Last updated on July 19th, 2022
Whether you need them for creamy cold smoothies or snacks, the best way to freeze bananas is to pull the fruit into strips and freeze on a baking sheet. They freeze better, store better, and incorporate into smoothies more easily than other methods.
But why strips instead of breaking into chunks or cutting into slices?
I used to slice bananas into 1-inch chunks, and then freeze them on a baking sheet. This method led to a few problems. First of all, sometimes the banana pieces became too hard to work with, like the time rock-hard bananas broke my old food processor’s bowl scraper.
The second problem is storage. Chunks of banana tend to meld into a solid mass, leaving you looking for a chisel when it’s time to put together a quick morning smoothie.
As far as slicing into thinner rounds: prepping and laying out all those banana slices is more labor intensive than it needs to be, and your time and effort are better spent elsewhere.
That’s why the best way to freeze bananas is in strips.
Freezing Bananas for Smoothies
Prepare a baking sheet.
This first step is literally just selecting the right size baking sheet to hold your bananas while they freeze. If you toss banana pieces into a container without freezing them first they’ll fuse together solid, which is a hassle when it’s time to pull them apart for smoothies.
A quarter sheet will typically hold 4 bananas’ worth of pieces. For more than 4 bananas use a half sheet pan.
One more thing: if this is your first pass at freezing fruit on a baking sheet, it would be a good idea to check if the pan fits in the freezer before loading it up with bananas.
Select bananas for freezing.
The best bananas for smoothies are ripe or even under-ripe. If they’re over-ripe, you can still freeze whole bananas for baking projects (more on how to freeze whole bananas later).
Wash and peel bananas.
Did I mention I learned how to freeze bananas from my mom? Another genius tip she gave me was the best way to peel a banana. Rather than peeling a banana from the stem, turn it over and open from the bottom. Try it!
Pull apart the bananas into strips.
Here’s the trick for the best frozen bananas for smoothies and frozen treats. First, break the bananas in half or into thirds. Then pull apart these pieces lengthwise into strips.
These long, thin strips won’t stick to the pan in the freezer. They’re easier to separate when you need them, and they blend into a smoothie or nice cream with little effort required.
Plus, they make a fun shape for kids to dip at snack time.
Place banana strips in a single layer on the sheet pan, and then set the pan in the freezer. It should take only 1 to 2 hours for the bananas to harden.
Transfer frozen bananas to an airtight container.
The best container to use for frozen bananas is freezer-safe glass with an airtight lid. The frozen banana strips store well vertically in a mason jar or laying flat in a rectangular storage container.
Using Frozen Bananas
My go-to smoothie starts with a base of leafy greens in a high-speed blender. Next add frozen banana strips and whatever fresh or frozen fruit is on hand. Top with add-ins like hemp hearts or ground flax, and finish with water and a splash of plant-based milk to the fill-line.
- Dip frozen banana strips in yogurt for a simple healthy snack.
- Nice cream: try strawberry, blueberry, and sign up for the newsletter to get an exclusive recipe for Deep Chocolate Banana Blackout nice cream.
- Grain-free silver dollar pancakes, because breakfast foods are the best.
- Quick bread
Can you freeze whole bananas?
Yes, you can freeze whole bananas for baking, but they will not blend well into smoothies or nice cream.
I mean, technically, you can even freeze bananas in the peel. The peel will darken on the outside, but the banana inside will be safe for consumption. Keep in mind you’re going to have to peel the banana either way and the skin is way easier to deal with before it’s frozen.
How do you keep frozen bananas from turning brown?
The most important thing is to store your bananas in a container with an airtight lid. Also, acidity helps stop oxidation; sprinkle banana pieces with lemon juice or apple cider vinegar before freezing if your bananas are turning brown in the freezer.
How long can you leave bananas in the freezer?
How to Freeze Bananas for Smoothies (and Snacks)
- Baking sheet
- 4 bananas
- Wash and peel bananas.
- Break bananas in half or thirds, then pull apart pieces lengthwise into strips.
- Place banana strips in a single layer on the baking sheet, and then set the sheet in the freezer for 1 to 2 hours, until bananas harden.
- Transfer bananas to an airtight container and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.