We’ve all been there: You purchased a big bunch of bananas only for most of them to go brown before you’ve had the time to eat them. So you should bake with them, right?
Sure, you can always banana bread, Hummingbird Cake, or even ice cream made from ripe bananas. But at what point are bananas too far gone to use? Can a banana simply be too ripe for baking?
If the peels have gone completely black, you might be thinking it’s time to dump them, but bananas are good for much longer than you may think. If you didn’t get a chance to freeze the bananas before they ripened, start preheating the oven, because more likely than not, they are perfectly fine to bake with.
How To Pick The Best Bananas For Baking
When it comes to baking, you want bananas covered all over in brown spots that smell very fragrant. These are signs that the banana is fully ripe, although you can wait longer until the bananas are completely brown or even black on the outside for the most flavor.
If your bananas are perfectly ripe and ready for baking, but you aren’t, freeze them so you’ll always have ripe bananas on hand for baking.
If you have the opposite problem and need to ripen bananas quickly, store them in a warm spot or inside a paper bag; these methods will speed up the ripening process.
Why It’s Best To Bake With Brown Bananas
Ripe bananas are not only softer, and therefore easier to mash and blend into a batter, but they are also sweeter, which is why baking recipes specifically call for ripe bananas in ingredient lists. As the bananas ripen, the fruit converts starches to sugars, which makes them not only sweeter but more flavorful.
If you’ve ever had a slice of banana bread that barely tastes of banana it’s probably because the bananas used weren’t quite ripe enough.
Plus, using brown bananas prevents baked goods from becoming gummy or starchy in texture, which often happens when green or under ripe bananas are used.
Can Bananas Be Too Ripe?
As with most produce, there comes a point of no return. If the bananas have any visible signs of mold, throw them out. If they smell off, that’s another good indicator that they are no longer okay to use.
Rotten bananas will often have a fermented or alcohol-like smell. While it’s okay if the banana peel is dark brown or even black, if the inside is too, then the fruit is beyond ripe and now on its way to rotten.
Another sign that bananas have gone bad is if they start leaking any fluids. When in doubt, just toss the bananas out.
What To Do With Those Brown Bananas
You’ve determined that your brown bananas are still good to use, but you need to get a move on and bake with them soon. So, what should you make?
Banana bread is far from the only thing you can make with ripe bananas. Try our Bananas Foster Coffee Cake with Vanilla-Rum Sauce or an easier version of a classic with our Hummingbird Bundt Cake. Skip desserts altogether and blend them into a smoothie. Just don’t use them for desserts where you want pretty and neat slices of fresh banana, like in a Classic Banana Pudding, because while sweet and delicious, these bananas are not all that pretty to look at.
Banana bread is far from the only thing you can make with ripe bananas. Try our Bananas Foster Coffee Cake with Vanilla-Rum Sauce or an easier version of a classic with our Hummingbird Bundt Cake. Skip desserts altogether and blend them into a . Just don’t use them for desserts where you want pretty and neat slices of fresh banana, like in a Classic Banana Pudding, because while sweet and delicious, these bananas are not all that pretty to look at.
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Banana bread is a baked good that’s both delicious and very easy to make. Although there are varied recipes with special additional ingredients like cinnamon, raisins, and chocolate chips, in most cases, banana bread doesn’t turn out perfect.
Sometimes, banana bread can appear more brownish than golden brown, with the latter being the ideal color for this delicacy.
If you want to know more about what makes banana bread dark brown, this article is for you. Keep on reading!
As the name implies, banana bread’s main ingredient is mashed bananas. Ripe bananas are mixed onto a batter made up of cake ingredients like flour, sugar, and butter.
Every ingredient, along with the heating process itself, contributes to how banana bread will turn out in terms of taste, texture, and color.
An undesirable color of brown on banana bread is a telltale sign that there’s been a little hiccup in the ingredients or the baking process.
Here are the common causes of dark brown banana bread:
1 – Incorrect Oven Temperature
An incorrect oven temperature greatly affects the color of banana bread. This means cranking up the temperature to make the loaf cook faster isn’t a good idea.
