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The Best-Ever Guacamole - Again

Guacamole prep

There are few things I like better than guacamole. The flavor and texture are amazing, and it seems you can’t avoid feeling festive when you serve it.

Another thing I’ve noticed, sampling guacamole throughout the US, is that there are often subtle but distinct differences in what goes into it and how it’s prepared.

Along with those differences come some surprisingly strong opinions about what makes for the “best-ever” guacamole. Smooth or chunky? Spicy or mild? Simple or complicated? I’m pretty passionate about my own recipe, which you’ll find below. The one constant among all opinions?  The best-ever guacamole starts with ripe, high-quality avocadoes.

The Avocado Forecast

With that in mind, I’d say 2012 was a banner year for guacamole lovers, with more to come in 2013! Avocado production declines in the US and Chile led to a 30% reduction in available US supply in 2011. But that decline rebounded with a vengeance in 2012. By year’s end, nearly 1.5 billion pounds were produced or imported into the US, and the forecast for 2013 projects an increase of 200 million more pounds over last year! Guac lovers, get those big bowls out!

Avocadoes

More than half of the avocadoes come from Mexico, with the state of Michoacán being the leading source for the early months of the year. US production (mainly from California) starts to overlap with Mexico later in the spring, followed by Chile and Peru later in the year. These overlaps in availability from different growing regions throughout North, Central and South America are extremely important to securing the best fruit. Lots of supply means we don’t have to stay with one growing area too long. It also means avocadoes should remain reasonably priced throughout the year.

Monitoring the Situation

Avocado trees produce fruit (yep, an avocado’s a fruit) year round but the key to a good eating experience is the avocado oil content. If the oil’s too low the fruit can be watery and flavorless, too high can also be undesirable. That’s why we here at Whole Foods Market’s Produce Team keep a close eye on those avo’s and move from one growing area to another to get the fruit with just right oil content and the very best flavor and quality.

Picking the Best

When I’m buying avocadoes at the store, I try to get them a couple of days before I need them. This way I get firmer, bruise-free fruit that I can soften at home. Ethylene gas (gas produced by other ripening fruit) will speed the ripening process, so if you are in a hurry, place an avocado in a paper bag with a banana, apple or orange. Ripe avocadoes should have a slight give when pressed.

Guacamole prep

My Best-Ever Guacamole Recipe

My best-ever guacamole recipe has stayed pretty consistent over the years with a few tweaks to how I prepare it:

Ingredients

4 ripe avocadoes

1/4 cup thinly sliced grape or cherry tomatoes (or mangoes if you’re feeling adventurous)

1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion

1 jalapeño or serrano pepper, seeds removed and finely chopped

Coarsely chopped cilantro, to taste (I like about a teaspoon and a half)

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Juice of one half lime- I grill it in a skillet (it enhances the flavor and warm limes produce more juice- it also smells heavenly)

1/2 teaspoon each cumin and chili powder (or to taste)

Salt and pepper, to taste

Method

Combine all the ingredients except the avocadoes, salt and pepper to give the flavors a chance to meld for a half hour or so. Mash the avocadoes with a fork so there are whole pieces of avocado and then gently fold in the other ingredients. Serve immediately.

Guacamole tasting

The final ingredient for the best-ever guacamole is opinionated friends. In all honesty, while I have my favorite go-to recipe, I’m always on the hunt for new and interesting variations.

If you have a great guacamole recipe, unique variations or secret ingredients please share them in the comments below. There’s no reason the best can’t get even better!

 

Many thanks to Rodrigo Velasquez for contributing to this post.

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60 comments

Comments

Rosie says …

When the Vitamix demos were at our local Whole Foods, he used avocados in two ways, that I can attest are DELISH!!! One is in ice cream (non dairy), the other was in soup (his was tortilla). He said it adds the creaminess. So good!!! I luv avocados, I fell in love with them when I lived in FL and they were abundant there!

Joe says …

The simplest start to great Guacamole is a super ripe Avocado that is bruise free. Most Avocadoes are simply not ripe enough in the store. So grab a perfect looking one and place it in a paper bag by a window as suggested. And whatever you do, don't use an unripe avocado for Guacamole! We love whole foods at iEatPhilly.com!

SoDelhi says …

Yum! Food is one of my favorite things about travel. I had never tried out these things but after reading your post I feel that I have been there. Thanks for sharing such a nice information with us.

Kim Pacchioli says …

I love this recipe, but i am on someone else's computer w/o a printer. It would be great if you offered the capability to email to a friend, so I could email it to myself and print it.

jbielawa says …

looking forward to trying this, I love avocados and eat one almost every day, but have never tried to make my own guacamole. I wondered why avocados were so inexpensive lately and you explained, thanks!

Dustin Jaggers says …

I love guac. Your recipe is very similar to mine, and I liked the article.

Chris Hands says …

i Agree that Avocadoes are the first most important thing in the recipe, very close second is Cilantro, i have found Cilantro can make or break your recipe as well. Any tips on picking an avocado with the right oil content? ex: region for the time of year maybe? tired of watery Avocadoes. Cheers!!!

patel says …

Adding a dollop of sour cream makes the guac creamy!

