Halve, pit, scoop, and/or slice avocados
Compare speed to traditional chef’s knife and spoon
Evaluate grip, comfort, and safety
Test with avocados of varying ripeness
Over the past decade, Americans’ consumption of avocados has doubled to more than one billion per year. As avocados have become more common in American kitchens, so, too, have specialized gadgets that promise to make it easier, neater, and safer than using a knife to prepare them. Were any of these gadgets worth buying? We ordered 10 models priced between $5.90 and $11.19 and evaluated how quickly and how precisely each tool halved, pitted, sliced, and scooped out smaller, denser Hass and bigger, more watery Florida avocados of different sizes and ripeness levels.
Not all of the tools were designed to accomplish all four tasks, and most of them were ineffective at the ones they did perform, halving the avocados with ragged cuts or mashing the soft interiors instead of making even, regular slices from end to end. Some were downright dangerous, slipping and threatening to cut or stab our hands. All of the tools were messy to use, getting little bits of avocado on our hands and arms.
That said, if the prospect of using a knife to pierce an avocado pit makes you cringe, the two-headed OXO Good Grips 3-in-1 Avocado Slicer, $9.95, is the gadget for you: It didn’t slice or scoop very neatly, but it features an ingenious set of prongs that easily and safely pit any avocado. It also does a decent job of cutting the avocado in half. And if you regularly make large batches of guacamole for parties or need to cut an avocado very precisely for a salad or tartare, the shoehorn-like Trudeau 3 in 1 Avocado Cutter might come in handy. While it wasn’t very good at pitting and its serrated blade wasn’t intended for slicing, it scooped out both Hass and Florida avocado halves quickly and perfectly, leaving virtually no avocado behind and allowing us to cut up the fruit with a chef’s knife in any way we liked.
We tested these gadgets on 96 avocados in total, including 68 Hass and 28 Florida avocados. Florida avocados are sometimes referred to as skinny avocados (and are actually labeled SlimCados by one producer). Florida avocados’ fat by weight can be as little as half of that of common Hass avocados, which are grown primarily in California. You can tell the difference between them at first sight. On average, Florida avocados are 2.5 times the size of a typical Hass, with a shape similar to that of a papaya and a smooth, bright-green exterior. Besides being smaller, Hass avocados have a wrinkly skin that turns dark greenish black when ripe.
Test Kitchen Technique: Dicing an Avocado
Using a knife and spoon is still our recommended method for cutting an avocado. Because the soft, buttery flesh of ripe avocados bruises easily, it requires delicate handling to cut neat, even dice. We have a few tricks that come in handy in recipes that call for diced avocado.
Halve the avocado. Strike the pit sharply with a chef's knife and twist the blade to remove the pit, then use a towel to pull the pit off the blade. Place the avocado half on a dish towel to secure it and make ½-inch crosshatch slices into the flesh without cutting through the skin. Then, insert a spoon between the skin and flesh to separate the two. Gently scoop out the avocado cubes.