Avocado

I Learned the Hard Way That You Can't Actually Freeze Avocados

If you've ever wondered, "Can you freeze avocados?" please read this cautionary tale.

May  4, 2021
Photo by Studio52

An excess of avocados can be a very good thing—after all, who doesn't want a bigger batch of guacamole or creamy green slices on their sandwich or burger? But when you have more of these creamy green gems than you can reasonably consume before they inevitably over-ripen and turn brown, you may find yourself asking a question so many have asked before: Can you freeze avocado? And not only can you, but should you?

That's the question my Food52 colleagues asked when they saw me mummifying avocado halves in plastic wrap to prepare them for life eternal in the freezer.

"Because I can!" I shot back.

Can You Freeze Avocado?

The short answer is no, you can't freeze avocado. The notion that you might freeze a perfectly ripe avocado, preserving it in a state of suspended animation until the day you're ready to bring it back to life and smash it onto toast, is nothing more than a fantastical daydream. To put it less dramatically, "the concept of them waiting in the freezer for me completely ripe is appealing," wrote caninechef on the Food52 Hotline.

Perfectly ripe avocados ready to be frozen in time.

Many readers responded with enthusiasm and encouragement, attesting that they do it all the time, and with great success! It was described as a small miracle. And The Huffington Post corroborates. Their 2012 article on the tip was called "Freezing Avocados: You Should Definitely Do This." I'm afraid that after my (very brief) testing, I have a rebuttal: "Freezing Avocados: I Couldn't Recommend, in Good Conscience, That Anyone Do This."

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“The reason you failed and others haven't is because of the time it takes for your particular freezer to freeze food. All freezing isn't the same. If a food's temperature is lowered slowly so that eventually it becomes frozen, this creates larger ice crystals and those particles distort the texture of your food. It's more noticeable in something soft like an avocado. If the food is flash frozen (frozen very quickly like the people in that movie Day After Tomorrow), the ice crystals are small enough to not distort the texture of the food. That's why commercially frozen food is always better than the stuff you freeze in your refrigerator's freezer. If you have a deep freezer, try putting them in the bottom of that. If your freezer has a power freeze option, try using that to speed up the time it takes to freeze the avocados. I haven't tried freezing them myself, but I know a little about commercially frozen food.”
— Monica Y.
Comment

Here's how I did it: I wrapped avocado halves tightly with plastic wrap and tucked them into a sealed plastic bag. I mashed a few others and scooped the chunky pulp into another bag. I froze everything overnight, then thawed it slowly in the refrigerator.

This was the result:

No one said thawed frozen avocado halves were going to be pretty (and they're not).
I'm so sorry.

I admit that I neglected to counter the discoloration from oxidation with lemon or lime juice (though to be fair, in past avocado experiments, I haven't found citrus juice to be much more effective than doing nothing, anyway). But it was the thawed avocados' texture, not their unappetizing superficial hue that was the real issue: Simultaneously mushy, slimy, and spongy. I would not eat them scooped or mashed. Blended might be fine, but they certainly didn't taste fresh.

Some swear by vacuum-sealing before sealing to ensure the avocados' flesh is protected, but after seeing what happens to the interiors of frozen avocados (not just their exteriors), I'm not confident that's the solution. Due to avocados' high water content, freezing them causes ice crystals to form, and when those crystals melt, that signature creamy texture all but disappears—never to return.

Let's get a closer look, shall we?

I'm not alone in my failure. Yes, you'll find reports of triumphant freezing, but very few pictures of the fruit post-thaw. A coincidence? I think not. But Serious Eats called Trader Joe's frozen avocado halves a fail, citing a writer who deemed the guacamole he made with them "a pasty, gritty, flavorless, and textureless blob of shame."

So yes, you can technically "save" an avocado in the freezer for later, but I'd argue that you're condemning it to certain doom. If you've had success freezing avocados, tell me: Where did I go wrong? Had I given the avocado sufficient lemon juice, might the results have been different? How could this have solved the texture dilemma? Have you used a vacuum-sealer to great effect?

UPDATE: The comments are filled with avocado-freezing success stories, so if you're not already too skeptical to give this hack a try, head there for our community's best tips and techniques for freezing avocados.


