13 Ways Celebrity Chefs Amp Up Their Guacamole

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Guacamole is a Mexican classic that tastes good on anything from a BLT to chicken flautas. However, the creamy mixture of avocados, onions, and tomatoes has evolved considerably over the course of the last centuries. Way before the 1500s, the Aztecs made "ahuacamolli," which was a delicious spread made of nothing but fresh, ripe avocados. Over the years, this recipe changed, as garlic and Persian limes arrived in Mexico via the Columbian Exchange. Individual home chefs have also added their unique twists to the recipe, adding in crunchy radishes or even fatty sour cream.

Modern celebrity chefs have also been keen to make their mark on one of Mexico's most iconic culinary gifts to the world. From Marcela Valladolid's sweet guac with mangoes to Ayesha Curry's salty recipe using Danish cheese, these television personalities have contributed to new and exciting versions of guacamole. The best part is that each chef has a unique method for transforming this delicious sauce, giving you fun ways to change up your dinner routine.

1. Jamie Oliver: Prepare your avocados properly

Before you even start making your guacamole, you might want to consider Jamie Oliver's tips for properly preparing your avocados. The British celebrity chef has some preparation tips that won't just maximize the amount of flesh that you'll be able to collect from each piece of fruit but will also help you minimize your chances of injury. As Oliver shared in a video on the Jamie Oliver YouTube channel, "Did you know the biggest and most common reason for a cut across the palm is avocados? So, you might as well know how to do it properly, safely, and quickly."

According to Oliver, the best way to start out is by grabbing a sharp knife and carefully cutting straight down the middle of the avocado until it touches the seed. At this point, you should gently "rock" the avocado around, allowing your knife to cut a circle around the edge of the fruit. Here, the TV chef warns to "never apply too much pressure," as this mistake can lead you to cut one of your fingers. Once the circle is complete, however, all you have to do to access the flesh is pull the two halves of the avocado apart. Rather than using your hands to tear the black skin off of the fruit bit-by-bit, Oliver recommends simply scooping the flesh out with a spoon. In the words of the celebrity chef, this strategy will leave your empty avocado shells "completely clean."

2. Marcela Valladolid: Use mangoes to make your guac sweet

If you enjoy playing with sweet and salty flavors, you might consider taking a page out of Marcela Valladolid's book. The star of "Mexican Made Easy" suggests bringing some fruity freshness to your guacamole by stirring in mango bits — and in generous quantities. In an interview with People, Valladolid shared that she shoots for a ratio of two cups of chopped mangos to five avocados. Here, the rich caramel taste of your mangoes adds a huge boost of sweetness to the otherwise grassy flavor of your avocados. The fruit's tropical notes will also transform your guac into the perfect summer side. 

As for the texture, your mangoes will interrupt the monotonous creaminess of your guacamole, giving your guests small bursts of fruity flavors. Since mango flesh is particularly succulent, this ingredient will add some juiciness to every bite.

To amp up the complexity of your guac even more, Valladolid says that you can drizzle chili oil over the top. This spicy ingredient can really bring the heat, providing some contrast with the quasi-citric freshness of your mangoes. To get the best results, you can opt for Chile Crunch oils. Because they smell like caramelized onions, these oils will pair well with the silky sweetness of your guac. They also contribute a smokey flavor that combines perfectly with a Mexican dinner.

3. Judy Joo: Serve your guacamole fresh

When it comes to whipping up a batch of guacamole, Judy Joo likes to keep things simple. The cookbook author doesn't include any unusual ingredients in her recipe. As the chef told Delish, she reaches for the typical culprits of avocados, tomatoes, onions, and garlic. However, Joo does have one key piece of advice for serving a fantastic bowl of guac — try to serve it fresh. This will ensure that your main ingredient maintains its buttery flavor, attractive color, and silky smooth texture. It will also prevent some of the bitterness that can permeate avocado flesh once it's exposed to the air.

Although serving your guacamole right after making it is the best way to preserve its flavor, Joo understands that not all home cooks have time to make their guac on the spot. If you do have to prepare this side a few hours before serving, Joo recommends storing your creation beneath some avocado pits. Interestingly, there is a scientific reason why Joo's strategy works. According to McGill University, placing these large seeds on top of your creation will limit the contact between your avocado flesh and oxygen, preventing discoloration. For an easier method, though, you can always just seal your guac in an air-tight piece of Tupperware. 

4. Rick Bayless: Use seasonal ingredients

There's nothing quite like cooking with high-quality ingredients, and Rick Bayless knows it. The host of "Mexico: One Plate At A Time" believes that the secret to making good guacamole is to cook with the freshest possible elements, and that means checking to see which veggies are being harvested. As the celebrity chef divulged in an interview with Insider, "There are countless directions to take guacamole, but for me, it's all about the seasons." 

For Bayless, however, this doesn't mean only making guac when onions and cilantro are in season. Al contrario, it means dressing his recipe up with other, less traditional elements, depending on the time of year. The celebrity chef explained, "Strawberries and habanero in the spring, roasted poblano and corn in the summer, apple and fennel in the fall, and, in the winter, something rich and luxurious like brown butter with porcini mushrooms and crab."

