Restaurant-Worthy Guacamole Recipe (15 Minutes!)

Inspired by my restaurant days, this easy Fresh Guacamole recipe combines not 1 but 2 ripe avocados with jalapeños, red onion, fresh lime juice, and lots of cilantro. Smashed together in a zip-top bag (or traditional molcajete) with my secret ingredient –Tajín! – the result is a chunky-creamy guacamole dip with bright and spicy flavor. And with all the citrus, this homemade guacamole never browns!

Simple 2-step recipe, ready in 15 minutes or less!

An overhead shot of a small bowl of guacamole surrounded by tortilla chips on a parchment-lined plate atop a blue tiled surface. The plate is surrounded by lime wedges and halves and a small dish of tajin.
Photography by Gayle McLeod

My Restaurant-Inspired Method to Making the BEST Guacamole From Scratch

The most un-glamorous job I ever had was working at a buzzy fusion tapas restaurant the summer before my senior year of college.

Our claim to fame was tableside guacamole, which meant I schlepped a heavy cart around the dining room – at all hours of the night on the hottest days of the year! 🥵 – making fresh guacamole from scratch.

It was the worst job I ever had…but it DID teach me how to make a damn good guac. 💁🏻‍♀️

At the restaurant, we used a molcajete, a large stone bowl (similar to a mortar and pestle) that’s traditional to Mexican guacamole. Its rough surface breaks up the aromatic onions and peppers, releasing their natural juices for an extra flavorful dip.

Seriously, such a guacamole game changer!

Since my college kitchen was too tiny for a molcajete of my own, I figured out how to replicate the effect of smashing the aromatics using a zip-top bag and rolling pin. Not traditional, but works like a charm!

An easy fresh guacamole recipe, complete with restaurant-approved tips and tricks!

I’ve been tweaking and perfecting my homemade guac ever since and this is officially the best guacamole recipe I could ever imagine! It’s creamy and chunky with lots of cilantro, lime juice, and my secret ingredient, Tajín, which adds extra citrusy-tart flavor.

But you can easily adapt this recipe to your preferences. Hate cilantro? Skip it! Not into spice? No big deal! After all, the best guacamole dip is always the one that’s made how you love it most! 🥑💚

Key Ingredients

An overhead shot of ingredients displayed on a wooden cutting board and a blue tiled surface: halved avocados, halved and chopped jalapenos, cilantro, sliced and chopped red onion, salt, spent lime halves. tajin, garlic and garlic powder.
This guacamole recipe uses 2 ripe avocados, tons of fresh aromatics like jalapeños, red onion, lime juice, and cilantro, and my secret ingredient –Tajín!

The best guacamole starts with perfectly ripe Hass avocados. They should be a shiny brownish-green color and give slightly to the pressure of your hand when you gently squeeze. You’ll need 2 large avocados for this recipe.

🥑 Quick Tip! ⇢ Don’t let under-ripe avocados discourage you! I prefer to pick underripe avocados (glossy green and hard to the touch) and let them ripen on my counter. Buy your avocados a few days ahead of time and if they ripen too fast, store them in the fridge until you’re ready to put them to use.

Other key ingredients…

  • Aromatics – The natural juices of smashed red onion, jalapeño pepper, and fresh garlic add tons of flavor to the avocado.
  • Lime juice – Fatty avocados need a generous amount of bright acidity to cut through the richness. My guacamole recipe uses the juice of one whole lime to create a balanced bite.
  • Salt – Just like lime juice, you need a generous amount of salt to season and balance the fattiness of avocados. When people complain that avocados taste bland, it’s likely because they’re not using enough salt!
  • Tajín – My secret ingredient! This chile lime seasoning adds a bold, spicy brightness inspired by my trips to Southern California. As a fun bonus, Tajín also contains citric acid, a natural preservative that helps prevent guacamole from browning.

How to Make Fresh Guacamole with Jalapeño and Cilantro

Inspired by my restaurant days, this easy guacamole recipe starts by literally SMASHING the fresh aromatics to release their juices. This crucial step gives your homemade guacamole so much more flavor than simply stirring all the ingredients together.

At the restaurant, we smashed the aromatics using a traditional molcajete – a huge Mexican mortar and pestle made from stone with a rough, abrasive surface. If you have a molcajete, pull it out! Don’t have one? No worries – that’s exactly why I created a simple workaround using a less traditional zip-top bag.

