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The Annual "Best Ever" Guacamole Search

By James Parker, January 30, 2012  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by James Parker

I no longer believe I have the “best ever” guacamole recipe. Every year about this time, the search for the ultimate guacamole comes up in the office or the blogosphere and I gather another nugget that raises the bar on my personal concoction.

New ingredients and theories get added or subtracted – things like the right texture (creamy or chunky) or the right balance of ingredients (simple or complicated). Even the question of if putting the pit back in the bowl of guacamole really keep the guacamole from turning brown is a subject of seemingly endless debate.

For some the business of guacamole is a serious, exacting science. For others, you just mash an avocado with a fork and your work is done. I’m somewhere in the middle but my recipe evolves every year. Rodrigo, our office avocado buyer and resident expert, is crazy busy right now. Avocadoes are very popular and demand is strong year round but in January demand really takes off.

This is due in part to very strong, overlapping availability from Chile and Mexico, both of which are producing excellent fruit. But the main reason demand increases in January is football. For the week of the big game, Rodrigo will book more than double the amount of avocadoes shipped in a normal week. This year supplies are much stronger and the fruit is ripening beautifully.

Mexico is the largest producer of avocadoes in the world. In fact, you would have to combine the production of the next four countries on the list of top producers (including the US) to come close to matching Mexico’s annual output. Next on the list for commercial production is the United States followed by the Dominican Republic, Brazil and Indonesia.

Here in the US most of our fruit comes from Mexico, Chile and domestically, when in season. California produces most of the domestic fruit and the season can start as early as December but peak production is later in the spring. Depending on the size of the crop, the US season can last into September. When selecting avocadoes at your store or farmers market, there are a few simple things to look for to avoid fruit that is over ripe.

Touch is the best indicator of ripeness, the fruit should be firm with just a slight give with no overly soft spots. Avocadoes bruise easily when ripe so they should be handled with care. Too soft fruit with wrinkling on the narrow tip is likely overripe and should be avoided. If you can, it’s best to buy firm fruit a few days in advance to avoid the risk of bruising altogether.

Put your firm avocadoes in a bowl with citrus or apples — both produce naturally occurring ethylene gas, which speeds the ripening process.

My current “best ever” recipe has gotten a little simpler:

4-5 medium avocadoes (ripe)

1/3 cup cherry tomatoes (grape or regular variety, interior pulp removed and sliced into small pieces)

1/4 small red onion (finely chopped)

1 hot pepper (jalapeño, seeds removed and finely chopped)

Chopped cilantro to taste 2 cloves of garlic (minced)

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin (or to taste)

1/4 teaspoon chili powder (or to taste)

Juice of 1/2 grilled lime (sliced in half and grilled in a skillet or on the barbeque)

Salt and pepper to taste


Combine all the ingredients except the avocadoes and set aside for the flavors to merge. Set aside the pits and roughly mash the avocadoes with a fork, taking care to leave whole chunks. Fold in the rest of the ingredients carefully and correct the seasoning to taste. Return the pits to the bowl and serve.


As always I enthusiastically encourage input — if you have a family favorite recipe or special process that works, please share. My guacamole is better than ever but the “’best” is yet to come.

