Guacamole! Did you know that over 2 billion pounds of avocados are consumed each year in the U.S.? (Google it.) That's over 7 pounds per person. I'm guessing that most of those avocados go into what has become America's favorite dip: guacamole.
Guacamole: A Classic Mexican Dish
The word "guacamole" and the dip, are both originally from Mexico, where avocados have been cultivated for thousands of years. The name is derived from two Aztec Nahuatl words—ahuacatl (avocado) and molli (sauce).
Ingredients for Easy Guacamole
All you really need to make guacamole is ripe avocados and salt. After that, a little lime or lemon juice—a splash of acidity—will help balance the richness of the avocado. If you want, add chopped cilantro, chilis, onion, and/or tomato.
How to Pick Perfectly Ripe Avocados
The trick to making perfect guacamole is using avocados that are just the right amount of ripeness. Not ripe enough and the avocado will be hard and flavorless. Too ripe and the taste will be off.
Check for ripeness by gently pressing the outside of the avocado. If there is no give, the avocado is not ripe yet. If there is a little give, the avocado is ripe. If there is a lot of give, the avocado may be too ripe and not good. In this case, taste test first before using.
How to Cut an Avocado
To slice open an avocado, cut it in half lengthwise with a sharp chef's knife and twist apart. One side will have the pit. To remove it, you can carefully tap your chef’s knife against the pit and twist to dislodge it (protecting your hand with a towel), or you can cut the avocado into quarters and remove the pit with your fingers or a spoon.
Still curious? Read more about How to Cut and Peel an Avocado
Other Ways to Use Guacamole
How to Store Guacamole
Guacamole is best eaten right after it's made. Like apples, avocados start to oxidize and turn brown once they've been cut. That said, the acid in the lime juice you add to guacamole can help slow down that process. And if you store the guacamole properly, you can easily make it a few hours ahead if you are preparing for a party.
The trick to keeping guacamole green is to make sure air doesn't touch it! Transfer it to a container, cover with plastic wrap, and press down on the plastic wrap to squeeze out any air pockets. Make sure any exposed surface of the guacamole is touching the plastic wrap, not air. This will keep the amount of browning to a minimum.
You can store the guacamole in the fridge this way for up to three days. If the guacamole develops discoloration, you can either scrape off the brown parts and discard, or stir into the rest of the guacamole before serving.
Once you have basic guacamole down, feel free to experiment with variations by adding strawberries, peaches, pineapple, mangoes, or even watermelon. One classic Mexican guacamole has pomegranate seeds and chunks of peaches in it (a Diana Kennedy favorite). You can get creative with your homemade guacamole!
- Simple Guacamole: The simplest version of guacamole is just mashed avocados with salt. Don't let the lack of other ingredients stop you from making guacamole.
- Quick guacamole: For a very quick guacamole just take a 1/4 cup of salsa and mix it in with your mashed avocados.
- Don't have enough avocados? To extend a limited supply of avocados, add either sour cream or cottage cheese to your guacamole dip. Purists may be horrified, but so what? It still tastes great.
Here Are a Few Other Guacamole Recipes to Try
- Spicy Three-Chile Guacamole
- Strawberry Guacamole
- Guacamole with Charred Sweet Corn, Bacon, and Tomato
- Copycat Chipotle Guacamole
- Bacon and Blue Cheese Guacamole
Video: How to Make Perfect Guacamole
How to Make the Best Guacamole
Be careful handling chilis! If using, it's best to wear food-safe gloves. If no gloves are available, wash your hands thoroughly after handling, and do not touch your eyes or the area near your eyes for several hours afterwards.
2 ripe avocados
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon fresh lime or lemon juice
2-4 tablespoons minced red onion or thinly sliced green onion
1-2 serrano (or jalapeño) chilis, stems and seeds removed, minced
2 tablespoons cilantro (leaves and tender stems), finely chopped
Pinch freshly ground black pepper
1/2 ripe tomato, chopped (optional)
Red radish or jicama slices for garnish (optional)
Tortilla chips, to serve
Cut the avocado:
Cut the avocados in half. Remove the pit. Score the inside of the avocado with a blunt knife and scoop out the flesh with a spoon. (See How to Cut and Peel an Avocado.) Place in a bowl.
Mash the avocado flesh:
Using a fork, roughly mash the avocado. (Don't overdo it! The guacamole should be a little chunky.)
Add remaining ingredients to taste:
Sprinkle with salt and lime (or lemon) juice. The acid in the lime juice will provide some balance to the richness of the avocado and will help delay the avocados from turning brown.
Add the chopped onion, cilantro, black pepper, and chilis. Chili peppers vary individually in their spiciness. So, start with a half of one chili pepper and add more to the guacamole to your desired degree of heat.
Remember that much of this is done to taste because of the variability in the fresh ingredients. Start with this recipe and adjust to your taste.
If making a few hours ahead, place plastic wrap on the surface of the guacamole and press down to cover it to prevent air reaching it. (The oxygen in the air causes oxidation which will turn the guacamole brown.)
Garnish with slices of red radish or jigama strips. Serve with your choice of store-bought tortilla chips or make your own homemade tortilla chips.
Refrigerate leftover guacamole up to 3 days.
Note: Chilling tomatoes hurts their flavor. So, if you want to add chopped tomato to your guacamole, add it just before serving.