Planning & Prep

How To Ripen Avocados: Quick & Easy Tips

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Last Updated: Jan 23, 2024

Avocados have a creamy texture and rich flavor, making them one of the most delicious fruits to eat by themselves or in classic dishes. From guacamole for game day to avocado BLTs for lunch on the go, this fruit is versatile, delicious and dynamic. But avocados need time before they reach optimal taste and texture. Thankfully, there are easy ways to speed up the process.

Unsure how to ripen avocados? You can add them to a paper bag with other fruits or leave them out on the counter to ripen naturally. Here are five different ways to ripen avocados quickly, as well as two debunked myths.

graphic showing the 5 methods to ripen avocados

1. Leave them on the counter

One of the easiest ways to ripen avocados is to let them run their course on the counter. If you leave unripe avocados on the kitchen counter at room temperature, they will naturally ripen over several days. Keeping your avocados in the fridge will slow down the ripening process.

While this isn’t the quickest way if you’re unsure how to ripen avocados, it is the most user-friendly option. After two to three days, check the firmness by gently squeezing them — ripened avocados are firm yet slightly soft, but not too squishy. If they give a little when you press them, your avocados are ready to elevate your breakfast sandwiches or top your lunch salad for work.

2. Use a newspaper

Do you have any newspapers lying around? You can wrap avocados individually in sheets of newspaper to help trap the natural gases produced by the fruit. When you create a more concentrated environment, fruits that emit ethylene gas can ripen faster. Keep your newspaper-wrapped avocados on the kitchen counter and check on them periodically — this spring fruit should be ready in a few days.

3. Store them in a paper bag

Just like ripening bananas, the paper bag method speeds up the process by trapping the gases the fruit emits. All you have to do is store your avocados in a loosely closed paper bag and leave them on the counter — nature will do the rest. Make sure to check the firmness periodically, but this method to ripen avocados shouldn’t take more than one to three days.

4. Keep them in a paper bag with additional fruit

Speed up the ripening process by placing avocados in a paper bag with a banana, apple or any other fruit that produces ethylene gas. When these fruits release their natural gases, they accelerate ripening. Seal your paper bag loosely and leave it on the counter. Be sure to check the bag every 10-12 hours for ripeness.

5. Use rice or flour

Similar to using additional fruit, ingredients like rice and flour help trap the gas and promote ripening. Add your unripened avocados to a container with rice or flour. Leave the container on the counter for a few days, checking the firmness of the fruit every 10-12 hours. You’ll be ready to make avocado toast with cottage cheese in no time!

Note: While you can use rice or flour if you’re unsure how to ripen avocados, it’s not the preferred method because you’re essentially wasting those ingredients.

Methods to avoid when ripening avocados 

There are many great hacks to quickly ripen avocados, but some are too good to be true. Here are a few methods to avoid if you’re unsure how to ripen avocados.

graphic showing how not to ripen avocados

Microwave

While you can technically ripen avocados in the microwave, you’re actually cooking them instead of reaching their natural, creamy state. 

The inside of the avocado becomes soft, and its rich flavors aren’t fully developed if you use a microwave. We don’t recommend using this avocado ripening method if you want to maintain the fruit’s flavor and texture. You also run the risk of potential hot spots and overheating, which breaks down the fruit’s structure, affecting its taste and texture.

Oven

Just like the microwave, using an oven to ripen avocados is not the way to go. This method will soften the fruit, but it will be squishy and taste bad. You might experience uneven ripening and some mushy spots if you use the oven. Baking avocados in the oven also compromises their flavor and creates a less desirable texture.

Note: Some folks use this method to make guacamole in a pinch, but it’s not recommended.

How to tell if an avocado is ripe

There’s a science behind picking ripe avocados, but it is easy enough for newbies. Start by gently squeezing the avocado in your palm. Make sure you aren’t using your fingers, or else you could create bruising. The avocado should be soft yet firm, similar to pressing on a stress ball — it shouldn’t be squishy, which can indicate an overripe avocado. Gently press near the stem to make sure the avocado isn’t mushy.

How long do avocados take to ripen?

Underripe avocados can ripen overnight or take several days — the exact time  depends on its firmness when you buy it. Hard avocados will take much longer than softer ones.

How to store ripe avocados for later

You can store avocados in the refrigerator after they are ripe. If you leave the ripe avocados out, they will keep ripening and brown within one to two days. The refrigerator allows you to maximize the longevity of their ideal ripeness, but they shouldn’t be left too long or they’ll brown.

How to prevent avocados from browning

If you’ve cut into your avocados already, it’s best to leave the pit in, add lemon juice and cover them in plastic wrap to prevent them from browning. Citrus juice and plastic wrap help slow the oxidation process, which causes avocado browning. The refrigerator also helps slow the browning process but it isn’t long-lasting.

Recipes for ripe avocados

Looking to use your ripe avocados for something tasty? Check out these recipes for ripe avocados to find your next favorite dish:

Your one-stop shop for avocados

Now that you’re more familiar with how to ripen avocados, you’re ready to get cooking. Remember, avocados require patience to ensure they reach their optimal flavor and texture. Ripening avocados isn’t rocket science, but you’ll need a few items and some time. While it may be tempting to speed up the process and use the microwave or oven, the end result might be disappointing. However, you can always order a new batch of avocados with the help of Instacart. Place an online order today and receive your fruit in no time!

Looking for tasty breakfast ideas? Check out these avocado breakfast recipes for the perfect start to any morning.

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Instacart is the leading grocery technology company in North America, partnering with more than 1,400 national, regional, and local retail banners to deliver from more than 80,000 stores across more than 14,000 cities in North America. To read more Instacart posts, you can browse the company blog or search by keyword using the search bar at the top of the page.

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