Simply perfect guacamole

To borrow a different phrase, guacamole is like opinions: everybody’s got one. And variations are awesome. But first you have to start with the perfect base, and sometimes the perfect base is also the perfect finished dish. But what makes the perfect base for guacamole? It starts with selection and technique.

Selecting the right avocados is key; you can adjust all the other ingredients to taste, but if you don’t pick your avocados well, there’s nothing you can do to salvage the dish. Check out our article on selecting avocados.

Technique is also important. Guac should be soft yet chunky, not the runny stuff you find in a supermarket. If your avocados are just right, you can mash them gently with a fork. To make quick work of a large quantity of avos, if you have a pastry cutter on hand, that’s a great tool.

The other thing is ratios: avocados, onions, and tomatoes all vary widely in size. Generally I think 6 large avos, two medium hothouse-style tomatoes, and one medium onion is a good ratio. Start adding onion and tomatoes a little at a time until you have the mix you like. Add your own tastes like jalapeños and cilantro to taste, but be mindful of other guests’ tolerance for great and keep in mind that for some people cilantro tastes like soap.

Finally, one last trick: save the avo pits and put a few of them in the guac to help keep it fresh until serving.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
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Serves 20 people


  • 1 large white onion
  • 6 extra large ripe avocados see link in the text for tips on choosing avocados
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 cup lime juice


  • Chop onion into small dice (about 1/8") and place in a large mixing bowl.
  • Slice avocados in half and remove the pits, saving the pits for later.
  • Hold one of the avocado halves in your non-knife hand, cupping the skin against your palm. With a paring or chef's knife, score each avocado half by making four or five evenly spaced cuts through the flesh down to the skin but not piercing the avocado skin (or yours). Rotate the avocado 90 degrees in your hand and make four or five more slices so that the avocado is scored in a crosshatch pattern. Repeat for the other halves.
  • Using a large soup spoon, scoop the flesh of each half into the mixing bowl containing the onion.
  • Using a fork or pastry cutter, mash the avocados together with the onion just until there are no large chunks of avocado left.
  • Chop tomatoes into 1/4 dice and add to the mixing bowl.
  • Add half of the sea salt and half of the lime juice and mix thoroughly. Add additional salt and/or lime juice to taste.
  • When the guacamole is to your liking, place in an airtight container with the pits and refrigerate until it's time to leave for the party. You can make this a day ahead and just give a quick stir before the party to restore the bright green color.

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