Also, leaving banana bread in the oven for too long will result in a very dark color. Worse, it might get burned!
Further, an oven set at a temperature that’s too high will leave a banana bread’s surface and edges dark, but it won’t be completely baked through.
2 – Defective Thermostat
A defective oven thermostat is one of the common causes of over-baking. Generally, older ovens encounter the same problem from time to time.
So, try to invest in a new thermostat, preferably not the cheapest one in the market. Lower prices mean less accuracy.
3 – Uneven Heat
Ovens have cold spots and hot spots. Getting to know your oven can help you identify these potential spots.
If your loaf is browning too quickly in the bottom of the oven, try moving it to the top. The more you use your oven, the more you’ll learn about these spots and optimal food placement.
4 – Quality of Bananas
A banana is an important element of perfect banana bread. If overripe, a banana’s starch turns to sugar, which will give a more caramelized color to banana bread.
Yet, under-ripe bananas are just as bad as overripe. Underripe bananas don’t have as much sugar and flavor as ripe bananas.
So, make sure that your bananas are the right amount ripe. A ripe banana should be light brown, but it shouldn’t have molds on it.
5 – Dark Brown Sugar
Typically, the recommended sugar for banana bread is regular brown sugar or light brown sugar. Since dark brown sugar has a higher concentration of molasses, it has a notably dark color, which eventually affects the color of the loaf.
However, using too much sugar, whether light brown or not, will lead to a dark brown color on banana bread.
6 – Using Whole Wheat Flour
Whole wheat contains bran and endosperm of wheat grain, giving it a darker color. Using it instead of white flour will definitely reflect the color of your banana bread.
7 – Too Much Baking Soda
Using too much baking soda makes the batter more acidic and alkaline, which leads to a darker color. Inevitably, the Malliard reaction occurs and results in an undesirable brown color.
Overall, an incorrect measurement of ingredients could be one of the major culprits of baked goods issues.
How Do You Keep a Banana Bread From Getting Too Dark Brown?
There’s no debating that banana bread that’s too pale or too brown doesn’t look very appetizing. So, here’s what you can do to keep banana bread from getting too dark:
Avoid Dark-Colored Pans
A dark metal baking pan absorbs more heat than light-colored pans. In this case, banana bread will heat up more quickly, risking the edges and the crust of the loaf to turn a darker brown.
You can either adjust your oven to a lower temperature or make sure to grease the pan properly. Moreover, the best pan that you can use is aluminum.
Preheat the Oven
Preheating an oven before baking is essential for at least 20-25 minutes.
If an oven isn’t preheated, chances are it won’t reach its correct temperature once you set the banana bread inside.
You can also use an oven thermometer to make sure the oven is at the right temperature. An oven temperature can be a helpful tool, particularly in older ovens.
Cover With Foil
You can keep your banana bread from over-browning by covering the pan with foil as it bakes. The foil will delay the crust from forming too quickly by reflecting the heat.
A foil can give the loaf some steam inside, which allows the bread to retain its elasticity. Yet, make sure to leave enough room for the loaf to rise.
Lastly, steaming can buy you more time to bake your banana bread without over-browning.
Avoid Expired Chemical Leaveners
Chemical leavening agents, such as baking soda, are essential ingredients for baked goods like banana bread, cookies, and cakes.
However, an expired chemical leavener will surely result in an uninviting baked product. Always use new chemical leaveners. Better yet, make sure all your ingredients are fresh.
Use Baking Stone
While a baking stone doesn’t necessarily prevent your loaf from over-browning, it helps with evenly distributing the heat from the bottom of the baking pan.
Use Gas Ovens
A gas oven has enough humidity to slow down a banana bread’s browning. On the other hand, an electric oven that has less humidity will make a loaf turn brown more quickly.
Not to mention, a gas oven retains more moisture inside, which is perfect for traditionally moist banana bread. So, a gas oven is more recommended than electric ovens.
