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How to Tell if an Avocado is Ripe

Not just for guacamole anymore, avocados are used on sandwiches, in salads, and in a variety of other dishes. Learn the tricks to identifying the ripe ones.


  • FACT: Actor Tom Selleck lives on a 63-acre avocado ranch in California.
  • Step 1: Hold the avocado in the palm of your hand with your thumb and first finger on the bottom -- the wide, round end. Press the avocado with your thumb. If the avocado yields slightly, it is ready to eat. If it is soft and mushy, it's overripe.
  • TIP: You can buy firm avocados and put them in a paper bag with an ethylene-emitting fruit, like an apple or banana, to speed the ripening process.
  • Step 2: Observe the color of the avocado. If it's pale green, it won't be ripe for about a week. If it's medium green, it'll be ripe in about 3 days. If it's dark green, it'll be ready to eat in 24 hours, and if it's dark green and beginning to brown, it's ready to be eaten. If the avocado is brown to black, it's overripe and will be brown on the inside.
  • Step 3: Insert a fingernail under the stem where the fruit was attached to the tree and pry the stem out. If the stem is brown on the bottom, the fruit is overripe.

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