An overhead shot of a wooden rolling pin rolling over a large zipper bag of jalapenos, red onion and lime juice atop a wood surface.
If you do not have a traditional molcajete, you can recreate it with a zip-top bag and rolling pin.
An overhead shot of chopped jalapenos and red onions in an open plastic bag atop a wood surface.
Add the base aromatics and smash well to release all of their flavorful juices.

Smash the aromatics. Add chopped onion, jalapeño, and garlic to a zip-top bag. Press out any air and seal the bag, then use a rolling pin or heavy-bottomed pan to give it a good whack. Smash until you can see the juices from the aromatics mingle together. Everything should be softened but not so smashed that it’s a paste.

An overhead shot of halved avocados, cilantro, tajin, garlic powder, and salt in a large glass bowl atop a blue tiled surface.
Add the smashed aromatics to a bowl with avocados, cilantro, spices, and lime juice…
A close-up overhead shot of guacamole in a large glass bowl atop a blue tiled surface.
…and mix until combined! Make your guacamole dip as chunky or creamy as you like.

Mix with avocado. Dump the smashed aromatics into a mixing bowl with ripened avocado flesh, lime juice, chopped cilantro, salt, garlic powder, and Tajín. Smash the avocados with a spoon and mix until everything is incorporated.


Taste and adjust! The most important step! The amount of guacamole seasoning you need to use varies based on the size of your avocados – so give it a try and adjust! Need more zing? Add an extra squeeze of lime or a pinch of salt. Want a little more kick? Add an extra sprinkle of Tajín.

A close-up overhead shot of guacamole topped with fresh cilantro leaves and tajin in a black and white speckled stoneware bowl.
Remember, the best guacamole is one that’s suited to your tastes, so tweak ingredients and adjust seasonings as you see fit!

Simple Guacamole Recipe Swaps

IMO, the best guacamole recipe is bright and zesty with a little kick. But if that’s not your thing, that’s ok – I encourage you to make this homemade guacamole your own! A few ideas to get you started…

  • Make it mild. I often leave the jalapeño seeds in my guacamole but you can easily remove them before smashing for a less spicy dip.
  • Love the heat? Swap in a Serrano pepper or two for even more kick.
  • Skip the cilantro. This guacamole recipe uses lots of cilantro because I love its freshness. If it’s not your fave, feel free to skip!
  • No Tajín? No problem. Use another chile lime seasoning or simple red pepper flakes.

3 Tips to Keep Guacamole From Turning Brown

One of the best things about homemade guacamole is its vibrant green color. It’s always the prettiest when made from scratch because pitted avocados naturally brown once exposed to oxygen. This oxidization is super common and totally edible – just a nuisance!

For a beautifully bright green guacamole, keep 3 things in mind:

  1. Add lots of acidity to preserve the green color of the avocado. Fresh lime juice does the trick, but combining it with the citric acid in Tajín really makes a difference!
  2. Skip the make-ahead. Homemade guacamole is always best fresh. If you want to save time, you can prep the base ingredients in your zip-top bag. When you’re ready to wow the crowd, simply assemble on the spot and serve.
  3. Store in an airtight container. Before popping the top on, press a layer of plastic wrap firmly on the surface of the guacamole. It won’t make the guac last forever, but it will help it survive a couple of days in the fridge!
A close-up overhead shot of a small bowl of guacamole surrounded by tortilla chips on a parchment-lined plate atop a blue tiled surface. Two chips sit in the bowl of guacamole.
Top the guacamole with extra cilantro and Tajín, then dig in!

Serving Suggestions

This easy guacamole recipe is bound to become a staple in your house (and don’t be surprised when all your friends start requesting it whenever you see them! 💁🏻‍♀️).

I love serving guacamole dip with fresh tortilla chips dusted with extra Tajín. Top your bowl of homemade guac with extra cilantro or add extra-fancy toppings like queso fresco, pico de gallo, or some hot sauce. And don’t forget icy-cold cervezas or a pitcher of margaritas!

Guacamole is also the perfect condiment for any of your favorite lunches and dinners. Slather some guac on my Best-Ever Grilled Turkey Burgers or add a dollop to a Chicken Fajita Bowl or Crispy Black Bean Tacos.

A macro close-up overhead shot of a tortilla chip topped with guacamole, fresh cilantro and tajin on a blue surface.
Bright, fresh, and flavorful, this guacamole recipe is the absolute best. Enjoy with chips, tacos, nachos, and so much more!

