Tostilocos are an extremely popular street food with all the incredible flavors of Mexico piled together. Layers of tortilla chips, jicama, cucumber, peanuts, and tamarind candies are topped with hot sauce, chamoy, and lime juice.
This is one unforgettable combination!
Tostilocos are a snack where truly anything goes. The crazier you can make them look, the better. Just brace your tastebuds for what's to come!
What is it?
This popular Mexican street snack has taken the internet by storm in recent years.
Tostilocos takes a bag of salsa verde Tostitos, cuts it open lengthwise, and layers in the irresistible flavors of Mexico.
Usually, this antojito (snack) contains some combination of jicama, mango, cucumber, Japanese-style peanuts, tamarind candies, cueritos, and Mexican sauces like Valentina and chamoy.
You can find a ton of variations made with different kinds of chips like Doritos (Dorilocos), Takis (Takilocos), Churritos (Churilocos), and much, much more.
There are different theories as to how Tostilocos were invented, but most point to Tijuana as the birthplace in the 90s.
Most stories mention the chef, Javier Rodriguez, as the creator of Tostilocos. Apparently, he recreated a tostada with the only foods he had on hand — tortilla chips, cueritos (pickled pig skins), jicama, cacahuates japonés (Japanese-style peanuts), rielitos (tamarind candies), lime, chamoy, and hot sauce.
Another interesting theory by a Mexican food historian (Gustavo Arellano) argues Tostilocos (and other varieties) developed organically as a way for Mexicans to reclaim an American product that was declaring Mexican authenticity.
Regardless of the exact origin story, Mexicans have a unique ability to turn very basic ingredients into crazy (loco) combinations of flavors and textures.
What shouldn't work on paper perfectly melds together to become an addicting snack authentic to Mexico.
Is it vegan?
At first glance, this type of food looks vegan. However, there are unfortunately some hidden ingredients to be aware of. To start with, salsa verde Tostitos contain whey protein, which is not vegan.
Secondly, some recipes add on toppings like cueritos, which are pickled pig skins (definitely not vegan-friendly).
But with a few simple changes, this popular Mexican snack can be made 100% plant-based!
Nothing goes better together than a plate (or bag) of Tostilocos and an ice-cold cerveza.
It's best to serve this dish soon after making it or the chips will become soft and mushy (although, it's still delicious either way).
Feel free to get creative with this antojito as you can swap in pretty much anything you want or have on hand like:
- Regular salted or chile-lime peanuts
- Corn, carrots, jalapeños
- Pickled white onions (as a replacement for cueritos)
- Spicy dried mangoes
- Green apples, Asian pears, daikon radishes if you can't find jicama
🍲 Key ingredients
For a complete ingredient list and step-by-step guide, scroll down to our recipe card.
Taste: without tortilla chips, it would be impossible to make Tostilocos! They create a crunchy, corn-flavored base perfect for scooping up all the delicious toppings.
Fun fact: we love tortilla chips because they're naturally gluten-free. While we don't stick to a gluten-free diet, we like the fact that it opens this recipe up for more people.
Fruit & vegetables
Taste: creating crunchy, sweet, and fresh layers of flavor, Tostilocos usually contain jicama, cucumber, and sometimes mango. This fruit and vegetable combo adds a mouthwatering taste on top of the chips.
Health: with a small serving of this street snack, you'll receive almost all of your vitamin C needs for the day (shocking, we know). And if you aren't aware, Vitamin C is essential for the growth and repair of all body tissues.
Taste: adding to the craziness of this street snack, popular toppings include Japanese-style peanuts (also known as cracker nuts) and spicy tamarind candies. Both add different layers of crunchy, chewy, umami, and tangy flavors. It's a mind-blowing combination!
Health: surprisingly, tamarind contains a high level of magnesium and calcium (even in candy form). We're definitely not saying candy is good for your heart and bones, but don't go thinking Tostilocos are completely empty calories!
