How to Ripen an Avocado

Since most of my family members are big fans of avocados, I tend to buy them on at least every other trip to the market.

How to Ripen Avocados | Foodal.com

We slice them into salads and to top burgers. And they’re a great garnish for burrito bowls! Homemade guacamole is usually our dip of choice, especially if it’s used to fill deviled eggs for a fresh update.

We have even been known to cut one in half, sprinkle a teaspoon of Himalayan sea salt on top, and enjoy a tasty treat in the afternoon.

Avocados are even a great food to introduce to babies and toddlers. Soft, spoonable and portable, this fruit is a great first food.

Selection

When I head over to the produce section, I try to select a fruit of a fair size featuring the typical pear shape. I overlook any that have with bruises, obvious discoloration, or loose skin.

Sometimes, I’m forced choose specimens that will require a few days of ripening before we can enjoy them.

With a bunch of little ones clamoring for guacamole and other avocado-based dishes, I needed to find the fastest way to soften them up to an edible state.

How Long Until They’re Ready?

Hard examples are often green in color. They will be ready to eat in 3 to 6 days if kept at room temperature. Individual specimens that have a slight give to them will be ready to eat in about 2 days if kept at room temperature.

Are you avocados hard as rocks but you need to make guacamole tonight? Don't fret! Read Foodal's tips now and get those babies soft in no time!

If the fruit yields to gentle pressure, it will be fully softened by the next day if kept at room temperature.

Ripe specimens yield easily to even the gentlest pressure. They will stay at this stage for 2 to 3 days. I usually look for fruit that is almost ready so that we can enjoy it in the coming days.

Speeding Up The Process

If the only ones available are very hard and you do not have days to wait, you can place them in a paper bag with a banana and/or an apple on your countertop. This will help speed up the ripening process.

Both bananas and apples produce ethylene gas. This gas encourages avocadoes to mature faster. If you try this technique, your fruit should be ripe within the next 24 to 48 hours.

On the other hand, if you find that all of the specimens at your local market are very ripe, you can place them in the refrigerator to help slow down the maturing process.

Remember, never place a hard specimen in the fridge because it will halt ripening and may even cause the fruit not to age properly, rendering it inedible.

Cool temperatures slow down the maturing process and room temperatures facilitate the softening of the fruit.

For further reading, take a look at Sarah’s tips on storing this magnificent fruit.

Avocado Recipe Ideas

Once you get your fruit to nice level of softeness, you probably want to make something with it! Here are three of our favorite recipes:

Creamy Chilled Avocado Coconut Soup

Creamy Chilled Coconut Avocado Soup | Foodal.com
Photo by Kendall Vanderslice, © Ask the Experts, LLC

This lucious bowl of goodness is the perfect light lunch on a hot summer’s day.  Besides our favorite green fruit, this blended soup also containts onion, chicken stock, cucumber, fresh parsley, and a bit of lemon juice.

Find it right here on Foodal!

Lobster Guacamole

A bowl containing green gucamole and lobster pieces.
Photo and copright by Lauren at HungerThirstPlay.com. Used with permission.

Do you love your guac and love lobster? If so, they gotta be excellent together right? Bet you’re saying to yourself, “Self, it takes too long to cook lobster!” Never fear, Lauren over at Hunger | Thirst | Play has some time saving tips to have this dish prepared in a jiffy.

Get the recipe now!

Avocado Fries + Yogurt Sauce

Avocado fries and yogurt sauce on a white plate. Selective focus.
Photo by Shanna Mallon © Ask the Experts, LLC

Sometimes you just want comfort food. Fried comfort food. And that’s where these sliced, diced, and fried avocado wedges come in! But they don’t have to be too unhealthy. Throw away that ranch dressing and slather them in the included yogurt sauce.

Get the recipe over at our sister site, Food Loves Writing.

Don’t forget to Pin It!

Are your avocados as hard as a rock? Afraid you'll chip a tooth? Don't fret. Read our tips on softening them up, and you'll be making guacamole in no time!

Uncredited photos via Shutterstock.

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About Jennifer Swartvagher

Jennifer is an experienced journalist and author. Her work has been featured on TODAY Parents, The New York Times Blog, BlogHer, Scary Mommy, and scores of other parenting and cooking publications.

36 thoughts on “How to Ripen an Avocado”

  1. Sadly, I cannot eat these delicious beauties. I’m allergic to them, which is sad, because I really enjoyed them before I started having reactions. Still, this is good information to have, since I know many people that simply love them and make a good deal of guacamole in the summertime. I will be sure to pass along this information and direct them to this page. Thanks for all the great tips on this blog!

    • I’m allergic too and it’s a real shame because I do love guacamole. It’s not worth the hives though.

      Nevertheless, there are some great tips here and I certainly never knew that placing a banana with fruit would speed up the ripening process.

  2. Ahh this is great! My family loves avocados but managing ripeness has always been a bit tough in a group of 5 with various eating habits. Thanks for sharing, I’ll make sure to put this into practice. Also, if anyone’s curious to try something new, put some semi firm slices in a bowl with some milk (think cereal) and a spoonful of sugar. One of my favorite ways to enjoy the fruit!