Although each of these combinations will contribute a different flavor to your guacamole, they all have one thing in common — they rely on ingredients that are actually in season. Recently-harvested fruits and veggies tend to contain more taste and natural sugars than their out-of-season counterparts. This is because produce that's been transported and refrigerated loses a lot of the nutrients that contribute to its flavor.

5. Alex Guarnaschelli: Soak your red onions in water

To give your guacamole a more assertive taste, look no further than Alex Guarnaschelli's advice. The former "Iron Chef America" contestant adds plenty of red onion to her recipe, giving the soft flavor of the avocados an extra bite. In a Facebook video, Guarnaschelli showed herself making a batch of guacamole that was literally littered with red onions. However, in the caption, the chef divulged her tendency to "soak [her] diced red onions in ice cold water for 30 minutes" before tossing them in with the rest of the ingredients. 

Although this advice might seem odd, Guarnaschelli's caption explained that soaking your onions will make them "far less 'raw' tasting." This works because red onions contain sulfur compounds that contribute to their harsh taste. Soaking them removes some of these compounds, hence neutralizing your onions' overall flavor. Ultimately, cleansing your onions will allow them to contribute their famously strong flavor to your guac without overpowering the remainder of the dish. As for texture, Guarnaschelli said that soaked onions tend to be more succulent than their natural alternatives, meaning that they can add a bit of juiciness to each bite. 

6. Aaron Sanchez: Season your guacamole with Mexican oregano

When it comes to seasoning his guacamole, Aaron Sanchez doesn't just rely on your typical salt and pepper. Instead, the "Taco Trip" host sprinkles a bit of Mexican oregano into his creation. This unique secret ingredient boasts a citric flavor that pairs beautifully with avocados, accentuating their earthy creaminess. As Sanchez shared in a Cocina Plus YouTube video, Mexican oregano is "this beautiful, fragrant, dry herb", which is also his "secret weapon." Since this element combines well with spicier ingredients, you could add a pinch of it to your guacamole with jalapeños – although Sanchez warns not to remove the pepper's seeds, less you want to make "a gringo move." 

However, just because Sanchez uses Mexican oregano doesn't mean that he forgoes other types of seasoning. The celebrity chef also adds sea salt to his guacamole in the initial phases of his recipe. Apparently, this ingredient will improve the consistency of your avocados. Sanchez explained that salt "is going to help bring out a lot of the moisture from the avocado and make it easier to mash." This strategy will help you make guac that is both chunky and soft, ensuring that the texture is pleasant to the tongue. 

7. Pati Jinich: Add different types of chilies

If you are looking to make guacamole with a kick, you might want to try Pati Jinich's strategy. The Mexican celebrity chef is all about heating things up in the kitchen and has the guacamole to prove it. In an episode of "Good Morning America," Jinich opined that you can never add too many hot pepper varieties to your guac. Speaking about her tres chiles guacamole, the television personality divulged, "This is three chiles, but you can make it twenty chiles!"

Even in the instructions for her spicy tres chiles guacamole recipe, Jinich doubled down on this point. The host of "Pati's Mexican Table" wrote, "chiles love the company of other chiles." To really spice things up in your recipe, Jinich suggests making guacamole with habanero peppers – which bring a whopping 150,000 Scoville scale points to the table. Meanwhile, cooks who prefer milder flavors can reach for chipotles in adobo sauce, as they bring as few as 2,500 Scoville units to your spice level. 

For a small burst of flames, however, Jinich recommends garnishing your dish with red chile flakes. These small yet pungent shavings can add flavor to your guacamole base without overpowering the rest of the flavors. 

8. Sunny Anderson: Add ranch dressing

Although classic recipes can taste delicious, sometimes it's fun to mix things up with a curveball ingredient. For Sunny Anderson of "The Kitchen," the unique element in her guacamole ranch dressing. According to Sunny Anderson, the celebrity chef uses two cups of ranch for every ten avocados that she adds to her guac. And, apparently, the Anderson doesn't like to use just any ranch. The TV personality wrote, "I prefer Hidden Valley Ranch Original." This ingredient will alter the color of your guacamole, making it a creamier light green. As for the texture, your dressing will thin out your guac so that it's ideal for dipping.

Of course, non-traditional ingredients call for non-traditional uses. Rather than serving guacamole on a plate of corn chips or some spicy tacos, Anderson prepares her guac to serve with buffalo chicken strips. In this recipe, the buttery flavor of the ranch helps offset the tangy taste of the buffalo chicken, all while highlighting the avocado's natural creaminess. To add a boost of salty pungency to the mix, Anderson recommends tossing in some blue cheese, as well. 

9. Alton Brown: Make chunky guac with a potato masher

It's no secret that chunky guac can be delightful, although many home chefs struggle to achieve that thick consistency that so many of us love. Luckily, Alton Brown has offered an easy solution for this problem, and it involves a potato masher. In an episode of "Good Eats" (via The Food Network on YouTube), Brown opined that good guacamole involves some sort of play between the avocado's chunky bits and its smooth counterparts. Emphasizing the importance of both elements, the chef explained, "Chunks alone won't convey one of the avocado's best attributes, which is that creamy smoothness." 

