Test Kitchen Tips
10 Secrets to the Best Guacamole of Your Life
These expert tips will really take your guac game to the next level! We talk about how to prevent browning and which ingredients to include to make restaurant-quality guacamole.
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We’ve all had a lot of guacamole, but have you ever had the best guacamole? The perfect guacamole is all about creating balance. From choosing your ingredients to how you mix it up, these tips will help you make a guacamole that rivals your favorite Mexican restaurant, every time.
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Choose Perfect Avocados
There’s nothing sadder than a hard, unripe avocado (except maybe a brown, mushy one). Under- or over-ripe avocados won’t mash up the right way, so look for an avocado that has a little give when you gently squeeze it.
Keep Your Avocados Ripe
If you can’t find any ripe avocados at the store, you’ll have to push your guacamole plans back a few days. There are a few ways to speed up the process, like placing them in a paper bag with a banana for a few days. On the other hand, if you have a perfect avocado but you’re not ready to yet, slow it down by tossing it to the fridge.
Shutterstock / Tatiana Bralnina
Use Fresh Ingredients
I’ve had a lot of guacamole made with dried herbs and powdered garlic, and it never tastes quite as good as the ones made with the fresh stuff! So mince up some onion and garlic, chop up a bunch of fresh cilantro and finish it off with a squeeze of real lime juice.
Shutterstock / Liliya Kandrashevich
Don’t Fear a Little Spice
Guacamole is all about combining a few simple flavors to make something exceptional—buttery avocado, astringent garlic and onion, acidic lime juice, herbaceous cilantro and spicy peppers. Even if you don’t like spicy food, you should still add a pinch of cayenne or minced peppers to bring out the other flavors.
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Use Plenty of Salt
Salt is a critical ingredient when it comes to avocados. Without it, everyone’s favorite green fruit just tastes a bit bland. When you add a little kosher salt to the mix, you’ll bring out all the avocado’s naturally buttery flavors. (Psst: Did you know there’s a difference between Diamond Crystal and Morton kosher salt?)
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A food processor might speed things up if you’re in a hurry, but be aware that those blades will crush your ingredients. Mash your guac by hand with a fork or a potato masher to create a chunkier guacamole with more nuanced flavors.
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Don’t Make It Too Early
While there are ways to keep guacamole from going brown, there’s only so much you can do. The best approach is to prep all of your ingredients in advance—chopping onions, garlic, tomatoes, etc.—and add the avocado at the last minute (but no later than the morning of the event).
Shutterstock / Natali Zakharova
Keep It Green
If you do need to make your guac in advance, you’ll want to keep it from turning brown. Seal it tightly with plastic, pressing down on the plastic down so it actually touches the guacamole. You can also top it with water. Don’t worry—it won’t water anything down and you’ll just pour it off when you’re ready to eat.
Shutterstock / Louno Morose
Decide Whether You Want Tomatoes
Many guac recipes include tomatoes, while others keep it pure with just avocados. Make your choice based on what kind of texture you’d like. Do you want a juicier dip with large chunks of savory tomatoes? Then add those tomatoes in! Would you prefer a smoother, creamier texture? Leave ’em out.
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Take a Shortcut
If you are planning to add tomatoes and you’re looking for a good shortcut, buy some high-quality pico de gallo. It’ll save you from having to chop any vegetables and the flavors will be just about perfect! If you’re making one from scratch, we recommend this unique zucchini pico de gallo recipe.