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Your Guide To Making The Best Guacamole Ever

It's a tortilla chip's BFF, but guacamole was originally created in the 16th Century as a sauce rather than a dip. Let's raise a toast to the Aztecs for coming up with this simple dish that has become a party essential.

Chef John's Classic Guacamole

Chef John's Classic Guacamole | Photo by Chef John

The best thing about this red hot green stuff? It's so versatile. It can be a munch-able masterpiece whether it's a simple, super easy recipe or something fancy with a long list of ingredients. It can be mild or fiery hot.

Here's what you need to make the best guacamole ever.

1. Ripe Avocados

There's no way to hurry a rock-hard avocado into something soft, so plan ahead and buy firm avocados. Let them ripen in a brown bag on the counter, testing for ripeness by gently pushing on the stem end. It typically takes a day or two to ripen.


2. Citrus

Lemon juice, or lime is traditionally used to season this fruit -- yes, avocados are a fruit! -- but feel free to mix it up and try a squeeze of grapefruit or blood orange. It's important to get the citrus mixed in the guac ASAP because it prevents the green flesh from turning brown. While some recipes suggest adding the pit to prevent oxidation, that's a myth. It's the acid in the citrus that slows the process.


3. A Sharp Knife

From the stem end, slice the avocado in half. Twist to separate the halves. Press the blade firmly into the pit and wiggle it. That should be enough to coax it from its home. Scoop the avocado flesh into a bowl and sprinkle with citrus. Make your favorite guacamole recipe.


4. Avocado Smashing Device

If you don't own a molcajete, the Mexican version of mortar and pestle, a fork or a potato masher will work just fine for turning chunks of avocado into the dip known as guacamole. While some recipes call for blending in a food processor, it's easy to over mix and turn guac into something that resembles baby food, so you're better off smashing them by hand with one of those tools.

5. Plastic bags

Airtight plastic bags are best for storing leftovers, or to keep the mixture fresh until serving. You can even pop them into the freezer, where it stays fresh and creamy for a month or more. Don't forget to label and date the package!


VIDEO: How to Make Classic Guacamole

Watch Chef John make a classic guacamole recipe. "There are few things as easy, healthy, and delicious as this ubiquitous dip," says Chef John. You'll see the "smear and chop" method, which simulates the grinding process that happens in a molcajete or with a mortar and pestle. The flavors not become more intense and actually change in character.

Guacamole Cheat Sheet

Here’s a quick guide to sprucing up your guac style. Choose one, two or all of the ingredients from the list and spice it up with our recommended spice combinations to make something truly yours.




Herbs, Spices

Avocado Cilantro
Tomato Salt, pepper
Onion Chili powder
Garlic Garlic powder
Lemon or lime juice  
Chopped green onions  
Red pepper sauce  




Herbs, Spices

Avocado Ginger roots
Mango Wasabi
Edamame Shiso leaves
Cilantro Ground white pepper
Serrano pepper Garlic powder
Sriracha sauce  
Sesame oil  
Fish sauce  


Mango Guacamole

Mango Guacamole |  Photo by CCLoves2Bake

Not Your Classic Guac


Herbs, spices

Asparagus Nutritional yeast
Peas Salt, pepper
Bacon Chili powder
Grilled avocados Cumin
Black beans Ginger
Pomegranate seeds  
Red onion  
Crushed pineapple  
Lemon, lime juice  


Tropiguac (Hawaiian-style Guacamole)

Tropiguac (Hawaiian-style Guacamole) | Photo by pelicangal 




Avocado Cayenne pepper
Jalapeno peppers, including the seeds Wasabi
Habanero peppers Chipotle powder
Serrano peppers Ground white pepper
Chipotle peppers Garlic powder
Sriracha sauce Cumin
Red pepper sauce Onion powder
Salsa Salt, pepper
Sour cream  
Fire-roasted tomatoes  


Yummy Guacamole

Yummy Guacamole | Photo by naples34102

Check out our collection of Guacamole Recipes.


About Leslie Kelly

Always hungry to learn, never had my fill of oysters, Memphis dry rub ribs, wild salmon, chocolate chip cookies or a well-rolled lumpia. Washington state wine lover, bourbon fan. Totally obsessed with brunch!