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How to Prevent Cut Fruit From Turning Brown


We tested four different soak-solutions to find the best way to keep fruit from turning brown, even up to 24 hours after cutting it! Find out our top two contenders.

cut apples on a cutting board

I think we can all agree: oxidized (brown) fruit is just not appealing. It might not taste any different, but we all eat with our eyes to some extent… and kids do especially!

I chose apples as my sliced fruit because they are commonly used and definitely go brown fast.  The methods I used could definitely be used for any fruit though.

We Tested Four Soak-Solutions

We tried these four solutions on our cut apples:

1) Lemon Juice. Ratio: 1 tablespoon juice to 1 cup water. You can also use other citrus juices like pineapple, or orange for a different flavor.

2) Citric Acid. Ratio: 1 tablespoon citric acid to 1 cup water. You can usually find citric acid in the canning supplies section.

3) Soda Water. No mixing necessary. You can buy this by the bottle under various names like club soda, seltzer, or soda water.

4) Plain Cold Water. No mixing here either. Just run the tap!

Methods and Results

We place the slices of fruit in a small bowl and soaked them for 5 minutes only. Then we put the apples in the fridge for an hour. THEN we let the cut slices sit on the counter top at room temperature for an hour. Then we took a look. Here are the results:



How to Prevent Sliced Fruit From Turning Brown. No more brown apples in my salad! We use this trick every time! How to Prevent Sliced Fruit From Turning Brown. No more brown apples in my salad! We use this trick every time!
How to Prevent Sliced Fruit From Turning Brown. No more brown apples in my salad! We use this trick every time! How to Prevent Sliced Fruit From Turning Brown. No more brown apples in my salad! We use this trick every time!
How to Prevent Sliced Fruit From Turning Brown. No more brown apples in my salad! We use this trick every time! How to Prevent Sliced Fruit From Turning Brown. No more brown apples in my salad! We use this trick every time!
How to Prevent Sliced Fruit From Turning Brown. No more brown apples in my salad! We use this trick every time! How to Prevent Sliced Fruit From Turning Brown. No more brown apples in my salad! We use this trick every time!

The Best Way to Prevent Cut Fruit from Turning Brown

In our experiment, seltzer water worked best to prevent browning! It also preserved the flavor and texture of the apples very well. Lemon juice was a close second, and we still recommend it, especially if you enjoy a citrus-y zing to your cut fruit.

By the way. the next day these apples still looked great! Check out the photo below. They also were super crunchy and juice, not mealy. 

How to Prevent Sliced Fruit From Turning Brown. No more brown apples in my salad! We use this trick every time!

Non-Soaking Methods of Keeping Cut Fruit Fresh

If you don’t want to soak cut fruit (or don’t have time!) there are a couple of other ways you can keep your fruit looking and tasting fresh, even after it’s been cut.

  1. Cut the apple, then use a rubber band to fit the pieces snugly back together around the core. This keeps oxygen from reaching the apple flesh, which prevents browning
  2. Sprinkle cinnamon on fruit. Yup, what you’re really doing here is masking browning by dusting the fruit with an already-brown spice! This obviously adds flavor to your fruit, too.
  3. Squeeze lemon juice directly onto fruit. You don’t need to mix up a solution if you don’t have time. A squeeze of lemon works fairly well (but you won’t get the total coverage you’d get from soaking.)

How to Prevent Sliced Fruit From Turning Brown

Natalie Monson

I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.

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If the kids like cinnamon, sprinkle some on top and the apples won’t go brown. It will keep them fresh for hours and it’s tasty!

If the salt water solution is half a teaspoon of salt in four cups of water, I’d say the increased sodium is probably negligible and not worth worrying about.

The only con with a salt water solution is it does affect the taste. It doesn’t seem to bother my husband, but it bothers me.

Good morning! Just wanted to pass along a solution I discovered to stop apples from browning. A friend told me to soak them in 100% apple juice. I was skeptical, as that sounds like soaking them in what they are already contain, but it works amazingly! No browning at all, and it actually crisps up the apples!

You can also cut apple into wedges, then reassemble as a whole apple, then put an elastic band around apple to hold it together, stays fresh n crispy.

Great paintings! This is the type of information that are supposed to be shared across the net. Shame on Google for now not positioning this publish upper! Come on over and visit my website . Thank you =)

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I always use club soda like Allison! I soak 4-5 apples or more in a big bowl after slicing & then drain and bag. They’ve stayed crispy without browning for 3-4 days this way. No added taste whatsoever.

I have used the salt solution and used a couple of dashes of sat and it worked. I am glad know my son doesn’t want his apples cut and he isn’t picky on the brown anymore either.

I read you can also just add lemon juice to the water so they do not taste too much like lemon. It worked good for me. I’ll also try the apple juice one.

Pineapple juice also works!!! And it doesn’t has a start a flavor as lemons.
But I love the club soda til-I’m going to try that one! I’ve tried the salt water trick but I thought they tasted a little salty-ish. Maybe I needed to rinse them, or maybe the “recipe” I used had an incorrect rato of salt:water.
Thanks for these tips!!!!!

i love the soda water idea. As for its only con- the expense- you can buy it pretty cheap at warehouse stores like Costco and if you are like me you will use the rest of the 12 pack bottles to just make a healthy fizzy drink for yourself by mixing juice (apple, grape, orange) with it;) This is my SODA!

