11 Mexican Botana Ideas and Recipes for a Game Day Party

Sliced Limes

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When Mexican people sit down to watch televised sports, the food they eat is considered a part of the category of botana (Pronunciation: boh-TAH-nah). This term can refer to anything from dry snacks out of a bag to appetizer-esque hot items to a full meal served in several small courses.

A lot of Americans nowadays already consider guacamole and nachos to be an integral part of their Big Game Day, and there are gobs more wonderfully football-friendly Mexican-inspired botanas to be tried. Ooey-gooey, crisp, spicy, sweet, simple, complex, hot, room temperature, and cold—there’s something for everyone on this list. The one thing these recipes have in common? They can all be consumed in front of the television set!

Whether the word “football” for you means a game played with helmets and shoulder pads or one that favors short pants and goalies, get inspired to cook a little Mexican for your next friends and family t.v. game day.

  • 01 of 11



    Alberto Coto / Photodisc / Getty Images

    Peru claims ceviche as its original creation, but nowadays, this raw-fish-bathed-in-lime-juice delicacy is enjoyed in distinctly Mexican versions in fishing villages and large resorts up and down both the Pacific and Gulf coasts. Try the standard fish ceviche, one made with another kind of seafood, such as the shrimp ceviche, or even a vegetarian variety such as the vegetarian ceviche salad.

    Serve it with some pita or tortilla chips on the side to scoop up the ceviche.

  • 02 of 11

    Keto Tortilla Chips

    Keto Tortilla Chips

     The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney

    These keto tortilla chips are an easy replacement for corn tortilla chips, with only six keto-friendly ingredients. They are packed with finger-licking flavor, which is exactly what you want in a good chip. Scale the recipe up as needed to make a larger batch since this recipe makes enough for two people. The dough is rolled out and cut into the shape of a triangle (or whatever shape you decide to cut them into) and then baked in the oven for 20 minutes. 

    These chips are great for dipping. Have some chunky tomato salsa, cheesy queso, and creamy guacamole ready! 

  • 03 of 11

    Taco Sauce

    Homemade taco sauce

     The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney

    While many packaged sauce mixes are fine, homemade is always better. This taco sauce is easy to prepare and starts with tomatoes, green chiles, jalapenos, and lots of spicy goodness from cumin, coriander, cayenne, and paprika. This recipe for homemade taco sauce only takes 17 minutes to make from start to finish; you just might find yourself making this all the time rather than buying some from the store. 

    You can add other ingredients to the sauce if you desire and jazz it up with chipotle peppers and adobo sauce, or replace the jalapenos with mild green chiles for a milder sauce. 

    Enjoy this sauce on tacos, nachos, burritos, enchiladas, and other foods you decide to apply taco sauce. 

  • 04 of 11

    Mexican Cheese

    Jalapeño Cheese

    Westphalia/Getty Images

    Just as there are gobs of varieties of authentic Mexican cheese, there are many different ways to enjoy it on game day. Here are just a few suggestions to kick-start your ideas:

    • Queso Dip: Of course! You can't have enough queso dip.
    • Cheese and Fruit: Pair sliced manchego or Chihuahua with grapes or slices of apples.
    • Cheese Tostadas: Spread a thin layer of crema or sour cream onto a crisp corn tostada. Top with some crumbled fresco, Cotija, or añejo cheese, and see what deliciousness can come from just three ingredients.
    • Fried Cheese: Use queso fresco or queso blanco.
    • Cheese and Ate: Ate (pronounced AH-teh) is the Mexican name for a thick sliceable fruit preserve common in many parts of Latin America. Guava paste is one form; there are others, made from different fruits. Pair slices of cheese with similarly sized sliced ate (or cut both ingredients into cubes and spear them on a toothpick) for the best flavor combo you had never heard of. Chihuahua, Mexican manchego, or panela cheese is an excellent choice for this botana.
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  • 05 of 11


    Pineapple tepache recipe

    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel

    Need an alternative to the same old beer and soda drinks while watching the game? Tepache comes to the rescue with its refreshing flavor and fermented goodness. You’ll have to plan since it will need to steep for a couple of days or so, but it will be so worth it. All you need is four ingredients—water, pineapple, piloncillo (or brown sugar), and a cinnamon stick to make this unique beverage. Your guests will love both the drink itself and the novelty of your having made it from something which is usually discarded—the rind of fresh pineapple!