Monitor the Bread
Keep an eye on your banana bread as it bakes. Although you confidently set your oven to the right temperature, check your banana bread through the glass every 10 minutes.
Make sure that the bread is baking normally. If it’s turning brown too quickly, cover the top with foil.
Then, to check if your banana bread is done, insert a toothpick or skewer into the center of the loof. If there’s still raw batter sticking to the toothpick, bake for another five minutes.
Repeat the test until you see dry crumbs on the toothpick. This means that the banana bread is completely baked.
You can also check with a digital thermometer. Insert the gadget to the center of the loaf, but don’t draw it out right away. Instead, slowly pull it out as you check the temperatures from the bottom to the top of the loaf.
The temperature of the bread shouldn’t be below 200℉.
What makes banana bread dark brown? The causes range from the ingredients to the process of baking. It could be anything from an incorrect oven temperature to too much baking soda.
Remember to use reliable baking equipment like an oven thermostat and to keep an eye on the bread as it bakes.
There you have it! The next time you’re baking some delicious banana bread, you’ll know the possible source of over-browning and how to prevent it.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.
Banana bread is a great snack or dessert and is a wonderful way to use bananas that have become too ripe. However, figuring out exactly how ripe the bananas need to be can be a challenge. You definitely don’t want them to be rotten, but you need them to be ripe enough. How do you find the middle ground?
When using them for banana bread, bananas can be far riper than you might expect (via Kitchen Parade). Bananas that have essentially turned black are still okay to use, and are actually preferred by some bakers. When leaving bananas to ripen, they should be stored wrapped in wax paper to prevent them from sticking to each other as they get softer.
To get black bananas, they need to be left to their own devices for at least eight weeks. However, if your bananas have sat around this long, smell them before you bake to make sure they have not started to rot. If they have, they are officially too ripe and need to be discarded. Due to the wax paper, you will be able to separate them easily so you only discard the rotten banana. When you remove the skin, the banana may be syrupy. This is okay as long as it still smells like banana. If you are in doubt, though, throw the banana away.
How long do you need to ripen bananas?
When you purchase bananas, even if you buy the ripest ones available, they are likely not ripe enough for banana bread. Let the bananas ripen at room temperature for a few days to a week (or eight weeks if you forget about them or want black bananas). The darker the banana is, the better it is for baking (via King Arthur Flour).
Most people probably don’t plan their baking projects weeks in advance. To get around this problem, you can keep some ripe bananas in the freezer. To do this, whenever you see a banana on your counter that is too ripe to eat, store it in the freezer using a Ziploc bag. The banana will turn dark brown or black in the freezer. That is normal. Prior to baking with frozen bananas, thaw them at room temperature.
If you buy fresh bananas and keep some in your freezer, you will be covered for both spur-of-the-moment baking projects as well as planned ones. Remember, a banana can never be too ripe for banana bread — unless it’s started to get moldy, infested with fruit flies, or begins to rot.
How to ripen bananas faster
Sometimes you have the opposite problem and your bananas aren’t quite ripe enough for banana bread. Thankfully, there are a couple of tricks to ripen bananas faster.
One thing you can do is put the bananas in the warmest area in your home — for example, by a window that gets a lot of sun. This method will ripen bananas within 24 hours to up to five days, depending on how ripe the bananas were to start with. Bananas ripen more quickly in a bunch, so if you can leave all of them together it will speed up the process.
Another method for ripening bananas is to enclose them in a paper bag with the top folded down. If you have any riper bananas or other ripe fruit, add that to the bag as well to speed the process. Bananas are among many fruits that produce ethylene as they ripen which increases the speed of ripening, which is why other riper bananas or another ripe fruit will speed up the process. The more ethylene in the bag, the quicker the bananas will ripen. This method should ripen the bananas within one to two days.
If you need the bananas right away, there is another method you can try. Putting bananas in the oven can get them to where they need to be to bake banana bread.
