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Mexican Fiesta Party

Distinctive Mexican Fiesta Hors d'oeuvre Recipes

Mexico offers a range of flavors, foods, and techniques for making a variety of distinctive hors d'oeuvres for your Mexican Fiesta.  Here are some of our selected recipes:
  • Veggie
    • Cherry Tomatoes with Corn Salad
    • Memelas with Charred Tomato Sauce
  • Seafood
    • Scallop Ceviche Tomatoes
    • Grilled Camerones (Shrimp)
    • Tequila-glazed Shrimp
  • Chicken
    • Corn Cups with Green Chiles
    • Chicken Quesadilla
    • Chicken-Lime Taquitos
  • Beef
    • Albondigas 
  • Pork
    • Shredded Pork Sopitas
Veggie Mexican Fiesta Hors d'oeuvres

Cherry Tomatoes with Corn Salad

Advance prep:  Morning of the party
Last-minute prep:  Fill tomatoes with corn mixture.
Makes 40 Hors d'oeuvres

  • 40 red, firm cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup cooked corn kernals
  • 2 Tbsp chopped basil
  • 2 scallions, minced
  • 2 Tbsp red bell pepper, chopped finely
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp hot chili oil
  • Salt & black pepper to taste
Steps to prepare:
  1. Wash and dry cherry tomatoes.
  2. Cut off the round bottom of each tomato.
  3. Remove the seeds and pulp with a small melon-ball scoop.
  4. Drain, cut-side down, on paper towels.
  5. Combine remaining ingredients.
  6. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  7. To serve, fill tomatoes with corn mixture.
Memelas with Queso Fresco and Charred Tomato Sauce
Mini-Mexican pizzas from

Advance prep:  Sauce the day before and memelas 4 hours before party.
Last-minute prep:  Assemble and heat 3 to 5 minutes on hot griddle.
More difficult
Makes 24 Hors d'oeuvres

  • 1 pound tomatoes (4 medium)
  • 2 fresh serrano chiles or 1 jalapeño chile
  • 2 tablespoons chopped white onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 cups masa harina ("masa mix") such as Maseca or Quaker
  • 1 1/3 cups warm water
  • 10 ounces queso fresco (Mexican fresh cheese) or feta, crumbled (2 cups)
  • Chopped cilantro for garnish
Steps to prepare tomato sauce (prepare up to 1 day before):
  1. Broil tomatoes and chiles in a foil-lined small shallow baking pan 2 to 3 inches from heat, turning frequently, until lightly charred on all sides, 3 to 5 minutes for chiles, 12 to 15 minutes for tomatoes (flesh should be soft).
  2. Remove cores and stems of tomatoes and chiles.
  3. Purée with onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste, in a blender until smooth.
  4. Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until just hot. Stir 1/2 cup tomato sauce into oil (this reduces spattering), then, when bubbling vigorously, add remaining sauce.
  5. Fry, stirring, until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and chill in an air tight container until ready to serve.
  6. To serve stir in cilantro and salt to taste and spoon into memelas for heating.
Steps to prepare memelas (prepare up to 4 hours before):
  1. Stir together masa harina, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and water in a large bowl with a wooden spoon until it forms a dough. Knead in bowl with heel of hand 1 to 2 minutes.
  2. Divide dough into 24 pieces and roll each into a 1-inch ball.
  3. Roll balls into 2-inch-long logs. Transfer logs as formed to a plastic-wrap–lined tray and cover with more plastic wrap.
  4. Heat a well-seasoned large cast-iron griddle or skillet over moderately high heat until hot.
  5. Use a tortilla press or rolling pin to flatten dough between squares of plastic.
  6. Remove plastic and cook oval on hot griddle until a skin forms and some small golden spots appear, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Make more ovals, cooking 3 or 4 at a time.
  7. Remove memelas from heat and, when cool enough to handle, form sides: Beginning 1/2 inch from edge of each memela and working all around it, push undercooked masa toward edge with your thumb and pinch up to form a 1/4-inch side. Then pinch up masa in center of memela in several places. If dough still seems very raw, cook memelas upside down on hot griddle 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  8. Chill and store in an air tight container until ready to serve.
To serve:
  1. Sprinkle about 1-1/2 tablespoons cheese on each memela and top with 1 to 2 tablespoons tomato sauce.
  2. Heat filled memelas, 4 at a time, on hot griddle until bubbling, about 3 minutes. Serve hot.
Seafood Mexican Fiesta Hors d'oeuvres

