Guacamole Recipe

To make the best guacamole you have to go off-recipe. It's all about the in-between steps, decisions, and knowing when avocados are at their best.


If pressed, I could tell you how to make good guacamole in one sentence. It goes something like this. Mash ripe avocados with finely chopped white onions, a minced garlic clove, a squeeze of lime juice, then salt to taste. But to make great guacamole, it's the little decisions going between those commas that make all the difference. If you were standing next to me throughout the process, you'd pick up on the dozens of choices and considerations that actually matter. So, I thought I might try to go longer-form with you on this one - walk you through my thought process, step-by-step here, related to one of my favorite things to eat.
The Best Simple Guacamole

Good Shopping is Key to Great Guacamole

Like most things that end up on the table, your success or failure depends on how you do at the market. The most important step in this entire process is procuring the perfect avocados. Ripe. But not too ripe. Beautiful, buttery, green-fleshed decadence - that's what you're after. Sometimes easier said than done.

A Lineup of Ripe Avocado

Choosing the Right Avocados

I spend more time choosing the avocados for guacamole than actually preparing it. You want avocados that are ripe and the only way to figure out whether they're at their peak is to evaluate them one at a time. To decipher whether or not an avocado is ripe enough, hold it in your palm, and give it a gentle squeeze with the pads of your fingers. There should be some give, like butter that has been out of the refrigerator for an hour in an average-temp kitchen. The give should be uniform across the surface of the fruit. Try to imagine whether that amount of give would translate to good mash-ability. Avocados tend to be more ripe toward the surface, less ripe toward the seed. Keep that in mind as you're evaluating them.

Look at the color as well. Over-ripe avocados (depending on the varietal) tend to be black with pockets of unstructured softness. I don't typically use the trick where you wiggle the stem button - if it's loose, the avocado is ripe (but possible too ripe!), but that is another tactic to decipher whether an avocado is in the zone.

If you buy under-ripe avocados and have a few days before using them they'll continue to ripen over time. If you're in a rush - avocados ripen more quickly sealed in a paper bag. To slow down the ripening process, place them in the refrigerator (but bring back to room-temperature before using).

Guacamole Ingredients

The Right Temperature is Key

Temperature matters here, and you're going to want to use room-temperature avocados. Because avocados have such a high percentage of fat, imagine trying to mash cold butter versus room temperature. Once is going to be much creamier than the other. So, don't try to make guacamole with cold avocados. Also, serve at room temperature, not chilled.

The Concept of Guacamole "Stretching"

Avocados can be pricey, so a lot of restaurants will "stretch" or bulk out their guacamole with things like chopped tomatoes. I'm not a fan of this. The tomato addition in particular. I don't love the way watery tomatoes bump up against fatty avocado - it's literally oil and water. I like guacamole to be about the avocado, and unless I'm throwing some wildcards in the mix (like the one in my last book), I typically keep it as clean and simple as possible.


Beyond this - trust your taste buds to balance things out. If you like a bit of spicy kick, add some minced serrano pepper. Use salt and lime juice, adjusting little by little, until things taste just right.

If you want to take your guacamole up another notch, try this favorite Indian-spiced guacamole, and inspired by a Julie Sahni recipe. I also love to use this guacamole on these Vegan Nachos and this taco salad or on homemade tortillas - so good!

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4.58 from 14 votes

Be sure to read the post up above for all the tips.

  • 1 medium garlic clove
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
  • 4 ripe avocados, room-temperature
  • 1/2 medium white onion, minced
  • a squeeze of fresh lime juice
  • to serve: chopped cilantro, chives or chive blossoms (optional)
  1. Sprinkle the garlic with the salt and smash and chop into a paste. Then use a spoon to remove all the avocado flesh into a wide, medium bowl. Be sure you get all the avocado near the skin, it's the best part. Sprinkle the avocado with the onions and garlic, and use a large fork to fold everything together. I like a chunky guacamole, so I tend to fold, chop with the edge of the fork, fold, chop. After a few folds add the lime juice, and fold some more. Taste and adjust with more salt or lime juice, and serve topped with cilantro and chives (or chive blossoms).
  2. You can store any uneaten guacamole in a refrigerator. Any surface area exposed to air will likely brown, so (preferably) use a glass jar (Weck) where the lid comes in contact with the avocado, or a piece of plastic wrap pressed to suface.

Makes a large bowl of guacamole.

Prep Time
5 mins
Total Time
5 mins
If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Recipe Rating


For me, guacamole starts with the right variety of avocado, preferably Haas. The larger varieties never seem to have the same depth of flavor or texture, but may be perfect for other dishes.

diary of a tomato

Simple guacamole is the best guacamole. No need to load it up with other ingredients.

Rockin Arugula

You are so witty and fun!! I enjoy recipes, honesty and photos Heidi; I make Guacamole quiet often and actually prefer it a bit on the chunky side, not too chunky though. When I'm making mines it's similar to yours I also use Serrano peppers and Cilantro it's sooo delicious! Thank you for all your emails. God bless you and yours I look forward I receiving more emails and fun recipes.


