Roberto Santibañez' Classic Guacamole

July 10, 2012

Test Kitchen-Approved

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
Prep time: 15 min


  • 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 (or to taste)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, divided
  • 1 large or 2 small ripe Mexican Hass avocados, halved and pitted
  • A squeeze of lime, if desired
In This Recipe


  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.

More Great Recipes:
Guacamole|Mexican|Avocado|Cilantro|Fruit|Serves a Crowd|Father's Day|Fall|Fourth of July|Memorial Day|Spring|Summer

Reviews (66) Questions (1)

66 Reviews

Jade D. May 2, 2018
This is my go to recipe, although I’ve been making it this way for years. It is simple and perfect!
Kimber February 4, 2018
The best quacamole hands down.
Allison M. July 4, 2016
Far too much Kosher salt but otherwise very good.
Smaug October 16, 2015
I somehow got started making guacamole with a balloon whisk; it works surprisingly well, and gives a lot of control over the final texture. Wouldn't worry too much about authenticity; there are nearly as many authentic guacamole recipes as there are guacas.
Max M. June 9, 2015
Does anyone here actually try recipes as written, or just write about how theirs differs? I like to try it exactly as posted, then modify as needed. Try this recipe, and you will see that it is a total salt bomb. 1/2t kosher salt on a single avocado, or 2 small ones? Totally inedible, threw it out. <br />Cut the salt at least by half, and it's real good.
mkatieq June 9, 2015
Hey, Max. <br /><br />I never really pay attention when a recipe calls for salt, I always add salt to taste. Apart from the salt, I make guacamole using this method and it's great. You're right though, for me 1/2 tsp of kosher salt would be way too much.
Sara K. July 18, 2018
What brand of kosher salt are you using? Morton's is twice as salty as Diamond. The brand really makes a difference, and most test kitchens use Diamond. Recipes should really specify this.
Chef J. April 12, 2015
With all due respect to santibañez guacamole with out diced roma tomatoes? World of a difference. Try and enjoy
mkatieq March 18, 2015
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.
whmcdevitt January 17, 2015
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!!!
Smaug October 16, 2015
You don't really need the water, just cover with plastic, making sure you don't leave any air between the plastic and the guacamole.
Kate Z. January 8, 2015
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.
Nanda D. December 9, 2014
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.
Rozza September 4, 2014
This is an extremely good, if not excellent recipe. Thank you Roberto
steve R. August 27, 2014
Another reader is an apparent convert to this atypical use of an avocado and perhaps guacamole. Spread it on 7 grain toast. Eat. Smile.
eat-drink-garden August 27, 2014
I’ve recently become a convert to a simple guacamole. We simply mash, season slightly and serve. I call mine Naked Guacamole.
Donna O. April 5, 2014
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???
JohnL April 27, 2014
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.
TXExpatInBKK April 13, 2015
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.
Juliebell March 30, 2014
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.
tamater S. March 30, 2014
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?
Connie April 27, 2014
Do not remove the pit in the saved portion, wrap and refrigerate.
Gria A. March 16, 2015
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
nks March 28, 2014
Why cilantro tastes like soap to some people.<br />
tamater S. March 30, 2014
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…"<br />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. <br />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!
grasspress March 16, 2014
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.
JohnL April 27, 2014
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.
JohnL April 27, 2014
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!
Blanquita March 13, 2014
No Cilantro? first time in my life I've heard cilantros tastes like soap.
Diana Z. March 11, 2014
Just made this recipe and had a quick taste - yum! We shall await comments from others.