Scallop Ceviche Tomatoes

Advance prep:  Day before the party.
Last-minute prep: Fill tomatoes.
Makes 28 Hors d'oeuvres

  • 1/2 pound scallops
  • Juice of 4 limes
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded & diced finely
  • 1 bunch scallions, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
  • Salt & cayenne pepper to taste
  • 28 firm, red cherry tomatoes
Steps to prepare:
  1. The night before: Combine the lime juice, jalapenos, scallions, cilantro, salt, and cayenne in a large glass or ceramic bowl.
  2. Cut the scallops into 1/2 or smaller pieces.
  3. Toss scallops with the lime mixture.
  4. Cover, refrigerate and marinate overnight. The lime juice will cook the scallops.
  5. The day of the party: Wash and dry cherry tomatoes.
  6. Cut off the round bottom of each tomato.
  7. Remove the seeds and pulp with a small melon-ball scoop.
  8. Drain, cut-side down, on paper towels.
  9. To serve:  Fill each tomato with the scallop ceviche and serve cold.
Grilled Camerones

Advance prep:  Prepare day of party.
Last-minute prep:  Grill or broil 1-1/2 minutes each side.
Makes 32 Hors d'oeuvres

Special Equipment:
  • 32 9-inch bamboo skewers
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled & deveined
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Steps to prepare:
  1. Soak the skewers in cold water for 1 hour.
  2. Combine the lime juice, salt, jalapeno, and garlic in a glass or ceramic bowl.
  3. Whisk in the olive oil.
  4. Add shrimp, cover and marinate for 20 minutes.
  5. Place 1 shrimp on each skewer.
  6. To serve:  Grill or broil shrimp for 1-1/2 minutes.
  7. Brush with marinade and turn over.
  8. Grill another 1-1/2 minutes until opaque.
Tequila Glazed Shrimp

Advance prep:  Day before party. Avocado cream 4 hours before.
Last-minute prep:  Grill & assemble hors d'oeuvres
Moderately difficult
Makes 24 Hors d'oeuvres

Tequila Glazed Shrimp
  • 24 large shrimp, peeled & deveined (day before party)
  • Chopped ciliantro
  • 1/2 orange zest

  • Tequila Glaze
    • 1/4 cup Key Lime juice
    • 1/4 cup tequila
    • 3/4 cup honey
    • 1 tsp seeded and diced chipolte pepper
  • Avocado Cream
    • 1 medium Haas avocado
    • 1/4 creme fraiche or sour cream
    • Salt
    • Key lime juice
  • Griddle Cakes
    • 2 cups masa harina ("masa mix") such as Maseca or Quaker
    • 1/4 cup honey
    • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
    • 1-1/4 cups milk
    • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
    • 1 Tbsp butter or vegetable oil for cooking
Steps to prepare Tequila Glaze (day before the party)
  1. In a heavy saucepan stir together lime juice, tequila, and honey.
  2. Bring to a boil, lower heat and cook until mixture has reduced by half and is syrupy.
  3. Add chipoltes and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Taste for heat and strain out peppers if glaze is too hot.
  5. Cook to the consistency of molasses, adding more honey or lime juice if necessary.
  6. Allow to cool
Steps to prepare Avocado Cream (4 hours before party, max):
  1. Puree avocados in a blender or food processor until smooth.
  2. Srape into a bowl and fold in creme fraiche or sour cream.
  3. Add salt & key lime juice to taste.
  4. Insert plastic wrap to cover avocado cream in an air tight container.
  5. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Steps to prepare Griddle Cakes (day before the party):
  1. Whisk together honey, eggs, milk, and melted butter.
  2. Add 2 cups of masa and mix.
  3. Use milk and mesa to create a dough consistency for forming small griddle cakes.
  4. Roll dough in small balls and press to make quarter to half-dollar size cakes
  5. Heat frying pan or griddle and add butter or vegetable oil, as needed.
  6. Drop formed cakes on griddle and cook over medium heat, turning once, until cakes are lightly browned on each side.
  7. Store at room temperature in an air tight container until ready to serve.
Steps to serve:
  1. Prepare a charcoal grill or broiler and brush shrimp with tequila-glaze.
  2. Grill shrimp until pink, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Dollop each griddle cake with Avocado Cream. Top with shrimp.
  4. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and orange zest.
  5. Serve immediately
Chicken Mexican Fiesta Hors d'oeuvres

