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The Annual "Best Ever" Guacamole Search

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.

Enjoy!

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.

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67 comments

Comments

says …

@Michelle Aw yeah bacon! I'm going to have to try this for sure!

says …

@Annie Ooo, I've never thought of adding Greek yogurt. What a great idea!

says …

@Margo Some people say that it decreases the browning/oxidation of the guac. Put it to the test and let us know what you think!

Randa says …

The best guacamole I ever ate (and I have eaten it everywhere and often) was in a Mexican border town and it was just black pepper and avocado. Simple rich and wonderful.

Steve Croyle says …

I'm not much for rules and when I'm making guacamole for mylself I will load it up with just about anything that catches my fancy. That said, I don't think it's guacamole if it gets too fancy. I think the best guacamole really lets the avocado shine and the best way to do that is to keep it green. Cilantro, lime zest, lime juice and salt, along with the requisite avocados, will provide you with a fresh base that would compliment just about anything. I'm not kidding--you could put a scoop on top bowl of fresh fruit or use it on a pie if you wanted to. Add some sugar and you've got a creamy base for a sorbet. I prefer savory, however, and that's why onions and garlic always end up in mine. To take the edge off, I marinate the oions and garlic in the lime juice with just a touch of sugar while I prep the rest of the ingredients. You can add some minced serrano peppers for a bit of heat, but if you need heat, I'd serve the guacamole next to an assertive salsa so the soothing creaminess of the avocado can be appreciated on its own, rather than have it battle with other flavors in an overwrought guac.

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!

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!

says …

@David MMMM I LOVE pineapple and don't know this idea never crossed my mind. And the jicama would add such a great crunch! Great ideas!

stony says …

Garlic in guacamole! No no no.... Mashed avocado, a bit of finely diced onion, finely diced jalapeno, diced tomato (optional), cilantro for those who like it (I don't), lemon or lime juice, salt. That's it!

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!

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.

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!

Eileen Hamilton says …

I purchase the best guacamole I have ever tasted from Whole Foods market every single week!

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

Dave Beaulieu says …

This is very similar to my favorite guacamole. The grilled limes are new to me, and very cool, definitely worth trying. I also make Guac when I'm having my chicken fajitas http://www.noreciperequired.com/recipe/chicken-fajitas and it just makes the perfect garnish. In addition to being a perfect dip for football parties. Great tips...thx!

david born says …

Take that classic recipe, and add some diced pineapple.. or jicama.. but also it needs more peppers.. I'd use a jalapeno, serrano, anaheim, and even a roasted skinned poblano. A splash of olive oil and red wine vinegar helps, sometimes.. If you have a big party, add a tub of sour cream for an affordable way to stretch it farther. And the best trick my ex's mom taught me, put one of the seeds back in the bowl while serving, and the top will never brown.. even if you have to put leftovers in the fridge overnight.

geecee says …

Putting the pits in the bowl serves no purpose -- the idea that they prevent browning is based on the observation that in a sliced fruit the area under the pit doesn't discolot. In fact the pit simply prevents air reaching the area in contact with the fruit, rather than some magical power. Putting pits into the guac cannont exclude oxygen, and so is ineffective. If you need to store the guac for a little while, sprinkle with lime juice and put plastic wrap in direct contact with the surface to prevent oxidation and discoloration.

Gretchen Melton says …

I usually mix up a batch of fresh salsa first, then leave some in the food processor and add avocadoes. works great! Also, there was a Mexican restaurant in Boulder years ago that added a little shredded lettuce to their guacamole. The texture was great.

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!

Sunnybre Stensler says …

My friends always request my Guac when they come over or I am requested to bring it for parties. But my ingredients are to taste and not measured, only because that is how i cook. Here it is: Avocados, fresh half squeezed lime, fresh chopped cilantro, fresh finely chopped purple onion, firm tomato(s) diced, salt, cumin, pepper, paprika mix all together and top with crumbled conjita cheese. if you like spicy then add either a diced jalapenio or dried california pepper seasoning its a little milder Served with homemade flour and corn tortilla chips or veggies.

Michelle Smiles says …

Bacon makes everything better. :) I always crumble 2 slices of bacon into my guacamole - adds a nice smokiness. Also, a quick squeeze of fresh orange...you shouldn't add enough to know it is orange but it really brightens it. I haven't grilled my limes before...I'll have to try.