To create a batch of guacamole that embraces both of these elements, Brown suggests using two types of avocados: Hausses and fuertes. Then, he recommends grabbing your potato masher and using it to give your hauss avocados a nice buttery consistency. As he explained on the show, "So, mash up the hauss for the nice creamy smooth and then slice the fuertes into chunks because they stay chunky. And you get a little contrast, texture." Your result should highlight both of the avocado's best qualities: The silky smooth texture of a fully-mashed avocado, as well as the succulence that you experience when biting into a chunk.

10. Ina Garten: Use the ripest avocados

Ina Garten has a reputation for always using the best ingredients. According to the celebrity chef's cookbook "How Easy Is That," it's essential to rely on good-quality, whole foods — and not an amalgamation of random but fancy ingredients. As Garten wrote, "I always ask myself, 'Does every ingredient earn its place in this recipe?' If I can't clearly distinguish it ... out it goes." When it comes to making guacamole, Garten's stance on fresh ingredients holds firm. In an episode of her show on the Food Network (via YouTube), the celebrity chef emphasized the importance of only selecting ripe avocados. 

According to Garten, overripe avocados will bring some discoloration to your recipe: "If they're too ripe, you find they're really brown." Underripe avocados, meanwhile, will often be too hard to adequately mash. To select the perfect avocados for your guacamole, Garten recommends keeping an eye on the color. The flesh should be "green around the outside and yellow in the middle."

While choosing ripe avocados can enrich the flavor of your guacamole, this strategy is also great for the texture. Unlike their overripe — or underripe  –counterparts, avocados that are ideal for consumption have a smooth consistency that is neither squishy nor tough. This will give your guacamole a light yet coherent texture that's perfect to enjoy on some crunchy corn chips. 

11. Rachael Ray: Switch out limes for lemons

One of the most typical guacamole ingredients is undoubtedly lime juice. This tangy, sour substance doesn't just do a great job of preventing your avocados from oxidizing, but it also adds a slightly more complex flavor to your creation. While lime juice can be an excellent addition to your guac, however, Rachael Ray suggests switching it out for some lemon juice. In a recipe shared on the Food Network, Ray called for a few drops of freshly squeezed lemon juice "to keep [your] avocados nice and green." In addition to maintaining the deep green color of your guac, this ingredient will add a slightly sharper yet rosier element to your recipe.

When it comes to preparing fresh lemon juice, though, not every home cook feels confident. The good news is that Ray has a unique strategy to help you prevent lemon seeds from ending up in your guac: Squeeze your lemons right side up. As the celebrity chef wrote in her Food Network recipe, "Squeeze the juice with the lemon halves facing cut-side up, allowing the juice to spill down over the sides of the lemon into the bowl." This way, your citrus seeds won't accidentally contaminate your remaining ingredients. 

12. Giada De Laurentiis: Grill your ingredients first

Mexican food is famous for its smoky flavors, but not all home cooks know how to bring this unique element into the kitchen. To bring this restaurant-quality factor into your own home, Giada De Laurentiis recommends amping up your guacamole recipe with grilled vegetables. In a blog post on Giadzy, the celebrity chef explained that you can start out by throwing some jalapeños, halved shallots, and de-skinned avocados on the barbie. This process will infuse these ingredients with a slightly charred flavor. Then, you should go ahead and mix them all together, creating a batch of guacamole that still has the lingering flavor of charcoal.

Although the idea of grilled guacamole might sound unusual, it will pair well with other popular Mexican eats. This smoky guac will highlight the deep, fatty flavors of pork dishes, including barbacoa tacos. It will also combine perfectly with the tangy lime overtones in a smoldering Mezcal margarita. As De Laurentiis wrote on her blog, "You won't find a more sophisticated ... guac than this one. It's more mellow than tangy, with just a touch of smoky heat."

13. Ayesha Curry: Mix in some Havarti cheese

When it comes to Mexican cuisine, Ayesha Curry is hardly a purist. The actress-turned-cookbook-author isn't afraid to add a bit of Danish fusion to her guacamole recipe through the addition of a slightly controversial ingredient: Havarti cheese. On an episode of The Ellen Show on YouTube, Curry confessed that she enjoys her guac with "a lot of fixings," including freshly minced garlic, finely chopped red onion, and a generous dose of Havarti. And, while Twitter wasn't too pleased with Curry's recipe, there are a few benefits to using this Danish cheese in your guac. 

Havarti has a famously mild flavor, making it buttery with occasional hazelnut undertones. This makes it the ideal ingredient to combine with the creamy yet nutty flavor profile of your avocados. Additionally, milk-based products like cheeses are excellent for balancing out the spicy flavors of chili peppers. As a result, if you are planning on adding jalapeños or habaneros to your guac, you can sprinkle in a bit of Havarti to help make a more well-rounded dish.