This is hands-down the best guacamole recipe! It's traditional and simple to make, and you can make it mild or spicy to your liking.
I learned how to make guacamole years ago in a professional cooking class in Mexico. I have so much love for this insanely delicious traditional guacamole.
Is guacamole just smashed avocado? No, guacamole is not just smashed avocado. It involves other delicious ingredients and flavoring like with garlic, lime juice, onions, and more to round out the flavor.
Traditional Guacamole Ingredients
What do you need to make guacamole? You'll need avocados, fresh lime juice, garlic, red onions, jalapeño peppers, fresh cilantro, and salt.
Here’s how to select the ingredients to make the best guacamole:
- Avocados: The best avocados for guacamole are Haas avocados. These avocados are the smaller ones with dark green and pebbled skin. I find Haas avocados to have a richer, more concentrated flavor than other varieties but use what's a good price at your store.
- Fresh lime juice: The acidity in the limes helps balance the richness of the avocados. It also helps keep your avocados from browning. Always use fresh lime juice, the stuff in bottles is mostly citric acid with lime flavoring. Fresh is best!
- Red onions: Red onions bring crunchiness and brightness to the dish. White onion can work if you don't have red onion. Pickled red onions offer a mild sweetness and are a fun twist to try as well.
- Fresh garlic: Fresh garlic is strong! Start with one small clove and add more as needed. I like to grate it in with a Microplane grater. Some nutritionists call fresh garlic the healthiest food in the world. It's loaded with antioxidants and healing power. You can also roast your garlic first to mellow out the sharp flavor or leave it out if garlic doesn't agree with you.
- Fresh cilantro: Cilantro is a classic addition to guacamole, but if you're in the estimated 4-14% of the population that hates the way it tastes because of a genetic variant, then simply leave it out. However, if you’re a cilantro lover like me, you’ll find that some fresh cilantro is key to a classic guacamole.
- Jalapeño peppers: These add some heat! You can leave them out for a mild guacamole. The spicy heat in jalapeños lives in the ribs (white inner part) and seeds, so remove the ribs and seeds before mincing for a medium-spicy guacamole. Leave the ribs and seeds in the pepper for a hot guacamole. Always wash your hands after handling hot peppers or wear gloves if needed.
- Salt: Salt helps balance and pop the flavors of guacamole. Kosher salt or sea salt both work in guacamole. Always taste and adjust salt after preparing any dish.
Guacamole Is Good For You
This guacamole dip recipe is surprisingly good for you. Thanks to all the plant-based ingredients, you’ll get a healthy dose of:
- Potassium, a key mineral that acts as an electrolyte
- Good saturated fat, which is excellent for heart health
- Vitamin K, for healthy bones
- Fiber, a potent prebiotic that aids in digestive health
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How to Make Guacamole Step-by-Step
This easy guacamole recipe only requires a few steps and no special equipment*. Simply follow these simple steps (the printable recipe card is below):
- Mash the avocados: Carefully slice your avocados in half lengthwise and remove the pit. Using a spoon, scoop out the avocado flesh and add it to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Use a fork to mash the avocado to the desired texture. I prefer a slightly chunky texture.
- Add the mix-ins: Mince the red onions and jalapeños (if using), and chop the cilantro and add to the bowl. Finely mince the garlic, or grate it in (or use a garlic press) to make it easier.
- Mix it all together: Squeeze in the lime juice and add the salt and mix, then adjust everything to taste. The total time should only take about 5-10 minutes.
Serve and enjoy: Guacamole is best just after it's made, while the avocados still look bright and fresh. There are some tips below to help prevent your avocados from turning brown.
*When I learned to make this in Mexico, we used a traditional molcajete (the Spanish word for mortar and pestle) but most people do not have these lying around, so we're mashing it in a bowl with a fork instead. If you have large molcajete this is a great time to bring it out.
How to Keep Your Avocados from Turning Brown
No one likes brown guacamole! Here's how to keep yours looking fresh and appetizing.
- Mix the guacamole just before you're ready to eat. You can prep the onions, peppers, and cilantro ahead of time if you'd like. Be sure to wait to add the avocados until the last moment, though. This method is the easiest way to prevent oxidation (browning) of the avocadoes.
- Prepare your guacamole and smooth out the top of the dip. Then cover the top with a thin layer of fresh lime juice. Next, cover it with plastic wrap (press it directly onto the surface). When ready to serve, either pour off the lime juice or stir it in for an extra bit of tanginess.
- Put the avocado pit(s) directly into the serving bowl. To be honest, I'm not sure if this actually works or if it's an old wives' tale, but I still often do it. It makes sense, the fresh avocado is adhered to the pit and stays green. However, I do think the first two tips here work the best.
Best Tips to Make It Great
- Choosing between organic or conventional avocados? It's ok to buy conventionally grown avocados. Avocados are the cleanest (least amount of pesticides) of all conventionally grown produce. You can read more about the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 List to learn how to avoid unwanted chemicals.
- Adjust to your taste: Feel free to adjust this recipe to your liking! If you like your guacamole super spicy, add more jalapeños! If you like with it more tanginess, add more lime juice or even a bit of lime zest.
- Recipe Variations: Other popular guacamole add-ins include chopped tomatoes or a dash of cumin. We didn't add these when I learned how to make guacamole in Mexico, but I'm not the guacamole police and strongly feel that you should do what makes you happy.
- Storage: It’s rare to have leftovers from this perfect guacamole recipe, but if you do, refrigerate it in a glass, airtight container with an extra squeeze of lime juice over the top for 1-2 days. The vitamin C in the lime juice helps prevent oxidation (science is fun!). You’ll want to give it a stir to remove any brown spots and let it near room temperature before serving.
And finally, if you want to change how you make guacamole try my lightened-up Healthy Pea Guacamole with Sweet Potato and Beet Chips recipe.Print
Learn how to make guacamole with this traditional guacamole recipe that's always a hit. When I learned how to make this in Mexico we did not add the tomatoes, but I included them here as optional because they make a great addition. Enjoy!
- 3 ripe medium avocados
- ¼ cup minced red onions (from ½ medium onion)
- 1 small jalapeño pepper, finely diced (remove the ribs and seeds to make it medium-spicy or omit to make it mild)
- 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 1 clove garlic, very finely minced, pressed, or grated
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (from 1 large lime)
- ½ teaspoon sea salt or Kosher salt, to taste
- optional: ⅓ cup diced tomatoes of your choice
- Carefully slice the avocados in half lengthwise and remove the stem and pit. Then, using a spoon, scoop out the avocado flesh and add it to a medium mixing bowl.
- Using a fork, mash the avocado to the desired texture.
- Next, stir in the rest of the ingredients, then adjust any of the ingredients to taste.
- Serve your guacamole right away when the avocados are looking bright and fresh. Grab some tortilla chips or fresh vegetables, and enjoy!
Adjust to Your Taste: Feel free to adjust this recipe to your taste! If you like your guacamole mild, leave out the jalapeño, and if you like it super spicy, add more. If you like it with more tanginess, add more lime juice. Don't skimp on the salt, it really brings out all of the bright flavors.
Other Add-Ins: Other popular guacamole add-ins include chopped tomatoes and/or a dash of cumin. If that's how you like yours, go ahead and add!
- Calories: 148
Keywords: How to Make Guacamole, Classic Guacamole, Traditional Guacamole