The Difference Between Guacamole, Smashed Avocado, and Avocado Salsa

Avocado is absolutely delicious in any shape or form, at any time of the day. Smashed avo on toast and guacamole are old favorites, but I keep reading about avocado salsa. What’s the difference between guacamole, smashed avocado, and avocado salsa?

Guacamole, smashed avocado, and avocado salsa all include mashed avocado. Smashed avocado is mashed, seasoned avocado, often eaten on toast. Guacamole is a Mexican dip made of avocado mashed with lime juice and cilantro. Avocado salsa is a Mexican sauce made of mashed avocado and green tomatillos.

Mashing up an avocado as a topping or a dip is the easiest recipe in the world. It’s what you add to that avo that rings the difference. Smashed avocado, guacamole, and avocado salsa are all mashed avocado dishes, but what are the main differences? How are they served?

Is Guacamole Just Smashed Avocado?

Smashed avocado and guacamole both start with mashed-up avocado. They differ once more ingredients are added to make guacamole such as lime, cilantro, and onion which defines the traditional Mexican dip.

If you’re just making smashed avocado for your breakfast toast (or lunch, or dinner, or midnight snack), you gently break up the avocado with a fork, smashing rather than thoroughly mashing it so that it retains some texture. Then you’ll just season it with salt and pepper and perhaps a squeeze of lemon and eat up.

Guacamole is a little more interesting than just smashed avocado as you add more ingredients to your mashed avocados – such as chopped tomatoes, chilis, onions, lime, and cilantro –to create your own version of a traditional Mexican dip. The texture of guacamole can be rough and chunky, like smashed avocado, or smooth and puree-like, like cream cheese.

What Is Guacamole?

Guacamole is a traditional Mexican sauce, dip, or condiment based on raw, mashed avocado, served smooth or chunky.

What Are the Origins of Guacamole?

Guacamole dates back thousands of years to the Aztec culture of Central America, who called this indigenous fruit āhuaca, with āhuacamolli translating as “avocado sauce” or “stew.” Avocado was a popular food, being a highly nutritious addition to the low-fat Aztec diet. Legend says that avocados were named after the shape of the testicle, as Aztecs believed avocados were an aphrodisiac.

Original versions of guacamole would probably have been mainly like the smashed avocado we know today. However, tomatoes, chili, and onions were also staples in the diet and likely added to the Aztec dish.

When the Spanish colonists arrived in Central and South America, they adopted guacamole as a dish and added new flavors from their trading empire, including garlic, cumin, and limes. They adapted the Aztec name of the fruit to “aguacate,” which became “avogato” and “avocado” in English – although the term “alligator pear” was used briefly, referring to the rough skin of the Hass avocado.

With the Spanish colonization of both North and South America, the popularity of guacamole spread, as did the various versions of the dish.

As Latin American migration to the United States increased in the twentieth century, and once the US lifted the ban on Mexican avocado imports in the 1990s, guacamole, Mexican, and Tex-Mex cuisine grew in popularity. Today, guacamole or guac is a typical American dish.

How To Make Guacamole

Every Mexican family has its own guacamole recipe, and most people tweak their guac to make their signature dip. Here’s a simple guacamole recipe to enjoy. Also check out my 9 Easy Ways To Make Bland Guacamole Taste Better.


  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 small chopped tomato
  • ½ small chopped onion
  • 1 finely chopped serrano or jalapeno pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
  • Salt and pepper

What To Do

  1. Slice the avocados in half, remove the pip and scoop out the avocado with a spoon.
  2. Mash the avocado using a fork or pestle and mortar.
  3. Season, then add the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Mix and serve.

Where Is Guacamole Popular?

Guacamole is famous throughout the world, eaten at Mexican restaurants, and often made at home. However, the dish is a traditional Mexican favorite, where locals make it at the Cinco de Mayo celebration. The United States has also assimilated guacamole as a local dish, and it has become a Superbowl snack staple.

If you’re wondering what “Mexican” foods are eaten in Mexico or are just from the USA, check out my post do they eat guacamole in Mexico?

What Is Guacamole Served With?

Guacamole goes well with a variety of foods.

  • You’ll often find guacamole served as a dip alongside chips or crackers, often nacho-style or tortilla chips as an appetizer or snack.
  • Guacamole is delicious on toast on its own or as a layer in a sandwich.
  • You can enjoy guacamole as a topping for tostadas.
  • Guacamole is also a component of tortillas, burritos, and tacos.
  • Serve guacamole as a side dish for grilled meat and fried seafood.
  • Guacamole makes a delicious salad ingredient or dressing.

What Is Avocado Salsa?

Avocado salsa is an avocado-based dip or sauce similar to guacamole, but thinner and includes tomatillos (Mexican husk tomatoes). The dish is sometimes also called guacamole salsa.

What Are the Origins of Avocado Salsa?

In Latin American cooking, “salsa” simply means sauce but refers to the table sauces or condiments eaten with Mexican or Tex-Mex foods.

The most common version of salsa that you come across is pico de gallo, a raw salsa made from chopped tomatoes, onions, chili peppers, and lime juice and often just called “salsa” in the United States.

The cooked version of this salsa is red salsa or salsa roja, while a cooked green version, made with tomatillos, is called salsa verde.

Avocado salsa is a version of salsa verde, known as salsa verde con aguacate (green salsa with avocado) and also called salsa verde cremosa or creamy green salsa. Avocado salsa is raw and made of tomatillos, onions, chili peppers, cilantro, avocado, and salt. It originates from Central Mexico.

How To Make Avocado Salsa

Avocado salsa is as easy to make as guacamole and can make a nice change from your usual avocado dip. However, it is thinner than guacamole, so it can make a burrito soggy – it’s best served on the side rather than inside your tortilla.

Tomatillos are not the same as green tomatoes. In fact, they are not tomatoes at all – they are part of the Cape gooseberry and the nightshade family, although they are often called the Mexican husk tomato. You need to remove the husks from the tomatillos before chopping them.


  • 4 large, chopped tomatillos
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 2 chopped serrano or jalapeno peppers
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/3 cup water (if necessary)

What To Do

  1. Blend the tomatillos, onions, peppers, and a little water in a blender until coarse.
  2. Add the cilantro and avocado and blend again.
  3. Add more water to your salsa if necessary to reach the desired consistency.
  4. Season and serve.

Where Is Avocado Salsa Popular?

Avocado salsa is a typical Mexican dish prevalent in Central Mexico. However, this avocado sauce is also well-known in the United States, where it is available as a bottled dip.

What Is Avocado Salsa Served With?

Avocado salsa is milder than other salsa, as the avocado adds a creaminess that tames the chili, so you can replace your usual salsa with avocado salsa. You could also use avocado salsa in the place of guacamole.

  • Serve avocado salsa like guacamole as an appetizer with chips.
  • Traditionally, avocado salsa accompanies carnitas, a soft tortilla filled with tender pork, or beef tacos.
  • Avocado salsa is lovely with barbequed meat, especially steak.
  • Lots of other Tex-Mex dishes


Smashed avocado, guacamole, and avocado salsa are all lovely avocado dishes, but all differ slightly. While smashed avocado is the most basic of avocado dishes, simply avo mashed with seasoning, guacamole is smashed avo upscaled, with the addition of chili, onions, garlic, and cilantro. Avocado salsa is a green salsa based on tomatillos mashed or blended with avocado and can replace guacamole.

Have any questions? Ask me in the comment section below and I’ll get back to you.

Tom Hambly

Tom Hambly is the founder of Boss The Kitchen. With a background in cooking and building websites, he enjoys running this site to help other cooks improve. About Tom Hambly.

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