A perfectly ripe avocado has transformative powers—the rich, creamy, slightly nutty-tasting fruit (yes, it’s a fruit) can turn a ho-hum salad, sandwich, or entree into something truly special. And of course, it’s the star of dishes like guacamole and avocado toast.
The tricky thing about avocados is that the window for a perfectly ripe avocado is so short—it’s just a quick stopover between rock-hard and brown, mealy mush.
As an avocado lover who’s let too many avocados go bad on my watch, I wanted to know the best way to extend that perfectly ripe window. Should I leave my avocados on the counter, stick them in the fridge, or just start gobbling them up as fast as I can?
For guidance, I turned to representatives from the California Avocado Commission and Avocados From Mexico. The short answer from the pros is that putting your avocados in the fridge can extend their life. Read on for all the details on how to store those beauties so they stay fresh and fabulous as long as possible.
When and Why You Should Refrigerate Ripe Avocados
If you have avocados that are soft and just ripe but you aren’t ready to eat them, transfer them to the fridge unless you’ll eat them in a day or two.
“Placing avocados in your fridge helps to slow the ripening process and allows you to enjoy them later,” says California Avocado Commission VP of Marketing, Terry Splane.
Dianne Le, Director of Shopper Marketing at Avocados From Mexico, echoes Splane’s advice and says you can tell an avocado is ripe if it yields to gentle pressure and has a darker color, though she notes that color only is not always the best indicator of ripeness, so be sure to give that avocado a gentle squeeze.
“Depending on how you will be preparing your avocados will help determine when you might want to place them in the fridge,” Splane adds. “If you want to use avocados for slicing and dicing, it’s best to refrigerate them when they are firm-ripe (just under-ripe), so they are easier to work with. If you will be mashing or puréeing your avocados, you can allow them to ripen on your counter for a couple of days before placing them in the fridge for up to one week.”
How Long Ripe Avocados Last in the Fridge vs. on the Counter
A ripe avocado should last in the fridge for up to seven days vs. just one to three days on the counter, according to both Le and Splane. So if you think you’ll use your avocados within a day or two, there’s no need to stick them in the fridge—but also no harm in doing so.
Does Refrigerating Avocados Affect Their Flavor or Texture?
Tomato lovers know to never put their tomatoes in the fridge because it can give them an unpleasant mealy texture. Luckily the same isn’t true for avocados. Both Le and Splane confirmed what your taste buds have probably already told you: Refrigerating avocados has no negative impact on their flavor, texture, or appearance. Hooray!
If you are planning to use your ripe avocados within a day or two, feel free to leave them on the counter. If not, you can extend their life by transferring them to the refrigerator, where they should last for about a week. Once a week is up, it’s time to consult your favorite avocado recipes and use those babies up for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.