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.

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.

Kate says …

I'm a minimalist, so here's my take: 1 ripe avocado, 2 cloves garlic, oliver oil, lemon, lime, and sea salt. See it come together here... http://bread-n-chocolate.blogspot.com/2011/03/snack-attack-mod-nod-to-guac.html

says …

@J A Stone Whole Foods Market has a 100% guarantee. If you're ever disappointed with a product please return it for a replacement or a refund!

Annie says …

I add a little low-fat Greek yogurt for creaminess and oregano. I also prefer to use green onions as I cannot tolerate red or yellow! Serrano peppers are also good instead of jalapeno. You pretty much covered my must=have ingredients though. I never make it the same way twice! Just sayin'!!

Barbara says …

This purist approach comes from a friend who was a sous-chef for a Mexico City restaurant: Haas avocados "minced" and not mashed; add: minced red onion, minced garlic, minced jalapeno, finely chopped cilantro leaves; and coarsely ground sea salt. That is it! No citrus used, so place plastic wrap smoothly on top if you keep before serving. This is unusual and delicious--allowing the taste of the creamy avocado to shine through, with the "bite" of other ingredients.

Aly says …

My "best-ever" guacamole is a little different from normal guac; it is very refreshing and goes really well either with salty chips or as a perfect "cool" element to balance out any taco/fajita/burrito recipe. 4 avocados juice of 1/2 lime juice of 1/4 lemon 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (to taste) 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder (to taste) 1/4 teaspoon chili powder (to taste) pinch of kosher salt pinch of black pepper

Kailey K. says …

BEST addition to guac EVER = DICED CUCS. like cm dice. some skin on. gives it a great texture and little refreshing bites. other than that, keep it simple. roma tomato or two, little garlic, cilantro lime juice, hot pepper if you like spice, black pepper for good measure. kept fairly chunky so all the flavors come through but simultaneously blend. trust me, the cuc really does it here. especially if you like your guac super spicy.

Caldecoa says …

I use the following ingredients: avocados, lime juice, serranos to taste, red onion, cilantro and cumin with garlic being optional depending on the avocados. If the avocados have less flavor, I use garlic, flavorful no garlic and let the fruit shine. Not a big fan of tomatoes in my guacamole, I think it takes away from the avocados. If I want tomatoes, I just make salsa as well. Important to let it set in the refrig for about 20 minutes with half the lime juice on the surface, then covered in plastic. Give it a quick stir when ready to serve so the surface juice is incorporated. Watched an episode of Good Eats they claimed that adding the pits back in does nothing to reduce discoloring except for exposing less surface area to air.

Kevin says …

Add a tad bit of tequila, you wont regret it.

says …

@Kevin Not only would I not regret that I think I would LOVE IT! Good call!

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!

Mel says …

Agreed on the few the ingredients, the better. I throw in some lime juice, garlic and cilantro.

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.

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!

says …

@Julie LOVE the grilled limes idea. It adds that little special something, doesn't it!

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

Brian says …

Mine is very similar instead of hot pepper I add a whole small bottle of green tabasco

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/

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.

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.

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!!!

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

says …

@Sam I love that you use spinach in your guac. What a great way to sneak more veggies into an already tasty treat!

Cathie says …

I love Kara's story - too fun! These all sound yummy. My guac is always a hit and gone too fast. Simple -- 3 avacados, 1/2 cup fresh salsa (no preservatives), juice of 1 lemon, fresh pepper -- mash with a fork till semi-chunky & dig in!

armando romero says …

try our gourmet mexican salsa (in the wholefoods local salsa section)you will be very pleased with the price and quality also try our homemade style guacamole sold exclusively at seisels meats off morena blvd--- for a free sample call me @619.250.1281 and i will put a sample aside for you-----armando owner salsa bravo mexican salsa ps we are local san diegans

Moreen says …

try this

J A Stone says …

Whole Food's guacamole used to be the best store-bought guac available, but in the fall I bought it a few times and was disappointed: It had turned into a a vegetable-like dip with an avocado base. Are they listening?

jennifer thorp says …

I've got it - Use fresh tomato, serono pepper, cilantro and red onion instead of favorite salsa - Mix it up some by adding fresh or roated peppers - anything goes, make to taste.

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