Store-Bought Salsa Is The Easy Shortcut To Great Guacamole

As delicious as a homemade guacamole recipe can be, not everyone has the time to clean, dice, and mash all the requisite ingredients together. Rather, if you need something quick and easy, you might consider using salsa as an easy, ready-made base for the dip.

At its most basic, guacamole is made with avocados, onions, tomatoes, lemon juice, and seasonings like garlic and cilantro. With the exception of avocado, salsa typically uses the same ingredients. Better yet, salsa's ingredients are already finely diced and present in the appropriate ratios, so you can cut out most of guacamole's prep work.

Following this method, all you really need to do is mash ripened avocados, mix in a jar of store-bought salsa, and add any extra seasonings to taste. To make smaller chunks, you can run your salsa and/or finished guacamole through a blender. You can even make your guacamole more or less spicy depending on the salsa you use. Super easy, right?

Things to keep in mind when making guacamole with salsa

Before you start making your salsa-based guacamole, there are a few things you should keep in mind. For one, whatever level of heat you choose for your jarred salsa, the avocado in the guacamole will tone it down. As such, you might want to choose a slightly hotter salsa to start with, or  add your own peppers to the guacamole if you want to increase the heat in the final dish. You can further do so by leaving in some or all of the peppers' seeds.

In terms of salsa-to-avocado ratios, your exact amounts will depend on how many people you intend to feed. However, as a general rule of thumb, you should use about a quarter-cup of salsa for every 1.5 cups of avocado (which is about one full avocado plus one half). For example, if you're using a full cup of salsa, you would want to use six cups of avocado.

Of course, it's also very important to consider the shelf-life of your finished guacamole. Avocados ripen — and over-ripen — very quickly, so you may want to take steps to slow down avocado ripening if you're not eating all of the guac right away. One easy method is to add a little extra lemon or lime juice to your guacamole, which preserves it but also brings further flavor to the dish.

Make the freshest guacamole with store-bought pico de gallo

While salsa might make guacamole prep a million times easier, pico de gallo takes it a step further, bringing a level of freshness you might not otherwise find in a jar. As a cousin to salsa, pico de gallo contains many of the same ingredients such as tomatoes, onions, cilantro, peppers, and lemon or lime juice. However, pico de gallo is also made with the freshest of ingredients, and housed with other fresh products, often in the refrigerated section, at the grocery store.

What's more, pico de gallo is chunkier in texture and generally contains less liquid than salsa, so if you want your guacamole to be heartier and less liquidy, this is a great pick. Sure, you may lack the depth of flavor that comes from cooking ingredients into salsa, but that's the tradeoff for ingredients so fresh you might as well have grown, harvested, and diced them yourself. 

Really, whether you opt for salsa or pico de gallo comes down to the flavors and textures you desire in your finished guacamole, but either way, your guests would never suspect you didn't make it all from scratch when they start dipping into it.