The secret to the BEST guacamole is to start with an onion, coriander/cilantro, chilli paste. It’s how it’s made in Mexico, the traditional way.
First timers can never pick why this guacamole recipe tastes so good. They just know it’s way better than the usual!
A really great Guacamole recipe
Anyone who has visited Mexico or been to an authentic Mexican restaurant will agree that there is guacamole…then there are really great guacamoles.
For most of my life, I was making it like much of the world: mashing up avocado, stirring through jalapeño, coriander/cilantro, lime juice and salt. Throw in some diced tomato if I felt like it and sometimes even some sour cream.
But after visiting Mexico, watching it actually be made, I discovered the secret to a truly great traditional guacamole:
Start by making a paste with garlic, onion and jalapeño or Serrano chilli.
It won’t taste oniony, it just gives it an extra flavour edge that mixes all the way through the guacamole.
No mortar and pestle? No worries – just use a fork!
How to make a traditional guacamole
It starts with a paste made with onion, coriander, jalapeño or serrano chillies and salt. Grind it up in a mortar and pestle (in Mexico, it is called a molcajete) or on a cutting board using a fork. And this simple paste is the foundation of a guacamole that will have your friends begging you for the recipe.
After that, it’s as simple as mashing in the avocado and stirring in lime juice to taste!
What goes in Guacamole
Here’s all you need: ripe avocados, coriander/cilantro, red onions, jalapeño or Serrano chilli, lime and salt. Popular optional extras include: garlic, tomato, cumin powder.
There are plenty of flavour variation options – . Don’t let anyone tell you what you should or shouldn’t put in your guac – make it the way you want! Here are some suggestions:
- Garlic – add a small clove when mashing the onion;
- Cumin – add a small pinch or two, just a hint of extra flavour;
- Tomato – stir through diced tomato and stir through. (To chop the tomato, halve and remove watery centre then chop, see my Bruschetta video if you want a quick tutorial)
- Coriander / cilantro substitute – use chives instead! It’s terrific!
- Avocado Hummus – For all those times when you can’t decide whether to make hummus or guacamole, OR when avocado is extortionately expensive!!
- Chunky or smooth – I like mine on the chunky side usually but it depends on who I’m serving. To be honest, smoother looks better when serving at a gathering. But for day to day purposes, I make it lumpier In Mexico, it’s served on the chunkier side.
- Sour cream and cream cheese – these are a no go zone for me because they dilute the flavour of the avocado. I’d rather make Avocado Hummus! But if it’s what you like, feel free to stir it in!
Guacamole is definitely one of those recipes that you should make your own so don’t let anyone tell you what you should or should not do when making your Guacamole. The only thing I hope you do try is the onion mashing technique because I promise it adds an extra element of “wow” to your guacamole! It won’t taste oniony and no one can ever put their finger on why it taste so good, they just know it does! – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
Guacamole recipe video:
Recipe video above. A really great Guacamole, the way it’s made in Mexico and in the best Mexican restaurants around the world! The secret step that makes this so special is making a paste with onion, chilli, coriander/cilantro and salt before adding the avocado.
- 2 tbsp finely chopped white onion ((or red, brown or yellow))
- 1 tbsp finely chopped jalapeno or serrano chilli ((or other chilli of choice) (adjust to taste))
- 1/2 tsp salt (, plus more to taste)
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped coriander/cilantro leaves
- 2 medium avocados (or 1 very large one) ((Note 1))
- Lime juice (, to taste (I use 1/4 – 1/2 lime))
- Optional: 1-2 ripe tomatoes (, peeled, deseeded and chopped)
Place the onion, jalapeño, salt and half the coriander on a cutting board and use a fork to mash until juicy. OR do this in a mortar and pestle – grind into a paste.
Scrape into a bowl, add avocado and remaining coriander, and mash to desired consistency.
- Do a taste test then adjust to your taste: salt, lime juice for sour, more chilli for spiciness.
- If using tomatoes, stir through.
- Serve with corn chips!
1. Avocado must be super ripe!
2. STORAGE: Guacamole is one of those things best made fresh. But I picked up the most AMAZING TIP EVER from this Make Ahead Guacamole from my friend Claire over at Sprinkles and Sprouts. Put in an airtight container, smooth top and cover with thin layer of water OR olive oil. Avo is so dense, the water doesn’t get absorbed at all. Your dip will stay beautifully green for 2 whole days!!!
PREPARING AHEAD: What I do is make batches of the paste and have the coriander and lime chopped and ready to go. Then just before serving, I cut the avocados and make the guacamole – it’s very quick and there are always people willing to pitch in!
3. Coriander/cilantro: In the video, I ground up all the coriander into the paste rather than stirring half in later. It doesn’t make a huge difference to flavour, it’s up to you which way you prefer.
4. Source: Recipe originally adapted from a recipe by Thomasina Miers but since updated to a recipe from a cookbook I purchased in Oaxaca, Mexico, called “Truly Mexican” by Roberto Santibanez. My current bible for Mexican cooking. Both use the same technique of an onion paste, but called for slightly different quantities and I prefer the Truly Mexican version.
5. Nutrition per servings.
Recipe originally published 2014, updated December 2016 and 2019.
Life of Dozer
Trying to get him into the spirit of New Years’ Eve! (Err….and yes, if you are looking closely you might notice the sparkly confetti is actually in the shape of Christmas trees. It’s all I have!)
Oi! Dozer! Where’s your party spirit??!!!