Avocado Guacamole recipe-3

Okay, show of hands – who likes guacamole more than I do? Okay… Now that that’s settled, who was more thrilled that I was to score a batch of freshly fried tortilla chips and a big bag of just-about ripe Haas avocados this week?

Haas avocados for guacamole

I’m not asking any more questions, I promise. Because the answers were right here in my kitchen. Although what some people might not know if that the French like guacamole (and chips) as much as I do. So much so that a local Mexican restaurant named after the famed dip had to add an accent on the final é so people would pronounce the entire word (the last part of French words usually aren’t pronounced), rather than say guac-a-mole, which sounds more like a Mexican carnival game than the most delicious thing you can dip a chip into.

guacamole avocados

So guacamole season has officially begun and I’m ripe and ready, and so were my avocados. Although it seemed like the longest night of my life, wondering if my avocados would ripen by the next day. I like to keep guacamole simple, with a gentle spiciness, letting the avocados star. So I don’t mess with it too much. But one trick I do is to sometimes add a tiny spoonful of olive oil, which gives guacamole a bit of silky smoothness and tends the bring the whole thing together. In terms of authenticity, I’m not sure if that will keep the wolves at bay, but I know Mexicans who have made guacamole with white vinegar, in lieu of the lime juice, and I remember all of us scraping the molcajete clean. (I don’t keep it on hand, but a tiny drizzle of avocado oil might be another interesting possibility.)

Thai chilis

And since we’re myth-busting, Harold McGee told me there’s no truth to the rumor that keeping the pit in guacamole will keep it from turning brown.

Guacamole recipe

Just the lime juice will. So If you want to try a couple of batches and test that theory, you’re welcome to. But I never can keep guacamole around long enough. In fact, this batch disappeared pretty quickly. Of course, a few lime margaritas speeded up the process.

Print Recipe
Four to six servings
I prefer to use Hass avocados. You can tell they’re ripe when the skins are no longer green but black, and if you press them with your thumb, it’ll leave an imprint. I advise if you’re shopping in Paris, where touching produce is frowned upon, that you shop by color, rather than texture. (Can you blame them? Who wants to buy dented avocados?) Then use the touch test in the safety of your home. Fresh chilis are certainly a matter of preference. I had some slender Thai chilis on hand, and added a whole one to my guacamole, which got hotter and hotter as it sat. I generally prefer Jalapeños, if you can find them. Use however much you are comfortable with. Start with a small amount, then taste and add more. Remember that it’s easy to add more chopped chiles than to try to take them out. If you like chopped tomatoes, you can add those at the end.
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
3 medium ripe avocados (about 1 1/2 pounds, 700g)
juice of one small lime
One small chili, chopped (you can keep or remove the seeds, which add more heat)
1/2 small red onion, peeled and finely diced
chopped cilantro
optional: 1 teaspoon olive oil
optional: a dash of chipotle or ancho chile powder
1. Mash the garlic and salt together in a mortar and pestle. (You can also make guacamole in a bowl using a fork or potato masher. If so, chop the garlic first.) Split the avocados in half and remove the pits. Scoop out the pulp with a soupspoon and dice the pulp, then add it to the garlic and mash it into the garlic along with the lime juice.
2. Mash the guacamole so it’s to your liking – some like it chunky, some prefer it smooth – then mix in the onions, cilantro, some chopped fresh chili, and olive oil, if using. Taste and season with more salt, lime juice, and chile if desired. For a slightly smoky flavor, add a bit of chipotle or ancho chile powder.

guacamole recipe

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  • spartacus
    March 27, 2013 9:41am

    No fresh coriandre ?

  • Kimberly Griffin
    March 27, 2013 9:48am

    Hi David,

    I am still spitting jealous that you have authentic fresh tortillas available and now I have to look at the beauty that is a ripe Hass avacado. Too much…

    I have been living in Malta for almost two years, while we rebuild our boat, stem to stern and keel to mast, sympathized with your kitchen refit. In addition to finding galley sinks , all manner of boat part, quality pots and pans ect. I have to import Masa Harina, tortilla press, canned tomatillos, and chilies.

    Your posts keep this US expat from going silly buggers, thank you!

  • March 27, 2013 9:51am

    One of the pleasant surprises of living in France is easy access to good quality, just ripe avocados. I did have to tell a friend off recently in a little épicerie, as she systematically squeezed all the avocados on display! I certainly wouldn’t want to be coming along after her to buy avocados. Gently pressing a thumb into the stem end is perfectly adequate for determining ripeness and doesn’t ruin the avocado. I love the way you can specify to your fruit and veg vendor at the market that you want an avocado that is ripe today, tomorrow or later, and s/he will choose one that is just right.

  • March 27, 2013 10:00am

    Hi David,

    Donna here fro Australia. I love guacamole too…but I have to say I love cilantro – coriander in mine with a dash of cumin as well.

    But other than those modifications to my tastebuds, I love your blog.

    Donna :)

  • March 27, 2013 10:14am
    David Lebovitz

    Donna + spartacus: I like cilantro, too, although some people dislike it. I added that it can be mixed into guacamole at the end of the headnote. I know some people put a pinch of ground cumin in it, which I like as well. Although too much and it ends up tasting like sweat.

    Susan: Yes, we get very good avocados here and they are reasonable; at markets, they are often 4 or 5 for €2 (the small ones, which are fine with me.)

  • March 27, 2013 10:15am

    So glad the avocado pit myth has been busted! Never worked for me. ;-)

    I learned from the Italians that there is no need to damage pears or avocados by pressing your thumb all over the poor fruit: gently pressing near the stem will reveal immediately how ripe it is.

    Bon appetit!

  • March 27, 2013 10:19am

    There is a pretty big divide amongst my guacamole eating friends – but i’m in the coriander camp myself. However, the other half is not. So, i always have to make two batches…one with it and one without.

