Learn how to ripen bananas quickly using a brown paper bag, the oven, or the microwave – for all of your favorite banana recipes!
Use these tips on how to ripen bananas for making our best banana recipes, like Banana Nut Bread and Frosted Banana Bars!
We Love all Things Banana!
I’m sure your kids, like mine, go through banana phases. You know what I’m talking about – one day you can’t keep bananas stocked, and the next, they’re collecting fruit flies on the counter!
Well, when you’re craving banana recipes like Banana Bread or Banana Bars, but they’re not quite ready for baking, we’ve got you covered!
We have several ways to get those bananas ripe in no time. But first, let’s talk bananas.
Natural ripening process
Bananas ripen as they age, so when they are picked for shipping they are still green. By the time they get to your local supermarket, they are ready to go from green to yellow. They also become sweeter as they ripen.
Bananas should be stored on the counter at room temperature for them to naturally ripen.
- Temperature affects the ripening process. Place them in a warmer area of the kitchen, such as near a window with direct sunlight, for them to ripen a bit more quickly. Place them in the refrigerator to slow down the process. The peels will brown, but the center will stay fresh for 4-5 days.
- Ethylene gas, which is a natural plant hormone released by fruit to help trigger the ripening process, is another factor to think about. The more ethylene that is released by or near the fruit, the quicker the fruit will ripen.
Some people like to wrap the stem of the bananas with plastic wrap to contain the ethylene and slow the ripening process of the bunch of bananas. Some people swear by this method while others don’t see a difference.
However, it is proven that high ethylene-emitting fruits (bananas, apples, avocados, melons, pears, and peaches) will speed up the ripening of any fruits in their vicinity.
How Ripe are My Bananas?
Color scale. The peel can be used to determine what stage of ripeness the banana is in.
- Green. Unripe bananas are completely green or are just beginning to have yellow on them. The flesh is firm and a bit bitter.
- Yellow. Completely yellow bananas, or with just a few freckles, are perfectly ripe. They are becoming sweeter and still firm. They are great for eating plain, putting in a Fruit Salad, Parfait, or making Banana Pudding, or Bananas Foster.
- Brown freckles. Bananas with a lot of brown freckles are very ripe. The center is very sweet and beginning to soften. These bananas are perfect for putting in Smoothies or dehydrating.
- Dark spots. Bananas that have so many dark spots that they’re almost brown are overripe. The centers are very soft and sweet and perfect for baking!
How to Ripen Bananas Fast
Many recipes will call for ripened bananas and you may think you have to wait days in order for your bananas to be ripe enough to use.
However, there are some tried and true methods that you can use to get your yellow-green bananas ripe enough to use. Here are the three best ways:
Brown Paper Bag Method
Place the bananas in a brown paper bag and fold the top over.
- To speed up the process add another high-ethylene-producing fruit inside the bag along with the bananas.
- Keep the bag closed.
- Depending on what stage the bananas started in, and how ripe you need them to be, they can take 24-36 hours.
Ripen Bananas in Oven
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. This will make clean-up easier if any juices leak out.
- Preheat the oven to 300°F.
- Place the unpeeled bananas on the lined baking sheet.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the skin is black and the center flesh is soft.
Use a fork to poke holes all over the unpeeled bananas.
- Place the bananas on a microwave-safe plate and cook in 30-second intervals.
- Check to see if the center is soft after every 30 seconds.
- This method is the quickest and will take less than 5 minutes.
Frozen bananas: You may have some very ripe bananas but you aren’t ready to use them yet. In this case, go ahead and slice the peeled banana.
I like to place the slices for each banana into separate Ziploc sandwich bags, then place all the bags of bananas into a larger Ziploc freezer bag. They can be kept in the freezer for 3-6 months.
Frozen slices can go directly into the blender for a smoothie, or you can thaw them, mash them, and use them in a baking recipe.
Here are a few of our favorite things to make with ripe bananas: Banana Poke Cake, Banana Waffles, Banana Pancakes, Banana Cupcakes, Banana Oatmeal Cookies.
The fastest way is the microwave method, which takes less than 5 minutes. The oven method is the next fastest, taking about 30 minutes.
For some Ripe banana recipes, try:
- Chocolate Banana Bread
- Banana Muffins
- Cream Cheese Banana Bread
- Peanut Butter Banana Bread
- Banana Bread Brownies
How to Ripen Bananas
- baking sheet
- parchment paper or aluminum foil
- Oven method: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. This will make clean-up easier if any juice leak out.
- Preheat the oven to 300°F.
- Place the bananas on the baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the skin is black and the center flesh is soft.