The BEST homemade guacamole recipe is easy easy! Takes 5 minutes. I feel like people are always trying to complicate guacamole, but I promise, simple is best. I will show you exactly how to make it! Yes, we know guac is extra, but so are we, right? Probably the best appetizer of all time, fight me.

Table of Contents
  1. Homemade guacamole
  2. Rules for guacamole
  3. How to choose avocados at the store
  4. Slicing avocados and tips for how to not be an idiot
  5. Guacamole ingredients
  6. Optional ingredients
  7. How to make guacamole
  8. What to serve with a simple guacamole recipe
  9. How to keep guacamole from turning brown
  10. Can you freeze guacamole?
  11. Easy guacamole frequently asked questions
  12. More dips and condiments you’ll love
  13. My Favorite Guacamole Recipe Recipe
close up showing detail of guacamole with flakes of salt and 2 chips perfectly scooping into it.

My little rapscallion of a son Edison just started preschool this week, which he calls “play-school” (because all they do is play. Hallelujah!) At dinner that night, I asked him what the best part of his day was. “It was when me and my new friend opened all the doors to the turtle cage when the teacher wasn’t looking! The turtle got out and we all tried to find him.” 😳

Of course he had to pull something like this on day one. I’m tempted to feel bad for the teachers who had to deal with turtles running rampant, but then I remember that if Edison had been home, instead of turtles, it would have been bidet water shooting across my living room, or going to the ER for stitches after he jumped off the trampoline “onto a tree.” And I would have been the one dealing with it.

I feel like after 4 straight years of this mayhem, someone else can handle him (and the resultant turtle hunting) for a few hours a week. Maybe next time they should just put HIM in the turtle cage instead, seems easier.

(I asked Edison this week if he remembered getting stitches a few months ago. He didn’t at first. I said, “Remember, we went to the hospital?” His face lights up, he pumps his fists in the air, and says, “Oh yeah, I remember when I could watch shows for hours!!” NOOOO how does he only have positive memories of that??)

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wooden bowl filled with guacamole and surrounded by chips, lime slices, and red onion.

Homemade guacamole

Now let’s talk guacamole. I have a ton of ​Mexican-ish recipes​ on my blog, because I’m a born and raised Californian and that’s just what we eat around here. Every single time I make anything even vaguely Mexican, I serve it with guacamole. We are maybe a little obsessed. My kids will resort to eating avocado straight out of the shell with a spoon if I’m not fast enough making it.

I have a very simple recipe that I’ve been making for years and years but have never felt like it was important enough to document. It’s hardly a recipe, honestly.

But I am realizing more lately that the simplest of recipes can be ruined if you don’t understand the RULES. And I have some pretty strict rules about guac.

Rules for guacamole

This is simple stuff you guys. Here is rule number one:

  1. Make twice as much as you think you need. I’M BEING SERIOUS OKAY.
  2. Stop adding tomatoes to guac. It’s weird. Tomatoes go in the salsa.
  3. No spicy ingredients in guac. Guac is meant to serve as a smooth, rich, creamy compliment to all the OTHER spicy stuff you are eating. Don’t mess this up.
  4. Lime zest is the best way to punch up flavor without adding too much lime juice (and ruining the consistency of your guac). Use FRESH lime juice!
  5. Guacamole is best served with Juanita’s tortilla chips. I WILL DIE ON THIS HILL. I’ve never been so brand loyal to a product in my entire life, I swear. They are (mis)labeled “Juantonio’s” these days because of a trademark dispute, but they will always be Juanitas to me. (This is the part when tiny hearts replace my pupils) FIND JUANITA!! If you live East coast…I hate to break this to you, but it’s time for a road trip to the promised land. (The West, of course.)
  6. Guac is best served room temperature. Make it last minute, right before you are going to eat it. You can taste the avocado more when it’s not cold.
finger and thumb holding a chip loaded with guacamole, salsa, and sour cream.

Eric and I call this “The Flag” technique 😂 This is literally all I want to be doing on Superbowl Sunday coming up.