Matt says …

Guac

Lynn Brown says …

I had the best guac i ever had from a whole foods store I hope this is it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! thanks Lynn

philkar_4 says …

Guacamole is one of my favorites!!

Danelle says …

This recipe for guacamole sounds so good will try right away love it on almost everything

Christine says …

my guac is super simple and yummy, 1-2 avacados, a dollop of mayo, and a couple dollops of my favorite salsa. that's it, super easy, super yummy!

kathleen funk says …

I think there should never be tomatoes in guac. The best guac ive had out resides at Chipotle restaurant. Its the ultimate consommate guac. Im a die hard fan of the stuff and a foodie. Guac should have slight chunks in it and never ever should it have tomatoes. Im sure you may like your recipe but i truly believe the tomatoes are not needed. Gi to Chipotle Grill and thats where the ultimate guac is. I would not use the above recipe. Sorry.

Susan Williams says …

With guacamole, in general, simple and pure is the best. My recipe is very close to yours. However, whenever I have roasted corn, from a leftover ear of grilled corn on the cob, I like to add that, and with spectacular results, I must say. :-D

Marsha Brooks says …

4 Avocados, mashed, 2 Tbsp grated onion or chopped green onion, 1/2 lime freshly squeezed, 2 tbsp sour cream. 2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. depending on whom its eating for zip cayenne pepper.

Megan says …

To slim down your guac...use 1/2 avacadoes, 1/2 green peas (frozen and thawed are best).

Dawn says …

Great tip on the grilled limes! Going to try that next time.

Karen Habbestad says …

3-4 Ripe Avocados, mashed slighty chunky, handful of sliced diced cherry tomatoes, 1 tbs. diced shallot, 2 tsp. minced garlic, lots of lime (juice from 1 juicy lime), sea salt to taste, adult non-alcoholics get added splash of tequila :-)

Erin says …

OMG I can't wait to make this. I just bought a bag of avocados and they are ready to be served up. I swear I eat them on almost everything these days.

Pamela Tanton says …

I make a delicious guacamole using avocados (usually I buy them from Whole Foods) and Whole Foods salsa. Think about it--the ingredients in the salsa are tomatoes, purple onion, cilantro, onion, lime (It think it's lime)...so if you want to make guacamole really fast, just grab a container of Whole Foods salsa and add it to mashed avocados. I would say that for two avocados, I might use about half a container of salsa, maybe less.

robynella says …

This is a great recipe and I have only one suggestion, if you prefer your guacamole on the chunky side: fold everything together with a whisk! (Found this tip on TheKitchn.com - it has not failed me yet.) I hate super smooth guacamole so this really makes it all come together without getting too mushed up.

james parker says …

Hi Chris Hand- I can't say I have a reliable method for insuring the oil content is just right- I tend to avoid fruit with uneven, blotchy black and green coloring and fruit that has soft spots or wrinkled skin. Kathleen Funk- I agree Chiptole has great guacamole. I put tomatoes in mine for color and texture but I agree it doesn't have to have them Patel and Marsha Brooke- I used to put sour cream in mine until a few of my purist friends in Texas told me it if you do it ceases being "true guacamole" and becomes a <quote> "Fancy California Avocado dip" (I live in California BTW). I think I'm going to add it back to my best ever recipe and just respectfully disagree with regional views. It does add some zing. Karen Habestad- Splash of tequila? Gotta try it!

Manny Robles says …

Well my guacamole is different the name is Hot Guacamole I have tomatoes , anios, jalapeños, garlic and the avocados. More hot the guacamole is delicious viva Mexico

Elisabeth says …

I learned to make guacamole in Mexico and it definitely had tomatoes! My recipe is the same except I leave out the garlic, cumin and chili powder. While I put cilantro in salsa I usually don't in guacamole. The secret ingredient I learned was grated Parmesan cheese! For texture. I can't wait to try it with your additions!

Melinda says …

Sounds great.

Michael Brown says …

Nice article. I had been fussing with different recipes for a while, and I'll try this one. I'm a big Whole Foods fan, although the closest one is only 20 miles away! Still, the local supermarkets have had pretty avocados for a while and I'll keep hitting them. I'm addicted (there, I said it) to guac.

Patte Goff-Williams says …

Avocado's do not produce fruit year round. The tree flowers, sets fruit and it takes 1 year from the flowering to the time the fruit is mature with a high oil content. There may be last year's fruit still on the tree when it flowers but it does not produce fruit all year.

george gecik says …

Gonna try it soon.

VG Sullivan says …

Guac recipe sounds delicious

Steve says …

Smoking guac recipe.....wow people devoured all of it in minutes!

Suzanne Prael says …

This is FABULOSO. . . sorry folks, great guac MUST have tomatoes!!!

Pmudaly says …

Nice recipe

Andrew says …

Dice red onions coarsely. The sweet crunch contrasts wonderfully. Same goes for Roma tomatoes minus the "innards".

Shirley says …

Bacon! I add 2-3 crumbled strips of bacon to guacamole and it is superb!

