Roberto Santibañez' Classic Guacamole

By • July 10, 2012 • 59 Comments

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Author Notes: What Santibañez wants cooks to realize, he told me, is this: "There is a very important textural thing to guacamole -- we never really mush up the avocado. You want to feel everything." He crushes only enough of the avocado to warrant it consideration as a dip rather than a salad, but leaves the rest of the cubes intact, bathing them in the vividly flavored chile sauce, "a bit like salad properly dressed in vinaigrette," he writes. Recipe adapted slightly from Truly Mexican (Wiley, 2011).Genius Recipes

Makes about 1 3/4 cups

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped white onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh serrano or jalapeno chile, including seeds, or more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, divided
  • 1 large or 2 small ripe Mexican Hass avocados, halved and pitted
  • A squeeze of lime, if desired
  1. Mash the onion, chile, salt (the coarseness of kosher salt helps you make the paste), and half of the cilantro to a paste in a molcajete or other mortar. You can also mince and mash the ingredients together on a cutting board with a large knife or a fork, and then transfer the paste to a bowl.
  2. Score the flesh in the avocado halves in a crosshatch pattern (not through the skin) with a knife and then scoop it with a spoon into the mortar or bowl. Toss well (it should be like salad properly dressed in vinaigrette), then add the rest of the cilantro and mash very coarsely with a pestle or a fork. Season to taste with lime juice (if you'd like) and additional chile and salt.
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Comments (59) Questions (1)


22 days ago Chef john

With all due respect to santibañez guacamole with out diced roma tomatoes? World of a difference. Try and enjoy


about 1 month ago mkatieq

This is fantastic. We are the proud owners and growers of an avocado orchard in California, so I substituted the Mexican Haas avocados for our California Haas avocados.


4 months ago whmcdevitt

the best way to keep it from turning brown.... after you finish mixing the guacamole put in a bowl and smooth the top. turn on the water and add a small amount of warm water over the top. cover with wrap on top of the water and place in the frig. when ready to serve mix the water into the guacamole. works like a charm!!!


4 months ago Kate Zaremba Company

I thought this recipe was really lovely! I made this to go on fish tacos. I did not add anything additional to the recipe. For the fish tacos I added small golden grape tomatoes cut into quarters with a dusting of grated white cheddar cheese. The fish was marinated in lime, olive oil and onion before searing and baking in the oven for 15 minutes. The flavors are brilliant and I will definitely make this again.


5 months ago Nanda Devi Van Der Veen

The onions are, next to the avocados of course, my favourite thing in the dish, pretty weird :p I usually just use avocado, onion, chili and lime.


8 months ago Rozza

This is an extremely good, if not excellent recipe. Thank you Roberto


8 months ago steve roth

Another reader is an apparent convert to this atypical use of an avocado and perhaps guacamole. Spread it on 7 grain toast. Eat. Smile.


8 months ago eat-drink-garden

I’ve recently become a convert to a simple guacamole. We simply mash, season slightly and serve. I call mine Naked Guacamole. http://eat-drink-garden...


about 1 year ago Donna Oliphint

Barefoot Contessa has my favorite recipe. It uses lemon juice! Having lived in Houston for 18 years, I considered it anathema, but tried lime juice and found the lemon juice FAR better. Who knew???


about 1 year ago JohnL

I totally understanding having a preference for lemon over lime. I like guacamole made with either, but the best guac I can remember was in Mexico City, and the two ingredients that "made it" for me were lime juice and cilantro, and so I love to use lime juice in guacamole. I think it makes it taste more floral and exotic. I got hooked on lime in the first place when I lived in Bangkok as a child. I don't think they even had lemons! I learned to love lime early in life.


21 days ago TXExpatInBKK

You are totally right JohnL, the Thais only have one word that means both lemon and lime and you will always get a tiny lime, smaller than a ping pong ball. I learned to love it there too.


about 1 year ago Juliebell

Hi tamater. If I have any left over I squeeze a healthy amount of lime juice over and then cover directly with plastic wrap molding to the avocado to try to keep out the air. Works pretty well for a short time. Any brown spots can be scraped off with a spoon.


about 1 year ago tamater sammich

Thanks Roberto, for what looks like a lovely recipe to try when I can get my hands on an avocado. I have a question you might be able to answer: I'm the only one in this house who will eat avocado, (I know, crazy, isn't it?) and though I adore them, if the avocado is big, and I can't eat the whole thing in one sitting, what's the best way to save the uneaten portion from turning brown?