How to choose avocados at the store

I have a little tip for choosing avocados if you are new here. Mom, this is for you. (I’m not sure if my mom has ever bought an avocado in her life. Add this to the casual comments she throws around occasionally, “Cucumbers are one of those things I only started eating a few years ago.” “I never used cumin until I was an adult.” She grew up on a farm in the 50s!)

Perfectly ripe avocados should be soft when you use them. You will know they are ready if you can use one finger to easily remove this little knobbly piece (a technical term) from the end here. If it won’t budge, your avocado is probably too hard to be opened up right now. If you remove the knobby guy and it’s green on the inside, it’s perfectly ripe. If it’s dark brown, your avocado is over ripe.

finger removing the stem at the top of an avocado to show green which means it's ripe.

Eric and I have refined our avocado purchasing system over the years! We are always buying our avocados ahead of time, so we buy them rock hard and wait, while we finish up the ones from last week.

Sometimes this works out, but sometimes my guacamole cravings come in hard and fast, before the poor avocados have time to ripen, and after we’ve greedily eaten last weeks. In that case, you can put avocados in a sealed brown paper bag to speed up the ripening process. Adding a banana to the bag really moves things along!

Slicing avocados and tips for how to not be an idiot

My brothers are both doctors, and they’ve told me that a shocking number of people come in to the ER with insane hand injuries from trying to slice an avocado.

A chef's knife cutting into an avocado, with a red X blocking the image.

For some reason it’s become trendy to use a giant chef’s knife to chop soft avocados, and to chop them while holding them in your hand. Don’t be that guy.

using a butter knife to more safely slice open an avocado (instead of a sharp knife).

Avocados (that are ripe enough to use) can be cut with a butter knife. Sometimes the skin of an avocado is quite tough, so I will make a small piercing with a paring knife, then once I have an opening, I will finish slicing with the butter knife.

top using a finger to pop out the avocado pit, bottom using the spoon to pop out the pit.

If you are using your avocado for guac, just use your fingers or a spoon to nudge the pit out. It should be soft enough. You don’t need to do the chef’s-knife-in-the-pit-and-twist thing. You can also try popping the pit out by pushing with your thumb on the peel side toward the pit. It will come right out!

a spoon scraping along the inside of the avocado peel to scoop out all the flesh.

Then just scoop out with a spoon. If you want really neat avocado slices, you can use your fingers to peel the skin off the back of the avocado. (Obviously it doesn’t need to be pretty for our guacamole today!)

looking down on a guacamole bowl with red onion as a garnish and a chip scooping some out.

Guacamole ingredients

If you buy avocados at the store with the same regularity as milk and bread (like we do), then you will have them on hand all the time and you are just a lime away from heaven. But if you are not obsessed like us, here’s the stuff you will need to throw in your cart. Be sure to check out the recipe card below for exact amounts and instructions!

  • avocados
  • limes
  • salt
  • cayenne
  • cumin (optional)
  • guys, that’s it. trust me on this!!
ingredients for gaucamole - avocado, lime, salt, cayenne, cumin, chips.

Optional ingredients

Here are some optional mix-ins if you are serving this as a stand-alone appetizer, and really want it to be the star of the show. (I prefer the simpler recipe, especially as a side for tacos or another main dish. But I understand if you want to jazz up your guac if you’re serving it solo.)

  • Cilantro, chopped tiny tiny. Start with 2-4 tablespoons
  • Minced white or red onion, start with 1-3 tablespoons. You can even use a cheese grater to shred it, I love my onion tiny in guac.
  • Jalapeño, seeded and diced, start with just one and move up from there.
  • Tomatoes, ugh, fine. Slice them open and scrape all the seeds out. Then dice the rest and add it in.

If you are wondering what kind of guacamole is authentic in Mexico, the answer is all of the above. My husband Eric lived in Tijuana for 2 years serving a mission for our church, and he was served every possible guacamole variation you could think of in Mexican homes. (Mexico is not a guacamole discriminator BUT I AM, GET THOSE TOMATOES OUT. 😝)

How to make guacamole

First things first, zest up some limes. I love adding lime zest to my guacamole because it adds so much flavor. BUT if I’m in a hurry it’s the first thing to go. So this addition is up to you! I usually zest about 2 limes.

top two zested limes and a microplaner on a plate, bottom juicing a lime half.

