Let’s talk about the shelf life, spoilage, and storage of guacamole.
Say you’ve just opened a container of guac, and you’re wondering: how long does guacamole last?
Or that container is still in the fridge three days after opening, and you want to know how to tell if guacamole is bad.
Either way, you’re looking for a short guide that will answer your guac-related question.
If that’s the case, you found it. Let’s jump right in.
Image used under Creative Commons from anokarina
Table of Contents
- Does Guacamole Go Bad?
- How to Tell if Guacamole Is Bad?
- How to Keep Guacamole From Browning?
- How Long Does Guacamole Last?
- How to Store Guacamole
- Can You Freeze Guacamole?
- Guacamole Shelf Life and Spoilage Summary
Does Guacamole Go Bad?
Guacamole, similar to other dips, has a very short shelf life. Even store-bought guacamole lasts only a couple of weeks tops.
The dip made of fresh avocados mashed with onions, lime juice, and a bunch of spices and herbs lasts only a few days after opening. And the only way to prevent that faith is to freeze any excess you have.
Later on, we’ll talk about how long guacamole is good for. But for now, let’s discuss the spoilage signs of this popular spread.
How to Tell if Guacamole Is Bad?
Discard your guacamole if:
- It’s moldy or has any dark spots on the surface. If there’s any fuzzy action or dark spots that aren’t herb particles, assume the dip is no good.
- It smells off or “funny.” If your guac doesn’t pass the sniff test, it’s most likely spoiled.
- You store it for too long. If your guac is open for a week already, it has to go.
- It’s completely browned. Some browning is okay and normal, but if the whole surface is brown and that browning goes half an inch into the dip, it’s probably best to toss the guacamole. I’ll tackle protecting your guac from browning in a moment.
- The taste is off. If you checked every other box and the spread seems perfectly fine, a taste test is the last step of the process. If your guac tastes bad or not the way it’s supposed to, toss it.
Finally, if you notice anything unusual or suspicious about your guac, err on the side of caution and toss it. Better safe than sorry.
Next, let’s talk about browning and how you can prevent that from happening.
How to Keep Guacamole From Browning?
Here’s how you can keep your guac from browning:
- Cover the surface with plastic wrap. Flatten the surface of the dip and cover it tightly with plastic wrap. And make sure there are no air pockets. This method isn’t ideal because you’ll probably end up with some browned areas, but it’s usually good enough.
- Cover it with water. Pour a layer of water over your guac before you refrigerate it. That water won’t be absorbed, and all you have to do is drain it and give your guacamole a stir before it’s ready for use.
Both methods work for preventing pesto from browning, too. Just use olive oil instead of water.
There are also other methods out there, such as adding extra lime juice (that helps a tiny bit) or placing the avocado pit in the guac, but don’t bother with these. Someone made those up, and everyone else just copied them without testing.
Why Does Guacamole Turn Brown?
Guacamole turns brown due to oxidation that’s caused by air contact. The process is otherwise known as enzymic browning, and you might’ve seen it happen to apples or, surprise, surprise, avocados.
Since all that’s needed is air exposure, you keep your guac from browning by creating a barrier between guacamole and air. That’s why covering the surface with plastic wrap or water works, and adding extra lime juice or placing an avocado pit in the dip doesn’t.
How Long Does Guacamole Last?
|Store-bought guacamole, unopened||Use-by + 1 – 5 days|
|Store-bought guacamole, opened||3 – 4 days|
|Homemade guacamole||3 – 4 days|
Store-bought guacamole lasts a couple of weeks in the fridge and possibly keeps for a few days beyond the use-by date. Once open, it typically lasts 3 to 4 days.
Homemade guacamole has an even shorter lifespan – it lasts only 3 to 4 days sealed tight in the fridge. And some recipes suggest an even shorter storage time of two days.
So if you’re wondering how far in advance you can make guacamole, the answer is one to two days so that you get an extra day to eat any leftovers.
(Homemade hummus lasts 3 to 4 days as well.)
When it comes to store-bought guac, you can buy anything from home-style guacamole sold by a local seller to something like Wholly Guacamole that’s available pretty widely.
The former will typically come with a shelf life of only a couple of days, and I wouldn’t store it for more than a day or so beyond the printed date.
Guacamole sold in the supermarket usually lasts longer, like a few weeks, and in that case, I’d assume the dip should be okay for a couple of days beyond its date.
As usual, ensure your hummus is perfectly safe before you eat it, no matter if it’s “expired” for a couple of days or within the suggested storage period.
Once you open the container or whip your own batch of guac, use it or eat it within 3 to 4 days. That’s the agreed-upon storage time for perishable leftovers, a group guacamole belongs to.
Now, some brands suggest you simply finish the container before the use-by date, no matter when you open it, but I wouldn’t trust a guac that’s been open for a week or more.
Once again, if you know you have too much guacamole on hand, try freezing the excess instead of hoping you can finish it before it spoils.
How to Store Guacamole
Store your pesto sealed tightly in the fridge when not in use, and always use clean spoons for scooping. That means no double dipping.
If you need some guac to sit on the table so everyone can dip their nachos, scoop a couple of spoons into a bowl and discard the leftovers. You can always refill the bowl if need be.
(Do the same when serving salsa or any other dip.)
Finally, remember to cover the surface with plastic wrap or a layer of water if you want to prevent browning. I wrote about that here.
Can You Freeze Guacamole?
You can freeze guacamole to extend its shelf life, and it’s super useful for both homemade and store-bought guac. All you need is a few minutes and a couple of plastic containers.
To freeze your guac, divide it into meal-sized portions and transfer each into a small plastic container. Seal the container, add a label if you like, and put it in the freezer.
If you’d like to freeze tiny portions, consider using an ice cube tray instead of containers.
That’s all there is to it.
When ready to eat the guacamole, defrost it overnight in the refrigerator, so it’s ready for eating in the morning.
Guacamole Shelf Life and Spoilage Summary
Thanks for reading this primer on guacamole. Here are the takeaways:
- Discard guacamole that’s moldy, has any dark spots that shouldn’t be there, is completely brown, smells off, or tastes bad. Do the same if that guac sits open in storage for more than a few days.
- Store-bought guacamole has a shelf life of a few days to a couple of weeks and lasts up to a few days beyond the printed date. Once opened, use within 3 to 4 days. Homemade guacamole keeps for 3 to 4 days at most.
- Store guacamole sealed tightly in the fridge. If you need it to last longer than a couple of days after opening, divide it into portions and freeze it.