Does Guacamole Go Bad

So you’ve bought a small container of guacamole and used most of it in a dish. Now you’re not quite sure what to do with the leftover avocado spread.

The answer to the question “does guacamole go bad?” is obviously affirmative, but you don’t know how long you can keep the sauce in the fridge.

In this article, we will go through storage, shelf life, and going bad of guacamole. If you’d like to learn a bit more about this avocado-based sauce, read on.

Pineapple guacamole
(credit: Alison Marras)

How To Store Guacamole

Guacamole is quite similar in terms of storage to other popular sauces and dips such as pesto and hummus.

You can find the store-bought guac in the refrigerated section, which makes it quite obvious you need to store it in the fridge.

Once you open the container, you should remember to seal it tightly every time you put it back into the fridge.

Tip

If your container isn’t easy to reseal, transfer the sauce into an airtight container.

Guacamole, similarly to avocado, turns brown as a result of air exposure. So if the dip sits in the fridge for a day or two, it’s quite normal that it’s slightly brownish when you take it out.

Tip

To slow down the browning process, you can brush the surface of the sauce with an acidic liquid. Lemon or lime juice are the best choices taste-wise, but vinegar can do the job as well. Make sure not to add too much of the acidic agent, because it will alter the taste of the dip. And you might end up with perfectly green guacamole that tastes acidic and is of no use.

Let’s touch upon food hygiene. If you would like to serve guac for dipping, pour a couple tablespoons into a small bowl. Once your guests leave, and you’re on cleanup duty, throw the rest of this away. Guacamole doesn’t last long in room temperature, and dipping transfers a lot of bacteria to it, so the leftover guac should be discarded.

Last but not least, homemade avocado should always be stored in the fridge, period.

Guacamole
Image used under Creative Commons from You As A Machine

Can You Freeze Guacamole

Freezing and thawing guacamole alters its texture, that’s for sure.

The degree to which the texture is affected depends on how it was before freezing. A chunky, home-style guac doesn’t freeze that well, but a smooth sauce-like one freezes quite well.

That’s why some companies recommend freezing their guacamole and others don’t. For example, Wholly Guacamole says that their product freezes beautifully.

You can either visit the website of your favorite guac producer to see if they recommend freezing their product, or do some testing yourself.

Tip

Sometimes even though the manufacturer doesn’t recommend freezing, their product freezes fairly well, so it’s always worth giving it a try at least once.

When it comes to how to freeze guacamole, either freeze the whole unopened container or freeze it in ice cube trays. The former is easiest and takes no time at all, while the latter allows you to defrost as much guac as you need easily.

Nachos, tacos, and guacamole
(credit: Heather Ford)

How Long Does Guacamole Last

Store-bought guacamole usually comes with a use-by date. That date is for how long the product should retain its freshness.

Of course, it’s a rather safe estimate, so an unopened guac should last a few days more, maybe up to a week. Once you open the container, the leftovers will last in the fridge for about 3 to 5 days.

When it comes to homemade guacamole, you can keep it in the fridge for about 2 to 3 days.

 Fridge
Guacamole (unopened)Use-by + 5 – 7 days
Guacamole (opened)3 – 5 days
Guacamole (homemade)2 – 4 days

Please note that the periods above are rough estimates.

Burger with guacamole and chicken
(credit: Luke Johnson)

How To Tell If Guacamole Is Bad

Let’s start with guacamole that’s browning. As mentioned earlier, browning of this dip is perfectly normal. You can notice some signs of browning even only after a day of opening the container.

Slightly brown avocado isn’t bad by any means. The brown part will probably be somewhat bitter and definitely not as good as fresh guac, but it’s safe to eat. If you wish, you can scoop the brownish layer, discard it, and use the rest. Like I mentioned in the storage part, you can help prevent browning by sprinkling the surface with some lemon or lime juice.

Now to going bad of guacamole. First off, look for the usual signs of spoilage. Those include mold or any growth on the surface of the sauce and off (or funny) smell.

If there are no noticeable signs of deterioration and you always stored the sauce in the fridge, it should be safe to eat. Now you can give a small amount a taste and decide if it’s good enough to use. If it tastes bitter or the flavor doesn’t quite hit the spot, discard it.

Warning

Please remember that guacamole is a highly perishable sauce. Its shelf life in the fridge is short, and you should respect that. If the sauce sits in the refrigerator for longer than it should, it’s better to get rid of it. Yes, even if it seems to be perfectly fine. The first signs of spoilage are difficult to notice, so it’s best to play it safe.