As long as you have ripe avocados at hand, guacamole is one of the easiest appetizers possible: scoop out the avocado and mash it up with salt and lime or lemon juice. You can dress up that basic combination until the cows come home, but that trio is the backbone of every guacamole recipe, no matter how simple or how fancy. Find a guac recipe to suit your taste below.
Note: Hold an avocado in your hand and squeeze very gently. If it's ripe, you'll feel a bit of give. Rock hard? Simply leave it out on the counter. Avocados will continue to ripen at room temperature. Speed up the process by putting them in a paper bag. Avocados ready but you aren't? Pop them in the fridge to keep them for a day or two.
01 of 04
This is the easiest and most basic guacamole: avocado, salt, lime. If you have great avocados, the kind that is so flavorful and smooth that you'd like to eat them with a spoon, this is the guacamole to make since its flavor all hinges on the quality of the avocados.
02 of 04
This is the classic guacamole—complete with tomatoes and onions and perhaps a bit of garlic—that most Americans think of when they think of "guacamole." Here we've garnished it with some extra chopped tomato.
03 of 04
Roasted Chile Cilantro Guacamole
Roasted green chiles and fresh and grassy cilantro and plenty of lime juice give this guac a ton of flavor beyond the simple avocados at its heart. We particularly like this roasted chile cilantro guacamole on things, like these turkey tacos rather than as a dip.
04 of 04
Keep Guacamole Green
There are plenty of tricks out there to keep guacamole green. Leaving an avocado pit in the guac is a particularly popular one. We've found that having some lime or lemon juice in the guacamole helps keep it green, but since it's the interaction of the cut avocado with air that turns it brown, minimizing that contact is your best bet to keeping guacamole green. We lay a piece of plastic wrap or waxed paper directly on the surface of the guacamole to great effect.