Antojitos are a variety of Mexican street foods or snacks that are typically served as appetizers. The word “antojitos” literally translates to “little cravings” in Spanish, referring to the crave-worthy nature of these morsels. Some of the most popular and classic examples of antojitos include:
Tacos are one of the best-known antojitos globally. They consist of a folded or rolled tortilla stuffed with a variety of fillings like meat, beans, cheese, vegetables, and more. There are countless regional variations of tacos found all over Mexico, from the al pastor (spit-grilled pork) tacos of Central Mexico to the fish and shrimp tacos of coastal regions. Tacos are extremely versatile and customizable, making them an all-time favorite antojito.
Quesadillas are made of two tortillas filled with cheese and additional ingredients, then grilled until the cheese is melted and the tortillas are slightly crispy. Common fillings include shredded chicken or pork, refried beans, sautéed mushrooms or vegetables, and salsa. This simple, savory snack can be eaten as-is or dipped into salsa or sour cream for extra flavor.
Sopes are thick, round corn masa cakes that are pinched up around the edges to form a well and then filled. Standard sopes are topped with refried beans, shredded lettuce, queso fresco, and salsa. Variations can also include chorizo, shredded chicken, spinach, or other ingredients. They make an especially appetizing and visually appealing antojito.
Gorditas are very similar to sopes, but instead of being flat cakes, they use a thicker masa dough that puffs up as it bakes to form a pocket pouch shape. They are sliced open after cooking and filled with ingredients ranging from chicharrón (fried pork rinds) to carne al pastor. Gorditas (“little fat ones” in Spanish) live up to their name and make for a hearty, tasty snack.
Empanadas are pastries made from corn masa dough and filled with savory or sweet ingredients before being baked or fried. Some common fillings include seasoned ground beef, chicken, cheese, and different types of fruits. Empanadas make for great on-the-go handheld snacks and are found everywhere from restaurants to street food stalls.
Flautas and Taquitos
Flautas (“flutes” in Spanish) and taquitos (“little tacos”) are both made of tortillas rolled around a filling into a tube shape, then fried crisp. Typical fillings include chicken, pork, beef, cheese, potato, or beans. They may be served on their own, drizzled with crema and salsa, or paired with lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole, and rice.
Tamales consist of masa dough with a savory or sweet filling that is wrapped in either corn husks or banana leaves and then steamed. Some varieties like Oaxacan tamales are large and open-ended wraps tied into bundles. Others are smaller, rolled masa packages. Fillings range from mole chicken or pork, to cheese, vegetables, pineapple, raisins, and even pumpkin.
Tostadas are fried or toasted thick corn tortillas that are topped with various ingredients like refried beans, lettuce, tomato, cheese, shredded chicken or beef, salsa, sour cream, and avocado. They can be served flat or shaped into a basket by folding the sides upwards. When loaded with toppings, tostadas make hearty appetizers and snacks.
Chilaquiles consist of fried tortilla wedges simmered in salsa. They are commonly topped with ingredients like pulled chicken, cheese, sour cream, and onions. This is a classic Mexican comfort food that can be served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It’s a delicious way to use up stale tortillas.
Ceviche is a seafood dish made from raw fish or shrimp that is “cooked” by marinating it in citrus juice. Onions, chiles, cilantro, tomatoes, and avocado are common ceviche mix-ins. Ceviche is served chilled with tostadas or tortilla chips and makes for a refreshing appetizer.
Escamoles (escamoles in Spanish) are a unique and prized antojito in Mexican cuisine. Also known as ant larvae or ant eggs, they have a nutty, buttery flavor and texture. When fried with seasonings, they make for an exceptional snack, taco filling, or appetizer. Escamoles are harvested from the roots of agave and maguey plants in Central Mexico.
Elote refers to Mexican-style grilled or boiled corn on the cob that is slathered in a rich sauce or dip and sprinkled with cheese and spices. Typical elote toppings include mayonnaise, Cotija cheese, chili powder, and lime. It makes for a delicious and indulgent street food snack.
Tortas are essentially Mexican sandwiches served on crusty sandwich rolls known as teleras or bolillos. They are stuffed with meat, cheese, beans, vegetables, salsa, avocado, and other condiments. Some varieties include the torta cubana with ham, pork chops, and cheese and the torta ahogada doused in a chile sauce.
Chalupas are thick, fried corn tortillas topped with refried beans, lettuce, tomato, shredded pork or chicken, queso fresco, salsa, and crema. Other toppings may include avocado, chorizo, shredded beef, or guacamole. Chalupas make a satisfying and visually appealing antojito.