Leslie miller says …

My James Beard book suggested crisp, finely chopped bacon. I always use a recipe almost identical to yours, but with crisp, finely chopped bacon. My friends LOVE it!

Valerie says …

After comparing notes with my friend who happens to be Guatemalan I changed the way I make guacamole. To keep the true flavor of the avocado follow this recipe: 3-4 avocados, 2 Tbsp finely diced red onion, juice from 1 lime, 3 turns of freshly ground sea salt and black pepper to taste. Don't mash the fruit, leave big chunks and fold in the other ingredients. You don't need sour cream or mayo.....avocados are creamy enough. And don't forget to leave the seeds in your guac when you're done.....prevents it from turning dark. Don't forget to get a quality corn chip to go with your fabulous guacamole. Enjoy!

james parker says …

Hi Patte Goff-Williams: Thanks for the correction- I should have said the tree has fruit on it all year rather than the tree produces year round.

Lisa Leanne says …

I will add some cottage cheese or grated sharp cheddar to mine. As a time saver, I have bought the fresh pico de gallo that is sold in the produce drpartment. Saves time, and tastes great. I have also seen recipes that add raw pumpkin seeds. I would like to try that one. Also seen the one where you can sub out 1/2 the avacado for thawd green peas. Have the less oil avacados? Add a spoon full of full fat sour cream, or Mexican crema. It will add a depth of richness, and make up for the lack of avacado oil. What's also important in my guacamole enjoyment is having the best tortilla chips. I like the more rustic, full flavor corn taste. I try to make my own chips most of the time. I have tried salt & vinagar chips out of desperation though. And believe it or not, they were great with it. If you are buying rope avacados, pop out the stem. If it is solid green, its good. Any brown spots mean you will have those disappointing brown veins running through the avacado. It's a tried and true method to getting the best ones.

Nancy says …

3 ripe avocados mashed, 2 ripe plum tomatoes diced, juice of half a lemon, pinch of cayenne, 1tsp kosher salt, a good handful cilantro chopped, 1 small shallot finely minced. Let sit in fridge for 30 mins before serving to let flavour blend. My kids bring the ingredients over so I will make this for them.

Lisa says …

I like to blacken my hot pepper on a dry cast iron skillet before adding it to the guac. Also, rinsing the chopped onion under cold running water for a minute takes the sharpness out.

Marisa Procopio says …

Hi James--I always thought I hated guacamole until I had it recently at an authentic Colombian restaurant. I think what was missing from all of the other guacs was a good amount of seasoning (here in the US people tend to shy away from that, and I do love a punch of flavor). Maybe I'll try your recipe; I like the idea of grilling the lime first to get the rawness out. Thanks! mcproco.wordpress.com

MARIO MARRERO says …

THIS RECIPE SOUNDS AMAZING CANT WAIT TO TRY IT OUT!

francie says …

cut up one red onion and mix in juice of one lemon juice of two limes, one minced habanero pepper, salt, pepper and a dash of mrs. dash. mix up and add to guacamole or any dish you want to enhance the flavor and spiciness of. delicious!!!!!

elena says …

Very nice recipe. I'd like to share mine with you. It almost everything the same but I don't put garlic, and I squeeze half of orange, and use fire roasted tomatoes sometimes. Delicious!

Christine says …

I was wondering how one can tell when choosing avocados if it has a high or low oil content? To me it seems its hit & miss . Sometimes I think I have the perfect avocado only to find that when I go to cut & taste it , it is either bitter watery & or brownish inside .Also what is the best way to save leftover guacamole ?

Laura says …

This turned out delicious. Great recipe. Liked the idea of grilling the limes though I didn't do that. Maybe next time. My batch did turn out too smooth though. I had not bothered to read your "method" section. I jumped in and followed that recipe in order given as that is the correct protocol and they way it's in recipe books. If you wanted to improve this you could list the avocados after the garlic (I assume the lime goes into the blended avocado and spice mixture?). I had forgotten that most recipes posted by individuals on the internet do not follow the correct listing (which is order of preparation). Overall though terrific taste.

Sharon Evans-Putney says …

I am eating Whole Foods guac right now, those are not the ingredients on the label.

Maggie says …

I've never tried grilling limes, thats a great hint. I love to skip the tomato (which is admitedly my least favorite food) and the peppers, instead I add salsa verde, that I purchase at my local Whole Foods store. Salsa tomatillo is basically the same stuff, and I prefer it.

Olivia says …

My favorite recipe for guacamole is my own recipe...it's not exact, I just go by taste. Here it is: 3 avocados 1/4 jalapeño (seeds removed) finely chopped 1/4 red onion finely chopped 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped 1-2 limes (a great trick for getting more juice out of limes is to microwave them for about 30 seconds...let them cool and when you juice them, the juice will just come pouring out!) Salt and pepper to taste I prefer my guacamole very smooth, but it is very easy to get the consistency you desire. First, I mash the avocados a little bit by themselves. Then, I add some of the lime and continue mashing. Then I add all of the ingredients in and mash the avocados until I get them to the perfect consistency..lastly I just taste to see what needs to be added! I hope you enjoy!

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