How to Make Bananas Ripen Faster

Two Methods:Ripening BananasHeating in the Oven

Bananas growers keep careful control over the ripeness of their product, keeping them in certain conditions to prolong their shelf life. Once home, you can reverse their hard work with a few tricks borrowed from their own research. Read on to find out how to make your unripe bananas soft and tasty.

Method 1
Ripening Bananas

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    Put the bananas in a paper bag. Bananas produce ethylene gas, a hormone that triggers ripening.[1] Keep them in a paper bag to trap more of this gas near the fruit.
    • Avoid paper bags with a clay or waxy coating, which may absorb the ethylene.[2]
    • A plastic bag blocks oxygen from reaching the fruit, which can sometimes lower the production of ethylene.[3][4]
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    Add other fruits to the bag (optional). Some other fruits also release ethylene, ripening nearby fruits. The best options are apples, pears, apricots and similar pit fruits, avocados, kiwi, and quince.[5] Other bananas will help as well, but the effect is low unless they're already ripe.
    • Use the ripest fruit you can find, and/or cut the fruit to encourage more ethylene production.
    • Even other fruits, leafy vegetables, and tubers sometimes produce ethylene if they are severely wounded.[6] If you have no other options, cut them many times and add them to the bag.
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    Leave the bag in a warm room. Heat significantly speeds up ripening in bananas. The ideal ripening temperature for flavor and texture is about 65–68ºF (18–20ºC).[7][8] This is about room temperature in a heated home. Keeping it in a warmer location — such as on top of the fridge or over the stove — may speed up ripening. The result might be less evenly ripe, but this shouldn't matter much for home use.
    • Avoid damp areas, which may encourage mold.
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    Add humidity in dry weather. Low humidity may slow ripening or affect flavor.[9] If the weather is dry, run a humidifier in your kitchen, or leave out shallow pans of water.
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    Check the bag frequently. The bananas will usually ripen within 48 hours, but it can take several days if the bananas are still green. Check once or twice a day, since the fruit stored with the banana will quickly become overripe.

Method 2
Heating in the Oven

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    Use this method to make warm, gooey bananas. Cooking a banana will make it moist, sweet, and brown. This is perfect for banana bread and other baked goods, and not too bad if you want the banana right away.
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    Fire up your oven. Preheat it to 300ºF (150ºC).[10]
    • If you don't want to make your bananas completely black, set your oven to the lowest setting instead. This will normally be about 170°F (77°C).
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    Place the bananas on a lined baking sheet. Cover the baking sheet with parchment paper to catch leaks from the mushy bananas. Place unpeeled bananas on this sheet. Don’t crowd them, as you want the warm air to circulate.
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    Check the bananas regularly. Turn the oven light on so you can keep an eye on the bananas. For most baking recipes, you can wait until the bananas turn completely black. This will take about 20–40 minutes, depending on banana size and characteristics of your oven.
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    Add the bananas to your recipe. Here's one easy way to add mushy, baked bananas to batter: cut the tip of the bananas with a pair of scissors, then squeeze the peel to push out the fruit.[11]


  • Some Indian merchants light incense sticks (agarbathi) in their banana storerooms. The incense releases ethylene and speed ripening. (A proper fire releases ethylene too, but it will cook the banana to mush!)[12]
  • There's one more treatment that hastens ripening, but it's smelly and expensive. "Caprylic acid" or "octanoic acid," sold as a dietary supplement, may make green bananas more sensitive to ethylene, the gas that triggers ripening. Because this also halts the banana's own ethylene production, this will only work if the bananas is kept in a bag with other fruits.[13]
  • Freezing bananas will also make them mushy, black, and overripe.[14]
  • If you end up with overripe bananas, make a banana smoothie or banana bread.


  • Keep bananas away from moisture to prevent mold.
  • Do not keep unripe bananas in the refrigerator. These bananas may fail to ripen properly even after they are returned to room temperature.[15]

Things You'll Need

  • Bananas
  • Apple
  • Paper bag

Article Info

Categories: Food Preservation Techniques