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.
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.
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 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 Healthy Banana Bread
- Breakfast Cookies
- Banana Muffins & Banana Chocolate Chip Streusel 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
How to Freeze & Thaw Bananas for Baking
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 2 hours, 5 minutes (includes thawing)
- Yield: 4 thawed bananas
- Category: Baking
- Method: Freezing
- Cuisine: American
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
Reader Comments & Reviews
I have always used ripened bananas for baking banana cake. My question is that if it is better to use frozen bananas or freshly ripened bananas for baking.
Such a helpful article! Thank you for the specifics!
How long do I have before using the bananas after thawing
Hi Linda, we recommend thawing the bananas when you’re ready to use them.
Very interesting and informative! Thank you!
Just wanted to know what stage of ripeness bananas should reach before freezing? I have a few bananas that are covered in dark spots, but lack large dark patches like those shown in the photo near the beginning.
Hi Luca, in general, the riper/darker the better, but they should be fine to freeze at this point if you don’t want to wait another day or two.
Thanks so much for this post. I hate wasting food but always have some overripe bananas sitting on the counter. I read about freezing bananas many years ago but stopped freezing mine because I didn’t like the baking results. Now I know why… Keep up the good work. I always check here first for any baking-related issues I may have and you never disappoint.Thank you!
Thanks so much for this info! Last month I was going to bake my Grandma’s banana cake but didn’t have time so I threw the ripe bananas in the freezer, whole with peel on, without being in a container, just sitting on the shelf. Since I’ve never tried this I wasn’t certain it would work. Next time I will peel and put in a container. I’m going to make the cake this afternoon. Wish me luck!
Happy baking, Candy!
Hi! I assume that if you freeze the bananas with their peels, you should remove the peels before you bake with them, but since I’ve seen recipes that use whole bananas around the internet lately and your instructions weren’t specific, I thought I’d ask. Peel or no peel?
Hi Julie, correct — you’ll want to remove the peels before using in any recipes that call for bananas.
Sorry… Forgot to rate. Five stars!
Thank you so much for this timely and helpful article!! I was just freezing some bananas the other day and wondering if I was doing it the right way!
As always, I love your details and explanations!
I would like recipes to use cup measurements as bananas come in different sizes. I can end up with too little or too much banana. I like the idea of draining the liquid of the frozen bananas. I have some in my freezer right now and want to make banana bread. Thanks for your cooking inspiration, my family has enjoyed many of your recipes over the years.
This explains why my banana, nut, date pineapple bread is too flat. Thanks for this great tip. I made your apple crisp last night. OMGosh, it was so delicious.
I thaw frozen bananas in a colander over a saucepan to catch the liquid. I bring the liquid to a simmer and reduce by at least half. Then let cool and add the liquid back into my batter for more intense banana flavor.
So glad for these tips. Now I will make sure I drain, or use the liquid. I love receiving your recipes and tips. Thank you.
Is it necessary to add some lemon juice to the bananas before freezing? I read that this keeps them from turning dark?????
Hi Regina, I’ve never done that before so I’m unsure. There’s nothing wrong with them turning dark; for best flavor, texture, results, I just wouldn’t freeze them past 3-6 months.
I usually freeze bananas whole & sometimes in the peel. It never occured to me to drain the brown liquid! Thank you Sally for enlightening me!!!!
Love banana bread and cake and pancakes so thanks for the in-depth information.
No idea how I never thought of this before! Now I can hoard one of my favourite fruits without stressing about them spoiling. Thanks for the tip, Sally 🙂
Super awesome post! Thank you so much for not only being an amazing cook, but mentor….by sharing the light of your gift with us…you allow us to shine brighter! And bake better 🙂
I have frozen bananas in a similar manner in the past. My recipe for banana bread calls for 3 bananas, so I wrap 3 bananas in plastic wrap and then they go into freezer zip-loc bags. I did not now about the liquid, great tip, Sally, to use that as part of the liquid in the recipe. Banana flavor without making it denser! Thank you!
Hi Sally. I just signed up to receive future emails directly. I am so happy to know what to do with bananas I usually throw out. Thanks.!
Thank you. This was most helpful as I wasn’t sure what to do with the extra liquid. Thanks again for helping out.
great tips. I mash and freeze and use contents without draining and so far no issues. But I will definitley try your idea next time, thanks.
I do the same as you and have also not had a problem as of yet.
I found the info interesting. I have my own method that works good, and the baked banana bread still rises nicely. When I have really ripe bananas to freeze, I first peel them and put anywhere from 5-12 into a gallon Ziploc bag, then I use my hands to mash them in the bag, letting the extra air out, and after mashing enough I write the # of bananas on each bag, so that when I want to use it later I know what size batch the bag can do. I do bigger batches for farmers markets. I place each bag flat in freezer, when ready to use, I pull out the bag I want, put it on a cooling rack covered with a towel, to wait for it to be soft enough, or if I don’t have time to wait, I put the bag with a towel under it, in the microwave for 3-5 minutes at a time, turning bag over part way through, til soft enough. I have not noticed any problem with whatever liquid after baking, still rises good, but the brown liquid could still be poured off if desired. Hope this might help
I love reading everyone’s tips and specific methods and I’m sure many others do as well! Thank you so much for sharing.
I’ve always mashed my bananas before freezing them – just wondered if you’ve ever done that Sally?
You can absolutely do that! I would just drain excess liquid off after thawing.
I cut them into slices. They’re great to use, still frozen, in a smoothie
Funny this arrived the day after I used my frozen/ thawed bananas for bread. Having never done so I had frozen the bunches and decided this week I had time to bake. Silly me! I placed the sack on the counter and had quite the pool to clean. I strained the bananas as you suggested and allowed them plenty of time to “dry”. The bread was great and I’m now going to peel them next time and place them in a glass dish similar to yours. Very ripe bananas are budget friendly. I’ll be doing this more often. Thank you for all your baking tips. I appreciate you and your efforts to help us improve. I pass along your website to anyone who asks where I get my recipes and compliments me on how I have elevated my baking.
Really helpful. thank you! I love how practical this information is.
Oooo – I’ve always wondered about that extra liquid on top of frozen mashed bananas. This is so helpful!
Good information! Based on your explanation I won’t be using the brown liquid.
I’ve always used frozen bananas but did not know about draining extra liquid. I let frozen bananas warm up some bc if I put in cold batter it takes longer to bake in middle.
Thank you this was so helpful
How do you store the bananas after they have been defrosted( and out of their peel). I froze my bananas and mashed all of them and used what i needed for my recipe. I had some of the defrosted mashed banana left and when i woke up they were black. are they safe to eat?
Hi Jasmine, they are still safe to bake with. The color change is actually an enzyme that’s reacting when exposed to oxygen. You can give it a quick search online—still ok to bake with!