By Elke Probkevitz

One of the most popular condiments consumed around the globe, guacamole is a creamy, rich dip made primarily of avocados with spices and other additions such as onions, chili peppers, tomatoes, and cilantro. Depending on local practices, there are different versions of this delicious avocado mixture. It can be made chunky, creamy, spicy, or straight up and simple. Whatever your pleasure, here are some guacamole secrets to making it just right.

Ingredients. Traditionally, Mexican guacamole consists of avocado, onion, chiles, tomatoes, and salt. While there are other variations, these are the basic ingredients.

Avocados. The main ingredient in any guacamole is the avocados. Haas avocados are the avocado of choice because they are available all year long and have a creamy consistency. Make sure the avocado is firm but not too hard. It should give a little when you squeeze it gently, but make sure it is not dented or bruised or it will be brown inside.

Chiles. Serrano and jalapeño chiles are used in guacamole. Chop the chile finely and add a little at a time until you get the desired degree of heat. Remove veins and seeds for even less heat.

Onions. White onions are used because they give a sharp bite without any sweetness. Red/purple and yellow onions give more of a sweet crunch but can be used if you prefer.

Tomatoes. A ripe, firm tomato should be used to keep the consistency when mixed in. When tomatoes are not in season, plum or Italian tomatoes will be the best choice.

Cilantro. The leaves of a coriander plant, cilantro adds freshness to the mixture.

Variations. Guacamole varies with individual taste. Smash your avocados and add lemon and salt for a simple guacamole. Chop up the avocados in chunks and mix gently with fresh corn and cherry tomatoes. Add sour cream or mayonnaise to make a creamy dip. Lemon juice adds freshness and keeps the avocado from browning. Garlic adds an extra zing. Make a fruity version of guacamole by adding diced pears and grapes or pomegranate seeds and diced mango to avocado.

Uses. The most popular use of guacamole is a dip for chips, nachos, or crudités. It can also be a topper for burgers and a condiment for grilled cheese and other sandwiches, chicken, or steak. Top a salad of fresh-cut veggies with guacamole to skip on the carbs and dressings. v

Spicy Guacamole

Serves 8


6 large ripe avocados, halved and pitted

12 tsp. lemon or lime juice

3 cups fresh cilantro, chopped

1½ cups red onion, finely chopped

12 large serrano chilies, seeded and finely chopped

1½ tsp. salt


Scoop out avocado flesh into a bowl. Pour lemon or lime juice over. Using a fork or potato masher, mash avocados well. Add cilantro, red onions, chiles, and salt. Stir to combine.

Roasted Garlic Guacamole

Serves 8


8 medium ripe avocados, halved and pitted

½ cup freshly squeezed lime juice

â…” cup freshly chopped cilantro

2 medium shallots, minced

6 roasted garlic cloves (roasted in foil with oil and salt for 30 minutes at 350°)

2 small jalapeño chiles, seeded and minced

1—2 tsp. salt, to taste


Scoop out avocado flesh into a bowl. Pour lime juice over. Using a fork or potato masher, mash lightly so that mixture is still a little chunky. Add cilantro, shallots, garlic, jalapeño, and salt. Serve with tortilla chips.

Either recipe can be made ahead and covered tightly with plastic wrap. Keep refrigerated for up to eight hours. Serve at room temperature.

Want to learn how to cook delicious gourmet meals right in your own kitchen? Take one-on-one cooking lessons or give a gift to an aspiring cook that you know. For more information, contact Take Home Chef personal chef services by calling 516-508-3663, writing to, or visiting

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