How to Store Cut Avocados So They Don't Look Gross

Guacamole for days.

January  4, 2022
Photo by Ty Mecham

Unless you’re making a giant batch of guacamole (can I come over?), there’s a good chance that you’ll be left with half an avocado that you need to store after making toast or salsa. Uncut avocados can quickly turn from a beautiful green color to brown in what seems like mere minutes. So what's the best way to store half an avocado to delay its inevitable browning?

How to Store Half An Avocado

Storing half an avocado is similar to storing guacamole, which is to say lemon or lime juice is your best friend. The acidity from the lemon juice will help to prevent mashed or cut avocados from turning brown quickly. The best way to store half an avocado is to squeeze a little bit of juice over the cut side of the avocado, cover it with plastic wrap tightly, and store it in the refrigerator.

There’s also the option of freezing avocados for long-term storage. Scoop out the flesh from the cut avocado, dice it, and store it in a single-layer in a freezer-safe bag. If you intend to use leftover avocado for smoothies, you can pre-blend the fruit with a little bit of lemon or lime juice to form a purée. Transfer the purée to an airtight container and scoop it out whenever you’re ready to use it.

Beyond this method, there are so many other theories for how to store cut avocados, from brushing the flesh with olive oil to submerging it in a shallow pool of water to using reusable silicone fruit huggers. Experiment and let us know what method works best for you.

How to Store Whole Avocado

Let’s say for argument's sake that you haven’t cut the avocado yet. If your avocado is ripe and you’re saying “Wait, stop, slow down! I’m not ready to use you yet,” just store it in the refrigerator, which will slow down the ripening. Keep it in the crisper drawer of the fridge and it should last for two to three days.

If you have unripe avocados that you want to ripen quickly, store them in a paper bag at room temperature on the countertop of your kitchen. (Pro tip: You can also use a can cooler or Koozie with the avocado tucked snugly in it!) Storing fruit like avocados or even bananas in a paper bag will create ethylene gas (it’s a good kind of gas!), which will speed up the ripening process. If you’re fine waiting a few days for the avocados to ripen, there’s no need to store them in a paper bag.

Share your tips for storing avocados with us in the comments below.
Grab your copy

It's here: Our game-changing guide to everyone's favorite room in the house. Your Do-Anything Kitchen gathers the smartest ideas and savviest tricks—from our community, test kitchen, and cooks we love—to help transform your space into its best self.

Grab your copy

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • W J Freeman
    W J Freeman
  • SparrowFox
  • diane jarmusz
    diane jarmusz
  • rbrock1225
  • Irene Van Voorhis
    Irene Van Voorhis
Former Food52 Staff Editor


W J. March 6, 2023
Heather H and rbrock1225 are on the right track. And, no, sorry for those who recommend leaving the pit in as it will in some mysterious way retard browning.

Ms Vaughn, who wrote this article may be a great editor and food writer, but she is no chemist, or food scientist. For she neglected to tell the readership what is really going on and why, when an avocado is cut.

Here's a link to a graphic which appeared sometime ago in Chemical and Engineering News by Andy Brunning, which gives a more considered, but still simplified, look at avocado chemistry.


The culprit is an enzyme called polyphenol oxidase, which acts on naturally occurring catechol compounds in an avocado in the presence of oxygen and at neutral to higher pH. The quinone compounds thus produced polymerize to some extent and have a dark color similar, but not the same as, melanin, the natural human skin pigment.

Keep the air out with cling film and/or acidify the surface with citrus juice, dilute citric acid solution, or even vinegar while keeping it cold, and you will retard the reaction. Notice I wrote "retard," not stop the reaction.

But hands down the best way to store a cut avocado for a limited time is to acidify the cut surface with lemon or lime juice, place it in a small Mason jar with a Mason jar metal lid, and using a vacuum sealer with a hose and jar sealing attachment, remove as much air as possible.

If you have a chamber vacuum unit, this will work even better as it will reduce the partial pressure of oxygen inside the jar to an even greater degree. Then store the jar in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.

This also works well with gucamole. While you can use a FoodSaver type bag, this tends to crush the fruit, while a jar does not. Use the vacuum jar method to store other perishables such as strawberries, blueberries, etc., if you don't want to freeze them.

Finally, when choosing an avocado at the market, look for those that have the small woody stem button still attached. That button tends to do the same thing in protecting the fruit at the stem end from oxidation. If you get a fruit that doesn't have that button and has been stored for a few days, notice when you cut it there may be dark streaks in the avocado flesh from the stem nub, more so when the woody button was removed.

Dark spots on the sides of an avocado are most always caused from rough handling or from being dropped. I have seen market workers carelessly dump boxes of avocados into a bin many time. Perhaps a majority of those fruits that fell or bumped hard will develop those nasty bruised spots, and, of course, the market worker who was responsible will suffer no consequences whatsoever.
AlwaysLookin March 6, 2023
Thanks for the Chemistry lesson ... that's why I love Kenji at Serious Eats, he gets down in the mud and tells you what's what.
SparrowFox March 4, 2023
I have found that using the beeswax coated food storage sheets completely prevent the avocado from turning brown. It's a dreamy lifesaver if you are a regular Avocado eater!
diane J. March 3, 2023
i find waxed paper tightly over the open side and secured with a clip works really well
rbrock1225 March 2, 2023
Avocados darken because they oxidize. If you control the access to air, you solve the problem. I don't like adding enough lemon or lime juice as it affects the flavor. Putting an avocado pitt in quacamole will only protect it from darkening where it has direct contact w/the pitt.

