No matter if you are planning a party or casual dinner, Mexican food has that versatility. It’s bright, flavorful, and aesthetically pleasing! All of these recipes are affordable and easy to put together.
All these dishes can be upscale or low-key. You can confidently serve them at tailgating parties, wedding showers, or dinners on Tuesdays due to their versatility.
The hardest part of this process will be narrowing down the dishes you want to serve.
We will get into the best Mexican appetizers and how to prepare them. We will also touch on the ingredients, so you can make dishes that use elements that overlap.
So, here are 17 tasty Mexican appetizer ideas and recipes for you to try.
You may be wondering why salsa is the first appetizer on the list.
It may seem plain or uncreative, but it’s a tasty staple for your roster. Serving green salsa instead of red is a great way to make your event more upscale, especially when it’s homemade.
The ingredients are tomatillos, onions, garlic, parsley, and peppers. It usually calls for serrano, but you can substitute it with other peppers to suit your spiciness preferences.
You can use this salsa verde as a dip or as a topping. There’s room for creativity in its preparation as well.
You can boil to achieve a milder, vegetable-focused flavor or roast to get a nice, smokey flavor. It’s easy to make a bunch at once and store it, too.
Nachos are a must-have Mexican appetizer. They’re easy to prepare and customize to your taste while still giving the impression that you worked hard to make them.
They look savory and inviting due to all the bright colors, too.
The essential elements are chips, cheese, beans, tomatoes, and green onions. Feel free to add beef, chicken, or steak.
There are lots of other toppings that would taste delicious on top, like sour cream, black olives, and corn. Go crazy and put the supreme in there!
Chicken Enchilada Dip
I love chicken enchilada dip! It’s a much more filling alternative to plain cheese dip and cooks itself if you go the slow cooker route.
For this recipe, you’ll need chicken, cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, and Rotel. Feel free to add other toppings.
The Rotel is an easier substitution for enchilada sauce, but feel free to change that back if you prefer. You can also save some time by buying pre-cooked chicken, but it’s not required.
I would use a slow cooker because you can throw everything in and serve it from the same dish.
Jicama fries are a great halfway point between Mexican food and American food.
Mostly everybody likes fries. This appetizer will appeal to pickier eaters. The fries are easy to make and comparable in price to regular fries made with potatoes.
All you need is Jicamas and seasonings. If you’ve never had Jicama, it tastes like an apple that’s not too sweet; or like a potato that’s a little extra sweet.
Jicama fries have fewer carbs than regular potato fries, which counts as a bonus. This could be a great combo with the enchilada dip, too.
This is another dish you can get creative with. You can grill, bake, or deep-fry these jalapeno poppers.
In my experience, the flavor doesn’t change too drastically from method to method, so do what’s easiest for you.
If you’re planning on grilling something else, then grill these. The same goes for baking or deep-frying.
You’ll find some slight variation in the stuffing, so look at it as an opportunity to customize. You may want to level these poppers up to armadillo eggs by adding meat.
Elote is an excellent appetizer to add to your menu. It’s a vegetable, so it’ll help balance out the other dishes, and it uses the same ingredients as other recipes.
All you need is corn, cheese, mayonnaise, and chili powder. You can use butter too, but you don’t necessarily “need” it.
A few other appetizers use corn, so you can buy extra and make them all at once. What goes better with corn than more corn?
Serve the elote with different kinds of hot sauce, so that people can make it as spicy as they want to. Hot sauce is the spice of life.
7 Layer Dip
The seven-layer dip is another great party staple. It’s so easy to make in advance and keep in the fridge, and it’s more filling than a regular dip.
The recipe I use calls for salsa, refried beans, sour cream, cream cheese, milk, guacamole, cheese, black olives, and chives.
That looks like a lot of stuff, but we do have to make seven layers here. If there was something that you didn’t like, you could easily leave that layer out or look for a substitution.
You can also make fun shapes or spell out a word with the black olives. Be sure to serve with sturdy chips.
You know that I had to put traditional queso on here, too.
Some quesos are going to be better than others, but I think it’s hard to make a bad one. It’s so easy to prepare in advance and calls for three ingredients: cheese, milk, and butter.
You’ll see any number of variations on these ingredients, as well as add-ins to ramp up the flavor.
I recommend using white cheese so that it looks more authentic. American cheese is a suitable choice if you don’t want to or can’t use Mexican cheese.
If you like a little spice, I also recommend adding garlic, cumin, and cayenne pepper.
