This healthy, crowd-pleasing dip relies on a handful of simple ingredients for fresh, bright flavor.

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bowl of guacamole and tortilla chips
Credit: Bryan Gardner

Whether it's for game day, taco Tuesday, or an easy afternoon snack, we love to make guacamole for a healthy, delicious dip to serve alongside tortilla chips, crudités, or crackers. While guacamole can easily be made in less than 10 minutes, there are a few key things to keep in mind.

Choose the Right Avocado

Using a ripe avocado is key to making guacamole. An under-ripe avocado won't mash properly, and an over-ripe avocado will likely have brown spots and turn into a mushy mess. A perfectly ripe avocado will be dark green in color and should be firm but slightly soft to the touch. If you're shopping in advance, choose an avocado that has a green skin and very firm texture so that it will ripen in two to three days. To speed up the ripening, place an avocado in a brown paper bag with a banana, close tightly, and store at room temperature. Both avocados and bananas produce ethylene gas, a naturally occurring chemical that speeds up the ripening process.

Guacamole Tools

A molcajete is a Mexican version of a mortar and pestle made of volcanic stone. It's a practical tool that allows you to prep and serve all-in-one. Molcajetes are a beautiful, traditional tool used for making guacamole and salsas, but you can still make delicious guac without one. Add your avocados to a large bowl and simply mash with a fork. A fork is gentle enough to create a smooth consistency while retaining some the avocados' texture.

Storing and Serving

You can buy the ingredients for guacamole a couple days in advance, but the dip shouldn't be prepared more than 12 hours before serving. Making guacamole too far ahead of time risks compromising its vibrant green color and zesty flavor. To keep Cinco de Mayo guacamole bright green for up to six hours ahead of go-time, put it in a container and add a thin layer of water on top, then seal the vessel with plastic wrap and a lid (preferably airtight) and pop it in the fridge. This shield keeps out oxygen-the culprit behind browning. When you're ready to serve, remove the lid and plastic, pour off the water, and give the guac a quick stir. You could also use lime juice instead of water for a zesty punch; the acid in the juice helps avoid oxidation and discoloration.

Put these tips to the test in some of our favorite guacamole recipes, like nori guacamole, minty margarita guacamole, or pistachio guacamole.

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