The Controversial Ingredient Your Guacamole Has Been Missing

According to a 'Queer Eye' Season 4 star.

July 23, 2019
Photo by James Ransom

It’s summer, which means it’s high time for guacamole, right? Heat plus being outside plus tangy avocado-based dips seem to be a good match. In my book, that’s an unbeatable trio. We’ve touted guacamole (particularly this one as one of your barbecue’s inalienable companions.

And yet, it seems guacamole has been hiding a secret. It seems our expectations are about to be upended, overturned, put down, flipped, and reversed á la Missy Elliot. Because there’s one element of a standout guacamole I—and apparently a whole bunch of us—have been neglecting to include: sour cream.

You may be asking why? Why now? Why this realization? Why mess with a good thing? To which I’d say: Okay, yes, I agree. The almost supernatural combination of buttery avocado and salt and the brightness of lime is one that begs very little tampering. But also, experimentation and innovation are important cultural touchstones. Take, for example, Frankenstein and his monster, the chocolate chip cookie, the lunar landing. All of these were born from a desire—accidental or not—to push the limits of human knowledge.

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Like in the latest season of Queer Eye, which was released on Netflix last Friday, the crew drives down to Kansas City in Episode 6 to meet Deanna, a Chicana woman who runs a Latino Arts festival. Upon crashing a dinner party (were they even invited??), each member of the Fab Five starts drilling into the area of the house that corresponds to their respective spheres of influence (JVN goes to the bathroom, Tan to the closet ... You get the drill).

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Top Comment:
“It's more guacamole-ish than for-real, but it makes a single avocado go a long way, and, yes, it doesn't go brown. (Guacamole with Cottage Cheese, from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites)”
— emmy J.

Antoni Porowski, of course, heads to the kitchen where he starts talking to Deanna’s relatives about some of the dishes they’ve laid out on the counter. He points to chiles rellenos and homemade tortillas and a bowl of guacamole. Lime juice, he offers, helps to keep the avocados in his guacamole from browning. It’s then that Martha, Deanna’s friend, counters that sour cream actually works better.

Deanna and Antoni on 'Queer Eye' (Season 4, Episode 6). Photo by Netflix

He practically cheers in response.

It’s not the first time that Antoni has entered the put-cream-in-your-guacamole wrestling ring. During the show’s early days, he came under fire for suggesting a swirl of Greek yogurt in guacamole would lend the dip some tang and extra smoothness. Martha goes one step further, claiming that the added sour cream also helps to keep the spread greener for longer.

Could this be the case? Apparently, Martha Stewart’s done it. Meanwhile, this Medium article recommends sour cream, Mexican crema, or even cream cheese as ingredients that can help prevent guacamole from oxidizing and turning brown, in addition to adding some much welcome creaminess. Some other recipes differentiate between guacamole and guacamole cream, as if the addition of sour cream changes the label of the final product.

So where do we stand? Guacamole, like so many dishes, is one that benefits from a million iterations, each one special to its maker. There’s something to be said for maintaining tradition, especially in the face of change. But what if tradition for you means a revelation for another?

Do you add sour cream to your guacamole at home? Let us know in the comments below.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Charles Hunter III
    Charles Hunter III
  • zaqary
  • Susan Bompadre
    Susan Bompadre
  • Earlene Millier
    Earlene Millier
  • MBE
Valerio is a freelance food writer, editor, researcher and cook. He grew up in his parent's Italian restaurants covered in pizza flour and drinking a Shirley Temple a day. Since, he's worked as a cheesemonger in New York City and a paella instructor in Barcelona. He now lives in Berlin, Germany where he's most likely to be found eating shawarma.


Charles H. August 9, 2019
This isn’t anything new. From adding yogurt, sour cream, or mayo. I’ve seen all the tricks for so-called preservation or achieving a creamier product when it comes to guac. I say, do what you love. And if you don’t have the aforementioned additives, a nice piece of plastic wrap/parchment pressed against the top of the guac has never let me down.
zaqary July 28, 2019
I’ve been adding sour cream or buttermilk for at least 25 years. I’m interested in the others use of mayo, I imagine it’d be similar, or like adding olive oil. I’ve done that and it adds a little something nice too.
Susan B. July 27, 2019
mayo or sour cream. Been doing this forever behind my guests backs! Texture and flavor both improved.
Kimberly R. July 29, 2019
That's definitely a great approach for people with potential allergies and food restrictions.
Earlene M. July 27, 2019
Mayo. Maybe a tablespoon per 2 large avocados. It rounds out the fat and makes it taste and "feel" better. But I'm going to try the sour cream next time.
MBE July 27, 2019
I almost always add a bit of good mayonnaise! Likely more controversial than sour cream but we love it!
emmy J. July 24, 2019
My go-to recipe for guacamole for a crowd calls for low-fat cottage cheese. It's more guacamole-ish than for-real, but it makes a single avocado go a long way, and, yes, it doesn't go brown. (Guacamole with Cottage Cheese, from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites)
MLHE July 28, 2019
Yes to cottage cheese! My grandmother did this for me and my 10 cousins for family gatherings back in the 1960s and it really stretched the guacamole enjoyment for all. She also added fresh chunks of tomatoes, green onions, maybe some chopped jalapenos, and oh...we used to eat that great guacamole with Fritos and drink Cokes...the good old days of summer. Thank you!
Rachel P. July 24, 2019
I had no idea this was controversial - I do it in my cookbook, but I can attest to how delicious it is!