Appetizers

30 Traditional Mexican Appetizers

Kick up the heat at your next Cinco de Mayo party!

Claire Onidi By
Claire Onidi
Passionate about food and pastries since always, Claire spends most of her time in the kitchen to develop new recipes. She is French but lived many years abroad.
Learn more about me
Updated September 3, 2022

If you’re searching for new recipes for your next Cinco de Mayo fiesta, this list of Mexican appetizers has you covered.

From corn salad and rajas con crema to nachos and mini-burritos, these traditional Mexican dishes are surely classical you want to discover. Don’t forget about dips – too.

All of these recipes are easy to make, packed with flavor, and they’ll keep your guests coming back for more.

30 Traditional Mexican Appetizers

01. Salsa Verde Queso

What’s the perfect accompaniment for tortilla chips? This addictive queso.

The cream cheese and sour cream make this dip ooey-gooey and delicious. And the salsa verde and jalapeno peppers give it a kick.

It’s really easy, too. Just brown the garlic and add the rest of the ingredients to the pan.

Then make sure the cheese is melted, and you’re good to go. So, open a bag of chips and get dipping.

02. Nachos Supreme

Of all the Mexican appetizer recipes for a fiesta, nachos are obviously the classic choice.

So get inspired and pick your favorite toppings to build the ultimate “supreme” nachos. Some great options are refried beans, taco seasoning (for a kick!), diced avocado, and black olives.

And don’t forget the cheese!

For a large crowd, bake these in the oven. But if you’re just eating alone, you can make a single portion in a toaster oven.

03. Roasted Poblano Queso Fundido

“Queso fundido” means “melted cheese” in Spanish. To us, it also means “delicious”.

This is a great way to start off a Cinco de Mayo celebration. Just open a bag of chips.

Roasting the poblanos adds smokiness and depth to this dip. So don’t skip that step. But do make sure you remove the burnt skins, seeds, and stems before dicing the peppers.

And top it with fresh cilantro for a tasty garnish.

04. Jalapeno Corn Cakes

When you’re tired of tortillas, whip up a batch of these jalapeno cakes. They have a delicious corn flavor and a hint of spice from the peppers.

If you make these small, they’re an amazing appetizer. And if you want a delicious vegetarian main course, just make them a little bigger.

But either way, make sure you have some sour cream for dipping.

05. Rajas con Crema

Rajas con crema is a staple of Mexican cuisine. While it’s often used as a soft taco filling, it’s also delicious as a dip.

So grab some chips, or try it the traditional way with soft corn tortillas.

If you can’t find Oaxacan cheese, you can substitute shredded mozzarella or Monterey Jack.

And if you want a heartier Mexican appetizer, stir in some shredded chicken. (That’s a great use for leftover meat!)

06. Jalapeño Poppers with Bacon

How can you top a popper? Add bacon.

These jalapeno poppers aren’t your run-of-the-mill snack: because they’re stuffed with creamy cheese and crispy bacon.

If you’re a vegetarian or keep kosher, you can use artificial bacon bits. Or you can add sautéed mushrooms for some “meatiness.”

Whichever way you stuff them, make sure there’s plenty of cheese! So sprinkle some green onions on your jalapeno poppers, and get snacking!

07. Baked Jicama Fries with Olive Oil and Paprika

Jicama is a root vegetable that tastes a bit like an apple with the texture of a potato. So the crunch and slight sweetness make amazing fries.

They’re great as Mexican appetizers or a side dish for burgers. Plus, they’re healthy since they’re baked in the oven instead of fried.

If you have leftover raw jicama, try sprinkling slices with chile, lime, and salt for an authentic snack. Or try dipping it in chamoy sauce!

08. Keto Queso Dip With Goat and Cheddar Cheese

More cheese? Yes, please!

The goat cheese and cheddar cheese make this dip tangy. Then the coconut milk makes it extra creamy.

It’s one of the easiest Mexican appetizer recipes on this list. And to make your job easier, you can use canned green chiles instead of fresh jalapenos.

Just throw everything in a pan, and heat it up. Plus, if you’re following a keto diet, this recipe fits right in.

09. Chicken Enchilada Dip

Turn classic enchiladas on their head! You can serve this dip as an appetizer or as a delicious and filling Mexican meal.

This recipe calls for cream cheese and pepper jack, but you can use your favorite blend of cheeses. Just add the shredded chicken, green chilies, black beans, and spices — and you’re good to go.

