When it comes to the Super Bowl, there are a few unspoken snack guidelines we like to live by:
- The ratio of fried to not-fried should be roughly 3:1.
- When in doubt, add cheese.
- If you can’t eat it easily with your hands, then what are we even doing.
Of course, you could always opt for the classics (pizza, wings), but if you’re looking for a few new ideas for greasy finger-foods drawn from the Latin American playbook, look no further.
Everyone will have a nacho dish at their Super Bowl party. Step up your game by serving legendary Tijuana street snack Tostilocos – a sweet, spicy, and salty party in your mouth.
What you need: A bag of Tostito chips (or any tortilla chips, really), sweet coated peanuts, shaved jicama, pickled chicharron, tamarindo candies, chopped cucumber, lime juice, hot sauce, chamoy.
What to do: Turn the bag on its side and cut it open. Dump all ingredients in, serve with spork.
The beauty of this snack is its “everything but the kitchen sink” quality — you can really just dump in whatever goodies you think would taste good with salty tortilla chips. Plus, there’s basically no clean up, since the bag itself serves as the “serving dish.”
This one is kind of a no brainer, but we’d just like to drive home the point that guacamole tastes good with pretty much everything. Put it on a chip, put it on a piece of chicken, put it on your finger and put that finger in your mouth. I legit know someone who puts guacamole on their pasta, so sky’s the limit here.
What you need: Avocados, lime, salt, pepper, onion. (These are just the basics, there are infinity variations on the guac recipes, which you are free to Google or leave in comments below).
What to do: Machácalo.
Chicharron de Pollo
Chicharrones are the original popcorn chicken. The tender, bite-size chunks of chicken are deep fried until they’re a crispy, golden brown on the outside but still juicy on the inside. With a spritz of lime on top, they put any plate of hot wings to shame. Chicharrones are served in many countries across Latin America, but for this game day we’ll go with the Dominican version.
What you need: Boneless, skinless chicken breast meat. (One pound serves about 5, so buy according to the number of guests you’re expecting). Dark rum, lime juice, minced garlic, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, adobo seasoning, onion powder, salt, pepper, all-purpose flour, paprika, and canola or vegetable oil.
What to do: In a plastic bag, make a marinade for the chicken using the lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, rum, and garlic. We could give you the precise measurements for each item, but we won’t, because nobody you know actually cooks like that. Instead, do it tía-style, and add “un chin” of everything using a combination of instinct and total guessing.
Then, cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and add them to the bag, making sure they’re well-coated with the marinade. Let this sit in the fridge for at least one hour. On a shallow dish, mix the flour, salt, pepper, adobo, onion and garlic powders, and paprika. Take the marinated chicken, coat it in the seasoned flour, and then drop into a skillet filled with 1-2 inches of oil. Fry each side for about 4-5 minutes and voila.
Alternate Suggestion: Just buy them at a cuchifrito spot, if you live in the kind of city that has cuchifrito spots.
This bastardization of the chile relleno is everything you want in a Super Bowl snack: crispy on the outside, gooey on the inside, and the perfect combination of salty and spicy.
What you need: Jalapeños, cream cheese seasoned to your liking (i.e. you can add garlic powder, paprika, ground cumin etc.), milk, flour, breadcrumbs, oil.
What to do: Cut jalapeños into one-inch rings, removing the seeds and ribs inside until they’re little jalapeño tubes. Stuff them with your seasoned cream cheese, then dip in milk, coat in flour, dip in milk again, and coat in bread crumbs (this is to ensure they’re well coated with breading). Drop into 350°F oil and fry them, turning from time to time, until golden. For a more detailed tutorial, head over to Serious Eats, which did a pretty great step by step.
Then again, you can also just buy a box of pre-made poppers in your frozen foods aisle. We won’t tell if you don’t.
Other than securing good tortillas and cheese, there are no rules when it comes to Super Bowl quesadillas. You can go the traditional route, or go full-gringo and stuff them with buffalo chicken, cheese and ranch dressing. Whatever floats your boat.
