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Elevate Your Store-Bought Guacamole with These Tips

Store-bought guacamole is a fantastic buy, and you can usually expect it to contain ingredients like avocado, garlic, onion, salt, cilantro, tomatoes, or jalapeños, though the composition and consistency may vary by brand. Unless you’re a master of picking avocados, store-bought guac is the way to go. Sometimes avocados are rock-hard and unripe, while other times they’re overripe and moldy. There are a lot of factors that go into making fresh guacamole, fresh ingredients included. 

When you want to have a date night or a picnic among friends, store-bought guacamole is a great option to stock up on. But when you want to elevate it a bit or simply give it a boost in taste, there are quite a few add-ins that provide more flavor in store-bought guacamole — and you likely have many of these ingredients at home already. From guac staples like salt and lime juice to head-turning additions such as vinaigrette or wasabi and ginger, we’ll cover some delicious ways to liven up this pre-made green dip.

1. Drizzle homemade vinaigrette into store-bought guacamole

fresh homemade vinaigrette salad dressing

Vinaigrette might seem like an odd choice to add to guacamole, but it’s used for a couple of reasons. First of all, your guacamole will taste better with this 30-second hack because vinaigrette has a bit of rice vinegar, salt, and pepper (which make most things taste better), along with olive oil to hold it all together. The dressing provides a lot of flavor, but it can also help your guacamole from turning brown. 

This is helpful if you happen to have leftover guac, or if you want to extend how long it stays green if you’re bringing it to a gathering. Homemade vinaigrette is fresh and delicious, making it an enticing component for store-bought guacamole. Make a large batch of vinaigrette so you can have some with the guacamole, and then save some for a salad or to coat roasted vegetables. You can get a lot of use and flavor from it. 

2. Give it a touch of mayonnaise

homemade mayonnaise in wooden bowl

Avocado is a creamy fruit, so you can enrich this natural characteristic with an equally creamy addition. Mayonnaise is the secret for creamy guacamole since it loosens the texture without making it watery. Mayo’s consistency comes from the emulsion of oil, eggs, lemon juice, vinegar, and salt. It has a mellow creaminess as opposed to something like Greek yogurt or sour cream, both of which can be on the tangy side. 

This is a tasty way to even out the consistency if you find that your store-bought guacamole is a bit too chunky or thick for your liking. This is also a good option if you want a spreadability factor to put guac on toast or a sandwich. The mayo complements the avocado’s richness without completely overwhelming it. Add your mayo-upgraded guacamole to a snack platter, and serve with carrots, bell peppers, and celery. 

3. Load up store-bought guacamole with fruit

guacamole with pomegranate seeds

There are a lot of fruits that you can include in store-bought guacamole to not only give it a bit of color but also to sweeten it up. Anything from diced mangoes to crunchy pomegranate seeds can be mixed into your dip. Pomegranate is a wonderful option for both a creamy or chunky guac because the seeds are pretty small, whereas something like chopped pineapple would be great to enhance a chunkier salsa. 

Papaya can be a wonderful addition as well, as long as you factor in the varieties. Yellow papaya can be sweeter, while red papaya tends to be very creamy and earthy. You often find strawberries in savory salads packed with onions and cheese, so adding chopped strawberries is one of many good ways to sweeten up guacamole with fruit. As a bonus, the extra fruit will introduce more vitamins and fiber into your store-bought guac. 

4. Put corn in store-bought guacamole

corn kernels piled together

Valentinrussanov/Getty Images

You’ll often find corn as an added ingredient in guacamole, usually in the chunky variety. But if you want to customize the freshness and how much corn you add, this can be a delectable way to add more flavor to store-bought guacamole. Canned or fresh corn are both awesome, but canned corn is a more convenient option if you don’t want to go through the whole rigmarole of cooking, cleaning, and cutting the corn kernels. 

