The One Ingredient Bobby Flay Never Uses In His Guacamole

Guacamole is an extremely adaptable dish and a great showcase for prized ingredients. You can get pretty creative with your dip, but most recipes typically include creamy avocados, fresh cilantro, and crunchy peppers and onions — and they may call for tomatoes, too.

Celebrity chef, television host and cookbook author Bobby Flay has a dissenting opinion on that last one though. While you may find plenty of tomato representation in his recipes from pastas and salads to burgers, he is adamantly anti-tomato for guacamole purposes. "It does not belong in guacamole," Flay said on TikTok of the offending red fruit, adding, "I will debate this forever."

Given that Flay has a television show called "Beat Bobby Flay" it's probably safe to say he has no problem taking on conflict. Instead, he says his ideal recipe includes just five ingredients: Avocado, cilantro, red onion, fresh lime, and green chilies (jalapeño or serrano). So next time you make classic fresh guacamole, if you want to follow the Flay method, leave your tomato to the side.

Why Bobby Flay is anti-tomato

The reasons that Bobby Flay is against using tomato in his guacamole come down to what the tomato contributes, and also what it can take away. In the former category, he suggests it can bring an unpleasant mealy character to the otherwise creamy dip. In the latter, he says it can detract from the flavors of his other ingredients.

Flay purports that guacamole should be "about the avocado," and that the tomato might get in the way of highlighting what you can hope for from these other core ingredients. The dip should be "a little spicy from the chili, acidic from the lime juice, fresh and bright from the cilantro, [with] a little crunch from that savory red onion."

Flay also makes the point that seasonality will be a troublesome factor with tomatoes. Since sourcing quality fruit isn't reliable year-round, cementing a go-to guac recipe featuring fresh tomatoes will be problematic during times when they're not at their peak.

Making your guacamole

There are some other arguments against using tomatoes in guacamole, too. The fruit may have an abundance of liquid (tomatoes can be up to 95% water), which means once mixed into your otherwise rich and creamy avocado-based dip, you could wind up with a runny mess. If you're set on including fresh tomatoes against Bobby Flay's advice though, it can help to de-seed and drain the fruit first.

Sun-dried tomatoes are also an option that will ensure you can add that craveable tomato umami without the added liquid (just be sure to pat them dry with a paper towel if they are the kind submerged in oil). This will also help you sidestep the question of seasonality, since these are available at your grocery store all year.

If you're missing that pop of red color, you can always swap out some of those green peppers for a red jalapeño or a fresno pepper (just take note that the latter will bring a bit more heat to the table). From there, you can serve with your homemade tortilla chips and classic margarita, and call it a very good day. Given how many tasty additions work in the guacamole formula, following Flay's guidance and omitting this one ingredient shouldn't interfere with your good time.