How To Make The Perfect Guacamole

Stop Ruining Your Guacamole: Recipe Dos and Don'ts

Not surprisingly guacamole has become a favorite dip in America, especially around game time. It's rich, creamy, fresh, tangy and so flavorful -- it always hits the spot and makes an ideal appetizer. The authentic Mexican dish is no longer just relegated to Mexican restaurants and fast food taco places. It's now easy to find prepared guacamole in the supermarket. Guacamole isn't a new invention, though -- it actually dates back to the 16th century and was invented by Aztecs. The Aztec name guacamole translates to avocado sauce (mole means sauce), and in case you were wondering, it's pronounced wakamole in Spanish.

Making guacamole is easy once you've got the recipe down -- basically it's a simple combination of ingredients. But oftentimes people find themselves with a guacamole that turns out too watery, too tart, too oniony, or bland. We're here to show you what you can do to fix a bad guacamole and how to make the perfect version.

Start With Ripe Avocados
Whether you like your guacamole mashed, chunky or in between, the key is using firm but ripe avocados. (To check an avocado for ripeness, press the stem end -- it should give a little but not be mushy.) Hass avocados, the small, dark-green-almost-black ones with bumpy skin, are the best for guacamole. Their flesh is the right consistency for creating a creamy or chunky versions. Other avocados, like the large bright green Florida avocados, are just too watery for the recipe. These avocados are better for eating as is or in salads, but not for guacamole.

For more on avocados, see How to Keep Avocados from Turning Brown.

The Ratio Of Ingredients
Making the perfect guacamole is all about balance -- a ratio of ingredients. You can mash up some avocados with salt and call it guacamole but most recipes include tomato, onion, hot pepper, cilantro, lemon or lime juice and sometimes garlic. Typically the recipe is 3 to 4 avocados, 1 to 2 tomatoes, 1/2 onion, 1 to 2 hot peppers, 3 to 4 tablespoons chopped cilantro, 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice, 1 garlic clove (optional), and salt and pepper to taste.

Fixing A Watery or Tart Guacamole
Adding too much lemon or lime juice can cause a very watery guacamole. That's because salt and citrus juice work in conjunction -- they draw out extra moisture from the avocado. When making guacamole, add the citrus juice a tablespoon at a time, tasting in between each addition to get the right amount of tartness.

Adding very ripe and juicy tomatoes can also cause a watery guacamole. When chopping tomatoes, be sure to remove the seeds and the membrane. Try to hold back as much of the tomato liquid by draining the chopped tomatoes before adding them to the recipe.

If you're trying to fix an already watery guacamole, add half of a mashed avocado. That should help absorb some of the extra liquid. And if it's too tart, add a pinch of sugar.

What Kind Of Onion To Use
You'll find that everyone has their preferred recipe for guacamole. Just as some people insist on lemon juice over lime or vice-versa, many people will insist on a specific type of onion. Red onions, yellow onions or sweet white onions will all give you a different result. Red and yellow onions oftentimes have the strongest flavor. Traditionally guacamole is made with sweet white onion -- it really does offer the best results in flavor.

If you only have red or yellow onions on hand, it's a good idea to rinse the chopped onion under hot water to get rid of any bite before adding it to the recipe (make sure to drain well).

To fix a guacamole that's too oniony, try adding a little more avocado or tomato.

Fixing A Bland Or Salty Guacamole
Keep in mind that most tortilla chips are very salty. When making guacamole it's better to slightly undersalt than to oversalt. If you find your guacamole is bland, test it with a chip to see if it tastes ok -- it might be perfect as it is.

To fix a salty guacamole, try to lessen the taste by either adding half a mashed avocado, more tomato, onion or citrus juice.

Mild, Medium Or Hot
Pick the chile pepper that's right for you. A jalapeno will have less kick than a serrano. And if you remove the seeds it will be even milder. Experiment by adding a little at a time. It's a good idea to start off with one pepper that's been seeded. Then decide whether you should add a second pepper or not. It's also a good idea to leave the peppers out and let everyone garnish their own serving of guacamole with as much chopped peppers as they wish.

Mashed Or Chunky
This is completely up to personal preference -- it's also a hotly contested subject. You can't make everyone happy, so try making a guacamole that's slightly in between the two -- you can't go wrong.

To learn more about avocados and get official recipes for guacamole, check out the California Avocado Commission and the Hass Avocado Board.

How do you make your guacamole? Do you like it mashed or chunky? Leave a comment below.

As always, this article has not been sponsored by any company or organization.

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