How to Ripen Avocados Quickly

All you need is plastic wrap and a microwave. And an avocado.

Avocados are the internet’s favorite fruit. Everywhere you click, there’s a discussion about how healthy it is, how expensive it is, and whether it’s considered a fruit or a vegetable. But whether or not you eat enough avocado toast to fill your Instagram feed, that fruit is still worth keeping in your life—for nutritional benefits and beauty hacks. Here’s what happens when you eat an avocado every day.

The problem is finding the best avocado. Once ripe, it only stays good for two or three days before it’s too late. Your best bet is buying an unripe avocado and helping the process along, which saves you time and money (did we mention avocados are expensive?). Luckily, you can ripen avocados at home with some easy tricks.

How to tell if an avocado is ripe

First things first, how would you even know if an avocado is ripe? It’s not like you can slice it open quickly to check. It all comes down to the color and the texture. Let’s begin with color.

  • Bright green: If your avocado has a bright green color, this means that it is still around four to seven days from being ripe. Avocados this color will typically be hard to the touch and will need to rest on the counter for a few days—maybe even a week—before you can eat them. Underripe avocados tend to lack flavor.
  • Very dark green: While browsing the avocado bins at the grocery store, check for the darkest green if you think you’re going to want to eat this avocado within a day or so. You want it to be firm, but with a slight give (not too mushy). If you find this, you may have the perfect avocado on your hands.
  • Black: Avocados that are too dark, almost black, are past ripeness. They may look a bit more wrinkled and are very soft to the touch. If you feel as if you could bruise the fruit just by holding it, the avocado is overripe. The inside will often have some brown spots and won’t taste as fresh.

Sometimes colors can vary, so step two of the avocado ripeness test is touch. Gently press into the avocado to feel how hard it is. You want to make sure that the fruit is soft with a little give, but not too soft that you feel like you could morph the shape with your hands. You can also pluck off the tiny stem and see if it’s green underneath. The green color means that the fruit is ready to eat. If you need to pull really hard to get the stem off or it won’t budge, that means it isn’t ripe yet. By the way, the origin of the word “avocado” is about to make you really uncomfortable!

How to ripen avocados quickly

How much of a time crunch are you in? Do you need the avocado ready for dinner in a few minutes? Do you want to have it with tomorrow’s lunch? Or maybe you want it for your weekend guacamole. Whatever the case, there are tricks for all time frames.

  • A ripe avocado in just two minutes?! Yes, it is possible, thanks to this Taste of Home hack for how to ripen avocados. Cut it in half vertically and remove the pit. Wrap each half in microwave-safe plastic wrap. Microwave on high for two minutes. When they’re cool enough to hold, run the wrapped avocados under cold water so they stop cooking.
  • Here’s another trick: Wrap the uncut fruit in tinfoil and bake on a baking sheet at 200˚F for ten minutes. (Disclaimer: If your avocado is too hard, it could take up to an hour for it to soften. Check every five minutes if it’s not ripe in ten.) Then remove your newly softened avocado. Leave it in the fridge for a few minutes to cool down.
  • If you need the avocado ready in one to two days, try placing it into a bowl or a paper bag with an apple or banana. Poke holes in the bag with a toothpick and leave it at room temperature. All of these fruits produce something called ethylene gas, which softens fruit by breaking down the internal cell walls and turning starch into sugar.
  • The obvious and simplest way to ripen an avocado is to just allow it to happen naturally by letting it sit on the counter for a few days until it’s ready.

How to store avocados

Make sure you don’t just throw your avocados in the fridge (along with these other foods that shouldn’t go in your refrigerator), because they’re best kept at room temperature. But on the contrary, if your avocado has reached perfect ripeness, you can throw it in the fridge to slow down the ripening process, making it last approximately one to three days.

And while we’re here, is avocado a fruit or a vegetable?

Claire Nowak
Claire is a writer, editor and digital strategist with more than 10 years of experience reporting on facts, trivia and quotes. Her natural curiosity lends itself to stories on history, trivia and "Did you know?" curiosities, and her work has appeared in Taste of Home, The Family Handyman, The Healthy and iHeart Media. A former editor at Reader's Digest and proud Marquette University grad, she lives in Milwaukee with her fiancé and their corgi and enjoys binge-listening to true-crime podcasts.