    If you’d prefer something equally as delicious as tepache but not fermented, you can’t miss with one or more of these Mexican aguas frescas.

  • 06 of 11


    Abuela's Apple Empanadas on a plate

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

    The ultimate in "finger food," empanadas can be savory or sweet, and they can be served either hot or at room temperature. These hand-held goodies can be made the day before the Big Game, if you like, and can even be filled with leftovers from other meals. Half the fun is making these homemade. Cut the dough out in whatever size circles you want for small to large empanadas. Simply fill with beef, chicken, veggies, fruits—whatever you desire—and deep fry these mouthwatering goodies.

    Try beef empanadas or apple caramel turnovers to start with, or peruse these South American varieties.

  • 07 of 11


    Leftover Chicken Quesadilla

    The Spruce Eats

    If there is a no-brainer for football food, this is it. Whether they are of the simple cheese-between-two-flour-tortillas variety or the more complex (and flavorful) traditional fried type, quesadillas are fun and satisfying. Grilled, fried, baked, or toasted in the pan, these are pretty easy to make. Keep the filling cheese-only or use your leftovers to make them more interesting and nutritious, but you know you’ve got to make some right when the next game starts!

    Top them off with salsa, guacamole, sour cream, or pico de gallo

  • 08 of 11


    Nachos With Toppings

    EasyBuy4u / Getty Images

    Are nachos Mexican? That’s debatable (and discussed elsewhere), but what is undeniable is their suitability as game-day fare. For best flavor, forego the viscous orange “cheese sauce” and make your nachos with real shredded cheese, heating each serving briefly in the microwave or oven to turn it all melty. Leave plain or top with chicken, meat, salsa, olives, pickled carrots, or the ingredient of your choice.

    And, of course, have sour cream and guac available. 

    Continue to 9 of 11 below.
  • 09 of 11

    Guacamole and Chips With Salsa

    Simple guacamole recipe

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

    Since “guac” has now been completely woven into the average American life experience, it’s easy to forget its distinctly Mexican origins. (The word guacamole itself comes from an indigenous term meaning, roughly, “avocado sauce.”)

    Whether it’s your basic simple guacamole or a jazzed-up version, don’t just use your guac as a dip; spread it on sandwiches or hot dogs or serve it as a side dish or a topping for grilled meats.

    Salsa is a whole world unto itself. The classic fresh pico de gallo type of salsa is always well received, but there is so much more out there to be tried. After all, the word salsa is just the general Spanish term for sauce, and Mexican food is all about all kinds of sauces. Try cranberry salsa, avocado salsa, or any one of a myriad of other Mexican table sauces.

    As for chips, well, buy them by the bag or make your own Totopos!

  • 10 of 11

    Keto Nachos

    Keto Nachos

     The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney

    For those that are on the keto diet, these keto nachos are sure to be a hit. Using the homemade keto tortilla chips, simply add toppings of shredded chicken, guacamole, queso, cheese, sour cream, and whatever other toppings fit your cravings. There are so many variations of these nachos you can do, from using ground beef or shredded pork, instead of the rotisserie chicken to switching up the toppings.

    Make a few different ones for your game day gathering for a crowd-pleasing touchdown.  

  • 11 of 11

    Taquitos, Rolled and Baked Chicken or Beef Tacos

    Rolled and baked tacos recipe

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

    Baked tacos, or taquitos, are popular game day fare. Two tortillas encase the chicken and chile cheese filling and baked in the oven until crispy. Just like with other Mexican goodies, these taquitos can use different fillings such as ground beef, pork, or cheese. Green chile sauce goes great with chicken-filled taquitos, while red chile sauce is recommended for beef ones.

    Get ready to dip these into your favorite dipping condiment. Guac, salsa, queso, table sauce, and sour cream need to be available in abundance for these tasty treats!