Mexican Restaurant Appetizers You Can Make at Home
Mexican cuisine is a favorite food for many, and Mexican restaurant appetizers are the best of the best. Many consumers visit Mexican restaurants for the guacamole and salsa alone, but there’s no reason to pay good money for the spicy stuff when you can easily make the snacks at home. As long as you have a few good Mexican snack recipes in your arsenal, you can bring the Mexican fiesta to your kitchen. Here are seven food formulas to get you started. Bring these Mexican-inspired bites out at pregames, parties, and tailgates, and you’ll soon be putting your favorite Mexican chain out of business.
1. The Best Guacamole
First up is Alton Brown’s tried-and-true guacamole recipe featured on Food Network. It’s classic and simple, but it’s what everyone is looking for when they dip their chip into the green stuff. The guacamole is creamy and perfectly seasoned thanks to the avocado and spices, and it also comes with a kick on account of the jalapeño pepper. Buy your chips and get ready to dip into this one.
- 3 Hass avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
- 1 lime, juiced
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon cayenne
- ½ medium onion, diced
- ½ jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
- 2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- 1 clove garlic, minced
Head to Food Network for the full recipe.
2. Cheesy Bean Dip
Another Mexican-inspired dip perfect for parties is this cheesy bean dip from Taste of Home. Three kinds of cheeses, sour cream, and refried beans all get packed into this snack. Yielding 40 servings and taking 30 minutes to make, this is one dip that takes a little and gives a lot. Making your bean dip at home is the cost-effective way to eat your favorite cuisine from the comfort of your own living room.
- 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 can refried beans
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 package cream cheese, softened
- 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
- Tortilla chips
Head to Taste of Home for the full recipe.
3. Chicken Enchilada Nachos
What could be better than regular nachos, you ask? Chicken enchilada nachos. We can thank Gimme Some Oven for this one. The recipe developer behind this food formula takes one classic Mexican meal and folds it into another. All of your favorite chicken enchilada ingredients are packed onto a bed of corn tortilla chips, and then it’s time to dive in. This fun finger food is the perfect snack to serve at parties, and it’s especially appealing for home chefs as it takes less than 20 minutes to make.
- 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
- 1½ cups red enchilada sauce, homemade or store-bought, divided
- 10 ounces corn tortilla chips
- 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, freshly-grated
- 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
- ½ cup black beans, rinsed and drained
- ½ cup diced red onion
- ½ cup whole kernel corn, drained
- 1 small jalapeño, stemmed, seeded and diced
- ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Head to Gimme Some Oven for the full recipe.
4. Roasted Tomato Salsa
Up in our No. 4 spot is the dip most popular at Mexican restaurants, second only to guacamole. It’s safe to say people like their chips and salsa, and with the right recipe, you can easily serve up the Mexican-flavored star. Take this roasted tomato salsa recipe from Once Upon a Chef and get started. Your salsa can be as hot and spicy as you like, and this variety is already especially flavorful thanks to the fresh vegetables the recipe employs. The recipe developer explains that roasting the vegetables “intensifies the flavor of the tomatoes, mellows the onions and garlic, and adds a light touch of smokiness.” All that and the salsa still couldn’t be easier to make. Follow these foolproof instructions and get ready for Mexican snack food heaven.
- 4 vine-ripened tomatoes, quartered
- 2 small yellow onions, cut into wedges
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled
- 3 Serrano chili peppers, stemmed (use less for a milder salsa)
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ¼ cup cilantro leaves
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, from one lime, plus more if needed
Head to Once Upon a Chef for the full recipe.
5. Mini Avocado and Hummus Quesadillas
To make your quesadillas more finger-food friendly, make them mini. This recipe from Cookin Canuck for mini avocado hummus quesadillas yields a Mexican-inspired appetizer that will appeal to everyone. The quesadillas are meat-free but full of healthy fats and protein thanks to hummus and avocado, and better yet, each one yields only 66 calories. This is one party snack that is undeniably good for both your taste buds and your waistline.
- 4 whole-wheat tortillas
- ¼ cup hummus
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon minced cilantro
- ½ California avocado, cut into 12 slices
- 1½ ounces crumbled queso fresco
Head to Cookin Canuck for the full recipe.
6. Pico de Gallo
For another healthy Mexican dish, try this homemade pico de gallo from The Kitchn. Whether you enjoy the fresh salad with a chip or with a fork, it’ll no doubt appease you. And how can it not? Made simply with fresh tomatoes, peppers, and cilantro, as long as the salad is seasoned correctly, it’s both flavorful and filling. Serve it alongside the other Mexican-inspired goodies at your party and give your guests a light, refreshing, and delicious option.
- ¼ whole onion (½ cup finely diced)
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 lime
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 to 2 jalapeño peppers
- 4 to 6 plum tomatoes
- About ½ bunch cilantro
Head to The Kitchn for the full recipe.
7. Grilled Chicken Tostadas
One final Mexican snack recipe that employs meat is this formula for Martha Stewart’s grilled chicken tostadas. To make homemade tostadas, you simply toast corn tortillas before topping them with marinated chicken, onions, avocado, cilantro, and sour cream. Grilled chicken tostadas are perfect for the party times when you want a bite of the good stuff but want to leave room for other food, too, and now you can get your taco fix without ruining your guacamole appetite. This recipe serves 4 and takes 30 minutes to make.
- 4 boneless and skinless chicken breast halves
- 8 corn tortillas (6 inches each)
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more for seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more for seasoning
- 2 red onions, sliced into ½-inch-thick rounds
- Chopped lettuce, sliced tomatoes and avocados, fresh cilantro, and sour cream, for serving
Head to Martha Stewart for the full recipe.