How to Ripen an Avocado

by Dorothy Reinhold on March 12, 2013

Print This Post Print This Post How to ripen an avocado on Shockingly Delicious

There’s a great story about my beloved Aunt Tanny, who came out from Pennsylvania to California to visit my family in the early ’70s and loved guacamole so much that when her visit was over, my mom sent her home with a bag of California avocados so she could make it herself.

They were hard, as is normal, but apparently AT (as I called her) didn’t know what to do with them, or perhaps we didn’t explain properly, because later she reported back to my mom that those avocados got soft and seemed rotten so she had to…wait for it… throw them away!


How to ripen avocados on Shockingly DeliciousAvocados are picked while firm, and begin to ripen once they are harvested. Once they begin to soften up nicely, they are most definitely NOT rotten, but have reached the stage leading to nirvana.

Few things are as annoying as wanting or needing fresh avocado and finding that the fruit on your counter isn’t ready. You can probably still remember the times you were planning to make  guacamole for a party and party day came and went with the fruit still hard. But grocery stores around the country have begun using strategies to pre-ripen avocados for purchase, so more and more you will be able to find the fruit ready, or nearly ready. We talked the other day about how a packing house ripens some avocados before sending them to market.

There are a couple of ways to ripen an avocado at home. Which process you use depends upon how much time you have, or how fast you need the ‘cado.

How to ripen an avocado:

  1. Naturally: Let it sit on the counter at room temperature (65-75F degrees). The warmer the room, the faster it will ripen, so in summer, avocados will ripen faster than in winter, in general. This can take a week, even two, depending on temp and how hard the avocado was when you got it.
  2. To expedite: Place several avocados in a paper bag and store at room temperature. The fruit emits ethylene gas as it ripens, and the bag captures the gas so it surrounds the fruit effectively. This might take 3-6 days.
  3. To expedite faster: Place one or more avocados in a paper bag with an apple and/or a banana. The other fruit produces more ethylene gas and hastens the ripening. This might take 1-3 days.
  4. Don’t do this: eHow recommends rushed ripening in the microwave like this or this.  I don’t recommend this due to flavor degrading. People, life is too short to eat microwaved avocados!

Avocados are ripe when they give slightly to gentle pressure when you squeeze them in the palm of your hand (don’t use fingertips), but are still firm. They should not be squishy.

If your avocados are nearly ripe or ripe and ready, you can delay further ripening by putting the fruit in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Stages of Ripeness from Calif Avocado Commission on Shockingly DeliciousAnd since you love avocados, you might like to read…

Source: Jan DeLyser, VP Marketing at the California Avocado Commission.


{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Amy October 18, 2018 at 2:23 pm

Wow! This is a good tip to know!


Krista October 18, 2018 at 11:42 am

Wow! This is a great idea! I have to try this next time I need to ripen one!


Carrie R October 18, 2018 at 3:52 am

This is such a clever idea! 🙂 Any tips for avocados that are too ripe?lol


Dorothy Reinhold October 18, 2018 at 10:08 am

I eat them! It’s a bit of a tragedy to throw them away…. 🙂


Mahy Elamin October 18, 2018 at 12:43 am

I adore avocado. Thank you for sharing this post.


Amanda October 17, 2018 at 2:12 pm

I am obsessed with avocados and this will definitely come in handy!


Alex October 16, 2018 at 11:27 am

TasteofBeirut, did those avocadoes ever ripen?


Holly March 14, 2013 at 8:21 pm

great advice– thanks! I love avocados and am going to keep that banana trick in mind.


Connie Kaiser March 13, 2013 at 10:08 am

Healthy. Delicious. Entertaining. And instructive. Hmmmm. Must be Shockingly Delicious……


TasteofBeirut March 13, 2013 at 6:40 am

Excellent article! Reading it in the nick of time, as I do have a few avocados sitting on the counter and need them to ripen quick!


Lindsay Albert March 12, 2013 at 8:04 pm

Recently I was in a panic, needed to make guac THAT night and they were still hard, but turning the right color black. It was a really warm day, during our last heat wave, so I tried putting them out in the hottest part of the yard for a sunbath. Bingo. Ripe within 7 hours!


Dorothy March 12, 2013 at 8:29 pm

Brilliant! That mimics the ripening room at the packing house, where they crank them up to 70 degrees and hold them there for awhile.


Valentina March 12, 2013 at 1:23 pm

such a useful post!


Dorothy March 12, 2013 at 5:19 pm

Thank you, Valentina! Try the banana trick. It works like a charm!


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