Does Banana Bread Go Bad?

If the banana bread you’ve bought or baked didn’t get gobbled up immediately, you might be wondering how to store it, or how long does it last. After all, you don’t want it to spoil.

Do you treat it the same way you do regular bread, or does it require special treatment?

If you’re not quite sure what’s the answer to that question, this article is for you. In it, we go through storage, shelf life, and going bad of banana bread. Let’s dive in.

Banana bread on cutting board
(credit: Whitney Wright)

How To Store Banana Bread

What’s true for both regular bread and banana bread is that you should keep it in an airtight bag or container (BBC). This way, it doesn’t dry out and go stale that quickly.

When it comes to whether or not you should refrigerate banana bread, the best answer I can give you is: it depends.

For store-bought ones, look for guidelines on the packaging or ask the clerk. Some of them require keeping in the fridge, while others not necessarily so. It all depends on the ingredients that go into the batter. In many cases, the choice is up to you on whether you chill it in the fridge or not (BBB).

Tip

If you’re not quite sure if your store-bought banana bread requires refrigeration or not, stay on the safe side and store it in the fridge. Even if it’s not a requirement, it retains moistness for longer that way.

When it comes to homemade banana bread, check the recipe you’re using for instructions. Typically, those recipes don’t include any additional preservatives, and most require refrigeration. If you can’t be bothered with finding the recipe, just put the loaf into an airtight container and in the fridge.

No matter how well you store the banana treat, it only lasts for about a week or so. If you need more time, you can freeze it.

Freshly baked banana bread
(credit: Klara Avsenik)

How To Freeze Banana Bread

In case you didn’t know, you can freeze bread. And the same is true for banana bread (BBB, BBC). The whole process takes little to no time and doesn’t require any fancy tools. Here’s how to go about it:

  1. Slice the bread (or not). Having the bread sliced allows you to quickly grab a couple of slices when needed if the bread itself isn’t too moist. If it’s super moist, the slices will freezer together, so there’s no point in doing so. Alternatively, you can also grab the frozen loaf and cut a few slices using a good knife, and put the rest back in the freezer. A third option is to cut the whole loaf into halves or quarters and wrap each one separately.
  2. Wrap the bread. Wrap the loaf with aluminum foil (leave the wrap it came in as-is) (BBC) or put it into a freezer container. If going with the latter, remove as much air as you can before sealing.
  3. Chuck the wrapped bread into the freezer. Put a name and date on the label if you like.

Frozen banana bread retains quality for at least a couple of weeks, probably even more. As usual, it all depends on the recipe.

When it comes to defrosting, you can:

  • transfer the loaf into the fridge for at least a couple of hours (or overnight)
  • take out a few slices and leave them on the counter for half an hour, prepare and eat immediately
  • toast it in a toaster, on a hot place, frying pan, or under a grill (BBB)

The last option takes only a couple of minutes, so there’s no need to remember about thawing the bread in advance.

How Long Does Banana Bread Last

Store-bought banana bread usually comes with a best-by date on the wrap. That date is a pretty good estimate of how long the loaf will retain quality. You might be able to keep it for two or three days longer if you’re lucky, but that’s about it.

When it comes to homemade banana bread, check the recipe you’re using to details. If your family goes through the whole thing in a day or two, it’s usually okay to keep it at ambient temperature.

But if you’re slow banana bread eaters and need up to a week to finish the loaf, refrigeration is the way to go for almost all homemade recipes. For extended storage, freeze the treat.

PantryFridge
Homemade banana bread1 – 2 days7 days
Store-bought banana bread (no refrigeration needed)Best-by + 1 – 2 days
Store-bought banana bread (refrigeration needed)Best-by + 1 – 3 days

Please note that the periods above are only estimates.

Fig and banana bread on a wooden cutting board
(credit: Tina Dawson)

How To Tell If Banana Bread Is Bad?

It’s usually quite obvious when banana bread is done for. Here’s what you should look for:

  • Mold. Banana bread is usually quite moist. That means it will grow mold eventually. If there’s any, discard it. Make sure to check both the surface and the insides after slicing.
  • Discolorations. If it starts growing dark spots, it’s time for it to go.
  • Off smell. If the loaf smells sour, funny, or off in any other way, get rid of it.
Warning

The moister your banana bread is, the more strict you should be about the storage time. More moisture means the chance of it going bad is higher, hence if it’s a day past its date, it’s probably better to let it go. Better safe than sorry.

Sources