I Tried Every Container of Store-Bought Guacamole I Could Find — And the Winner Is (Almost) Better than Homemade

published Mar 17, 2022
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picture of a countertop filled with chips and littl ebowls of guacamole--a guac tasting party
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

When it comes to guacamole, there is one recipe I prefer above anyone else’s: my own! Guacamole has become Americanized throughout the last decade. (I’m sure we all know by know that guac is extra.) Of course, it also remains a staple dip in Mexican homes, typically served in the molcajete — or Mexican mortar and pestle — it was made in. Each guacamole can vary in unique touches (I’ve heard of, but not tried, guac recipes with pomegranate arils), but most have the same base ingredients: avocado, lime, onion, salt, pepper, cilantro, and a must-have spicy element, like jalapeño.

With chip-and-dip season in the air, I was curious to see if there were any store-bought guacamoles that could compare to the freshness and brightness of the homemade thing. So I visited the refrigerator cases at several of my local supermarkets and big-box grocers to stock up and find out!

How I Tested the Guacamole

I stuck to the more classic preparations and passed over any that contained non-traditional ingredients (like red bell pepper and the aforementioned pomegranate). I bought as many refrigerated options as I could possibly find and I set up a blind taste test, with all of the options lined up. No guacamole is complete without a side of chips, so I tried each one with organic white corn tortilla chips. 

Credit: L. Daniela Alvarez

The Winner: Herdez Traditional Spicy Guacamole

From now on, when I don’t feel like making my own guacamole, this will be my go-to! I personally don’t prefer tomatoes in my guacamole and this one has them, but the gauc is well-seasoned with the perfect amount of heat for my Chicana palate. The addition of serrano peppers (my personal favorites and the peppers I use in my own recipe) impressed me, considering most of the other store-bought guacamoles use jalapeños as their main spice. This guacamole also has a good chunky consistency that my chips could still handle while scooping. 

Buy: Herdez Traditional Spicy Guacamole, $5.99 for 15 ounces at Instacart  

Credit: L. Daniela Alvarez

The Runner-Up: Trader Joe’s Chunky Spicy Guacamole Auténtico

While I wouldn’t call this guacamole auténtico, it was a pleasant surprise in terms of heat and flavor. The chile de arbol gives it a nice smokiness that balance the sweet acidity of the tomatoes. This is the guacamole I’d choose if I were hosting a large crowd of people who prefer their guacamole with less heat.

Find it in stores: Trader Joe’s Chunky Spicy Guacamole Auténtico, $3.49 for 12 ounces

What’s your favorite store-bought guacamole? Tell us about it in the comments below!