The Ultimate Guide to Guac

Make the best ever guacamole ever! For real. Our secret ingredients will wow you.

Our secret ingredients will wow you. Make the best ever guacamole ever! For real.

Making great guacamole isn’t rocket science. It contains simple ingredients that come together and make something spectacular. But you have to use excellent ingredients. Excellent ingredients equal excellent guacamole.

CHOOSE GREAT AVOCADOS

This is always a tough one, especially when staring at a huge bin of avocados. Pick ones with dark pebbly skin that yield to gentle pressure. Those will be ready to use in guacamole right now. If you’re planning to wait a couple of days, buy firmer avocados.

Fun fact: There are hundreds of avocado varieties. But only eight are grown in California, where most of your avocados are coming from. Choose hass avocados, which comprises about 95 percent of the yearly crop. These are small with pebbly skin. This variety is hands down the best variety to use.

RIPEN THOSE AVOCADOS

If you want to speed up ripening, then put them in a paper bag on their own or better, with a banana or apple. To slow them down, pop them into the fridge.

If you’re feeling adventurous and have a rock hard avocado, nuke your avocado on low-medium heat for 30 seconds. Give it a gentle squeeze. If it gives, you have a softened avocado. If not, put it in for another half minute.

GUACAMOLE IS MORE THAN AVOCADO

You need avocados, of course. Mash those up really well with a fork or use a mortar and pestle (called a molcajete in Mexico), which is a very traditional method.

You definitely need to add lime juice (fresh is best). And salt. Guacamole really needs salt. Please don’t forget it.

If you do those things (mashed ripe avocado, fresh lime juice and salt) you’ve got a really good guacamole. But we promised you greatness. Now we’re going to come through on that…

FOR THE BEST GUACAMOLE

First you need to decide if you want smooth guacamole or guacamole with some texture.

If smooth, then add garlic powder, onion powder and, a tiny (tiny!) pinch of cayenne pepper and/or ground cumin. If you’re somebody who loves cilantro but you don’t want leafy bits in your smooth guacamole, we’ve got the secret ingredient for you: Ground Coriander. Coriander is the seed of the cilantro plant. It has some very similar flavor notes and really brings together your guacamole.

If you want a chunkier guacamole, then don’t mash the avocado quite as well and add minced garlic and minced onion. You can do finely chopped tomatoes and finely chopped cilantro as well. For the ultimate, add the tiniest bit of minced jalapeno.

ONE MORE GUACAMOLE SECRET INGREDIENT

O.K., we have one more little secret for you. Please don’t get mad. We know this isn’t traditional but it’s still a thing. Whether you’re doing smooth or chunky guacamole, try adding a tiny bit of mayonnaise. I know. I know. But please try it. We’re talking 1 tablespoon per whole avocado. You won’t taste the mayonnaise flavor but it does something to the texture and adds this subtle tang. It takes your regular guacamole and makes it the best ever. Go on. Try it. You’re gonna like it.

We’ve given you a smooth guacamole recipe below that you can use as a guide. It has the (dreaded?) mayonnaise and the ground coriander in it so it will let you try both of these secret ingredients.

The Best Guacamole (smooth version)

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 0 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 whole avocados, mashed very well
  • 2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground coriander (optional but highly recommended)
  • pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • pinch of ground cumin (optional)
 

Directions:

  1. Measure all ingredients in a medium bowl.
  2. Stir until smooth and well-combined.
  3. Taste and add more salt if desired.

Amy Bowen

Amy had no clue how to cook until she became the food reporter for a daily newspaper in Minnesota. At 25, she even struggled with boxed mac and cheese. These days, Amy is a much better cook, thanks to interviewing cooks and chefs for more than 10 years. She even makes four cheese macaroni and cheese with bacon, no boxed mac in sight. Amy is also on the editorial team at The Cookful.