The small steps leading to Grand Guacamole

If you press on, I could tell you how to make good guacamole in one sentence. It goes something like this. Ripe avocado with finely chopped white onions, clove of minced garlic, squeeze of lime juice and salt to taste. But to be done exceptional guacamole, it's the small decisions that are made between these parties that make all the difference. Standing by me throughout the process will add to the dozens of choices and thoughts that really matter. So, I thought I might try to go farther with you on this – to get you through my thinking process, step by step here, in relation to one of my favorite things to eat.

Guacamole Recipe - The Small Steps That Lead to Great Guacamole

Good shopping is the key

Like most things that end up at the table, your success or failure depends on how you market. The most important step in this process is obtaining perfect avocados. Mature. But it is not very mature. Beautiful, buttery, green fleshy decadence – that's what you're following. Sometimes easier said than done.

Guacamole Recipe - The Small Steps That Lead to Great Guacamole

Choosing the right avocado

I spend more time choosing avocados for guacamole than I actually prepare. You want avocados that are ripe and the only way to know if they are at their peak is to rate them one at a time. To decipher if an avocado is mature enough, hold it in your palm and give it a slight squeeze with your finger pads. They should give some, such as butter that has come out of the fridge for an hour in a medium-temperature cooker. The dose should be uniform throughout the surface of the wrist. Try to imagine if this quantity will translate into sufficient capacity. Avocados tend to be more mature to the surface, less mature to the seed. Keep this in mind as you evaluate them.

Look at the color as well. Extra ripe avocados (depending on variety) tend to be black with pockets of unstructured softness. I don't typically use the trick where the stalks move – if it's loose, avocado is ripe (but probably too ripe!), But this is another tactic to decipher if there is an avocado in the zone.

If you buy depleted avocados and have a few days before using them, they will continue to mature over time. If you're in a hurry – avocados ripen more quickly sealed in a paper bag. To slow down the ripening process, place them in the refrigerator (but return to room temperature before use).

Guacamole Recipe - The Small Steps That Lead to Great Guacamole

The right temperature is the key

Temperature matters here, and you will want to use avocados at room temperature. Because avocados have such a high fat content, imagine you are trying to chill cold butter at room temperature. They're just going to be more creamyer than the other. So do not try to make guacamole with cold avocado. Also serve at room temperature, without refrigeration.

The concept of Guacamole "Stretching"

Avocados can be expensive, so many restaurants will "stretch" or spill out their guacamole with things like chopped tomatoes. I'm not a fan of it. Adding tomatoes in particular. I don't like the way the watery tomatoes beat the fatty avocado – it's literally oil and water. I like guacamole to be for avocado, and unless I throw some wildcards in the mix (like the one in my last book), I usually keep it as clean and simple as possible.


Beyond that – trust your flavors to balance things out. If you like a little spicy kick, add a little minced meat. Use salt and lime juice, slowly adjusting, until it tastes good.

Guacamole Recipe - The Small Steps That Lead to Great Guacamole

If you want to get your guacamole another notch, try this favorite Indian seasoned guacamole, and inspired by a Julie Sahni recipe. I also love using this guacamole on these Vegan Nachos – so good!