This pepinos locos recipe embodies the flavors of Mexico like nothing else you've ever tried before. Fresh cucumber cups are filled with juicy fruit, crunchy peanuts, tangy tamarind candies, and hot sauce.
Yup, this snack tastes even crazier than it looks!
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Pepinos locos (or crazy cucumbers) make a fantastic party snack because they always have people "oohing and aahing."
With endless customizations, you'll be able to make this dish look and taste exactly how you want!
What are pepinos locos?
Pepinos locos are a spin-off of other popular Mexican "locos" recipes with chips. Most of these recipes include similar ingredients like fruit, tamarind candies, chamoy, vegetables, hot sauce, and Tajin.
Since there are no "formal" recipes per se, you can let your imagination and creativity take over.
In this pepinos locos recipe, you'll core the cucumbers, then rim them with chamoy and Tajin. Fill up your cups with Japanese-style peanuts, mango cubes, Pulparindo candies, and tomato juice.
If that's not enough to impress your tastebuds, don't forget Valentina hot sauce, lime juice, more chamoy, and Tajin!
There are so many flavor combinations that just work. What shouldn't make sense on paper actually turns out delicious. You really need to try making this snack to understand what we mean.
There are many different "locos" recipes, but they first started appearing in the late 1990s.
A lot of creation stories give credit to Tijuana as the place of origin for these crazy recipes. The most traditional versions are made with Doritos (Dorilocos) or Tostitos (Tostilocos).
Apparently, it all started with a man (Javier Rodriguez) attempting to create a tostada with the only ingredients he had on hand — tortilla chips, cueritos (pickled pig skins), jicama, cacahuates japonéses (Japanese-style peanuts), rielitos (tamarind candies), lime, chamoy, and hot sauce.
Just like that, the locos frenzy began. This style of "crazy" street food has taken Mexico (and the internet) by storm. There are recipes popping up all the time with new and exciting ingredients.
We really enjoy pepinos locos because they make such a light and refreshing snack. Who knew a crazy cucumber recipe could be so tasty?!
Which other foods will become the base for a future locos recipe? Let us know your ideas in the comments!
Are pepinos locos vegan?
Many pepinos locos recipes have cueritos (pickled pig skin) and Clamato juice in them. Because of these two items, some recipes are not vegan.
But, we definitely don't use cueritos, and we use tomato or vegetable juice in place of Clamato. So yes, this recipe is 100% vegan-friendly!
Seeing as how cucumbers are basically all water, these cups will start to leak a little soon after you start making them.
It's best to serve them right away so they don't make a mess everywhere! If you are prepping them in advance, just peel and chop the fruit filling, make the cucumber cups, and store everything separately until you are ready to serve this snack.
🍲 Key ingredients
For a complete ingredient list and step-by-step guide, scroll down to our recipe card.
Taste: cucumber (known as pepino) makes the bulk of this recipe and lends a fresh, crisp, and cool texture and flavor.
Health: due to its high water content, cucumbers are naturally low in calories, making them a healthier alternative to Tostilocos. Although low in calories, cucumbers are high in nutrients like vitamin C, K, and manganese.
Taste: to add a signature "Mexican flavor" in this pepinos locos recipe, we use tamarind candy. It provides the perfect amount of tart, tangy, and slightly sweet flavors. You can use any tamarind candy, but we're huge fans of Pulparindo.
Health: although we'll never say eating candy is healthier than not eating candy, tamarind still has notable benefits. It's filled with vitamins and minerals like potassium, magnesium, and iron.
Taste: cacahuates japonéses (also known as cracker nuts) are peanuts coated with wheat flour dough. They have sweet, salty, and umami flavors that add even more oomph to this crazy cucumber recipe.
Health: although higher in calories, there are only a few nuts in each cucumber cup. Peanuts contain heart-healthy unsaturated fats, which have been shown to help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and reduce your chances of heart disease. Just don't go overboard!