Feel free to quite literally beef up this dip by adding ground meat. Throw tomatoes and chives on top for a superb presentation.
Before you judge, they aren’t the taquitos in a box from the freezer aisle.
These are homemade, and they’re incredible. You’ll simply need tortillas, chicken, cheese, and seasonings.
You have some options in how you prepare them, but one is more authentic than the rest: frying.
In my opinion, frying the taquitos in a cast iron skillet on the stove is perfect. You can make the taquitos with no sauce and have an array of sauces on the side to appeal to more people.
Chicken taquitos would work well with literally every other appetizer on this list, too.
Mexican Corn Salad
Here’s another delicious way to use corn! The Mexican corn salad shares a lot of ingredients with elote, so they’re good to make together, even if their flavors compete.
If you’re concerned about that, make them both at the same time and save one for another day. Easy-peasy.
I love how well the corn salad balances out other dishes. Mexican food can be a little heavy and spicy sometimes.
Having a side that’s light, bright, and creamy is nice. And since it’s called a salad, it’s healthy, right? I think it does.
When I first heard about mango salsa, I was a bit skeptical. But somehow, it’s crazy delicious.
The mangos work so well with the peppers, onion, and spices. It made me wonder if we could go the other way and make a smoothie with peppers and onions. Who knows?
Like every other appetizer on this list, it’s easy to prepare. You just chop all the stuff and toss it together in a bowl.
The longer you let it sit, the more time the flavors have to marinate. Making it yourself also lets you control the spiciness level.
You can easily use this as a taco topping or eat it by itself as more of a salad.
Easy Chicken Tacos
You’ll have to keep searching if you were looking for the difficult chicken tacos.
We only have easy appetizers in these parts. For this recipe, you’ll need chicken, tortillas, and seasonings. If you want to top them the same as me, you’ll need avocado, cilantro, and lime.
I know people like to customize their tacos, but preparing them this way makes things easier for you.
You don’t have to put out a bowl of every single topping in existence. The tacos are on one plate and ready to go. It’d be easy to take this recipe and turn it into a chicken taco salad, too.
Aside from the eggs needed for the batter, this recipe uses ingredients that can be used in many other appetizers.
There are chips, avocado, onion, pepper, and lime. Now, this one is a little more involved, but the payoff is certainly worth it. Deep-fried guacamole will change your life.
You’re mixing everything but the chips and rolling them into little balls. You freeze the balls and then dip them in egg and then chips.
Then you fry them. I think it’s creative and efficient to use chips for the exterior. It’s like eating chips and dip, but on the next level.
Black Bean and Corn Salad
This is another way to use your corn, but I would recommend not making the black bean and corn salad at the same time as the Mexican corn salad.
This salad is more like a regular salad than the other. I think it’s fun that you get to make your dressing, too.
The salad consists of black beans, corn, tomatoes, bell peppers, and avocado. The dressing is made of olive oil, lime juice, garlic, salt, and cayenne pepper.
It’s a light dish, but still pleasantly spicy. This salad would also work well as a topping for tacos.
This shrimp ceviche recipe is Mexican-style.
The Mexican style calls for shrimp, lime juice, avocado, peppers, and cilantro. It’s not required, but adding hot sauce will enhance this whole experience. I love to add Tabasco sauce.
If you aren’t familiar with ceviche, it’s a style of dish that you don’t cook by way of any traditional methods.
You’re cooking the shrimp with citric acid from the lime. It may seem odd, but believe me, it’s incredible. You’ll never taste fresher shrimp.
Black Bean Dip
This black bean dip may be the quickest and easiest appetizer to prepare.
It took me a bit longer, but it allegedly only takes five minutes. I think I chop vegetables too slowly.
This recipe calls for canned black beans, onion, jalapeno, garlic, lime juice, and some seasonings.
All you do is put your ingredients into a blender or food processor and mix them. You blend until everything is smooth and then pour into a serving dish.
You can garnish it with cheese or serve it like it is. This dip looks nice in the bowl and seems more high-class than a refried bean dip.
Typically, flautas are made with corn tortillas and stuffed with shredded meat (usually chicken or beef), cheese, and onions.
If you want an even more traditional Mexican flauta, you can fill them with potatoes, too. The possibilities are endless! There’s probably even a dessert flauta.
These may look like taquitos, but they’re different in their size and shape: a flauta will be longer and thinner than a taquito.
If you have a choice between the two, I’d make the flautas because the name sounds more authentic than taquitos.