What to Do with Brown Bananas

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Yes, we have brown bananas! What do we do with them today? Why, freeze them, of course, to use in baking, smoothies, and other banana desserts. You can certainly bake and blend today, but if you don’t have time, follow these easy steps for freezing brown bananas to use later.

bunches of bananas with brown spots

You had high hopes when you bought that bunch of bananas. Pack them in lunches. Make Monkey Salad. Enjoy a post-workout snack packed with potassium.

But, now….

Well, they’re getting a little brown. And you know if you pack them in lunches they’ll just be a squishy mess by meal time. They’re still good, but they’re, well, brown bananas.

One thing for sure: you don’t want to throw them away. That is not a cheap eat. That’s waste. They’re still good, you know, but what to do with them?

The obvious answer is to bake your brown bananas into banana bread or banana muffins. But, you do not have time for homebaking right now, despite the fact that your quickly-ripening bananas demand it. Good thing for you, you’ve got a couple storage options.

What to Do with Brown Bananas so They Aren’t Wasted

Can you refrigerate bananas?

Most people store their bananas at room temperature. They taste best that way and of course, a green banana will ripen faster at room temperature. But, getting the bananas to ripen is not your problem right now. You want to slow down the process.

Place your brown bananas in the refrigerator. This will slow down the enzyme action that will (eventually) lead to decay. The bananas will continue to ripen, just more slowly. They’ll turn brown, but they’ll be okay — as long as they’re not oozy or fuzzy. In fact, they will actually deepen in flavor, great for baking.

Storing your bananas in the fridge will buy you a little time. But for longer storage…

bananas on a tray to freezer

Can you freeze brown bananas?

Freezing has a more dramatic effect on enzyme action, serving as a way to preserve brown bananas for a little while longer. While frozen bananas are not as tasty for plain eating as fresh, they do wonderfully well for baking, smoothie-making, and chocolate dipping.

How to freeze bananas:

Peel the brown bananas and slice them. (No, you don’t need the banana slicer! A regular table knife will do.)

Place the slices on a lined baking sheet and place the baking sheet in the freezer until the slices are very firm, 20 minutes to overnight. Don’t leave them open in the freezer too long as their aroma will start to creep into other frozen foods. Banana-scented pizza? No thanks.

Place the frozen slices in a labeled, ziptop freezer bag, and immediately return the bag to the freezer. Use within the next month or two.

To use: simply thaw briefly before using in baked goods or use them as is for milk shakes and smoothies. Leave them frozen if you’re going to make frozen chocolate banana bites.

sliced frozen bananas in a ziptop bag

What can you do with brown bananas?

When you’ve got a little more time on your hands, you can thaw your frozen bananas and use them in any number of recipes. Consider these delicious uses for ripe bananas:

slice of Chocolate Banana Marble cake on server

1. Bake someone happy!

Bananas are delicious baked into any number of goodies. Typically, you’ll need mashed bananas for baking recipes, so you don’t need to worry that your frozen bananas get mushy when you thaw them. 

Choose one of these yummy options or scroll down for more:

coconut mango smoothie in cup

2. Blend it up.

Smoothies are a delicious way to use up bananas, which add a sweetness and creaminess to smoothies. People who typically don’t like bananas, tend to enjoy them in smoothies, sometimes without even knowing it.

You can fill your freezer with freezer smoothies or simply add a bag of sliced bananas to your Smoothie Station.

You don’t need to thaw bananas before blending them, though you do want to use a high power blender so that you don’t get stuck with a frozen chunk.

Don’t forget! You can also make Banana Ice Cream!

frozen chocolate banana bites with sprinkles and coconut

3. Make chocolate-dipped banana slices.

I know. I’ve already mentioned these twice, but they bear repeating. These Frozen Chocolate Banana Bites are amazing. They taste like ice cream. So delicious! The ones coated in chocolate and dipped in coconut are my fave.

With these tips and tricks, you’ll never look sideways at brown bananas again. You’ll rejoice at the sight!

Check out these banana recipes for more tasty inspiration:

Banana Recipes

pinnable image of brown bananas on a black board

About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

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  1. Demi Taylor says

    Over-ripe bananas are perfect to use as a sugar substitute in desserts like puddings or fudge!

  2. Laura says

    They are also good to use in oatmeal.

  3. Kelly says

    I intentionally bought a bag of overripe bananas at the store yesterday! I hadn’t read the email you sent, but I saw the subject and decided to load up. My store sells a grocery bag full of bananas for 99 cents when they start getting brown dots on them. I think I’ll start with the pecan coffee cake, and use the rest for chocolate banana smoothies-my kids’ favorite-and freeze them.

  4. Nicole says

    I don’t do freezer cooking, but my version is simplifying ingredient prep. We make a beloved recipe for banana chocolate chip muffins every other Sunday. (It’s an awesome pantry challenge recipe too, because it uses up a cup of mayo…something I always have but can never come close to finishing a jar.) Anyway…when I have overripe bananas, I mash them all and freeze in containers with just the right amount for a batch of muffins. Makes the baking process much faster!

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