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How To Ripen Bananas Quickly

Two bananas ripen quickly on a baking sheet.

How To Ripen Bananas Quickly

There is more than one way to ripen bananas quickly, which is great news for those of us who only ever see green bananas at the grocery store! It’s rare to find ripe bananas in the produce section, and unripe bananas can be a problem, especially if you wanted to make banana bread, banana muffins, or any recipe that might call for overripe bananas.

Luckily, I’m no stranger to clever baking hacks, including those you can use to ripen bananas fast! I did some research and discovered a bunch (get it?) of ways to speed up the ripening process, and I’ll share the best ones with you in this post.

Check out this quick banana-ripening hack in action in my video at the end of the post!

Check out this quick banana-ripening hack in action in my video at the end of the post!

A bunch of quickly ripening green bananas on a wooden table.

Understanding How Bananas Ripen

Bananas are harvested while they’re still green and chilled in transit to prevent them from ripening. Once they’re stored at room temperature, bananas produce ethylene gas that causes them to ripen. The green chlorophyll in the banana peel will degrade, revealing the yellow color from carotenoids, and the starches in the fruit will break down into sugars and make the banana sweeter. 

Depending on how green they are and how warm your house is, bananas can take 4 to 5 days to ripen naturally. But rather than waiting days on end for fresh bananas to get ripe enough to use in banana bread, keep reading to learn some easy ways to ripen bananas fast!

A person quickly placing bananas on a baking sheet in the oven to ripen.

How To Quickly Ripen Bananas In The Oven, Microwave, Or Air Fryer

Keep in mind that all of the techniques below will work better with bananas that are already yellow. Green bananas just won’t have the sweetness you’re looking for, no matter which ripening method you try!

How To Ripen Bananas In The Oven

This method takes about an hour from start to finish, and it’s the best way to ripen bananas in a hurry (at least in my opinion!)

  • Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.
  • Take a bunch of yellow bananas and separate them.
  • Place unpeeled bananas on a baking sheet and bake them for about 30 minutes, or until the skins are shiny and black.
  • Remove and let cool for at least 30 minutes before using (or toss them in the fridge to speed things up.)

The heat of your oven will help bring out the sugar in the bananas, leaving you with super soft and sweet bananas, perfect for banana bread, banana muffins, or banana pancakes!

Quickly Ripen Bananas In The Microwave

Need to know how to ripen a banana instantly? This is about as close as you can get!

  • Use a fork to poke several holes all over the peel of an unpeeled yellow banana.
  • Put the banana on a piece of parchment paper and place it in the microwave. (Parchment paper won’t stick to your microwave if the peel bursts!)
  • Microwave in 30-second bursts until the banana is as soft as you’d like.

Ripen Bananas In The Air Fryer

It only takes about 7 to 8 minutes to ripen a yellow banana in the air fryer!

  • Preheat your air fryer to 300°F.
  • Put a piece of parchment paper or foil into the basket, in case of banana leaks.
  • Put the banana(s) in the basket and cook for 7 to 8 minutes until the skins are shiny and black.

After using the oven, microwave, or air fryer method to ripen bananas faster, cut or tear a small piece off the bottom of each banana and squeeze out the fruit like you’re squeezing toothpaste out of a tube. Easy!

Four quickly ripening bananas on a baking sheet.

3 Quick Ways To Ripen Bananas Naturally 

1. Ripen Bananas In A Paper Bag

Bananas need to be kept above 59°F in order to ripen naturally, which is why you shouldn’t put bananas in the refrigerator. Bananas produce quite a lot of ethylene gas, which causes fruit to ripen by turning starch into sugar. All that ethylene will make other fruits ripen faster as well, which can be a good or bad thing, depending on the situation. Keep that in mind when you store bananas!

One way to ripen bananas naturally it to put them in a closed brown paper bag to trap the ethylene gas. (Don’t use a plastic bag, which will will trap moisture too.) The paper bag will cause your bananas to ripen quickly — possibly even overnight, depending on how ripe they were to begin with.

