The secret to the best guacamole recipe? Starting with a paste made with coriander/cilantro, chilli and onion. It’s the traditional Mexican way. First timers can never pick why it tastes so good, they just know it is waaaay better than the usual!
Plus, I’m sharing a secret for how to stop guacamole from going brown – it lasts two whole days in the fridge and stays the perfect green colour!
A really great Guacamole recipe
Anyone who has visited Mexico or been to an authentic Mexican restaurant will agree that there is guacamole…then there are really good guacamoles.
For most of my life, I was making it like much of the world: mashing up avocado, stirring through jalapeño, coriander/cilantro, lime juice and salt. Throw in some diced tomato if I felt like it and sometimes even some sour cream.
But after visiting Mexico, watching it actually be made, I discovered the secret to a truly great traditional guacamole:
Start by making a paste with garlic, onion and jalapeño or Serrano chilli.
It won’t taste oniony, it just gives it an extra flavour edge that mixes all the way through the guacamole. Because of this, mashing is key here. Nobody wants chunks of raw onion in their guac!
No mortar and pestle? No worries – just use a fork!
How to make a traditional guacamole
Firstly, make the guacamole flavour base by making a paste using onion, coriander/cilantro, jalapeño or serrano chillies and salt. Grind it up in a mortar and pestle (in Mexico, it is called a molcajete) or on a cutting board using a fork. And this simple paste is the foundation of a guacamole that will have your friends begging you for the recipe. 🙂
After that, it’s as simple as mashing in the avocado and stirring in lime juice to taste!
What goes in Guacamole
Here’s all you need for traditional guacamole: ripe avocados, coriander/cilantro, red onions, jalapeño or Serrano chilli, lime and salt.
Avoid unnecessary fillers such as sour cream and cream cheese. They only dilute flavour.
Popular optional extras include: garlic, tomato, cumin powder. Tomato is not that common in Mexico – I only saw it in touristy areas.
How to stop guacamole from going brown
Avocado goes brown when it is in contact with air. So to stop it from browning, do as follows: pour into airtight container. Bang to remove air bubbles, smooth surface. Cover with a thin layer of olive oil or warm water. Avocado is so dense, it will not absorb it. Stays green for 2 whole days in the fridge!!
To serve, pour off liquid, give it a good stir. Add a fresh spritz of lime if needed then serve!
Game changer tip learnt from Claire at Sprinkles & Sprouts!
There are plenty of flavour variation options. Don’t let anyone tell you what you should or shouldn’t put in your guac – make it the way you want! Here are some suggestions:
Garlic – add a small clove when mashing the onion;
Cumin – add a small pinch or two, just a hint of extra flavour;
Tomato – stir through diced tomato and stir through. (To chop the tomato, halve and remove watery centre then chop, see my Bruschetta video if you want a quick tutorial)
Coriander / cilantro substitute – use chives instead! It’s terrific!
Chunky or smooth – I like mine on the chunky side usually but it depends on who I’m serving. To be honest, smoother looks better when serving at a gathering. But for day to day purposes, I make it lumpier 🙂 In Mexico, it’s served on the chunkier side.
Sour cream and cream cheese – these are a no go zone for me because they dilute the flavour of the avocado. I’d rather make Avocado Hummus! But if it’s what you like, feel free to stir it in!
Is avocado good for you?
YES – in moderation! Avocado are packed full of vitamins, minerals, fiber and healthy fats! One of the few natural produce that contains a substantial amount of monounsaturated fatty acids which are good fats known to lower cholesterol and promote heart health.
With almost 20 vitamins and minerals, their potential health benefits include improving digestion, good for your heart, lower cholesterol, decrease risk of depression, and protection against cancer.
Avocado is also good for weight loss because it’s high in fibre and (good!) fats which will keep you feeling full for longer. You’re far better off loading up a salad with avocado than cheese, or smushing avocado on your morning toast than peanut butter! But because they are 77% fat, they do need to be eaten in moderation.
What to eat Guacamole with – other than corn chips!
A big platter of corn chips with a bowl of guacamole is certainly the most classic! Actually, in Mexico, the traditional way is to serve with crispy deep fried tortilla cut into corn chips shapes.
Anything suitable dunking works with Guacamole. Vegetable sticks, crackers, torn up pieces of Lebanese bread or other types of flatbread.
It’s also a firm favourite to serve alongside most Mexican dishes – as a dip or dollop for burritos, enchiladas, tacos, nachos, fajitas!
I really hope you do try this traditional recipe. It adds an extra element of “wow” to your guacamole but won’t taste oniony. No one can ever put their finger on why it taste so good, they just know it does! – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
Guacamole recipe video:
- 2 tbsp finely chopped white onion (or red, brown or yellow)
- 1 tbsp finely chopped jalapeno or serrano chilli (or other chilli of choice) (adjust to taste)
- 1/2 tsp salt , plus more to taste
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped coriander/cilantro leaves
- 2 medium avocados (or 1 very large one) (Note 1)
- Lime juice , to taste (I use 1/4 – 1/2 lime)
- Optional: 1 ripe tomato , peeled, deseeded and chopped
- Place the onion, jalapeño, salt and half the coriander on a cutting board and use a fork to mash until juicy. OR do this in a mortar and pestle – grind into a paste.
- Scrape into a bowl, add avocado and remaining coriander, and mash to desired consistency.
- Do a taste test then adjust to your taste: salt, lime juice for sour, more chilli for spiciness.
- If using tomatoes, stir through.
- Serve with corn chips!
PREPARING AHEAD: What I do is make batches of the paste and have the coriander and lime chopped and ready to go. Then just before serving, I cut the avocados and make the guacamole – it’s very quick and there are always people willing to pitch in! 3. Coriander/cilantro: In the video, I ground up all the coriander into the paste rather than stirring half in later. It doesn’t make a huge difference to flavour, it’s up to you which way you prefer. 4. Source: Recipe originally adapted from a recipe by Thomasina Miers but since updated to a recipe from a cookbook I purchased in Oaxaca, Mexico, called “Truly Mexican” by Roberto Santibanez. My current bible for Mexican cooking. 🙂 Both use the same technique of an onion paste, but called for slightly different quantities and I prefer the Truly Mexican version. 5. Nutrition per servings.
Recipe originally published 2014, updated for housekeeping matters December 2016 and 2020. No change to recipe – I wouldn’t dare!
Life of Dozer
Trying to get him into the spirit of New Years’ Eve! (Err….and yes, if you are looking closely you might notice the sparkly confetti is actually in the shape of Christmas trees. It’s all I have!)
Oi! Dozer! Where’s your party spirit??!!!