Keep this easy guacamole recipe in mind for your next gathering. Because nothing says “party” like buttery avocado in an inviting bowl of guacamole. Even if your party is actually just an ordinary Tuesday night at home.
With just the right amount of lime, cilantro, and garlic, guacamole is always welcome. Vegan & gluten-free.
The first time I made guacamole from scratch, I used a dry seasoning packet. It was similar to those taco seasoning packets with dehydrated onions, garlic, and spices.
That sounds crazy to me now. I was living in California at the time. I had steady access to all of the fresh ingredients that you need to make homemade guacamole.
There’s no need for packets to come into play at all.
It wasn’t until sometime later that I was shopping at Trader Joe’s. They had these “kits” with everything you needed to make guacamole in one to-go container.
It was then that I realized how simple it is to make guacamole from scratch with just a few ingredients from the produce section. (No kit necessary either.)
And since avocado is a mild tasting fruit, you don’t want to overwhelm the flavor anyway.
The key is highlighting and amplifying what’s there. Not masking it to the point of not being able to discern its inherent avocado-ness.
Since those “packet days” in my early twenties, I’ve made guacamole loads of times.
Ways to use guacamole
It makes a delightful layer in vegan 7 layer dip.
And before really satisfying vegan cheese was widely available, avocados & guacamole were my favorite “cheese replacement.” After all, no one feels sad about having some avocado on a tofu scramble or bowl of vegan three bean chili.
Even now, I will usually opt for avocado over non-dairy cheese 9 times out of 10.
Here on Cadry’s Kitchen, I’ve included guacamole as a component to dishes. But I’ve never shared a standalone easy guacamole recipe.
And since guacamole is a completely inviting thing to make on its own, I thought it was high time I remedy that.
The first step in making this easy guacamole recipe is finding the perfect avocado.
Which avocados to buy for guacamole
I like to buy Haas avocados when they are still firm and green. If the skin is shiny and unblemished, those avocados are going home with me.
I get them early and let them ripen on the counter. That way I can feel assured that an avocado’s eventual softness is because it’s ripe. Not because someone dropped it on the grocery store floor.
The only issue with getting avocados when they’re not yet ripe is that it can take 4 or 5 days until they get there.
Plan early, and keep those avocados coming in a steady rotation. That way you’ll always have avocados at varying stages of ripeness.
How do you know when an avocado is ripe?
You’ll know an avocado is ripe when it yields to gentle pressure with your thumb.
You don’t want it to be totally soft or dented, but a small amount of give is just right. (It’s the same way that you know a mango is ripe.)
If you’re feeling impatient, resist the urge to slice open an avocado while it’s still hard. Because eating guacamole shouldn’t require a knife and fork.
Use ripe avocados or move them to the refrigerator
Once the avocados are perfectly ripe, you have two choices.
Use them right away.
Or move them to the refrigerator.
The refrigerator slows ripening. So that way you can leisurely finish them over a few more days.
How do you know if an avocado has gone bad?
If an avocado is really mushy, soft, or dented, chances are it’s overripe.
Once you’ve opened your avocado, look for brown spots. If it’s just one small area, scoop out the brown spot and use the rest of the avocado.
However, if it’s spread throughout the avocado, it’s probably a lost cause. You can give it a smell or a taste, to be sure.
Even if your avocado looks perfectly good, I always recommend tasting a small spoonful before adding it to your guacamole.
If the avocado tastes “off,” no amount of lime juice can fix that. Better to know before you throw good food at bad.
How do you make guacamole?
It’s so simple!
Start by cutting your avocado(s) in half. Twist the avocado to separate one side from the other.
Then carefully remove the pit. (No one wants to go to the ER because of “avocado hand.”)
Use a knife to score the avocado into a checkerboard pattern. Don’t cut into the peel, though.
Then use a spoon to scoop your “diced” avocado from the peel.
Add the avocado to a bowl with onions, cilantro, lime juice, and salt.
Use a fork to mash it.
Since avocados vary in size, the exact seasoning balance you’ll want will change from one batch to the next. So taste and adjust seasonings accordingly.
If you’d like a spicy kick, add diced jalapeño peppers to your guacamole. You can use fresh or pickled.
I tend to use pickled jalapeños because I like their brininess. They’re also consistent in heat.
With fresh jalapeños, you never know if you’re going to get something that’s completely mild, or something that burns your tongue off in one taste.
For color, diced tomatoes are a nice touch.
Although, remember to seed the tomatoes before adding them to the bowl. Otherwise, the extra liquid in the guacamole will hurt the texture and viscosity of the dip.
What’s the best texture for guacamole?
The best texture for guacamole is a little on the chunky side.
It always feels like a coup when you get guacamole that has extra bites of avocado throughout. It seems richer that way.
A totally smooth guacamole, like you might get pre-packaged at a grocery store, works in a pinch. However, it doesn’t have the same decadence as a chunky guacamole.
So don’t feel like the guacamole texture has to be perfectly smooth and even. Make it like a good ice cream with big chunks of cookie dough.
Give people something to aim for. Let them find the “perfect bite” with their tortilla chip.
Don’t overdo it with the garlic
Now, some people think that you should leave garlic out of guacamole altogether. They think that it overwhelms the flavor.
While raw garlic can quickly dominate if you go overboard, I think kicking it out of guacamole completely is a step too far.
Usually when I buy fresh garlic, I look for the biggest cloves possible. It saves me in chopping time if I’m making something with a lot of garlic. That way I can open one or two cloves and chop them, as opposed to opening a bunch of tiny cloves.
However, in the case of guacamole one of those gargantuan garlic cloves could be too much.
In that case, I’ll cut off what I need for the guacamole, and put the rest in a covered container in the refrigerator.
I use garlic really quickly. So it will be gone within 24 hours if not much less time.
If you don’t go through garlic as quickly, I’d recommend mincing it, covering it in olive oil, and then putting it in a covered container in the refrigerator. Then when you need garlic for chili or tacos, it’s ready to go into the skillet.
But what if you’re still wary of raw garlic?
You have options!
You can mince the garlic as small as you can, so that people won’t get a huge chunk of garlic in a single bite. A microplane zester will make your garlic even finer.
Or you could use a pinch of granulated garlic instead. It doesn’t have the same bite as raw garlic, but you’ll still get some of that garlicky goodness.
Or you could use a clove of roasted garlic. Roasted garlic is a lot more mellow and buttery than raw.
Or you could leave it out.
The choice is yours!
The wonderful thing about guacamole is that it’s easy to make enough for a small group or a large group, and adjust to your preferences. (If you’re a leafy green fan, you can even make kale guacamole.)
Best of all, in the end you get guacamole out of it!
Quick and easy guacamole recipe
- 1 to 2 cloves garlic minced*
- 2 avocados pitted and removed from peel
- 2 Tablespoons finely chopped onion
- 2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- Pinch salt
- Optional garnish: A few cilantro leaves and/or 1 to 2 Tablespoons of diced tomato**
- In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients with a fork until mashed and fully combined. I prefer a chunkier guacamole, where there are still some larger chunks of avocado. But make it as smooth as you like. Taste and add more salt or lime juice, if necessary.
** If you top the guacamole with diced tomato, remember to seed the tomato first, so that you don't end up with watery guacamole.