    • March 27, 2013 10:37am
      David Lebovitz

      I have a friend that can’t abide coriander/cilantro, and even one leaf is off-putting to her (to say the least..) She carries tweezers in her handbag in case restaurants put it in food, to pull them out.

  • March 27, 2013 10:32am

    I’m just totally in love with avocado and guacamole but never tried to do it by myself. Maybe I’m going to follow your recipe :)

  • March 27, 2013 11:40am

    I keep my guac really simple too, but I always add in freshly chopped cilantro and one or two finely diced plum tomatoes for color.

  • March 27, 2013 12:46pm

    As I read this, I am eying my 9 avocados that are just perfectly ripe to make guac. No matter how big a batch I make, the husband and I always finish it. And if, which never happens, there is some left over, I found a trick that will keep it fresh. Pour a little water over the top of it so that the air doesn’t touch the mixture (then cover with plastic wrap) which will keep it from going brown and then when you want to eat it again, pour the water off. I find that it doesn’t really change the consistency as the water stays on the top and doesn’t soak into the guac itself. Being a native southern Cali girl, I go for simplicity..avocado, little red onion, garlic, salt, pepper and a squeeze of lime juice. Ahhh, there is not much better than guacamole in my eyes.

  • March 27, 2013 12:52pm

    Five or six servings? Two, at the most….. no, seriously, it would be masses for five or six,. I do love guacamole, even the bought stuff, and can be VERY greedy about it. Very.

  • March 27, 2013 12:59pm

    guacamole, simply too good to save. Interesting thing about the pip, never even heard of it before it got busted. always trusted the force of citrus juice. Any suggestion where online to get proper masa harina shipped to finland?

  • Christine
    March 27, 2013 1:28pm

    We use very finely chopped serrano peppers (jalapeno for pico de gallo), chop up a few green onions (scallions) instead of red onion, kosher salt, tomato, cilantro, and lime juice – no garlic, no cumin. We like it chunky.

    Also have a friend who pronounces it gua-ca-mole, which is very irritating.

    It’s great on hot buttered toast in the morning.

  • March 27, 2013 1:39pm

    Can’t go wrong with a great guacamole. It is definitely one of my favorite foods ever. There is just something special about it especially if you add heat and have fresh avocados.

  • March 27, 2013 2:39pm

    Actually the citrus will only prevent it from browning for a little while, then it is still going to brown.

    The best way to keep the guacamole freshly green is to gently press 2 pieces of plastic wrap on it, preventing the air from oxidizing the avocado. It is important to put 2 pieces, because although it sounds counter intuitive, most plastic wrap is actually not completely airproof…

    The other way is to eat it all on the night it is made.

    I usually go for the second option.

  • Claire
    March 27, 2013 3:04pm

    Avocados=green chocolate! I love guac but I’m a purist. Garlic, salt, lime juice, avocados and maybe a little Pace Picante Sauce. A Mexican friend of mine told me that her secret ingredient to make it really smooth and creamy was a tip her grandmother told her – to add a teaspoon of mayonnaise! I thought EWWW, but tried it and it’s really good and you can’t actually taste the mayo.

    It’s also funny to me that Haas avocados are $0.50 each here in Austin but you can get them cheaper in Paris. Probably one of the few things where that’s the case.

    Beautiful photos!


    • March 27, 2013 3:08pm
      David Lebovitz

      I’ve heard mayonnaise is good in guacamole; likely for the same reason that little bit of oil I add makes it a little smoother. Avocados aren’t always that cheap in Paris – I generally buy them at Arabic markets or stands and suspect they cost more in supermarkets. My grandmother in Los Angeles used to have a tree that gave her massive amounts of avocados, but the racoons would spend the night foraging for them and dropping them on her roof which was right above her bedroom, so she finally had the tree removed so she could get some sleep. She said it was one of the biggest mistakes of her life!

  • Sissy
    March 27, 2013 3:39pm

    In San Antonio, TX they will make guacamole at the table side and leave it chunky — in addition to your ingredients they will add tomatoes, a handful of cilantro, chopped jalapeño, but usually not garlic. I believe this is Central Market’s recipe as well — my favorite.

  • March 27, 2013 3:49pm

    Is it bad that it’s 9:30am and I want a margarita after reading this blog post? I blame you David ;-)

  • Mary Lynn
    March 27, 2013 3:49pm

    Hi David, We used to live in Whittier, CA and had 10 large haas avocado trees and we had the same problem as your grandmother, only the culprit was a raccoon! We used to put guacamole on everything to use up our crop. I used to put mayo in it until Rick Bayless told me years ago that he used olive oil. So I started using it and really prefer it to mayo.

  • RussC
    March 27, 2013 3:51pm

    Very happy that you’ve gotten your hands on some Mexican cuisine. When I stayed in Paris for the summer a couple of years ago, one of the only things that made me a bit homesick of my then home Chicago was Mexican food (the other was good bbq). I lived in a Mexican-American neighborhood in Chicago and my grocery store was Mexican. A gold mine. I asked them how to prepare a number of dishes, including guacamole. They told me that I should use avocados, lime juice, chopped white onion (rinsed if I wanted to), cilantro, and salt. The one exception was finely diced serrano but that’s it. They specifically told me that only white people put tomatoes in their guacamole, which made me laugh. I’ve stuck with this recipe for 16 years and it’s always the first to go at parties. Chips are very important and in Chicago, I was able to buy two great brands. One tip, to make ahead, just put it in a bowl and place plastic wrap directly on top and smash it down, leaving NO air. It’ll last a few hours at least. If your avocados aren’t ripe, place them on the counter until perfect, then the fridge – they will last a week as the cold temps suspend the ripening process. Enjoy!

