How to Keep Guacamole from Turning Brown

Whether it's at a Super Bowl party or a fancy awards show, guacamole is always invited. The only downside? Guac (and avocados) loses its fresh green color in what feels like five seconds once they come in contact with oxygen. Wondering how to keep guacamole from turning brown? Here are six methods to try, most of which call for pantry staples you likely already have in your kitchen.

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Why Does Guacamole Turn Brown?

Just like apples, brown avocados are totally safe to eat, albeit less appetizing. Browning is the result of a natural chemical reaction that occurs when oxygen comes in contact with polyphenol oxidase, an enzyme common in many fruits and vegetables. The trick to keeping avocados and guacamole nice and green is to minimize its contact with the air or to stop the enzymatic browning process in its tracks early on. Here are six ways to do just that.

how to keep guacamole from turning brown lemon juice
Sofia Kraushaar

1. Lemon Or Lime Juice

Lemons and limes have high acidity and low pH. The acid in the juice reacts with the browning enzyme before oxygen can, keeping browning from progressing altogether. You can spritz or brush the top of the guacamole with either lemon or lime juice before storing or incorporate the juice into the guac recipe. This trick will keep your guacamole green for 24 to 48 hours and also works on partially-eaten avocados.

  1. Dip a basting brush in lemon juice.
  2. Brush the juice guacamole and store in the fridge in an airtight container.
how to keep guacamole from turning brown olive oil
Sofia Kraushaar

2. Olive Oil

Rather than reacting with the browning enzyme, a thin layer of olive oil acts can act as a barrier between the dip and the air. If oxygen never reaches your guacamole, it can’t turn brown. Use how ever much you need to coat the surface of the guac. Ta-da. Use within 48 hours after storing.

  1. Dip a basting brush in olive oil.
  2. Brush the oil onto leftover avocados or guacamole and store in the fridge in an airtight container. Mix in the oil before serving.
how to keep guacamole from turning brown water
Sofia Kraushaar

3. Water

Just like the olive oil hack, water keeps air from reaching the guac and turning it brown. Just be sure not to add too much water—you only need a thin layer to cover the top. Enjoy within three days max after storing (as if it’ll last that long).

  1. Top the guacamole with a thin layer of water.
  2. Store in the fridge in an airtight container. Pour the water out before mixing and serving.
how to keep guacamole from turning brown cooking spray
Sofia Kraushaar

4. Cooking Spray

If you’re hosting and want to make guac in advance, this method is here to save the day. Acting as a protective barrier, cooking spray will keep your guac fresh and green for about 24 hours. You can use vegetable oil, olive oil or coconut oil spray. Try this hack on halved avocados too.

  1. Spray the top of the guacamole with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Cover the dip with plastic wrap and store in the fridge.
how to keep guacamole from turning brown plastic wrap
Sofia Kraushaar

5. Plastic Wrap

Sounds simple, right? The key is to make sure the plastic is flush with the guacamole and has as few air bubbles as possible. If the plastic is making direct contact and pressed tightly over the guacamole, air can’t reach it. Plastic wrap alone can keep guac fresh for up to 48 hours depending on how airtight the seal is.

  1. Put the guacamole in the bowl or container it will be stored in.
  2. Tear a sheet of plastic wrap and press it flush against the guacamole, then tightly over the container.
  3. Store in the fridge.
how to keep guacamole from turning brown guacamole keeper
Sofia Kraushaar

6. Guacamole Keeper

If you make guacamole regularly for guests (or hey, yourself), this handy tool is worth the investment. It gives your leftover guac an airtight seal that keeps it fresh longer. We love this recently-released guacamole keeper from Aldi, which keeps guacamole fresh for days and only costs $7. The Casabella Guac-Lock is another popular option that’s a bit pricier at $23, but we’re in love with the cute chip tray attachment. Here’s how to use one.

  1. Fill the guacamole keeper container with your leftover guac and smooth the top.
  2. Cover the keeper with the top, squeeze out the air and lock it, creating an airtight seal per the product instructions.
  3. Store in the fridge.

taryn pire

Food Editor

Taryn Pire is PureWow’s food editor and has been writing about all things delicious since 2016. She’s developed recipes, reviewed restaurants and investigated food trends at...