I like to make my guacamole sing in different notes for the restaurant setting. My most successful is the lime-spiked version. I first zest the limes, then roll and juice them, adding one secret ingredient: Chopped, Segmented Lime! Add a little honey to your mixture if it comes off too acidic. But remember, the brown oxidation can only be slowed, not stopped. The pit really does nothing to slow the process. Rather, use citrus and press plastic wrap right down onto the surface of the guacamole until ready to serve.

Chef Kellen Ferkey

I recommend buying unripe avocados- less bruising plus you can check their progress while ripening so you can eat them at their peak... Or stick them in the fridge to save at that state for a couple of days. I have it easy, I just take a basket out to the yard :)


I love making simple, ordinary recipes - and thus examining their intricate steps just to see variations. It's kitchen mantras like these that makes minute things big, important and beautiful just as we've forgotten them. Thank you for sharing and remembering...

phi @PrincessTofu

Beautiful posts! My friend who works at Whole Foods told me to try adding cut onions if you aren't going to use a whole avocado or more right away-cover in a glass dish (I'm a Pyrex whore!) I've tried it-works for a day-husband & I are on different schedules-he can eat all, I'm happy to have 1/2 a day-then I can play with the extras!


Yum, guacamole.... Jenni, for not-quite-ripe avocados inadvertently opened too soon, I actually dice the avocado and use it as one of the highlights in a pico de gallo salsa.


To keep avocados from turning brown, in a bowl, place a layer of sliced red onion under them & over the top of them & cover. I also brush them with lemon juice. I have kept avocados spotless for 4-5 days.. I don't know how much longer it would have worked because I always use them by that time.. It is amazing.. Try it.. ;) TY

Antoinette Zimmerman

If finding good avocados in California is difficult (which I never imagined - you know what they say about where the grass is greener), finding acceptable ones in Germany can be mission impossible. They are either way too hard (and go from too hard to black with no perfectly ripe stage in between), too stringy (I had an unfortunate attempt at making avocado "chocolate mousse" a few weeks back with an annoyingly stringy avocado), or they look and feel ripe only to reveal a black interior. There are few things more disappointing that cutting into an avocado and finding black! Therefore, I consult the stem button for advice. Instead of wiggling it, I actually remove it. If I see black then I know that the avocado has seen its day. If I see green then it is a keeper. And then I go home immediately and make guacamole, of course. Thanks for sharing all of your avocado tips!


Love this - and love your description of how to find the perfect ripe avocado! I make mine pretty much the same way, minus the garlic and plus a tiny bit of finely chopped tomato. Basically, I make it the same way my high school roommate (who was Mexican) taught me, and don't deviate from her method. It was such a treat to be introduced to west-coast Mexican food in 10th grade. I was a Russian immigrant who pretty much just knew Russian food; and Mexican food was eye (and palate) opening.


I'm right there with ya on the tomato thing! I usually ask for them to make it without. And when I make it myself, I only add garlic, and skip the onion - the bite on the raw onion ruins the avocado taste!

We eat so many avocados I find myself wondering if we should remortgage the house. One of the wonders of guacamole is how flexible it is (as evidenced by all the suggestions in the comment section). All I can say is bring on the chips!

Cynthia A.

Is there any way to use an avocado when it's not yet ripe enough, but it's already been cut into? Can they be heated, or anything, to soften them up? We tried to make guacamole Monday, but the avocados were not yet ripe enough. We ended up throwing a whole bowlful of stuff we tried to blend in the blender out. I hoped there might be a good trick for last minute ripening.


I like your simple , quick recipe for guac, but I can't help but add chopped fire roasted jalepenos, to provide some heat. I also don't like the water added from incorporating chopped I add halfed cherry or grape tomatos as a garnish around the edge along with the cilantro. This method allows the taster to select as little or not of the 2 items, not all appreciate.


hi there! super simple guac is my fave too. in fact, i've even had people from mexico tell me that my guac reminds them of home! i always use a thai mortar and pestle (aka mocajite). 4 ingredients - jalapeno + cilantro + avocado + nice sea salt... grind the jalapeno and cilantro into a lovely paste - add avocado, stir to chunky or creamy and salt to taste. YUM! (If you must add lime a small squeeze is fine, but not necessary :-).


Choosing the right Avocado has always been tricky for me. I was expecting that this post would help me with that.


I love the little details here. Thanks for sharing. My basic guac recipe uses 1 avocado, ~2tsp of fine chopped red onion, juice of a half a lime, ~2tsp of olive oil along with course salt, fresh ground pepper and chopped cilantro to taste. No one I know uses olive oil (why bother, right? avocado's smooth enough already), but i find it really makes a difference texture-wise.

Jeff Drury

I usually make a homemade pico and add that into my guacamole. However, I will be trying out your recipe for next time. I'm always such a huge fan.


our guacamole is very basic: avocados + lime juice + salt & pepper guacamole-making has been my daughter's job for years - she's now 14. smarty-pants trick for keeping any leftover guacamole from turning brown: save the pit and stick it into the guacamole {then cover tightly & refrigerate}. we do this, but i have a sneaking suspicion that some avocados are just more likely to brown than others.


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