  • March 27, 2013 3:58pm
    David Lebovitz

    Mary Lynn: Oops! They were raccoons in LA, not squirrels. Which I think was extra-incentive to cut the tree down. I didn’t know Rick Bayless put olive oil in his guacamole but it’s one of those things that kind of makes it better.

    RussC: It’s interesting how a lot of foods gets “upscaled” (I’m guilty of it myself) and I remember seeing Mexicans put white vinegar in their guacamole, to give it acidity, and I think I’ve also known folks to put regular onions in their guacamole as well. Beacuse they’re so available in France, sometimes I use shallots, which are nice and mild. I’ll only add tomatoes if I don’t have a lot of avocados since it extends the guacamole. And for putting on tacos, sometimes chunks of tomatoes are nice to loosen it up a bit.

    Thanks for the tip on the guacamole storage. I would be afraid of leaving traces behind in all the corners of the bag…!

  • Bebe
    March 27, 2013 4:04pm

    Saw a young man doing the “press with thumbs” business on Hass avocados the other day and darned near smacked him. It isn’t necessary to leave a dent. Grasp the whole avocado in your hand and see if you feel a very slight give. Gently, now. It should be a little more “givey” near the neck of the avocado. A little give is enough.

    Used to grow the Fuerte avocado, which is as rich as the Hass but does not ship well at all. Our markets are full of Hass this year at pretty good prices. The crops do vary from year to year, so this must have been a good one.

    Guacamole time!

  • Bebe
    March 27, 2013 4:07pm

    My former live-in from Mexico taught me a trick on avocado storage. When they’re ripe, wrap them in a piece of regular aluminum foil that is just large enough to totally cover them. I use a crosswise strip about 6″ wide and roll them across it, gently pressing the foil to the avocado. They will keep for a week and not get black spots.

  • March 27, 2013 4:35pm

    This California girl is loving all these Mexican recipes. Are you preparing for a new blog/life? Mi dulce vida en México? I’ll read that blog too. ;-)

  • March 27, 2013 4:40pm

    From what I understand, olive oil also helps keep the guacamole from oxidizing. I learned that from a Mexican cook on my last trip there. And I agree, it also contributes to a silky smooth texture.

  • Martha
    March 27, 2013 4:44pm

    We had guacamole with the addition of chopped tomatoes in Mexico City which is how I now make it, but I don’t think they call it guacamole when made that way. Does anyone know or was that just one restaurant’s style and not a common dish?

  • March 27, 2013 4:44pm

    Yes, touching fruit is a no-no all over Europe. But in Spain, they take it to new heights!

  • Paola
    March 27, 2013 4:50pm

    Oh wow! Would have never guessed you can get perfect avocados in Paris, I would venture to say they are probably a “delicacy”, along with the purple onions, it’s probably a pricey dip on that side of the world, immaterial of course, when talking about perfect guacamole ; ) If I could, you may want to try adding a little cilantro. Provecho!

  • Tom
    March 27, 2013 4:50pm

    Someone told me that if you need to hurry the ripening of an avocado you can bury it in flour. Do you know if that is true?

  • March 27, 2013 4:53pm

    I have a bit of a guacamole problem as well. If I make it as an appetizer, I’m usually too full for the actual dinner! My standard go-to recipe is very similar to yours – I always add a little olive oil in my guacamole. The only difference is I use a shallot in place of the garlic and red onion.

  • March 27, 2013 4:53pm

    I love guacamole as well, although my husband won’t touch the stuff. Have you ever tried adding a diced mango to your guac? Once the guac is smashed, fold in the diced mango. It takes it to a whole new level and it’s so refreshing.

    Great recipe. Lucky you for receiving a nice big batch and with chips!

  • Madfortulips
    March 27, 2013 4:54pm

    My recipe which is really fast and soooo good: one smashed avocado, juice one half lime,1/2 t cumin, 1/2 t chili powder, 1/4 t salt..taste adjust to suit your palate that day! I have one almost everyday for lunch :-)) I can make it more complicated with red onion, tomatoes,cilantro…sometimes I do, but my everyday recipe is super fast and simple!

  • Cathy
    March 27, 2013 4:55pm

    Saw a Mexican man make up guac at the table in a San Diego Mexican restaurant and he added tomato to his, I do like it like that, but they have to be lovely tomatoes of course!

  • March 27, 2013 5:02pm

    Am I the only one who adds a clove or two of crushed garlic? Otherwise I make it exactly the same way you do and have never had any complaints.

  • Gina
    March 27, 2013 5:07pm

    David, I lived in Mexico for 22 years and I never saw anyone put garlic and lime juice in their guacamole, just avocado, chopped white onion, chopped serrano chiles, chopped tomatoes, chopped cilantro and salt and pepper.

    Foreigners put lime juice in to keep the avocado from going black, but guacamole should always be prepared at the last minute. The garlic is a mystery…

    • March 27, 2013 5:13pm
      David Lebovitz

      I hear ya. I’ve seen people put chicken in Caesar Salad, grilled tuna (or – yikes! – cooked vegetables) in Salade Niçoise, and vodka in Martinis. Am not sure if traditionally guacamole has tomatoes, garlic, white vinegar (or lime juice) or not. Because Mexican cuisine is so rich, and the country is so varied (like India) perhaps there are just lots of regional variations. Like Cassoulet in France, where some people wouldn’t dream of putting lamb or mutton in it, yet in other regions, it’s essential.

  • March 27, 2013 5:12pm

    I love guacamole! I use white onion (I always have — I think because my mom does), but I’m curious about your preference for using red onions.
    Also, I recently discovered a fabulous little kitchen gadget: the avocado saver. You simply pop the leftover portion of avocado (sans pit) into the gadget and it keeps the avocado from turning brown — it’s pretty incredible.

  • Catherine
    March 27, 2013 5:17pm

    Growing up in the Bay Area and now living in Tucson, I’ve learned a few things about guacamole.

