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What Are Antojitos? 15 Types of Mexican Antojitos

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Nov 8, 2020 • 3 min read

Some of the best Mexican food is sold by street vendors before and after the big meal of the day. These snacks are called antojitos.



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What Are Antojitos?

In Mexico, the vast family of foods known as antojitos (“little cravings”), refers to street snacks or appetizers. They’re usually small, savory bites intended as precursors to the main event or as a late-night bite after a few drinks.

15 Types of Mexican Antojitos

Many of Mexico’s most beloved foods are actually antojitos. Although there are tons of regional specialties, some of the most common antojitos are:

  1. Chilaquiles are made with quartered tortillas that are fried with lots of salsa and sometimes shredded chicken and eggs. Chilaquiles are commonly garnished with red onion and avocado.
  2. Chalupas (“boats”) are made from masa that has been molded into a thin cup and deep-fried. They can be topped with lettuce, salsa, chorizo, and salsa.
  3. Elote is corn on the cob, typically served with condiments such as mayonnaise, lime juice, cotija cheese, cilantro, and chile powder or hot sauce. When served in a cup, this antojito is called elote en vaso (“corn cup”) or esquites (“toasted corn”).
  4. Empanadas have their origins in Spain. In Mexico, empanadas are often made with corn rather than wheat dough. Empanadas can be filled with picadillo, pumpkin and mushrooms, or sweetened fruit.
  5. Enchiladas are tortillas rolled up around a filling and covered with sauce, such as mole. They're popular at Mexican restaurants worldwide but have their origins as a street food.
  6. Fresh fruit and vegetables, such as jicama, are often served as an antojito in cups with chile powder and lime.
  7. Gorditas are thick corn tortillas that puff up in the middle when grilled or fried. They are then cut open and filled with guisados (stews) such as chicharrón (pork rind stew).
  8. Quesadillas: In Mexico City, the word quesadilla is something of a catchall, used to describe almost anything folded up in a corn tortilla. Quesadillas are often made with a melting cheese, such as queso Oaxaca (Mexican string cheese).
  9. Sopes look like thick little tortillas with a pinched rim. Sopes are typically spread with refried beans before being topped with shredded chicken, avocado, lettuce, or other toppings.
  10. Tacos are the most well known of all the antojitos. Most are made with corn tortillas, but tacos can also be made with flour tortillas, especially in the north of Mexico. Common fillings include marinated pork (tacos al pastor and carnitas tacos), beef (tacos de carne asada), and chicken (tacos de pollo). On the coast, you’ll find fish tacos. Tacos dorados are tacos that have been deep-fried until golden and crispy.
  11. Tamales are made from masa (corn dough) mixed with lard and water or stock, then filled with meat or vegetables and cheese, encased in a corn husk and steamed. In Oaxaca and the Yucatán Peninsula, tamales are often enclosed in banana or plantain leaves rather than corn husks. Try Chef Gabriela Cámara’s Sweet Tamales de Guayaba recipe here.
  12. Tlacoyos are bean- or meat-stuffed oval masa cakes from Central Mexico that can be deep-fried or cooked on a comal (griddle). Street vendors often sell tlacoyos out of a covered basket, which keeps them from drying out.
  13. Tortas are Mexican sandwiches. Tortas come in many varieties, such as cemita poblana, from the state of Puebla, which is made on a sesame-studded roll and filled with white cheese, meat, sliced avocado, and salsa roja.
  14. Tostadas are deep-fried tortillas, often topped with meat or ceviche. Tostadas can also be served with soups like menudo and pozole, sometimes dipped in sour cream. Tlayudas are a type of extra-large tostadas found in Oaxaca.
  15. Totopos are simply tortilla chips. They come from Oaxaca and can be served with guacamole, salsa, or refried beans.
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