How to Ripen Bananas for Baking

By: Bob's Red Mill | August 10 2018

When you’re baking with bananas, ripe bananas (in particular) offer a wide array of benefits. If the bananas are ripe, they’re much easier to mash and incorporate into the batter of the cakes, muffins and cupcakes. They’re also sweeter, as more of the starch has converted to sugar. Whether you’re looking to test out a new banana bread recipe or you want to add a naturally sweet flavor to your banana pancakes, knowing how to quickly ripen yellow bananas can really come in handy.

Maybe you’re looking for ideas on how to ripen bananas quickly so you can throw together your banana-inspired dream recipe. If so, we’ve compiled a list of five ways to make sure you get a squishy and sweet banana in no time (because at Bob’s Red Mill, we know when the recipe calls, you answer).

Let’s take a peek into the world of ripening yellow bananas without turning them into over-ripe, mushy bananas and explore some tasty recipes to test them out once this tropical fruit reaches its ideal softness.

1. Don't Separate the Bunch of Bananas

It’s been said that a bunch of bananas ripens faster. So don’t separate them individually; instead, keep them together and allow them to ripen naturally in unison.

2. Put the Bananas in a Warm Spot

Banana ripening can be enhanced when placing the fruit in a warm area. Put them above your fridge, near a heater or in the sunshine.

3. Even the Oven…

This warm spot can, in fact, include the oven! To ripen your bananas in the oven, put your unpeeled bananas (as long as they aren’t green) in the oven at 300°F. There’s a chance they may leak (so place a baking sheet beneath them), but you’ll know they’re finished when they become black and shiny (usually about 15-30 minutes).

4. Or the Microwave!

For this method, poke through the peel’s skin with a knife or fork. Microwave the banana for 30 seconds or so. Allow it to cool and if it’s not yet soft, place it back in the microwave (continuing to check on it in 20-second intervals).

5. Place the Bananas in a Paper Bag

Put your bananas in a paper bag and loosely close it. This will help build up the ethylene and hasten the ripening process.

Banana Baking Recipes

If you see a perfect amount of brown spots and know your bananas are ripe and you find yourself hankering for a good treat, try experimenting with the recipes below. From banana cake to banana bread and banana cream pie, there’s something here for the dessert (and banana) enthusiast in us all.

Healthy Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

This recipe is courtesy of Jessica Stier from Desserts with Benefits. It’s a high-protein, high-fiber cake that’s moist, fluffy and sweet, without refined sugar or gluten. The batter is made with ingredients like Organic Coconut Flour, almond flour, cinnamon, vanilla almond milk, eggs and mashed ripened bananas (of course). The simple yet decadent frosting is made with a mix of cream cheese, Greek yogurt and vanilla extract. After you’ve baked and frosted this beauty, decorate it with sliced bananas and crushed almonds for an extra touch of whimsy.

The Best Ever Super Moist Gluten Free Banana Bread

The Best Ever Super Moist Gluten Free Banana Bread earns its name:  made with Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour, very ripe bananas, sugar, butter, eggs, milk, vanilla, chocolate chips and salt, it’s like dessert in breakfast bread form. It’s been said that true admirers of this decadent and delightful bread are even known to have a slice or two before bed alongside a mug of tea.

Gluten Free Triple Peanut Butter Cake

This Gluten Free Triple Peanut Butter Cake incorporates two of the best ingredients—peanut butter and bananas—for a match made in baking heaven. It’s easy to make, and with a peanut butter glaze, peanut butter cake and peanut butter chips, it’s fit for any peanut butter fan. Pair this tasty treat with a cold cup of almond milk (or a scoop of ice cream, if you’re feeling indulgent).

Double Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

This recipe comes to Bob’s Red Mill courtesy of Heather Wone from Miss Frugal Mommy. Double Chocolate Banana Bread is delicious, vegan and gluten free. It takes little time to prep and bake and is the perfect way to use up those extra-ripe bananas you have in the fridge or freezer. The melted coconut oil in place of butter gives it a subtly unique taste that we can’t seem to get enough of.