For extra aroma, prepare grilled corn so that it has a slight char to enhance the smell and taste of the guacamole. Once grilled, slice off the kernels and add them into the guac. Unless you have a huge amount of guacamole or you want it to be very corn-centric, you don’t have to add a lot of kernels into the mix. This bright addition is great for adding to burritos, or for dipping with chips.

5. Give it depth with smoked paprika or cayenne powder

dried red smoked paprika

When you feel like your store-bought guacamole is missing something, you might want to sprinkle in a dash of smoked paprika or cayenne powder. Smoked paprika has a subtle smokiness that’s not overwhelming, but can add punch to your guacamole. Opt for smoked paprika over regular paprika, since the smokiness shines through while unsmoked paprika might be unnoticeable taste-wise. Much like grilling corn or adding avocado, smoked paprika can give guac levels of depth, but in a powdered form. 

When you seek a hint of spice, cayenne can be your friend. In small increments, it can enhance the flavor without turning your guacamole into something too spicy. For a mix of smoky spiciness, you can add a shake of each spice to even things out. This layer of flavor is perfect for when you want crave-worthy guacamole for topping your tacos, or to enjoy with grilled meat. Make sure to mix the spice in well, since you don’t want a clump of powder in any given bite. 

6. Consider adding wasabi and ginger to store-bought guacamole

grated wasabi root

Are you looking to surprise guests with a positively captivating guacamole? You might want to try preparing a sinus-clearing ginger wasabi guacamole by blending your store-bought guac with pickled ginger and wasabi paste. Mince the pickled ginger finely until it reaches a paste-like consistency, then mix the ginger, wasabi, and any other additions together before integrating them into your pre-made guacamole. This combination creates a refreshing bowl of guac that’s totally unexpected; nobody would guess it’s a jazzed-up store-bought item. 

This is a great way to intensify your store-bought guacamole with ingredients you wouldn’t normally think to include, making it an invigorating pairing. Serve this interesting combination with corn chips, grilled chicken tacos, or whatever you enjoy. The recipe doesn’t call for too much of either ingredient, since they’re both pretty flavorsome and strong. This turns your guac into an exciting conversation starter.

7. Crack some fresh pepper into store-bought guacamole

pile of rainbow peppercorns

While some might scoff at the description of pepper as spicy, freshly ground pepper undeniably has more flavor than the pre-ground version. Fresh cracked pepper not only has a slightly spicier kick, but there’s a textural element that can make your guacamole feel that much fresher. Not only is there a visual component, but you can feel the pepper on your tongue as you chew or swallow the guacamole. If you don’t have a pepper grinder, put the peppercorns in a plastic baggie and whack them with a rolling pin or pan.

Use black peppercorns or, better yet, rainbow peppercorns for a light variance in color. It’s not super noticeable, but sometimes the best things in life are all about little details. Some store-bought guacamole brands are missing that peppery aspect, so freshly cracked pepper is a quick way to jazz it up. You can thoroughly mix it into the guacamole, and then add a couple of grinds on top as a garnish. Freshly ground pepper also has more health benefits than the powdered version, providing ample antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. 

8. Include nuts and seeds for a crunchy twist

bowl of pumpkin seeds

Give your ready-made guacamole a crunchy upgrade with nuts or seeds. Several types of nuts can add flavor, but enhancing ready-made guacamole with pecans and roasted poblano gives it a nutty and smoky combination that turns the plainest guac into a head-turning culinary experience. You don’t need many nuts — just a handful of pecans will do the trick. 

For added flavor, lightly toast the nuts in a pan or the oven. (Using a pan can be easier, since you can monitor the whole process.) Chop the nuts into small pieces and mix them into your guacamole. You could also use chopped or crushed pine nuts, cashews, walnuts, or almonds in your guac.

Alternatively, try adding pepitas to your guacamole for a nutty but not overly crunchy addition to guacamole. Roughly chop the pumpkin seeds for a chunky guac, but if you have a smoother version you might want to chop them more finely, since a creamy guacamole with noticeable pieces of pepita might present a funky juxtaposition.