2. Take Off The Plastic

Did you ever wonder why the stem on a bunch of bananas is wrapped in plastic? It’s because the stems release the ethylene that ripens the fruit. Take off that plastic and the bananas will ripen faster.

3. Separate Them

I haven’t personally experimented with this, but a lot of people swear that bananas ripen more quickly when bunches are separated into individual fruits. Give it a try!

Two rapidly ripening bananas hanging from a white kitchen cabinet.

How To Store Ripe Bananas

If the bananas you bring home are green, hang them on the hook over your fruit basket (which is the best way to store fruit). This will keep them from bruising each other as they lie in a bunch. They can keep for several days this way, especially if they started out green and a bit hard. 

You can refrigerate ripe bananas by peeling them and putting lemon juice on them. After giving them a nice splash of lemon juice, wrap the bananas tightly in plastic wrap. They won’t last long, but it will give you a bit more time to eat them or get them in the freezer.

If your bananas ripen more quickly than you can eat them, you can freeze them so you don’t waste food. Just peel and slice your ripe bananas, then freeze the slices on a sheet pan lined with with parchment paper. Once frozen, transfer the frozen bananas to a zippered freezer bag — they’re perfect for making smoothies!

Looking to store bananas long-term? Try dehydrating them! Bananas are one of the many foods you can dehydrate, and homemade banana chips make a great snack.

A quickly made banana bread with chocolate chips on a cutting board.

What To Do With Overripe Bananas

There are plenty of uses for overripe bananas, and that’s in addition to making banana bread! If you can’t use them right away, freeze brown bananas by squeezing the fruit into a zippered freezer bag, or seal the bag with a vacuum sealer. Once thawed, you can add your overripe banana puree to baked goods and smoothies as an easy way to eat more fruits.

What’s your favorite way to eat bananas?

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BLOOPER ALERT! :-)

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.
I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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  • Genius!!!!! Thank you for sharing, this will definitely make it easier to make recipes calling for overripe bananas. I rarely have them on hand when I want them, since who wants to wait 3-4 days to make a recipe? Game changer!

  • […] Or how about when you NEED to make banana bread NOW (or just need ripe bananas but all you have are green ones)? No need to worry – ripen your bananas in a snap now! […]

  • […] not have an overripe bunch stashed and ready to go. So follow this suggestion from Jill Nystul of One Good Thing by Jillee and roast whole bananas in the oven for 40 minutes at 300° F to ripen them. They’ll end up […]

  • […]  This particular recipe for banana bread was featured on a site that I absolutely adore called One Good Thing By Jillee.  On the site Jillee shares a smart tip on how to prepare  banana bread without having ripe […]

  • If you are looking to reduce your (cane) sugar intake, try a half cup of puréed dates in place of sugar. You can also use applesauce or any other fruit you like to add sweetness with greater depth of flavor than sugar provides.

    • There’s also Sunsweet Lighter Bake on the baking aisle or available on Amazon. I’ve used it for years. Can’t find it? Try a jar of baby food prunes. I find that using applesauce overwhelms the bananas with the taste of apples. Yum!

  • I am so excited to try this! I am making your 3 ingredient banana bread for an event tomorrow & only have 2 over ripe bananas (someone must have eaten the other 2 – yuck!) but I have yellow bananas that I’m going to throw in the oven right now. Jillie to the rescue! Thank you.

  • Thanks for the new recipe, Jillee. I loved the way it turned out! I don’t run a gluten-free household, so I used 1 cup Whole Wheat flour and 1 cup All-Purpose Flour. So delicious!

  • This was my first EVER attempt at making banana bread. Loved it. I’m guessing because I’m a novice at anything outside of box mixes but I will probably never attempt this feat again. I don’t understand how little old men and women used to bake all day every day. ;)

  • So we just put them in the oven?
    Do not turn it on? Please clarify for me. I tend to over analyze and over think.
    I love banana bread & I always get compliments. This is super handy! Thanks!

  • Hi Jillee, I really like this idea! I throw my bananas in the freezer, too. The only drawback to letting them get a little mushy, is that my hubby will sometimes beat me to the bananas, and toss them! Grrr! This will end both problems! Thanks!

