50 Spicy Snacks

Give your game-day party a kick with these fiery bites.

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Chile Pepper Tips

  • Color does not relate to heat; chiles change from green to orange or red as they ripen.
  • Small chiles are generally hotter than large ones.
  • To reduce the heat of a chile, remove the seeds and inner membranes.
  • Wear gloves or wash your hands right after handling — and don't touch your eyes or skin while you work!
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1. Jalapeno Guacamole Mash 3 avocados with 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, 1 minced jalapeno, 1 tablespoon jalapeno hot sauce, the juice of 2 limes, 1/2 minced red onion and 1 teaspoon each ground cumin and kosher salt. *

2. Chipotle Bean Dip Puree two 15-ounce cans black beans (drained and rinsed) with 1 cup each chopped cilantro and canned fire-roasted tomatoes, 2 tablespoons each olive oil and chopped chipotles in adobo, the juice of 1 lime, 1 garlic clove and 1 teaspoon each ground cumin, hot smoked paprika and kosher salt. **

3. Habanero Salsa Puree one 28-ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes, 2 chopped seeded habaneros, 1/2 cup cilantro, 1 minced garlic clove, the juice of 2 limes, 1/2 chopped red onion and 1 teaspoon each ground cumin and kosher salt. ***

4. Harissa Hummus Puree two 15-ounce cans chickpeas (drained and rinsed), 1/2 cup each tahini and jarred piquillo peppers, 1/3 cup each water and olive oil, 4 to 6 tablespoons harissa (Moroccan chile paste), the juice of 1 lemon, 1 minced garlic clove, 1 teaspoon ground cumin and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. *

5. Ghost Pepper Queso Saute 1 each chopped shallot and seeded ghost pepper in butter over medium heat until softened. Add 1 tablespoon flour; cook 30 seconds. Whisk in 1 cup milk; simmer 5 minutes. Stir in 1 cup each shredded cheddar and pepper jack until melted. ****

6. Jalapeno Dip Puree 4 ounces cream cheese, 1/2 cup each mayonnaise, sour cream and chopped cilantro, 1/4 cup chopped dill, 3 sliced scallions, 2 chopped jalapenos, 1 garlic clove and 1 tablespoon lime juice; season with salt. **

7. Chorizo Quesadillas Spread 1 tablespoon refried beans on each of 3 flour tortillas; divide 1/4 cup shredded pepper jack and 8 ounces cooked crumbled chorizo among the tortillas. Top each with sliced scallions and a tortilla. Cook in a hot buttered skillet, 2 minutes per side. Serve with 1 cup sour cream pureed with 1/2 avocado, 1 tablespoon each lime juice and jalapeno hot sauce and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. **

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8. Chorizo Nachos Spread 6 cups regular or spicy tortilla chips in a baking dish. Top with one 15-ounce can hot chili beans (warmed), 1 pound cooked crumbled chorizo, 2 cups shredded pepper jack and 1/2 cup pickled jalapenos. Bake at 425 degrees F until the cheese melts, 15 minutes. Top with sour cream, cilantro and scallions. **

9. Mini Fish Tacos Whisk 2 eggs with 2 chopped chipotles in adobo and 1 teaspoon each dried oregano, garlic powder, kosher salt and black pepper. Add 1 pound cod fillets (cut into 1-inch strips); toss. Marinate 15 minutes. Dredge in 1 cup each plain breadcrumbs and panko mixed with 2 teaspoons each cayenne and cornstarch and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Deep-fry in 375 degrees F vegetable oil until golden brown, 4 minutes. Serve in small tortillas. *

10. Fried Calamari Whisk 1 cup milk with 2 teaspoons cayenne. Add 1 pound cleaned squid (sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rings, plus tentacles); toss. Marinate 20 minutes. Whisk 3/4 cup each flour and cornstarch, 3 tablespoons cayenne and 2 teaspoons kosher salt. Dredge the squid in the flour mixture, then deep-fry in 360 degrees F vegetable oil until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt. Serve with spicy marinara. **