Then juice them. I don’t usually bust out my electric juicer for just 2 limes, but my normal hand reamer was in the dirty dishwasher and that’s how deep my laziness goes. I was willing to bust out an entire appliance in order to avoid 25 seconds of dish washing.

The plot thickens. My friend Sarah from Snixy Kitchen has started helping me edit my photos. Yesterday she was in the middle of editing these guac photos and sent me this:

picture of a text thread with a picture of a citruc juicer.

In the previous photo, she edited out the fact that my citrus appliance is in serious need of a wipe down. But you guys know the real me 😂 I’m sorry that I am the way I am, okay?

Okay sorry back to the guacamole.

four avocados being weighed on a food scale to get the most accurate amount of ingredients.

This is a simple recipe with only 3 main ingredients, so I wanted to be really specific on amounts. You don’t have to bust out the scale, but just fyi: 4 large avocados weigh about 1.5 pounds.

several avocado halves and lime zest resting on a plate.

Use your BUTTER KNIFE to slice open your avocados, and your fingers or a spoon to get the pits out. Then scoop it onto the plate where you zested the limes.

Mashing avocados (and bananas for Banana Bread!) in a bowl is super annoying in my opinion. I can’t smash properly without hitting the edge of the bowl. The leverage situation!! It’s a disaster people!!

a metal fork mashing avocados on a plate; about one third of the avocado halves are smashed.

So I always prefer to mash with a fork on a plate, then transfer to a bowl. Yes, now I have two dishes to wash, but the sanity I save is worth it.

tablespoon adding lime juice over the avocados on a plate as they are being smashed.

Again, you don’t have to measure your lime juice, but I was trying to be specific for you guys. I like somewhere between 2-3 tablespoons for 4 large avocados (this is because I also used lime zest. Use more juice if you didn’t zest.)

Add some salt, I like about 3/4 teaspoon. You don’t need a ton, especially if you are eating with salty chips.

top smashed avocado with seasonings sprinkled over, bottom using a spatula to mix it together.

Add the seasonings if you’re using them, then use a spatula to stir it all together and transfer to a serving bowl. Voila!

What to serve with a simple guacamole recipe

Honestly, it’s almost more a question of what NOT to serve with guac! Definitely any Mexican food, but truly a delicious guacamole can go with sooo many savory foods, in my opinion.

close up showing the chunky texture of guacamole with lime and chips as garnish.

How to keep guacamole from turning brown

Storing guacamole can be pretty tricky due to oxidation. Basically, there’s an enzyme in avocados that reacts with oxygen and turns the exposed layer of guacamole a nasty brown color. (A similar process happens with apples and potatoes. If you’ve ever noticed slices getting brown after a while, that’s oxidation too.) While technically there’s nothing wrong with the oxidized guacamole (it actually tastes fine, ask me how I know), it will definitely be lookin kinda sus.

To avoid the brown layer, you want to prevent as much exposure to air as possible. Add your leftover guacamole to an airtight container, and smooth the top with the back of a spoon so it’s as even as possible.

half a lime squeezing juice over the smoothed top of guacamole in a tupperware.

Squeeze some lime juice (or lemon juice is fine) over the top. If you are out of limes, you can even use water! It creates an excellent barrier between the guac and the air. Press some plastic wrap directly on top of the now-wet guacamole. Then put your lid on top of the plastic.

plastic wrap pressed directly on top of the juice topped guacamole in the container.

Keep it in the fridge, and definitely use it up quickly. It should last two, maybe three days but I generally like to eat it as soon possible. Just keep in mind that we can’t prevent ALL air from reaching the avocado and you will most likely see some amount of browning. Even store bought guac, with all those preservatives, starts to brown over time. It’s guacamole now or forever hold your peace!

two chips together being used to scoop homemade guacamole out of the serving bowl.

Can you freeze guacamole?

