38 Fun, Fiery Mexican Appetizers

 

Get your fiesta or everyday fete started with guacamole, spicy dips, quesadillas and more shareable, bite-size Mexican favorites.

 

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Queso Fundido with Charred Poblanos and Sides

Kelsey puts the "fun" in fundido by serving her browned and bubbly four-cheese dip in a skillet. Char the poblanos on your stovetop and partner them with a tasty lineup of roasted fingerlings, cherry tomatoes and sweet soppressata for dipping in the cheese.

Get the Recipe: Queso Fundido with Charred Poblanos and Sides

Southwest Quesadilla with Cilantro-Lime Sour Cream

Pack a rainbow of veggies –– sauteed with spicy crushed red pepper flakes and smoky cumin –– and fiery pepper-jack cheese into these meatless quesadillas. Serve them with cilantro-lime sour cream too cool down the heat. 

Get the Recipe: Southwest Quesadilla with Cilantro-Lime Sour Cream

Spicy Guacamole

Bobby's simple 5-ingredient guacamole brings just the right amount of heat with diced jalapeno (seeds and all) and can be prepped in 15 minutes or less.

Get the Recipe: Spicy Guacamole

Mini Taco Dip Tostadas with Avocado Cream

Bobby Deen's powerful taco seasoning is packed with Mexican flavor and will keep guests reaching for this tasty appetizer. His slimmed-down rendition — featuring low-fat cheese and lean turkey meat — means they can snack on these with less guilt.

Get the Recipe: Mini Taco Dip Tostadas with Avocado Cream

Kelsey's Signature Salsa

In addition to sweet plum tomatoes, Kelsey includes tart tomatillos in her salsa, which help to balance the rich, smoky spice of the adobe chiles.

Get the Recipe: Kelsey's Signature Salsa

Fish Taco Nachos

These may not be traditional nachos, but there's a good chance they'll become your favorite. The super colorful nachos are covered with creamy, crunchy cabbage slaw, chipotle-rubbed grilled fish and spicy tomatillo salsa.

Get the Recipe: Fish Taco Nachos

Chicken Flautas with Avocado Cream

These little rolled-up tacos (aka taquitos) are called flautas because they resemble a flute. Sunny uses rotisserie chicken and store-bought tortillas to make this recipe an easy, affordable and delicious starter for your Mexican meal.

Get the Recipe: Chicken Flautas with Avocado Cream

Rev Run's Grilled Chicken Quesadillas

Who can deny the pull of gooey melted cheese and juicy chicken inside grilled tortillas? While they're sizzling away, stir together a quick pico de gallo for piling on top.

Get the Recipe: Grilled Chicken Quesadillas

Jalapeno Mango Salsa

Don't be fooled by this innocent-looking salsa, made with mango and pineapple chunks in lieu of standard tomatoes. A minced jalapeño pepper balances out all that sweetness with its raw heat.

Get the Recipe: Jalapeno-Mango Salsa

Beery Chorizo Queso Fundido

Adding beer to this chorizo-and-cheese concoction –– the Mexican version of fondue with a savory edge –– gives it a tangy, hoppy flavor that makes it even more perfect for pairing with a good brew. You're in charge of how spicy this warm, cheesy dip will be: Leave all, some or none of the seeds in your jalapeno for your choice of hot, medium or mild.

Get the Recipe: Beery Chorizo Queso Fundido

Beef Nachos

Top with extra-limey guacamole, spicy pico de gallo and plenty of melted cheese and every bite of these nachos will taste like a warm beef taco.

Get the Recipe: Beef Nachos

Nacho-Topped Chili Pot

For a fun twist, Rachael tops a big pot of beef chili with tortilla chips and cheese, then browns the whole thing in the oven, nacho style.

Get the Recipe: Nacho Topped Chili Pot

Mexican Grilled Corn

Slather freshly grilled corn with a mayo, sour cream and cilantro mixture and top with lime juice, Parmesan and chili powder for a popular summer side inspired by Mexican street food.

Get the Recipe: Mexican Grilled Corn

Mexican Potato Skin Bites

Inspired by our neighbor to the South, Aida fills crispy potato skins with Mexican chorizo and Monterey Jack cheese.

Get the Recipe: Mexican Potato Skin Bites

Beef and Chorizo Chili Cheese Nachos

Jalapeno pickling juice brightens and gives these meaty nachos a tangy kick. The beef-and-chorizo chili in this recipe is hearty and flavorful; make it on its own for an easy weeknight dinner.

Get the Recipe: Beef and Chorizo Chili Cheese Nachos

Easy Chicken and Mushroom Quesadillas

Ellie's light quesadillas take only 20 minutes to prepare. Filled with chicken, mushrooms, spinach, three cheeses and a mixture of spices, this Mexican dish packs plenty of oomph.

Get the Recipe: Easy Chicken-Mushroom Quesadillas

Nachos with 3-Cheese Queso

Jalapenos and hot sauce add spicy brightness to this creamy, intensely-cheesy queso. Serve the sauce as soon as it comes off the stove for a perfect silky texture.

Get the Recipe: Nachos with 3-Cheese Queso

Mark Bittman's Scallop and Plum Ceviche

In his take on ceviche — a Central and South American staple — Mark Bittman pairs sweet summer plums with scallops. Fresh tarragon and lime zest add flavor and contrasting green color to this dish.

