Try Mexican huaraches (huaraches Mexicanos) for a crispy, flavorful, and extremely tasty antojito. While also a type of shoe, these huaraches start with oval masa bases that are topped with garnishes like refried beans, salsa, chorizo, crema, and fresh vegetables.
Learn how to make a completely plant-based version in this easy-to-follow recipe!
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If you're a snack person, you're going to absolutely love this huarache recipe. It has all your bases covered — crunchy, creamy, spicy, and tangy. With all sorts of customizations to test out, we better get cooking!
What are huaraches Mexicanos?
There are actually two classes of huaraches: handmade sandals (originally from Jalisco, Michoacán, and Yucatán), and a type of antojito (a snack food).
Huaraches (the food) were given this name because the corn base looks very similar to a style of sandal dating back to pre-Columbian times.
To make huaraches Mexicanos, start with masa (dough) rolled into a cigar shape. Then, flatten it with a tortilla press or a dish until it resembles an oval (or a sandal).
Once cooked, it can be topped with foods like refried beans, red or green salsa, potatoes, meats, cheese, and crema.
Sometimes, a dollop of refried beans is stuffed inside the masa before it's flattened. Although not necessary, it adds a unique flavor and texture.
Are Mexican huaraches vegan?
Different meat and dairy products are commonly used as toppings, so huaraches are not typically vegan-friendly.
While this version of huaraches may not be traditional, it's our interpretation using plants only! If you try it out, we'd love to know your thoughts.
History of Huaraches
Huaraches are said to have originated in Mexico City. Back when the capital was known as Tenochtitlán, there was a canal (Calzada de la Viga) that ran through the area.
People used this canal as a way to transport agricultural products from surrounding towns into the capital. Along this waterway, there were many vendors selling food (like tlacoyos) to feed the hungry travelers.
But in 1921, the entire canal was paved and tramlines put in for a more efficient means of transporting goods across the country.
As the pavement went in, one street vendor was displaced from her normal spot. But being crafty and resourceful, she began selling variations of her usual snacks (tlacoyos) in a different area.
Eventually, the name huaraches caught on and the rest is history! Nowadays, this popular food can be found all across the country with various toppings and sauces.
Once your huaraches are hot and crispy, add toppings immediately and dig in!
You can eat huaraches with a knife and fork, but we usually just take small bites off the side of our plates. It's fun to get messy!
For a complete ingredient list and step-by-step guide, scroll down to our recipe card.
- Masa harina: Making up the base of many Mexican dishes, including this huarache recipe, is masa harina. Once cooked, masa lends a sweet corn flavor and a crispy texture (it's also gluten-free).
- Refried beans: We use refried bayo beans, but pinto or black beans are delicious as well. Add them to the top, the center, or both!
- Salsa: To liven up your huaraches, use salsas like salsa verde, salsa roja, pico de gallo, or salsa taquera.
- Soyrizo: We use a vegan Mexican-style chorizo in this recipe, but feel free to use other meat replacements here like carnitas, al pastor, or tinga.
- Lettuce: To bring freshness and bulk to the huaraches.
- Pickled onions: We love the sweet, tangy, and zesty flavors of pickled red onions. You can also just use freshly diced onions.
- Cilantro: A classic garnish for bright and herbaceous elements.
- Mexican crema: You'll hardly be able to tell, but we use a Mexican crema made from a base of cashews to tame the spice.
- Queso fresco: Try a vegan queso fresco to add creamy, rich, and salty flavors without the need for dairy!
If you have questions about these plant-based Mexican huaraches, don't forget to check out our FAQ section at the bottom of this post.
Step 1: Mix the masa harina and salt in a bowl, then pour in 1 ½ cups of warm water to start and knead together using your hands for a few minutes.
Step 2: Preheat a seasoned cast-iron skillet or comal slowly to medium-high. Break off pieces of masa to form large balls (about 85-90 grams each). Roll each one between your palms into a cigar shape.
Step 3: If you have a tortilla press, cut a zip lock bag into 2 pieces that will fit the press. Open the press and place one in the center on a piece of plastic. Cover with the other piece and close the press down, shift the huarache and press down again, and repeat with the other end until it’s about ¼-inch think.
Step 4: Carefully remove the plastic pieces, then add a huarache to the hot pan. Let it cook on the first side for about 2 minutes, or until the edges are starting to curl up. Flip and finish cooking on the second side. Keep the cooked huaraches in a towel or warmer.
Step 5: Once all huaraches are cooked, heat a little oil in a pan over medium. Lightly fry them until golden and crispy.