    I’ll second the fact that no way this recipe would be enough for 5 or 6 people; the tip about testing for softness by pressing very gently on the top (the same goes for a Bartlett pear); and the one about how plastic wrap placed directly on top (like you would to keep a skin from forming on a pudding) really is the only way to keep it from browning….although I’ve only had to do this long enough to chill it in the fridge while mixing up a batch of grapefruit margaritas. Like having leftover champagne, having leftover guacamole is an experience I’ve only heard about…..

    Another thing is about onions. Traditionally white onions are used in Mexican cooking but people often choose red onions because they’re milder. I don’t like the intense, stinging taste of any kind of onion raw, so I take slices of whichever kind I’m using and let them soak in ice water for 5-10 minutes. Then I pat them dry and chop as usual. Soaking mellows them out but leaves the flavor and the crunch.

    And finally about variation. Guacamole is definitely one of those dishes that is very personal and can be made in hundreds of ways and served with lots of other things besides tortilla chips. I know people who mix in crumbled bacon and/or sun-dried tomatoes. In some parts of Mexico it’s blended smooth almost like a soup. Personally I don’t usually like chiles in it, only lime juice, salt, fresh tomatoes and ice-water soaked white onion. And sometimes cilantro, if I have it around.

  • Nigel
    March 27, 2013 5:18pm

    I’m living in Puerto Vallarta Mexico for six months where they know how to make a guacamole. The usual style is very simple. The avocado is simple mashed and a spoonful or two of Salsa Mexicana is added, a little salt, and a squeeze of fresh small local limes (called limon). Salsa Mexicano is the ubiquitous salsa of the Mexican kitchen often served tableside in a restaurant with totopos (tortilla chips). It’s simple to make – chopped roma style tomatoes, chopped white onion and chopped chili with another squeeze of lime juice and salt. And yes, when I make it in my Mexican kitchen I always add a small amount of olive oil. It is one of the fastest dishes you’ll ever make and should always be made fresh just moments before serving. I like mine chunky too, there’s no need to mash the avocado to smoothness. Wonderful stuff – I’m glad you get to enjoy it in France. (I do advise wearing gloves if you are chopping a lot of chiles. I made a very large batch of salsa mexicana last year for a party and my fingers burned for a couple of hours afterwards.)

  • Nigel
    March 27, 2013 5:20pm

    I wish I could edit my comments. I noticed that I said Salsa Mexicano – when of course in Spanish one must have ones adjectives agree in gender with their nouns – it should have been Salsa Mexicana, of course.

  • March 27, 2013 5:22pm

    David, you should try avocado with pistachio oil (if you haven´t already), unbelievable. About the pits, I leave them on when I only use part of the avocado and refrigerate the rest back with the skin. It does develop a dark layer but it´s superficial. It takes much longer for the rest of the flesh to darken. If you do it with perfectly ripe avocados a few days later the pulp is still green. I´ve been eating avocado on toast with homemade pistachio oil (with chopped pistachios) a lot these past weeks, and the pit works.
    I will try this version of guacamole with some pistachio oil!

    • March 27, 2013 5:40pm
      David Lebovitz

      I know it’s really good. I just have a number of small bottles of various oils and I know they don’t keep well. So am hesitant to add another. I’ve been using pumpkin seed oil lately, which is pretty great stuff, too.

  • Bianca Cano Nakamura
    March 27, 2013 5:28pm

    Please don’t put the accent on the last e. Coming from a Frenchican, (which is me), this is a faux-pas. It is pronounced guac-a-mo-le, Or guac for short. No enunciation on the last syllable. My recipe has avocados, tomatoes, cilantro, onion, jalapeno, and lime. That’s it and it is pretty fantastic as long as the avocados are ripe. Mexican avocados are the best and are becoming increasingly available in the US. I still can’t believe that some people don’t care for cilantro! But whatever…

  • Vicki B
    March 27, 2013 5:35pm

    I never ever get tired of guacamole. It took great self control to cook oatmeal for morning “museli” concoction instead of making guacamole for toast! So this post is especially thrilling to me!

  • March 27, 2013 5:54pm

    The reason some restaurants in France spell it guacamolé is that otherwise many people would pronounce the last syllable as “mole” (like the animal, or the beauty spot). It doesn’t indicate a tonic accent as it does in Spanish.

    I’d prefer shallots or red onion. I dearly love garlic (well, all the Onion Family) but find raw white or yellow onions hard to digest, unless one is referring to vary mild types, and I find garlic rather overwhelms the avocado. I’ll certainly use a very small amount if I happen to be out of shallots or red onions.

    Work sojurns in Amsterdam have led me to discover Indonesian sambals, and those almost always incorporate shallots (don’t know the food history behind that).

    As for the good tortillas, I e-mailed a colleague now working in Paris, whose wife is Mexican. Other friends had just sent the same message! She is thrilled, for her not being able to get decent tortillas is like not being able to get decent bread for many of us.

  • March 27, 2013 6:11pm

    I completely agree that guacamole is best if it just focuses on the avocados. I have a friend who likes to put salsa in it and that always seems sacrilegious and just plain odd to me. At work, our guacamole has a lot of lime juice but also freshly ground coriander and cumin seeds. Its incredible.

    The olive oil trick is a great idea! I wonder how other oils would be in there, like some sort of nut oil. Is there pine nut oil? I assume so.

  • Hank
    March 27, 2013 6:29pm

    Hi; my first time commenting … love your blog (and book! — which is how I came by your blog) … So I’m in Paris visiting good French friends who are having a dinner party and I’m asked to make my famous Guac … I live in Los Angeles, and if I do say so myself I make pretty good guac .. I’m given the word “murir” and off I go to the supermarche. Got the avacados … and they were prefectly murir. But my favorite item was the tortilla chips. Here in LA they are packaged in two ton bags with enough chips to take you into another era .. but in Paris .. they are so cute; packaged so beautifully, with a handful of chips to a bag. Needless to say, it was quite an investment making guac with enough chips for a 8 people. Seed in or out? In of course — it really does keep the guac from turning brown!

