This Simple Trick Keeps Guacamole from Turning Brown

You can make party-ready guacamole days in advance with this smart tip.

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If you want to make creamy guacamole in advance but don’t want it to look like a science experiment once it hits the buffet table, I can relate big time. Unfortunately, when exposed to air for too long, polyphenol oxidase (read: the stuff found in an avocado’s chemical makeup) causes guac to become mushy and brown. No thanks!

There’s always the option to pick up one of our Test Kitchen’s best-loved guacamole brands at the store, but if your heart’s set on making homemade guac, then read on to learn how to keep it from turning brown. Bonus: If you’re interested in knowing how to keep your guac looking and tasting fresh for up to a week, we’ve got the perfect kitchen gadget for you—the Guac Lock.

How to Keep Guacamole from Turning Brown

person adding water to the top of a container of guacamoleTMB Studio

This hack is so handy, especially if you like making party food in advance. (Don’t miss these make-ahead party appetizers.) With this technique, you’ll be able to make homemade guacamole up to two days beforehand and keep it from turning brown.

The secret? Cover the dip with a little water. This might sound strange, but the extra layer shields it from oxygen and thwarts browning. For best results, follow these steps:

1. Box up guac

Place your party-perfect dip in an airtight container. (When making guacamole, always start with ripe avocados. Here’s how to tell if they’re ready to use.) It’s critical that the guacamole be stored in a container with a rubber-sealed lid (like one of these), rather than, say, a bowl covered with foil. An airtight receptacle keeps the amount of oxygen coming into contact with the guacamole to a minimum. It also locks out moisture and humidity, which maintains food’s freshness.

2. Smooth out surface

With a metal spoon, flatten the surface, taking care to remove all air pockets. If you haven’t already caught on, air is an avocado’s enemy. (This is how to keep a fresh-cut avocado from turning brown.) By reducing the chances of the guacamole coming into contact with air, you reduce the chances of it becoming discolored.

3. Top with water

Fill a measuring cup with water that’s cool or room temperature. Gently pour about a half inch of liquid over the top of the dip. Make sure water covers the surface completely—all the way to the container’s edge.

4. Store in fridge

Refrigerate the container of guacamole, covered tightly, for up to two days.

To serve, carefully pour off the water and stir the guacamole. Now it’s time to pull out the best tortilla chips and get dippin’!

These dishes deserve a dollop of guac!
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Dana Meredith
Dana is an editor and writer who shares her passion for travel, food and the beauty of American landscapes. When she's not wielding her red pen, she can be found tending her flower gardens, remodeling her house, creating one-of-a-kind jewelry or dancing to "Uptown Funk."