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!

A before and after shot of bananas ripened in the oven.

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.

A bunch of slightly green bananas.

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 Fast

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.

A baking sheet of slightly green bananas.
Place the bananas on a baking sheet.
A baking sheet of brown bananas.
Bake and remove when skins have turned brown.

The skins will turn black and the banana will ripen and turn mushy which is perfect for baking. Instant gratification!

Ripened bananas in a measuring cup.
Remove peels and let cool before using.
Bananas smashed in a measuring cup.
They should be soft enough to easily mash.

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 Quickly 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.

What is the best way to keep bananas from ripening too quickly?

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.

What to make with ripened bananas

With perfectly ripe bananas in hand, here are some favorite banana recipes to try.

Breakfast Foods

1
A loaf of chocolate banana bread.
Marbled Chocolate Banana Bread
To be honest, I'm not the biggest fan of fruit plus chocolate together. I know, I know! I should really give it another try, but believe you me, I have and I don't know why, but it's just not my thing. (from Kim at Kickassbaker)
Check out this recipe
2
Banana Bread Muffins
When life gives you brown bananas… make homemade banana bread muffins! These healthy gluten free banana muffins are naturally sweetened using honey and bananas. (from Rachel at passthesprouts)
Check out this recipe

Desserts

3
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Easy Recipe for Healthy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. Vegan, gluten-free and oh so tasty. One bowl and 15 minutes is all you need….no sugar, no dairy and no fuss! (from Debra at debraklein)
Check out this recipe
4
Banana cake slices next to a cup of coffee.
Banana Sheet Cake
When life gives you extra ripe bananas, make Banana Sheet Cake. The easiest banana cake recipe because you start with a box mix, Banana Sheet Cake is perfect whether topped with a smooth and rich cream cheese frosting or a sprinkling of powdered sugar. Homemade doesn't have to take all day. (from Lori at josiandnina)
Check out this recipe
5
Raspberry peach ice cream in a bowl.
Raspberry Peach Nice Cream
Three Ingredient Raspberry Peach Nice Cream is easy to make and healthy to boot. Gluten free and vegan, it takes frozen bananas, raspberries, and peaches, and blends them up into a creamy frozen dessert. Your kids won’t even know they’re eating “just fruit”. (from Taryn at hotpankitchen)
Check out this recipe
6
Banana Cupcakes
These Banana Cupcakes are moist and fluffy with naturally sweet and creamy banana flavor and deep caramel undertones from the brown sugar. REAL ripe bananas are mixed directly into the batter, eliminating the need for any extracts and artificial flavors. (from Sam at frostingandfettuccine)
Check out this recipe

Beverages

7
A greek yogurt smoothie next to berries.
Greek Yogurt Smoothie
This 3 minute Berry Greek Yogurt Smoothie is packed with protein from creamy Greek yogurt, fiber from frozen berries, and rolled oats. It is the perfect filling smoothie when you need breakfast on the go! (from Sam at frostingandfettuccine)
Check out this recipe
8
A glass of a banana cocktail.
Dirty Banana Cocktail
A blended Dirty Banana Cocktail is a fun and delicious treat for banana lovers. Made with banana and coffee liqueurs, dark rum, and a banana, this frozen cocktail strikes a nice balance between complex and sweet. (from Michelle at cupofzest)
Check out this recipe

I first published this post on How to Ripen Bananas on my Southern food blog Butter and Baggage.

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