How to Tell if an Avocado is Bad


The perfectly ripened avocado is a wonderful and delicious food and is so versatile for recipes and for eating. But, what if you’re not sure if your avocado is good to eat? We’ll help you with our key indicators for how to tell if an avocado is bad. We’ll also throw in the bonus topics of how to select the best avocado, how to ripen and avocado, and perfect storage for avocados.

sliced avocado on wood cutting board

Ways to Tell Your Avocado Has Gone Bad

Here are the 5 top ways to tell your avocado has gone bad. They include using your senses of smell, taste, touch, and sight. Let’s take a look at each method for how to tell if an avocado has gone bad.

Signs an Avocado Has Gone Bad

Following are signs to look for to know whether your avocado is still good.

1. Overly soft with dented skin

The avocado shouldn’t be mushy. When you gently press your finger or thumb on your avocado it should be firm, but should also give slightly when it’s perfectly ripe. So, if it’s overly soft or has dented skin, then you could be looking at an avocado that’s gone bad.

2. Blackened skin

If your avocado has blackened skin, it’s possible that it has gone bad. However, as some varieties of avocado ripen, their skin darkens. So, unless it’s obvious to you that it’s gone bad, use another method as well to confirm that this is indeed the case. The outside of the avocado shouldn’t look shriveled.

3. Dark, stringy flesh

Cut the avocado open and examine its flesh. The color should be bright green with a yellow tint. If there are dark spots and the flesh is stringy, this is another way of knowing how to tell if an avocado is bad. The taste should be mild.

Check the avocado’s flesh. If the avocado is good, it should have light green flesh, free of black or brown spots or streaks. Slice the avocado open, it should be firm but creamy.

4. Off flavor or odor

Check the avocado’s smell. A good avocado shouldn’t smell bad. A good avocado should have a nice, sweet smell that’s somewhat fruity and fresh. If your avocado smells like chemicals, or it doesn’t smell good, chances are your avocado has gone bad and you should throw it away.

5. Mold

If your avocado has mold on the outside or there is mold on the inside when you cut it open, this is a sign that your avocado has gone bad. Just dispose of it. Don’t smell avocados that have mold, because you could potentially inhale the mold spores.

cut Avocado on a plate

How to Cut an Avocado

Before cutting your avocado, check it confirm that it’s ripe. We’ve included some indicators below for how to know if your avocado is ripe. Once you’ve decided it’s ripe, here’s how to cut it:

Wash Your Avocado: Thoroughly wash the whole avocado with warm water and mild soap or vinegar to remove any debris or germs.

Cut Your Avocado: Remember that there is a large stone pit at the center of your avocado, so you’ll need to work around this when cutting.

Use a sharp paring knife, cut the avocado in half, turning it in a full circle to work around the pit.

Remove the pit using a knife or by using your hands. The pit should come out easily when the avocado is fully ripe.

You can now scoop the flesh, removing it from its skin. Proceed to continue cutting it up as desired. Avocado flesh can be sliced, diced, chopped, or smashed depending on your recipe and personal preference.

How Long Does it Take an Avocado to Ripen?

The length of time it takes for an avocado to ripen depends on its current state as well as how it’s stored. Is it purchased at a grocery store? Or is it growing on a tree in your yard? If it’s already been picked, where is it stored? The answers to these questions matter as far as how long it takes an avocado to ripen.

Once an avocado ripens, there is a small window of time to use it before it’s considered over ripe and begins to move toward being spoiled. When ripening an avocado, pay close attention to it to be able to use it during its window of time of being perfectly ripe.

avocado on a dark wood background

How Long do Avocados Last?

Once an avocado is ripe, you should place it in the refrigerator unless you intend to use it right away. A ripe avocado can last up to 5 days in the refrigerator as the cool location helps to slow down the ripening process.

How to Store Ripe Avocados

There are two best ways to store ripe avocados. Those are in the refrigerator and in the freezer. The window of time that an avocado is perfectly ripe is a short window of time, usually just 5 days, if placed in the refrigerator. Washing, cutting, and smashing it to store it in the freezer inside a sealed freezer bag can extend its life for up to 3 months.

How to Store Avocado

Properly storing an avocado can help to keep it from going bad and can make it so that its shelf life is maximized. Here’s how to store avocados depending on their current state.

Whole, Ripe Avocados

Whole ripe avocados should be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. They should be used as soon as possible so that they can remain in optimal condition.

Whole, Unripe Avocados

Whole unripe avocados are best stored at room temperature on a kitchen counter or windowsill where the air is mildly warm. Keep a close eye on them to monitor when they become ripened.

Cut, Ripe Avocados

Knowing how to store cut avocados can be a tricky thing because they turn brown quickly. To store a ripe avocado that has been cut, you’ll want to store them in after rubbing with olive oil, lemon or lime juice, and then wrap them tightly in plastic. This will help to keep them from turning brown. Cut ripe avocados are best when used in 24 hours or less.

Cut, Unripe Avocados

Cut unripe avocados should be stored the same way as cut, ripe ones. Drizzle them with olive oil, lemon or lime juice, and then wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Be sure to use them within 24 hours for the best quality.

How to Tell if an Avocado is Ripe

There are various ways to know if your avocado is ripe. The two main ideas that we’ll outline here are the appearance of the avocado as well as the condition of the stem.