I used to prep business lunches for my husband -- and had to fix everything before I left the house at 5:00 (so I could go to the gym & then work). I'd fix 1-2 deli style salads and make up a deli platter for people to assemble their own sandwiches. I'd also fix a couple of plates of fixin's: lettuce, tomato, onion, ... and sliced avocado. What I figured out was that I could slice the avocado, lay it out in a pretty pattern on part of a small salad plate, SPRAY THE SURFACE OF THE AVOCADO W/PAM, and then add something else to plate (thinly sliced red onions are nice). Put a piece of plastic wrap loosely over and put it in the refrigerator.

When it was time for lunch, say 1:00, my husband would haul the various plates of deli stuff & condiments out of the refrigerator, the various breads were available, and he'd drop a couple of serving spoons in the salads. They loved it. When it was time to go back to work, he'd recover the stuff w/the original plastic wrap, put the covers back on the salads, and return everything back to the refrigerator. If he remembered, he'd re-spray the remaining avocado w/Pam. It was perfectly green 5-6 hours after I prepped it. If people didn't watch much, the avocado that was untouched was still green when I returned home that night.

Since then, if I'm taking a bunch of guacamole to a party, I'll mix it up, put it in a serving bowl, and spray w/Pam. Pam is just canola oil w/some stuff to help it spray. The amount that you spray on your avocados will not affect the flavor or increase the fat content.
Irene V. March 2, 2023
I have two suggestions about storing avocados: 1) if not using the entire avocado, cut if crosswise; there will be less area exposed to oxidization; and, 2) use aluminum foil to cover the exposed part of the avocado; press the un-shiny side of the foil directly and firmly on the cut side of the avocado, making sure there is good seal. It will stay green for a day or two.
AlwaysLookin March 2, 2023
I store whole Avocados for weeks in the Crisper drawer, hard or soft ... not sure why it works so well but it does.
[email protected] March 2, 2023
This is a new one and it’s great.
If you place a whole avocado in a glass of water and store it in the fridge, it will maintain its level of ripeness for many days (we’ve gone as far as 10) 👀
rox L. March 3, 2023
3 weeks for me!
Krispie January 10, 2022
This works amazing. Evriholder Avo Saver, Avocado Holder with Rubber Strap to Secure Your Food & Keep it Fresh, Pack of 2 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01FIML2KQ/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_BETKYRS245QTDATHNKKA
Lisa S. January 6, 2022
Keep the avocado pit in the half avocado you are storing, or bury it in your guacamole before putting it in the fridge... the pit will keep it fresh naturally!
Sue January 6, 2022
I shake a little Fruit Fresh on my cut avocados and wrap in plastic wrap and place in fridge . I also shake some into my guacamole and cover with plastic wrap. It works wonders!!
Ben R. January 6, 2022
The best thing you can do is just eat the whole damn avocado.
[email protected] January 6, 2022
I put half a lemon in a reusable storage dish with a screw-on top, lay the avocado half (with seed) face down on the lemon half, and screw the lid down. The avocado stays fresh for several days. The best part is you've got a lemon half AND avocado, which totally go together. Like wine, avocados' worst enemy is air. So the key is both the acid from the lemon and airtight storage.
Peggy January 6, 2022
I have noticed that when I place tomatoes and firm avocados in the same bowl that the avocados ripen very quickly. When ripe I store the avocados in the refrigerator.
Heather H. January 6, 2022
Probably not very eco-friendly, but on the rare occasion I have to store half an avocado these days, I store the half with the pit in it… I leave the pit in the avocado and put it in my vacuum sealer I use for sous vide. Don’t even need acid, works great. Although lately I’ve taken to buying bags of mini avocados for use on toast and salads so I don’t have a half avo to store.
Peggy January 6, 2022
Heather, I have begun using the mini avocados also. They are great!

Amy January 6, 2022
The best way we’ve found to store guacamole or avocados is to use aluminum foil. When we have leftover guac especially, we leave it in the bowl and place aluminum foil directly on the surface, so that it’s actually touching the guac. I know some people are wary of aluminum touching food, so it would also work to place plastic wrap first and then flatten the aluminum foil on top. Aluminum foil is not permeable to oxygen like some plastic wraps are.
Susan B. January 6, 2022
I don't recall where I saw this, but it is ABSOLUTELY the best way to store and keep avo from getting brown.....a cut onion gives off some kind of gas that prevents the browning. So, I combine a couple of methods....I use a silicone food hugger on the half (sparing the plastic wrap waste!) and put it in a tightly lidded container with some cut onion. Stays beautiful for a few days! Really - best of anything I've tried. When your avocado is used up, you can still use the onion too. Now I'm thinking, add a squeeze of juice, wrap and put in onion container - triple threat!
jpriddy January 6, 2022
I'll try that!
london1015 January 7, 2022
RAW ONION works great and it is the sulphur that keeps the cut avocado fresh. I have had success with red and white onions - no, it doesn't look as 'fresh-fresh' as a just cut avocado, but the green flesh does not turn blackish or brown. Stop messing around with lemon juice, it does not work. Onions do. If you are trying to preserve guac, cut a big slice of onion that fills the mouth of your container. Any guac not touching onion will turn.
Michele B. January 6, 2022
Here's the best way I've found to store a half avocado: Put plastic wrap over the cut side, and press the pit into the plastic so it fits snugly into the hollow. This lasts nicely for a couple of days.
dotv January 5, 2022
I gave up on the 'don't look gross part' and leave leftover half avocados (preferably with the pit) uncovered in the fridge. It browns on the surface, and when I'm ready to use it the next day, I remove the pit, thinly slice off that outside layer and it looks great. No waste of plastic or having to wash anything. I just have a small container in the side door for these odds and ends (ginger, lemon half, half a jalapeno, etc.) that need to be used up soon. I do wrap partial onions as they tend to smell up everything.
Kendall January 5, 2022
I find beeswax wraps work just as well as plastic wrap! I sometimes leave the pit in the cut half as well and it keeps it fairly green.