9 Recipes to Use Up "Too Many" Avocados

1. Avocado Tartines With Banana & Lime From Apollonia Poilâne

Trust us, this avocado toast isn't like the others you've experienced before. Hear us out: it's got bananas, honey, lime, red pepper flakes, and zero salt—plus, it's 100 percent Genius.

2. Carrot Avocado Salad

This salad might seem simple at first, but its tangy-sweet dressing and combination of textures make it a delicious dish to pair alongside simple proteins like grilled chicken and fish.

3. Fried Avocado Tacos with Sesame & Lime

Take your tacos to the next level with fried avocado—a.k.a., the creamy-on-the-inside, crispy-crunchy-on-the-outside taco filling you didn't know you needed (until now). Nutty sesame and tart lime balance the flavors for a vegetarian dish that doesn't miss the meat.

4. Avocado Crab Rolls

Move over, lobster rolls. These savory, flavorful avocado crab rolls were crowned champion of our contest for "Your Best Avocado Recipe," and boast everything you could possibly want in a summer sandwich (including buttered buns).

5. Avocado Chocolate Mousse

Avocado and chocolate—together? Yep, that's right. For the silkiest, smoothest chocolate mousse, bring a ripe avocado into the mix. The cocoa powder overtakes the avocado flavor, and the avocado's creamy texture contributes everything that dairy ingredients would (without the actual dairy).

6. Roberto Santibañez's Classic Guacamole

Any list of our best avocado recipes would be incomplete without a recipe for guacamole—and this Genius-approved recipe, which calls for just six ingredients (and no tomato), is one of our all-time favorites. You'll need some homemade tortilla chips, and we can help with that.

7. Avocado Cornbread

This is not your average cornbread—there's way more personality in this pan to love. The avocados retain their shape and creaminess during baking, and serve as the perfect contrast to the warming cumin and coarseness of the cornbread itself.

8. Deviled Avocados

Fans of deviled eggs and avocados will rejoice in this creamy, savory, vegan hybrid that packs the best parts of each one into an Instagram-worthy snack or light meal. Sub out the egg yolk for silky turmeric-hued hummus for a visual effect that can't be beat.

9. Avocado Toast Salad

Avocado toast meets panzanella in this refreshing salad mashup we'll be making all spring and summer long. Serve on its own for a light lunch, or as a first course to a delightful dinner al fresco.

What's your best avocado-freezing advice? Let us know in the comments below!

This article was updated by the Food52 editors in May 2021.

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56 Comments

erunuevo May 8, 2021
I'm gonna stop you right there..... frozen avocado has saved me MANY times! When all I can find are hard avocados and I need them asap ( I like them as a spread/dip so....mushy) I freeze them whole. When they thaw the cell walls will have been pierced by ice crystals and they will be soft. Is it perfectly green? Maybe not. I don't really notice. It tastes good.
 
Michelle A. May 5, 2021
I freeze avocados all the time - I do cut them into chunks and add lime juice. They’re ok on toast or for guac, but in all honesty if I have a good fresh one, that’s my preference. I mostly use my frozen avos for my morning green smoothie though, it’s absolutely perfect for that.
 
Angela H. May 28, 2020
I just finished a previously frozen avocado on a bagel and it was perfect!

I think it depends on the state your avocado was in when you freeze it, as I've seen too many rotten avocados when i cut them fresh. Obviously those ones, would freeze as rotten.

If you happen on a good bunch, then i recommend freezing a few whole. Let it defrost for an hr before consuming and it'll be perfect!
 
Corbbin G. September 13, 2020
You're just teasing us here at this point. What is your secret? How ripe must an avocado be? What other ingredients did you add?
 
Cinnamin February 11, 2020
Thanks for doing the work for us! Now I won't even bother trying
 
Jana E. February 4, 2020
I don't know that I'd freeze an avocado and try to use it in something like guac or on toast, but I freeze mine for sauces and they blend in great - same creamy effect.
 
Naschol June 10, 2019
I just toss them in my freezer whole and they thaw beautifully for guac. I have done this in both my regular and my frost-free freezer and they both work.
 
Jin J. April 3, 2019
I have tried freezing the avocado in a laboratory freezer at-25 degree Celsius. And it can out just as it went in. Thawing took over 1 hours in 74 degree Fahrenheit and the tasted did not change at all. In fact, I did not used any lemon juice or citric acid.
I think you can do the same with dry ice at home. Or if you have access to liquid nitrogen perhaps that will be better.
 