I can’t wait for you to try my Restaurant-Worthy Guacamole Recipe! It hits all the right notes: super creamy, bright, and perfectly spicy, all with a big punch of flavor!

If you do give it a try, be sure to let us know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo and tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. We LOVE seeing your PWWB creations! ♡ Happy smashing!

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An overhead shot of a small bowl of guacamole surrounded by tortilla chips on a parchment-lined plate atop a blue tiled surface. The plate is surrounded by lime wedges and halves and a small dish of tajin.

Restaurant-Worthy Guacamole Recipe (15 Minutes!)

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 3 reviews
  • Author: Jess Larson
  • Prep Time: 15 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 Minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6
  • Category: Appetizer Recipes, Snack Recipes
  • Method: No-Cook
  • Cuisine: Mexican & Tex-Mex
  • Diet: Vegan


The summer before my senior year of college, I worked at a trendy Latin fusion tapas restaurant. Our claim to fame was tableside guacamole, so I spent some of the hottest nights of the year schlepping a heavy cart around the dining room making fresh guacamole from scratch. 

It was the worst job I ever had…but I did learn how to make a damn good guac.

It all starts with one crucial step: smashing fresh aromatics like red onion, jalapeno, and garlic to release all of their flavor. At the restaurant we used a traditional molcajete, but a simple zip-top bag and rolling pin work great too.

From there, mix with 2 ripe avocados, fresh lime juice, lots of cilantro, and my secret ingredient –Tajín! – for a chunky-creamy dip with bright and spicy flavor.

Of course, the best guacamole is one that’s made how you love it most, so feel free to adapt this recipe to suit your tastes. ♡ Happy smashing!


  • 2 large, ripe Hass avocados, halved and de-seeded
  • ¼ medium red onion, finely diced (approx. ¼ cup)
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, de-seeded as desired and finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 large, juicy lime or 1 small lemon, juiced (approx. 3 tablespoons)
  • ⅓ cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • heaping ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • heaping ½ teaspoon chile lime seasoning such as Tajíin
  • for serving, as desired: finely chopped cilantro, tortilla chips, etc.


  1. Smash the aromatics: Add the onion, jalapeno, and garlic to a resealable bag. Season with a pinch of kosher salt. Seal the bag, pressing out as much air as possible so the bag doesn’t pop. Using a rolling pin or heavy-bottomed pan, carefully smash down on the bag to release the natural juices of the vegetables. The aromatics should be juicy and softened, but not smashed into a fine paste. (Alternatively, if you have a large mortar and pestle or traditional molcajete, you can combine all of the ingredients in the bowl and use the handle to press down and smash the aromatics.)An overhead shot of a wooden rolling pin rolling over a large zipper bag of jalapenos, red onion and lime juice atop a wood surface. Red onions, limes, salt and garlic cloves sit alongside it on a blue tiled surface. An overhead shot of chopped jalapenos and red onions in an open plastic bag atop a wood surface.
  2. Mix the guacamole: Use a spoon to scoop the avocado flesh into a large bowl, then add the smashed vegetables from Step 1 and all remaining listed ingredients (lime juice – Tajín). Use a wooden spoon to gently smash the avocados to your desired consistency and stir to combine well. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired – depending on the size of your avocados, you may need a little extra salt or lime juice.An overhead shot of guacamole in a large glass bowl atop a blue tiled surface. Small dishes of salt and tajin sit alongside the bowl.
  3. Serve: Transfer the guacamole to a serving dish. Garnish with additional cilantro and serve immediately with tortilla chips. This guacamole is also a wonderful add-on for any of your favorite tacos, taco salads, burrito bowls, nachos, and more. Enjoy!An overhead shot of a small bowl of guacamole surrounded by tortilla chips on a parchment-lined plate atop a blue tiled surface. The plate is surrounded by lime wedges and halves and a small dish of tajin.


Jess’ Tips and Tricks

  • Spiciness: Depending how spicy you like your guacamole, feel free to remove the stems and seeds from your jalapeño peppers. We like a pretty good kick, so I typically leave them in or deseed one if I am prepping a batch of guacamole for a crowd. If you love a spicy kick of heat, feel free to swap one or both of the jalapeños with a serrano pepper.