I’m confused! In your four trials, you mention plain water, soda water, lemon juice and citric acid. Then you say one of the best of these is salt water? Where is the salt water mentioned? You don’t label any of the pictures as salt water either. Was that supposed to be soda instead of salt?

Try this — my kids call it a “magic apple” and it’s a duh moment. 🙂 Slice the apple with the slicer, BUT don’t cut all the way through … and then pull back up. Wrap the apple in a paper towel and put a rubber band around it. That’s it. The apple doesn’t brown, it looks like a whole apple, and your kids get to wow their friends that their apple is somehow pre-sliced. 🙂 (not sure if I explained that well, but the apple is still connected a bit at the bottom so they can pull pieces off. Yes?)

My kids took lots of slices apples in their lunches to school. I tried lemon juice but it changes the flavor of the apple. The no brainer was to soak them in apple juice which I had on hand. The natural sugars and flavor of apple juice kept the apples just as fresh as lemon juice.

Sprite or 7-up would add refined sugar/high fructose corn syrup and all the other nasty stuff in soda to a natural apple. Club soda is soda water.

The best way is to put 1 tsp. of salt in about a gallon of water. Apples were still white and there is no salt taste.

I shake a little cinnamon over sliced apples, put a lid on the container and toss gently. The cinnamon adds a touch of sweetness and the brown color covers up any browning that may occur.

Because it use to say salt water. I shared this post back in August 2014. At that time the #1 solution was a salt water solution 1/2tsp of salt in 4 cups of water. Apparently now they’re saying its soda water. Seems odd to completely change/edit a post on what solution was used while still using the original pictures.

Why the change in the post without disclosures?? I shared this just a few months ago (Aug. 2014) and at that time the #1 solution was listed as salt water. Now it has been edited to soda water with the salt water solution completely gone yet you haven’t changed the pictures (other than listing soda rather than salt). Seems a bit deceptive.

Christina – we definitely were not trying to be deceptive! We just tried it again with soda water and found that we liked it a bit more, but decided not to retake photos since it was on the fly. You can definitely use both salt or soda water and they will work good. Hopefully that helps clear things up a bit 🙂

Catherine – when we originally tried this we used salt water, but since have tried it again with soda water and found that we like it better. You can use either and will get good results, but soda water just does’t add the sodium. Hopefully that helps clear things up 🙂

I have a soda streamer to make my own soda water. Would that soda water work as well Just wondering if there is other ingredients in store bought club soda other than CO2 gaz.? thank you

Fruit fresh is much better than true citric acid. Bottle is almost identical. But no tart flavor.

Thank you for this information. Acidic’s make my tongue hurt and swell so I will be trying the Soda

The cheapest way to do this is to buy a sodastream. Then you always have soda at your fingertips and it makes great sparkling water. I also made a smoothie and added soda water to it for a refreshing snack!

Where is the control group photo of apples that weren’t treated with anything? You can’t really tell much of anything without it.

The control group is just plain water. I wanted to compare apples to apples (pun intended) which means they needed to be soaked in something or it wouldn’t really show results. Unsoaked apples just turn brown – no experiment needed for that!

I’m curious about the statement “Soda water actually beat lemon juice in appearance, flavor and texture, but not nutritionally.” What is the issue? I’m trying to figure out how much or little nutritional value a dip in lemon juice adds. What is the nutritional gain of using lemon juice and the nutritional loss using soda water? I was under the impression that plain soda water, seltzer and mineral water do not cause any issues to teeth or body while the acid in citrus will damage teeth.

The only reason it would be nutritionally less than the lemon juice, is because of the sodium content. It isn’t much and so really is probably very negligible. Just thought I would mention it 🙂

2/14/16 Hi, just found this page and it was so helpful. I looked it up because I’m going to be making Prosciutto wrapped apples I found on Pinterest. I want to make the appetizer early since I have so much to juggle when people are arriving for Valentine’s Day dinner.

We use apple juice to soak our sliced apples in. Crazy right? They don’t get brown and taste like….apples.

I’m surprised to see you didn’t use sprite or club soda as that works as well.
and Thanks for sharing all of your experiences

This ruined an entire bunch of pears. I was so disappoints. They were these charming little egg sized pears that took over a week to get to the perfect ripeness. I sliced them the night before the party. I soaked them 5 minutes in the seltzer water as instructed, strained them, put them in plastic in the fridge, then did it again with apples. 5 hours later my pears were turning to mush and the apples were beginning to brown. It was such a disappointment and a waste. I put lemon juice in both bags hoping to salvage something. The apples were okay, slightly oxidized but edible. Not attractive but able to overlook. The pears, a total wash. Ugly brown mush, I might be able to make pear butter.

Yes! For bananas, we like to brush them with lemon juice, or you can add the juice to a spray bottle and spritz them. 🙂