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What Is Guacamole?

What Is Guacamole?



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Ripe Hass avocadoes, lime juice, and salt — purists will argue that’s all anybody needs to make a good guacamole. Mash these ingredients together in a bowl to a smooth consistency and that’s pretty much it. Diced tomato, onion, tomatillos, and jalapeños are welcome additions, as is chopped cilantro. Anything beyond that though, is probably experimental.

And that’s the best part about this popular party food — there are so many ways to get creative. Whether you like your guacamole with a little roasted garlic, some tropical fruit, fresh seafood, or maybe even blue cheese (yikes!), the sky really is the limit. Next time there’s a party, set up a guacamole spread with an array of salsas and chips. Just remember — some people like it chunky, others might like it smooth, and some people just like it both ways. (Photo courtesy of Romulo Yanes)

But it’s always best to start with the basics. If you’ve never worked with avocadoes before, it helps to know, first of all, how to get the meat of the shell! (No avos means no guac, and no guac means no party. Sad day.)

First, make sure you have a ripe avocado. It should have a slight yield when squeezed gently, but it shouldn’t have any bruises or discoloration. Take a small knife and insert the tip all the way through to the seed. Trace around the circumference of the fruit until you end up back where you started. Now, for the moment of truth — take the fruit in both hands and twist in opposite directions. If it’s ripe, the two halves should separate easily. If not, well, it’s a dud. (Photo courtesy of flickr/HarmonyRae)

Quickly scoop out the flesh using a small spoon. Take the seedless half and trace all the way around the edges where the flesh meets the shell, and scoop it out. Now, for the seeded half — take a large knife and carefully aim for the seed. Give it a good whack, and the knife should stick to the seed. Pry the seed away from the flesh with a slight twisting motion. Scoop out the flesh with a spoon as before. This is the most important part: Immediately squeeze lime or lemon juice over the meat to keep it from oxidizing and turning brown.

There you have it. Fresh, ripe avocado ready for whatever your heart desires.

Click here to see the 6 Twists on Guacamole Story.

Click here to see Rick Bayless’ Guacamole with Custom Garnishes Recipe.


Guacamole is a dip made of avocados, lime, and other fresh ingredients. I like to serve it with tortilla chips or next to my favorite fajitas or tacos — I especially love spreading a little onto the bottom of these chili lime shrimp tacos. Try serving this alongside our easy red salsa and this homemade queso.

After making guacamole over and over again (not complaining), we’ve found a few secrets for making the very best guacamole at home and based on what our friends say when we make it for them, we have a winner!

Guacamole Recipe Ingredients

First, let’s talk about the ingredients. You only need six main ingredients for classic and authentic guacamole!

  • Avocados (I’ve shared our best tips for choosing perfect avocados below)
  • Onions that we “de-flame” in a little hot water so that the raw onion flavor is not too overpowering
  • Cilantro
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Jalapeno or serrano pepper add some spice. I like to remove the seeds and membrane before mincing and adding to the bowl, but for spicy guacamole, leave them in.
  • Salt

I do like adding two additional ingredients to our guacamole. First, I add chopped tomatoes. I know some recipes call for mixing salsa into guacamole, but for a cleaner flavor, simply chopped tomatoes will do it. We especially love adding tomatoes when they are in season.

Second, we add a tiny bit of ground cumin. It’s a little smokey, but mostly, the cumin just brings everything together and punches up the flavor.

How to Choose Avocados for Guacamole

Ripe avocados are essential for the best guacamole. Here’s how to tell whether or not an avocado is ready:

  • Gently squeeze the avocado with the palm of your hand (don’t use your fingertips, they will bruise it). If it yields slightly, it’s ready to eat. If it doesn’t yield and feels firm, it needs a day or two. If it gives easily, it’s probably overripe and possible brown inside.
  • Check under the stem. Use your fingers to pull the stem at the top of the avocado gently. If, when you remove it, it’s green underneath, you’ve found an avocado that’s ready to eat. If it’s hard to remove, it needs a couple of days. If it’s brown underneath, the avocado is overripe.

We buy more avocados that I’d like to admit. If you have some left over in your kitchen, consider making our guacamole-inspired pasta, this protein-packed avocado toast or try mixing avocado into egg salad.

Tips for Making the Best Guacamole

For the best guacamole, we try not to over mash or puree the avocados. We are looking for a chunky dip, not a completely smooth one. I gently mash things together with a fork, which helps to leave some texture.

Don’t blend or puree the avocado for guacamole, leave it a little chunky.

As I mentioned above, we add onions to guacamole. You can add them raw or since raw onions can be overpowering, de-flame them. To do this, add diced onion to a bowl of warm water for 5 to 10 minutes. After 5 to 10 minutes, the raw onion flavor calms down, but you’re still left with crisp onions. Try this method for fresh salsas, as well.