Make-Ahead and Storage

  • Avocado browns as a result of oxidation, or coming into contact with air. The best way to store guacamole is in an airtight container with a piece of plastic wrap pressed directly onto the surface of the guacamole – doing so creates a barrier between the avocado and the air. Store in the refrigerator as described and the guacamole will keep for 3-4 days.

Follow along with Plays Well With Butter on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and Pinterest for more unfussy recipes that pack a big punch of flavor!

Hi there, I'm Jess!

If there’s 1 thing to know about me, it’s this: I am head-over-heels in love with food. I’m on a mission to make weeknight cooking flavorful, fast, & fun for other foodies, & PWWB is where I share foolproof recipes that deliver major flavor with minimal effort. Other true loves: pretty shoes, puppies, Grey’s Anatomy, & my cozy kitchen in Minneapolis, MN.


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  1. 5.20.24
    Sarah said:

    I make guacamole often but have never smashed the aromatics and it is a game changer! Absolutely delicious!

    • 5.28.24
      Emma @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Smashing the aromatics is the best guacamole secret! So happy you loved it as much as we do!

  2. 1.13.20
    Eva said:

    Sorry but me and my friends have been leaving pit with guacamole for years and it does work. Will not work for days. But will work for 8-12 hours. Also, a little lemon just helps.

    • 1.13.20
      jess said:

      Sure, though plastic wrap (or beeswax wrap, something that can firmly cover the surface of the guac) will be the best bet for longer-term storage. Thanks for chiming in!

  3. 11.13.19
    Lori said:

    I make a big batch of this guacamole whenever I find avocados on sale. My co-workers get so excited when they see me with my big guacamole bowl.

  4. 4.30.17

    Love the corriander idea, thats new to me forsure! I am absolutely going to try it though, thanks for the tip! Your photos and blog layout are awesome!

  5. 4.28.17
    Cassi said:

    I hadn’t tried onions in mine as I didn’t want it to be chunky. I’ll have to try beating them…although I’m afraid I’d break the rolling pin if I tried lol

  6. 4.27.17
    GiGi Eats said:

    I am in seriously GUAC CRAVING MODE right now! It is SERIOUS. If it doesn’t get fed, my husband MAY be in trouble. LOL!

  7. 4.27.17
    Laury said:

    Gorgeous photos, I cannot wait to try this I am a guacamole fiend!

  8. 4.27.17

    I love guacamole! And this one definitely looks like it’s amazing. Great tips and gorgeous pics!

  9. 4.21.17
    Yenping said:

    This looks delicious!! These are great tips and I will definitely be trying them this weekend!

    • 4.22.17
      jess said:

      yenping, you’re going to love this guacamole!! let me know how it goes!! xx

  10. 4.20.17

    Holy cannoli! Not only does this serve as a tasty snack (or probably dinner in my case) but it is also a great stress relief. I mean. . .I challenge anyone to have a heavy chest after beating the tarnation out of those onions. P.S.. We have one of those type of restaurants one block from my place. I never really felt bad for those lucky/unlucky enough to haul those carts around. . .I was always too much in a trance thinking about that delicious guac I soon would be shoveling into my face. Oooops!!

    • 4.22.17
      jess said:

      haha, riiiiight?!?! not only do you get delicious guac, you get major stress relief!! thanks for dropping in, lynn! xx

  11. 4.19.17

    okay this is genius! I would have never thought of that! I always just mix. I don’t have a rolling pin haha, but I will improvise.

    • 4.22.17
      jess said:

      give it a try kelly, i think it will blow you away! xx

    • 4.28.17
      Cassi said:

      Perhaps a meat tenderizer would work?

  12. 4.19.17

    The rolling pin/ plastic bag is GENIUS! I would have never thought of that… and now all I’m thinking about is how I want to stuff my face with guac.

    • 4.22.17
      jess said:

      ellie, give the trick a try! it’s a total game. changer. you’ll love it! xx

  13. 4.18.17

    This look so good! and so pretty! I absolutely love making fresh guac – there is nothing quite like it 🙂 Def serve with chips, and occasionally I’ll add a little sour cream for some extra creaminess, not sure that’s traditional but still tastes good!

    • 4.22.17
      jess said:

      thanks, georgie!! there is absolutely nothing better than chips & fresh guac!! xx

  14. 4.18.17

    This was SO comprehensive and helpful! I do think your secret step is the difference between restaurant grace guac and the stuff people make at home. I’m excited to give it a try next time.

    • 4.22.17
      jess said:

      it totally is!! give it a try & let me know how it goes!! xx