How to Ripen Bananas Quickly

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Find out how to ripen bananas quickly (in less than 2 minutes!) for baking and get some tips for ripening stubborn green bananas so they're ready to eat sooner.

Want to know how you ripen a banana in 30 minutes? How about 2 minutes? Believe it or not, it can be done.

For the baking enthusiasts out there, this likely comes as good news. After all, there’s nothing worse than trying to throw together some banana bread, banana muffins, or other healthy baked good only to realize you don’t have any overripe bananas.

Below, we’ll show you how to ripen yellow bananas in under 30 minutes so you can use them in your favorite recipe. We’ll also give you some tips for hastening the ripening process if you have stubborn green bananas you want to use or eat.

How Does Fruit Ripen?

Before we jump into the methods for ripening bananas, let’s take a quick look at how fruit ripening happens naturally. 

Fruits like bananas undergo expedited ripening due to an increase in ethylene gas, a natural plant hormone. Ethylene causes the starches in fruit to break down and turn into simple sugars. At the same time, this hormone causes changes in the cell walls of the fruit that causes bananas to feel softer.

As these two changes occur, the chlorophyll that makes bananas green begins to break down. And the amount of carotenoid pigments, which are responsible for the yellow color of bananas, increases. As the ethylene concentration continues to increase, these color pigments begin to break down and turn brown.

Mature green bananas off the tree typically take about 5 days to ripen to the soft yellow fruit we like to eat. It will take a few extra days to turn them into the brown, mushy bananas preferred for baking. Luckily, there are ways we can use the natural components of ripening to ripen bananas faster.

3 Ways to Get Ripe Bananas Fast

Ethylene takes time to work its magic on bananas. But you can easily replicate much of what this hormone does by exposing bananas to heat.

At high heat, the starches in bananas break down into simple sugars in much the same way they do during ripening. The higher temperatures also cause cell walls to denature, causing the banana to soften.

High temperatures also lead to the oxidation of color pigments, which means heating a banana will turn it brown.

These quick ripening methods can turn a yellow banana into a soft, sweet, brown banana in a matter of minutes. They aren’t great options for ripening bananas so you can eat them plain, but they work wonders for creating bananas to bake with.

Ripen Bananas in the Oven

In the Oven – 30 Minutes

Using the oven to quickly ripen a bunch of bananas is the best method, in my opinion. It takes a little longer, but it results in uniformly soft bananas with a sweet flavor that taste like they’ve been naturally overripened. 

  1. Start by laying each unpeeled banana flat on a baking sheet. It helps to line the baking sheet with aluminum foil or a silicone baking mat just in case they get too hot and pop out of their peels. 
  2. Place the baking sheet in the oven at 300 degrees.
  3. Cook for about 15 to 30 minutes. You’ll know the bananas are done when the peels are completely black and shiny.

For printable instructions, check out the recipe card at the end of this article.

Bananas Ripened in the Oven

In an Air Fryer – 10 Minutes

An air fryer is another convenient way to over-ripen a yellow banana. The results are fairly uniform, but it can take some experimenting to find the right cooking time to get to the level of softness you desire.

  1. Line your air fryer with parchment paper or tin foil.
  2. Place the unpeeled bananas inside.
  3. Cook at 300 degrees.
  4. Remove after 8 to 10 minutes, or once the peels have turned black and shiny.

In the Microwave – 2 Minutes

The microwave is by far the fastest method for overripening bananas. But it also yields the least desirable results. Because microwaves create hot spots, your bananas will likely be softer and sweeter in some spots compared to others. But, for quickly softening bananas for baking, the microwave works well enough.

  1. Poke a few sets of holes in the banana peel using a fork (just as you would a baked potato).
  2. Place the banana on a paper towel in the microwave.
  3. Microwave on low power for 30 seconds. 
  4. Flip the banana and continue microwaving in 30-second intervals.
  5. Your banana is ready when the skin has turned black and shiny (it usually takes between 30 seconds and 2 minutes).

Tricks to Ripen Green Bananas

The above methods work well for bananas that have already started the ripening process and are mostly yellow. This is because green bananas contain too many complex starches to be properly sweetened through heat exposure. But don’t fret, there are some simple things you can do to help green bananas ripen faster.

The methods below will work whether you have a partially unripe banana or one that looks more like a granny smith apple than a yellow sunrise. What will differ is how long the process will take. 

A banana that was picked after ethylene production started will ripen within a day or two using these methods. But bananas picked too early may take a few days before they begin to shift from green to yellowish-brown.

1. Keep Them Together

Each banana in your banana bunch puts off its own ripening hormones. By keeping them together, you increase how much ethylene gas each is exposed to. 