  • March 27, 2013 6:37pm

    I bought two avocados yesterday to have guacamole for lunch, with chips. That’s all. I didn’t buy three avocados, because then I would have eaten all three!

  • Stephanie
    March 27, 2013 6:42pm

    A long time I ago I read Laura Bush’s tip for making good guacamole was to use lemon instead of lime. No thanks!!

  • conniegirl
    March 27, 2013 6:43pm

    I too make a fresh salsa first then simply add a little to my avocado when making guacamole. It seems to have the right flavor profile. I have never made my guac in a mortar and pestle though…a new use for mine!

    Fresh lime is awesome for keeping the avocado from turning brown but I have found a product in Canada called – Fresh Fruit…its used for canning…you just sprinkle a bit on – or you can even mix it with water and spray it on and it does the same thing. quite useful without overpowering with lime. I use it on apples mostly when I pre slice them for lunches. Ole

  • Paige
    March 27, 2013 6:44pm

    Those are the smallest pits I have ever seen in a Haas avocado. In addition to all the comments about the “right” guacamole, I found that interesting. I wonder where they come from…

  • Christina
    March 27, 2013 7:02pm

    I remember back in the late 70’s early 80’s I worked in South America and lived in Greece in the (work) off-season (high-tourist-season in Greece.) The avocados in Panema, Equador, Peru and Chile were all very different from one another and all heavenly. My favorites were the Peruvian ones the size and shape of a USA football(!) that had the texture of a Haas variety avocado and the tiny Chilean ones the size of a small chicken’s egg that they called “mantequilla” (butter) avocados… those tiny mantequilla ones, I think, were my favorite of my favorites!

    I remember stumbling along the streets in the wee hours of the breaking dawn in Valporiso, Chile, headed back after a night of bar hopping… all the businessmen were in the bars we had just vacated having a morning cafe-con-leche, a brandy and a thin piece of buttered toast with mantequilla avocado mashed and mixed with olive oil, salt and a tiny splash of cider vinegar spread on it like jam as their breakfast.

    I mention Greece, because the only thing wrong with leaving South America to spend the summer in Greece was the total lack of avocados (and mangos, but that’s a different story) and then one day along and about 1980, lo and behold! Avocados! From Crete. The very first crop. We were in heaven! Partly because that first year, they were not only spectacularly good but also cheap, as the Greeks, in general, were not quite sure what to make of them and being a suspicious lot they left them to others to try first :D

  • Mary Jane
    March 27, 2013 7:22pm

    As a California avocado grower, I need to let you know that it isn’t Haas, but Hass, and it’s spoken to rhyme with “pass.”

    Thanks – I think I was so busy making sure guacamole was pronounced the right way in France that I added an extra “a”… dl

  • Martha
    March 27, 2013 7:25pm

    The woman from LeBlanc oils on Rue Jacob in Paris told me to try pistachio oil and avocado combined. (Off topic, but I also can recommend making pesto with pistachio oil and nuts which we tried in Rome and it was fantastic – especially spread on a sandwich with prosciutto and cheese).

  • Audrey
    March 27, 2013 7:28pm

    “the longest night of your life” you are too funny.

  • Sasha
    March 27, 2013 7:37pm

    In Guatemala, it’s just guacamol so the French would be fine saying it that way. We also add olive oil so you’ve committed no crime.

  • Sue from Pleasanton, Ca
    March 27, 2013 7:59pm

    Love love guac! Grew up in a northern Minnesota village where avocados were unknown. My first introduction to avocados was in guacamole, and I soon became a committed convert–to such a degree that most often the avocados don’t make it all the way to guacamole. Often, I halve them, and when sufficiently ripe, gentle pressure on opposite edges will slip that seed right out. Then I put a bit of Catalina dressing into the depressions. Heavenly.

    As for all the variations on guacamole, the only in inedible one I’ve come across was made by a friend from Florida who had never tasted guacamole. She’d been told to mash the avocado and be sure to use lime juice. And she did. No other seasonings, just a boatload of lime juice. When asked, she said she didn’t think it tasted good, but figured it was an acquired taste! What a hoot!

  • Jack Etsweiler
    March 27, 2013 8:24pm

    Guacamole is fun, but if you have a perfect avocado and some excellent artisanal vinegar (the fig vinegar that they sell at is brilliant), halve the avocados, fill the cavity with the excellent vinegar of your choosing, and all you need is a spoon. Most delicious thing in the world. And it’s good for you. Go figure!

  • BelleD
    March 27, 2013 8:25pm

    I confess to sometimes adding roquefort to my guac. Abomination to say the least, but it’s really good, unless you are not a blue cheese lover. Blame Nigella for this. Got the idea from one of her shows.

  • barbara Martin
    March 27, 2013 9:21pm

    Dear David and fans,
    The first mention of guacamole and memories spin. My parents and I moved Mexico when I was 5years old so I speak Spanish like a Mexican with the vocabulary of an 8 year-old. My favorite food memory is guacamole. The other, traditional Mexican pit BBQ. And I do mean “pit”. Mangos were the fruit most available where we lived. I have made a salsa using Mongos, pineapple and serrano chili that is delicious on chips. I chop everything rather than food processing and use the same ingredients you use in guacamole, leaving out the avacados. The optional celantro, cumin, and a chili powder. I add rice wine vinegar sweetened to add acidity and texture. Great summer snacking.

  • Ellen
    March 27, 2013 9:49pm

    This comment is totally in the wrong place, so please move it to where it belongs. (Comments were already closed for the Nutty Magdalenas post. I put it here since this is your most recent post.)

