Great guacamole comes down to one very simple thing: using great avocados. Before you select your mix-ins, you need high-quality, flavorful avocados as a base. But these finicky fruits aren’t always easy to handle, which is why renowned chef Rick Bayless gave his top tips for picking the best every time.
Good to Know: For three fiesta-worthy guacamole recipes, check out Rick Bayless’ class Essentials of Mexican Cooking.
1. Always Opt for Hass
There are a ton of different avocado varieties, but the most common are Hass avocados. In fact, more than 80 percent of all avocados in the world are Haas. It’s a perfectly-sized fruit that’s packed with flavor, and has an ideal amount of oil content to make it easy to mash into guacamole.
2. Test for Ripeness
An avocado reaches maturity after growing for about year. It’s still hard to touch, but once it’s picked it begins to soften. After 5-7 days, the avocado is usually soft enough to mash into the stuff of guacamole dreams.
To make sure your entire avocado is ready to eat, press on the wider, bulbous end of it. That section ripens last (avocados ripen at the thinner end first), so if it’s slightly soft to the touch there, it’s good to go.
3. Properly Prep
To cut your avocado for guacamole, slice the fruit open vertically, working around the pit. Once the cut goes all the way around, grab each half in one hand, twist and pull the halves apart.
You can either scoop the pit out with a spoon, or use a knife to remove it. Word of advice: don’t dig the pit out with the tip of your knife. (It’s an easy way to slice open your hand.) Instead, hit the pit so the edge of the blade becomes wedged in the center, twist gently to loosen, then lift the pit out.
Once the pit is gone, scoop the green flesh out of the hull with a spoon. Don’t worry about any small blemishes — it’s all getting mashed with other ingredients to create your favorite guac recipe.