11 Ways To Prevent Avocados From Browning

Once cut, avocado is exposed to oxygen which makes it turn brown. Here are 11 ways to stop the browning from even starting.

Once cut, avocado is exposed to oxygen which makes it turn brown. Here are 11 ways to stop the browning from even starting.

Let’s say I don’t have to use an entire avocado. I actually chuckled as I typed that because this is never a problem, but play along. Anyway, the only problem with avocado is when you try to save it and the outside turns brown. Not very appetizing.

So why does this happen? It’s just like apples and bananas. Avocado contains an enzyme that turns flesh brown when cut. This doesn’t impact taste, just appearance. But it’s not very pretty.

Luckily, you can prevent this from happening a few different ways.

Your main goal is simple. Prevent oxygen from touching the cut avocado. No oxygen equals no browning. Got that? Let’s get started.

  1. My grandma uses the old Saran Wrap trick. You simply put plastic wrap over the cut side of the avocado and press it into place. She swears by this. But I’ve run into two major issues. First, plastic wrap is not easy to put on. At least for me. It gets stuck together. I cut myself on the box’s serrated edge. I become frustrated and colorful words flow from my lips. Second, if you don’t have it on tight enough, air gets in and here comes brown avocado.
  2. I opt for spritzing my avocado with lemon or lime juice. In a pinch I’ll use orange juice. This creates a barrier that keeps your avocado green. Note some people say that this can leave avocado slimy. I’ve never had this happen, but again, avocados don’t last long in my house.
  3. Some people say that simply keeping the pit in the halved avocado works. I disagree. It does not. BUT, it does mean that there is less surface area exposed to air. So leave it in there and then combine ideas (1) and (2) from above: Spritz with citrus juice and cover with plastic wrap. Keep it in the refrigerator for best results.
  4. One friend of mine swears by keeping her avocado in a small airtight container with a couple of slices of onion. She thinks it counteracts the enzyme that causes browning. You have to like onion for this trick. She does!
  5. You can also spray the halved avocado with cooking spray or rub it with cooking oil. It works like the citrus juice to keep a barrier between the avocado and the air.
  6. Some cooks use cold water baths to prevent browning. This keeps air from reaching the flesh. Use this technique if you’re prepping several avocados for use later in the day. Fill a bowl with cold water, add your halved avocados. Refrigerate. Use within four hours.

If you have guacamole, or mashed avocado, there are a few other things you can do.

  1. Press plastic wrap over the mound of guacamole.
  2. Scoop the guac into a tall thin container (a cylinder). Then only the tiny bit at the top opening is exposed to air. Top that with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you’re ready to use it.
  3. Or, instead of plastic wrap on the top of the cylinder, pour cooking oil onto the top, about 1/8 of an inch. That acts as a barrier to the air. Pour off the oil and discard before serving (or stir it in).
  4. Spritz the top of the guacamole with citrus juice before topping it with plastic wrap.
  5. My favorite method for preventing brown avocados and brown guacamole though? Eat it. Seriously, invite some friends over. Have a guacamole party. I’ll bring the margaritas. Problem solved.

Amy Bowen

Amy had no clue how to cook until she became the food reporter for a daily newspaper in Minnesota. At 25, she even struggled with boxed mac and cheese. These days, Amy is a much better cook, thanks to interviewing cooks and chefs for more than 10 years. She even makes four cheese macaroni and cheese with bacon, no boxed mac in sight. Amy is also on the editorial team at The Cookful.