Not Recipes

How to Make Guacamole Without a Recipe

By • January 27, 2014 • 14 Comments

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Here at Food52, we love recipes -- but do we always use them? Of course not. Because once you realize you don't always need a recipe, you'll make your favorite dishes a lot more often

Today: Don't settle for inferior versions -- the guac of your dreams is just around the corner.

Having grown up in Texas, I learned that certain things are truly sacred, and Tex-Mex is definitely one of them. Really good guacamole is creamy, a little spicy, and perfectly seasoned. It's delicious on enchiladas, in fajitas, or all on its own with nothing but a bag of tortilla chips to shuttle vast amounts into your mouth. 

It is easy to make, but for reasons I don't completely understand, many people are intimidated by it, and either settle for inferior guac, or worse, buy those packages of powdered I-don’t-know-what grocery stores sell in the produce section. 

The trick, my friend, is pick up all fresh, quality ingredients and let them shine, melding into the perfect scoopable party food. It’s way healthier and darn tastier, too.

How to Make Guacamole Without a Recipe

1. Roast a jalapeño over an open flame -- a gas stove and a metal kabob skewer are perfect for this. If you are going to use a wood skewer, do soak it first so that it doesn't catch fire. Let the jalapeño cool before handling.


2. Cut up a couple fresh avocados -- 2, 3, 4, depending on how many you’re feeding -- and mush them with a potato masher or fork in a bowl until still creamy but slightly chunky.


3. Add in some diced red onion, diced tomato (optional and best during the summer when in season), the zest and juice of a lime, a couple cloves of minced garlic, and a good bunch of chopped cilantro.


4. Once the jalapeño is cool, deseed it, chop it, and throw that into the guac party.


5. Add a little salt, and give it a taste. Depending on how much heat the jalapeño has, I sometimes add a bit of Greek yogurt to cool it off. 


6. Cover with plastic wrap, lightly pressing the plastic against the dip to keep from browning, and place in the fridge for half an hour to let the flavors get to know each other before serving. It's fine to refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours, but make sure to give everything a good stir if it's been much longer than that to help preserve the color.


7. Unless you like your guac ice-cold, let it sit out for about fifteen minutes before serving.

We're looking for contributors! Email [email protected] and tell us the dish you make in your sleep, without a recipe.

Photos by James Ransom

Tags: how-to & diy, guacamole, dips, party food, snacks, game day, Mexican food, special diets

Comments (14)


about 1 month ago Edgar H

Try adding a dash of chicken bouillon instead of salt. It adds another layer that compliments the freshness of the ingredients.


about 1 month ago Cookie16

Everytime I forget what to include in my guac, I think to the trusty Trader Joe's Guac kit to get me started: Avocado, tomato, lime, jalapeño, shallot, and garlic. Cilantro added if I happen to have it on hand.


3 months ago Caitlin Bellah

No lime? Blasphemy.


3 months ago PWT

See No. 3 in the directions.


3 months ago Yvette Jarvis

Another tip: deseed the tomato and add only the meat. This keeps the guacamole very rich and creamy, the the juices/seeds tend to water down your guacamole. I prefer the richer, creamier version and people who eat mine always comment on how rich it is. That's my secret.


3 months ago Lisa

PWT, your reaction to the cilantro is biologically unique to the tastebuds of a population of people. Not long ago there was an article in the NYT about this very thing.


3 months ago PWT

I saw that article. Supposed to be genetic. My husband and I both hate cilantro and think it tastes like soap and so does our son, however, hubby and I are not genetically related, so I don't know. I did read another article that said people like us are Super-tasters, meaning we can taste even small nuances the majority of the population cannot. Don't know if I agree with that either. All I know is cilantro does taste like soap to my family.


3 months ago PWT

I've made this for many years, however I leave out the cilantro as we think it tastes like soap. I also save a pit from one avocado and put it in the bowl with guac after I am done making it. This keeps the guac from turning brown.


3 months ago Mark Smith

I agree that the simpler the recipe the better and your recipe gets that point across very well. I do love some fresh tomato in my guacamole but refuse to buy greenhouse tomatoes in the winter. I've found that my homemade salsa which includes fire roasted jalapeño, plenty of garlic and cilantro is a reasonable substitute and less expensive alternative during the winter months when avocados are most abundant.


3 months ago monsan

My head blows up a little bit every time I see a "how to make a ?? without a recipe" followed by a multi-step set of instructions . . . that constitute a recipe . . ;.-)


3 months ago westsloper

I have to go with Count Mockula on that. Simpler is better when it comes to guac. Avocado, lime juice, salt for me, and it's good to go...


3 months ago Victoria G

Perfection. I might have to add that roasted jalapeno now.


3 months ago gasgirl

I love the serving bowl..the two tone you have it on Provisions?? thanks!


3 months ago Count Mockula

I love my guacamole, which is SO simple... avocado, garlic, lime juice, and salt. The end. I save the tomato and onion and anything else (cilantro is okay by me) for the other dishes.