Well, it depends! A smooth, creamy guacamole made with just avocado (no tomatoes or onions) will freeze surprisingly well. Add it to a freezer ziplock bag. As you seal, try to squeeze as much air out of the bag as you can (again, trying to prevent that oxidation). To use, add the bag to a bowl of cold water for 30-40 minutes (or in the fridge for several hours), then move it to a bowl and stir until smooth. It will not have the same texture as before, and it’s best to eat it right away. I don’t advise trying to store it again, it will start to get runny and thin and just weird.

If you added anything chunky (tomatoes, onions, etc) I do NOT recommend freezing. The thawing process will cause these bits to become soggy, making a big watery mess of your guac that no one will enjoy. Your best bet is to eat it at every meal until it’s gone!

fingers holding a chip with a big heap of guacamole on it, with the guacamole bowl in the background.

Easy guacamole frequently asked questions

what is traditional guacamole made of?

It’s really quite simple. Most traditional guacamole consists of only a handful of ingredients – avocado, cilantro, lime, garlic, and salt. Sometimes red or white onion, jalapeño or serrano peppers, or even some tomatoes are added. Even “traditional” recipes will vary since there are probably about as many opinions about guacamole (even in Mexico) as there are people.

what makes guacamole taste better?

First, when it comes to the basics, you really need to make sure you have enough. Make sure there is enough SALT, or all the other amazing flavors will come across as bland. Enough acidity from the lime juice is also crucial to making the other flavors sing. Beyond that, I like to add a little lime zest cumin and cayenne to add a little punch, but that’s it.

what not to do when making guacamole?

Avoid avocados that are under ripe or have too many black spots. Now is not the time for the food processor either, you definitely don’t want to turn it into a paste. Guac is meant to be a lil chunky so be careful not to over mash. You want the star to be the avocado, with some small bursts of flavor mixed throughout. Keep it simple!

How do Mexican restaurants keep guacamole from turning brown?

There are a few tricks that many use, restaurants included, to keep guacamole from oxidizing and turning brown. Some use premade guac, which has many preservatives in it to keep it fresh. When house made, it’s prepared in batches throughout the day to make sure it’s fresh. Guacamole that is ready to serve typically has some kind of citrus juice in the recipe, and employees will sometimes add more juice on top. And most important of all, plastic wrap is applied directly on top of the guacamole in between servings. Keep in mind that no one can prevent ALL air from reaching the guacamole, and over time all versions will see some amount of browning.

close up of a wooden bowl with guacamole in it with chips dipped into the guac.

More dips and condiments you’ll love

I’m not sure what it is exactly about scooping up some dip-goodness on a chip or cracker, but we all know there is something incredibly satisfying there. Check out these crave worthy appetizer and dip options!

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My Favorite Guacamole Recipe

5 from 11 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Total: 5 minutes
Servings: 8
The BEST homemade guacamole recipe is easy easy! Takes 5 minutes. I feel like people are always trying to complicate guacamole, but I promise, simple is best. I will show you exactly how to make it! Yes, we know guac is extra, but so are we, right? Probably the best appetizer of all time, fight me.

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons lime zest, from 2 limes
  • 2 & 1/2 tablespoons lime juice, plus more
  • 4 large ripe avocados, 1 and 1/2 pounds before opening
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, use 1/2 teaspoon if all you have is table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin, optional
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, for flavor, not heat
  • Juanita's tortilla chips, sometimes mislabeled "Juantonio's"

Instructions

  • Zest the limes. Start by zesting two limes onto a large plate. This is optional, and if you are in a hurry, skip it! You should end up with about 2 teaspoons lime zest. If you don't have a microplane grater for this task yet, get on it. Game changer right there.
  • Juice the limes. Slice the limes in half and juice them into a little bowl. Set aside.
  • Now the avocados. Slice the avocados in half and remove the pit with your fingers. Put your chef's knife away and don't be an idiot. Your avocados should be soft enough to slice with a butter knife, and if they are not, maybe you should be making this guac tomorrow anyway ;)
  • Mash. Use a spoon to scoop the avocados out of their shells onto the large plate with the lime zest. Use a fork to mash the avocados roughly, then drizzle with 2 tablespoons lime juice. Keep mashing until the avocados are a consistency you like, then taste it to see if you want to add more lime juice.
  • Salt. Sprinkle the guacamole with 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Use the fork (or I always grab a rubber spatula at this point) to stir it all together. Scrape into a serving bowl.
  • Serve with Juanita's tortilla chips – and Pico de Gallo in a bowl next to it! I could die happy in this moment. Or add guac to your Chicken Taco. Or use a cookie scoop to add a giant dollop to these Ultimate Chili Nachos (I still dream about this) Add to Carne Guisada. Taco Salad. Enchiladas. The possibilities are endless!
  • Store guacamole in a tupperware. Smooth out the top to be as flat as you can make it, then top with a thin layer of lime juice, lemon juice, or even water. You want to create a barrier between the guacamole and the air. Press plastic wrap directly onto the now-wet guac, then top with a lid. When you are ready to eat again, pour off any liquid that is still on top, stir, and serve.

