There are days when I load my guacamole to the point of being a meal on its own. But most days, this authentic guacamole recipe is the one I crave.
The delicious flavour of avocado shines without onions. Boosted only by a squeeze of zesty lime juice, a spicy jalapeño kick (not too much, though!), and fresh cilantro, this basic guacamole packs a mean avocado punch.
And let’s face it, avocado is delicious.
Why you’ll love this simple guacamole
There are so many guacamole recipes out there. But no matter how many I try, I always return to the simplest version – no onions, no tomatoes, definitely no garlic, and no frills.
Aside from its obvious avocado deliciousness factor, this healthy guacamole is
- dairy-free (and plant-based),
- super easy to make,
- the best guacamole for freezing, and
- utterly delicious.
How often can you feed your vegan and paleo guests the same bowl of goodness?
The best avocados for guacamole
Perfectly ripened rich and creamy avocados work best for guacamole. Guacamole is not a way to use up old or unripe avocados. Whenever a recipe is as simple as this, you should use the best quality fresh ingredients for the best result.
The pebble-skinned Hass variety fits the requirements perfectly.
But at the risk of conjuring serious avo envy, I mostly use avocados from my or my dad’s trees. My avocados are small, bumpy-skinned avos with super rich and creamy flesh. They are the perfect avocados for guacamole.
I adapted the recipe to fit the size of a medium-sized grocery store Hass avocado.
How much avocado to use in guacamole?
This guacamole recipe calls for four medium-sized Hass avocados. But what if you have a different variety? Avocados vary massively in size.
And the balance of flavour in guacamole is crucial – you want that perfect ratio of salt and acidity to avocado.
The Hazz avocados I measured have about 60% flesh once you get rid of the rough skin and the avocado pit. And a medium-sized Hass avocado weighs about 200 grams (7.1 ounces). So, one medium-sized Hass avocado should give you roughly 120 grams (4.2 ounces) of avocado flesh.
Therefore, a basic guacamole recipe with four medium Hass avocados requires roughly 480 grams (just over 1 pound) of fresh avocado flesh.
Luckily, guacamole scales well. It’s as easy to make guacamole for two people on movie night as it is for a crowd on Super Bowl Sunday. Weigh your avocado flesh and scale the recipe accordingly.
A word on the avocado ripening process
A perfectly ripe Hass avocado will yield slightly to a gentle squeeze.
But the window in which avocados are perfectly ripe is notoriously short. Thankfully, legendary Serious Eats author J. Kenji López-Alt ran a few experiments to set things straight.
Fruit produces ethylene gas that regulates ripening. The higher the concentration of ethylene, the faster your fruit ripens. Bananas are well-known ethylene powerhouses that speed up the ripening of surrounding fruit.
So, place a hard avocado in a paper bag (not plastic) with a banana to speed up ripening.
Once the avocado is perfectly ripe without any brown spots, you have about two days to use it. However, moving your avocados to the fridge extends this period up to roughly five days.
So, buy your avocado a week before you plan to use them. Speed up the ripening in a paper bag with bananas. And move them to the fridge if there is more than a day remaining before you plan to use them.
Or get your hands on shop-bought ripe avocados.
Guacamole ingredients and substitutes
Always use the best fresh ingredients in simple recipes. And while most substitutes won’t create guacamole as authentic as the original recipe, it will still result in a delicious avocado dip.
So, as always, substitute to your heart’s content.
- Avocados: Rich and creamy avocados work best for guac, like Hass avocados. But you can use any good ripe avocados. I use the ones from my tree when in season.
- Cilantro: There really is no replacing fresh coriander leaves (cilantro) in basic guacamole. But you can try it with flat-leaf parsley for a less authentic yet delicious version of guacamole. Or add a pinch of ground coriander if you are a cilantro leaf hater.
- Jalapeño: Any medium-hot green chilli will work here. Try the recipe with a serrano pepper. Or omit the fresh chilli and sprinkle your guacamole with red pepper flakes or smoked chipotle flakes for a smoky twist.
- Limes: What would authentic guacamole be without fresh lime juice? But yes, I get it. Limes can be expensive. So, feel free to substitute the lime juice with lemon juice or a splash of apple cider vinegar if that is what you have.
- Salt: Season the guacamole generously! Start with one teaspoon of salt and add more after tasting.
