How to Make Your Own Restaurant-Quality Fresh Guacamole at Home

Master how to make guacamole step-by-step for a crowd-pleasing (and healthy!) appetizer.

Why reserve guac for restaurant outings only? We're so smitten with all things avocado that we find ourselves making guacamole at home all the time. We bet you'll be hooked too, once you learn how to make homemade guacamole that is rich in heart-healthy fats, endlessly versatile, and an ideal balance of creamy and crunchy, spicy and mild. Our step-by-step guide to how to make guacamole is just the beginning. We're also revealing our Test Kitchen's top tips for how to customize your party dip, the best dunking vessels, plus the ever-important hosting conundrum: how to keep guacamole from turning brown. Let's dive in.

How to Choose the Perfect Avocado to Make Guacamole

Before we explain the process to make guacamole, we can't overlook the most important detail: the avocado.

A ripe avocado has a buttery texture inside and a faintly nutty flavor. When shopping for an avocado, look for one that:

  • Yields to gentle palm pressure but isn't too mushy. (If your market only has firm avocados, ripen a few at home.)
  • Has no blemishes.
  • Feels heavy for its size.
  • Has the stem attached; stem-free fruits are more likely to have brown spots inside.

Test Kitchen Tip: Can you make guacamole with hard avocados? You can, but we recommend waiting until those underripe picks loosen up a bit. Ripen firm avocados in a paper bag for 2 to 4 days. Once ripe, whole avocados can be refrigerated up to 5 days until needed.

Removing pit from avocado
Scott Little

How to Prep an Avocado for Guacamole

Injuries sustained from cutting avocados are remarkably common, so before you start slicing to make guacamole, here's a refresher about how to cut an avocado:

  1. With a large, sharp knife, cut an avocado in half lengthwise.
  2. Twist the two halves in opposite directions to separate.
  3. Remove the pit by placing the avocado half with the pit on a cutting board. Firmly tap the pit with the knife so the knife is wedged into the pit; turn the knife like a key to remove the pit. (Or you can use a spoon to pry out the pit.)

If mashing the avocado, scoop out the flesh with a spoon. If dicing the avocado, use a small knife to make parallel cuts in one direction just through the flesh. Rotate and repeat the cuts to create a diamond pattern. Scoop out the pieces of avocado with a spoon.

If you swear by your freezer stock or have already invested in one of those bags of diced frozen avocado, you might be asking yourself, "Can I make guacamole with frozen avocado?" You bet! Simply thaw the avocado chunks at room temperature for about 1 hour. Since they're already coated in citric acid (which naturally occurs in citrus juice; more on this shortly), the avocado pieces will retain their green color. You might notice a minor difference in texture between fresh and thawed frozen avocado, but after you jazz it up with other mix-ins, there won't be a drastically noticeable contrast between the two.

Pineapple-Black Bean Guacamole
Blaine Moats

How to Make Guacamole

Once you mash or cut up the avocado and prepare the other ingredients, mastering how to make guacamole is a cinch. First, round up the ingredients for your chosen guacamole recipe. This will often include:

  • Fresh ripe avocados, peeled and pitted, then cubed or smashed
  • Diced onion
  • Diced tomato
  • Lime juice
  • Minced garlic
  • Salt

Stir together all ingredients but avocados, adding in mashed or diced avocados last and stirring gently. For a smoother-textured guacamole, use a blender or food processor.

Test Kitchen Tip: Wondering how to make guacamole without making a mess? Place all of the ingredients into a resealable plastic bag. Seal the bag, then squeeze and knead it to mash the ingredients into an almost-smooth consistency. Serve immediately or chill up to 8 hours (after 8 hours it can water out and start to discolor, making it less appetizing). When you're ready to serve the guacamole, cut off a corner of the bag with scissors and squeeze the guacamole into a serving bowl.

Guacamole Ingredient Mix-Ins

Discover how to make spicy guacamole, sweet guacamole, or guacamole any which way. Stir any of the following ingredients into a basic guacamole recipe (or purchased guacamole, if you're crunched for time and want to make it look like you DIY-ed):

  • Spices: Ground cumin, cayenne pepper, Tajín, everything bagel seasoning
  • Sauces: Worcestershire sauce, chili crisp, fish sauce, hot sauce
  • Creamy elements: Sour cream, plain Greek yogurt
  • Fruits: Chopped mango, chopped papaya, chopped pineapple
  • Vegetables: Chopped sweet pepper, finely chopped jalapeño chile pepper, chopped chipotle in adobo, peeled and diced jicama, diced and roasted pumpkin, fresh green peas
  • Proteins: Cooked chorizo, cooked crispy bacon, drained and rinsed canned black beans

Guacamole Toppings

Seal the deal by sprinkling on one or two of these finishing touches:

  • Sauces: Hot sauce, balsamic vinegar
  • Cheeses: Crumbled queso fresco, crumbled feta, crumbled goat cheese, crumbled blue cheese
  • Fruits: Pomegranate seeds, finely diced mango, finely diced pineapple, finely diced papaya
  • Vegetables: Diced tomato, sliced green onions, grilled corn kernels
  • Nuts and seeds: Toasted pumpkin seeds, chopped spiced nuts, toasted corn nuts, sliced almonds
  • Herbs: Snipped fresh cilantro

How to Serve Guacamole

Now that you're a pro about how to make fresh guacamole, let's dig into how to put it to delicious use!

Scoop with:

  • Tortilla chips
  • Pita Chips
  • Carrot sticks
  • Celery sticks
  • Jicama slices
  • Blanched asparagus spears
  • Sliced sweet peppers
  • Halved radishes

Or serve as part of:

How to Keep Guacamole from Turning Brown

Homemade guacamole turns brown when an enzyme in the fresh avocado flesh reacts with the oxygen in the air, triggering oxidation. To slow the browning process:

  • Add acid. Citrus juice can help discourage oxidation.
  • Aim for airtight. Store fresh guac in a small container, press a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the surface to act as a barrier to air, then pop on the lid.
  • Keep the pit. To keep guacamole fresh for a few extra hours, don't discard the pit after slicing the fruit. This is one of our main solutions for how to keep guacamole from turning brown between party prep and the actual event; simply pop the pit in the bowl of guacamole until you're just ready to serve. To store longer, layer on the plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours, depending on the recipe.

If the surface of the guacamole starts to discolor, simply scrape off the discolored portion. The guacamole should still be perfectly safe to eat.

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