Taste: if there wasn't already enough flavor, it's necessary to keep going until your Tostilocos are smothered in sauces. Valentina hot sauce brings the heat, while chamoy adds salty, sweet, and tangy flavors.
Health: these sauces are made up of fruit and chiles, both of which contain an abundance of health benefits. We talk about it a lot (most likely because we eat a lot of chiles), but capsaicin is responsible for the spiciness in hot peppers and has been shown to promote heart health. Pretty impressive!
If you have questions about this Tostilocos recipe, don't forget to check out our FAQ section at the bottom of this post.
Step 1: prep the vegetables by peeling and cubing your cucumber, jicama, and mango if you're using one. Grab out and open the rest of the toppings and sauces you're going to use.
Step 2a (in a bag): cut open your bag of tortilla chips, then mix in the cucumber, jicama, mango, peanuts, tamarind candies, chamoy, hot sauce, lime juice, and Tajin. Enjoy your snack immediately!
Step 2b (on a plate): spread the chips out in an even layer on a plate, platter, or casserole dish. Layer on the diced cucumber, jicama, mango, tamarind candies, and peanuts.
Step 3: garnish with chile-lime seasoning (homemade or Tajin), chamoy, and Valentina hot sauce (or your favorite kind). Serve with lime wedges on the side. Happy eating!
Although we don't recommend storing Tostilocos together (it will get soggy), you can absolutely pre-cut everything and store it all separately in your fridge.
💭 Pro tips
Time to share our tips and tricks we learned while experimenting with this crazy recipe for you:
- Make it extra spicy. Try adding the black label Valentina for an extra hot serving of Tostilocos.
- Prep in advance. If you're serving these for a gathering, cut up the fruit and vegetables ahead of time.
- Switch up the toppings. Try adding corn, melted cheese, carrots, melon, jalapeños, or even pickled onions into the mix.
- Make your own chamoy. If you want the best flavor, definitely make your own chamoy. It's super easy and way better than store-bought!
🍴 Tasting notes
It's hard to describe what's going on in this Mexican snack until you try it for yourself. It's:
If you try this Tostilocos recipe, 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
- Platter or large dish
- 1 lime ($0.18)
- 2-3 tbsp Tajin ($0.02)
- 2-3 tbsp chamoy ($0.06)
- 2-3 tbsp Valentina hot sauce ($0.04)
- Peel and cube the cucumber, jicama, and mango. Grab out and open the rest of the toppings. Set aside.
- In a bag: cut open your bag of chips, then layer the toppings in one at a time. Serve immediately.
- On a plate: spread the chips out in an even layer on a plate, platter, or casserole dish. Layer the diced cucumber, jicama, mango, tamarind candies, and peanuts. Top with chile-lime seasoning (or Tajin), chamoy, and Valentina hot sauce. Serve with lime wedges on the side. Happy eating!
- Throw on other toppings like Taquis, churritos, or chile-lime peanuts for an even crazier snack.
- 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 flavor combinations, check out our:
- Quesabirria tacos for cheesy, messy, and savoury Mexican tacos guaranteed to make your hands dirty.
- Mangonada for a frozen drink with the perfect balance between sweet, sour, spicy, salty, and umami flavors.
- Chilaquiles rojos for a Mexican breakfast made from fried tortilla chips and spicy red salsa covered with toppings like queso and crema.
- Elotes to try Mexican street corn made with all vegan ingredients!
Many Tostilocos recipes call for salsa verde Tostitos, which contain whey protein and are not vegan. There are also recipes with cueritos, which are pickled pork rinds. You can easily make this recipe vegan with a few simple changes.
We definitely wouldn't call Tostilocos healthy. However, we're big proponents of eating things in moderation and not overconsuming high-calorie foods. Just try not to go overboard and you'll be good.
Because of the wheat used in the coating of Japanese-style peanuts, Tostilocos are not gluten-free. If you want a gluten-free version, just use regular or chile-lime peanuts.