Get the Recipe: Scallop Plum Ceviche

Classic Queso Fundido

Mix things up at your next gathering by preparing this classic Mexican party fare. The simple mixture of cheeses and vegetables is baked and ready for serving in under 15 minutes.

Get the Recipe: Queso Fundido

Five-Layer Mexican Dip

By scaling back on each layer and subbing out caloric refried beans for a homemade chipotle-lime black bean dip, Ellie Krieger offers a healthier take on this classic party dip.

Get the Recipe: Five Layer Mexican Dip

Coconut Lime Ceviche

Ceviche is usually made with seafood, but this Vegan version mixes chunks of fresh, young coconut meat with chopped tomatoes, jalapenos, cucumber, avocados and lime juice for an all-natural alternative.

Get the Recipe: Coconut Lime Ceviche

Chiles Rellenos

Though milder ancho chiles are made even milder by being boiled in this recipe, the goat cheese-stuffed peppers regain heat from a jalapeno-laced salsa topping.

Get the Recipe: Chiles Rellenos with Cherry Tomato Salsa

Grilled Squash Quesadillas with Charred Tomato Salsa

There's no shortage of flavor in this recipe, which pairs cheesy zucchini quesadillas with a spicy ancho chile paste and smoky tomato salsa.

Get the Recipe: Grilled Squash Quesadillas with a Charred Tomato Salsa

Salsa

Heat-seekers will love this salsa studded with regular and roasted jalapenos, ancho chiles and chili powder.

Get the Recipe: Salsa

Chicken Flautas

Grilled corn pico de gallo and queso fresco are the perfect toppings for these fun, rolled-up tacos filled with shredded chicken and cheese. These flautas are great for entertaining or meals with kids –– the fun part is putting all the toppings on the table and letting everyone build their own.

Get the Recipe: Chicken Flautas

Black Bean Taco Fritters with Spicy Mayo

These balls pack all the flavor of black bean soup and tacos into one mini mouthful. Adding bacon and a light cornmeal coating before frying make them completely addictive.

Get the Recipe: Black Bean Taco Fritters with Spicy Mayo

Crispy Bacon and Hash Brown Quesadillas with Fried Quail Eggs

For an upscale app, cut a bacon- and hash brown-stuffed quesadilla into quarters and top each with a dollop of tomato relish and a tiny fried quail egg.

Get the Recipe: Crispy Bacon and Hash Brown Quesadillas with Fried Quail Eggs

Pulled Pork Nachos

Nachos get a Southern update when topped with slow-cooked pulled pork, sweet-and-tangy barbecue sauce and creamy Cheddar.

Get the Recipe: Pulled Pork Nachos

Exploding Chicken Taquitos

Hungry Girl makes Mexican memorable with a high-velocity chicken taquito that packs all the flavor with almost none the calories.

Get the Recipe: Exploding Chicken Taquitos

Tyler's Guacamole

Tyler finds the perfect balance between flavors with his chunky guacamole and works in just enough Serrano pepper heat.

Get the Recipe: Guacamole

Sopes with Shredded Beef

Think of sopes as mini Mexican pizzas. Kelsey makes hers with masa harina, or finely ground corn flour, and forms small discs before frying them in a cast iron skillet. A layer of refried beans acts as a base for slow-cooked shredded beef, creamy tomatillo guacamole and your choice of an array of toppings.

Get the Recipe: Sopes with Shredded Beef

Tomatillo Guacamole

Kelsey gives guacamole some extra spunk with the addition of tangy tomatillos.

Get the Recipe: Tomatillo Guacamole

Blue Corn, Mushroom and Cheese Quesadillas

Creamy queso fresco provides a cool balance to the heat of jalapeno-flecked mushrooms in Chuck’s flavorful quesadillas.

Get the Recipe: Blue Corn, Mushroom and Cheese Quesadillas

Classic Tortilla Soup 

This is a filling, flavorful meal that can be made with little effort, but one that sings with an unmistakable Mexican harmony: earthy dark pasilla chile, the softening crunch of toasty corn tortillas, soul-satisfying broth, and creamy-rich avocado and cheese.

Get the Recipe: Classic Tortilla Soup with all the Trimmings: Sopa de Tortilla

Chicken Cheese Empanadas

Bobby uses whole-wheat pie crust and queso de hebra, a low-fat Mexican cheese also known as queso Oaxaca, to make these lighter bite-size empanadas. But with an oven-roasted garlic and orange chicken thigh filling, they possess plenty of flavor.

Get the Recipe: Chicken Cheese Empanadas

Quesadillas with Jack and Spicy Saute

By sauteeing onions, garlic and jalapenos before baking her quesadillas, Aida mellows these ingredients' pungency and the spiciness of the peppers, turning out a savory-sweet take on the Mexican classic.

Get the Recipe: Quesadillas with Jack and Spicy Saute

Slow-Cooker Texas Queso

While setting up for a Mexican fiesta, combine canned tomatoes with chiles and cubes of processed cheese in a slow cooker. In 30 minutes, you'll have creamy queso — and very happy guests.

Get the Recipe: Slow Cooker Texas Queso