Guacamole has been setting hearts – and mouths — on fire for centuries. The Aztecs were the first to discover in the 14th century that creamy avocados and fiery peppers are the perfect pair. They mixed green chiles into their guacamole, and today, guacamole lovers around the world are finding new ways to give guacamole the heat they crave.
I’ve analyzed thousands of recipes on the web, and I’ve uncovered a formula to help you create a guacamole with the perfect amount of kick to suit your fancy.
Any spicy pepper can turn up the heat in your guac. The question is: How much heat can you handle?
Spice fanatics use something called Scoville Heat Units (SHU) to tell how fiery their food will be. I’ve ranked four of my favorite hot peppers from spicy to spiciest, based on the SHU of each. Word to the wise: Have a glass of something cold on hand before proceeding any further.
The classic choice of pepper for guacamole. Jalapeños range in heat from mild to “fire breathing dragon.” This is a great beginner pepper to play with, because most of the heat in jalapeños comes from the seeds. The more seeds you add to your guac, the more kick it will have. If you don’t have any peppers on hand, you can substitute jalapeño hot sauce, like the kind in this Spicy Bacon Guacamole.
Did you know that chipotle peppers come from dried and smoked jalapeños? Rich, smoky chipotle peppers have a unique spice — your grocery store will likely have ground chipotle powder ready to sprinkle onto recipes like this Chipotle Apple & Almond Guacamole.
These little guys pack approximately five times the heat of jalapeños. The word serrano means “of the mountains.” Many of these peppers grow in the elevated regions of Mexico, like Hidalgo and Puebla. Depending on the batch, they can taste anywhere from spicy-sweet to spicy-bright. Make your own variations of this Spicy Guacamole and see for yourself.
You’ve likely encountered cayenne powder at your grocery store. It’s a bright red color and gives a pungently hot edge to your guac. In fact, cayenne is one of my favorite powdered peppers to add to guac — try this Spicy Three Pepper & Cayenne Guacamole for some classic cayenne heat, or crank it up with a Fiery Creole Guacamole that will make you sweat.
Guacamole is known to melt hearts, but guac with habanero peppers might melt more than that. These little orange peppers are like edible volcanoes — just one small habanero is enough to set your guac ablaze with delicious spice.
Daredevils will enjoy habanero recipes like The Heat Is On Guacamole, but be sure to warn your friends before they take a bite — or at least have your phone nearby to film their inevitable meltdown.
Opposites attract, even when it comes to guacamole. Spicy guacamoles pair well with sweet and juicy fruits like pineapple, papaya, or (my personal favorite) mangoes. Check out how we used mango to put out the fires of this Spicy Mango Serrano Guacamole and this Habanero Mango Guac.
A more unique cool-down tactic? Try mixing in Greek yogurt, like in this Spicy Green Goddess Guacamole. Cream cheese and hummus will also add some smooth comfort to the mix and pair well with spice.
People have been innovating spicy guacamole for hundreds of years. Imagine what the spiciest guacamole will look like in another few hundred centuries. Would you dare take a bite?
Find more spicy (and cool) dips on our guacamole recipes page.