9. Toss fresh cilantro into store-bought guacamole

bunch of fresh cilantro

If you’re ever at a loss for what to add to guacamole from the supermarket, fresh cilantro might be one of the top choices. It adds a refreshing and herbal element that can make store-bought guacamole seem homemade. This is a classic ingredient that you find in many guacamole recipes that you make at home or order in restaurants. 

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You can use dried cilantro, but fresh is certainly best. The fresh version has a striking green hue and is considerably more pungent than dried cilantro. Do a rough chop for larger pieces, or you can finely chop it if you prefer smaller bits of cilantro. 

A rough chop is wonderful for chunky guacamole, when you want to have nice big pieces of cilantro to complement the other ingredients. In addition to mixing it into the guacamole itself, you can use it as a garnish to bring brightness to the dish. A cilantro-laden guacamole can be used for a dip, paired with meats or vegetables, or to brighten an herb-forward avocado toast for brunch. Wash the cilantro, pat it dry, and then chop it up for adding to your guacamole. Don’t forget that you can eat the cilantro stems as well. Leave them on and give them a good chop. 

10. Allow store-bought guacamole to reach room temperature

close-up look at guacamole

This is Alton Brown’s tip for ultra-flavorful guacamole. According to him, when guac is chilled this can mellow out the flavor. To rectify this, he recommends letting guacamole reach room temperature for about two hours. 

To preserve the freshness of store-bought guacamole, keep it in its container or jar while reaching room temperature. Once you’re ready to serve, then you can plate it or put it in a bowl, and mix in any additional ingredients like fresh chile peppers, charred corn, or chopped cilantro. 

Give it a taste test to see if it needs anything. You could also choose to mix the guac and other add-ins, and then allow it to sit covered at room temperature, so the flavors can be better incorporated. Consider the outside temperature when deciding how long to leave it at room temp. If it’s a particularly blazing day, don’t leave it out to get hot; it might only need 30 minutes or so. Use lime juice or vinaigrette to keep the guac from browning, and you’re ready to go.

11. Never underestimate a squeeze of fresh lime

lime juice being squeezed

There are a few common additions to guacamole, and lime juice is one of them. It brings a tanginess and bitterness that can introduce a lot of zest into any guacamole recipe. It’s especially helpful when you’re looking to liven up a ready-made version that might be on the bland side. 

Fresh lime juice works best, but you can use the bottled stuff too. If you have thick guacamole, the lime juice can help give it a looser consistency, but if it’s already on the loose side this is something to think twice about. 

Adding lime juice can turn it into more of a sauce than a dip, but this would be fantastic on salad. Spoon in your desired amount of guacamole into a bowl and squeeze the juice directly into the bowl, before mixing thoroughly. This acidic punch can balance out the creaminess of your guacamole. Serve with chips, top it on a salad, or add a hefty dollop onto nachos. 

12. Amp up the spice level with fresh chiles

 red and green jalapeño peppers

Spice seekers might want an additional heat element in store-bought guacamole. Whether you accidentally bought a mild version or would like to enhance an already spicy one, fresh chile peppers can pack a punch of flavor while also adding color and texture. 

There are many different types of chiles that you might want to consider adding. Jalapeños and serrano peppers are among the most common that you’ll see in ready-made and restaurant guacamole, since they’re more approachable in terms of spice level and availability. 

If you want your guac to be spicier, leave the pepper’s seeds in. Jalapeño and serrano peppers tend to be on the milder side compared to habanero peppers, tabasco peppers, or Thai chile. Experiment with different ways to make guacamole by including Thai chile and hot sauce. Mince the peppers finely so they can integrate smoothly into your guacamole; this is particularly helpful when you have a chunkier type of store-bought guac.

