The Five Best Guacamoles in the United States — Plus Recipes!
(Illustration: Laura Dreyer)
Guacamole needs no introduction: The creamy, buttery avocado-based spread is beloved across the country, whether you eat it by the salted chip, on a taco, or by the spoonful. With summer in high gear, we decided to find the best guacamole recipes worth traveling for — and begged, bargained, and bribed their chefs for the recipes.
Typically flavored with onions, herbs, and chiles, guacamole is versatile. Modern variations see fillers such as blue cheese, baby shrimp, shredded crabmeat, and even chunks of sweet mango, but there’s no denying the perfection of a simple and more traditional recipe.
For that, we turned to chef Roberto Santibañez, author of Truly Mexican, in which he dedicates an entire chapter to this delectable snack, and who serves his classic recipe at New York’s celebrated Mexican restaurant Fonda. He says that making a good guacamole is simple as long as you abide by three basic rules: Use a ripe Hass avocado (banish those watery Florida specimens forever), insist on superfresh ingredients, and season it properly. Plus, it has to be made only a few minutes before serving — a refrigerated guacamole is not a happy one. There’s a reason why guac made tableside is so popular, and it’s not just the kitsch factor.
Once you have those three — OK, four — basics covered, he says to go wild; almost anything can be put in a guacamole. Some of his favorite variations include adding fresh seafood or chicharrones (fried pork skin niblets). The only thing he says not to try at home? Mixing it with granola.
While plenty of restaurants around the country, especially in the South, serve fantastic classical recipes (sombrero tip to Fonda San Miguel in Austin, Texas), we decided to go beyond the basics and uncover unique preparations that manage to make something great even better.
From a sweet pea-filled guacamole in Manhattan to a California-inspired recipe mixed with creamy goat cheese and crunchy pistachios, we’ve rounded up five of the best guacamole recipes around the country.
Guacamole four ways and salsa salsa salsa — plus plenty of chips — at La Condesa in Austin. (Photo: La Condesa)
Also from Austin, this standout recipe by chef Rick Lopez from his modern Mex joint combines spicy and flavorful chipotle peppers, adding a hint of heat and plenty of depth to the dip. To finish it off, he adds smoky roasted almonds for added crunch. Other variations here include pomegranate (with pomegranate molasses and queso fresco) and one with jumbo lump crabmeat (plus apple and coconut vinegar).