    This is the follow-uip to the Passover question about Nutty Magdalenas.

    David, I adjusted the recipe and made a Passover version of the Nutty Magdalenas. They came out great. Here’s what we did:

    4 large eggs
    1 cup sugar
    1 cup almond flour (from Trader Joe’s)
    1 1/4 cup of matzah cake meal
    No baking powder
    pinch salt
    2/3 cup olive oil (reduced from your recipe to account for the extra egg)
    1/4 nuts to sprinkle on top

    I followed your instructions as closely as possible. Here’s what I did that’s different.

    I beat two eggs and most of the cup of sugar together until light and doubled in volume. I separated the other two eggs. The yokes went into the egg-sugar mixture above. I beat the whites until stiff peaks formed, then added the last bit of sugar to that mixture and beat a bit more. I saved the beaten whites until later.

    I lightly mixed the almond meal and matzah cake meal together. We added fresh lemon peal and a bit of nutmeg for additional flavoring.

    After we added the olive oil to the egg-sugar mix, I alternately folded in the dry ingredients (the mixed almond meal and matzah cake meal) and the egg whites.

    Like you, we used the ice cream scoop to fill the muffin tins. Our yield was 24. They baked for 15 minutes at 400 degrees

    They came out great — like a nutty pound cake. We were very pleased.

    Thanks for sharing your recipes and stories with all of us.


  • Pamela
    March 27, 2013 10:16pm

    I hate it when I see people squeezing the avocadoes in the store to see if they’re ripe! Squeeze your own avocado!
    All a person needs to do is to gently press with your thumb right on the stem end. If it gives slightly, if it yields a little, it’s ripe.
    I once saw Alton Brown even advise people to take the bit of remaining stem end out of the fruit as part of a test for ripeness. Quelle horror! (sp) Leave it in unless you’re going to buy it. Bacteria, ewwww.

  • March 27, 2013 10:19pm

    I’m surprised avocados are so readily available in France!

    I also love how different cultures use avocados; I’ve seen them whipped with sweetened condensed milk to make a dessert cream (Brazil), blended into cream and sugar + ice to make snow ice (Asia), in sushi rolls (California), and of course used every which way in Mexican food.

  • Pam
    March 27, 2013 11:38pm

    So fun to see the differences; I’m voting
    for ripe avocado, pinch salt, key lime dash
    (Sub reg lime or lemon ok) mash it, done.

    Onion is too harsh, same garlic, oil just isn’t
    necessary. A good avocado has a natural smoothness and oil balance. Salsa on the side
    if you want tomatoes, onion the rest.

    Great sandwich; tuna, cheddar, mashed avocado on buttered toasted sour dough bread.

  • terri
    March 27, 2013 11:49pm

    Didn’t Harold McGee also stick a light bulb in a bowl of guacamole to prove his point about the pit? In both cases, only the guacamole under the pit/light bulb didn’t turn brown.

  • March 28, 2013 12:02am

    That final photo of the sliced-open avocados, teeth marks from the knife visible – – it kills me. Ain’t much better than a buttery avocado, or guacamole, or spread on toast, or a million other variations!

  • Debbie
    March 28, 2013 12:41am

    The greatest guacamole is the way a Californian friend makes it: the freshly squeezed juice from 1/2 an orange added to your regular recipe…..awesome!

  • March 28, 2013 1:37am

    Have you ever tried cumin in your quacamole? It is an interesting addition.

  • Bebe
    March 28, 2013 2:26am

    Paige, those are fairly small avocados. The smaller the avocado, the smaller the pit. Decades ago my stupidest greenhorn trick was to wonder what the funny-looking skinny little avocados were – from our tree – that looked like what are now known as fingerling potatoes. I found out much later that these delicacies are called “fingerlings”, they have no seed, are delicious, and cost a fortune at gourmet markets.

  • Elizabeth
    March 28, 2013 2:48am

    In the summertime here in Southern California, I am very partial to the Reed avocado. Tastes like buttah!

    Our season is long but my preferred vendor doesn’t sell year round. Fortunately, guacamole freezes quite well with zero browning. I just hold off on adding any chilies until just before serving.

  • March 28, 2013 3:19am

    This looks absolutely perfect! Awesome recipe!!

  • Monica
    March 28, 2013 3:36am

    I could never understand how people I know hated the taste of cilantro.
    Now that researchers have said there may be a genetic component to loving or hating it, I will be a little more tolerant of the haters.

  • March 28, 2013 3:50am

    I saw an interview with Eva Longoria and her tip for guac (her family is originally from Mexico and has a restaurant) was to use lemon instead of lime juice. I’ve done that ever since and always get raves for my guacamole.

  • Bebe
    March 28, 2013 4:43am

    My Mexican live-in lady always used a little lemon juice. The intent is to point up the avocado’s delicate flavor, not to overpower it.

    The simplest guacamole is the best. That is what she made. Nothing tricky. And she always made it in a metate brought up from Mexico.

  • March 28, 2013 5:14am

    I love guacamole. It seems to be one of those foods that just goes with everything. I’ve been adding a little plain yogurt to it recently to turn it into a smoother dip. And siriracha sauce…I’m in love. I’ve never tried adding olive oil before, interesting idea.

  • tunie
    March 28, 2013 5:57am

    Certain varieties (there are nearly 500 known) of avo have small pits no matter how large the fruit grows. They tend to be my favorites for flavor and texture. These look delish! The better tasting the avo, the simpler I like to keep the guac. For not so great avo’s, adding more stuff saves the dish!

    Also, the pit trick does work when you keep it in the half of avo you are saving to eat over the next few days. Might be wishful thinking to think it will preserve a bowl of prepared avo…but a creative experiment, nonetheless!

