How to Ripen an Avocado Quickly

We’ve all been there: you’re craving scrumptious avocado toast or planning to make delectable guacamole to go with your Taco Tuesday, but when you pick up your avocados you realize they are hard as a rock. What can you do to quickly ripen an avocado?

“Quickly” is a relative term. Most avocados can take up to a week to ripen on their own. We will discuss different methods to quickly ripen an avocado, ranging in length from two or three days to a mere 10 minutes.

How to Know When An Avocado Is Ripe

Before we get into how to ripen your avocados quickly, let’s discuss how to determine if your avocado is ripe in the first place. 

  • Check appearance: Though not a foolproof method, when it comes to Haas avocados, they should be a dark purple-green color. If they are still light green, they are not ripe.
  • Pull the stem out: an unripe avocado will have a stem that is very difficult to remove with your fingers. Do not cut off the stem with a sharp instrument.
  • Check Firmness: This is the best method to determine the ripeness of your avocado. Gently squeeze your fruit and feel for a slight give. The skin should not remain indented once you let go. Squeeze in a few places to confirm the ripeness of your avocado.

Once you’ve established that your avocado is nowhere near ripe enough due to its firm feeling and well-attached stem, don’t despair. There are several ways we can speed up the ripening process.

Methods to Quickly Ripen an Avocado

1. Place avocado in a brown paper bag.

Avocados release ethylene gas, a compound that causes the fruit to ripen. In order to ripen your avocados quicker, place it (or them) in a brown paper bag and roll the top shut. This keeps the gas close to the avocados, causing them to ripen in two to four days instead of taking an entire week.

2. Place avocado in a brown paper bag with flour.

Fill the bottom of a brown paper bag with about 2 inches of flour, and place your avocado inside. This again concentrates the ethylene gas while protecting the fruit from mold or bruising. 

3. Add avocado and another fruit to a brown paper bag.

Avocados are not the only produce that releases ethylene gas; fruits like apples and bananas do as well. Adding one of these fruits to a brown paper bag with your avocado will double the amount of ethylene gas, shortening the ripening time even further to one or two days on average.

4. Pop avocado in the oven. 

If you need your avocados ripe immediately, the oven method is the way to go. Wrap your avocados tightly and individually in tin foil and pop them in the oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 minutes, or until they begin to soften. The tinfoil keeps the ethylene gas close to the avocado and the heat speeds up the ripening process. Once your avocados soften, remove them from the oven and place in the fridge until cooled. Be aware that the oven method can alter the taste of the avocado, and is best used as a last resort or when using avocado in a recipe.

Check Your Avocados

With any ripening method, be sure to check your avocados periodically so they do not over-ripen.

How To Keep Your Avocados Fresh

Now that we know how to ripen avocados, how do we keep them fresh longer? Here are a few tips.

  • Keep ripe avocados in the fridge to prevent over-ripening. This will keep them ready-to-eat for several days.
  • If avocados are sliced or made into guacamole, sprinkle lemon, lime, or even fresh orange juice over the top. The acid will keep the avocados from oxidizing (turning brown).
  • If you really don’t have time to eat your ripe avocado, you can puree the produce and freeze it for use at a later time. This should be a last resort, as frozen avocado does not taste nearly as delicious.

No matter how unripe your avocados are or how quickly you need them, there is at least one simple method you can utilize with items right in your home. Never let an unripe avocado trip up your toast or temper your Taco Tuesday.