I need to make banana bread tomorrow, and the bananas I recently purchased with this in mind to not appear to be ripening fast enough. Is there anyway to speed the ripening without spoiling the bananas altogether?

(I have looked at this answer and it refers to how the fridge will speed up "blackening". @Sarge_Smith describes it as a different process chemically, so I am unsure that blackening == ripening for the purpose of making banana bread.)

  • 1
    Several other questions point out the use of a paper bag; did you try that yet?
    – Aaronut
    Feb 25, 2012 at 16:37
  • @Aaronut I didn't find that link when I did a search but it did appear under the "Related" sidebar after the question was posted (and I didn't notice it until after reading Elendil's answer)
    – Cos Callis
    Feb 25, 2012 at 17:46
  • 1
    Bananas go from firm to over ripe by putting them in my lunch box for only a few hours !
    – TFD
    Feb 25, 2012 at 22:02
  • I removed the [bread] tag because this isn't actually about bread; there was a long discussion about this in chat during the vegetarian/vegan week and this is a similar situation.
    – Aaronut
    Feb 25, 2012 at 22:19

4 Answers 4


Bananas are imported unripe and then ripened in the country of sale. This ripening is achieved by forcing ethylene gas through the bananas in special pressurised rooms.

Bananas naturally produce ethylene as they ripen, so you could just put them in a sealable plastic bag to contain that gas. Tomatoes also produce ethylene, so you could pop a couple of those in as well, but be aware that they'll also ripen faster too.

  • 1
    Thanks for your answer but please clarify something for me. Your answer reads "Ripening Causes Gas" but the context suggests that you mean "Gas Causes Ripening".
    – Cos Callis
    Feb 25, 2012 at 15:16
  • 7
    @CosCallis It goes both ways. Ethylene is the mechanism by which a plant signals that it's time to ripen; it triggers the ripening, which produces additional ethylene in order to continue the ripening.
    – Cascabel
    Feb 25, 2012 at 16:13
  • 3
    If you've an apple, put it in the bag with the bananas. Apples also emit ethylene, and to speed ripening, more is better. youtube.com/watch?v=I1tdZh9Pl_8 Feb 25, 2012 at 17:01
  • @Jefromi interesting, thanks for the clarification.
    – Cos Callis
    Feb 25, 2012 at 17:43
  • @WayfaringStranger: Apples emit significantly less than bananas (unless they're over-ripe, I guess), so unless you're also trying to ripen the apple, there's not much point; far better to put it in a bag with more bananas.
    – Aaronut
    Feb 25, 2012 at 19:39

When bananas are sealed inside plastic bag, the skin turns black and aesthetically it does not look good. Also, some times black banana may be not fully ripe. As ElendilTheTall says, its better to use ethylene so that banana can be ripened at a faster rate.

There are couple of ways wherein banana can be ripened on a domestic scale.

  1. As Aaronut says, cover in paper bag and keep it in warm place, thereby self produced ethylene can be trapped whcih makes banana to ripe.
  2. Coat the tip of the banana with some calcium salt, like slaked lime or quick lime, and keep it warm place.
  3. Expose the banana to fumes (by burning some dry biodegradable material, like dry leaf, dry stem or such things) and cover the exposed banana tightly.

I know that this is a bit after the fact, but here is a trick I learned from the Produce Manager at the supermarket I used to work at...

Put the banana in a paper bag with an orange. Close the paper bag (roll it up). Leave it over night, and the banana will be ripe in the morning.

The paper bag was mentioned before, as was using an apple, but citrus works even better.

  • can you explain what you mean by "better" in this context? Is it just 'faster'? Less likely to spoil?
    – Cos Callis
    Mar 22, 2013 at 14:32
  • I mean it is faster - more effective. Can get you a ripe banana quicker. When you get right down to it, the OP asked how to ripen a banana faster, and using citrus in a paper bag is a great way. Mar 22, 2013 at 14:46

There is also another method, that only takes 20 minutes. Heat it up in a oven.

Ripe bananas super fast in the oven:

Prepare the fruit with a few puncture holes and enclose them

150°C (302°F ; 130°C Fan, 266°F Fan)

  • mashed for Banana bread

80°C (176°F ; 60°C Fan, 140°F Fan)

  • soft but chunky

Put in the oven for a good 20 minutes, until the peel of the banana turns brown.
The heating of the fruit will make it soft and very sweet.

The images show middle ripe, slightly spotty, bananas.
Adjust time, when needed (less ripe / more ripe)

Ripe bananas super fast in the oven
20 minutes
Goal: small, soft chunks

punch holes with fork

after 20 minutes heating with
80°C (176°F ; 60°C Umluft, 140°F Fan)

slice into small,soft chunks

Ripe bananas super fast in the oven
20 minutes
Goal: very soft for mashing

punch holes with fork

after 20 minutes heating with
150°C (302°F ; 130°C Fan, 266°F Fan)

slit opened and spoon out
or squize out

after a minimal amount of stirring

Result after using the mashed banana as Jogart replacement
and the chunks of the banana replaced the apples

  • 20min at 150C you're for sure cooking the bananas, not just ripening them
    – Luciano
    Dec 6, 2021 at 10:29
  • @Luciano The OP is asking for a 'fast' solution without spoiling the bananas. This method does this. Dec 6, 2021 at 11:31

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.