More banana bread hacks
To do this, heat the oven to 300 degrees, then put the bananas, with the peels still on, on a baking sheet lined with foil. Bake them for 15 to 20 minutes, turning them over halfway through the baking time, around the eight- to 10-minute mark. The banana skins will turn black. After they cool, peel the bananas and mash them to have bananas that are banana bread ready.
After all your work, you now have a delicious loaf of fresh-baked banana bread. However, it unfortunately doesn’t last long before losing its freshness. To keep it fresh longer, keep it wrapped in plastic or foil. Refrigerating tightly wrapped banana bread can also extend the shelf life for up to a week (via Delishably).
If you want to keep it longer than that, your best bet is to freeze it. Store the banana bread in freezer wrap or a freezer bag and it will keep for up to three months. When you are ready to eat it, thaw it by simply leaving it out on the counter for approximately two to four hours before you plan to eat it for a loaf, or at least 30 minutes for a slice.
Regardless of how you choose to store it, make sure the banana bread is completely cooled before wrapping it to prevent condensation.
No matter your level of baking skill, chances are you’ve attempted to make banana bread. You’ve also likely heard or read along the way that ripe bananas are best for the recipe. While it’s commonly believed that, the riper the fruit, the better it is for baking, not all bananas are exactly okay to use. Indeed, there is such a thing as a banana that’s too far gone even for baking. That’s why you should know just which levels of banana ripeness are actually good to use for banana bread.
According to Sweet Home Digest, visual checks can be tricky. Bananas can go from yellow with brown spots to totally black and still be okay to eat and use for baking. In fact, black bananas are some of the best for making banana bread because they have developed more sugar as they sit around and therefore taste sweeter. They may also be moister, which is perfect for baked goods. But there is definitely a point at which bananas have gone beyond overripe and may not be entirely safe to use.
Avoid using overripe bananas that have these characteristics
Top stock photos/Shutterstock
While black bananas are great for banana bread thanks to the moisture they add and the sweetness they bring to the baked good, there are some other things to look for in and on black bananas before adding them into your batter. If black bananas are spotted with mold, then it’s time to step away! You absolutely should not use them for banana bread or consume them at all, according to Livestrong. At that point, it’s wise to consign them to the trash can or compost.
Another dead giveaway that bananas are too far past their prime is if they have an odd or off-putting odor, a clear indication of bad bananas. So, trust your senses and make sure you inspect these fruits carefully. Sweet Home Digest also notes that bananas that have any kind of liquid or a mushy substance leaking out of them should be discarded. Again, don’t think anything of black peels or brown spots, but do look for anything that raises red flags to your eyes and nose.
As a baking enthusiast, I have always been fascinated by the science behind different recipes. One of my all-time favorites is eggless banana bread. It’s a classic, easy-to-make recipe that can be modified in many ways.
But have you ever wondered what makes banana bread dark brown? In this article, I’ll explore the reasons behind the color of banana bread and provide tips to achieve the perfect color.
Introduction To Banana Bread
Banana bread is a quick bread that is made with mashed bananas, flour, sugar, and butter. It’s a popular snack that is loved by many because of its simplicity and versatility.
It can be enjoyed plain, with nuts, or with chocolate chips. However, one of the things that can be frustrating about baking it is when it turns out too dark or too light. In the next sections, I’ll explore the reasons behind the color of banana bread.
What Makes Banana Bread Dark Brown?
One of the most prevalent questions people ask is why their banana bread turns dark brown. The answer lies in the chemical reaction that occurs between the ingredients.
As the bananas ripen, they release an enzyme called amylase, which breaks down the starch in the bananas into sugar. The sugar then reacts with the amino acids in the flour and forms a brown color.
This process is known as the Maillard reaction, which occurs when heat is applied to food, and it’s what gives many baked goods, such as bread, cookies, and cakes, their brown color.
However, some people might find their banana bread too dark, while others might be disappointed when their banana bread turns out too light. The color of banana bread can be affected by several factors, as I’ll explore in the next section.
Factors That Affect The Color Of Banana Bread
As mentioned earlier, the brown color in banana bread is a result of the Maillard reaction. However, several other factors can affect the browning of banana bread.