Molotes are soft, thick corn masa or potato balls stuffed with fillings like chorizo, cheese, beans, or shredded chicken then deep fried. They are served with salsa, crema, lettuce, and cheese on top. Molotes are a popular street food and party snack in Central Mexico.
Garnachas consist of small fried masa cakes topped with meat, salsa, onions, cilantro, and queso fresco. Common variations are garnachas de chorizo with crumbled fresh Mexican chorizo and garnachas de chicharrón with shredded pork crackling (chicharrón). These quick, flavorful bites are commonly sold as appetizers at small taco stands.
Tlacoyos are oval shaped masa cakes made from blue corn and cooked on a griddle with no oil. They have a distinctive indented top perfect for holding fillings and toppings like refried beans, shredded pork and chicken, nopal cactus, chorizo, cheese, and salsa. Tlacoyos are common street eats in Central Mexico.
Huaraches get their name from their oblong oval shape that resembles the popular Mexican sandals. They consist of thick, masa dough patties that are shaped by hand and cooked on a griddle with a topping of refried beans and various other ingredients like meat, cheese, vegetables, salsa, and avocado. Huaraches make savory, satiating, and tasty snacks.
Tamal de Elote
Tamales de elote feature sweet corn filling wrapped inside masa dough or corn husks and steamed. They may include fresh corn kernels, cream, queso fresco or Cotija cheese, epazote herb, and chili peppers. These sweet and savory tamales make a popular appetizer, snack, or side dish.
Salbutes are soft, fried corn masa patties that are topped with ingredients like shredded chicken, lettuce, tomato, avocado, pickled red onions, and salsa. Salbutes are very similar to panuchos but without the black bean paste filling. They make an enticing and visual street food snack.
Panuchos start with a fried tortilla puff stuffed with refried black beans. They are then topped with shredded poultry, salsa, avocado, pickled onions, lettuce, and queso fresco. Panuchos are quintessential antojitos originating from the Yucatan Peninsula. Their contrast of textures and flavors is hard to resist.
Memelas are thick, hand-shaped oval masa cakes topped with chorizo, shredded pork, mashed beans, salsa, cabbage, onions, avocado, and queso fresco. They can be eaten as snacks or appetizers and are also popular taco and torta fillings. Memelas are iconic and delicious antojitos.
Chapulines are grasshoppers or crickets that are a prized ingredient in Mexican cuisines like Oaxaca. They have an earthy, nutty flavor and crunchy texture. Chapulines are toasted or fried with chili seasoning and lime then enjoyed as snacks, in tacos, or even mixed into guacamole and salsa.
Buñuelos are fried sweet fritters coated in cinnamon sugar that are often served around Christmas time in Mexico. But they make for an indulgent snack any time of year. Buñuelos can be round flauta shapes or balls that are stuffed with fruit jam or dulce de leche filling. Their crispy, crunchy exterior and sweet interior is irresistible.
Gorditas de Horno
Gorditas de horno are baked masa pockets stuffed with cheese, potatoes, chili rajas, shredded chicken or beef, and salsa verde. Unlike their fried gordita counterparts, these baked gorditas are light and fluffy. They make for a delicious and healthier antojito snack.
Sincronizadas consist of two tortillas sandwiched together with cheese and sometimes ham or other ingredients in between. They are then grilled until the cheese is fully melted. Sincronizadas make for great quick snacks, antojitos, and afterschool fare for kids and adults alike.
Totopos con Salsa
Totopos con salsa simply refers to fresh tortilla chips served alongside salsa for dipping. This classic pairing is a tasty, crunchy, and satisfying snack. The tortilla chips also create a fun vehicle for scooping up an array of other antojitos like guacamole, beans, ceviche, shredded meat, and more.
Elotes locos put a fun, over-the-top spin on classic Mexican street corn. Corn on the cob is slathered with mayo, butter, Cotija cheese, chili powder, lime, salsa valentina hot sauce, and topped with fried pork rinds and tajin chili-lime seasoning. It’s sweet, spicy, salty, and seriously addictive.
Antojitos encompass a wide world of mouthwatering Mexican street food snacks and appetizers. They range from the iconic taco and quesadilla to regional specialties like huaraches, sincronizadas, and memelas. No matter what part of Mexico they hail from, antojitos all share certain delicious qualities – colorful, craveable comfort food made from simple, fresh ingredients. There are countless more varieties to discover, but this list covers some of the most popular and classic examples that are sure to satisfy any antojo (craving).