Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Mar 14, 2010 05:19 PM

How would you characterize what a good guacamole is?

Not much experience sampling, and therefore knowing, what a good guacamole is supposed to be like. So I'd like to know what you look for? What should a good guacamole be?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. The best is the one that tastes right to you.

    1. To me the best is very simple. Good avocados, minced garlic and/or onion, cilantro (if you hate it leave it out- no substitutes) some chopped green chile of your preferred type, salt, and lime juice. lemon is a very acceptable substitute but please use a fresh one of whatever you use.

      You didn't ask, but what wrecks guacamole for me is cottage cheese, sour cream, canned/bottled salsa, and several other things but I feel sure that others will pipe in here. My mom made it with bacon once when I was a little kid, and I liked it, but haven't had that since and wouldn't put it into guacamole.

      5 Replies
      1. re: EWSflash

        I used to agree with you about canned/bottled salsa until I learned to use Herdez salsa caserea from a Mexican woman. It seems to take the place of the minced onions and tomatoes. I don't mince garlic, but rub the bowl with it, then sprinkle it with salt, add and mash the ripe buttery avocados, then add lime, chipotle powder, more salt if needed and chopped cilantro, but only if only if other people want it -- I'm cilantro-adverse for what seems to be genetic reasons.

        Mostly, I stand by what many others have said about putting it together the way you like it.

        1. re: chicgail

          One more thing: a good guacamole is not smooth like a puree. It should not be mixed in a blender or even a food processor. A good guacamole has chunks of avocado of different sizes in it that give it toothiness and texture.

          1. re: chicgail

            You are so right on about Herdez. I have been using this canned salsa since the '70s when we would buy it in Mexico by the case and bring it home. It's still a great salsa, but the canned version tastes way better than the bottled version. While traveling through TN last year, we found a Kroger's that was trying to unload their 28 oz cans for $1 each. I bought all 12 they had left.

          2. re: EWSflash

            FYI and completely off this topic: In "The Supper Book", Marion Cunningham has a spectacular bacon avocado salad recipe that is well worth investigating.

            1. re: jmckee

              Isn't that a great book? The recipe for beef and potato salad with dill pickles is also mighty tasty. Love her books.

          3. Quine's answer - how can one argue with that? Maybe I should add my personal preference. Fresh perfectly ripened buttery Haas avocados that have been depitted, the flesh scooped out, mashed with a fork or spoon to where the majority of the flesh is a paste, but with partial bits and chunks still there. Beyond that, it's up to you. A little minced garlic, some salt and even pepper, cilantro, lime juice, dice some chile for heat, dice some white onion and rinse in water/pat dry, and maybe some nice ripe tomato or even a couple spoonfuls of your favorite fresh salsa. I've had it with diced mango, even had some with poached diced shrimp or crab. The avocado is the star though, so just make sure you get some that are as close to perfectly ripe as possible.

            6 Replies
            1. re: bulavinaka

              Thanks for the descriptive thoughts thus far. I guess as a follow up I would ask whether the lime should be pronounced to the point where it has a distinct citrus flavor to it, or whether that's not supposed to be that noticeable, only serving to keep it freshly green in color.

              1. re: stratford

                I like guacamole with the juice of half a lime only. Also, not too much garlic...maybe 1/2 to 1 clove. You want to taste that buttery, ripe, green-tasting avocado interplaying with the salt. A little cilantro, a small amount of white onion and jalapeno, and a small amount of chopped tomato make it perfect. My advice: restraint.

                1. re: ChristinaMason

                  This is closest to how I make it, too. I definitely have to agree that the most critical thing is a really nice, fresh avocado. Chop the onion and tomato (and jalapeno if you use if) very fine. Mmmmm.

                2. re: stratford

                  The lime is not merely to keep the avocado from browning. It's for flavor.

                  1. re: Steve

                    Too right, Steve, The lime/lemon is a definite part of the flavor that comes straight to us from heaven when it's done right.

                    1. re: EWSflash

                      I tried making a guac with lemon one day (when I had neglected to pick up a lime), and didn't like it; the lemon flavor just didn't taste good to me in the mix.

                      YMMV, of course; just pointing out that the flavor is different - they're not interchangeable.

              2. I just got back from L.A. -- boy, they've got great avocadoes all year long. Here in the Northeast they're awful in wintertime.

                An avocado should be lovely, ripe and have flesh with the texture of butter that's been out of the fridge about a half hour. I mash this and add 4 parts avocado to 1 part diced sweet onion and 1 part diced seeded tomato. Although I've nothing against garlic, I don't particularly care for anything but the tiniest whisper of garlic -- or better, none at all -- in guacamole. It just overpowers a delicately-flavored avocado. I use lemon juice (preferably from Meyer lemons) a bit of cilantro and salt and pepper. Lumpy texture is your friend.

                And of course your own tastes will guide you.

                2 Replies
                1. re: shaogo

                  I'm with you, no garlic, ever, it ruins avocados. But I do like to add some finely chopped serrano, maybe one pepper for two smallish avocados.

                  1. re: BobB

                    Third. Garlic has no place in my guac.

                2. Chunky. No garlic or onion. But, yeah, what you like.