One of these aspects is the type of flour used. Different kinds of flour have different protein contents, affecting how they brown. For example, all-purpose flour has a lower protein content than bread flour, which means it will brown less.
Another factor that affects the browning of banana bread is the amount of sugar in the recipe. Sugar is necessary for the Maillard reaction to occur, but too much sugar can cause the bread to brown too quickly.
Similarly, too little sugar can result in a lighter color. The type of sugar used can also affect the browning. Brown sugar contains molasses, a natural browning agent that can result in a darker color.
The oven temperature and baking time are also crucial factors that affect the browning of banana bread. A higher oven temperature will cause the bread to brown faster, but it’s important to ensure that the bread is cooked evenly.
Similarly, baking the bread for too long can cause it to dry out and become darker. Several other factors can affect the color of banana bread, including the ripeness of the bananas, the type of pan used, and the presence of other ingredients such as nuts or chocolate chips in banana muffins.
Riper bananas will result in a darker color as they contain more sugar. Using a dark-colored pan can also result in a darker color as it absorbs more heat. Adding nuts or chocolate chips can also affect the browning as they can shield the bread from the heat.
Tips To Achieve The Desired Color Of Banana Bread
Now that we understand what makes banana bread dark brown and why is my banana bread white, let’s explore some tips to achieve the desired color.
One of the most vital things is to use ripe bananas. Ripe bananas have more sugar and will result in a darker color. However, if you prefer a lighter color, use less ripe bananas.
The type of flour and sugar used can also affect the browning. Use all-purpose flour if you prefer a lighter color or bread flour if you want a darker color. Similarly, if you prefer a lighter color, use less sugar or brown sugar if you want a darker color.
The oven temperature and baking time are also crucial. Preheat the oven to an accurate temperature and bake the bread for the recommended time.
Check the bread for doneness by inserting a toothpick in the middle. If it comes out clean, the bread is cooked.
Common Mistakes That Lead To Dark Or Light Banana Bread
Overripe bananas: Using overripe bananas can result in a darker color as they contain more sugar.
Underripe bananas: Using underripe bananas can result in a lighter color as they contain less sugar.
Too much sugar: Using too much sugar can cause the bread to brown too quickly.
Not preheating the oven: Preheating the oven is crucial for even baking and browning.
Overbaking: Baking the bread for too long can cause it to dry out and become darker.
Other Variations Of Banana Bread Colors
While most banana bread recipes result in a brown color, there are other variations that you can try. For example, you can add cocoa powder to the recipe for chocolate banana bread.
This will result in a darker color. Alternatively, you can try white chocolate banana bread, which will result in a lighter color.
In conclusion, the color of banana bread results from the Maillard reaction, which occurs when the sugar in the bananas reacts with the amino acids in the flour.
However, there are several other factors that why is my banana bread dark brown, including the type of flour and sugar used, oven temperature, and baking time.
So, the next time you bake banana bread, keep these tips in mind, and you’ll be sure to achieve the perfect color every time. Happy baking!
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Like many fruits, bananas continue to ripen as they age.
The skin on this nutritious fruit grows green initially, but it turns yellow as it begins to ripen. Once a banana has turned brown, you can assume that it is overly ripe — or perhaps that its skin has been damaged or bruised.
As bananas ripen, they produce and release ethylene gas, which causes the yellow pigment in the fruit skin to decay and turn brown (1).
But nevertheless, a brown banana is not a useless one, and they’re still nutritious too.
Bananas are a very popular smoothie ingredient.
Brown bananas blend up just as well and can be used in just about any smoothie recipe that calls for bananas.
The only changes to your smoothie that you might notice are a slightly darker color and a sweeter flavor, as brown bananas tend to contain more sugar — and therefore taste sweeter — than yellow bananas.
Here are two classic smoothie recipes that would work just fine with brown bananas:
- berry banana smoothie bowl
- superpower banana, almond, and spinach smoothie
Adding brown bananas to your oatmeal is a simple way to add a touch of sweetness without using added sugars like white or brown table sugar.