about 1 year ago Connie

Do not remove the pit in the saved portion, wrap and refrigerate.


about 1 month ago Gria Andolina

Simply store it in a jar with part of an onion, I always save the root and top ends when I'm chopping if I know I have to save avocado. works perfectly and gives it a great nuance


about 1 year ago nks

Why cilantro tastes like soap to some people.


about 1 year ago tamater sammich

nks, thanks for that interesting link. I'm one of those who used to hate, but learned to love it. The first few times I had it, many years ago, at a newly opened Portugese tappas place. Each time I encountered it, I had the dish returned to the kitchen, saying it tasted soapy. The staff was very nice (and perplexed) about it, but I finally I stopped going there, thinking "If they can't even keep the soap out of their food…"
Finally, at a Bbq, someone brought a dish with tons cilantro, and there was much conversation about it, and I finally put two and two together.
Sadly, the restaurant had closed by then - too bad, because all the dishes 'with no soap' in them, were fabulous. And finally, I love cilantro!


about 1 year ago grasspress

you want easy but good guac built to your own specs? try this: 3-4 scooped out avocados cut/mashed to your specs. put in bowl and mix with your favourite store-bought salsa mix. voila! try it and see before doubting. add more/less avocados to your taste. don't worry too much about tradition. go for it.


about 1 year ago JohnL

Jarred salsa is a great guacamole shortcut, since many people put tomato in their recipes anyway. Salsa also provides the sour note and the onion, and heat. I still like to add a handful of cilantro though, or to me it's not nearly so good.


about 1 year ago JohnL

This is a good place to bring up a Mexican seasoning that has started showing up on the shelves of my Korean market (with a Latin foods aisle). It's called Tajin, made with mild finely flaked chile and dehydrated lime juice as the only flavors. It is addictive and I have to restrain myself from sprinkling it on everything!


about 1 year ago Blanquita

No Cilantro? first time in my life I've heard cilantros tastes like soap.


about 1 year ago Diana Zee

Just made this recipe and had a quick taste - yum! We shall await comments from others.


about 1 year ago Ilene

Just read the recipe. Yum! Mouth watering.


about 1 year ago Simone Brightstein

while I can tolerate ground cilantro seed, the fresh herb is unpalatable to me and Ivory Soap is a good description:-))


over 1 year ago Maribeth Custenborder

cilantro tastes like ivory soap ugh


over 1 year ago Cindy Dupin

I agree, it tastes like soap to me as well !!! I either omit it completely, or use parsley in place, depending on what I am making... Hate cilantro !!!


over 1 year ago ksb

Guacamole is made by rubbing the bowl with garlic, tossing that aside.
Next, avocados mashed lightly, a squirt of lime and a little salt.
That's it!!
Go to mexico, that's how it's made.


over 1 year ago Abbatoir

No garlic. Thank you! I love garlic. Just not in guac.


21 days ago TXExpatInBKK

I second this sentiment!


over 1 year ago Eileen O'Neil

I keep ripe avocados in my house frequently and use them like butter on toast and sprinkle a little sea salt on top. I use them instead of mayo or other sandwich dressings, too. So perfect! This recipe is excellent.


over 1 year ago Kimberly

I really like this think I'm going to have it today Thanks for sending this to me keep up the good work


over 1 year ago bluelightinamorata

Love this recipe! so glad to see a guacamole recipe without tomatoes. Thanks:)


over 1 year ago SunBunny

My hubby and daughter hate guac and their mexican. Go figure.


over 1 year ago Carol Ann Wilson

What no garlic?


over 1 year ago Rebecca

This is how I have always made it...soooo good.


over 1 year ago When_Do_We_Eat

This is definitely my new "go-to" guac!


almost 2 years ago Chloe8

Easier than I thought! Will try it!!


about 2 years ago walkie74

I love this version--but I may have to find cilantro that's not overly powerful (I'm one of those soap people). Then again, since I 'll probably serve it for a party, I'll probably make half of it my way (lemon pepper seasoning and lime) and the rest the traditional way. Eat on, people!


over 2 years ago LetaBee

Great idea to mash the salt, onion and lime juice together. That 'cooks' that strong bite right out of them.


over 2 years ago wendy hunt

Tried this today and it is tasty, though I had to make it without the cilantro as I didn't have any. Am I the only one surprised to see a guacamole recipe without garlic?


