Skip to Content

Can You Eat Brown Guacamole?

*This post may have affiliate links, which means I may receive commissions if you choose to purchase through links I provide (at no extra cost to you). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read my disclaimer for additional details..

When ripe avocados are cut, they will turn brown from exposure to air. The same thing happens to guacamole, a derivative of avocado.

The result is a loss of their visual appeal for many people. But beyond that, can these foods still be eaten?

Can you eat brown guacamole?

While it might not be visually appealing, brown guacamole can still be eaten. But this depends on its storage condition and how long it has sat exposed for.

Brown guacamole that has stood unpreserved for 2 hours would most likely be stale and should not be eaten. But if refrigerated, it can remain edible for up to a week.

half sliced avocado

This article focuses on brown guacamole and answers some questions you might have about it.

Read the information below to know how you should handle brown guacamole.

Can You Eat Brown Guacamole Dip?

Brown guacamole dip may appear different from the usual guacamole dip. It may also have a slightly different texture – brown guacamole dip might be mushier than a fresh batch.

In some cases, it may also be somewhat bitter. However, this does not make it unsafe. In essence, we are saying you can eat brown guacamole dip.

While you might be able to eat brown guacamole dip, you should only eat it as long as it is fresh.

Typically, guacamole dip that has stayed unrefrigerated for more than 2 hours should not be consumed.

At this point, the bacteria content of the dip may have reached possibly unsafe levels.

However, when you refrigerate your guacamole dip, brown or not, you may still consume it for at least 3-4 days. While homemade guacamole can last 3-4 days, store-bought varieties can last from 5-7 days.

If the visual appeal of brown guacamole dip holds you back from eating it, you can scrape that part off.

Fortunately, only the topmost layer of exposed guacamole gets brown. So, the layer below will still remain green until exposed.

What Happens if You Eat It?

In a situation where you eat brown guacamole that is not yet stale, nothing serious will happen.

You may find that it tastes somewhat bitter relative to fresh guacamole dip. You may also notice the more pronounced mushiness.

Contrary to the above, if you eat stale brown guacamole, you may become sick. Guacamole is one of the top causes of food poisoning.

Stale guacamole dip can be a hotbed of bacteria known to cause food poisoning. If bacteria like salmonella happen to grow on the guac you eat, you may get food poisoning.

moldy avocado

Food poisoning from stale brown guacamole may cause symptoms such as stomach upset, vomiting, and diarrhea.

The symptoms could also include fever, loss of appetite, and dehydration. In extreme cases, death or organ failure can happen.

How Do You Know if Avocado Dip Is Bad?

It is not hard to know when avocado dip has become stale.

One of the earliest signs you will see in spoiled avocado dip is a severely brown color. You may also notice some grey coloration as the dip continues to spoil.

Besides discoloration, you may notice other usual spoilage signs like mold or microbial growth on the surface of the dip. When guacamole dip is stale, it may also give off an unusual odor.

A puddle of brown liquid may accumulate on the top of the dip as well.

What Causes the Dip to Turn Brown?

Guacamole dip is made from avocado, and like its primary ingredient, it turns brown. So why does avocado and the dip made from it become brown?


Well, avocado contains an enzyme called polyphenol oxidase. In the presence of air or oxygen, this enzyme converts phenolic compounds in avocado to quinones.

These quinones then polymerize to form polyphenols. The polyphenols give a brown coloration to guacamole dip.

Basically, avocado dip turns brown because, in the presence of air, an enzyme is activated. When activated, the enzyme converts some substances to brown substances.

Only the layer of the dip exposed to air will turn brown. You will find that the layers beneath the brown layer remain green.

3 Tips for Preventing Guacamole From Turning Brown

We have established that brown guacamole can be unappealing. So how about a few tips to keep it from becoming brown in the first place:

Cover the Guacamole With Water

When you want to store the guacamole, place it in an airtight container.

Level the surface of the guacamole to eliminate air bubbles. Then pour water on the guac until the surface is completely covered.

After this, cover the container and place it in the fridge. This should keep your guacamole fresh for at least 3 days.

guacamole from the fridge

Cover the Guac With Plastic Wrap

Since air makes guacamole brown, you may cover it with plastic wrap to keep the air out. Ensure you make the covering airtight, so nothing gets in.

Before covering the guac, ensure you flatten the surface out to remove some air bubbles.

Cover the Guacamole in Lime Juice

Lime juice contains potent antioxidants. It is thought that these antioxidants hinder the browning effects of oxygen when applied to guacamole.

To keep your guac from turning brown, brush some lime juice over the surface. Then place the guacamole in an airtight container and store it in a refrigerator.


You can eat brown guacamole, as long as it has not gone stale. Guacamole usually becomes brown upon exposure to air, but this browning does not make it unsafe. The only time brown guac is unsafe is when it has gone stale.