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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