What Happens if You Use Unripe Bananas for Banana Bread?

Most of us have made banana bread, and the first thing we learn is that the bananas have to be nice and ripe, but what if you only have unripe bananas?

Banana Bread made with unripe bananas will cook and be edible, but the taste and the texture of the bread will be a little bit different.

This article will explore 6 things that happen when you use unripe bananas for banana bread and what you can do to ripen them fast.

6 Things That Will Happen When You Use Unripe Bananas for Banana Bread

While you can make banana bread with unripe bananas there are a few things you should be aware of. Here are 6 things that will happen when you use unripe bananas when making banana bread.

1. The Banana Bread Will Taste Less Sweet

Banana bread should have a rich, sweet banana flavor, and unripe bananas are not nearly as sweet as ripened ones. The starch will still be ‘insoluble’ or not broken down into simple sugars which taste sweet.

To make the sweetest banana bread using the natural sugars in the fruit, look out for bananas that are soft and have brown spots on them.

Put bananas in a brown paper bag with a ripe apple, avocado or even other ripe bananas. The natural ethylene gas released from the ripe fruit will help to ripen the bananas.

2. The Banana Bread Might Be Drier

Unripe bananas tend to make banana bread a little drier in taste. Ripened bananas give the bread the moisture it needs to be yummy, so without ripened bananas the taste is just not the same. It usually doesn’t make it too much drier, but it will definitely dry it out some.

3. The Banana Bread Might Have Chunks of Banana in it

Because unripe bananas are not nearly as soft as ripened bananas, they may not combine with the other ingredients flawlessly to make a nice smooth mixture.

When I baked this banana bread with unripe bananas there are visible chunks of banana.

You can try to mash up unripe bananas but it is a lot more difficult than mashing up bananas that are well-ripened. There’s a good chance they’ll be a little chunkier than they should be, which can change both the taste and texture of the bread.

4. The Banana Flavor Might Not be as Strong

If you make banana bread because you love the taste of this fruit, you might be disappointed in the taste of the bread once you’re done.

Banana bread made with unripe bananas tends to lose its banana-like flavor when you use unripe bananas, and that’s something most people don’t like about it.

5. The Bread Might Have a Sour Taste

Depending on how new your bananas are, they could give the banana bread a slightly sour taste. If you’ve ever tasted unripe bananas on their own, you’ll understand what we’re saying. The less ripe bananas are, the more sour they tend to taste, and this applies to banana bread as well.

6. The Bananas are Harder to Mash

Since riper bananas are softer bananas, they are much easier to mash up with your fork. Unripe bananas tend to be much harder, so mashing them up can be difficult to do.

Unripe bananas are much harder to mash. Cut them up into pieces first, microwave them for 30 seconds to soften them.

While you can put unripe bananas in a food processor, you’ll have to watch it very closely so it doesn’t split the fiber from the liquid causing it to split.

Use a potato masher to squash the bananas into small pieces before mixing it through.

6 Ways to Ripen Bananas for Banana Bread

Check out these 6 easy ways to ripen bananas ready to make banana bread.

1. Use the Microwave

To ripen bananas in the microwave, you’ll need to do one banana at a time. Take a banana and poke holes through the skin on all sides

Next, place the banana in the microwave and cook for 30 seconds. Let it cool then check it for softness.

If it’s still hard, cook it another 30 seconds and that should do it. If not, keep cooking in 30-second increments until it’s soft.

Cut the banana into small pieces and microwave it for 30 seconds. This will soften the banana making it easier to mash.

2. Use the Paper Bag Method

Place bananas in a brown paper bag and place it in a place with some warmth – the top of your refrigerator is a great spot! This method takes 2-4 days, depending on the number of bananas you have and how unripe they are, but it’s a simple method that works every time.

Check out this great video showing 3 easy ways to ripen bananas at home.

3. Cook Them in an Air Fryer

For this method, you have to line the basket of the air fryer first with either foil or parchment paper first.

Place the bananas in the fryer and set the temp to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, let the bananas cook for 6-8 minutes, and make sure you check them before you decide to cook them any further.

4. Bake Them in the Oven

You can also bake bananas in the oven to ripen them faster. To do this, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the bananas in a single layer on the tray.

Bake the bananas at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes, checking the bananas every 10 minutes to make sure they don’t get too soft. When the bananas’ peels are dark and black, they’re usually ripe enough to make your banana bread.

5. Put Them in the Freezer

For this method, make sure you leave the bananas unpeeled, then place them in an airtight freezer bag and put them in the freezer.

Leave the bananas there until they turn solid black. The amount of time they’ll stay in the freezer depends on how ripe they are when they’re put in there, so sometimes this is a time-consuming method.

6. Place Them on Your Countertop

If you don’t have any paper bags, you can place the bananas on your countertop near a warm place, such as somewhere in the kitchen, until they get ripe enough for you to use.


Under-ripe bananas shouldn’t be used when making banana bread, but if you do use them, just be prepared for the taste and texture of the bread to be a tad different. Of course, you can speed up the ripening process of the bananas by putting them in a brown paper bag with other ripe fruit.

Happy cooking.