over 2 years ago JulieBee

For years I made guacamole with garlic (per Barefoot Contessa's Volume 1) until one tequila fueled evening at Rosa Mexicana, when a server whipped up the freshest guacamole tableside, and I noticed he added NO garlic, NO chopped tomato and NO lemon. Ina?! Being a little tipsy, I questioned him and he said authentic guac only contains avocado, onion, lime, salt and cilantro. It was the best I'd ever tasted and I've never looked back...fabuloso!


over 2 years ago Juliebell

This is a perfect recipe and great timing for Super Bowl parties. If you are lucky enough to have leftovers for breakfast...toast some good bread, spread with a thin layer of butter and then spread on the guacamole, a sprinkle of salt and pepper and enjoy!


about 1 year ago tamater sammich

Juliebell, can you tell me, isn't the guac that oxidized brown colour the next day? And if not, what do you do to keep it from turning?


over 2 years ago Adelucchi

Excellent!! So easy!
Now my go to guacamole. Thanks!


over 2 years ago AmandaO

I doubled the recipe and three of us nearly ate all of it!
If I have to make it ahead, I nestle the pits in it and it prevents browning.

over 2 years ago SMSF

This is delicious! I made this twice in the past week. Second time, I left out the onion because I don't like it (and that batch was just for me!), and added extra lime juice. The biggish chunks of avocado make this so distinctive. If you're eating this with salty chips, you may want to use little to no salt in the guacamole. As others here have said, this is absolutely a keeper.


almost 3 years ago MaureenOnTheCape

If you double the recipe, it still won't be enough. Consider yourselves warned. :)


almost 3 years ago JulieBee

I made this Saturday night and let me tell you...FABULOUS and so easy. Super authentic tasting and it had a sublime texture. Everyone was raving.
This is a keeper.


almost 3 years ago EPatti

Made this delicious guacamole tonight, exactly according to instructions and it was the best I have ever made. I am currently resisting eating the whole bowl by myself.


almost 3 years ago Tatanka

As a Mexican I must say that adding broccoli or cauliflower to a guacamole is sacrilege. Not adding cilantro is equally bizarre, but if your guests don't like cilantro and say it tastes like soap, I recommend adding cilantro to the main guacamole bowl, and making a cilantro free version on the side. The majority of people will like the cilantro version.


almost 3 years ago arete16

Should the amount of avocado be "1 large OR 2 small" rather than "of"?


almost 3 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Yes, thank you for catching that! I just updated the recipe.


almost 3 years ago carol.penn.romine

This guacamole--classic indeed!--was the centerpiece of our dinner last night. I used the red jalapeño I had on hand, which made it look truly festive. My sole regret was that I had only enough avocados to make a single batch. I can't wait to try it with the addition of broccoli and cauliflower, but even without them, this is some seriously good stuff. No more pulverized guac in this house!




almost 3 years ago marla mazar carr

Don, do you mash up the cauliflower and broccoli or add them at the end?


almost 3 years ago WileyP

Virtually identical to our house guac here at the ranch, and absolutely delicious. Might want to remind the fine folks here that a little lime juice will not only add a level of flavor, but also forestall the browning of the avocado a little. Also, if you absolutely must refrigerate the guac to serve later, be sure to cover it as you would a custard - with plastic wrap pushed down against the surface. That will also forestall the browning. If you do get a little surface browning, simply stir it up and it will be just fine!


almost 2 years ago beejay45

I'd always heard that leaving the pit in the guac until you're ready to serve keeps it from browning. I try not to make it too far ahead, but I've always had success with the pit. ;)

I love quacamole. Why don't I make it more often when it's so easy to do, just like this perfect recipe??? Oh, probably because I can't resist scooping it straight from the shell into my mouth with only a sprinkle of sea salt for seasoning.


almost 3 years ago Don Roszel

I learned how to make good guacamole from my brother, who learned in Mexico. It's very similar to the one printed here, with the following exceptions: no cilantro (some people have a visceral negative reaction to it), add some chopped broccoli and some chopped cauliflower. That's what I said: add some broccoli and some cauliflower. It's a no fail way to astound your guests. Serve it to them and then tell them of those ingredients. They're astounded!


almost 3 years ago cook4fun

wow, this looks/sounds fabulous. . .and with all of the ingredients on hand and even though it is only 9:30 in the morning, I'm about to enter the kitchen and make up a batch... thank you for these great recipes


almost 3 years ago Margret Hefner

A potato masher has always been my favorite tool to get that combination of creamy and chunky that's described here... slightly quicker work than a fork, esp if you are making a larger quantity.