If you are running low in ingredients, guacamole is amazing when you only use avocados, a pinch of salt, fresh lime, onion, and cilantro. (In fact, we’ve already shared our simple guacamole with you.)

What Our Readers are Saying

If you don’t believe that our recipe helps you make the best homemade guacamole, take a look at what our readers are saying about the recipe! More reviews are in the comments section below.

“This guacamole recipe was delicious and easy to make plus knowing that all my ingredients were fresh made it all the more appealing. Never going back to store bought guacamole!” – JoAnn

“This recipe was very easy to follow and absolutely delicious!” – Megan

“This is the easiest and best guacamole recipe I have ever come across. Easy to make and delicious!!” – Carol

“This is the best guacamole that I have ever made!” – Emma

More Avocado Recipes

We buy more avocados that I’d like to admit. If you have some leftover in your kitchen, consider making one of these easy recipes:

  • This is the very best avocado salad! I eat it by itself, add it to larger salads, and even use it as a chunky salsa.
  • Try our guacamole-inspired pasta. It only takes 15 minutes and is naturally dairy-free.
  • I love this protein-packed avocado toast. You can keep it simple with just avocado or add an egg like me.
  • We also love swapping some of the mayonnaise in our regular egg salad recipe with avocado for this easy avocado egg salad.

Recipe updated, originally posted January 2013. Since posting this in 2013, we have tweaked the recipe to be more clear and added a quick recipe video. – Adam and Joanne


What is authentic Mexican Guacamole

I hope it's okay that I'm asking but I'm trying to find information regarding real authentic ways to make Mexican guacamole. A friend of mine and me are in disagreement and every source out there in the internet I could find that looked authentic at first was just another white person and I just don't trust that this information is real after knowing that. So I am here to ask you all about guacamole!

What are your authentic ways of making guacamole? What ingredience are an absolute must, which are optional and which should absolutely not be put in there! I hope you all can help me out.
We are specifically in disagreement about the inclusion of tomatoes in guacamole so if you don't want to answer exhaustively Iɽ definitely wanna hear your opinion on tomatoes.

I use avocados, salt, lime, tomato, onion, cilantro and jalapeño. My mom had a molcajete to mash it all up with when she’d make it.

Avocado, onion, tomato, cilantro, lime juice, green chili (serrano or jalapeño). That's the base, some people add/remove ingredients (personally I like pápalo). You can also chop finely (like pico de gallo) or mash, even blend. I keep telling people on Reddit that recipes are guidelines, not dogma. Experiment, create, re-create. I understand that maybe you want an authentic Mexican food experience, but honestly sometimes it's not better than creative hybrids.

This! I used America’s test kitchen recipe for adobo flank steak and had to substitute ancho chiles for jalapeño and I’m probably going to either make my own tomatillo salsa or reduce the chicken stock and orange juice. My sauce seemed thin compared to theirs.

My family is Mexican. My mom was born and raised in Durango. She has made guacamole with diced tomatoes my entire life. My dad was born and raised in Jalisco. When he was alive, he would also make guacamole with tomatoes. That being said, Mexico is an enormous country with probably dozens of regional variations on "Mexican" cuisine. Some of them may or may not include tomatoes in their guacamole. So, you and your friend are both right, I suppose.

In my family, the recipe is always avocado, onion, tomato, cilantro, lime juice, salt. My dad also included diced jalapeño or serrano chilies.

Pico de Gallo, as my grandmother (from Matamoros) made it, was diced onions, diced tomatoes, diced jalapenos, chopped cilantro, and then squeeze a couple slices of lime into the mix.

I have also seen it made many times, minus the jalapeno

Mexican here born and raised, I have tried both versions of guacamole and I find it to be better without tomatoes since onion and serrano pepper (instead of jalapeño) really bring out the avocado. However if you feel experimental I would recommend adding a bit of pomegranate instead of tomatoes, I’ve been doing this for a while, tastes incredible!

I love that idea and I will surely try it out! Thank you for your insight

I make mine in a molcajete. I'm dice up some onion and garlic, grind them down, then add my avocado and cilantro and mix it in. Lime and salt to taste.

Just mush avocado and add tomatoes, salt and lime while you eat it with chips(totopos)

Not every mexican is a great cook or going the extra mile everytime, unless you add something weird like nuts or ham to it no one will make one more "authentic" than you.

Just make it to your taste.

I add garlic, onion, coriander, serrano chilies, tomato, lime juice, salt and xoconostle

An aunt makes it without onion nor tomatoes

My mom makes it without coriander nor tomato

My grandma makes it without coriander nor onion

The ancient guacamole was made of avocados, tomatoes and chilies.

