How To Use Your Oven To Ripen Bananas
Hey, did you guys know you can ripen bananas in the oven? Call me naive, but I did NOT know this until last weekend. I wanted to make Tropical Mango Banana Bourbon Bread and caramelized banana splits, and I wanted to make them right away.
I had already waited for my severely underripe banans to ripen for about a week. And seriously, those things just weren’t budging. They were more green than yellow and hard as rocks, and I wasn’t waiting any longer.
I had heard of the trick of ripening things by putting them in a paper bag with an apple. I’ve had some moderate success with that with underripe avocados, but it still usually takes 2 – 3 days to work it’s magic. And seriously, I really didn’t want to wait any longer.
Enter stage left: a quick Google search. A few different sources told me I could put the bananas in a low oven and ripen those bad boys right up. Here’s what they looked like when I started:
I put them in the oven at the lowest setting my oven would run at (170° F). I baked them for 20 minutes, and the bottoms were starting to darken, so I flipped them over and baked them another 20 minutes. At that point, they looked like this:
Pardon the bad photography – the sun started to set while I was doing this, and I forgot to white-balance the camera between shots. But I can assure you that that’s the same baking pan and the same bananas. Not gonna lie, I may have overdone it a bit.
These bananas were so soft on the inside, they were like a creamy paste! This worked out perfectly well for banana bread, although maybe 30 minutes baking time would have been enough (or even less if you want ripe but still somewhat firm bananas for banana pancake ice cream). And, I wouldn’t recommend this method for ripening bananas for eating as-is purposes.
There you have it. My little kitchen hacking adventure that got me eating banana bread right away instead of watching bananas never slowly ripen.
If the inside has not sweetened you will have a starchy taste to the banana.
Thanks for the info, Karl! So far, I haven’t run into that problem, but good to know 🙂
Of course you realize that you are not actually “ripening” the bananas? What you are doing is turning the peel dark. Ripening the banana starts on the inside.
I worked for Chiquita for 17 years and turning the peel yellow was what is done to retail the fruit.
Of course, this method doesn’t ripen the bananas in the traditional sense. The peel does darken, but that part doesn’t really matter. What this method DOES do is soften the flesh of the banana inside, so that it can easily be mashed for muffins, breads and other baked goods.
Tried the oven method and the bananas tasted like potatoes! Yuck
Sorry it didn’t work out for you, Marty! Are you sure they weren’t plantains? 😉
If you are willing to wait a few days then leave the bananas in direct sunlight. They’ll ripen naturally and quickly and will be edible, as opposed to just good for banana bread 🙂
Yay Pat! Let me know how long the bananas take to cook in your oven, if you try it.
This is genius!! Banana bread here I come!!
Thanks Suzanne. I debated about whether to even post it or not, but I’m glad I did! I usually try to keep ripened bananas in the freezer, but that doesn’t always happen, so this is another way to work with what you have.
I never knew this, I have had the same problem with banana’s not ripening, This is a revelation, Thank you for posting this!
Oh no – sorry to hear about your banana shortages. I actually don’t prefer them on their own (I really only eat them when they’re baked into baked goods…haha). So, if I could ship you my share of bananas from here in Michigan, I would! haha.
Great tip! We have been having banana shortages here in Ontario, well my little village anyways, and when we can get bananas they are so so green.