Carrot Cake Bread

This Carrot Cake Bread from Kim Lee of Kim’s Cravings is yet another wonderful way to incorporate bananas into your bread-baking routine. Utilizing ingredients like unsweetened applesauce, ripe bananas, raw honey, eggs, almond flour, tapioca flour and spices like cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, this bread offers that nostalgic and comforting carrot cake flavor but in a more nutritious way. Chopped walnuts and golden raisins are optional but add a lovely texture. Top it all with a glaze made of warmed coconut butter, raw honey, lemon juice and shredded coconut, and you just may find yourself enjoying this treat for breakfast, lunch, snack time and dessert.

Coconut Lime Banana Bread with Lime Glaze

This Coconut Lime Banana Bread is perfect for spring and summer baking when you’re looking to escape to the tropics! It’s both bright and fruity and can be served up with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. It’s made with Organic Unbleached White All Purpose Flour, Organic Cane Sugar, butter, coconut oil, eggs, vanilla extract, lime juice, lime zest, shredded coconut and mashed ripe bananas. The lime glaze is made from powdered sugar, lime juice and lime zest with the option of adding a toasted coconut topping.

Banana Snacking Cake

Who says cakes are only for dessert? This Banana Snacking Cake from Karina Allrich of Gluten Free Goddess is moist, fragrant and chewy (it also freezes well for future snack attacks). It’s created with a mix of almond flour and white rice flour, pumpkin pie spice, ground nutmeg, sea salt, brown sugar, eggs, extra light olive oil, ripe bananas and vanilla extract. Though it smells especially wonderful wafting through the kitchen in the early autumn months, it can be thrown together at any time of the year when you have some ripe bananas on hand.

Banana Nut Chocolate Cinnamon Muffins

These Banana Nut Chocolate Cinnamon Muffins are dairy, gluten and refined sugar free! They’re chock-full of tasty and nutritious ingredients, like Brown Rice Flour, Organic Buckwheat Flour, almond flour, walnuts, dark chocolate chips, banana, maple syrup, applesauce, coconut oil, apple cider vinegar and vanilla extract. For a quick and easy topping, Jessica Mitton from Jessica Mitton Holistic Nutrition uses walnuts and cacao nibs.

Banana Muffins with Caramel Glaze

These Banana Muffins with Caramel Glaze are a flavor explosion in muffin form. They’re made with ingredients like our Gluten Free Organic Quick Cooking Oats, Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour, ground cinnamon, melted butter, chopped walnuts and—yep, you guessed it—mashed banana for a hint of moist sweetness. The caramel glaze comes together with butter, brown sugar, vanilla, salt, milk and powdered sugar. It’s so good it can be eaten by the spoonful (or drizzled over a hefty serving of vanilla ice cream, too).

Banana Crunch Muffins with Blackberries

These Banana Crunch Muffins with Blackberries is an award-winning recipe that combines Unbleached White All Purpose Flour, Classic Granola, Shredded Coconut, banana and fresh or frozen blackberries. After portioning the batter into the prepared muffin tin, top each muffin with granola and bake until golden brown.

Banana Cream Pie

This classic Banana Cream Pie is given a gluten free makeover with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Pie Crust Mix. It incorporates cream, milk, sugar, egg yolks, butter, vanilla, powdered sugar and both bananas and bananas chips for a anytime delicious treat. These pies are the perfect dessert to whip up for an outdoor afternoon summer potluck.

Bananas Foster Cookie Bars

Although this recipe for Bananas Foster Cookie Bars calls for small bananas cut half across the middle then cut half lengthwise, rather than mashed, it’s certainly a showstopper of a dessert. These cookie bars are an ode to the famous New Orleans treat known as Bananas Foster. Courtesy of Beau and Matt from Probably This, these bars are created using Louisiana pecans in the sugar cookie crust, New Orleans rum to spice up the cream cheese frosting and brûléed bananas made with cane sugar to top it off. They also add edible gold leafing for an extra bit of flash. If you’re in the mood for creating something wildly creative with your bananas, this recipe might just be the ticket.

Whether you’re creating cookies or muffins, integrating ripe bananas into your baking recipe brings sweetness and ease.

At Bob’s Red Mill, we go bananas for baked goods that incorporate this beloved tropical fruit of ours! Have any special recipes you like to make with bananas? Or any tricks for getting them ripe? Let us know in the comments below.


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