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Mexican Appetizer Recipes

Updated on September 3, 2012
Easy Nacho Pizza
Easy Nacho Pizza | Source

Mexican Recipes

Today, I’m sharing a few Mexican appetizer recipes with you. We really like authentic Mexican food, and we have a wonderful source for it. We became friends with a couple from Mexico, Jonas and Julia, who opened a restaurant just a couple of blocks away from our house, and hubby and I are regular customers. We eat there at least once or twice a week. We’ve also attended private parties held at the couple’s home, and I’ve learned a lot about Mexican recipes and Mexican cooking. For one thing, I’ve learned a lot about Mexican spices. I also learned the time and effort involved in making some of the authentic Mexican food. For example, Julia spends an entire day to make a big batch of mole, but it’s amazing. I’m still learning, however, and some – but not all - of the Mexican recipes I make have an American influence. You might see what I mean when you examine my Mexican appetizer recipes.

We like MOST authentic Mexican food.
We like MOST authentic Mexican food. | Source

Authentic Mexican Food

Jonas and his cooks at El Cazador make authentic Mexican food. They’re all natives of Mexico, and they take much pride in their culture and heritage, and that includes their Mexican food recipes. Everything is made from scratch and often includes fresh spices and herbs. They serve most of the Mexican-American favorites, including nachos, tacos, burritos, chimichangas, tamales, fajitas, quesadillas, and enchiladas. They also serve some traditional Mexican food recipes you might never have heard of. Heck, if I hadn’t taken years of high school and college Spanish, I wouldn’t be able to pronounce the names of some of the dishes!

At the private parties, more authentic Mexican food is served. Most of these Mexican recipes are wonderful, but I’ll admit that there are a couple I don’t care for. Pig-ear tacos and menudo come to mind. I’m fairly adventurous, but I wouldn’t even taste these. The tacos we’ve eaten at the home of Jonas and Julia – even the ones made with beef – were much different than the tacos served in the restaurant. They were super hot! Maybe I don’t like all authentic Mexican food, but I do like most of it.

Quesadillas can be filled with just about anything!
Quesadillas can be filled with just about anything! | Source

Traditional Mexican Food Recipes

Traditional Mexican food recipes include a wide range of options – appetizers, soups, seafood, beef, chicken, pork, vegetables, legumes, dairy products, fruits, grains, and desserts. Typical Mexican appetizers served in restaurants might include wings; mushrooms, onions, and melted cheese; queso and chips; queso and chorizo; and salsa verde – a hotter green version of regular salsa.

Traditional Mexican food recipes you might not see in U.S. restaurants include pibil pollo, chicken cooked with chilies and sour oranges; pickled vegetables; birria, goat or lamb cooked in a Dutch oven with vinegar and spices; bison stew; poc-chuc, salt-cured pork cooked with onions and orange juice; roasted grasshoppers; and lemon soup.

Much of the food in Mexico is regional. In other words, each different area of the country has its own favorite foods and its own favorite spices and herbs. As I learned firsthand from a Mexican woman, all authentic Mexican food isn’t hot and spicy. I’m not sure which part of the nation Jonas and Julia are from, but wherever it is, super spicy food must be a big part of the culture.

typical Mexican spices
typical Mexican spices | Source

Mexican Spices

Most authentic Mexican food includes spices and herbs that give many of the dishes a “kick.” I’ve become so used to eating hot foods at Jonas’s restaurant that so-called hot, spicy foods at American restaurants don’t even taste warm to me. I ordered the hottest wings at Applebee’s the other night, and I drowned them in hot sauce at the table, but they still didn’t come close to what I’ve become used to. Mexican spices like cumin, chili powder, cayenne, and chipotle. Other popular Mexican spices and herbs include cilantro, cocoa powder, cinnamon, vanilla, achiote, garlic powder, onion powder, and Mexican oregano.

Popular ingredients often used in traditional Mexican food recipes include tomatoes, cactus, corn, masa, rice, dried beans, squash, tomatillos, chicken, goat, fish, turkey, pork, beef, bell peppers, wild game, jicama, avocado, lime juice, peanuts, agave, sunflower seeds, cheeses, and lots of different types of peppers.

Keep in mind that when it comes to Mexican spices, they’re a little different than American-made spice combinations and blends. The Mexican versions we buy at a local Mexican grocery store have a more pronounced, richer flavor. If you want to try your hand at Mexican cooking and traditional Mexican food recipes, I strongly suggest you use real Mexican spices. Believe me - you’ll be able to tell the difference, in most cases.

Try these Mexican appetizer recipes.
Try these Mexican appetizer recipes. | Source

Mexican Appetizer Recipes

Included here are six recipes for Mexican food. More specifically, these serve well as Mexican appetizer recipes. These are great to serve at Cinco de Mayo parties or any type of get-togethers. They’re also good for snacking, any time. In fact, these Mexican appetizer recipes can even serve as dinner, if you eat enough of them! Hubby made a big plate of all the foods presented here, which served as his dinner.

