The best way to ripen bananas quickly depends on how much time you have — so we've covered them all to help you out. Then you can go back to whipping up your world famous banana bread (just share a bite with us, please!).
How to Ripen Bananas in the Oven
If you're short on time, the best way to ripen bananas quickly is using the oven. One thing to note, however, is that this method may affect the taste of your banana bread because baking in the oven cooks the bananas rather than ripening them. The starch in bananas breaks down into sugar during the ripening process, which is why bananas get sweeter as they ripen. When you bake bananas, less starch is converted to sugar, so your 'naners may not be as sweet.
One way to remedy this is to bake your bananas at a low temperature for a longer amount of time. Obviously, your ability to do this depends on your deadline. If you have a party in five hours and you need to bring the host the banana bread your promised, you may have to sacrifice some sweetness. Even if that's the case, there are plenty of add-ins to spice up your banana bread — like chocolate chips — that will compensate. Here's how to ripen bananas in the oven in four easy steps:
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Line your baking sheet with parchment paper to protect against oozing banana guts. Place your unpeeled bananas on the rimmed baking sheet.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until the bananas peels are black.
- Remove the pan from the oven and let the bananas cool before using.
How to Ripen Bananas in the Microwave
Ripening bananas in the microwave is the best option if you needed banana bread-ready bananas yesterday. This method only takes a few seconds, making it appealing for someone on a tight schedule. But bananas ripened using this technique may not taste as good as bananas ripened in the oven — or better yet, ripened naturally in a bag. That said, it can't be helped if you need these bananas ASAP. Here's how to ripen bananas in the microwave in four easy steps:
- Peel your bananas.
- Place them on a microwave-safe plate or in a microwave-safe bowl.
- Heat them for 30 seconds. If they're still hard, microwave for another 30 seconds. Continue until bananas are soft.
- Remove bananas from the microwave and let cool before using.
How to Ripen Bananas Overnight in a Bag
Let's say you had enough forethought to buy some bananas ahead of time and totally forgot about them until just now. Luckily, you have about a day until you need them, which is plenty of time for them to ripen. The best way to get ripe bananas overnight is to use a brown paper bag — here's how to do it in three easy steps:
- Place bananas in a brown paper bag.
- Loosely close it to allow the ethylene, the gas that ripens the banana, to collect, thus speeding up the process. You can add fruit like apples or tomatoes to the bag to produce extra ethylene.
- Check banana in roughly 12 hours. If it's ripe, remove it and use whenever. If it's not, return the banana to the bag, reseal it, and let it sit, checking back every now and then to monitor progress.