5 Ways to Tell If an Avocado is Rotten

The fruit, avocado is native to South and Central Mexico. The fruit is like a large berry that contains a single large seed. It is popular worldwide in many cuisines, rich in Vitamin E, phytosterols, carotenoids and a good proportion of different variety of essential fats. They are famously known as ‘alligator pear’ as its outer surface is scale-like, like an alligator and it is in the shape of a pear. Avocados are black green in color when unripe and turn black on ripening. It is a nutrient powerhouse and finds its way globally in various culinary as well as cosmetic preparations. Sometimes, its hard to tell if an avocado is rotten, so below you can find out the ways to tell if an Avocado is rotten.


Most fruits contain higher amounts of carbohydrates in the form of natural fruit sugar, avocado is unique in its composition, as it is the only fruit that contains a high proportion of healthy fats. About 70% of its calories come from fat, giving it the name – ‘butter fruit’. The yellow-green is the fruit pulp that is commonly consumed and the seed is discarded. However, there are many uses of the avocado seed as well.

Avocados are used in salads, tacos, burgers, as dips and spreads, pizza toppings and in many other cuisines. Although the pulpy part of the fruit is the one that is always used, the pit or the seed of avocado also has something to offer. The ancient tribal people in Central and South America also found utility in the seed of the avocado. It contains several nutrients like calcium, and magnesium, antioxidants and soluble fiber that helps in lowering the bad cholesterol and restore normal bowel function. The pit also has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial benefits.

Benefits of Avocados

Avocados have a number of health benefits to offer. They are cardio protective, aid in weight loss, enhance mood, slows down aging and has positive effect on skin and hair health.

Having said all this, it is important to know some more details of this wonderful fruit – like ripening status, whether it is rotten and how to tell. Knowing the correct time to cut them open can be slightly tricky. Once the fruit is plucked from the tree, the ripening process begins and generally happens over few days and may start to spoil soon. There are a few signs to lookout for in an avocado to see whether or not it is fit for consumption.

Common Ways to tell if an Avocado is Rotten

Extremely soft skin

One of the best ways to tell if an avocado is rotten or not is to check for the ripeness of the fruit, one makes use of the palm of the hand to subtly feel the avocado. If the avocado is very firm and does not dent even a bit, it means that it is still raw and unripe. If there is some degree of softness on the surface, it means that it is fit for consumption and is just about ripe. However, if touching and feeling the surface of the skin leads into a large dent, then it could mean that the fruit has started to spoil. Also, if here is some kind of sinking in on the skin it has over ripened and cannot be consumed

Dark colored pulp

After cutting open the avocado, the color of the pulp is usually light green to yellowish green in color and has a fresh shine to it. The one that has gone bad, has a dull green, brownish appearance. However, if an avocado has a single brown spot on the inside, it could be attributable to some minor mechanical bruising

Unpleasant odour

Usually, perfectly ripened avocados have a nice, somewhat sweet and nut-like aroma. If the fruit start to rot, it gives off an unpleasant and slightly off odour and taste. When you get an unpleasant odour, it is one of the ways to tell if an Avocado is rotten or not.

Checking the stem

This is one method to check the status of spoilage. The softness or tenderness can be checked by plucking the stem. If the stem gives way easily, it means that the avocado is just about ripe and should be used at the earliest to avoid any spoilage or over ripening

Skin changes

Some varieties of avocados, like the Has variety go through skin colour changes as the ripening process starts. They are green in color when unripe and start to become very dark green or brownish green and slightly black when they begin to ripen. If the skin has turned completely black and the fruit feels very soft and indented then it has been spoiled

Taste changes

Even after examining the surface for any signs of spoilage it remains unclear if the avocado has turned bad, one can always taste small amount of the pulp, avoiding any brown spots. When the fruit is just about ripe, it has a creamy mouth-feel and a mild, miniscule sweetness. If the taste or the smell is abnormal or musky, it means it has turned bad


Sometimes, mold may develop on avocado that may be white in color and may have a distorted kind of appearance. Avocados with any signs of molds should be avoided as they can completely damage the fruit


Whether or not to consume an over ripe avocados depends upon the extent of damage and decay on the fruit. The process of ripening starts as soon as the fruit is detached from the tree and may turn completely or slightly more ripe in a span of few days. When an avocado is cut open, due to exposure to the air which contains oxygen, a process called oxidation starts and the pulp starts to gradually turn a little brown.

This is a natural phenomenon and should not be mixed with rotting. To reduce oxidative browning, squeezing lemon on it is of help. Rotten avocados do not always mean over ripened ones. Over ripened avocados may not be suitable to eat as is, but can definitely be used in making smoothies, spreads, dips or made into an all-natural hair or face mask. Rotten avocados generally have a very typical rancid odour, so the ways to tell if an avocado is rotten is very easy by consumption.


Avocado is a nutrient powerhouse and famously known as a super-food. It is important to know about the process and details of ripening of this fruit such as color of the skin, color of the pulp, smell and taste in order to differentiate between a ripe, an over ripe or a rotten avocado. Best ways to tell if an avocado is rotten or not is to inspect it for any signs of spoilage before cutting it open.


  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10408398.2011.556759
  2. https://apsjournals.apsnet.org/doi/10.1094/PDIS-10-11-0886
  3. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10408398.2011.556759

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