If you have ripe bananas on hand, you can learn how to freeze bananas for smoothies, ice cream, and oatmeal. Just follow this easy step-by-step guide.

ripe bananas on a stack of white plates

Bananas are a budget-friendly fruit that is nutritious and well-loved around the world.

Frozen bananas are particularly delicious when used in a smoothie as they add natural sweetness and thickness. You can also use frozen bananas when you want to make oatmeal (just stir in the frozen chunks as you’re cooking oatmeal). You can also use frozen bananas slices to make a dairy-free ice cream.

Why You Need This Recipe

  • Bananas are ripe when they are soft to the touch, have brown spots on them, have a mild or strong odor of bananas, or have turned brown around the edges. Some types of bananas may not have obvious signs of ripening, so you do need to keep an eye on them.
  • You’ll know when a banana is not ripe when it is hard, green, or has no odor. Sometimes it can take up to several days for a banana to ripen on the countertop. If you want to help a banana ripe faster, you can always place them in a paper bag for a few days.
  • The problem is that when a banana ripens, it can go bad pretty quickly. A banana is over-ripe when the skin turns black or it becomes mushy.
  • But, don’t worry! You can use frozen ripe bananas in so many ways, including in smoothies, ice creams, dairy-free soft serves, oatmeal, and in baked goods.

Recipe Steps

bunch of ripe bananas on a white background

Step One

The first step for freezing bananas is to remove the skin. Some people just pop a ripe banana on the freezer with the skin on, but I don’t recommend this method. If you freeze a banana with the skin on, it will make it very difficult to remove the skin.

Step Two

The second step to freezing bananas is to either break them in half or cut them into slices. Depending on what you plan to do with your frozen banana will dictate if you slice them or just break them in half.

It’s best to break up your fresh bananas as you may not want to use a whole frozen banana. Once, frozen, it will be harder to break up your bananas.

For example, if you have a high speed blender like a Blendtec or a Vitamix, then you can just freeze your bananas in large halves, or even whole. A high speed blender will have to problem blending large chunks of frozen banana.

If you just have a regular blender or you are planning to make vegan soft-serve with your frozen bananas in a food processor, then you should slice your bananas before you freeze them (see the photo below).

sliced bananas on a baking sheet

Step Three

After you cut or slice your bananas, you can lay them on a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. This will prevent the banana from freezing into a large clump.

Freeze the baking sheet for at least 2 hours before transferring the frozen bananas into a zip-top bag or any other freezer-safe container for long-term storage (up to 3 months).

Squeeze out any much air from the plastic bag as possible to help them freeze flat for optimal storage efficiency. You can also use a vacuum sealer to remove as much as air as possible.

frozen bananas in a zip lock bag

Pro Tips

  • You can freeze as much as several bunches of bananas at a time, assuming you have enough room in your freezer.
  • Bananas are ripe when they are soft to the touch, have brown spots on them, have a mild or strong odor of bananas, or have turned brown around the edges. Some types of bananas may not have obvious signs of ripening, so you do need to keep an eye on them.
  • Frozen bananas will last in the freezer for up to 3 months. 
  • To use your frozen banana chunks for smoothies, just take out as many bananas as you need for each smoothie (no need to defrost them first).

FAQs

How can I tell when a banana has gone bad?

There are a few ways to tell when a banana is rotten. If your banana smells bad or is very mushy, then you will need to throw it away.However, if your ripe banana isn’t too mushy, then you can probably cut away the bad parts and still freeze the good parts.

What can I do with frozen bananas?

You can serve frozen bananas almost the same way you would use a fresh banana. Once you have frozen bananas, it’s best to use them frozen as opposed to defrosting them. I am a huge fan of frozen banana ice cream (see my recipe for Chocolate Banana Vegan Soft Serve).

Do I have to defrost bananas before using them in baked goods or oatmeal?

Ideally, you would use bananas frozen. But, if you are making muffins, banana bread, or another recipe that calls for ripe banana, you can defrost the frozen banana ahead of time in the refrigerator.

Can frozen bananas go bad?

Bananas that are frozen correctly should not go bad within 2-3 months. However, if your bananas was rotten or if your freezer isn’t working properly or is not at the correct temperature, then frozen bananas can go bad. A frozen banana that has gone bad will be black in color, will smell bad, and will be very mushy. Throw away the whole bag of frozen bananas if even one has gone bad, because there is a chance that mold may have gotten to all of the frozen bananas in that particular bag.

Recipes Using Frozen Bananas

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Frozen banana rounds on a small white plate.

How to Freeze Bananas for Smoothies


Description

If you have ripe bananas on hand, you can learn how to freeze bananas for smoothies, ice cream, and oatmeal. Just follow this easy step-by-step guide.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 4 ripe bananas

Instructions

  1. The first step for freezing bananas is to remove the skin.
  2. Next, break them in half or cut them into slices.
  3. After you cut or slice your bananas, you can lay them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. This will prevent the banana from freezing into a large clump.
  4. Freeze the baking sheet for at least 2 hours before transferring the frozen bananas into a zip-top bag from long-term storage of up to 3 months.
  5. To use your frozen banana chunks for smoothies, just take out as many bananas as you need for each smoothie (no need to defrost them first).

Notes

  1. You can freeze as much as several bunches of bananas at a time, assuming you have enough room in your freezer.
  2. Bananas are ripe when they are soft to the touch, have brown spots on them, have a mild or strong odor of bananas, or have turned brown around the edges. Some types of bananas may not have obvious signs of ripening, so you do need to keep an eye on them.
  3. Frozen bananas will last in the freezer for up to 3 months. 
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Category: Side dish
  • Method: Freezer
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: freezing bananas for smoothies, how to freeze ripe bananas, frozen banana slices

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