Toppings are where the fun begins with pepinos locos. Since this recipe is not very strict, here are a few ideas:
Fruit: usually fruit is added to provide sweet and juicy bites amongst the spicy and savoury flavors. We love to use mango, but you can also try:
Chips: you'll often see chips surrounding the cucumbers in this dish. Most of the time, the spicier the better. Here are a few ideas:
- Takis Fuego
- Jalapeño chips
- Spicy tortilla chips
Sauces and extras: after you load up your pepinos with fillings, make them extra crazy with ingredients like:
- Tajin (or chile-lime seasoning)
- Lime juice
- Valentina hot sauce
As you can see, you're only limited by your imagination. The more creative you are, the more delicious this snack turns out!
If you have questions about how to make pepinos locos, don't forget to check out our FAQ section at the bottom of this post.
Step 1: start by peeling the cucumbers and cutting each one into four pieces. Using the end of a spoon, remove the core of each chunk to make little cucumber cups. Peel and cube the mango into very small pieces.
Step 2: once the fillings are ready to go, rim each cucumber cup with chamoy and Tajin (chile-lime seasoning). Then, fill the cups with mango cubes, peanuts, and Pulparindo candies.
Step 3: top your cups with more chamoy, Valentina hot sauce, and more Tajin. Lastly, pour in tomato or vegan clamato juice and a squeeze of lime.
Note: you can serve this snack surrounded by Takis (fuego) or spicy potato chips. Happy eating!
We don't recommend storing pepinos locos once made because the crunchy ingredients will turn soggy.
To save time on preparation, we encourage you to pre-cut and store everything separately in your fridge. This will make it easier and quicker to put together when you're ready (especially if you're making this for a gathering).
💭 Tips & variations
We'd like to share some tips and variations we learned while experimenting with this pepinos locos recipe:
- Don't scoop too much. When coring the cucumber cups, leave enough at the bottom so the fillings don't leak out too much.
- Prep in advance. The faster you fill your cucumbers and serve them, the fresher this snack will taste. We recommend prepping everything beforehand.
- Don't add the chips. Since this is a lower calorie version of the popular Tostilocos recipe, skip the chips for a healthier alternative.
- Make your own chamoy. There's nothing quite like homemade chamoy. If you have time, it will elevate this snack even more! For more information, check out our detailed guide on chamoy.
🍴 Tasting notes
We love making pepinos locos for a light afternoon snack, and we know you will too. They're:
If you try this crazy Mexican snack, please rate it 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!
- Knife & cutting board
- Vegetable peeler
- First, peel the cucumber, cut it into four pieces, and core each one with the end of a spoon (make sure the bottom of each piece is flat). Peel and cube the mango very small.
- Next, rim the cucumber cups first with chamoy, then with Tajin (chile-lime seasoning). Fill the cucumber cups with mango cubes, peanuts, and Pulparindo candies.
- Garnish with more chamoy, Valentina hot sauce, and Tajin. Lastly, pour in tomato or vegan Clamato juice and a squeeze of lime. Optionally, serve your cups with Fuego potato chips and Takis. Happy eating!
- 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 crazy, but delicious recipes, check out our:
- Tostilocos to try the original "loco" street snack served all over Mexico.
- Dulces enchilados for a sweet, spicy, and tangy way to enjoy candy.
- Quesabirria tacos for a 100% vegan version of this cheesy, saucy, and savoury internet sensation.
- Mangonada to try this golden mango-filled drink layered with chamoy, lime, and Tajin.
- Chamoy rim dip for a sweet, spicy, salty, and tangy way to rim your drinks.
- Chilaquiles rojos for a Mexican breakfast made of spicy red salsa and lightly fried tortilla chips.
Pepinos locos are a lower-calorie version of the popular snack Tostilocos. Without adding too many chips (or none at all), this can be a very healthy snack.
This pepinos locos recipe contains Japanese-style peanuts, so it is not gluten-free. To make this recipe gluten-free, simply swap in regular peanuts.
Pepinos locos sometimes contain cueritos and Clamato juice, which are both not vegan. But, this pepinos locos recipe is 100% vegan-friendly.