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How to Ripen Avocados

Do you love avocados but you’re not sure how to help them ripen once you get them home from the grocery store? Do you wish you could speed up the ripening process and enjoy those fresh avocados sooner? If you’re looking for ideas on how to ripen avocados you’ve come to the right place!

Keep reading to learn several ways to ripen avocados and a couple methods we don’t recommend.

Fresh avocados, one cut in half.

How To Tell If An Avocado Is Ripe

Nobody wants to slice open their beautiful avocado only to find out it’s not ready yet! So how do you know when those yummy avocados are ripe and ready to eat? You have to check the outside. Firmness and color are the best indicators for how ripe the avocado is.

What you’re looking for in a perfectly ripe avocado is a very dark green color that has a slight give when you gently press your finger into it. If it’s bright green and hard, it’s definitely not ripe and will probably take between 4-7 days to be ready. If the avocado is black and very soft, then it’s gone too far and is overripe.

Another way to check for ripeness is to remove the stem. Most avocados have a small dark bump at the top where it was attached to the tree. Sometimes you’ll find the stem is already gone, but most avocados will still have the stem. If the stem pulls away somewhat easily and the avocado flesh underneath is a light yellowish green, it’s ripe. If the stem pulls away very easily and the avocado inside is brown, it’s overripe. If the stem is hard to pull away, that means it’s not ripe yet.

Person holding an avocado.

How to Ripen Avocados

Often the avocados you’ll find at the grocery store are medium to bright green and need a few days (possibly more!) to ripen. Here are several ideas for how to ripen your avocados at home so you can get the best flavor and texture from your avocados.

1. Leave Them On The Counter

The simplest way to ripen avocados is to leave them on the counter. Set them directly on the counter, on a plate, or in a bowl and let them sit for a few days. They will ripen naturally without any extra help. if you check on them every once in a while, you’ll know when they’re ready and you’ll be able to use them at the perfect time for the best flavor and texture. While effective, this method is slow. If you want to speed up the process a bit, there are some ways to do that!

Two whole avocados on a wooden board.  Leaving the fruit on the counter is method for how to ripen avocados.

2. Put Them Next To Other Fruit

To speed up the ripening process you can store your avocados with other fruit. Many fruits (including avocados) release natural gasses called ethylene that helps the fruit to ripen. Fruits that release ethylene gas will speed up the ripening of fruit that is placed near it. Bananas, apples, kiwis, peaches, and tomatoes all produce ethylene gas so try storing your avocados on the counter beside one of these. Keep in mind that this works both ways, if you don’t want a certain fruit getting ripe too fast, store it away from the other ethylene producers.

Avocados with bananas and an apple.  Keeping avocados with other kinds of fruit will help ripen avocados.
Keeping avocados with other kinds of fruit will help ripen avocados.

3. Place Them In A Paper Bag

To speed up the process even more, put your avocados in a brown paper bag. You can use any paper bag, small or large, as long is it doesn’t have holes. Put the avocado in and fold down the top a couple of times to close up the bag as best you can.

The bag traps ethylene gas released by the avocados giving it a stronger affect. More gas comes in contact with the skin of the avocados and they ripen faster. You can stick a few bananas or apples in the bag to help it along too. The more fruit you add, the more ethylene gas will be produced, and the faster everything will ripen. If you like banana bread, this is a great way to speed up the ripening of your bananas at the same time!

Avocados spilling out of a paper bag.

4. Try Adding Flour

If you don’t want to ripen your other fruit too fast, try adding some plain flour to the paper bag with your avocados instead. Flour works to concentrate the ethylene gas and it soaks up any extra moisture in the bag which helps prevent mold from growing.

Put a couple inches of flour in the bottom of a paper bag, then put your avocados on top and close it up. If you really want to speed things up, add more flour on top to completely bury your avocados in the flour. This will trap even more ethylene gas and keep it right next to the avocados. Depending on how close they are to ripening, this method can ripen avocados overnight or in a couple of days.

A sack of flour spilling flour on to a plate.

5. Put Them In A Bowl Of Rice

Just like flour, rice traps the ethylene gas and soaks up extra moisture. Put your avocados in a bowl and completely bury them with uncooked rice. Leave them for a couple days and check them once or twice a day to see if they’re ready. This ripening method works in much the same way as the flour but it’s less messy! When you take the avocados out of the bowl you won’t have to shake off all that extra flour.

A bowl of uncooked rice.

6. Use Sunlight

Heat ripens fruit faster so try setting your avocados on a windowsill where they’ll be warmed by the sun. You can leave them directly on a windowsill or on the counter in a sunny location. Close them up in a paper bag first to speed up the ripening process even more.

Three avocados on a window sill next to houseplants.

How NOT To Ripen Avocados

As you can see there are several easy ways to ripen your avocados faster but they do still take some time. If you want to use an unripe avocado right away, there are a couple of ways to do it, but your avocados won’t taste as good.

1. Microwave

Prick your avocado with a fork a few times (like you would for a baked potato) and place it in the microwave. Heat it at a low temperature for 30 seconds then check if it’s soft. If it’s not ready yet, continue heating for 30 second intervals until you get the desired softness.

2. Oven

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees then wrap your avocado in foil. Place the avocado on a baking sheet and put it in the oven. Check it every 10 minutes for softness. If the avocado is close to being ripe it won’t take too long, if it’s really firm it could take up to an hour to fully soften.

Soft But Not Ripe

These two methods will make your avocados soft, but they don’t actually ripen your avocados. The taste will be similar to an unripe avocado rather than the rich, sweet, buttery taste of a ripe avocado. You can use these methods in a pinch, say if you just need one more avocado for your guacamole recipe, but it’s not going to taste very good for your avocado toast.

Wrapping Up How To Ripen Avocados

Three avocados on a plate.

Avocados are so tasty and nutritious, it’s no wonder they’re such a popular food. Now that you’ve learned some great tips for how to ripen avocados (plus ones you’re better off skipping), you’re ready to get to ripening!

Have you tried any of these methods before? How did it go? Let us know in the comments section below!

Excited for more avocado content? Then check out my avocado page for more growing tips, info guides, and great recipes!