Category: Food & Recipes, Produce




picobrew says ...
(2) ripe avocados slice in half, scooped and mashed with a fork 1/4C. more or less - of your favorite spicy salsa 1t. sour cream - required - but not more! Salt & pepper to taste. optionally add: 1 to 2T of lime juice up to 2t. of crushed garlic I have substituted cottage cheese for the sour cream - I love it - my wife hates it!
01/30/2012 8:37:34 PM CST
Patty Collins says ...
The best guacamole has the fewest ingredients. Avocados, a little garlic --can even use powdered garlic if that's all you have...and a bit of cumin. The real thing!
01/30/2012 8:40:01 PM CST
Julie says ...
I like the idea of using grilled limes, I just use regular ones.My secret ingredient is pomegranate seeds. I use equal amount seeds to tomato and it adds an element of sweetness, crunch and acid to the dish!
01/30/2012 8:50:54 PM CST
aseafish says ...
My favorite is simple and lemony. avocados, fresh garlic, lots of lemon, a serrano or two, very finely chopped with sea salt and a touch of black pepper and a dash of cayenne.
01/30/2012 8:52:15 PM CST
Mel says ...
Agreed on the few the ingredients, the better. I throw in some lime juice, garlic and cilantro.
01/30/2012 8:52:43 PM CST
Jerri says ...
Here is mine. Super simpe & inspired from the trips I've taken to playa del Carmen, Mexico - http://www.cooking4carnivores.com/2009/04/holy-guacamole.html?m=0
01/30/2012 9:45:04 PM CST
Brian says ...
Mine is very similar instead of hot pepper I add a whole small bottle of green tabasco
01/30/2012 9:54:05 PM CST
The Crafty Fork says ...
The best guacamole? Avocado, lime juice, garlic, salt. That's it. See how here: http://craftyfork.com/2012/01/15/guacamole/
01/30/2012 10:04:07 PM CST
Faith Landers says ...
Excellent post that I so enjoyed!!! This recipe is one that I have modified and placed on my blog. Recipe is as follows: Faith's modifications: -no hot sauce -sweet white onions instead of purple -did not seed tomato -doubled and sometimes tripled fresh garlic -always serves with Mission brand tortilla chips-HEAVENLY! 4 ripe Haas avocados 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 lemon) 8 dashes hot pepper sauce 1/2 cup small-diced red onion (1 small onion) 1 large garlic clove, minced 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1 medium tomato, seeded, and small-diced Directions: Mix all and serve immediately.
01/30/2012 10:42:37 PM CST
Marissa Troxclair says ...
This is a great recipe! I only changed a couple things - instead of one jalapeno, I used 3 red chili peppers, roasted and skinned them. Also added a few squeezes of lemon juice at the end - the grilled lime was a very nice mellow flavor, but I felt that it needed a touch more brightness. Yum!!!
01/30/2012 10:56:59 PM CST
kara rane says ...
hi James~ I am definitely a 'purest' when it comes to guacamole recipes (only need lemon+salt), but this still makes me smile. While enjoying an outdoor meal beneath an Avocado tree in Cali. one of the fruits fell directly from the tree and into the bowl of guacomole*! Now that's direct, local, and fresh.
01/30/2012 11:05:13 PM CST
Debb says ...
My husband doesn't use the tomatos or onion. His input is Cacique Crema Salvadorena. This is an amazing sour cream with flavor. I checked the charts, and it appears to be better for you than sour cream. Plus, no cumin or chili powder. He adds a small amount of salsa instead. The salsa he uses is fresh from a Mexican store in Omaha. It has the flavor of garlic and cilantro. He is famous in our crowd for his Guac.
01/30/2012 11:16:21 PM CST
Sam Saenz says ...
I have two! I adore avocados. Sometimes I will have these recipes for lunch and nothing else. 1) Grapefruit & avocado http://happyhealthyholistic.wordpress.com/2012/01/12/grapefruit-avocado-salsa/ and 2) raw spinach and avocado guacamole dip : 2 avocados, 1/4 cup green onion , 2-3 handfuls of spinach, 1/4 cup cilantro, juice of one lime, 1 tbsp chili powder & salt to taste. Hands down two best recipes EVER :D
01/30/2012 11:47:20 PM CST
Peggy Morton says ...
Avocados Tabasco Sauce Fresh squeezed lime juice Salt & lots of black pepper. Mash with a fork somewhat, but leave some big chunks too. Fresh cilantro adds a nice touch.
01/31/2012 12:27:31 AM CST
maureen g says ...
my neighbors LOVE my guac. I think there are too many ingredients in the recipe above but I'm a New Yorker. We like avacado, onion, lime, cilantro, salt--and you're done!
01/31/2012 5:37:59 AM CST
Carol Burnham says ...
Simple is best for me and guacamole. Lime, salt and cilantro are all I add to the avocado. I'm a bit heavy handed with the cilantro, but I really like it.
01/31/2012 5:44:02 AM CST
Arlene Singer says ...
Simple, fresh and delicious: ripe avocados, chopped fresh tomatoes (best available), chopped scallions, fresh lime juice, cumin and salt (all ingredients based on personal taste). That's all there is to it and everyone is always amazed how good it is!
01/31/2012 6:42:39 AM CST
Eileen Hamilton says ...
I purchase the best guacamole I have ever tasted from Whole Foods market every single week!
01/31/2012 8:40:39 AM CST
Martha Walker Hutson says ...
The BEST guacamole recipe I have came from Boudro's on the Riverwalk in San Antonio in 1998. (They no longer use this recipe.) It has 4 ingredients: avocado, thinly sliced and chopped red onion, lots of chopped cilantro, and a little fresh squeezed orange juice. That's it! Not watery in spots, just perfection.
01/31/2012 9:05:49 AM CST
Martha says ...
The best gucamole ever consists if. Avocados a little chunky a littly smashed, jalapenos finely diced, red onion finely diced, lime and salt. That's it plain and simple.
01/31/2012 9:59:00 AM CST
janejohnson says ...
@Sam I love that you use spinach in your guac. What a great way to sneak more veggies into an already tasty treat!
01/31/2012 11:58:47 AM CST
janejohnson says ...
@Julie LOVE the grilled limes idea. It adds that little special something, doesn't it!
01/31/2012 12:01:35 PM CST
Kathy says ...
I do a similar receipe,but use some cayenne pepper and jalapeno(only if the people eating like it hot,if not I use just the cayenne pepper)and put in some canned chopped green chilies.I don't put the onion in and I press the garlic,don't use cumin and do half fresh lemon and lime juice.Curious what grilling the lime does for the flavor?Fresh cilantro is a must!
01/31/2012 8:30:30 PM CST
parkerj says ...
kara rane, your story is hilarious! Who would have thought we could have a seven degrees of seperation moment with guacamole and Sir Issac Newton. JP
02/01/2012 11:16:34 AM CST
Cody Cadenhead says ...
All good ideas mine is pretty close to the one in the article. I don't grill my lime- will try it- and instead of the jalepeno I use cayenne pepper. Also and this is a must you have to make it in a Molcajete. Other wise it is just dip!
02/01/2012 3:30:09 PM CST