Pepinos Locos (crazy cucumbers) is a very unique and delicious Mexican snack made with fresh cucumbers, fruit and chips. Those snacks not only looks fantastic but it also taste yummy and are the perfect treat for a summer afternoon!
What are pepinos locos?
The word pepino (singular) means cucumber in spanish and loco means crazy. Those snacks started to become famous not so many years ago in Mexico and right now they’re also pretty famous in Southern California.
This snack consists in a cucumber peeled and carved to make some sort of cup which is then filled with a variety of ingredients such as peanuts, chips and fruit, sometimes even pickled pork rinds (cueritos). The last step is adding some Clamato juice, hot salsa, and a squeeze of lime.
Pepinos locos are widely sold at street food carts and there’s not a traditional way of making those snacks as they can vary from place to place and each snack stand has it’s own version.
The ingredients & substitutes
CUCUMBERS: I like to cut them into half so you have 2 servings for each piece of cucumber. But you can also cut them into 3 pieces for smaller cups.
CHIPS: You can use any chips you want, even though spicy potato chips are the ones most requested in the stands in Mexico. I have used from normal potato chips, to corn chips, Doritos, Cheetos, Fritos, and anything I have available at the moment.
FRUIT: Adding fruit is one of my favorite tweaks when making pepinos locos. I just add any fruit I have available or on season at the moment, from mango, jícama, orange or melon, to even apples, pears or peaches! The sweet touch from fruit is really delicious.
TAJÍN: This seasoning just adds the right touch of zing to pepinos locos. You can find this popular brand at any Mexican or Amazon. If you can’t find it, just make your own blend using some chili powder and salt. Find out here more about Tajín powder.
CHAMOY: Same as above, finding this hot salsa online is easier now. Also, you can use any other type of Mexican hot salsa, like this copycat homemade Valentina.
CLAMATO: Clamato juice is easily find at any supermarket in Mexico, USA and Canada but in other parts of the world you might find it in Amazon or North America food stores, otherwise, you can make your own homemade clamato juice. This is an optional ingredient, you can easily skip it and still have a delicious snack!
OTHERS: They’re called crazy cucumbers for a reason. Add anything you want! from fruit to candies like Pulparindo, Salsaghetis, etc.
How To Make Pepinos Locos
Make the cucumber cups
Peel cucumbers and cut the ends, then cut into 2 pieces each cucumber. If you using large cucumbers you might want to cut them into 3 pieces instead.
With a small knife make a deep cut into 2/3 of the cucumber and then rotate to make a circle.
Using a small spoon, scoop out the seeds and some pulp of a cucumber cup. Be careful not to scoop the base of the cucumber or your filling will fall through.
You can also use a fruit carver like the one in the photos below, they’re so useful and cheap to!
Prepare the other ingredients
Place a small bunch of potato and corn chips in a bag and, using a rolling pin, roughly crush them. Set aside.
Place Chamoy salsa on a plate and prepare another small plate with Tajín chili powder.
Dip the rim of each cucumber cup first on the Chamoy salsa, then into the Tajín powder.
Place cucumber cups standing on a serving platter.
Working in layers, add first some crushed chips, then peanuts and last diced fruit. Try to make at least 2 layers of each, ending with some peanuts on top.
Now, pour some Clamato juice filling well the cucumber cup. Finish with some Chamoy salsa on each cup and a squeeze some lime juice on top.
Finish the platter by arranging the remaining chips, fruit and peanuts. Serve immediately as you don’t want the chips to get too soggy.
Pepinos Locos (crazy cucumbers)
- 2 medium cucumbers
- 1 ½ cups Japanese style peanuts (or regular peanuts)
- 1 small bag of potato chips
- 2 cups corn chips
- 2 cups mango, jícama, strawberries, or any fruit you prefer (diced)
- Chamoy salsa (as needed)
- Tajín chili powder (as needed)
- Clamato juice (as needed)
- 2 limes (juice)
Make the cucumber cups
- Peel cucumbers and cut the ends, then cut into 2 pieces each cucumber. If you using large cucumbers you might want to cut them into 3 pieces instead.
- With a small knife make a deep cut into ⅔ of the cucumber and then rotate to make a circle.
- Using a small spoon, scoop out the seeds and some pulp of the cucumber. Be careful not to scoop the base or your filling will fall through.
- Place a small bunch of potato and corn chips in a bag and, using a rolling pin, roughly crush them. Set aside.
- Place Chamoy salsa on a plate and prepare another small plate with Tajín chili powder.
- Dip the rim of each cucumber cup first on the Chamoy salsa, then into the Tajín powder.
- Place cucumber cups standing on a serving platter.
- Working in layers, add first some crushed chips, then peanuts and last diced fruit. Try to make at least 2 layers of each, ending with some peanuts on top.
- Now, pour in Clamato juice and Chamoy salsa on each cup.
- Finish the platter by arranging the remaining chips, fruit and peanuts.
- Squeeze some lime juice on top of everything and serve immediately.