    • There were six of us when the kids were younger, so I hear you. It’s always challenging to find something agreeable to everyone.

      That’s really interesting. I’ve never heard of eating them like this. I’ve had peaches and cream or bananas or berries and cream in a similar fashion, but I didn’t know avocados were given that treatment. I learn something new every day.

  3. Wow, I had no clue that bananas and apples help ripen avocados. This was extremely helpful, and I appreciate the scientific aspect to this article (I tend to enjoy learning about why certain things behave the way they do). I absolutely love a good guacamole, especially in the summer, so I’ll definitely be turning back to this article for helpful hints sometime in the near future!

  4. That’s it?
    Wow that’s easy! I always have to wait them out, I had no idea I just had to keep them closer to the banana’s and apples.
    Funny I know they speed up the ripening process, but I always used this knowledge to extend the shelf life of items by not storing them close.
    I never though of using it to my advantage!

  5. Handy tips! I enjoy avocados but I don’t eat them as often as I’d like. I’ve used the fruit trick with other things, but not with these specifically. If I do end up with an unripe specimen, I’ll have to try it out.

  6. I love avocados and eat them frequently. However, as you mentioned, sometimes all of the fruit at the grocery store will be either under or overripe, and either state is inedible to me. I simply skip over the overripe ones, because the slimy texture turns me off. I had heard that it was possible to ripen them in a paper bag or on a window sill, but hadn’t heard of the apple or banana technique, so I will have to try that, and now I won’t have to skip over the underripe fruit when I go shopping.

  7. I’ve heard about placing an apple in a paper bag technique but I never actually tried it – now I will! I thought my friends were just being silly or mocking me, since I love my avocados and get so angry when it’s not ripe yet. Now that you have shown me this new technique, I’ll have ripe fruit at all times 😀 Thanks for this helpful tip and making me realize it’s actually true!

  8. I love to see how many ways avocados can be used. I believe Subway now serves some sandwiches with slices and others with guacamole. While watching a cooking show, I saw some type of ice cream being made using a pureed form and with additional chunks for texture.

  9. I have never eaten an Avocado. I have seen them used in cooking shows for different things. I really want to try one one day. I just think they look fun.

  10. I’ve often used the banana method for speeding up my avacados. Don’t make the same mistake that I did and out them in the fridge. It absolutely destroyed them :/

  11. We love avocados at home. We put them in all our salads. I didn’t know about the sea salt snack –I’ll try it!

    The “leaving them out for a day” technique has always worked for me without resorting to bananas or apples, which we don’t usually have at hand. But it’s good to know anyway. The truth is most of the time we get ours already ripe or nearly ripe so we don’t have to wait a lot. It’s uncommon that “our” Kroger has hard produce on display. But sometimes it happens.

    Thanks for all the tips!

  12. My family is always eating avocados. I buy them all the time for my family. We are Caribbean, so my parents know just when they are perfectly ripe for eating, I enjoyed this blog though because I’ve learned some tricks I’ve never known before.

  13. These are really great tips! I’ve been wanting to try avocados for a while. They’ve become sort of an ‘IT’ fruit for healthy eating! But I struggle at choosing the right specimens. Thank you for the very detailed descriptions! Will definitely keep them in mind for my next grocery stop.

  14. Fantastic! This is a great tip! Honestly, I rarely eat avocados because here in our place, the fruit vendors rarely sells it. But when they do, we always buy as soon as possible because we really love it! Most of the time, we mash or blend it, put some milk powder or condensed milk, add some ice cubes, and that’s it! It tastes really good 🙂 We also put cheese or coconut meat with it. As for me, I really love sweets, so apart from the aforementioned ingredients, I also add sugar 🙂

  15. These are great tips because we eat avocados every Friday, also known as Taco Night. Sometimes buying them in advance isn’t the best idea, so we usually buy them the day before, but they aren’t always ripe enough. These tips are great because now we can buy them and keep them ripe until the glorious Friday nights.

  16. I am SO thankful that I live in a state where I can get avocados pretty much year ’round; while it is a little expensive (actually, really expensive), it is completely worth it. I never really have to worry about ripening methods, because when I buy these delicious fruits (or…vegetables?) I tend to pick ones that should be eaten within the next 2-3 days. If they are especially cheap, I will buy a lot and make them into guacamole.

    But these are great tips if I ever need to buy these ahead of time!

  17. I get these almost every time I go to the store too. The paper bag method works well. If it is too hot in the room though i find I have to put them in the fridge. I actually prefer most of my produce refrigerated. Tomatoes too. They last longer for me. I guess whatever works to keep them the way you like.
    The avocado is a tricky one. I find if I have some left if I put it back in the shell. Put it in the refrigerator it lasts. If it is just in a container it gets darker and turns. Most fresh food needs to be eaten right away. Guacamole I really like it when I first make it. Maybe I should try putting that back in the shell when I store it.

  18. I can’t do without avocados, they are my favorite, every supper time, I have a whole avocado by my side dish, I especially love the buttery type…so scrumptious, glad to know hacks involved in {how to ripen avocados}.

