When it comes to dips, guacamole is in many ways the undisputed champion. When salsa is simply not enough, a hearty cup of guacamole can give your chips a nice balance of texture as well as a bold flavor that is frankly quite addicting. All it takes is a bowl full of smashed avocado, lime juice, red onion, and whatever seasoning you see fit to make a true crowd-pleaser at any gathering, not to mention the perfect topping for tacos, burritos, and salads. But nothing can sour the mood quicker than guacamole that you can tell was made a long time ago in some factory, only to then be frozen and thawed before it reaches your table.
For some fast-food chains, preparing fresh guacamole on a daily basis is a core component of their business model. That means each avocado is hand-scooped, and each bowl of guacamole is hand-smashed and mixed before being portioned out with a side of tortilla chips. If you can nail the perfect recipe, a good side of guacamole can become a non-negotiable part of any fast-food order. And with many fast food chains charging extra for a side of guac, it is in their best interest financially to make sure it’s as fresh and tasty as possible.
With that in mind, you may be wondering where the best fast-food restaurants are when it comes to fresh guacamole. Whether you are craving chips and guac or you always add the condiment to your salads, there are many chains out there that make it fresh each and every day.
The fast food chain Chipotle prides itself on fresh ingredients, sharing on its website that it serves real food that contains no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. This policy extends to its guacamole, which means employees are hand-scooping avocados every day to then hand-mix the guacamole that is served to the customers.
Chipotle’s Executive Chef Chad Brauze even shared the company’s guacamole recipe in 2020 during the COVID pandemic so customers could learn how to recreate it at home. Not only did this give fans a way to enjoy their favorite Chipotle add-on while in quarantine, but it further emphasized how the company truly only uses real ingredients in its guacamole.
Customers love QDOBA for many reasons, one being that its guacamole is available at no extra cost—something that many of its competitors cannot claim. But beyond that, QDOBA wants its customers to know that its free guacamole is made from scratch, handmade each day with no shortcuts taken. QDOBA is big on flavor and that begins with making sure only the freshest ingredients are being used. The freshness of all of the other menu items only adds to that bold flavor QDOBA aims for.
3. El Pollo Loco
The menu at El Pollo Loco stands apart from other fast-food chains centered around Mexican cuisine. As the name implies, many of its entrees feature fire-grilled chicken that is never frozen. But its chicken is not the only thing that comes fresh. According to its website, its guacamole is also as real as it gets, made fresh each day in restaurants. This all culminates in a menu that actually features several healthier options for a fast-food chain.
4. Cafe Rio
The regional fast-food chain Cafe Rio is predominantly located in its home state of Utah and across the western United States. Cafe Rio is quite popular among its fans, thanks in large part to its commitment to high-quality food like its signature Sweet Pork Barbacoa. According to its website, customers will not spot a single freezer or microwave in the restaurant, as everything is prepared fresh on-site. And, according to Nation’s Restaurant News, that includes its guacamole, along with other salsas and dressings that are prepared in-house every day.
5. Baja Fresh
Baja Fresh is loud and proud in its commitment to fresh ingredients. Its website clearly emphasizes how customers can rely on Baja Fresh for a meal that does not contain processed ingredients, nor was it at any point frozen or heated up in a microwave. That practice has resulted in highly-regarded menu items, like its Grilled Shrimp Taco. And if you are going to order shrimp at a fast food chain, you would hope that they are as fresh as can be. Baja Fresh is also very up-front with its guacamole, which is handmade every day using only avocados, garlic, lime juice, jalapenos, cilantro, and red onion.
6. Del Taco
When hunger strikes and you are craving a taco, the solution to your problem can be found in the name of this next fast food chain. Del Taco knows a thing or two about making a great taco, but its menu is filled with other highly-regarded entrees and sides. In 2020, Restaurant News shared that Del Taco was adding Fresh Guacamole to its menu, comprised of only four ingredients: Haas avocados, handmade pico de gallo, lime juice, and a seasoning blend.
The guacamole is made daily in each restaurant, so when you order a side of chips and guac, you will know that it was likely hand-mixed just a short while ago. The guacamole is in good company, as Del Taco focuses on numerous fresh ingredients, including its marinated chicken and carne asada.
7. Moe’s Southwest Grill
The Moe’s Southwest Grill of today is not like how you may remember. The company went through several major changes in 2021 to turn its struggling business model around, including a fresh new look at its menu and restaurants. The Tex-Mex chain revitalized its menu offerings to ensure quality ingredients were reaching its customers, and today you can expect to find a fresh lineup of meats, sides, and dips to enjoy—along with free chips and salsa with every order. Moe’s Southwest Grill also has its own guacamole, which it shares is made fresh every day.
8. Torchy’s Tacos
The small but mighty fast-food chain Torchy’s Tacos has locations across the United States. It asserts that it makes “damn good tacos,” which is a bold statement considering the steep competition. Not only are the ingredients fresh, but Torchy’s Tacos claims that each ingredient is responsibly sourced. Its guacamole even comes topped with cotija cheese, offering a unique flavor you will not find at other fast-food establishments. Torchy’s Tacos once shared on social media how its guacamole is made using real avocados, ensuring a fresh bite with every housemade tortilla chip.