Guacamole is incredibly popular, whether being served as an appetizer at a restaurant or as a snack at home.
Now that we’re all going out less and cooking at home more, perfecting our homemade guacamole has become more desirable than ever before. And that starts with sourcing the right ingredients, and then keeping that guac simple and fresh.
Picking the perfect avocado
Anyone who has ever bought a bag of avocados only to take them home and see some are already squishy knows the important of picking an avocado at the perfect level of almost-but-not-yet-ripeness.
“My tip to picking the perfect avocado is buying ones that are slightly under-ripe, that still feel a bit firm,” said Tastemade chef Megan Mitchell, who lets the avocado soften on the countertop and then pop whatever ones she’s not using into the fridge.
This, she says, is “so that they don’t continue to ripen and go bad,” and is a perfect tip for those of us who buy avocados by the bag each week in our grocery order!
When it comes to preparing that guac, forget making guacamole if your avocados aren’t ripe. Keep them at room temp. “They should slightly give when pressed,” said Clare Langan, a San Francisco Bay chef and culinary consultant.
Keep it simple
Adding too many ingredients takes away from the star of the show: the avocado. “I use avocados, lime, salt, cilantro and onions,” said Carlos Cruz-Santos, head chef at China Poblano by José Andrés. If you want a little heat, chop up a spicy pepper and balance it out with some queso fresco, if you like, suggests Cruz-Santos.
Do not overmix
Much like a meatball loses its texture and flavor when overmixed, the same is true for that guac. Make sure not to over mix your guacamole. “There should be chunks of avocado that will add to the texture of the finished dip. I suggest hand mixing using a spoon or a molcajete for the best results,” said Cruz-Santos.
Avoid over-mashing, too
Just as we shouldn’t overmix the guacamole, it’s a dangerous idea to overmash the star, the avocado. “Leave it chunky, small dice your ingredients, especially the onion, and please use only red onion,” said Sebastian Ratti, executive sous chef for Loews Miami Beach Hotel. Top the finished guacamole with marinated cherry tomatoes and cilantro which will really take it to the next level.
Balance your citrus
One idea for a great guacamole is to use a mix of orange juice and lime juice (1:2 is a good ratio) as the citrus. “This will keep your guacamole fresh longer, but it won’t make it super acidic,” said Ratti.
Making that guacamole last
The trick is to keep as much oxygen away from the surface of the guacamole as possible. “You can try pressing plastic wrap on the flattened surface of the guacamole, but some oxygen still seeps in,” said David Harris, chef at Butchertown Hall, located in Nashville.
Even if you put a layer of citrus down, you’ll still get some browning and it’ll over citrus the flavor of the guacamole. “The only successful way I’ve been able to do it is to flatten the surface as level as possible and put a thin layer of water on top, robbing it of oxygen,” said Haris. Just pour the water off when you’re ready to use it again.
Mixing things up
Guacamole comes in all shapes and sizes, from the classic to some cool adaptations. Making a guacamole recipe a little sexier just takes some imagination and creativity. Some possible adaptations:
Instead of raw garlic, Chef Charles Webb, a private chef, adds roasted garlic or better yet, black garlic which adds sweetness.
- Webb also suggests zesting the lime or citrus instead of juice for drier guacamole that can be applied to fish and even tartare.
- Instead of sticking to classic citrus like limes and lemons, Webb suggests trying a citrus like blood orange or tangerine for another level and depth of flavor.
- Adding texture is always a winner, says Webb, which is why pomegranate seeds make the perfect addition. They add color, crunch, and a burst of flavor. Webb says grilled pineapple gives your guac a “mature zing” adding another dimension of umami, especially if you finely chop it.
- Tomatillo puree, which is thick, acts as another layer of fruit and acidity and gives the guac a bit of denseness, says Webb.
- If you are looking to add more nutrients to the guac, pack a punch with finely chopped kale, says Webb. which will distribute the texture throughout.
The best way to keep your guacamole fresh? Eating it, of course! Guacamole is best served fresh, so make as much as you need. If you are feeling like skipping a step, you can always buy some readymade options that will fulfill that craving or help you streamline a few steps along the way!
Some products to consider:
Verve Culture Molcajete with Tortilla Basket
Wholly Guacamole, Classic Guacamole Minis
Herdez Guacamole Salsa
Frontera Original Guacamole Mix
Litehouse Freeze Dried Guacamole Herb Blend