How to store avocados – keep them in best condition

Learn how to store avocados so you can savor the taste of perfectly ripe and tasty fruit

how to store avocados – avocado fruits cut in half
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Want to know how to store avocados to keep this fabulous fruit ready to enjoy in guacamole, a salad or a sandwich? Fans of their distinctive flavor and texture and health-giving qualities won’t want to see their purchases go to waste by spoiling.

And if you’ve taken the time to learn how to grow avocados and planted a tree grafted on a rootstock from a nursery in order to harvest your own fruit, you’ll want to keep it in the right way.

Here, we look at how to store avocados whether you’ve cultivated them at home or brought them back from the store.

How to store avocados

The way avocados should be stored varies according to the ripeness of individual fruits, and whether each is whole, or has been cut. When it comes to ripeness, bear in mind that storing avocados in not like storing strawberries, which are ripe and ready to eat when picked. 

‘Avocados are mature before picking, but not ready to eat,’ explain the experts at the University of California Cooperative Extension (opens in new tab). ‘They must be softened off the tree. The softening process takes from a few days to a week, depending upon the degree of maturity, storage temperature and variety.’

This is the lowdown on how to store avocados.

1. Assess the ripeness of an avocado

Since the answer to how to store avocados correctly is dependent on the ripeness of the fruit, the first step is to assess how ripe an individual fruit is.

To check, hold the avocado in the palm of your hand and squeeze gently using your fingers. A ripe avocado should yield with a little pressure. Avoid pressing an avocado with your thumb as this can bruise it. 

You might also want to try this neat trick from the experts at the University of California Cooperative Extension, especially if the avocado is a thicker skinned or a hard shelled type. ‘Remove the button at the stem and insert a toothpick into the opening,’ they recommend. ‘If the meat is soft, the fruit is ready to eat.’

2. Store an unripe avocado

If checking out the avocado leads you to the conclusion that the fruit is unripe, store it whole on the countertop or in a pantry so it will ripen. Make sure it’s not in direct sunlight if it’s on the counter as it should remain at room temperature.

Check for ripeness, as above, daily. It should take around four to five days and, once ripe, should be eaten. 

However, should you wish to slow down the ripening process and keep avocados for longer, store them in the refrigerator. Make sure to check for ripeness daily.

3. Store a ripe avocado

If an avocado is ripe judged by its feel, color and texture, if you aren’t ready to eat it, store it whole in the refrigerator. Here, it will stay fresh for two to three days. Avocados sold as ready to eat should also be stored in the refrigerator.

4. Store a cut avocado

A cut avocado should always be stored in the refrigerator to stop it spoiling, and the same goes for occasions when you cut into an avocado thinking it’s ripe and find it really isn’t.

‘To store cut fruit, sprinkle it with lemon juice, lime juice or white vinegar, wrap tightly in plastic wrap or place it in an airtight container, and then refrigerate it. This will prevent it from discoloring,’ explains Martha Maddox at the UF/IFAS Extension Alachua County (opens in new tab).

You’ll need to check regularly to see if it’s ripened and then consume it when it has.

Bear in mind that cut avocado only lasts for around a day in the refrigerator if it’s already ripe and for a day or two if it’s unripe.

Do avocados last longer in the fridge or on the counter?

Avocados last longer in the refrigerator. ‘Keep in mind: cool temperatures slow down avocado ripening. Room temperatures encourage it,’ says Martha Maddox. 

If you plan to eat avocados in a day or two, keep them on the counter, when you plan to eat them a bit further into the future than this, the refrigerator is best.

How do you store avocados long term?

To store avocados long term, it’s a matter of freezing them. But don’t freeze them whole or even sliced as they don’t freeze well this way. 

‘I purée them with a tablespoon of lemon juice per two avocados,’ says Lucy Searle, global editor in chief of Homes & Gardens. ‘They should already feel and look ripe when you do this. Put the purée into a plastic bag or freezerproof container and seal, then freeze. This will last for up to four months and after defrosting is perfect for guacamole.’ 

Sarah is a freelance journalist and editor. Previously executive editor of Ideal Home, she’s specialized in interiors, property and gardens for over 20 years, and covers interior design, house design, gardens, and cleaning and organizing a home for H&G. She’s written for websites, including Houzz, Channel 4’s flagship website, 4Homes, and Future’s T3; national newspapers, including The Guardian; and magazines including Future’s Country Homes & Interiors, Homebuilding & Renovating, Period Living, and Style at Home, as well as House Beautiful, Good Homes, Grand Designs, Homes & Antiques, LandLove and The English Home among others. It’s no big surprise that she likes to put what she writes about into practice, and is a serial house renovator.