How to Eat an Avocado


Avocados are a tasty, creamy fruit that are high in potassium, vitamin E, and other essential nutrients.[1] Once you find a nice, ripe avocado, you’ll need to cut it open and separate its flesh from the non-edible skin and pit. Then there are a variety of fun ways to eat your delicious avocado.

Part 1
Selecting a Ripe Avocado

Selecting a Ripe Avocado on How to Eat an Avocado

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The perfect avocado will yield slightly to light pressure and should feel similar to the skin between your thumb and forefinger when it’s outstretched. If it feels hard to the touch (like a rock rather than a fruit), it’s definitely not ripe yet and, although it’s still safe to eat, won’t have the same taste or consistency of a ripe avocado. If, on the other hand, it’s super mushy, then the avocado is likely overripe and won’t taste very good.[2]If you’re testing out avocados in the store or farmer’s market, be gentle with your testing squeezes: you don’t want to damage the fruit for others.

Selecting a Ripe Avocado on How to Eat an Avocado

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If the skin under the stem looks healthy and green, the avocado is ready to eat. If the stem doesn’t come off easily, it’s probably not ripe yet. And if the flesh under the stem is brown, the avocado is likely overripe.[3]

Selecting a Ripe Avocado on How to Eat an Avocado

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While skin color is not always a perfect indicator of whether or not an avocado is ripe, it can help give you some clues. Unripe avocados are usually very bright green with smooth, taut skin. A ripe avocado, on the other hand, will typically be dark green or nearly black and the skin will be a bit bumpy.[4]If you’re purchasing avocados to eat a day or two in the future, look for skin that is dark green with a few black spots, rather than uniformly dark green. These will typically be ready to eat within 2 days.

Selecting a Ripe Avocado on How to Eat an Avocado

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If you have an avocado that you’d like to ripen more quickly, wrap it in a paper bag along with a banana, apple, or other fruit. The fruit will release a natural gas known as ethylene which will help trigger the avocados to ripen. [5]While this trick won’t ripen your avocados, it should speed up the process. If your avocado is not quite ready to eat, placing it in a paper bag with fruit overnight should be just enough time to achieve the perfect amount of ripeness.

Selecting a Ripe Avocado on How to Eat an Avocado

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If you need to ripen avocados right away, wrap each avocado in tin foil and place them in a 200 °F (93 °C) oven. After 10 minutes, carefully remove and unwrap the avocado using tongs or oven mitts. Press it lightly with the tongs or the back of a spoon to check how firm it is: if it yields slightly to gentle pressure, it’s probably good to eat. If not, re-wrap it and put it back in the oven for an additional 5 minutes before checking again. Depending on how unripe your avocado is, you may need to bake it for up to 60 minutes.[6] While this method will ripen avocados quickly, it may alter the taste a bit. If you’re using the avocado for a cold dish like guacamole, make sure to cool it completely in the fridge after you remove it from the oven.

Part 2
Cutting and Storing Fresh Avocados

Cutting and Storing Fresh Avocados on How to Eat an Avocado

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Hold the avocado steady on a cutting board using your non-dominant hand. Take a sharp chef’s knife in your other hand and use it to slice the avocado lengthwise (from the stem towards the larger bottom of the fruit). Once you feel the knife hit the pit, keep the knife steady and rotate the avocado until you’ve cut around the entire circumference of the fruit.[7] If the avocado doesn’t break into two pieces on its own after it’s cut, use your hands to twist the two halves of the avocado in opposite directions until they pull apart.

Cutting and Storing Fresh Avocados on How to Eat an Avocado

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Hold the half of the avocado with the pit cut-side-out on the cutting board. Then aim your knife at the pit and use a short, controlled swinging motion to whack into it. Be sure to use enough force to drive your knife into the pit without slipping off it’s smooth exterior. Pull the pit out by twisting the knife.[8] Use a large chef's knife instead of a small paring knife. The latter will not have enough power to stick into the pit. Discard the pit after you remove it. While there is some ongoing research into the safety of eating avocado pits, it’s generally not recommended.[9]

Cutting and Storing Fresh Avocados on How to Eat an Avocado

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If you want diced avocado, use your knife to cut the avocado into slices lengthwise and widthwise, creating squares. Be careful not to pierce the skin of the avocado as you cut. Then use a large spoon to scoop the squared pieces out.[10] Diced avocado can be used to top salads, eggs, nachos, and other dishes.