Corn Cups with Green Chili1

Advance prep:  1-2 days before the party
Last-minute prep:  Heat the chili & fill corn cups
More difficult
Makes 32 Hors d'oeuvres

Special Equipment:
  • Mini-muffin baking pan

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 20 green olives, pitted
  • Italian Sweet Frying Peppers
  • 6 green Italian frying peppers (pictured), seeded & chopped
  • 1 green tomato
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 8 sprigs cilantro, chopped
Corn Cup Dough
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • Salt
Steps to prepare chili:
  1. Chop the chicken breast into small pieces.
  2. Saute in olive oil for 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Puree olives, Italian peppers, and tomato until smooth.
  4. Add chicken, wine, garlic, cumin, salt, & pepper.
  5. Cook over medium-low heat for 20-30 minutes.
  6. Heat the butter in a pan and saute the jalapeno pepper, parsley, & cilantro over medium heat for 2 minutes.
  7. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Steps to prepare corn cups:
  1. Cream the butter and cream cheese with a wooden spoon or electric mixer.
  2. Combine the flour, cornmeal and a pinch of salt.
  3. Add the flour mixture, a little at a time, to the butter mixture, stirring constantly.  Knead lightly.
  4. Divide the dough into 1-inch balls and press them into mini-muffin baking pans, using your thumbs to form the cups inside the mold.  The dough should be even and come to the top of the tin.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown.
  6. Store in an airtight container at room temperature until ready to serve.
Steps to serve:
  1. Heat the chili filling.
  2. Fill each corn cup with chili.
Chicken Quesadilla

Advance prep:  Prep ingredients day of the party.
Last-minute prep:  Cook quesadillas about 4 minutes each
Makes 24 Hors d'oeuvres

  • 3 1/2 cups shredded cooked rotisserie chicken (from a 2 1/2-lb bird)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 large onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 5 oz coarsely grated Monterey Jack cheese (with or without hot peppers; 2 cups)
  • 8 (7-inch) flour tortillas
  • Special equipment: a well-seasoned ridged grill pan
  • Accompaniments: sour cream; salsa; fresh cilantro sprigs
  • Garnish: lime wedges
Steps to prepare:
  1. Sprinkle chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  2. Cook onion with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in oil in a 10- to 12-inch skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 6 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute, then transfer to a large bowl.
  4. Add chicken to onion mixture along with cheese.
  5. Put 1 tortilla on a cutting board and spread  1 cup chicken mixture over tortilla, then place a 2nd tortilla on top, pressing firmly. Assemble 3 more quesadillas in same manner.
  6. Heat lightly oiled grill pan over high heat until it begins to smoke, then reduce heat to moderate.
  7. Grill quesadillas, 1 at a time, turning over once, until cheese is melted and golden brown grill marks appear, about 4 minutes total.
  8. Transfer with a spatula to cutting board and use a pizza cutter to cut 6 wedges or smaller, if desired.
  9. Serve immediately.
Chicken-Lime Taquitos

Advance prep:  Day before party.
Last-minute prep:  Bake about 10 minutes.
Makes 48 Hors d'oeuvres

Chicken Lime Taquitos
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup roasted red pepper, julienned
  • 1/3 cup pasilla chile, julienned
  • 1/4 cup yellow onion, julienned
  • 1/3 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
  • 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
  • 18 small corn tortillas (6-inch or less)
  • Vegetable oil to brush on taquitos
Steps to prepare:
  1. Combine salt, chili powder, garlic powder, oil, and lime juice for marinade.
  2. Add chicken and marinate overnight.
  3. Drain chicken and grill (indoor or outdoor) until done.
  4. Allow to cool and shred chicken into small pieces.
  5. Place chicken in bowl and sprinkle with salt and minced garlic. Mix well.
  6. Add red pepper, pasilla, onion, cheese and 1/2 ounce lime juice. Mix thoroughly.
  7. To assemble, warm tortillas on griddle or microwave according to directions, until soft and pliable. If necessary, add a little oil to the pan to help soften the tortillas.
  8. Spoon 2 ounces of chicken filling down the center almost to each edge.
  9. Roll tightly and place on a foil-lined baking sheet with the seam sides down.
  10. Refrigerate in an air tight container, until ready to prepare and serve.
  11. To serve:  Brush the taquitos lightly with vegetable oil, then bake them until the filling is heated through and the tortillas are lightly browned, about 8 to 12 minutes.
  12. Cut each tortilla into 3 bite-sized pieces and insert a toothpick into each bite.
Beef Mexican Fiesta Hors d'oeuvres

Tender and tasty meatballs.

