If you are looking to make a loaf of banana bread but your bananas aren’t ripened yet, let me show you how to ripen bananas. I’ll show you 4 easy way to ripen bananas, including my favorite fast and easy method so you can use the bananas now for baking.
I don’t know what it is about bananas in my house. They are never ripe and ready when I want to use them! But that doesn’t stop me from baking up some banana bread around here.
When baking with bananas, you always want to use overripe bananas instead of green or yellow bananas. An overripe banana is dark and speckled in color. The darker the color, the sweeter they will be.
Using a ripe banana in your banana bread will really make all the difference. Your banana bread will have more flavor and be sweeter. They are sweeter than unripe ones which tend to be more acidic, so its important to use ripe bananas when baking.
But what is a baker to do if your unripe bananas aren’t ready yet? Wait a week for your green bananas to be ready and make it later? I think not. Let me show you to ripen bananas quickly.
- Use ripened bananas to make my favorite banana bread recipe, Flour Bakery’s famous banana bread recipe.
- These easy banana sourdough muffins are a delicious way to use your sourdough discard and couldn’t be simpler to make!
- Made with overripe bananas, and a hint of cinnamon, this sour cream banana bread is quick to make and doesn’t even require a mixer!
How do bananas ripen?
Bananas produce and react with ethylene gas, a natural plant hormone, that is in the air, which results in the browning of the bananas.
When they come in contact with ethylene gas, it breaks down the acids in fruit into sugars. The green bananas turn to yellow, and eventually to brown spots, and eventually black in color the more they are left to ripen.
Bananas produce a large amount of this gas compared to most fruits, so the longer they are left to ripen, the more sugar they will produce.
How to ripen bananas naturally
Ripening bananas naturally can take usually 3-5 days, depending on how green they were to begin with. But let me show you how to ripen bananas faster naturally.
- Keep near a window spot– You can let your them ripen naturally sitting on your counter. Place your bananas near a warm spot, like a sunny window, to speed up the process.
- Keep in a bunch – They will ripen faster if you keep them bunched together.
- Keep next to other fruit – If they are kept next to other fruits, like an apple or pear, it will speed up the browning process.
How to ripen bananas fast in the oven
If you need to ripen bananas quickly to use in your baking, then this oven method is your best friend! You can ripen multiple bananas fast in the oven in about 20 minutes or less. Ripening bananas in the oven is the fastest way to ripen all your bananas, or as many bananas as you need!
Preheat your oven to 300oF. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or you can also use parchment paper.
Arrange unpeeled bananas on a foil lined baking sheet.
Place bananas in the oven for 15-20 minutes, depending on how ripe they were to begin with. I like to turn them over halfway through baking to ensure even browning. They will turn black when ready.
Remove from the oven and let them cool before unpeeling, mashing the banana pulp and using in your baking.
How to ripen bananas overnight
If you want to speed up the ripening process naturally, you can place them in a brown paper bag. You can use a large brown paper bag from the grocery store, a small lunch bag, or even a plastic bag will also work.
Place unpeeled bananas in the bag with another piece of fruit, like an apple and then loosely fold the bag closed and leave to ripen for the day. This will speed up the process and take about a day.
I find this process good for ripening bananas overnight that will be good to eat the next day, but if you want to use in your baking recipes, then you will need to give them a few more days. If your they are very green, this process may take even little longer.
Does microwaving a banana ripen it?
Microwaving will create a soft texture, but does not develop the natural sugars, which is what we want. So I don’t really recommend this method to achieve the desired ripeness for baking with them.
This microwave method is best for when your they are already a bit ripened and speckled brown. I don’t recommend this for green or underripe bananas.
- Poke your unpeeled bananas all over with holes with a fork.
- Place on a microwave safe plate in case they leak.
- Microwave for 1 minute on high. Repeat again for a total of 2-3 minutes until softened in texture.
- Remove and allow to cool before peeling and mashing.
How to use your ripened bananas
Now that your bananas are ripe, it’s time to bake with them! Here are a few ways to use them up:
- Cupcakes – You can make cupcakes – like these peanut butter banana cupcakes.
- Cake – Bake up this easy banana sheet cake with cream cheese frosting!
- Banana bread – Of course use them to make one of my banana bread recipes! Try my Nutella banana bread, sourdough banana bread, or chocolate chip banana bread!
- Muffins – Bake up some muffins like these banana sourdough muffins or banana coconut chocolate chip muffins.
Storing Ripe Bananas
If you have overripe bananas but are not quite ready to use them then be sure to pop them in the fridge once they are ripened. Placing them into the fridge will slow down the ripening process.
You can also freeze for much later use…
Freezing Ripe Bananas
You can also freeze them if you are not quite ready to use them. Peel and place bananas on a baking sheet and freeze solid. I like to peel the bananas skins, as the banana skins can get very mushy once thawed.
I like to keep them whole so I know how many to remove and use for my baking recipes, as most recipes call for a specific amount of bananas.
Once frozen, pop them into in a sealable freezer bag, and try to remove as much air as possible, and freeze.
You can also use an airtight container.
Frozen bananas will keep in the fridge for up to 6 months. When you’re ready to use them, thaw overnight in the fridge. Or you can also defrost quickly at room temperature. They may get darker in color as they defrost and quite a bit of liquid will be released.
More Recipes To Try
Let’s Bake Together!
How To Ripen Bananas Quickly
- 3 bananas whole and unpeeled
- Preheat your oven to 300°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or you can also use parchment paper.
- Arrange unpeeled bananas on a foil lined baking sheet.
- Place bananas in the oven for 15-20 minutes, depending on how ripe they were to begin with. I like to turn them over halfway through baking to ensure even browning. They will turn black when ready.
- Remove from the oven and let them cool before unpeeling, mashing the banana pulp and using in your baking.
- Bananas: You can easily bake more or less bananas if you need them for your recipe. Baking the bananas should be used for recipes where mashed bananas are called for, not slice fresh bananas or for eating.
- Storage: If you have overripe bananas but are not quite ready to use them then be sure to pop them in the fridge once they are ripened. Placing them into the fridge will slow down the ripening process.
- Freezing: Freeze peeled bananas in a freezer bag or airtight container for up to 6 months. When you’re ready to use them, thaw overnight in the fridge. Or you can also defrost quickly at room temperature. They may get darker in color as they defrost and quite a bit of liquid will be released.