Cutting and Storing Fresh Avocados on How to Eat an Avocado

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Use a spoon to loosen the skin all the way around the avocado half and then scoop the flesh out whole. You can mash the flesh with a fork or place it flat-side down on a cutting board and cut it into neat slices using the tip of your knife.[11] The flesh of very ripe avocados may not come out of their skin as neatly and may require a few scoops. If you want neat-looking slices, try using a slightly underripe fruit.

Cutting and Storing Fresh Avocados on How to Eat an Avocado

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While it’s generally best to cut an avocado right before you eat it, you can help prevent cut avocado from turning brown by wrapping it tightly in plastic wrap. This will help keep the air from oxidizing the avocado flesh for at least a day in the fridge.[12]To save mashed avocado, cover it with 0.5 inches (1.3 cm) of water to create a boundary that blocks the air. When you’re ready to serve it, simply pour off the water and give it a quick stir.[13]

Part 3
Using Avocados in Different Recipes

Using Avocados in Different Recipes on How to Eat an Avocado

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Avocado can be delicious dressed with some simple salt and pepper. For a slightly more flavorful version, add some lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, or paprika as well.[14] You can also add these lightly seasoned slices to the top of a green salad. For an even simpler snack, skip the slicing. Simply sprinkle the cut and de-pitted avocado half with salt and pepper and use a spoon to scoop bites directly out of the skin.

Using Avocados in Different Recipes on How to Eat an Avocado

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Mashed avocado makes a great addition to toast, sandwiches, bagels, burgers, and anywhere else you would traditionally use a creamy spread like mayonnaise. Simply remove the avocado flesh from the skin and use a fork to mash it into a smooth consistency. For a bit of added flavor, add salt, pepper, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes. For a twist on traditional ranch, mash 2 avocados with 1 packet of ranch dressing mix, 2 tablespoons (30 mL) fresh lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon (15 mL) mayonnaise. Chill for 1 hour before serving the mixture to top of burgers, sandwiches or fried chicken.[15]

Using Avocados in Different Recipes on How to Eat an Avocado

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In a large bowl, mash together 3 avocados, the juice of 1 lime, 0.5 teaspoons (2.5 mL) salt, and 0.5 teaspoons (2.5 mL) cumin. Then chop up half a medium onion, 2 Roma tomatoes, 1 tablespoon (15 mL) cilantro, and 1 clove garlic. Gently fold these into the avocado mixture and serve with corn chips.[16] To add some heat to your guac, stir in 0.5 teaspoons (2.5 mL) cayenne pepper and half of a jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced.

Using Avocados in Different Recipes on How to Eat an Avocado

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After you cut your avocados in half and remove the pit, brush both cut-sides with a bit of oil and toss them (face down) onto a very hot grill for about 30 seconds. Then remove the avocados from the grill and let them cool before using a spoon to remove the skins and cutting then into slices. Fold the charred slices into tortillas and top with a tomato or fruit salsa, fresh sprigs of cilantro, and crumbled queso fresco.[17]No grill? You can get a similar char on your avocados using a super hot cast iron pan.

Using Avocados in Different Recipes on How to Eat an Avocado

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For a healthy yet decadent-tasting salad dressing, throw 1 large avocado, 1 clove garlic, 0.5 tablespoons (7.4 mL) lime or lemon juice, 3 tablespoons (44 mL) olive oil, salt, and pepper into a blender and run until smooth. If needed, add water a little bit at a time until you reach your preferred consistency. Serve over salad immediately or keep in an airtight container for up to a week.[18]

Using Avocados in Different Recipes on How to Eat an Avocado

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Preheat your oven to 450 °F (232 °C) before slicing and pitting an avocado. If the hole left by the pit is smaller than your egg, use a spoon to scoop a bit of extra flesh out from each avocado half. Then place the avocado halves into a baking dish and crack an egg into each hole. Bake for 12 minutes or until the whites of the eggs have fully set.[19] If you have trouble getting the avocado halves to balance in the baking dish, try building small “nests” for them out of tin foil. For some added spice, sprinkle the avocado with a bit of hot sauce for adding the egg.