Advance prep:  Day before party.
Last-minute prep:  Reheat and insert toothpick.
Makes 62 Hors d'oeuvres

  • 1/4 cup green pepper, minced
  • 1 small carrot, peeled & minced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded & minced
  • 1/2 cup onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 2 Tbsp cooked white rice
  • 2 Tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 6 cups beef stock
  • 2 bay leaves
Steps to prepare:
  1. Heat the olive oil in a saute pan.
  2. Saute the minced green pepper, carrot, jalapeno, onion, and garlic on low heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Let cool slightly.
  3. In a large saucepan, bring beef stock and bay leaves to simmer.
  4. In a mixing bowl, combine ground beef, egg, rice, salt, pepper, parsley, and sauteed minced vegetables.
  5. Form gently into 1-1/4 inch balls.
  6. Drop half of the meatballs into beef stock and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
  7. Remove meatballs with a slotted spoon.
  8. Repeat for the remainder of meatballs.
  9. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve.
  10. Strain stock through cheesecloth-lined sieve, reserve, and refrigerate separately.
  11. To serve:  Remove hardened fat from stock.
  12. Bring stock to a simmer in a large saucepan and heat meatballs through, 2 or 3 minutes.
  13. You may keep the meatballs warm by letting them sit in barely simmering broth until ready to serve.
  14.  Insert a toothpick or Mexican flag toothpick into each meatball and serve.
Pork Mexican Fiesta Hors d'oeuvres

Shredded Pork Sopitas2
Miniature sopas.

Advance prep:  Day before party.
Last-minute prep:  Assemble ingredients & garnish.
More Difficult
Makes 48 Hors d'oeuvres


Shredded Pork SopitasPork
  • 3 lbs pork shoulder or your preference
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups masa harina ("masa mix") such as Maseca or Quaker
  • 1 cup warm water
  • Vegetable oil or butter for cooking
  • 1 large ripe tomato, chopped fine
  • 1/3 cup white onion, chopped fine
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded & chopped fine
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
  • Cilantro leaves for garnish
Steps to prepare pork (up to 1 day before):
  1. Remove any skin and cut off from the bone.
  2. Cut into 2-inch pieces keeping the fat.
  3. Place in a large skillet and barely cover with water.
  4. Add salt and bay leaves.
  5. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium.
  6. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until water evaporates (about 1-1/2 hours).
  7. When the water evaporates the pork will begin to fry. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until pork is very tender (about 1 hour).
  8. Let cool, then cut off fat and shred meat.
  9. Refrigerate in an air tight container until ready to serve.
Steps to prepare sopitas (up to 6 hours before):
  1. Combine the masa and warm water in a mixing bowl. Add more water, if needed, so dough holds together well.
  2. Form into a ball and cover.
  3. Heat a griddle or skillet and add butter or vegetable oil, as needed.
  4. Pinch off dough and make a ball about 1-inch in diameter.
  5. Flatten to a circle about 1-1/2 inches in diameter.
  6. Using your fingers, push up the sides of the circle to form a "retaining" wall. The sopita should be about 1-inch in diameter or bite-sized.
  7. Make 5 or 6 and place flat side down on the griddle.
  8. Cook until golden with brown spots, about 1 minute.
  9. Flip and cook 1 more minute.
  10. Remove to drain and cool on paper towels.
  11. Repeat until all dough is used.
  12. Refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to use.
Steps to prepare salsa (up to 4 hours before):
  1. Stir together ingredients.
  2. Adjust seasoning.
To serve:
  1. Bring pork to room temperature or heat slightly.
  2. To reheat sopitas, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Place a tiny amount of butter in the center of each sopita.
  4. Bake on an ungreased baking sheet for about 5 minutes.
  5. Place a small amount of shredded pork in the center of each sopita.
  6. Top with salsa.
  7. Garnish with a cilantro leaf.

1This recipe was modified from Martha Stewart's The Martha Stewart Cookbook.

2This recipe was modified from Leslie Brenner's The Art Of The Cocktail Party (highly recommended).