What you need: Tortillas. The legit ones are made from nixtamalized corn, but those aren’t easy to find at most U.S. grocery stores, so if you must, purchase flour tortillas. You’ll also need cheese with good melting properties, and anything else you wanna throw in there.
What to do: Put butter or oil in a skillet, lay down tortilla, and then top it cheese and whatever other fillings your heart desires. Toast until golden brown, then fold in half, and flip over to toast the other side. The end.
This is another tortilla-driven snack, except the tortillas are fried crispy. A little edible masa frisbee, if you will. Like Super Bowl quesadillas, Super Bowl tostadas are a bit of a free-style endeavor — beyond the classic refried beans, you can pretty much top them with anything that hits the spot (avocado, chicken, beef, veggies, etc.).
What you need: Corn tortillas, refried beans, shredded cheese, salsa, oil to fry in, anything else you like.
What to do: Fry tortilla in hot oil until it’s golden brown on both sides. Heat refried beans in a pan, and spread them atop the fried tortillas. Then layer on all other toppings. Try to eat them without having the whole thing crumble into your lap (it’s a skill).
Empanadas – or as we like to call them, OG hot pockets – are great for your Super Bowl party because there are so many varieties (beef, cheese, chicken, humitas, etc.), which means options for meat eaters and vegetarians alike. Plus they’re great to dip in a variety of salsas (chimichurri especially).
With that said, there are so many permutations of dough and fillings that we’d need a whole separate list to walk you through the recipes. Instead, we’re going to refer you to Laylita’s Empanadas 101 on this one – plenty of options and recipes for making a batch just to your liking.
Cinna sticks are for suckers. Go in on the real thing. Churros are not only delicious, they’re super quick and easy to make. (Which is something I wish I didn’t know, because once you know you can make churros at any moment, it’s a wrap for your waistline).
What you need: All-purpose flour, white sugar, salt, butter, eggs, cinnamon, vanilla extract, canola oil for frying.
What to do: We’ll share pastry chef Ruben Ortega’s recipe instructions, because he’s got this on lock: “Bring butter, salt, vanilla, cinnamon, and 2 ¼ cups water to a boil in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove and discard cinnamon, and add flour; cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until a smooth dough forms, about 5 minutes. Transfer dough to a bowl, and add egg; stir vigorously until dough is smooth. Transfer dough to a piping bag fitted with 3/8” star tip and set aside. Then drop them in the oil like so:
Once fried, you can coat them in sugar and cinnamon.
Croquetas de Jamon
Shout out to Cuban grandmothers everywhere.
What you need: butter, olive oil, onion, salt and pepper, all-purpose flour, whole milk, finely chopped up serrano ham, grated manchego cheese, eggs, bread crumbs, vegetable oil for frying.
What to do: Cook onion in butter and oil until it’s see-through. Whisk in milk, letting it cook down for three minutes, and then add ham and cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Take the mixture out and spread on a baking sheet to cool. In a shallow dish, whisk eggs, and in a separate dish mix bread crumbs, and a little cheese. Take your cooled down mixture, dip it in the egg, and then coat in breadcrumbs. Put the whole thing in about two inches of oil, fry until golden brown.
Think of these as Peruvian shish kabobs. The skewers of grilled beef heart are classic street food in Peru, and unbelievably delicious if you get them right – though it does take some skill to get the meat as tender as it should be.
What you need: fresh beef heart (2 1/2 pounds serves 10), red wine vinegar, ground cumin, fresh garlic, salt and pepper, aji panca, parsley, olive oil.
What to do: Blend aji, red wine vinegar and garlic in a bowl with some oil until you have a paste. Pour this paste over chopped beef-heart as a marinade, and let it sit for roughly 30 mins. Spear 3-4 pieces of beef onto a skewer and stick it on the grill, basting it generously with leftover marinade. The anticuchos should only take about two minutes to cook total (one minute on each side) – careful not to overcook them, or they’ll be tough and dry. Serve with aji to dip in.