Plus, bananas are nutrient-dense and will also add extra fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to your meal (2).
Whether you’re making overnight oats, cooking with your instant pot, or using instant oatmeal packets, brown bananas will make a great addition.
Bananas are often paired with pancakes. Sometimes they’re simply cut and placed on top, while other times they’re mixed right into the batter.
When it comes to mixing bananas directly into the batter, some people actually swear by using brown or very ripe bananas in order to create the sweetest, fluffiest pancake.
If brown banana pancakes pique your interest, try this easy banana pancakes recipe or these brown banana pancakes.
Tea may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of bananas, but banana tea is actually a warm, tasty source of vitamins and minerals like potassium and magnesium (2).
You can make banana tea with or without the peel, but keep in mind that many of the fruit’s health-promoting antioxidants are found in its peel, so using it in your tea may yield more nutrients (3).
When it comes to making frozen banana pops, overripe brown bananas might not actually be the best choice.
Because they tend to turn soft and mushy, a brown banana won’t hold its shape as well as a firm, yellow banana.
But the good news is that there are other ways to enjoy a frozen brown banana — like this simple but delicious two-ingredient banana ice cream or in a berry and banana frozen yogurt shake.
Did you know that bananas can actually be cooked on the grill or stovetop, similarly to their fruit relative the plantain? Though plantains can be eaten raw, they’re most often enjoyed cooked.
Brown bananas can also be prepared with a number of traditional cooking methods, including:
Keep in mind, though, that these types of recipes often call for the use of added sugars and therefore may be best enjoyed in moderation as a dessert.
Due to their sweetness and binding properties, mashed brown bananas work best as an egg replacement in recipes for baked goods.
For each egg you want to replace in a recipe, mash up 1 small brown banana or 1/2 of a large one.
One of the great things about bananas of all color is that you can easily preserve them in the freezer.
If you’ve got brown bananas on your hands but not much time to prepare them, freezing them for later use is a great way to limit food waste and make the most of your fruit.
Here are some questions people often ask about brown bananas.
How do you keep bananas from turning brown?
The best way to keep bananas from turning brown is to store them openly so that the gasses they release can escape. When bananas are confined, such as in a bag or a box, they are more likely to brown.
If bananas often turn brown before you get a chance to eat them, consider buying fewer at one time or purchasing fruit that is still bright yellow or slightly green.
Are brown bananas healthier?
You might assume brown bananas are less nutritious than yellow ones, but in actuality, the difference between the two is fairly small. Brown bananas still contain healthy nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants (2).
However, some nutrients to be aware of in brown bananas are fiber and sugar. As bananas ripen, the fibers begin to degrade and the complex starches transform into simple sugars (4).
Thus, if you’re worried about your sugar consumption or your blood sugar levels, it may be best to choose yellow, less ripe bananas more often than brown bananas.
Can brown bananas make you sick?
A banana that has turned brown because it is overripe likely won’t make you sick. However, if a banana has begun to grow mold, is releasing liquid, or has an unpleasant smell, it has likely begun to rot and is no longer safe to eat.
Because the nutrition composition of the fruit changes as it ripens, you may notice that you digest one level of banana ripeness better than the other.
In fact, many people say they digest brown bananas more easily than yellow ones, though others — especially those with irritable bowel syndrome or other digestive health conditions — may experience the opposite (5, 6).
When you eat to a plain piece of fruit, a brown banana may not be your first choice.
But in most cases, the overripe fruit is still perfectly safe to eat, and there are many other ways to use brown bananas that you may find delicious and enjoyable.
And remember, you can keep your bananas from turning brown by purchasing them when they’re still bright yellow or slightly green, storing them in an open space like on a countertop, and avoiding bruises on the fruit.
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, like my favorite green smoothie.
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.
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.
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 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, & Peanut Butter Banana 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?
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.
- ripe bananas (or however many you have)
- freezer container
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- 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.
- 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