Mexican Picaditas

A Mexican Picadita is a traditional dish consisting of a base of fried masa harina with savory toppings.  These picaditas are topped with a smokey Mexican tomato sauce, black beans, chorizo, onions, and cilantro.  

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They make a delicious appetizer or a light lunch.  Top with a fried egg and serve them for brunch!

Plate of Mexican Picaditas - fried corn cake with smokey tomato sauce, black beans, chorizo, raw onions, and cilantro.


I remember eating my first picadita (also called SOPA) walking down a beautiful street in Mexico City.  I was a fan with the first bite.  The slightly sweet corn cake with its crispy edges, the smokey sauce cradling meats, veggies, and cheese was a flavor overload in my mouth.

This dish originated in the central and southern parts of Mexico and is known as antojito (street food).  You can vendors selling their version on many city streets.  You won’t be able to resist the wafting aromas that fill the street and make you salivate just walking past them.


Of course!  While the Mexican tomato sauce is well worth the time it takes to make it, sometimes you just have too much going on.

Instead of making the Mexican tomato sauce, use salsa or enchilada sauce.  The toppings can be anything your family enjoys.  Want lots of veggies, but not enough time?  Hit the self-serve salad bar at your grocery store.  The vegetables are already sliced and diced.

I highly suggest that you don’t skimp on the masa harina cakes.  They’re what makes this dish so delicious in its simplicity.  But, you can make the cakes the day before and fry them when you need them.

Plate of Mexican Picaditas - fried corn cake with smokey tomato sauce, black beans, chorizo, raw onions, and cilantro.


Let your mind go on a flavor journey!  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Pulled pork, barbecue sauce, cheddar cheese
  • Ground beef taco meat, taco sauce, Monterey jack cheese, lettuce, tomatoes
  • Chopped chicken fajita meat, salsa, caramelized onions, and bell peppers, cheddar cheese


Here are a few suggestions for delicious cocktails and tasty appetizers:

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Plate of Mexican Picaditas - fried corn cake with smokey tomato sauce, black beans, chorizo, raw onions, and cilantro.


  • Author: Millie Brinkley
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
  • Yield: 8 Servings 1x


Mexican Picaditas are the perfect appetizer.  Fried corn cakes are topped with a smokey tomato sauce and whatever toppings your family enjoys.



For the Mexican tomato sauce:

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium sweet onion (like Vidalia), roughly chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 28-ounce can peeled tomatoes with their juice
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • Salt as needed

For the picaditas:

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 ⅓ cup masa harina
  • Lard, bacon grease, or butter for greasing the skillet

For the toppings:

  • Black refried beans
  • Chorizo sausage, cooked and crumbled
  • Chopped onion
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Fresh limes, cut into wedges


Make the Mexican tomato sauce:

In a Dutch oven over medium heat, warm the olive oil until it shimmers – about 3 minutes.

Add the jalapenos, onions, and garlic.  Stir and cook until the onion becomes translucent and the vegetables are fragrant – about 10 minutes

Sprinkle in the cumin and ancho chili powder.  Stir and allow the spices to bloom in the oil – about 1 minute.

Pour in the tomatoes and red wine.  Bring the mixture to a boil, breaking up the tomatoes with the back of your spoon.

Reduce the heat, allowing the mixture to simmer for about 30 minutes or until the sauce begins to reduce and thicken.

Use an immersion blender to puree the sauce to your desired consistency.

Taste and add salt to taste.  If the sauce is too bitter, add a teaspoon of sugar.

Spoon the sauce into a bowl and set aside to cool.

Make the Picaditas:

In a large mixing bowl, stir the salt into the warm water until dissolved.

Slowly sprinkle in the masa harina, stirring constantly, until a dough forms.  If it feels sticky, add another tablespoon of masa harina.

Divide the dough into 8 pieces and roll each into a ball.

Place on a plate and cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes.

Preheat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.

Use one ball of dough and flatten it with a tortilla press, the bottom of a drinking glass, or your hand until it is about ¼-inch thick.

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Category: Starter - Appetizer
  • Method: Pan-fry
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Keywords: Mexican picaditas, Mexican street food, Mexican food, Cinco De Mayo, sopas, appetizers, masa harina

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