Rate my recipe. Thanks!

4.5 stars from 2 ratings of Mexican Shrimp Cocktail

Cook Time

Prep time: 15 min
Ready in: 15 min
Yields: 4 servings
Coctel de Camaron (Mexican  Shrimp Cocktail)
Coctel de Camaron (Mexican Shrimp Cocktail) | Source


  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup tomato juice
  • 1/2 cup orange juice or orange soda
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons chopped jalapeno peppers
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • hot sauce, to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 pound cooked shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed
  • 1 large avocado, peeled and diced


  1. In a large bowl, combine ketchup, tomato juice, orange juice, onion, peppers, lime juice, cilantro, hot sauce, and salt. Stir until smooth.
  2. Add shrimp and avocado.
  3. Chill until very cold.
Mariachi Drumsticks
Mariachi Drumsticks | Source

Mariachi Drumsticks


10 small chicken legs or 20 drumettes

1 stick butter

2 tablespoons hot sauce

1 tablespoon lime juice

½ cup buttermilk cornmeal

½ cup self-rising flour

1 teaspoon garlic salt

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon cayenne

1 teaspoon cumin

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rinse chicken parts and pat dry.

Place butter in a glass bowl and microwave until melted. Stir in lime juice and hot sauce.

Combine cornmeal, flour, and remaining ingredients.

Dip chicken in butter and then roll in cornmeal-flour mixture.

Place on foil-lined baking sheet and cook for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and spray chicken with cooking spray. Sprinkle with more garlic salt and cayenne. Cook for 10-25 minutes longer, until juices run clear. Large drumsticks take longer to cook than do drumettes.

Baked Chili Cheese Dip
Baked Chili Cheese Dip | Source

Baked Chili Cheese Dip


15-ounce jar chili cheese dip

½ cup cooked ground beef, drained and crumbled

2 tablespoons chopped onion

2 tablespoons chopped jalapeno peppers

1 teaspoon minced garlic

Grated cheese

Directions: Combine cheese dip, ground beef, chopped onion, jalapenos, and garlic in a small baking dish. Top with grated cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve with chips or crackers.

Baked Super Nachos
Baked Super Nachos | Source

Baked Super Nachos


4 large flour tortillas

Cooking spray

1 jar salsa

Grated cheese

Cooked and crumbled ground beef

Diced onion

Jalapeno rings

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Spray foil-lined cookie sheet with cooking spray. Arrange tortillas on tray. Spray tortillas. Bake for 5-7 minutes, until tortillas are slightly crisp.

Spread tortillas with salsa. Top with grated cheese, beef, onion, and jalapeno rings. Bake until cheese is melted. Cut into squares.

Easy Mexican recipes include dips and spreads.
Easy Mexican recipes include dips and spreads. | Source

Easy Mexican Recipes

Some of the most yummy Mexican appetizer recipes of all are dips and spreads. These are easy Mexican recipes that can be served with tortilla chips, potato chips, bagel chips, or crackers. Sometimes I even dip my pork rinds in the dips to avoid a lot of carbs. Seriously – try dipping your pork skins in the roasted red pepper dip. It’s yummy! It’s even better if you use the hot and spicy pork rinds.

Other easy Mexican recipes include quesadillas. Baking quesadillas in the oven is a lot quicker and easier than frying them in a skillet. Also, you can make more of them at one time. I like to fold mine over before baking because I think it makes slicing quicker. For Mexican appetizer recipes, I often make cheese quesadillas, but if you want something more substantial, add chicken, ground beef, or shrimp.

Roasted Red Pepper Dip
Roasted Red Pepper Dip | Source

Roasted Red Pepper Dip


12-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained

¼ white onion, cut into quarters

2 tablespoons sour cream

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon lime juice

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon cayenne

Directions: Place all ingredients in blender or food processor and grind until mixture is smooth. Serve with chips or crackers.

Cover half the tortilla with the filling.
Cover half the tortilla with the filling. | Source
Fold tortillas over and spray with cooking spray. Bake.
Fold tortillas over and spray with cooking spray. Bake. | Source
Slice into triangles.
Slice into triangles. | Source

Baked Triple-Cheese Quesadillas

Baked quesadillas are such easy Mexican recipes that I don’t even need to put this in recipe form. These are tasty Mexican appetizer recipes that you can tweak to your own liking. Start with a foil-lined cookie sheet. Spray it generously with cooking spray. Place tortillas on the sprayed sheet. Spread ½ of each tortilla with salsa. Sprinkle grated white cheese, grated cheddar cheese, and grated jack cheese over salsa. Add diced or shredded meat, seafood, and/or veggies, if you like. Sprinkle cheeses with garlic salt, Mexican oregano, onion powder, and cayenne or chipotle powder. Fold tortilla over and spray top with cooking spray. Bake at 400 degrees for 6-8 minutes. Cut each tortilla in half, and then cut each half in half, making four triangles from each tortilla. Like many Mexican appetizer recipes, these are great with sour cream.


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