There’s nothing like the smell of fresh banana bread baking in the oven. Banana bread that’s been on the counter for a few weeks is another story. Usually, homemade banana bread is one of those things that’s gone much quicker than you’d actually like. But, if a loaf does sit around for longer than normal, how long does banana bread last?
Knowing how long banana bread lasts can keep you from wasting your creations as well as keep you from getting sick. Using a fool-proof recipe and some good storage methods is an excellent start. Otherwise, you’ll be left throwing away your loaf of bread.
We have some great tips to help you stretch the life of your homemade banana bread and make it last long enough for you to enjoy every bite.
Best ways to store banana bread
This homemade treat will last longer when stored properly. So, let’s take a look at some of the best ways to store homemade bread like this.
The best way to store banana bread to make it last is in an airtight storage container. Banana bread stored this way will last a few days at room temperature but even longer in the fridge. Banana bread stored in the fridge will last over a week. A paper towel on top can help remove excess moisture.
You could also wrap the bread in aluminum foil, which is what we do in a pinch. But really, the best way is to wrap it in a paper towel and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Here’s why.
Why does it go bad?
There’s really one key reason that it might go bad more quickly: Moisture. Banana bread is a moist quick bread, and that’s part of what makes it so good. But, it can also be a problem if you don’t take the time to store it properly.
Overripe bananas are very sugary and very wet. When they’re baked into a delicious, moist loaf, they are a magnet for mold.
Good storage practices will cut down on moisture and help to avoid moldy bread. Place your bread in an airtight bag and store it in a drying environment like the refrigerator.
Where to store banana bread
You may run into the question of whether it’s better to store homemade banana bread as a whole loaf or in individual slices. If you’re taking a batch to a bake sale or event, slicing and wrapping it in plastic makes sense. However, we wouldn’t do that until the morning of the event.
If you store it as slices, in a couple of days, your problem won’t be mold. Instead, your bread will totally dry out. Store the entire loaf in an airtight container like a plastic bag in the fridge with a paper towel wrapped around it.
Don’t store warm bread in the fridge – wait until it’s totally cooled.
It’s tempting to store the bread in the tin so you don’t have to wash an extra dish. Avoid storing your bread in the loaf pan or on a baking sheet. If you take the time to use proper storage, you’ll enjoy fresh bread longer.
Other quick breads, like zucchini bread and tea loaves, will need to be stored similarly. Avoid over-drying in your quest to avoid moldy, soggy bread. Wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in the fridge for up to a week is the best way to store moist quick breads like homemade banana bread.
Should I store it in the freezer?
Some bakers play the long game and put their bakes in the freezer after they’ve had a few slices. After all, we know a cool, dry place will keep bread fresh. But is the freezer really the best?
Store banana bread in the freezer to keep it fresh for up to a few months. It won’t go bad, but over time, it won’t taste as good. Wrapping it in a paper bag is an eco-friendly option. But, if you want to avoid freezer burn and keep bread for a long time, the best results will be from wrapping it snugly in plastic.
Kept in the freezer, its shelf life will be longer than in the refrigerator and much longer than on the countertop.
Often, we make a loaf of banana bread not because we want to but because we have overripe bananas. If this is the case, storing the loaf in the freezer is a great way to use up those bananas and save your treat for when you really want it – the day you finish your diet!
And don’t forget about your neighbors. Sharing an amazing homemade treat with friends and family is a great way to use up your old bananas and avoid waste.
How to thaw frozen bread
If you chose to store your bake in the freezer, at some point, you’re going to need to thaw it.
To thaw frozen bread, leave it out at a normal room temperature or warm place with lots of exposure to cool air. You can partially thaw it in the oven too. Some like to totally thaw it in the oven, but if you want the best quality, do it the right way – be patient. Best practices will prevent dry or overcooked bread.
This is the case with most food items, but particularly to warm banana bread, you want to keep as much moisture as possible. Putting frozen food in the oven to thaw it will either dry it out or overbake it. And, “overbaked” is practically a curse word in our households. The only thing worse is “underbaked”!
How to know if banana bread is bad
Even with proper storage, all good things come to an end. Here’s how to tell when your creation has gone bad.
To know if banana bread is bad, try the smell test. If you smell a sour dairy smell, that means your bread has passed its expiry date. If your wet ingredients didn’t use dairy, you’ll still notice a distinct, spoiled smell. Dark spots, mold growth, and spoiling all happen faster in a hot and humid climate like the tropics.
If you live in a hot, humid place as we do, an airtight freezer bag, plastic container, or Ziploc bag will give food items an extended shelf life. Be diligent in checking your food for spoilage in order to avoid making yourself sick or even developing food poisoning.
If all else fails, and your bread tastes off, don’t finish it! Bad banana bread won’t taste like good banana bread, and your tongue is trying to warn you.
Can I save it if it’s gone bad?
Throwing away your hard work can be heartbreaking, but if you’re noticing dark spots, mold, or a sour smell, it’s safe to say you can’t eat your bread.
To save a loaf though, you can try cutting a couple of slices that have gone moldy and throwing them away. Then, do the smell check again. Does it still smell bad? Are spots remaining? You may not need to throw away the whole thing if it hasn’t gone entirely bad. Chop away the moldy spots that have been exposed to air.
Be careful doing this though. We always err on the side of caution, but your nose and your tongue are a great guide. Just be very careful and realize that you can always make another loaf. Food poisoning is not fun.
Sometimes, perfect banana bread is hiding under a top layer of spoiled bread, but don’t eat anything you think might be spoiled…ever.
Ways to eat banana bread
Obviously, it’s amazing on its own. But, here are just a few great ways to give new life to an old slice of banana bread:
- Top with chocolate chips, whipped cream, etc.
- Make it into french toast
- Top with peanut butter or Nutella
- Make into bread pudding
It doesn’t have to be a chore to eat old banana bread! After you make your own, you don’t have to eat it just as a plain slice like regular bread – but melting butter and adding a pinch of salt definitely tastes great, too.
If you have the forethought, you can mix fun ingredients into your batter, too. Since it’s a cake-like quick bread, treat it like cake and add a cream cheese frosting. Sift cocoa powder into dry ingredients or add fun extracts to wet ingredients.
Since we’re tropical bakers, we love adding coconut extract, pineapple, or fresh mango to our batter.
How long does banana bread last – final thoughts
With just a little baking soda, flour, and overripe bananas, you’ll have a fresh treat on demand. Follow our best storage methods so you can enjoy the delicious taste for longer, and safely. Unless you use layers of plastic cling wrap, a zip-top bag, or some other airtight container, you won’t have much time to eat your whole loaf.
Banana bread’s shelf life can be extended if you keep it cool and don’t expose it to much air. The most important thing is to check for signs of spoilage so that you can catch it early. If you need to keep it fresh for a while, banana bread freezes easily. You can freeze whole loaves, and frozen banana bread can come in handy in a pinch.
Banana bread is one of our favorite things in the world. One of the best things about this moist bread is that a batch uses a food item that otherwise would’ve gone to waste – brown bananas. What about you? Is banana bread your favorite quick bread, or do you love some other variation?