You can also use taco seasoning mix if you don’t have chili powder and cumin.

10. Cheesy Beef Empanadas

Empanadas are the perfect hand-held Mexican food. They’re finger-licking good.

Just cook the ground beef with some spices, add the cheese, seal them up, and bake.

Don’t be afraid of homemade dough. But if you want a shortcut, you can use pre-made pie crust.

And if you want to get creative, you can make different shapes with the dough. Also, don’t skip the egg wash: that’s what makes them shiny.

11. Loaded Black Bean Dip

This black bean dip is one of the most colorful Mexican appetizers on this list. With the chopped cilantro leaves, diced tomatoes, and a sprinkling of cotija cheese, it looks just like the Mexican flag.

The lime juice and spices jazz up the black beans. Also, consider adding other chopped veggies, such as bell peppers, for even more texture.

So grab some homemade tortilla chips, and you’ve got a party.

12. Chipotle Black Bean Soup

Looking for an appetizer to warm you up? Get out your biggest pot because this soup is a crowd-pleaser.

The smokiness of the chipotles adds a richness to the broth. And the onions pickled in lime juice add a sourness that complements the black beans.

This is one of those Mexican appetizer recipes that works well as a main course. So just choose your serving dishes accordingly.

Get your spoons ready!

13. Baked Tortilla Chips

Tortilla chips are a great Mexican appetizer because they’re so versatile. You can top them with anything you like.

Plus, these baked tortilla chips are easier (and healthier) than driving to the store for the bagged kind. They just need a little cooking spray, and they crisp right up in the oven.

Then you can customize them with spices and taco seasoning. And make sure to serve them with your favorite dip!

14. Mexican Street Corn (Elote)

Move over, butter and salt. It’s time for mayonnaise, cotija cheese, and a sprinkle of chili powder and lime juice.

This corn is a great appetizer for a cookout because you can grill the cobs with your burgers. And kids will love adding all the toppings!

While Mexican elote corn is typically starchier than American cobs, summer sweet corn tastes delicious in this Mexican dish.

15. Mexican Confetti Squares

Looking for a no-cook Mexican appetizer? Well, look no further.

You can make these elegant little squares in advance for cocktail or dinner parties. Just prep them beforehand and refrigerate them overnight.

It’s a great recipe to experiment with because you can add your favorite fillings. So try using fresh cilantro or refried beans.

They would also be delicious (and a little messy) dipped in tomato salsa.

16. Chicken Taquitos

Homemade is always better — especially when it’s quick and easy.

With spices, spinach, and sour cream, these chicken taquitos are much more delicious than the store-bought frozen ones.

These are also some of the best Mexican appetizers to make ahead. You can roll them up a day in advance or freeze them for longer.

Just make sure you have some salsa to dip them in! Stick with classic tomato, or try green tomatillo salsa!

17. Mexican 7 Layered Dip

Don’t feel like spending hours in the kitchen? This dip doesn’t need any cooking, and it’s an easy dish to make ahead.

All the layers are super flavorful, and you can customize the dip, too! For example, you can add some minced onion or bell pepper for a bit of crunch.

Then serve the dip with your favorite chips, crackers, or even sliced carrots and celery! And it’s a classic snack for game day!

18. Mini Taco Bowls

Perfect for Taco Tuesday, these little bowls will impress your eyes and tickle your tastebuds. But they’re also super easy because you cut the shells out of flour tortillas.

Just make the fillings, bake the shells, and assemble.

Plus, you can always change up the filling. Try adding avocados, black olives, or other toppings if you’d like.

You can also use frozen phyllo pastry shells if you have those hanging around, or try making your own pie crust!

19. Mexican Shrimp Guacamole Bites

Take a trip sea-side with these little shrimp bites. Similar to tostadas, these Mexican appetizers pack a lot of punch — but in one bite.

Just layer up a corn chip with some juicy shrimp and guacamole, and you have a flavor fiesta! They’re quick and easy to assemble.

For an even more tropical taste, try adding some sliced mango and a sprinkle of chili powder. Or, drizzle with habanero hot sauce for a kick.

20. Mexican Pinwheels

For a Tex Mex or Cinco de Mayo party, these little pinwheels are the perfect easy appetizer. Just roll, slice, and melt the cheese.

You can also experiment with your fillings. For example, you can try different cheese blends.

And try adding shredded chicken or bacon crumbles for a heartier roll. Or add some finely-chopped onion for a bit of crunch.

