Taking Guacamole from Good to Great

Guacamole was the very first thing I learned how to make. I had never cooked before that. You know how some people credit Julia Child for their love of cooking? Guacamole is my own personal Julia Child. I’m glad she can’t read this, because I don’t want anyone to have to see themselves equated with guacamole, let alone the mother of cooking. Anyway, when I was eighteen my aunt showed me how to make her authentic southwestern guac; I’ve been making it ever since.

Originally, it started out with the basics – avocados, salsa, a few basic spices, and lots of jalapeños. Which, don’t get me wrong, is totally delicious as is. But as I started to enjoy cooking other things, I experimented a little more each time. Instead of salsa I used tomatoes, garlic, onions, and cilantro. Then sometimes I’d add chipotle peppers instead of jalapeño peppers. It’s so easy to start experimenting in the kitchen with something like guacamole. Take a look at a few of our simple ideas:


Different Spices

My go to spices are garlic salt and onion powder in a traditional guac, but there are so many different options here, you could have a different bowl of guacamole every day for the rest of your life. Is spicy your thing? Experiment with different curries! Cumin and cayenne are a great combo, too. A personal favorite of mine is also smoked paprika. I wouldn’t necessarily combine it with all of the other ingredients but alone is really an incredible burst of flavor.


Fresh Herbs

Everyone knows that cilantro is a go-to herb for guacamole. But have you ever wondered why so many people have really strong feelings about it one way or another? Cilantro has a genetic component that makes some people super sensitive to it – giving it an almost soapy taste. I try to know my audience before I feed them, or cut it out entirely.

Luckily, there are plenty of herbs you can use instead! Try chives, basil, or even thyme. Chop it up nice and thin; the greens will disappear into your mixture but you’ll definitely taste them!



Cheese is an unreal add-in for guacamole, especially soft cheeses like goat or feta. They match the consistency but add a really unexpected quality. Plus, if we consider all the good fats you’re getting from the avocados, guacamole is a giant bowl of good fats and selections like goat cheese are lower on the caloric side. For even more variety, Cotija cheese is a really great traditional choice, and Smoked Gouda is my all time favorite so shredding a little bit of that will always be my #1 pick.



I mentioned I’ve swapped jalapeños for chipotles in the past. If you love spice – try this. A can comes with a few peppers but one is definitely spicy enough to zest up a mix of three avocados. Also – test the mix before you add another…don’t say we didn’t warn you.

A few just as delicious options: bell, habanero, serrano, poblano, cayenne.



The bacon really speaks for itself. I would add bacon to anything. This one is especially is especially great with cheese; I recommend chunks of smoked blue cheese. Mmmmm.

Learn to cook bacon like a pro!



A really unique and delicious option is to grill everything before you mix it! Even the avocados! Cut them in half – along with your tomatoes, onions, and corn, and put them on the grill for a few minutes. Then chop! Same ingredients and consistency but totally different flavor. It’s a total hit.


A Few of Our Favorites:


Grilled Guacamole



Smokey Guacamole



Spicy Bacon Guacamole

What’s your favorite twist on a guacamole classic? Let us know below, and download Tender Social Food for even more recipes!

Sara Holland

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