13. Try including more garlic

cloves of garlic

From meat marinades to mashed potatoes, garlic is a not-so-secret ingredient to make food taste better. Fresh garlic is the best option, but we won’t judge if you use a jarred pre-minced version or powdered garlic — there’s nothing wrong with having convenient staples at home, especially when you don’t want garlic-scented fingers for the rest of the afternoon. 

Mince or microplane the garlic into small pieces that can be evenly distributed throughout the guacamole, before adding your desired amount of garlic and mixing. You want every bite to have a little bit of garlic in it. 

Sometimes ready-made guac needs a lift, and garlic is a great way to provide this. It’s up to your discretion how much garlic to add, but this can vary depending on your personal preference, as well as how much guacamole you’re using. If you’re using an entire container versus just a couple scoops, you’re going to need different quantities. Add garlic and then give it a taste. Incorporating extra garlic is one of the tips that will take your guacamole to the next level. 

14. Give store-bought guacamole zing with sour cream

sour cream in a bowl

You’ll often see sour cream served on the side of Mexican dishes, whether it’s nachos or burritos. This dollop of dairy adds richness to even out any spices, but it’s the creamy ingredient that will keep your guacamole green, to boot. Ready-made guac can start turning brown from oxidation within a couple hours of being unsealed from its container, but using sour cream can be a nice trick for not only making it creamy, but to shield guacamole from air exposure. 

Sour cream tends to be on the firmer side, so while it won’t loosen the consistency too much, it will change the texture. Add a couple tablespoons or more, depending on how much of the divine avocado dip you’ll ultimately be serving. To hinder the oxidation process, spread the sour cream across the guacamole’s surface as it sits out, and then mix it in when you’re ready to serve. You can also choose to use it for a layered dip that’s delicious to add onto chili, tacos, or to spread on a tortilla before assembling a burrito.

15. Grill avocado to add for extra oomph

sliced fresh avocado on grill

Tema_kud/Getty Images

Of course, there’s already avocado in your store-bought guac. However, if you want to give it a thorough upgrade, grill avocado slices and mash them in for smoky guacamole. Use a grill or a stovetop grill pan, so the fresh avocado can get those classic charred lines. After grilling, chop the avocado for a chunky version, or mash it thoroughly for a creamier one. The best method depends on the type of store-bought guacamole that you bought, and how visible you want the pieces to be. The grilling process brings an intensity and layer of flavor to the avocado that you’re not going to get from your average supermarket container. 

Grilled-avocado guacamole is delightful to serve as a side with grilled meat, whether that’s carne asada, chicken, or shrimp. If you want to beef up the smokiness, you could add a couple drops of liquid smoke in addition to the grilled avocado. 

With this tip, you’re not necessarily aiming to fully cook your avocado — this simply gives it a bit of a flavor enhancement. Consider a just-ripe avocado for doing this, versus an overripe one that could turn into a mushy mess on your grill. 

16. Experiment by adding different types of salt

salt blend with herbs

4kodiak/Getty Images

From upgrading ground turkey to flavoring mashed potatoes, salt is the key to effortlessly enhancing meats, vegetables, and many other dishes. One of the issues you often find in store-bought guacamole is that it lacks sufficient salt, so you can embellish it with a pinch of flavored salt. 

Make salt blends yourself by mixing salt and different ingredients, such as onion powder or dried cilantro, or purchase it at the store while picking up the guacamole. Garlic salt is a common and delicious option, while jalapeño or habanero salt can provide a spicy upgrade without having to chop up any chile peppers. A smoked salt can impart smokiness without grilling anything. 

There are loads of infused salt options, but if you’re unsure about what to use, you can always go for ingredients that you’d typically find in guacamole, like lime, garlic, and herbs. This way you don’t have to be scared of trying something that might seem off, like rosemary salt or truffle salt. However, if you’re willing to experiment, you can add a tiny pinch to a small bit of guacamole to test it out before adding it to a full batch. 

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