Then there's another version called aguacamole, which is like a pico de gallo with cubed avocado, minus the coriander

I can't say what is authentic.

For me leaving out the tomato keeps the focus of the recipe on avocado.

IDK where you live but it's not a tomato country where I live (too cold).

If your only option is bland greenhouse or imported tomatoes it will only water down the taste.

What region? I’m not sure there is such a thing as a single “authentic” Mexican guacamole. It can be made so many different ways based on available ingredients and personal preference.

My family is Mexican-American and we often make it with just avocados and Trader Joe’s salsa verde cuz it’s easy as hell and gets you most of the way there (just add garlic and salt). Our favorite taqueria makes a guacamole with onions and tomatoes and just a little lime - I suspect that the tomatoes are mainly to bulk up the final product and they don’t use jalapeños lest the white people in the area complain that it’s too spicy.

I would recommend looking for cookbooks and articles by Mexican chefs and potentially translating scholarly sources on Mexican cuisine to better answer your question.

The one without tomato is Authentic in Mexico. Those with tomato is tex mex style that became popular around the US. But here in Tijuana it's these ingredients:

avocado, serrano, onions,cilantro. Add lime if desired

It’s food, so put ingredients in it that you like. Like tomatoes? Add em. Don’t like the texture that tomatoes bring? Leave em out.

Technically Guacamole isn’t even originally Mexican since it has its origins in the native peoples that were here when the Spanish arrived.

But anyway, I have lived in Texas and/or New Mexico for a combined 19 years of my life, and I’ve been to Mexico a couple different times, and I have had guacamole with and without tomatoes countless times. I prefer tomatoes in mine personally, but if your quest is to find some magical definite recipe that tastes like authenticity and white guilt, then your answer is to just eat mashed avocado like the Aztecs did. If you just want someone to tell you what to put in your guacamole because you think that somehow their nationality magically qualifies them as an expert on the cuisine of their country of origin, then you’re going to get mixed results, so the conclusion is still going to be: it’s food, so put ingredients in it that you like.

Technically Guacamole isn’t even originally Mexican

Technically Guacamole isn’t even originally Mexican since it has its origins in the native peoples that were here when the Spanish arrived.

The name Guacamole comes from the combination of two pre-Columbian words, aguacate (avocado) and molli.

Even the name Mexico is based on a Natuatl word. Mexico was Mexico for thousands of years before Europeans came.

European Spanish didn't "make" Mexico. European Spanish "claimed" Mexico. BIG difference.

Hi. Most people are saying that authentic guacamole has diced tomatoes and/or pico de Gallo. But tbh I’ve lived in Mexico all my life, my whole family is Mexican. I’ve lived both in northern and central areas of the country. And no one I know really adds tomato.

Finely dice onion and a serrano pepper. Grab a bowl. Mash the avocado with a fork, adding and mixing the onion and serrano, add some salt. Squeeze some lemon. Grind some black pepper. That’s it that’s your guacamole.

My husband’s grandma added a dash of olive oil but that was her personal touch.

Yes we add tomatoes, we don't do it out of lazyness.

Guacamole con tomate y todocpreparado es mas cuando vas a compartir o comer mucho, guacamole para ti es simple o almenos asi lo veo.

I hate to evoke Diane Kennedy because she's polarizing but her "purist" approach to Guacamole made me a believer. It's delicious and simple.

Rough chop 1/2 a shallot and 2 serrano chiles, add a teaspoon of salt and grind into a paste in a molcajete (Pre-Columbian American Mortar and Pestle). Rough chop one very ripe paste tomato (Roma) and add to the molca, then mash in 3 avocados.

IF your ingredients are good, the acid from the tomatoes will balance the richness of the avocado without masking it, as lime juice tends to do. Shallots have more of an umami bite to them so they play nicer than a similar quantity of onion (I've done both and prefer the shallot). And the serrano makes it a bit more picante than your standard American take on it, but that's supposed to be.

Things that tend to overpower the avocado in guacamole (in mine and other's opinion): cilantro, garlic, and lime juice. Simpler is better. and you can save the cilantro and lime for the tacos you eat the guac with.

(EDIT: To be fair she herself has published recipes with cilantro in them, just not garlic or lime juice.)


Prep the avocado for Chipotle copycat guacamole

With a good, sharp knife, slice all the way around the circumference of each avocado, pressing the blade in until it hits the large pit. Now pop the avocado open, dig out the pit with a spoon, and scoop the "meat" into a bowl. If you see any brown or black spots in the avocado meat, discard those. While you're here, consider keeping that avocado pit, as it has some surprising uses that you may want to access later.

