The Reason Store-Bought Guacamole Tastes Different

From Super Bowl parties to summer barbecues, guacamole is a must-have staple on the snack table. Total U.S. sales of guacamole were valued at 1.74 billion dollars in 2022 (per MMR), meaning the humble mashed avocado paste has the numbers to back up its massive popularity. 

With the multitude of pre-made guacamole varieties available in stores, chances are that a container of guacamole or two has found its way into your grocery cart. While buying guacamole is certainly more convenient than making it at home, you may have noticed a distinctive, slightly sour taste in your store-bought guac that can't truly be replicated at home. 

On the r/AskCulinary subreddit, one poster described the taste as being a "fizzy mouth feel," with other users chiming in to say that one unlikely ingredient found in store-bought guacamole is the culprit for the unpleasant taste. 

Most of the guacamoles found in stores feature citric and ascorbic acid to help stop the guac from turning brown over time and to help further preserve the dip as it sits in your fridge or out on the table at a party. While citric and ascorbic acid are both perfectly safe to eat, per the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, they can contribute to a sour flavor or "tingly" feel to your favorite guac.

You can prevent brown guacamold without citric acid

If you want to stop your next batch of guacamole from turning brown but don't want to resort to purchasing it from the store, there are still a few anti-browning methods you can try that won't result in a sour aftertaste. 

Since exposure to oxygen is the cause of browned guacamole, keeping the dip covered using your discarded avocado peels is a good method for helping guacamole stay fresh longer. And, even though it may seem counterintuitive to expose your dip to moisture, adding a layer of water to the top of your guacamole before covering it with a lid or plastic wrap is another method for reducing the harmful effects of oxygen on the dip. 

If you enjoy a bit of tang with your guacamole, Avocados From Mexico recommends adding a few drops of lime juice to the top of your guac to help prevent browning. While the lime juice forms an effective barrier to shield the dip from oxygen, the citric acid content in the limes may replicate the tingle of store-bought guac if too much juice is used.