Lauren N. May 10, 2019
Yes, I think this is the way to do it as well. I'm going to attempt putting mine in the -80 and see how that goes.
 
Monica Y. March 26, 2019
The reason you failed and others haven't is because of the time it takes for your particular freezer to freeze food. All freezing isn't the same. If a food's temperature is lowered slowly so that eventually it becomes frozen, this creates larger ice crystals and those particles distort the texture of your food. It's more noticeable in something soft like an avocado. If the food is flash frozen (frozen very quickly like the people in that movie Day After Tomorrow), the ice crystals are small enough to not distort the texture of the food. That's why commercially frozen food is always better than the stuff you freeze in your refrigerator's freezer. If you have a deep freezer, try putting them in the bottom of that. If your freezer has a power freeze option, try using that to speed up the time it takes to freeze the avocados. I haven't tried freezing them myself, but I know a little about commercially frozen food.
 
Zach B. January 31, 2019
As a poor person who finds avocados an absolute luxury, you are one picky beyotch.
 
Monica Y. March 26, 2019
If you have an Aldi near you, try to find them there. I've seen them for 49 cents.
 
Lura July 18, 2018
Did anyone experience bowel problems after eating a thawed avocado in a smoothie?
 
Taylor M. July 17, 2018
You went wrong with a couple different things; not using lemon juice, not taking out the seed and not peeling the avocado. I'm not sure why but in my experience the avocado peel and seed just make for a disaster is the freezer. Peel and seed the avocado and then brush with a little lemon juice, make sure there is ZERO air in the bag when freezing (I crumple up some plastic wrap and put it in the divets where the seed was and it works great) and you'll do great! I use frozen avocados in guacamole and other recipes, I do not like avocado plain so I have never tried a frozen avocado plain before, so I can not tell you how it tastes but in the recipes I taste little to no difference. Hope this helps!
 
Smaug February 4, 2020
The pit may act as a heat sink and slow the freezing of the fruit considerably, particularly near the pit (see Monica Y's comments above). At $2 a pop, I don't have avocados to experiment with.
 
susanrtw January 14, 2018
I have had success mashing the avocados, putting them in a plastic tupperware type container and squeezing some lemon or lime on top, then a layer of plastic wrap touching the pulp, before the top of the container. When defrosted they do make great guacamole..
 
Terry M. January 12, 2018
I never believed the "freeze avocados" hype. However, what I have discovered is that once they are ripe--not over-ripe, but perfectly ripe--you can put them in the refrigerator, whole and uncut, and they will keep in very good condition for days and days and days. Eventually they go the way of all uneaten avocados but I have been extremely surprised and pleased with how long they keep in the fridge.
 
Tosina P. January 12, 2018
I have frozen avocados and they are great. Retain color, flavor, etc.
 
Sssss January 11, 2018
I just bought some from the frozen department in my local supermarket. (I'm from the UK) So much cheaper than buying individually. I'm going to use them in smoothies. They look divine even in their frozen state, bright gorgeous avocado green. Made and packaged by Tesco.
 
Sssss January 11, 2018
Forgot to say that they are sliced and no other ingredients are used. Don't know how they do it other than industrial super duper freezing machinery and maybe a designer cultivated avocado that is freezable.
 
Diane January 11, 2018
Trader Joe's used to sell frozen avocado slices and they were pretty good.
 
Frank January 11, 2018
I was going to comment until I read the comment I made on here 1 year ago. I still use the same method and it still works perfectly. And now I will go get that bag and make some more toast with avocado on it.
 
Rick January 6, 2018
Obviously, you need to flash freeze them, then vacuum seal and defrost in the sous vide water bath...
 
Marika V. October 9, 2017
we have 2 avocado trees in our garden (in Brazil) and I had my kids process buckets full of them with sugar and lemon juice, we put that smoothie like mash in portions in freezer bags. Unfortunately after thawing consistency was slimy and the stuff tasted horrible. I had hoped to freeze the in chuncks but after reading the comments think I will put some in the fridge.
 
Eva May 14, 2017
i blend mine with lemon or limejuice and freeze in small cups as icecream replacement in summer.nice!