Mash the avocado with a fork or spoon until it's generally creamy and free of large lumps. That said, don't go nuts with this part of the process just yet, as there's plenty more mixing to come that will help smooth the guac's texture. Also, be sure to move to the next step immediately, as the avocado will start browning quickly without the addition of some citrus juice.


Especially in the spring and summer, mangoes and pineapple are at their most juicy and delicious. Adding in sliced tropical fruit — like the Pioneer Woman does in this recipe — adds a whole new element to classic guacamole, and ups the sweetness.

If you're looking to add a little more flavor, texture, and protein to your guacamole, try adding black beans, like Martha Stewart does in this recipe.

An ingredient in many Mexican and South American dishes, black beans are a delicious and inexpensive addition to any classic guacamole. Plus, you likely have a can hanging around somewhere in your pantry.


Especially in the spring and summer, mangoes and pineapple are at their most juicy and delicious. Adding in sliced tropical fruit — like the Pioneer Woman does in this recipe — adds a whole new element to classic guacamole, and ups the sweetness.

If you're looking to add a little more flavor, texture, and protein to your guacamole, try adding black beans, like Martha Stewart does in this recipe.

An ingredient in many Mexican and South American dishes, black beans are a delicious and inexpensive addition to any classic guacamole. Plus, you likely have a can hanging around somewhere in your pantry.


A simple yet delicious combination of avocado and tomatillo for a slight twist on a beloved classic.

"I added a little bit of balsamic vinegar to the quinoa and then mixed it in with the guacamole, and the combination turned into this texture-rich, super flavorful, smooth paste that was so delicious I didn't want it to end. I thought, man, this would be great in a wrap!"


This sandwich is definitely not limited to breakfast, but it still would be a fantastic way to start your morning. You have a runny yolk, melted cheese, and crisp bacon on crunchy sourdough bread, and the guac adds the perfect amount of freshness.

Abigail Wilkins

I love getting inspiration from grocery store frozen foods and trying to recreate the recipe on my own. These burgers are influenced by the one and only Trader Joe's, and they are delicious. The chicken patties are stacked with nummy ingredients like peppers, onions, cilantro, and garlic, and you can't beat topping it with some guacamole.


The name comes from Classical Nahuatl āhuacamōlli [aːwakaˈmoːlːi] , which literally translates to 'avocado sauce', from āhuacatl [6] [aːˈwakat͡ɬ] 'avocado' + mōlli [ˈmoːlːi] 'sauce'. [3] In Mexican Spanish, it is pronounced [wakaˈmole] , [7] [8] in American English, it tends to be pronounced / ˌ ɡ w ɑː k ə ˈ m oʊ l iː / , and in British English, / ˌ ɡ w ɑː k ə ˈ m oʊ l eɪ / . [9] [10]

Avocados were first cultivated in South Central Mexico around 10,000 years ago. [11] [12] [13] In the early 1900s, avocados frequently went by the name alligator pear. [14] In the 1697 book, A New Voyage Round the World, the first known description of a guacamole recipe (though not known by that name) was by English privateer and naturalist William Dampier, who in his visit to Central America during one of his circumnavigations, noted a native preparation made of grinding together avocados, sugar, and lime juice. [15]

Guacamole has increased avocado sales in the U.S., especially on Super Bowl Sunday and Cinco de Mayo. [16] The rising consumption of guacamole is most likely due to the U.S. government lifting a ban on avocado imports in the 1990s and the growth of the U.S. Latino population. [17]

Guacamole dip is traditionally made by mashing peeled, ripe avocados and sea salt with a molcajete y tejolote (mortar and pestle). [18] [19] Recipes often call for lime juice, cilantro, and jalapeños. Some non-traditional recipes may call for sour cream, tomatoes, basil, or peas. [20]

Due to the presence of polyphenol oxidase in the cells of avocado, exposure to oxygen in the air causes an enzymatic reaction and develops melanoidin pigment, turning the sauce brown. [21] This result is generally considered unappetizing, and there are several methods (some anecdotal) that are used to counter this effect, such as storing the guacamole in an air-tight container or wrapping tightly in plastic to limit the surface area exposed to the air. [22]


30 Guacamole Recipes To Get Your Party Started

What's a party without guacamole? One we aren't going to.

Where there is guacamole, there is happiness.

Looking for more party starters? Try our 50 amazing salsas .

A perfect starting point for any mix-ins you want to add.

A boozy guacamole is our dream come true.

This gem is SO refreshing.

The smokiness of the grilled avocado adds such complexity to this guac.

The unexpectedly winning combo of roasted red peppers, crunchy cukes, and salty feta transforms this guac into a flavor bomb.