  • Way too much sugar which is a problem with most gluten free products. Use a lesser amount of coconut sugar or some stevia instead for a healthier dessert. Remember diabetes is a major problem today.

  • When baking banana bread, if the top isn’t quite finished baking turn off oven and leave loaf in till oven is cool. It cooks that last little bit at the top.

  • My first attempt at gluten free. Inspired by your post, as well as the four overripe bananas on my counter, I purchased Red Mill all purpose gluten free flour mix. I’m concerned about consuming sugar all of a sudden, so threw out all the sugar in your recipe. I substituted about 1-1/3 c. unsweetened applesauce from an opened bottle. For butter, I substituted pure coconut oil. Remember I started with 4 bananas, so I added almost 3 c of the flour, not 2 as in above recipe. I used 1 t. baking soda. I had greek yogurt so used instead of sour cream. It sounds crazy, but this was the best, crunchiest topping, most moist inside, “banana bread” I’ve ever made. Don’t know if it can be recreated. Thx for the inspiration. I feel I can consume this with total immunity! I’ve read your numerous posts about gluten free and think it’s right for me at this time in my life when everything seems to be fuzzy or swollen or itching.

  • […] have any ripe bananas, never fear! Jill over at One Good Thing by Jillee shared a way to get ripe bananas fast (as in, less than an hour!) She’s […]

  • This is SO smart! I just posted a banana bread recipe today, and I totally am linking to this in it :) I hate waiting for bananas to ripen!

    • since the recipe provided includes baking soda (a leavening agent), use all purpose. If all you have on hand is self rising, then leave the soda out. and if you forget either way, no harm with this kind of recipe.

  • This is great because bananas never last long enough to over ripen around here. Even when I think I surely over bought–they disappear before my eyes
    Thank You!.

  • One of my favorite ways to freeze bananas is to peel, break into chunks and freeze on a cookie sheet, then stash in a zip-lock bag. To make the best frozen treat, throw the pieces into a food processer and pulse until the consistency of soft ice cream. It is sooooo sweet and delicious!!

  • I’ve used the microwave on bananas before too. Also freezing bananas in skin will soften them — if you dont have time tocook them that day, freeze them then pull out to thaw just before you are ready to get cooking.
    Thanks for sharing the recipe, I have friends who need gf recipes.

  • Great to know. I have a grandson who LOVES my banana bread and many
    times I have bananas but they are not ripe enough. Now when he calls and say he is coming for a visit…I can be prepared! :)

  • Another way to do the job is to freeze the bananas overnight. The next morning, you take them out of the freezer and thaw them out. The extra water will give your bread lots of moisture.

  • The oil from a baked banana skin is an amazing quick silver polish. It will keep in the frig for a few days. Round up all your silver and polish away.
    With the additional bananas, cut down the middle length being careful not to cut through the skin on the bottom. Pull apart and stuff with mini-marshmallows and small pieces of chocolate. Wrap in foil. Bake 350F for 1 hour on a baking sheet. Excellent for a camp fire.

  • Jillee, I’m kicking myself. I dislike eating ripe bananas (the smell is normally overwhelming and the taste makes me feel sick to my stomach) but I do get a hankering for good banana bread every once in a while. This makes it easy to make immediate banana bread from bananas that are too ripe for me to eat, without having to let the bananas sit on the counter for days while they make my kitchen smell less-than-pleasant (to me, of course).

    Thanks for this!

  • What a great tip! On the flip side, to prevent them from ripening too quickly, try separating them as soon as you bring them home from the store. Now I am craving banana bread too. Your recipe looks wonderful!

  • I have used banana flavored baby food for the banana in a recipe…or use in combination with ripe banana, if you are short…and it’s easy to have a jar on the shelf!!

  • What a great idea!! And this recipe sounds wonderful, and a great way to take care of any yogurt you have that needs to be used up (in place of the sour cream). Thanks so much, Jillee, you’re the best!!

    • Hola Jill:

      Para hacer el pan de plátano con harina común, las cantidades son las mismas?

      Gracias por tu blog, lo sigo todos los días!!

      Saludos!!

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