Don’t even try. There is no way to tally the number of tips out there for making great guacamole. But if you’re planning on mashing up some guac during this year’s Cinco de Mayo celebration—or any other time, for that matter—here is one of the best pieces of advice we’ve heard: Before you mix in the avocado, prepare a paste from other ingredients first. Why? Salt releases liquid from the onion and jalapeño. This combines with the avocados resulting in big flavor. These four simple steps—and a short list of simple ingredients—will sell you, too, on the power of paste.


  1. Prepare ingredients. 1 Tbsp. white onion (chopped), ¼ tsp. kosher salt, minced jalapeño (to taste), 1 Tbsp. cilantro, 1 medium tomato (chopped), 3 ripe avocados. Quantities are approximate, so season to taste.
  2. Make the paste. Put white chopped onion, minced jalapeño and salt in the molcajete and grind with the pestle until the juices release.
  3. Score the avocado so that it comes out in small chunks, then you aren’t trying to break up larger wedges while overworking the other ingredients.
  4. Fold in the cilantro and tomatoes gently.

Recipe from Matthew Lake.

Chef’s Tool:

Large molcajete, $40, Crate & Barrel, Murray

The molcajete, a stone mortar and pestle, is an ancient tool that predates kitchens. And if you don’t have one, get one. Carved out of basalt, it has a rough texture ideal for mashing avocados without turning them to mush.

Read more about chef Matthew Lake here and watch for more home recipes here.

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