Appearance. A ripe avocado is generally bumpy in texture, has a darker skin, and is somewhat soft to the touch while maintaining its firmness.

Stem. Some say that the ripeness of an avocado can be determined by its stem. If you can remove the stem easily from the avocado, then it is likely ripe. If the stem doesn’t come off an avocado, then it’s probably not ripe.

Bunch of fresh avocados in the organic food market

What Does a Ripe Avocado Look Like?

If the avocado gives slightly to a firm gentle pressure, then it’s ripe and is ready to be eaten. Ripe avocados typically have a darker color, but color can vary depending on variety, so it’s best to go by feel rather than color.  

How to Ripen Avocado

There are two main traditional ways to ripen an avocado. Those are by placing them at a mild room temperature. And the other is by placing them in a brown paper bag.

Room Temperature

Avocados available at the grocery typically are not yet ripe. This is because they’re picked while they’re still firm and shipped in that condition as well. This allows them to arrive in a quality condition without being overly ripe. The most traditional way to ripen an avocado is to place it at room temperature in a location such as a kitchen counter. It will generally ripen within a week.

Brown Paper Bag

To speed up the ripening process, you can place your avocado in a brown paper bag and store it at room temperature. Placing it in a brown paper bag with the top rolled down speeds up the ripening process because ethylene gas is trapped inside which aids the ripening process.

How to Ripen Avocados Quickly in the Microwave

A less traditional way of ripening avocado includes using the microwave. To do this, cut the avocado in half, remove the pit, place it inside the microwave and cook for 30 seconds, immediately place it in ice cold water. And your avocado should be softer and ready for use.

How to Soften in the Oven

To soften your avocado in the oven, wrap a whole avocado in aluminum foil, place it in the oven for a few minutes on a low temperature. Remove from oven, allow to cool.

How to know if an avocado is good or bad

Use the key indicators mentioned above for knowing if your avocado is good or bad. If it shows signs of being spoiled, don’t take any chances. Just throw it away.

Frequently Asked Questions

Following are frequently asked questions related to how to tell if an avocado is bad. We trust you will find our answers helpful. If you have a question that’s not listed here, just drop it in the comments box below and we’ll be happy to answer it.

How long do avocados last in the fridge?

The length of time an avocado lasts in the fridge depends on its state when placed in the fridge. A whole avocado that is ripe will last up to 5 days. A cut ripe or unripe avocado will last up to 24 hours.

How to Keep Avocados Fresh?

The best way to keep avocados fresh is proper storage. If you know your avocado is ripe, you should move it to the fridge so that it can be used within 5 days.

Is it Okay to Eat Stale Avocado?

No. Stale avocados or avocados that have gone bad shouldn’t be consumed. They should be thrown away instead.

Is it Safe to Consume An Avocado That Has Turned Brown on The Inside?

In some cases yes, in some cases no. If the avocado has flecks of brown and shows no other signs of spoilage, it’s probably okay. But if there are other key indicators that the avocado has gone bad such as a nasty smell, or bad taste, then it should not be eaten and should be thrown away instead.

Guacamole dip

Should you eat bad avocado?

No. If you suspect that your avocado is bad, it shouldn’t be eaten. Any food for that matter should not be consumed if it’s suspected to have gone bad. If in doubt, throw it out.

If an avocado is brown inside, is it bad?

If an avocado is brown inside, this is an indicator that it could be bad. If there are just a few brown spots, you should investigate further as some varieties as well as young avocado trees can produce avocados that have spots of brown inside. A few brown flecks don’t necessarily point to spoilage. However, a significant amount of brown or black can point to spoilage.

Can you eat brown avocado?

If there are no other key indicators that your avocado has spoiled, it can be okay in some circumstances to eat a brown avocado.

Can you eat overripe avocado?

Is overripe avocado safe? We should clarify that there can be a difference between eating an overripe avocado and consuming a spoiled avocado. Consuming a spoiled avocado can make a person sick.

Consuming an overripe avocado is not likely to make a person sick. You can consume an overripe avocado if there are no indicators that it’s spoiled. Overripe avocado can work well for smoothie recipes and things like avocado brownies where the avocado doesn’t have to have a perfect appearance.

Can avocado go bad?

Yes, just like any produce or food, avocado can go bad. If you suspect that your avocado has gone bad, don’t eat it. Throw it away instead.

Can you freeze avocados? How to do it?

Yes, avocados can be frozen. The best way to freeze them is after they’re fully ripened. Just wash them and remove the pit and then remove them from their skin. Crush or mash your avocado. And then place it in a zipped freezer bag. Label and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Avocado that has been frozen works great as a spread, guacamole or for recipes like chocolate avocado pudding.

Avocado Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition facts for an avocado make the assumption that 1 avocado is the serving size for 1 person. CookThink is not a nutritionist. Please consult a nutrition expert for general nutrition advice. Here are the estimated nutrition facts.

1 avocado
Calories 410
Total Fat 39.2g
Saturated Fat 8.2g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 12mg
Total Carbohydrates 17.3g
Dietary Fiber 13.5g
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 3.8g

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Sarah is known for her extra fancy yeast breads, melt in your mouth pies, and everything salads. She has won awards as a home cook, and is passionate about helping others feel smarter in the kitchen. Sarah is the cooking genius of the sister duo.

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