Notes

Optional ingredients:
If you are serving guacamole as a stand-alone appetizer, you can add a few more ingredients if you want it to be the star of the show. (I prefer the simpler recipe, especially as a side for tacos or another main dish. But I understand if you want to jazz up your guac for serving solo.)
  • Cilantro, chopped tiny tiny. Start with 2-4 tablespoons
  • Minced onion, start with 1-3 tablespoons. You can even use a cheese grater to shred it, I love my onion tiny in guac.
  • Jalapeno, seeded and diced, start with just one and move up.
  • Tomatoes. Start with just one. Slice it open and scrape all the seeds out. Then dice the rest and add it in.
Avocado storage: I always keep my avocados on the counter after buying. They will ripen over a few days. If I’m not ready to eat them when they are soft enough to use, I move them to the fridge to slow down the ripening process. 
Putting hard avocados in a sealed brown paper bag will speed up the ripening process. Add a banana to the bag to really move things along!
 
Nutrition facts do not include tortilla chips.

Nutrition

Calories: 163kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Sodium: 225mg | Potassium: 496mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 164IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 14mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Mexican
Calories: 163
Keyword: guacamole, mexican
Did you make this? I’d love to see it!Mention @thefoodcharlatan or tag #thefoodcharlatan!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    HI Karen,

    I love Guacamole thanks for sharing your tips and tricks love it!! Your stories and posts are hilarious on each recipe. That story about your son and opening the turtle cage at school that’s funny! I think in addition to writing a cookbook you could write a book of all your funny stories you share. That’s just an added bonus to all your great recipes you share. Please keep both coming :)

  2. 5 stars
    CALIDAD are my favorite chip thick crisp. looked for yours but not at my HEB in TEXAS like the idea of limon zest gre at thank you

    1. Someday Texas will see the light Joseph 😂 Calidad is a favorite brand of mine, and I get those if I can’t find Juanita! Good sub! Enjoy the guac!

      1. 5 stars
        Gees you actually sent me a reply , how nice of you , been cooking 74 years started with eggs in cellar kitchen so mom wouldn’t catch me. rural home garden , love cooking eating growing and Prayer . associate of James Beard 1970s. a funny man hated smell of Garlic on his fingers. , live in Texas on river and lake LBJ fishing ,you bet, gardening 240 sq. feet. organic most , rare and not available in stores verieties , love to pickle peppers grow 12 varieties from all over the world sweet milld medium n hot . beans 5 kinds , chard 4 kinds , beets , carrots , garlic , bok Choy , baresee chard kale 3 kinds ,and more, thanks again ” ” ” PeaceBeWithYou “

  3. 5 stars
    Thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU!!! My husband’s FAVORITE food is avocado – Guacamole in particular!
    Unfortunately, he suffers from Gastroparesis and Severe Diverticulitis (both gastric issues) and as such has a list of RESTRICTED foods as long as my arm!!! Two of those restrictions are tomatoes (anything with a skin and/or seeds, really) and onions! I have looked and looked for a Guac recipe WITHOUT those ingredients and until now, had
    failed!!! Now I can make a good, flavorful guac at home, and he gets to enjoy one of his fave foods once again!!!

  4. 5 stars
    I can attest this is delicious. Thanks for posting your recipe/method. It’s definitive. It’s The One Guac to Rule Them All. Thank you. 😬

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