Do Frozen Bananas Actually Go Bad? (Advice From The Experts)

In modern times it is common for people to freeze things – usually as a way of avoiding waste, or to simply save something for a future meal.

However, despite this, it can often be tricky to ascertain the shelf life of a product once it has been frozen – especially something that isn’t stereotypically ‘perishable’. 

Do Frozen Bananas Actually Go Bad (Advice From The Experts)

One such example is frozen bananas, a treat and addition to all manner of dishes. But this begs the question: can frozen bananas actually go bad, and if so, how long a shelf life do they have? 

Can Bananas Be Frozen?

Whole bananas are actually one of the easiest fruits to freeze, and they can be a great addition to smoothies, homemade desserts, pies, baked goods, and even breakfast dishes like muesli and yogurt. 

Due to the relatively short shelf life of unfrozen bananas, they are commonly frozen – especially by people who are looking to use them for baking or smoothies later down the line. 

When Not To Freeze Bananas? 

The only times that bananas should not be frozen is a) when they are already going black and bad, and b) if you are wanting to enjoy them as a simple piece of fruit. 

With regards to the first point, black and bad bananas should not be saved and frozen, as the rotting process has already begun to take effect – thus shortening the lifespan of frozen bananas even more, and potentially causing them to be mushier upon thawing. 

With regards to the latter point, if you are wanting to eat the banana in the traditional sense – i.e. peeled and by hand – then freezing might not be the best option, as the process of freezing and thawing affects the water molecules inside the banana, and could potentially cause them to lose their firmness and become mushy. 

The Lifespan Of Frozen Bananas

When it comes to frozen bananas, there are also specific lifespans that they can feasibly have – both while in the freezer, and once they have been thawed. 

Many people might think that food being in the freezer literally freezes time, but it only ever grants an extension on the natural lifespan that the foodstuff has – and unfortunately, like all other frozen foods, they only last for a specific period of time. 


Once you put them in the freezer, fresh bananas will generally last for a period of two to three months, meaning that once they have been placed in the freezer, they need to be thawed and used within that time frame (Did you know you can make banana dog treats? Read more here). 

Of course, this only refers to fresh bananas, which means that bananas that are too ripe will last for much less once frozen. 

Skin On

With the skin still on, frozen bananas can last a little longer – extending the lifespan to roughly four to five months before they need to be consumed or disposed of. 


If the bananas have been sliced before freezing, then the shelf life for this is also around three months before consumption or disposal. 

After Thawing

Once bananas have been thawed from the freezer, they also have a specific shelf life within which they need to be consumed or disposed of. 

If the bananas were at the peak of freshness when they were frozen, then they can comfortably be stored in the refrigerator for a period of seven days before they need to be eaten or thrown out. 

If the bananas were less ripe when frozen, then this can obviously be extended slightly. Likewise, if the bananas were slightly past their best, then this should be reduced to a few days (3 or 4 depending on condition). 

Why Don’t Bananas Last Long? 

The reason that all bananas have a short shelf life is due to the presence of a chemical called ethylene – a chemical that causes the yellow pigment in the skin and flesh of the banana to decay and become brown through a process called enzymatic browning. 

This is why bananas do not seem to last long – both in the fridge, freezer, or on the counter – and also explains why older bananas can cause younger bananas to rot more quickly when they are in contact with one another. 

How To Limit Enzymatic Browning? 

While enzymatic browning cannot be stopped entirely, the best ways are to properly store bananas.

This means having them in the refrigerator if you intend to eat them soon, or storing them in the freezer with their skins on if you want to use them for other purposes (such as smoothies or baking) down the line. 

What Is The Best Way To Freeze Bananas?

When it comes to the best way to freeze bananas, this entirely depends on your intended use for them once thawed. 

For Baking

If you are intended to use the frozen bananas to make banana bread, or some similar form of baked goods, then you could either freeze the bananas peeled and whole, or sliced into small pieces to make them easier later. 

For Consuming

If you are intending to eat them like you would a normal piece of fruit, then the best way to ensure their stability and firmness would be to freeze them whole with the skins still on. 

This stands you in the best stead for keeping them firm once thawed and peeled – although it is still a risky business, and could result in mushy bananas regardless. 

For Smoothies

If you are freezing the bananas to use in smoothie making for the coming week, then the easiest way would be to slice the bananas into small pieces. This makes them not only easier to thaw, but allows you to accurately gauge portions as you are making the smoothies. 

The same goes if you are intending to use them as an addition in cereals, breakfasts, and muesli/yogurt dishes. By portioning them up into slices, the bananas will not only last longer and go further, but they will also be easier to thaw and add to cereal. 

How Else Should They Be Frozen? 

When freezing bananas for any purpose, one of the main things you need to consider is an airtight container.

The worst enemy of the banana – as with any fruit – is the air itself, as this helps to usher along the decomposition process, and introduces bacteria that helps to contaminate and rot the fruit. 

By freezing them in an airtight container, or indeed a tied sandwich bag, you can help stave off harmful bacteria, and extend the shelf life of your bananas for a longer period of time. 

This is also the best way to stop enzymatic browning, and help maintain the attractive yellow coloring of both the skin and the flesh of the bananas. 

How To Defrost Bananas?

Of course, with freezing comes the inevitable defrosting process, and there are of course right and wrong ways to go about this too. 

If you are using them for a smoothie, then you don’t really need to defrost them, but if you are intending to use them as is, or indeed incorporate them into some form of baked goods, then you will need to ensure they are properly defrosted before use. 

To do this, you could either take them out of the freezer and place them on the counter – if you are planning to use them soon after defrosting – or if you are intending to use them the next day, then you could put the container in the refrigerator and allow them to thaw more slowly overnight. 

The latter method is much more trustworthy, and will help them remain firmer than they would from being left on the side. 

How To Tell They Have Gone Bad?

Of course, another thing you need to be aware of with frozen bananas is when they have gone bad. 

With normal, unfrozen decomposition, this is obvious – but with frozen bananas it can be a little more difficult to ascertain. The main way to tell if your frozen bananas have gone bad is by the smell, their appearance, and how they feel once thawed. 

Any sort of bad or unusual odor is a sign that something is not right – and when combined with brown coloring or blackness, as well as a mushy texture, should be a clear indication. 

Final Thoughts

And there we have it, everything you need to know about frozen bananas, and whether or not they can actually go bad. 

It’s true that our understanding around frozen food can be limited, and it can be difficult to know how long something can last for once in the freezer.

However, thanks to the numerous online resources and information, we can now learn everything we need to know to avoid ruined food and potential illness. 

So if you are wondering how long frozen bananas last, then be sure to refer to this guide. Something tells me you won’t regret it!

Mark Williams
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