Mildly nutty, creamy, versatile, and satisfying— it is easy to see why guacamole is a popular dip. The truth is, no avocado lover wants to throw away their guac for any reason. But, if you are hard-pressed and wondering whether guacamole goes bad and how long your bowl can last, read on to find out.
Does Guacamole Go Bad?
Guacamole is made using highly perishable products including avocado, tomatoes, onions, and fresh cilantro so it does go bad.
A lot of the time, we think that when food such as a guac dip contains lime juice, which is a natural preservative, it will not spoil. The reality is that both store-bought and home-made guacamole will go rancid at some point or its quality will gradually deteriorate and you might have to discard it.
Opened guacamole or the homemade variety will usually go bad faster than an unopened can. Like any other fresh food, exposing your guac sauce to oxygen and moisture will fasten the spoilage process.
How Long Does Guacamole Last?
Guacamole can last 2 days to 8 months depending on the storage method. Other factors such as temperature in the fridge and the ingredients used can also affect the shelf life of your favorite dip.
Guacamole Shelf Life
|Unopened store bought guacamole||7-10 days|
Opened store-bought guacamole
|Homemade guacamole||2-3 days|
Unopened store-bought guacamole can last up to a week in the fridge. Most of the time, it should be good even a few days after the use-by date recommended by the manufacturer.
When opened, your store-bought guac can last 3 to 5 days in the fridge. But, expect the freshness to decrease with each passing day. If you make the dip at home, it will be good to use for about 2-3 days if it is properly stored in the fridge.
Freezing can help to keep your guacamole fresher for longer. You can store the homemade one in the freezer for about 4 months while an unopened can of store-bought guacamole will be good for a whopping 6 to 8 months in the freezer.
Sometimes, sauces and dips made from avocado can lose their flavor and alter their consistency when they stay too long in the freezer. Upon thawing, your guac might not be as chunky and it might taste slightly different from what you expect from a freshly made guacamole.
5 Tips To Tell If Guacamole Has Gone Bad
There are unmissable signs that indicate when your guacamole dip has gone bad and is no longer suitable for use.
Here are a few tips to help you:
1. Pay attention to the use-by date
The most immediate way to know if store-bought guacamole is still good is to check the use-by-date on the packaging. Most manufacturers recommend using these dips within 3-7 days for peak freshness.
If you refrigerate the guac unopened, it should still be good 3-5 days past the use-by-date. But, if you open it, those numbers reduce to 2-3 days when stored in the fridge.
So, if your dip has stayed in the fridge longer than two weeks, even if it is unopened, there is a good chance that it isn’t as fresh but you should still look for sure signs of spoilage.
2. Check for mold and wateriness
A good guac dip should be chunky. If you leave it out in the open or even in the fridge past its recommended shelf life, it will become watery and eventually, mold will begin to form on the surface of the dip.
3. Look out for a change in color
It is normal for guacamole to turn brownish when exposed to air for even a few hours. Simply mix the dip or scoop out the brownish spot and it should be good to go. However, if you notice a grayish layer, it means that mold is beginning to form and the guacamole is unsafe to consume.
4. Smell to check for odor
You will usually tell that guacamole is spoilt by looking at it. But, the smell too can give it away. Fresh avocado has a mild nutty and sweet aroma. Any off smell is a sure sign that the dip has lost its freshness and should be discarded.
Avoid smelling food if it clearly has mold. The spores can trigger an allergic reaction or worsen any underlying respiratory problems that you may have.
5. Do a taste test
If you suspect that your bowl of guacamole is not as fresh, you could scoop a small portion and taste it. Guac that has gone bad will have a sour or rancid taste to it. Do not consume guacamole that has turned watery even if it still looks green; this is an early sign of spoilage.
3 Tips To Store Guacamole
Here are a few ways to extend the shelf life of your favorite dip:
1. Remove air bubbles to prevent oxidation
Exposing guacamole to air will cause browning and fasten the rate of spoilage. When storing your guac, whether in plastic Ziploc bags or freezer containers, make sure air is not trapped inside.
Remove air bubbles by squeezing the Ziploc bag before and after spooning in the guacamole. If using a container, opt for an airtight one whose lid has a tightening band for maximum seal.
2. Slow down browning with lemon juice
A little lime or lemon juice goes a long way in extending the shelf life and retaining the lovely green color of guacamole. Follow these steps for the best results:
- Put the guacamole in a medium-sized bowl and use a spoon to pat and level it out.
- Pour two tablespoons of lemon or lime juice over the dip. This will protect the guacamole from exposure to air and reduce the rate of oxidation.
- Press plastic wrap onto the surface of the guacamole to prevent air bubbles
- Store in the fridge and consume within 2-3 days for homemade guac and 3-5 days for the store-bought type
3. Preserve using water
Using water to preserve your avocado dip might sound a bit strange but let’s explain further. Water acts as a barrier against air, which as we have seen is the enemy of fresh guacamole.
Here’s how this neat trick works:
Pack guacamole to the brim in a container with a tight-fitting lid. Flatten out the surface of guac to remove any air bubbles that might be trapped underneath.
Using a measuring cup, pour about ½ of lukewarm water onto the surface of the dip. Do this gently to keep the water from breaking the flatted top of the guacamole and letting in air bubbles.
Cover the container with the lead and put it in the fridge for up to 3 days. When ready to use, remove the lid, tip the container to one side to pour out the water. Then, store the dip and use it as usual.
The Risk of Consuming Expired Guacamole
Commercially produced and packaged guacamole has a use-by-date. This is different from an expiry date. As long as it does not have any signs of spoilage, you can safely consume the guacamole a couple of days past the use-by-date.
That being said, homemade or opened store-bought guac can expire and we’ve already explained how to tell if your dip has gone bad. You can get food poisoning from eating expired guacamole.
Rancid guacamole may contain harmful amounts of bacteria such as salmonella, E.coli and Bacteroides. These can cause diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting, and even fever.
Can You Freeze Guacamole?
Freezing is the best way to store guacamole for longer. Frozen homemade guac can stay fresh for up to 4 months while the one bought in the grocery will be good for 6-8 months.
Here are smart tips for freezing guacamole:
- Pack into Ziploc bags. Using a wooden spoon, scoop the dip into freezer-friendly plastic bags. Be sure to squeeze out all air to avoid oxidation, which can accelerate spoilage.
- Store in containers. You can use freezer containers in place of plastic bags. Pack the guacamole into the container, cover with a cling plastic wrap to shield from frost burn, then seal with the lid for ultimate freshness.
- Add lime or lemon juice: Guacamole stored in the freezer is not too prone to browning but you can take preventive measures either way. A neat way to do this is to pour a small amount of freshly squeezed or store-bought lemon juice into the guacamole before packing and freezing it.
- When you want to use the guacamole, place it to thaw in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. Keep in mind that frozen avocado may lose its chunky, creamy texture and flavorful notes if stored in the freezer for long.
Delicious as it is, guacamole is just one of those foods that don’t keep for a long time. While you can freeze your guac dip for a couple of months, it won’t have the same rich, creamy flavor as a fresh dip. Always refrigerate avocado dip and try to consume within two days of opening it.