  • March 28, 2013 6:12am

    Hmmmm. Not bad, but why do you think you need olive oil? A chopped tomato would not be amiss as well as a little shopped cilantro and a sprinkling for freshly roasted and ground cumin.

  • bob waks
    March 28, 2013 7:24am

    Hi David…Enjoying reading your this case though I”ll stick to the classic Dianna Kennedy (and like Gina March 27,@ 5:07above) recipe with avocados, white onions. cilantro.serrano chilis, tomatoes salt period. I find the delicacy of that combination perfect..and the inclusion of garlic lime etc a distraction from those pure complimentary flavors…

  • March 28, 2013 8:04am

    I’ve had French people say, when seeing my guacamole, “It isn’t going to be really hot, is it?” so I never add chilies. In fact, I add Pace salsa, or make my own-without chilies- and add it. It gives a great taste and add some color. I also add some garlic salt. Since limes cost so much here, I use lemon juice. French people are wild about my gauc. It makes me proud to be a Texan.

    • March 28, 2013 10:48am
      David Lebovitz

      I use a whole Thai chile in mine, which got hotter as it sat. And I was concerned it was going to be too hot for my French guests. But they ate it all up! I know a number of Mexicans in the US that use Pace salsa. I was trying to explain “salsa” to my guests and they couldn’t understand it, so I’m going to make a batch for them next time, too.

  • Michelle
    March 28, 2013 8:25am

    That looks so vibrant and tasty! I’m so looking forward to making a big batch of guac soon when they start being available at the markets.

    A couple of tips for you:

    – To ripen avocados quickly, put them in a jar of rice, or wrap in newspaper

    – Don’t ever throw away the pits! There are dozens of ways you can use them, and they’re even edible. This article has ideas to use the pits for cosmetics, crafts and medicinal uses:

  • March 28, 2013 9:21am

    I love guacamole! I can’t wait to try it!

  • Mariam
    March 28, 2013 10:00am

    I love guac! But i’ve actually never made a smooth one as I prefer chunky, the recipe in Eva Longoria’s cookbook is my favourite, it actually calls for lemon not lime and once we only and lime on hand, it was no where near as good!

    • March 28, 2013 10:38am
      David Lebovitz

      Most of the limes that one finds (those very dark green ones) are picked unripe and gassed to hold their green color. But in countries like Mexico and Asian countries, the limes are riper and not so brutally tart, like those dark green limes are. (They are juicier, too.) So her version with lemon juice is probably more similar to guacamole made with ripe, yellowish limes.

      There is a picture of them in my Lime Meringue Tart recipe, since those are similar to the limes we get in Paris.

  • March 28, 2013 10:26am

    Ahhh!! You had me at ‘fresh tortilla chips’! Now my brain is in search of how to source make these! And I wish you hadn’t shared the price of those avos! They are grown in Australia, but we pay about $2 each at a good price and can be as much as $5 each!

    Never knew there was the great Guacamole-Coriander debate going on out there! I sometimes also deviate a little more and keep the chillies but also roughly chop some tomatoes and make this more a salsa style consistency. Just for something different.

    You can tell spring must have sprung in Paris and summer on it’s way if you are thinking of guacamole!

    Love the blog as always! Jennifer x

  • March 28, 2013 1:07pm

    I love guacamole

  • Mary Lynn
    March 28, 2013 2:41pm

    The Barrio Cafe in Phoenix adds pomegranate seeds to their guacamole. It’s really good, but different– adds a burst of flavor when you bite into the seeds.

  • Sara
    March 28, 2013 2:53pm

    I’m so jealous of those fresh corn tortillas and ripe avocados! I’m from California but I’ve spent the last 3 years in Kiev and the only edible mexican food is what I make at home. I’ve been dragging my tortilla press around for years much to my husband’s dismay (although he only complains about carrying it not eating the tortillas!). They recently started carrying bass avocados at the grocery store here sometimes and it has changed my world! It’s amazing what guacamole can do!

  • March 28, 2013 3:29pm

    My hand is raised high! Long live guacamole!

    Great tip about the olive oil. I will certainly try it the next time I mash up a bunch of avocados.

  • Bebe
    March 28, 2013 4:35pm

    David, those look similar to what are called “Key limes”. Or in California, Mexican limes. They are smaller than the Persian limes we think of when we think “lime” and they are much more delicate and mellow in taste. Not as tart. (These are the limes used in margaritas.) I would not like Persian lime (the dark green ones) in guacamole!

  • Bebe
    March 28, 2013 5:05pm

    PS. Key or Mexican limes must be yellow. Otherwise they are not ripe and will be too tart. When ripe they become very juicy relative to their small size.

  • Susan
    March 28, 2013 6:09pm

    I use 1 – 2 tbsp’s of cream cheese which I soften by stirring well first and mix it with half an avacado to lighten it so I can add the rest of the chopped avacados (3 – 4) without smooshing them. Then I add whatever else suits my fancy at the moment. It adds a little body to the guac and it’s acidic enough to keep the avacados from oxidizing for quite a while. I’ve tried many recipes (except ones with oil..this is the first I’ve heard of using oil) but I keep going back to the cream cheese addition, small amount though it is. I’ve tried small additions mayonaise or sour cream but didn’t care for the flavor or texture they added. The cream cheese seems to just add a little something that you can’t quite put your finger on yet doesn’t really change the flavor of the avocado at all. It’s a mystery!

    • March 28, 2013 6:20pm
      David Lebovitz

      I love that idea. I know some French people slip cream cheese in certain dips. I also have had guacamole with sour cream mixed in and it dilutes it in a not very interesting way, at least to my taste. Do try a bit of oil. It’s really not something you taste, but it does make a difference – somehow!

