How to Sweeten Mango (5 easy methods)

In this brief article, we will be discussing how to sweeten mango. We’ll also tell you some easy tips and tricks to store mangoes so that you can enjoy them off-season as well and make delicious mango recipes all year round!

How to Sweeten Mango?

As a climacteric fruit, mangoes are usually harvested at the green mature stage and imported to central Europe most frequently via trade hubs based in the Netherlands. Transportation and storage of the unripe fruits is performed at temperatures of 10–15 °C, and the fruits must be subjected to postharvest ripening procedures at their final destinations so that their exotic and pleasant flavor can fully develop (1).

Here are four easy methods to ripen mangoes so that they taste sweet and spectacular.

  1. Place Mangoes in a Paper Bag

Place the mangoes in a paper bag or towel and leave them on the counter overnight. When wrapping the mangoes, make sure some air can escape the bag, otherwise mildew or mold might begin to grow on the fruit.

Mangoes placed in a paper bag release an odorless gas ethylene which speeds the ripen process. You can also place a banana or an apple in the bag to increase the amount of ethylene produced which will increase the ripening process more. Ethylene is one of the simplest plant growth regulators and is known to play a role in many physiological processes in plants. It is a gas and acts as a plant hormone accelerating the maturation process of fruits and vegetables. Fresh fruit and vegetables are generally classified in one of two ways, depending upon the mechanism of ripening and their capacity to produce ethylene. Climacteric plants release a burst of ethylene during ripening, accompanied by an increase in respiration, whereas nonclimacteric plants do not vary their rate of ethylene production (4). 

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When ripe, the mangoes will emit a fruity aroma and give slightly in to touch, usually after a day. 

  1. Covering in Onions

Covering the mangoes with onions and placing them in a warm place has also been used to ripen mangoes traditionally. Although onions produce ethylene in small quantities, they can induce the production of this ripening hormone in the mango. Exogenous ethylene can initiate ripening in many climacteric fruits which then can lead to autocatalytic production of ethylene by the fruit (4).  

  1. Submerge in Popcorn or Uncooked Rice

This is a trick hailed from India and Mexico, where housewives placed unripe mangoes in bags of uncooked rice or uncooked popcorn kernels respectively to boost ripening. This results in mangoes ripening within a day or two.

Again, the reason behind these tricks is the same – production and trapping of ethylene gas around the mangoes to speed up the ripening process. 

However, this method is extremely effective, so check the mangoes every six to 12 hours to avoid over ripening. 

  1. Give a Spin the Microwave

A rather faster way of ripening mangoes is giving them a spin in the microwave. Poke the mangoes in four to five places with a knife or fork (to allow steam to escape), wrap them in a towel, and microwave for about 10 seconds.  

Check for softness, and if it is not what you’re looking for, give them another 10 seconds.

But remember: microwaved mangoes will not be as tasty as fresh or naturally ripened mangoes. The microwave affects the texture, but it is not able to develop the volatile compounds responsible for the mango aroma and flavor, thus these compounds depend on the expression of genes associated with ripeness of the fruit (1).

  1. Leave Unripe Mangoes at Room Temperature

This is the natural way of ripening mangoes. Just leave them on the kitchen counter and they will be ripe in about a week or so depending on their starting state. You’ll know it is ripe when it gives in slightly to touch and gives off a sweet fruity aroma.

How Do You Determine Sweetness of a Mango?

As for all other climacteric fruits, respiratory processes play crucial roles during the mango ripening process. The expression of genes associated with ripening leads to the formation of odor- and taste-active compounds, color pigments, as well as to softening of the fruit tissue (1). 

Here are four ways to tell whether a mango is sweet and ripe.

  • Smell – if the stem-end of the mango smells fruity, heavy, and almost musky, it is ripe. If there is no aroma, the mango probably isn’t ripe. Hundreds of volatile compounds have been described as contributing to mango flavor, such as glycosides, aldehydes, alcohols and esters (1).
  • Touch –  if the mango gives slightly to touch, it is ripe. If it feels firm and doesn’t give in much, it is still unripe. Textural changes are related to modifications of the cell wall polysaccharides, such as pectins, cellulose and hemicellulose and also to the enzymatic hydrolysis of starch during the course of the ripening process (1).
  • Color – ripe mangoes are NOT always yellow or red. Some varieties remain green or burnt yellow even after ripening. So don’t rely on this feature too much. However, studies reported a significant correlation between peel color score and observed that the change in peel color from green to yellow could be correlated with maturity, while brightness could not (2).
  • Black Spots – black blotches on mangoes don’t always indicate that the mango is rotten or bad. It may sometimes mean that the mango is high in sugar. If there are too many black spots, or the mango seems too soft and smells off, cut into it just to be sure.

How Do You Store Sweetened Mangoes?

Once sweetened and ripe, immediately transfer the unpeeled mangoes to the fridge. Ripe mangoes can be kept in the fridge for about 2 to 4 days (3).

NEVER store unripened mangoes in the refrigerator. The cold temperature might damage the fruit and halt the ripening process.

For peeled/sliced mangoes, put them in an airtight container before placing them in the fridge.

Mangoes can also be stored in the freezer to enhance their shelf-life to as long as 10 – 12 months (3). Even though they will not retain their original consistency, they can still be used for making shakes or baking.

You can freeze mangoes by:

  • slicing them into small pieces and placing them in a baking sheet careful to keep the pieces separate. Freeze the sheet for about three to five hours and place the frozen pieces in a labeled airtight freezer-safe bag. 
  • pureeing the mangoes, pouring the juice into ice cube trays, and freezing the trays. 
  • soaking them in a simple syrup and freezing them in an airtight container. 

Other FAQs about Mango that you may be interested in.

How to tell if mangos are ripe?

How to preserve mangoes

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Mangoes?


In this brief article, we answered the question of how to sweeten mango and some easy tips and tricks to store mangoes so that you can enjoy them off-season.

If you have any comments or questions, please let us know.


  1. Lehner, Thomas B., and Barbara Siegmund. The impact of ventilation during postharvest ripening on the development of flavor compounds and sensory quality of mangoes (Mangifera indica L.) cv. Kent. Food Chem, 2020, 320: 126608.
  2. Jha, S. N., Sangeeta Chopra, and A. R. P. Kingsly. Modeling of color values for nondestructive evaluation of maturity of mango. J Food Eng, 2007, 78, 22-26.  
  3. Boyer, Renee R., and Julie Michelle McKinney. Food storage guidelines for consumers. Virginia State University. 2018.
  4. Smith, Andrew WJ, et al. A new palladium-based ethylene scavenger to control ethylene-induced ripening of climacteric fruit. Platin Met Rev, 2009, 53, 112-122.

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