Guacamole vs. avocado salsa, you may be asking yourself, aren’t these the same thing? They both include avocados, so what’s the difference? If you are confused about these two Mexican sauces, read on to understand how these two delicious sauces differ!
Guacamole…synonymous with the Super Bowl, Cinco de Mayo, Mexican food, and avocados. Guacamole is made with mashed avocados and with other ingredients mixed in. Add-ins can include lime juice, salt, onion, tomatoes, cilantro, or chile peppers, depending on who’s making it!
You can think of guacamole as an avocado dip made that includes other fresh vegetables.
Guacamole is an old dish, made in ancient Mexico in a molcajete (a Mexican-style pestle and mortar made from volcanic rock) prior to the Spanish arrival. The word guacamole comes from the Náhuatl word ahuacatmulli and the dish originated in the central states of Tlaxcala, Puebla, Morelos, Guanajuato, and Zacatecas.
Once the Spanish conquistadors arrived in Mexico, the avocado was exported worldwide. Guacamole also evolved to include lime juice, an ingredient brought to Mexico by the conquistadors.
What’s avocado salsa?
Avocado salsa (salsa de aguacate) is, well, avocado sauce. There are many varieties of avocado salsas that range from salsas with a creamy texture to salsa verde with diced avocados (Zurita, R. M. (2012). Larousse Diccionario Enciclopédico de la Gastronomía Mexicana. Ediciones Larousse (MX)). I have even seen avocado salsa recipes that use diced avocados, red onions, and tomatoes, kind of like an avocado-based pico de gallo.
Most often, though, avocado salsa is more saucy.
Avocado salsas sometimes go by the name of guacamole salsa, but as you are learning through this article guacamole and avocado salsa are not the same thing.
Guacamole vs. avocado salsa – the differences explained
Guacamole includes mashed ripe avocados as the main ingredient and other diced ingredients are mixed in, according to whoever is preparing the dish. Common add-ins include lime juice, salt, red tomatoes, white or red onion, chile peppers, and cilantro.
Avocado salsa includes similar ingredients like avocados, chile peppers, and salt, and can include optional additional ingredients like tomatillos (husked green tomatoes), white onion, garlic, and lime juice.
Both dishes use fresh ingredients and variations can include the use of different peppers, like jalapeño peppers or serrano peppers. Some versions of these dishes don’t include any peppers at all for a completely mild version.
However, the key ingredient in both is of course avocados.
Guacamole was traditionally prepared in a molcajete, a Mexican-style pestle, and mortar made with volcanic rock. This ensured that the ingredients were mashed, rather than blended smooth. Today, it is more common to mash the avocado with a fork and mix in other ingredients as desired.
Avocado salsa is typically made in a blender or food processor to produce a smooth, saucy base. The avocados are either blended directly with the other salsa ingredients. Or in some cases, a green salsa is prepared and blended until smooth, and diced avocados are added to the final sauce.
Texture is one of the main differences between guacamole and avocado salsa. Guacamole is traditionally mashed avocado, which produces a thick consistency, perfect for spreading or scooping up with a corn tortilla chip.
Avocado salsa is usually blended until smooth, or has a saucy, liquid base. In rare cases, you will find a pico de gallo-like avocado salsa which includes only diced ingredients.
What to serve it with
Guacamole is often served as a dip to corn tortilla chips in your typical US Mexican restaurant. Here in Mexico, it can also be ordered as an appetizer with totopos (corn tortilla chips) or it may come as a side to a larger entree, like grilled steak. We often make guacamole for our carne asadas, to eat in our steak tacos. It isn’t uncommon in the US to find guacamole on sandwiches or burgers too (avocado toast anyone?)! And since it has a thicker texture it doesn’t make buns or bread as mushy and it tends to stay in place a bit more than liquidy salsa.
Avocado salsa is, well, served like a table salsa. Because it is more liquidy, it easily tops tostadas, quesadillas, taquitos dorados, or regular soft tacos. It could serve as a dip for corn chips as well! Or you could use it as a salad dressing for taco salad or inside a delicious burrito!
Here is a handy table that summarizes the key differences between avocado salsa and guacamole.
Is guacamole just avocado salsa?
No. Avocado salsa is generally blended to a smooth consistency and can include ingredients that aren’t found in guacamole, like tomatillos (also known as green husk tomatoes). Guacamole is made with mashed avocados, so the texture is thicker.
Is avocado and guacamole the same thing?
No. Avocados are a fruit used to make guacamole. Guacamole is a dip or spread that includes avocados along with other ingredients, like tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice, onions, chile peppers, and salt.
Are avocados good for you?
Yes! Avocados are considered healthy and for good reason! They include healthy fats, fiber, and contain many vitamins and minerals that our bodies need like vitamins B, K, A, and C, magnesium, folate, copper, among others.
How do I make guacamole or avocado salsa?
There are various ways to prepare guacamole and avocado salsa.
My favorite recipe for a traditional guacamole dip is the one that I created! My creamy avocado salsa recipe is perfect for topping tacos, quesadillas, or tostadas. I am working on a tomatillo avocado salsa recipe, that I hope to be able to share shortly!
How do I store guacamole or avocado salsa?
I think it is best to eat guacamole and avocado salsas fresh, or within a few hours of making them. They will, however, last a couple of days in the fridge if properly stored. The best way to store leftover avocado salsa or guacamole is in an airtight container in the fridge. The addition of lime juice not only provides a tanginess of acidic flavor but also helps to slow the oxidation process… the process which turns the avocados brown when exposed to air.
I hope this article helps to answer the question “What’s the difference between avocado salsa and guacamole” and other questions that you may have about these two Mexican foods!
Which avocado-based dish do you prefer? Let me know if guacamole or avocado salsa is your favorite in the comments below!