  • March 28, 2013 7:59pm

    Mmm, guacamolé! :)

  • March 28, 2013 9:44pm

    Love, love, love ALL Guacamole!!! Just posted some simple fish tacos with guac on my blog. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Alessandra
    March 28, 2013 9:59pm

    I cannot stand cilantro, to me it tastes like dish soap, and I have heard that this is a genetic trait, to some people cilantro just tastes different, and not in a good way. I envy people that can appreciate its taste, since those that like it, seem to like it a lot.

  • Gavrielle
    March 29, 2013 5:05am

    We are lucky enough to have a fantastic climate for avocados in New Zealand, whch is just as well for me as I make guacamole every weekday for lunch. (Hey, avocados are supposed to be the most perfectly balanced food!) Count me in the coriander camp, although I also sometimes add Worcestershire sauce, which I used to think was yummy but horribly inauthentic until I found out Mexicans use it too. I’ve never tried putting avocado oil in guacamole, although I use avocado oil as my everyday oil in preference to olive oil as it has a higher smoke point.

  • Claudia
    March 29, 2013 2:08pm

    BWL @ Better with Lemon on March 27, 2013 3:49 PM wrote–
    Is it bad that it’s 9:30am and I want a margarita after reading this blog post? I blame you David ;-)
    I’m in north India for months and craving avocados. Reading your post has changed that. So I must ask–is it bad that I’m living in a monastery about an hour from the Dalai Lama and I’m now craving margaritas??? ;)

    • March 29, 2013 2:11pm
      David Lebovitz

      When the Dalai Lama ate in a restaurant I worked in, everyone assumed he was vegetarian, which he wasn’t. He said that the climate in Tibet was not very hospitable to vegetarian diets and he ate meat. (We served him lamb, although I don’t remember if he drank alcohol.) But there might be a lesson in there that you need to make due with what is available. And if you have tequila, lime juice and orange liqueur, well…

  • David
    March 29, 2013 10:05pm

    So you live in Paris and I live in South Carolina and you can get better tortillas and avocados than I can – Lucky guy

  • AngAK
    March 30, 2013 1:09am

    I wish to wallpaper my kitchen with your cut avocado picture—–perfectly beautiful!

  • Pam
    March 30, 2013 3:30am

    Love all these gucamole comments.

  • March 30, 2013 8:27pm

    I’m on the ‘purists’ side on this – and I’m highly allergic to coriander/cilantro – but I learned something with this post (as I often do): It’s the same… – great to know when you’re allergic! I could be the one with the tweezers in the handbag, honest to God…
    Had them mixed up with flat parsley the very first time I saw this herb, in England, made a huge batch of ‘apéro’ pasties, ate one, another, a third and got terribly sick. Sorry story – and since then I check my herbs before using them!
    PS: I do love to add a fresh garlic ‘toe’ to mine – even if it might be considered as wrong, but then I love garlic…

  • March 31, 2013 6:03am

    The north island of New Zealand grows lots of small avos that become quite cheap in season. When going to school there for a few years, I ate guac on toast every morning and with everything I could think of. Eventually started making my own flour tortillas, which were incredibly easy and delish and got into mango salsa. Ahhhhh. Had a great time teaching my friends how to do the same so they could survive when I left!

  • April 1, 2013 3:46pm

    I’m Latina and live in Texas, so I’m pretty sure I’d wither up and die if I didn’t have guacamole at least weekly. :) As for olive oil, I’d never seen anyone use it until I was in Valladolid in Quintana Roo, Mexico, and ordered the table side guacamole, the woman preparing it for us added oil, and I stole that idea and have done it ever since!

  • Peggy
    April 3, 2013 6:57am

    We eat a lot of guacamole here in San Diego and for me it’s avocado, a bit of finely chopped white onion, a tiny bit of finely chopped tomato, cilantro, salt, and lime. Mash it to a nice, chunky consistency and I’m in heaven.

  • Zoe
    April 4, 2013 4:24am

    Adore your work David, I do. I’ve given up on food snobbery, but I can’t let this go:

    That is definitely a gringo measure of lime.

  • Robert
    April 4, 2013 4:13pm

    What!? Am I missing something? Only two comments and both niggling criticisms?

    Thanks for continuing to celebrate great food without boundaries, David. I remember my mom making this and astounding the rural neighbors on the East Coast back in the 50s, when no one we knew had even heard of it. I still love it and still make it the way she did, getting the heat from Tabasco sauce.

  • April 5, 2013 12:22am

    tomatillos are a great thing to add.

    hard to get in France but for anyone else, they make all the difference. I give full credit to a great teacher Estela Silva in central Mexico

  • April 5, 2013 8:33am
    David Lebovitz

    Eva: I’ve been trying to find tomatillos in Paris for years. I’ve brought them back from the US (you can get pretty decent ones canned.) Wonder if someone will ever grow them here? I once bought some tiny fruits that looked like them in an Indian market here, but they turned out to be green tomatoes – which I turned into chutney.

    Robert: Comments get moved to another page after a hundred are reached, so there are bunch more – you can hit “Previous comments” to read them. People are fired up about cilantro (and lime, mayo, oil, spices, etc.) in their guacamole and there were a number of responses. I didn’t put it in this batch, but I often do and mentioned it was one thing you could add, as well as tomatoes. The great thing about guacamole is that it’s infinitely customizable!

    • Jack Etsweiler
      April 15, 2013 9:12pm

      David, I would bet that your relationship with some of the farmers/marketeers would help you find someone who would be delighted to grow you some, and an embarrassment of riches in the form of an abundant crop would be OK, since you can preserve them for future delectation. Best of luck!

  • Gaye
    April 15, 2013 5:48pm

    I put avocados in a brown paper bag and keep in dark place to ripen. Agree with Zoe about the lime….not enough! I use one regular sized lime for 2-3 avocados, plus plenty of cilantro and chopped tomatoes.