Do you want to make banana bread but your bananas aren’t ripe? No worries, I’ve got several methods you can use to ripen bananas quickly, whether it’s overnight or in just 15 minutes, along with what to do with them now that they’re ripe!
If you’ve ever made banana bread and it’s just been “so-so”, it’s probably because your bananas weren’t over ripe. Whether it’s a traditional banana bread, one with a cream cheese filling or zucchini or a hummingbird cake, you need super ripe bananas for the flavor to come through.
Bananas will ripen naturally in about 4-5 days if kept in a warm area. That works great if you are eating them for breakfast, but it can be difficult to time your baking projects around when your bananas are going to be perfectly ripe.
Normally, I’m trying to keep bananas from ripening faster than I can eat them. However, when you have the opposite situation and you’re bananas are green, or just ripe enough to eat, then you’ve got several choices as to how to ripen bananas so you can start cooking!
How to ripen bananas quickly
If you need ripened bananas right now, you can ripen them in the oven. All you have to do is put them in the oven, unpeeled, and bake them for 15 minutes. If they are green, it might take a few more minutes.
The skins will turn black and the banana will ripen and turn mushy which is perfect for baking. Instant gratification!
I suggest placing them on parchment paper or aluminum foil as sometimes they will split open and the juice will run out.
You will need to let them cool before using them, just peel the bananas and place them in a bowl to cool.
How to ripen bananas overnight
If you’re not in a hurry but you still want to speed up the process, there are a couple of different ways to make bananas ripen faster.
- Brown paper bag – place the bananas in a brown paper bag with a ripe banana or an apple or even by themselves. Fold the top down to trap the ethylene gas that bananas will produce, this is what speeds up the ripening of fruit. This also works to ripen peaches or any other fruit that ripens off the tree. This method will take 1-2 days.
- Plastic wrap – don’t have a brown paper bag, then place the bananas in a bowl with an apple or ripe banana and cover it with plastic wrap and let it sit overnight. The gases will be trapped and hasten the ripening time. This should ripen the bananas in a day.
How to freeze bananas
When bananas get too ripe to eat, you can easily freeze them for smoothies or your baking projects. You can freeze them with the skins or without. I prefer to remove the skins so they take up less room in the freezer.
Place peeled bananas on a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet and flash freeze them for an hour or two. Once frozen, place in an airtight container. By flash freezing, it will be easier to remove just the amount of bananas you need.
Bananas can be frozen for 3-6 months. When you’re ready to use them, let them thaw in the refrigerator or on the counter. Drain off any of the liquid after they have thawed.
How to stop bananas from ripening
There are several steps you can take to keep your bananas from ripening too fast.
- Hang them upside down – this will slow down the ripening process as the ethylene gas is released from the stem.
- Wrap the stems with plastic wrap – for the same reason as hanging the bananas, this will slow down the process as it traps the ethylene gas produced by the stems.
- Store out of direct sunlight – the sun will increase the temperature of the bananas causing them to ripen quicker.
- Store in the refrigerator– once they have reached the ripeness that you prefer, store them in the fridge. This will stop the ripening process for a couple of days. The peels will turn brown but the bananas will stay firm.
If you don’t have a paper bag, place them in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
Placing bananas in the fridge will stop the ripening process, so let them ripen on the counter and then place in the fridge.
Hanging bananas can slow down the ripening process due to ethylene gas produced by the stems.
You can soften bananas in the microwave but not ripen them. To soften, poke the skins with a fork and microwave for 15-30 seconds.
What to make with ripened bananas
With perfectly ripe bananas in hand, here are some favorite banana recipes to try.
Brown Butter Banana Walnut Bread with Vanilla Butter
Marbled Chocolate Banana Bread
Cream Cheese Filled Banana Bread
Chunky Banana and Chocolate Chip Muffins
Banana Bread Muffins
Banana Granola Muffins
Bananas Foster French Toast Casserole
Southern-Style Banana Pudding from Scratch
Easy Banana Cream Pie Recipe
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Banana Sheet Cake
Banana Pudding with Cream Cheese Recipe
Raspberry Peach Nice Cream
Greek Yogurt Smoothie
Dirty Banana Cocktail
If you loved this recipe, give it a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating! Also, snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #butterandbaggage and tagging me @butterandbaggage.
How to Ripen Bananas in the Oven
- 6 bananas
- Preheat oven to 250º. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
- Add bananas with their peels laying them side by side on the baking sheet.
- Bake for 15 minutes until the skins turn dark brown. This can vary depending on how ripe the bananas are so check after 10 minutes.
- Let cool and remove the skins. The bananas will be very soft and mushy.
Barbara’s Tips + Notes
- This method is only good if you are going to use the bananas to bake and not to eat.
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