How to Cut an Avocado
Learn to pick, peel, pit and cut avocados like a pro.
By Layla Khoury-Hanold for Food Network Kitchen
Layla Khoury-Hanold is a contributor at Food Network.
There are few culinary pleasures as simple or elusive as a perfectly ripe avocado. Once you have one in your hands, you can maximize your enjoyment with a few simple techniques. Here, we share our top tips and tricks for how to peel, pit and cut an avocados like a pro, plus how to pick and store avocados.
How to Peel an Avocado
1: Cut and Separate the Avocado
Cut the avocado into two long halves by running your knife lengthwise down the center all the way around the avocado. Then twist the avocado halves to separate.
2: Remove the Pit
Holding the avocado half with the pit in one hand, carefully whack the heel of your chef’s knife into the pit and twist the knife to remove the pit.
3: Quarter the Avocado
Put the cut side of the avocado down and slice each half lengthwise so you have four pieces total.
4: Peel the Avocado
Starting from the top of one piece, gently peel back the skin until it’s completely off. Repeat for the remaining three pieces. Wipe off the outside of the avocado if you want the flesh to be extra smooth.
How to Pit an Avocado
Take the avocado half with the pit and hold it in one hand. For extra safety, hold it in a folded dish towel. Using the heel of your chef’s knife, gently whack the pit with just enough force to wedge the knife into the pit. It takes a bit of practice to get the pressure right but start gently until you find the correct amount. Once the knife is lodged in, twist the pit to remove. To pop the avocado off the blade of the chef’s knife, carefully grasp the pit with a paper towel and pull it straight down and off.
How to Cut an Avocado Into Slices
To help the slices keep their shape and avoid accidentally smushing the avocado while slicing, you can cut an avocado into slices before peeling it. Once you’ve halved the avocado and removed the pit, use a paring knife to make slices, taking care not to go through the skin. Then use a soup spoon to carefully scoop out the slices.
Alternatively, if you want thinner slices, peel off the skin gently, then drag the tip of your chef’s knife from the top of the avocado to the bottom in a flicking motion. Using the tip – not the entire blade – ensures the avocado slices don’t stick. Make parallel cuts.
How to Cut an Avocado Into Chunks
To cut an avocado into chunks, keep the halved avocados in their skin. Use a paring knife to score the avocado by slicing from top to bottom and then crosswise, taking care not to pierce the skin. Adjust the proximity of the crosswise cuts to produce square chunks or a smaller dice. Use a soup spoon to carefully scoop out the chunks, pressing the spoon against the edge of the skin as you scoop to avoid waste.
How to Pick an Avocado
To pick the perfect avocado ripeness for your needs, consider color, appearance, and firmness.
Color: As they ripen, avocados turn from green to dark green to almost black. The green ones are unripe, so if you don’t need the avocados for 3 or more days, buy them green and let them ripen at room temperature. If you’re planning to use your avocados in 1 to 2 days, say for weekend avocado toast, look for dark green avocados with black speckles. If you’re looking for avocados to use right away, say in tonight’s guacamole, look for nearly black skin, but avoid the darkest avocados, as those tend to be overripe and mushy.
Appearance: Assess the avocado skin’s texture by look and feel. Is it smooth? Bumpy? Unripe avocados have a smooth texture, while the skin of dark green, ripe avocados have a bumpy texture. Avoid avocados with dents or sunken spots.
Firmness: Gently squeeze the avocado. A ripe avocado will give slightly. If there’s no give, it’s not ripe. If it yields a lot, it’s likely overripe.
How to Store Avocado
Whole avocados: if you have unripe, green avocados, simply store them at room temperature until they ripen, 3 to 4 days. To speed up ripening, place avocados in a brown paper bag to concentrate their natural ethylene gas, which cues ripening. (Bananas and apples also produce ethylene, so try adding one of those to the bag, too.) If you have a ripe avocado but you’re not ready to use it, store it in the fridge to slow down ripening, up to 3 days.
Sliced avocados: to slow oxidization (which turns avocado’s green flesh brown), add lemon or lime juice, then cover in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container or resealable bag in the refrigerator (for up to 2 days) or in the freezer (for up to 3 months).
Leftover avocado halves: tightly wrap halves in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator; they will last 3 to 4 days. You can also opt to sprinkle some lemon or lime juice on top as added insurance against oxidization.