Because the amount of exposure is directly related to how fast ripening happens, the more ethylene the better!

2. Put Them Someplace Warm

Bananas are tropical fruits that have evolved to ripen in time with warmer, more humid periods of the year. They respond to higher temperatures by producing more ethylene to hasten the ripening process. But too much heat can damage that gaseous hormone and halt ripening.

The sweet spot is around 68 degrees.

If your fruit bowl tends to be a little cooler than this, try putting your bananas on top of your fridge to warm them up. You can also set them in a sunny window or above a heat vent if your house is extra cool.

3. Put Them in a Bag

The gas responsible for ripening fruits tends to dissipate into the environment as it’s released. By putting your bananas in a bag, you can trap much of that gas. Since more ethylene equals faster ripening, this can quickly turn green bananas yellow.

Using a paper bag to do this helps trap ethylene without creating too much humidity (which can cause the bananas to rot or mold). 

Place your banana bunch in a brown paper bag, roll the top down, then place it in a warm spot for a day or two. Be sure to check their progress frequently. Bananas putting off a lot of ethylene can go from unripe to overripe in less than a day.

4. Give Them a Ripening Buddy

If you have a lone banana in need of ripening or really green bananas that aren’t making much ethylene, giving them some moral support can help. By this, I mean placing a ripe fruit in the paper bag with them.

All climacteric fruits produce large amounts of ethylene during ripening. Bananas are part of this category, as are avocados, apples, tomatoes, peaches, and kiwis. If you have a ripe one of any of these fruits on hand, stick it in the bag with your bananas. 

Check the bag frequently to judge ripeness. Once the bananas begin to turn yellow, you can remove the buddy fruit and eat it. If you leave it in too much longer than this, it’s likely to get overripe. 

That’s good for your bananas, but not so good for the fruit that’s already ripe!

Printable Quick Banana Ripening Instructions

If you have a few minutes to spare in the pursuit of ripening your bananas for baking, we recommend using the oven. This method is simple, fairly quick, and offers the best results.

Quickly Ripen Bananas in the Oven

How to Quickly Ripen Bananas in the Oven

Have an urge to make something requiring ripe bananas (or actually overripe bananas), like banana bread, banana muffins, etc. but you don’t have any overripe bananas? Here's a simple solution to ripen bananas quickly in the oven.
Click stars below to rate, or leave a full review in the comments
48 Ratings
Print Pin Recipe
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Diet: Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: how to ripen bananas, quickly ripen bananas, ripen bananas in the oven
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 1 banana
Calories: 105kcal
Author: Jessica Verma

Ingredients

  • 1 banana

Instructions

  • Preheat oven at 300 degrees
  • Place banana(s) on a baking sheet (with peels on) and bake for 30 minutes
  • Bananas are done when peels are black and the inside is soft

Notes

Nutrition information is an estimate automatically calculated by the Spoonacular food database and based on a single banana.

Recommended Tools & Products

Baking Sheet

Nutrition

Calories: 105kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 422mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 76IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @CleanGreenSimple or tag #CleanGreenSimple!

52 thoughts on “How to Ripen Bananas Quickly”

  1. Thank you SO much for this tip. I recently made Gluten-Free Coconut Flour Banana Bread Chocolate Chip Cookies and waited DAYS for my bananas to ripen up. It was like watching water boil. I mentioned your tip in my blog at http://www.theorganicrabbit.com.

  2. Love the tip! Great timesaver! Tip: I did mine in a toaster oven and it went real quick. Temp still at 300 but it only took a total of 25-30 mins flipping them halfway through. Turned out great!

  3. When I needed bananas to be riper than they were, I froze them and they worked great for banana bread. It didn’t take them long to thaw. They were very moist and mushy.

  4. Hi, just used this trick to make some banana muffins. Putting them in the oven for an hour certainly made the bananas soft and easy to mash but they still tasted unripe; they hadn’t developed that rich banana flavor. So I wouldn’t recommend it for anything where the taste of the fruit isn’t really important.

  5. This works well, but like you said, the texture of the oven-ripened bananas is different – I find them so mushy that they’re really only good for banana bread or baking. I like slicing up bananas and putting them in the freezer but I could never do this with the ones I made in the oven, they were incredibly unappealing to me.

  6. So glad i saw this. Im craving banana bread today and i didn’t want to wait for the bananas to ripen. They are in the oven now. Thank you!!

  7. Thanks a billion!!! i was a bit scared when i saw my big black banana but it was perfect for my banana walnut cookies! I wanted to make it for my brother who was coming the next day and i was worried because i forgot to get bananas. Thanks to your method i’m saved the time needed for bananas to ripen.