Step 6: Serve them with a layer of refried beans, then salsa, chorizo, queso fresco, cashew crema, pickled onions, shredded lettuce, cilantro, etc. Happy eating!
Storing huaraches is a breeze! It's especially nice to have the corn bases on hand for a quick snack on busy days.
Once the huaraches are cooked through, they can be stored in your fridge for up to 4-5 days. We recommend keeping everything separate.
Store your huaraches in a freezer-safe container or plastic bag for up to 6-8 months. When you're ready for more, thaw the amount you need overnight in your fridge!
It's best to store huaraches before frying them in oil. To reheat, shallow fry them over medium-low heat for about 20-30 seconds per side, or until golden and crispy.
Alternatively, you can keep things oil-free by heating them in a dry skillet.
💭 Tips & variations
We'd like to share some tips and variations we learned while experimenting with this Mexican huaraches recipe:
- Flatten with a baking dish. If you don't have a tortilla press, you can easily flatten your huaraches with the bottom of a large dish.
- Stuff with beans. For a more traditional (and delicious) method of preparation, fill your masa with refried beans. Flatten it slightly, fill it with beans, then fold the dough around the beans before pressing it all the way.
- Try different meats. Some of the most poular choices when it comes to huaraches are al pastor, tinga, or carnitas. Try them all to see what you prefer!
- Plan ahead. Because of how well huaraches store, make a double batch to store for a few days ahead.
- Mix things up. Try using different garnishes or sauces to fully customize your huarache-eating experience.
- Try different sizes. Mexican huaraches come in all sizes (some as big as your head!). Try big ones or small ones to see what you like best.
🍴 Tasting notes
Whenever a crispy corn base is involved, we're on board! This plant-based take on huaraches Mexicanos is:
If you try these huaraches, please rate them and leave us a comment below! Want to stay up-to-date with new recipes? Subscribe to our newsletter or connect with Broke Bank Vegan on social media. Happy eating!
- Tortilla press
- Cast-iron skillet
- Chef knife & cutting board
- 2 cups masa harina ($0.25)
- 1 ½ cups hot water ($0.01)
- ½ teaspoon salt ($0.01)
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil optional
- Add the masa harina and salt to a mixing bowl and combine. Then, pour in 1 ½ cups of warm water to start and mix together using your hands.
- Knead the dough for a few minutes to hydrate the flour. Add more water or flour to achieve a texture similar to play-dough. Keep the bowl covered with a tea towel so it stays moist.
- Preheat a seasoned cast-iron skillet or comal slowly to medium-high. Break off pieces of masa to form large balls (about 85-90 grams each). Roll each one between your palms into a cigar shape.
- If you have a tortilla press*, cut a zip lock bag into 2 pieces that will fit the press. Open the press and place one in the center on a piece of plastic. Cover with the other plastic piece and close the press down, shift the huarache and press down again, and repeat with the other end until it’s about ¼-inch think.
- Carefully remove the plastic pieces, then add a huarache to the hot pan. Let it cook on the first side ~2 minutes, or until the edges are starting to curl up. Flip and finish cooking on the second side. Keep the cooked huaraches in a towel or warmer.
- Once all huaraches are cooked, heat a little oil in a pan over medium. Lightly fry them until golden and crispy (optional).
- Serve them with a layer of refried beans, then salsa, chorizo, queso fresco, cashew crema, pickled onions, shredded lettuce, cilantro, etc. Happy eating!
- If you don’t have a tortilla press, use a rolling pin or the bottom of a flat baking dish to shape the huaraches.
- Optional ingredients are not reflected in the price or calories of our recipes.
- We calculate nutritional information for our recipes with Cronometer.
- Recipe cost calculations are based on ingredients local to us and may vary from recipe-to-recipe.
- All prices are in USD.
♻️ Similar recipes
For more tasty ways to include corn-based snacks in your life, check out our:
- Sopes to try an iconic Mexican antojito that starts with corn cakes and tops them with beans, pico de gallo, cheese, and crema.
- Garnachas for bite-size corn discs topped with shredded jackfruit and tangy cabbage slaw.
- Picaditas to try tender bases of corn topped with red or green salsa and creamy vegan cheese.
- Memelas for a Oaxaca-inspired antojito starting with a base of corn (surprise) and ending with toppings like beans, salsa, cheese, and more!
Yes, huaraches are made with masa harina so they are a great gluten-free option. Just make sure the toppings you use are also gluten-free.
Technically the shape won't affect the taste. But with so many similar recipes, huaraches get their name from the iconic sandal shape.
Yes, you can make huaraches ahead of time. Just refer to our storage instructions for more information.