How Avocado Spread Differs From Guacamole

Where would we be, as food lovers, without the avocado? The creamy, pale green fruits that are loaded with healthy fats (via Cedars Sinai) bring smoothness and richness to so many of our favorite dishes, from loaded avocado toast to a sushi-inspired California roll bowl to even a super-chocolatey mousse you'd swear wasn't vegan (it is). Once hardly known outside of the borders of their native Mexico, according to Avocados from Mexico, the fruits that are now beloved worldwide first made their way to the United States in 1833 and from there skyrocketed in popularity, with the U.S. now consuming a full 79% of Mexico's avo exports.

But of course, when you hear the word avocado — or when you're eyeing some ripe ones in your pantry — you're most likely to think of guacamole or avocado spread before considering other recipes. Two similar condiments, guac and avocado spread both feature mashed or puréed avocados and can be heaped atop bread or tostadas, but a few key differences set these beloved avocado dishes apart.

Guacamole is the more classically Mexican of the two spreads

Seeing as how avocados are native to Mexico and their history there dates back around 10,000 years (via Avocados from Mexico), it certainly makes sense that the fruits would form the basis of one of the most classically Mexican condiments of all time: guacamole. Found at most any taco joint alongside the selection of salsas, whether you're in Mexico or around the world, guacamole, at its most basic, contains plenty of fresh lime juice and salt, plus at least a little chopped onion, garlic, and cilantro (via Insider). 

Over time, the basic formula has been jazzed up with all manner of mix-ins, from fresh mangoes to chopped toasted pecans, but almost all versions of guac will feature the bright Mexican flavors of lime and occasionally minced jalapeño and dried spices such as cumin. 

Avocado spread, on the other hand, is a far more neutral-tasting condiment.

Avocado spread typically features only avocado, lemon juice, and salt

The next time you've got some perfectly ripe avocados on hand but don't have much else in the pantry, consider making avocado spread as opposed to the more labor- (and ingredient-) intensive dish of guacamole. Just as delicious a condiment when spread onto a sandwich, eaten with chips or pretzels, or used as a dip for crudité, according to MasterClass, all you need to make it is mashed avocado, a bit of lemon juice for tang, and salt.

Sure, you can flavor avocado spread with a bit of sour cream or Greek yogurt, or add some cracked black pepper or dried spices, but the condiment is generally more neutral in flavor than jam-packed guacamole. Therefore, it's more likely to pair well with a wider variety of flavors, from the blanched asparagus layered onto our mile-high avocado toast to the smoked salmon and pumpernickel bread of this avo toast.

We don't think you can go wrong with either a spicy guac or a milder avocado spread. But it's a good idea to know the difference.