  8. Thanks for the tip, I will be trying this, I made banana bread for my fiance last week and now he wants it all the time but our bananas are not ripe enough so you can bet I will try this tip!!!

  9. Thanks for the tip on the butternut squash Audrey! I love making soup with it, but HATE peeling them. This should make the whole process so much quicker, easier with so much less mess 😀

  10. WTF? I followed the recipe using near ripe bananas and mine came out hard inside and impossible to mash. You owe me $1.50 worth of organic bananas. 🙂

  11. I tried this today and it didn’t quite work out. The banana skins went dark black, but the bananas themselves had an odd odor and they tasted awful, not like bananas at all. I opted not to use them as I’m making a dessert for Christmas Day and want it to taste good 😉 Not sure what went wrong there.

  12. Thanks So Very Much, I always Make Banana Breads for Christmas & forget How Early to Buy them, so they get soft & mushy !! Really Appreciate This !! 🙂

  13. My sister has the flu and asked me to bake her a loaf of my banana bread. I learned years ago that banana bread tastes as good coming up as it does going down and shared it with my family. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any ripe bananas to fill her request. Thank you for your wonderful, quick way to make it possible to grant her wish.
    Happy Thanksgiving

    • Hahaha! That’s the best tip/comment I’ve ever read! Roflmbo! I’ll remember this the next time I nurse a sick loved one!

  14. Great idea to put in the oven. I had been putting them on top of stove as the oven baked other dishes to speed up the ripening. That does speed up the rippening as well ,but not it is a much slower process.

  15. What about microwaving the banana’s I thought I had heard that once somewhere that you can ripen a banana in the microwave. Has anyone else heard of that?

  16. Love the tip on the squash. I love having some sort of squash/zucchini in my soups but I hate having to cut up a squash and that is a great idea!

  17. This is the best tip I’ve found in a very long time! I’m both impatient and impulsive, so I’ve made compromises on taste by using unripened bananas on many occasions.
    It worked perfectly!
    Thanks!

  18. Did I somehow screw up the simple process of putting bananas in the oven? No one else has mentioned that this makes the bananas taste and smell terrible. Totally no good for making ice cream.

  19. Hi:
    I needed ripe bananas to make ice cream so I tried your oven trick. It worked but an hour was way to long. I checked on them after 30 minutes and even that might have been to long. The next time I’ll try a lower temp an check on them every 10 minutes. It’s a very good idea, thanks.

  20. See you have many options to share tips from your site; however, what happened to the old e-mail forward?????

    Not all of us are tech savvy nor want to be!

  21. I actually just tried this yesterday, and it worked just fine for baking, but the texture of the bananas coming out of the oven was really odd, Sort of not as soft, or maybe stringy. Is that typical?

    • Yeah, the texture is slightly off from a regular ripened banana, but as you said, it still works!

  22. One way is to keep the bananas with an apple in a brown paper bag; or keep an apple near the bananas. Of course your method seems to be the quickest!
    🙂

  23. How do you think these bananas would turn out after “browning” and then put in the freezer? Do you know if they would still turn out creamy?

  24. am surprised…. so quickly you came to know about the award. love your blog jessica. and i won’t be silent now. loved this tip too of ripening the bananas.

  25. Well, that is a new trick. But, since we have our own banana palms, and the weather is getting hot…104 deg. F yesterday…I can save on the oven. BUT, do like the idea of a quick way to ‘ripen’ them in the winter time. Thanks.

  26. Wow, how interesting! Those black bananas do look a bit freaky, though. 🙂

    One tip I found out that has really made things easier for me is to partially cook butternut or kabocha or other squashes before cutting. I just wash the squash, poke a few holes in the top and pop in the oven (at whatever temp–325, 350, 400F) until I can easily stick a knife in it, but it is not yet mushy. I then take it out of the oven, let it cool for a few minutes and then cut and peel it as a I normally would. Once it’s cut up how I want it I just roast it, steam it, toss it in a stew…whatever the recipe calls for… to finish cooking.

  27. I’ve never done this before! I always have bananas on hand and I let them ripen and buy more as needed. I use a lot for smoothies and such so I like to have the ripe speckled bananas. Speckled ones are best for smoothies, and very soft squishy black bananas are the best for baking.

    If you need to replace oil or eggs in a recipe and you don’t have bananas you can also peel and chop an apple and blend with a little water for a raw apple sauce you can use right away as well.

    I have a guide on how to tell if bananas are ripe and when they are at the best taste for eating and recipes

    http://lowfatveganchef.com/how-to-tell-if-a-banana-is-ripe/

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