How to Ripen Bananas

Updated: Feb. 22, 2024

Craving banana bread now? Learn how to ripen bananas fast—be it overnight or in 30 seconds!

With bananas, it seems like you can never quite win. Either they’re green forever or you blink and your bunch has gone brown. If you’re looking to learn how to ripen bananas so you can stir up a delicious banana pudding or banana cream pie, there are ways to get your fruit ready.

How to Ripen Bananas 4 Ways

The secret to ripening bananas is accelerating the natural ripening process. Bananas ripen as they emit ethylene. This naturally occurring gas softens and sweetens the fruit as it’s released. The key to learning how to ripen bananas is learning how to capture that gas.

How to Ripen Bananas in a Day or Two

Looking to ripen up your bunch to use in the next day or two? The easiest method is to pop your bananas into a paper bag and fold it shut. The gas trapped inside will start to turn those green ‘nanas yellow in just a day or two.

Oh, check here whether or not can you eat green bananas.

How to Ripen Bananas Overnight

Want your fruit to be ready the next morning for a stack of banana pancakes? You can speed up the process by tossing an apple, pear, orange or peach into the bag. These fruits also emit ripening-inducing ethylene. Your bananas will be ready by morning.

How to Ripen Bananas in 15 Minutes

If you need ripe bananas right away to make that loaf of banana bread you promised you’d bring to book club, you can do it right in the oven.

Place unpeeled bananas on a baking sheet and warm in a 250ºF oven for 15 to 20 minutes. The skins will turn brown, but the fruit inside will soften and sweeten.

How to Ripen Bananas Now

You can also ripen bananas in the microwave. To do this, poke holes all over the unpeeled banana with a toothpick or fork. Then microwave the fruit in 30-second bursts until it reaches the desired level of softness.

Now, these last two methods aren’t what our Test Kitchen would recommend if you want to ripen bananas quickly for eating, but they work fine for baked banana treats like muffins and cakes.

How to Store Bananas Once They’re Ripe

To keep bananas fresh, you can use a few methods. First, wrap the top stem with a bit of foil or plastic wrap. You can also use these funny (but effective) Nana Hats. Ethylene is emitted through the stem. By covering the stem, you slow that release.

Once bananas are ripe, you can press pause on them over-ripening by popping them in the refrigerator. The peels will brown but the fruit inside will stay firm. This can extend the shelf life of bananas by about four days.

You can also use this method to slow down the ripening process. Green bananas can be stored in the fridge and they will ripen at a much slower rate.

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