You’ve probably seen the food blog headlines: Ripen an avocado in just minutes! or How to ripen an avocado in the oven! Given that a) I love cooking with avocado since it’s an easy, nutrient-dense fruit that I can serve as a kid-friendly, no-cook “vegetable,” and b) cooking with avocado takes some advanced planning—two things that don’t go well together for the busy family cook—I thought that putting this cooking trick to the test was worth it for us all. Here’s what happened when I tried to ripen an avocado in the oven in just minutes.
How to ripen an avocado in the oven
First off, let’s talk about the theory and method: To supposedly ripen an avocado in a conventional oven in just minutes, you’re supposed to wrap it completely in aluminum foil — no openings or big air pockets allowed. Then place the wrapped avocado in a baking dish or on a baking sheet in a preheated 200 degree oven for about 10 minutes.
Why this trick supposedly works
The idea is that the heat forces the fruit to release ethylene gas, which cannot escape when it’s wrapped well. The gas promotes ripening and so the job is done quickly.
From what I’ve found, this tip only sort of works.
In the end, it did soften a rock hard avocado, but only after nearly one hour in the oven. An almost-ripe avocado fared better, reaching a ripe softness after only about 22 minutes. The catch is that softness apparently has little to do with overall texture and taste.
You know that almost astringent quality that unripe avocados have? Well, even if you can get it soft after an hour in the oven, the resulting taste is unfortunately more like that than the heavenly flavor of a naturally ripened avocado, which is quite the compromise. And the final texture, while soft, didn’t have that characteristic creaminess that we all know and love from our naturally ripened avocados.
Also, although brown spots may have appeared even if I’d allowed the time for natural ripening, they also showed up on both avocados that I put in the oven. And we all know how the kids feel about fruit with brown spots.
Our recommendation for ripening avocados
I’d say that if you need to soften avocados in a pinch and have more than just mere “minutes,” you can definitely give this oven trick a go. But I’d really only suggest it for a filler avocado or two. That means if you have five naturally-ripened avocados for a big batch of guacamole and you need just one or two more to make the recipe big enough for the crowd that’s about to show up at your house in two hours then maybe you can sneak one of these in.
But even then, that’s a last-ditch effort. In all, I’d suggest skipping this avocado trick and going back to picking out ripe avocados from the start, or the good old fashioned avocado ripening techniques of waiting and planning.