My tips for the best homemade guacamole
The best guacamole recipe is simple, easy and super moreish. Get these techniques down, and your guac game is changed forever.
1. Use the best avocados
With such a simple guacamole recipe, you should use only the best quality ingredients. And using the right avocados is key.
Use perfectly ripe, rich and creamy avocados, like Hass avocados.
But, if your avos are not at their peak buttery deliciousness, adding half a teaspoon of onion powder helps to boost the flavour.
2. Cut your aromatics as fine as possible.
Use a mortar and pestle mortar and pestle to pound it into submission. Or finely chop it by hand or with a food processor.
3. Guacamole is best when fresh.
That is why homemade guacamole always trumps the stuff from the grocery store.
Bash or mix your chopped aromatics (cilantro, chilli and salt). And set them aside until you are ready to make the guac.
Then, just before serving, mash your avocados and mix in the aromatics and lime juice.
4. Get the right texture
It is not an avocado purée. You want creamy bits with chunks of avocado. Use a potato masher, fork or sturdy whisk for chunky guacamole.
5. Season to perfection
Don’t go light on the salt. It elevates that delicious avocado flavour and binds these simple together to create something spectacular.
6. Skip the tomatoes.
I prefer my guacamole without watery tomatoes. Leftover guacamole also stores better without it. Serve a fresh salsa on the side instead.
Try it with this deliciously fresh mango habanero salsa.
This homemade guacamole recipe has no onions, but you can bash finely chopped white or red onion with the coriander and chillies if you want to add some. Or add a pinch of onion powder.
How to store fresh guacamole
Guacamole is at its best freshly made. Oxygen exposure causes unappetising brown guacamole within a few hours.
While we can’t stop oxidation completely, we can delay it by limiting oxygen exposure.
I compared four different methods of storing guacamole in the fridge.
The easiest and most cost-effective method is to cover the surface of the guacamole with water.
Place the guacamole in an airtight container, smooth the surface with the back of a spoon and carefully pour over a layer of water.
Refrigerate for up to three days.
Pour off the water and stir the guacamole before serving.
How to serve guacamole
Guacamole is best made fresh and served at room temperature. It is a simple recipe. And you can pull it together moments before you sit down to your Taco Tuesday feast.
Serve a big bowl of guacamole surrounded by crunchy tortilla chips. Or try it with vegetable crudites for a healthy snack.
A big bowl of guacamole is a welcome accompaniment to any Mexican meal.
Need more avocado inspiration?
- Learn how to keep browning at bay and properly store guacamole in the fridge. Or see how to freeze guacamole.
- Turn leftover guacamole into this delicious avocado green goddess salad dressing.
- Try a healthy kale quinoa salad with chickpeas and avocado.
- Or make some easy avocado sushi rolls for the perfect plant-based snack.
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro
- 1 small jalapeño, deseeded and deveined
- 1 teaspoon salt, more to taste
- 4 medium-sized ripe avocados
- 1 lime, juiced for 2 tablespoons lime juice
- Start with your aromatics. Finely chop your cilantro leaves (fine stems are OK to include) and chilli.
- An optional flavour-boosting step is to give the aromatics a quick bash in a mortar and pestle with a teaspoon of salt. Alternatively, transfer it to a small bowl along with the salt and set aside while you prep your avos.
- Slice your avocados in half and remove the pit. Scoop out and discard any brown bits of avocado flesh – hopefully, there are none.
- Scoop the green avocado flesh into a large mixing bowl and briefly mash with a fork, sturdy wire whisk or potato masher. I like my guacamole chunky. But you can keep mashing the avocado until it reaches your preferred texture.
- Add the chopped (or bashed) cilantro, chilli and salt mix, and two tablespoons of lime juice to the mashed avocado.
- Add more salt to taste. I typically add another ½ teaspoon.
- The avocado flesh for this recipe weighs roughly 450 grams (1 pound).
- Simple recipes require the best quality ingredients. Use perfectly ripe, rich and creamy avocados. But, if the avocados you have are not that great, add a pinch of onion powder to your guacamole to boost the flavour.
- I prefer to mix my avocado in a mixing bowl and then transfer it to a dip bowl to keep things tidy, but you can mash away in the dip bowl to save on dirty dishes.
- Learn more about ingredients and substitutes for the best guacamole.