Then, of course, serve them with your favorite salsa or pico de gallo.

21. Taco-Stuffed Mini Peppers

Who said tacos have to have tortillas? With this fresh little dish, you get the flavors of a taco inside a petite pepper.

This fun, low-carb take on tacos is the perfect Mexican appetizer. The meat and cheese are satisfying, and the mini peppers add a bit of sweetness.

And if you want to take it up a notch, just add more taco seasoning or a dash of hot sauce. Or top with chopped scallions.

22. Mexican Street Corn Salad

If you don’t like getting your fingers dirty, take your corn off the cob with this delicious salad. This is a street food classic in Mexican cuisine — and with good reason.

The mayo and cheese combine to form a creamy broth for the corn, and the pepper adds a bit of spice. Yum!

You can also put your own spin on this dish by adding black olives, chopped bell pepper, or your favorite toppings.

23. Mexican Veggie Bowls

Can you savor all the flavors of Mexican food in one bite? Yes!

These little veggie cups are packed with beans, corn, spices, and — of course — cheese! Baked to crispy in the oven, they’re great finger food for a party.

They’re also really easy because you use frozen pastry cups. So, just fill up the shells and bake!

Plus, they’re perfect for a vegetarian crowd. You can add some shredded meat for the carnivores, though.

24. Mini Mexican Pizzas

Take Mexican food to Italy in this delicious fusion combination.

These tiny pizzas use tortillas as the base. And they’re the perfect size for Mexican appetizers when you cut out circles with a biscuit cutter.

Then top them with your favorite items, such as avocado and refried beans. And don’t forget the salsa and sour cream!

You could also make larger pizzas for main dishes by using the tortillas whole.

25. Easy Cheesy Veggie Quesadillas

Hot out of the pan, these quesadillas are pure Tex Mex comfort food.

They’re one of the classics of American Mexican food, and with good reason. They’re simple to make and delicious to eat.

You can also try out your favorite fillings. For example, bacon bits or sautéed mushrooms would be yummy.

Make sure to top the quesadillas with pico de gallo or dip them in tomato salsa — your taste buds will thank you!

26. Roasted Cauliflower Tacos

Cauliflower is a very versatile vegetable. And when it’s roasted with spices, it’s the star of these incredible vegetarian tacos.

For a bit of freshness, add some shredded cabbage or chopped cilantro. You could also throw on some diced green chiles or chopped green onion.

Then squeeze some lime juice on top, and you’re ready for your first bite.

For vegans, swap guacamole for the avocado crema, and then pour on your favorite salsa.

27. Charred Peppers With Queso Blanco

How do you elevate queso dip? Top it with sweet and smoky peppers, and then add some crushed chips for crunch.

If you can’t find poblanos or mini sweet peppers, just sub extra bell peppers. But try to use different colored ones for extra visual appeal.

This is one of those Mexican appetizer recipes that’s great for sharing with family or friends. Just whip up a big batch and hand out more chips (or spoons)!

28. Simple Guacamole

​​There’s no Mexican appetizer better than the classic dip: guacamole.

Adjust the seasoning to suit your taste buds, but make sure you throw in plenty of lime juice. This adds some tang and helps keep the avocado from browning.

You can also keep the pits in the serving bowl to prevent browning.

Just a few simple ingredients make an easy (and delicious!) appetizer. So slice up some avocados, grab a large bowl, and get smashing!

29. Tamale Bites

Traditional tamales take a lot of time and effort. But with these bites, you get all that great flavor packed into easy little cups.

You can use leftover meat from last night’s dinner to speed up the prep, so make extra. Any type of shredded meat will taste great.

And make sure you use masa rather than cornmeal. Masa has a finer grind, similar to flour, and it will hold the cups together.

30. Fresh Mango Salsa

Sweet, salty, sour, and spicy: it’s the perfect combination for topping chips or baguette toasts.

This mango salsa packs a punch with bright flavors from the fruit, cilantro, and lime. Plus, the onion adds a little crunch, and the jalapenos make it pop.

It’s also best to make the salsa a little before serving so that the flavors have time to meld. Therefore, make it at least 15-20 minutes before you plan to serve it.

30 Traditional Mexican Appetizers

Directions


  1. Pick a mix of recipes to try out.

  2. Have fun in the kitchen.

  3. Lay out your spread.

  4. Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with friends and family! (And great food!)

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