Guacamole lovers everywhere agree: avocados are a fickle fruit. It seems avocados are either hard as a rock or completely squishy and gross.
Where’s the happy medium? How can you tell if an avocado is ripe? And what’s the fastest way to transform an underripe avocado into firm, buttery goodness?
We’ve tested out several of the methods currently floating around the internet. Some websites claim you can ripen avocados in just 10 minutes by using an oven, while others say you can soften avocados in just 30 seconds in a microwave. Sound too good to be true? Well, we’ve set out to prove once and for all how to ripen avocados fast.
In this article, we’ll show you which methods are best and which methods fall flat, and we’ll even teach you a quick trick to help you determine the ripeness of an avocado while you’re at the grocery store — no more guessing!
1. How To Ripen Avocados In The Oven
The name of the game here is ethylene gas, which is the gas that’s naturally emitted when fruit ripens. In this method, you’ll wrap the avocado in foil to trap this gas and keep it close to the fruit. The thought is that the trapped gas will speed up the process to ripen the avocado.
Here’s how to ripen an avocado in the oven:
- Heat oven to 200 °F.
- Wrap the avocado in aluminum foil.
- Place the avocado in a shallow dish and put it in the oven for 10-minute intervals.
Does It Work?
While this process does eventually produce a ripe (or at least soft) avocado, it’s definitely not a 10-minute process like the rumor promises. In fact, for a rock-hard avocado, it took more than an hour to soften much at all. Not only that, the avocado didn’t have that buttery taste and texture that we love. Plus, warm avocado is just… no.
2. How To Ripen Avocados In the Microwave
Some swear that an avocado can be ripened in the microwave, similar to the oven method. We’re going to say right off the top that we think this idea sounds majorly sketchy at best — again, warm avocado is a no-go. We gave it a try nonetheless, since it may be useful if you’re just looking for how to soften avocado.
Here’s how to ripen an avocado in the microwave:
- Prick the skin of the avocado with a fork to vent the heat.
- Place the avocado in the microwave and heat on a low setting for 30 seconds.
- Remove the avocado from the microwave and test firmness with your finger.
- Continue microwaving in 30-second intervals until the avocado is reasonably soft.
Does It Work?
We recommend skipping this method to ripen an avocado for several reasons. Admittedly, it does make the avocado softer, but clearly soft isn’t the end-all when we’re talking avocados. The flavor was gross, the smell was even worse, and the poor avocado actually looked burned. Be kind to your air space and your avocado — move on to the next method.
3. How To Ripen Avocados In A Paper Bag With Fruit
If you’re wondering how to ripen avocados fast, rest assured that this method definitely cuts average ripening time (up to five to six days on your counter if you take no measures to speed up ripening) in half, to between one to three days, according to StillTasty. For this, you’ll want to pair your avocados with fruits that release ethylene gas: tomatoes, apples, or bananas are all great choices.
Here’s how to ripen an avocado in a paper bag:
- Place avocado in a brown paper bag with a couple other fruits.
- Seal the brown bag, making sure there are no gaps or holes.
- Leave it untouched, checking on the avocado once daily for ripeness.
Does It Work?
This method absolutely works, but isn’t going to help if you’ve got a room full of hungry people and avocados that just don’t want to play ball. So, if a beautiful, ripe avocado in half the time is your goal, this may be the best way to go, but if you need it to be ripe right now, you may need to fire up the oven or start the microwave.
Note that an alternative to method three is to put about two inches of flour in the bottom of a paper bag and place the avocado on top of the flour. The ripening time is the same, and the method is very similar. Bustle notes that the only difference is that the yeast in the flour takes the place of the ethylene gas as the ripening agent.
Now that we’ve looked at these three methods, you can see that there’s no strange magic when it comes to ripening avocados. You basically have three choices: plan way ahead and purchase your avocados before you need them; eat less-than-tasty but soft avocados from the oven if you find yourself in a pinch; or give your avocados one to three days to ripen in a paper bag. But if you want to skip all this madness entirely, read on to learn how to tell if an avocado is ripe before you even leave the store.
4. How To Choose A Ripe Avocado
There’s a fun trick you can use at the store that shows you how to pick a ripe avocado without trying to guess by squeezing it or praying to the avocado gods. Here’s how The Kitchn recommends testing avocado ripeness, which we found to be true:
- Turn the avocado to the thinner end and carefully remove the short stem.
- If the color is green where the stem was, the avocado will be ripe and green inside.
- If the color is brown where the stem was, the avocado will be too ripe on the inside.
- If the stem is not easily removed, the avocado isn’t ripe yet.
- If you learned more than you thought possible about how to ripen avocados, please SHARE this article with your guac-loving friends!