  19. I wanted to read this article to see what was being said about this fruit. To this day I can’t bring myself to eat it. I have tried it twice in my 50 years of life and I simply do not like the taste. I know it’s good for me, and I keep hoping to find something that will help me like it. Any thoughts?

  20. My roommate told me about using bananas to ripen just about anything. I always assumed avocados needed to be kept cool. I remember getting an avocado, putting it in my fridge, and still being unable to eat it after TWO weeks. Now I know! They’re only that hard during the dead of winter up here in Portland, so I generally enjoy the fruit year round!

    Also I feel bad for all the above commenters. The taste of an avocado is so refreshing!

  21. Would it be considered weird if I admitted to loving guacamole, but hating avocados? Don’t blame me, blame my taste buds. In Southern California it is almost considered a sin to not like avocados. I have since come around though, and especially putting them on flatbread pizzas with a little bit of bacon and chipotle sauce. YUM.

    • I like guacamole but am not a big fan of plain avocado as well. I really don’t like very soft ripe avocados. I prefer mine just before they are ripe, still firm. If I’m having them plain in like a salad or sandwich, they need to be chopped very small or sliced very thinly. Smashed is best, in my opinion. I wish I liked them plain more. They are a good source of fat for a healthy, filling, snack.

  22. I like avocados, in Jamaica we call them pear. Luckily we have plenty of the trees here so only in certain places like those who live in the city have to buy them. I did not know about the banana and apples though. We usually just put them out on the counter to ripen on their own.

  23. Thanks for the great advice! I love avocados, but I have never been able to crack the code about how to buy them so they are ready to eat when I need them. This helps a lot. Banana or apple in a bag to speed up the process and put it in the fridge to slow it down. Got it !!

  24. I love, love, love avocados, they are so delicious and healthy, I even put them in smoothies sometimes. Great tip for speeding up the ripening process, I always put them in the fruit bowl with the bananas but never in a paper bag, I must try that.

  25. I had no idea about the apples and bananas speeding up the ripening! That is definitely useful considering the grocery store I frequent almost never has ripe avacodos. The only trick I knew of before this was adding lemon juice to guacamole so that it doesn’t turn as quickly. I’m happy to add this trick to the list!

  26. Wow, I never thought to put them in the refrigerator. I always end up throwing them away because I miss their peak time. My family also loves avocados but I hesitate to buy them because I throw so many away! Great tips.

  27. my toddler is going through a very picky eating phase right now, his diet this past week has consisted mostly of Ritz whole wheat crackers and avocado. Generally, I give him a quarter of an avocado with a meal, but have upped that to half since it’s all I can get him to eat! I could only find hard, unripe avocados on my last trip to the grocery store. thankfully, I also bought some bananas and apples! I will put your suggestions to the test and try 2 separate bags, one with the bananas and one with apples, and see which works best tomorrow! thank you for posting, very much enjoy your blog!

  28. These ripening tips for avocadoes with apples and bananas are so welcome! My husband and I are chronic avocado eaters and since we live thousands of miles away from Avocado Central, the stores most often import the wooden ones. How disappointing to to cut into an avocado with a little “give” to find that it is still unripe and inedible. I haven’t come across a rescue for that situation. Any ideas? Compost only?

    As vegans, we used to spread margerine on our bread. We have given that up and frequently use mashed avocado instead. It works great with nut butters, jams, and more savory-type sandwich fillings like seitan, burgers, and fresh veggies. Avocado is a staple in our household. I thank you again for the useful information around ripening them!

  29. I usually buy about 5 of them at a time and choose ones that are the same ripeness… green and hard. What I do is just have a bag with a banana, and put one avocado in the bag, and the other four out of the bag, and then just add a new avocado each day, this will have your 5 avocados all ripening on different days. Just put ´tomorrows´ avocado in the bag the day before and you are good to go.

  30. Cool~ This is perfect since it’s already Avocado season (in our country, that is) 🙂 I’ll tell this to my mom so she can do this trick -especially since some of the sellers in the market are cheaters -_- selling avocado that’s never gonna get ripe -_- Hopefully, this will do the trick 😀

  31. This is extremely useful, thanks for sharing!
    I think that I learned two things that you mentioned here on a bad way. How to pick one and learning how to store them until I need them to eat. They can be really tricky and sometimes even if they look really good, there’s always a weird spot on them and that’s usually the one who ruins the whole thing. And I used to storing them on the fridge even after I rip them out, and obviously, that lead to them to go bad really really quickly. Such a shame!

  32. Apparently baking them in the oven for about ten minutes will also the do the trick if you’re really in a rush, and I can understand wanting to snack on these wonderful fruits straight away, but I stick to the banana method which does work. We are lucky enough to have an avocado tree in the garden, but we have to pick the fruit early before the local monkeys come and get them, so this is a trick we use often!

  33. I didn’t know you could ripen an avocado fruit yourself. This is great news. I’ve always passed up on buying fruit that wasn’t completely ripe because I assumed that I would have to eat them like that. I guess I should have paid more attention in the kitchen when my gran was trying to teach me stuff. Now I know, and I’ll never worry about buying semi-ripe fruits again. Thanks for sharing this wonderful article.

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