Every one of the ingredients plays a key role because with this guacamole, it's all about flavor balance.

Caitlin Bensel

This recipe gets back to basics and makes balanced flavor the top priority so no ingredient tramples on the exquisite, subtly nutty, and lightly sweet flavors of avocado. As with all simple recipes, the quality of the ingredients makes or breaks the dish: Be particularly sure to use avocados at peak ripeness. We let the onion and jalapeño macerate with lime juice and salt to tame their flavors slightly. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips, and set out some crunchy vegetables to dip, too, such as radishes, mini sweet peppers, and jicama slices.

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White Onion

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Traditional in Mexican cooking, the white onion is gentler than yellow onion—it adds just enough pungency and crunch to the mix.

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Jalapeño

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Just a little—and no fiery seeds—for background heat. Jalapeño without thin brown lines on the skin are usually milder.

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Cilantro

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Adds fresh, verdant flavor. Like the other stir-ins, you need only a little so it won’t overwhelm the avocado.

Lime Juice

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Aim for balanced flavor, where the acidic juice subtly cuts through the rich fat without making the guac taste tart.

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Avocados

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Creamy, rich Hass avocados are best for guac. They should be ripe enough to mash but not browned, bruised, or fibrous.

Salt

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We like kosher, but the important thing is that fat needs salt (it tastes at without enough), and guac is a bowl of heart-healthy fat.