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Can You Ripen Avocados in the Microwave?

Can You Ripen Avocados in the Microwave?
Ratchapol yindeesuk /123RF

You can microwave an avocado to ripen faster. Depending on the strength of your microwave, it takes between 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

I must admit, when I first heard the idea of putting avocados in the microwave to ripen them, I thought this was some unusual prank.

Microwaves and avocados don’t sound like two things that go well together. So, what’s going on here? Is this a real hack or a bogus hoax?

In this post, I bought a bunch of avocados to test in the microwave (plus a couple of other methods) so you can see how it went for me and you can then test it at home for yourself.

Can You Put Avocados in the Microwave to Ripen?

You can absolutely speed up the ripening process by zapping an avocado in the microwave for a couple of minutes.

When you do this, use the highest heat setting you have available. For the record, mine isn’t particularly powerful with the highest setting using a max power of 700 watts.

How Do You Ripen an Avocado in the Microwave?

There are two critical methods for ripening avocados in the microwave.

Method 1: Make holes with a fork.

The easiest of the two methods, it’s also more convenient because all you need is a fork.

For this method, grab your avocado and jab it a few times with a fork to make vents You will need a fork. Four to six times should be optimal depending on the size of the avocado.

Next, stick the avocado in the microwave on a plate for a max of two minutes, cut it open and it should be ripe and ready to eat.

Avocado in the microwave.

What surprised me about this method was firstly how tender the avocado became after microwaving, and second, my knife went right through the pit (the nut in the center).

Microwaved avocado.

It was also a clever idea to make holes with a fork to let the steam out. I noticed small bubbles around the holes when I removed the avocado from the microwave.

Bubbles escaping microwaved avocado.

While method 1 is the easier of the two methods, its main disadvantage is that you can’t see if the avocado is any riper after sticking it in the microwave as the outside remains the same.

Method 2: In a microwaveable plastic wrap.

For this method, you will need microwaveable plastic wrap and a knife.

Cut the avocado in half, remove the pit, wrap the two pieces in microwavable plastic wrap, and stick two pieces in the microwave for two minutes.

The benefit of using this method is that it is easier to tell when the avocado has ripened as you can see the inside flesh. If it hasn’t got there yet, you can microwave it a bit longer.

(Plus, you get to keep the pit if you want to grow an avocado plant.)

I must admit that I didn’t try this method. I had plastic wrap at home, but I wasn’t sure if it was microwaveable so, I decided that it was wiser to skip it.

If you’re not sure if you have microwaveable plastic wrap, I’d advise you to do the same and find another method or risk a horrible smell, ruined avocado, and melted plastic in your microwave.

How Long Do You Microwave an Avocado to Ripen It?

30 seconds to 2 minutes should be sufficient when microwaving an avocado to ripen. This is true for the two methods mentioned above.

As I mentioned earlier, my microwave isn’t particularly powerful, so I decided to test it for a full two minutes.

However, if your microwave is very powerful, as in around 1200 watts or stronger, 30 seconds will probably be enough.

Note that the power of your microwave will impact how much time it’ll take for the avocado to ripen. The more powerful, the faster.

Will Heat Ripen Avocados?

Heat is vital to ripening avocados, so it’s not just the microwave you can use. You can even just leave them in the sunlight by the window and they will ripen faster.

As Kelli Foster explains in a 2019 article for Kitchn: “Avocados release ethylene gas, which ultimately promotes ripening.”

Also worth noting is that when I have heated avocados, it is harder to remove the skin from the flesh. When avocados naturally ripen, the skin comes off easily.

Oven-baked avocado and overly ripe avocado.
Oven-baked avocado to the left, overly ripe avocado to the right.

Can You Ripen Avocados in the Oven?

You can also ripen an avocado in the oven if you prefer but it can take longer, up to ten minutes as opposed to a max of two minutes in the microwave.

You can speed up the process by making sure you have preheated the oven—15 minutes should be enough.

How Do You Ripen Avocados in the Oven?

Ripening avocado in the oven takes truly little effort. All you need is aluminum foil and to set the oven to around 392°F (200°C), stick it in, and wait.

Avocado wrapped in aluminum foil in the oven.

After 10 minutes, remove the avocado, unwrap the foil and it should be ripe and ready to cut open.

Avocado after baking for 10 minutes.

In the same Kitchn article, Foster tests ripening an avocado in the oven, recording its progress every five minutes.

For Foster, there was no change in the first 10 minutes, and it wasn’t until 50 minutes in that she finally saw what she believed to be some ripening.

That’s a whole 40 minutes longer than it should have taken! But then I noticed that Foster put the avocado in the oven at 200°F (93.3°C).

So, make sure you don’t mix Fahrenheit and Celsius with this one or you could be waiting for that avocado forever!

(It appears somewhere online there was a mix-up between Fahrenheit and Celsius when it comes to avocados!)

I will say though, naturally ripened avocados do taste a little better to me than those ripened in the oven, but in the end, this is really about practicality.

Is It Safe to Ripen Avocados in the Oven?

Using foil in the oven seemed perfectly safe to me. I put the wrapped avocado on a tray and placed it slightly higher than the center.

I carefully removed the avocado from the oven with oven mitts, and while the avocado was hot, nothing struck me as dangerous.

The only thing I noticed about the avocado apart from it being warm and riper was that the outside had turned a brown color.

That aside, I did see another method that involved wrapping an avocado in newspaper and leaving it in a turned-off oven for two days.

I could see the risk in this if you forgot that the avocado was in the oven, and you turned it on, and the newspaper caught fire.

How Long Does It Take for an Avocado to Ripen in the Fridge?

If you don’t need avocado immediately, you could stick it in the fridge for two to five days depending on how ripe they already are.

However, though you may instinctively put avocados in the fridge, they will ripen faster if you leave them at room temperature which can speed up the process by a couple of days.

Remember, heat is vital in speeding up avocado ripeness, so of course placing them on the kitchen counter is a smarter idea than keeping them cool in the fridge.

The fridge is most useful for ripe avocados that are ready to eat.

Once they have reached the perfect level of ripeness or you have already cut them open, stick the remaining parts in the fridge to keep them fresher for longer.

Can You Eat an Unripe Avocado?

Unripe, ripe and overly ripe avocados.
To the left and middle, soon-to-be ripe avocados. To the right, overly and ripe avocados.

You could eat unripe avocado, but you won’t enjoy it as much. Depending on how unripe they are, they can taste bitter and hard.

When you buy avocados from the store, they are almost always unripe. This is because they are picked unripe and shipped over—you wouldn’t want them to be moldy by the time they get to you.

Because of this, if you buy a bunch of avocados, they’ll be in varying degrees of ripeness.

In fact, out of the six I bought to test for this article, four were firm, partially green, and would ripen in the next few days, and two were already ripe (and I ate them immediately).

Ripe and overly ripe avocados.
Ripe and overly ripe avocados—no need to stick them in the microwave.

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As children, we’re told not to play with our food. But I find that food tastes best when you experiment with it. I love trying out new recipes and cooking techniques almost as much as I love eating the end result. | LinkedIn | Muck Rack


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