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How to Make Mexican Chili Spiced Peanuts. Easy, Spicy and Addictive Bar Food!

Updated on October 22, 2008

Build up a thirst...

Mexican chili spiced nuts – these are not exactly spiced nuts in the more well known sense…as in the sugary chewy almost brittle like spiced nuts that appear round the holidays. These Mexican spiced peanuts are more blue-collar, and they are most definitely not a Christmas time only kind of snack.

These nuts, are in fact, common barroom fare most anywhere south of the border and they are used by savvy proprietors as a thirst building tool, bar tenders knowing full well that as more plates of these addictive salty spicy nuts get munched, more beers, margaritas and tequilas are sure to follow!

I got the inspiration for my version from Dianne Kennedy and "the Essential Cuisines of Mexico", which is a book well worth owning as a complete primer of the cuisine.

Mexican Red Chili Spiced Peanuts

  • 2 cups shelled but unsalted blanched peanuts
  • Freshly ground red chili powder* to taste (about 2 full tablespoons) the amount you use will depend on the heat of the chili – and your personal desire for piquancy. This should be a taste as you go kind of recipe.
  • A Tablespoon of vegetable oil for frying
  • Salt to taste

*You should always, if possible, blend your own chili powder. Pre ground store bought powders are uniformly dull and lifeless, and making your own only takes a minute in the blender (Or better in the spice mill attachment to your blender of food processor). Simply add any variety of hot dried red chili to a heavy pan heated over medium and toast the chilis until slightly darkened, but not blackened – no oil is needed. Once the chilis have been toasted, process in the blender.

3 Easy steps to Spicy Nuts

  1. Heat the oil in a heavy skillet set over medium. When the oil is hot, add in the peanuts and stir constantly until well roasted and browned. Turn off the heat a bit before the peanuts are done, as the residual heat from the peanuts and pan will continue to cook the nuts for a while. Don't add the chili powder to the peanuts until after you have turned the heat off – as the chili powder can burn.
  2. Once the nuts have brown-roasted, add in the chili powder to taste, and a good couple of pinches of salt. Stir to mix completely.
  3. Serve on little plates or bowls as an accompaniment to a few Coronas or tequilas with lime!

These will keep for weeks, well covered, at room temperature.


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