firm
Remove baking sheet
How to Thaw Frozen Bananas
While you may want to use bananas straight from the freezer for some recipes, like smoothies or frozen desserts, it's better to thaw them out before using them in baked goods—especially if you need to mash them before you mix them into the batter.
Unlike meat, your frozen bananas won't go bad if they're left out on the counter to thaw, but for the best quality, take it slow and thaw the bananas overnight in the fridge. If you place them out on the counter, it'll take about three hours for your frozen bananas to thaw.
Drain off any excess liquid
You may see some additional liquid on the plate or bowl after your bananas have thawed. That's just condensation—so go ahead and drain that away, rather than mixing that into your banana recipe.
How to Use Frozen Bananas
Many banana-based baked goods (like the go-to banana bread) can use fresh bananas—or thawed frozen bananas—to give you that sweet and creamy flavor. But you can also use them as-is to create frozen desserts. Try using your frozen banana stash in these banana recipes.
Get your fruit and your caffeine fix combined in this fresh take on a smoothie, featuring tahini for additional protein (and creaminess).
Frozen Banana Ice Cream
This one-ingredient dessert is super-easy to prepare—and whipped frozen bananas definitely give you that creamy ice cream texture.
Pro tip: Mix in shredded coconut, chocolate chips, or even a tablespoon or two of cocoa powder to turn it into a tropical (or chocolatey!) treat.
Boozy Dole Whip
Frozen bananas are essential for this tropical transport-you-to-the-beach cocktail. (Just skip the coconut rum for an equally tasty mocktail.)
This is the quintessential way to make use of overripe bananas—and you can always freeze overripe bananas in the freezer until you're ready to make it.
This particular recipe makes a few healthy swaps (like applesauce for some of the sweetener and oil/butter), along with using whole wheat flour for a wholesome (and totally delicious) treat.
Chocolate Banana Bites
If you're looking for a cool snack for hot summer days, this easy frozen banana recipe is definitely it.
Kale Smoothie With Pineapple and Banana
Frozen bananas and pineapple lend plenty of sweetness to this green kale smoothie.
Butterscotch Bananas With Vanilla Ice Cream
You don't even have to thaw your frozen bananas before you cook up this fast and easy banana dessert. (They'll thaw as they're heated in the buttery brown sugar sauce.)
Sourdough Banana Bread
Need to give that sourdough starter a good workout? This delicious combo of two delicious bread types makes good use of any discard you have.
The only thing better than chocolate and bananas is chocolate, bananas, and coffee. Try them together in this easy breakfast smoothie.
Raspberry Smoothie Bowl
Banana Pudding Pie Bars
Use up frozen banana slices in this tasty (and super-easy) take on the Southern classic dessert. Note: The banana custard uses the yolks, and the whites make the tasty (and easier-than-you-think!) meringue on the top.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you freeze bananas in their peels?
You can freeze unpeeled bananas, if you want—you'll just need to thaw them and peel them when they're ready. But keep in mind that bananas frozen that way get mushy when they're thawed, so you'll need to use them only for recipes that require mashed bananas.
How should I store bananas in the freezer?
To avoid the dreaded freezer burn, you'll want to avoid exposing your frozen bananas to air. Store them in a freezer-safe bag, taking care to remove as much air as possible from the bag before you seal it.
How long do frozen bananas last?
Frozen bananas will last for months in the freezer (especially if well protected from the dreaded freezer burn). But for the best quality, use frozen bananas within two to three months of freezing.
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