The Ultimate Guide to Guacamole (Paleo & Vegan)
The ULTIMATE Guide to Guacamole. My delicious classic guacamole recipe, plus LOTS of different variations you can try to keep things interesting. Whether you’re a purist or an experimenter, you’ll love this guacamole!
Avocados are my love language. I’ve said it a LOT over the years, but it’s as true as true can be. And, if avocados are my love language, guacamole is my soul song. I LOVE GUAC! #yesiknowguacamoleisextra
Some people are guacamole purists. In their eyes, the ONLY acceptable ingredients in guacamole are avocado, lime juice, cilantro, onion, and jalapeño. Period. Some people like to add all sort of toppings until it’s almost a giant mashed avocado salad of sorts.
I fall somewhere in the middle. I think of guacamole like I do salsa. There is no one *exact* recipe. Different families, regions, restaurants, and people make different versions they love. I like the traditional ingredients, but I also love to try new flavor combinations. Plus, living in the west and southwest of the U.S. for most of my life, I’ve had a LOT of guacamole. I’ve liked all of them.
Today I have a freshly updated version of my ULTIMATE Guide to Guacamole. I’ll show you how to make classic guacamole, and give you LOTS of ideas for variations you can try on your next taco night.
What’s in Guacamole?
AVOCADOS. Can’t have guacamole without avocados! I like Hass avocados, which are the most common variety near me. Two medium avocados will work great for this recipe. (PS – In the FAQ section below, I’ve got tips for buying avocados!)
LIME JUICE. Lime juice keeps guacamole from browning and adds acidity, which brightens the flavor. It’s most traditional and tastes great. A few years ago, Gaby Dalkin of What’s Gaby Cooking (who literally wrote the book on avocados) got me onto using a combination of 1/2 lemon and 1/2 lime juice. (You can use all lemon, all lime, or a mix)
ONION. I’ve listened to some seriously heated arguments about what kind of onion goes into guacamole, but red onion and white onion are the most common. If you’re raw onion averse, you can soak the minced onion in cold water for a few minutes to take the “bite” out of it. Or, you can swap in minced chives. They’re mild, less “spicy,” and they can be minced so small that they blend right in with the cilantro and avocados.
SALT & PEPPER. Basic, but essential! I’ve found if my guacamole doesn’t taste *quite* right, it’s usually because I need a pinch more salt or a squeeze more lime juice.
JALAPEÑO. It’s common, but not absolutely necessary. My kids do NOT tolerate spicy anything, so we almost always skip it. If you like some kick, start with 1/2 Tbsp minced jalapeño and work your way up to 2 Tbsp (depending on your tastes + how spicy your jalapeño is.)
Mix it Up With These Yummy Mix-Ins!
The beauty of making your own homemade guacamole is the combinations are endless! I love the basic recipe, but I also love mixing and matching toppings to create new flavor combinations.
I usually add 2-4 Tbsp of each add-in, and I often like to combine 2 ingredients together. (Like strawberries + jicama, tomato + jalapeño, corn + bacon, etc.). Here are a few of our favorite mix-ins:
- Finely minced jalapeño
- Diced green chiles
- Diced tomatoes
- Minced sun-dried tomatoes (I like the olive-oil packed ones!)
- Charred or grilled corn
- Cooked, crumbled bacon
- Finely diced jicama
- Fresh peach or nectarine
- Diced mango
- Fresh pineapple
- Strawberries or blueberries
- Pomegranate seeds
FAQ + Tips for the BEST Guacamole
AVOCADO TIPS: I usually buy Hass avocados. I like to choose fairly firm green ones, so they can ripen on my counter. To speed up ripening, store them near bananas (which give off ethylene/ripening gas) or store them in a brown paper bag (which will trap the ethylene from the avocados and help them ripen, while still allowing them to breathe).
HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR GUACAMOLE FROM BROWNING? Browning (or oxidizing) is caused by exposure to air. It’s harmless but doesn’t look very pretty. To prevent it, you can:
- Press plastic wrap or beeswax wrap down onto the surface as tightly as possible, then cover with a lid if possible. The less air exposure, the better! OR
- Cover with a very thin layer of water. This eliminates air exposure. Drain before serving.
CAN YOU FREEZE GUACAMOLE? Yes, you can freeze guacamole! It’s the best! I often buy bags of avocados from Costco and they all magically ripen at the exact same moment. Rather than let any go to waste, I’ll make a few batches of guacamole, transfer them to airtight zip-top bags, press out any extra air and freeze them. They’ll keep in the freezer for about 2 months. You’ll also need to stir the guacamole a little when it thaws, since it may slightly separate.
CAN I MAKE THIS SPICY? Yes! I live with two tiny people who have Z-E-R-O heat tolerance and can detect when I’m even thinking about adding jalapeño to things. If you and your people can do heat, add 1/2 Tbsp – 2 Tbsp finely minced jalapeño! It’s awesome!
Guacamole Lover? You’d probably like:
- Our Favorite Fresh Salsa
- Chicken Zucchini Poppers (Paleo + great for dipping!)
- The BEST Fish Tacos with Cilantro Slaw
- Vegan Black Bean Tostadas
- Sweet Potato & Black Bean Burritos (Vegan)
- Slow Cooker Beef Carnitas (Paleo)
The Ultimate Guide to Guacamole (How to Make Guacamole!)
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: 1 1/2 - 2 cups 1x
This is my favorite method for making basic guacamole, plus TONS of ideas for mixing things up. Try mixing and matching add-ins to make your own flavor combination! (Gluten free, vegan, paleo)
- 2 ripe avocados, pits and skins removed (I use medium avocados)
- Juice of 1/2 lemon (about 2 Tbsp)
- Juice of 1/2 lime (1–2 Tbsp)
- 1–2 Tbsp minced chives, red onion, or white onion*
- 2–3 Tbsp minced cilantro
- 1/4 tsp salt (or more, to taste)
- 1/4 tsp pepper (or more, to taste)
- 2–4 Tbsp of your favorite add-ins. See the notes for some ideas!
- On a plate, mash avocados until no large lumps remain.
- Squeeze lemon and lime juice over mashed avocado.
- Sprinkle onion, cilantro, salt, pepper, and any desired add-ins. (Reserve a small amount of the add-ins to add on top of the finished guacamole as garnish)
- Stir to coat and combine well. Garnish with additional cilantro or a little bit of your add-ins.
- Serve immediately, or cover well and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Guacamole will last 2-4 days in the refrigerator. (Some browning may occur.)
*Let’s talk onions: Use chives for mild onion flavor (great for kids!). Use red or white onion for more pronounced flavor or color.
GUACAMOLE MIX-IN IDEAS:
Choose 2-4 Tbsp of 1-2 different add-ins to create your own delicious guacamole combinations.
- SAVORY: Minced jalapeño, diced green chiles, diced tomato or tomatillo, diced jicama, crispy crumbled bacon, grilled corn, sun-dried tomatoes, cotija cheese, minced garlic
- SWEET: Fresh pineapple, peaches, strawberries, mango, blueberries, nectarines, pomegranate seeds, cherries
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 0 minutes
- Category: Appetizer, Dip
- Method: No-Cook
- Cuisine: Tex-Mex, Southwestern, Mexican
Keywords: how to make guacamole, basic guacamole, homemade guacamole, guacamole recipe, guacamole, guac
Originally posted July 2016. Completely updated July 2019.
Post, photos, and recipe updated June 2020. Originally posted July 2016
This post plus that video are the things dreams are made of. LOVE!
I add Garlic Powder and Lemon Pepper…. Adds so much flavor!
YUM! I’ve never thought to add lemon pepper, but I LOVE it! I bet it would be awesome in guacamole! Thanks for the tip!