Spicy and flavorful, these Mexican-style potatoes with jalapeño, onion, garlic, tomato and cilantro are delicious and low in calories. Try this healthy, easy vegan, plant-based potato recipe by itself, as a side or as a taco filling.
This is an air fryer version of papas a la Mexicana, the delicious Mexican breakfast potatoes which are traditionally prepared on the stove in a skillet.
To make this recipe fast, we're using pre-cooked potatoes. I typically steam a big batch of potatoes in my Instant Pot each week and use those potatoes for meals throughout the week. Here's how to steam potatoes in the Instant Pot.
You can also use raw potatoes for this, they'll just take a little longer to cook in the air fryer.
🧄 Ingredient notes
- Potatoes - Pre-cooked or pre-steamed potatoes make this meal cook up really fast without the need for any oil. Russet potatoes and yukon gold potatoes both work well for this recipe. To steam potatoes easily: Instant Pot Steamed Potatoes.
- Jalapeño - Jalapeño pepper adds spiciness and flavor to these breakfast potatoes. We remove the seeds to tame the heat level. For spicier potatoes, keep the seeds or use serrano pepper, which is hotter than jalapeños.
- Tomatoes - Fresh roma tomatoes work best for this recipe.
- Onion - Choose a yellow onion or sweet yellow onion for this recipe.
📋 Substitutions and variations
Here are some suitable substitutions for the ingredients in this recipe:
- Pre-cooked potatoes - instead of pre-cooked or steamed potatoes from the refrigerator, you can use raw potatoes or frozen cubed hash brown potatoes. If you choose to use raw or frozen cubed potatoes, the initial air fryer cooking time (before you add the tomatoes) will be longer.
- Yellow onion - instead of yellow onion or sweet yellow onion for this recipe, you can use white onion or red/purple onion.
- Roma tomatoes - instead of roma tomatoes, you can use any fresh tomato, even cherry tomatoes that have been sliced in half.
- Jalapeño - instead of jalapeño pepper, use serrano for more heat and spiciness. To reduce spiciness, use ½ a green bell pepper or omit the peppers altogether.
- Garlic - instead of fresh garlic, use granulated garlic, canned minced garlic or crushed garlic.
- SOS-free - make this SOS-free by omitting the salt
Switch things up with these variation ideas!
- Add bell peppers - add mixed bell peppers to the dish
- Extra spicy - double the jalapeño, include the seeds or use serrano peppers to make it extra spicy
- Cheesy - add 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast to the potatoes at the end of cooking to inject a cheesy flavor to the dish. Or, drizzle with plant-based queso.
- Potato and Bean Burrito - stuff a large flour tortilla with these spicy Mexican potatoes along with refried pinto beans or refried black beans for a plant-based burrito.
Step-by-step instructions for how to make oil-free Mexican potatoes in the air fryer using pre-cooked potatoes.
In a large bowl, toss the cut potatoes, onion, jalapeño, garlic, salt and pepper until mixed well.
Line your air fryer basket with parchment paper, to prevent the smaller pieces from falling through and to keep the food from sticking. If your air fryer is non-stick, you may choose to skip this step (it's up to you). I use a Ninja Foodi and can cook this recipe all at once. If your air fryer is smaller, you may need to do this in 2 batches or reduce the recipe in half.
Add potato mixture to the air fryer basket that is lined with parchment paper. Air fry the potato mixture at 400°F for 20 minutes. The potatoes should be lightly browned.
Remove air fryer basket after 20 minutes and spread the chopped tomatoes evenly on top of the hot potatoes. Put basket back in air fryer and air fry at 400°F for another 8 minutes, until the tomatoes are hot and browning on the edges.
Remove basket from air fryer and sprinkle with chopped fresh cilantro.
Taste and add more salt and pepper, as needed. Serve hot with warmed corn tortillas.
How to warm corn tortillas on a gas stove
Turn on your gas burner to medium low or low heat. Warm one corn tortilla at a time for 20 seconds on each side. Use tongs to flip the tortilla.
This is about the most amount of char you should have on the tortillas. Much more than this and they will taste burnt and become tough and hard. So, keep a close eye on them!
Keep the tortillas warm and soft by stacking them inside a clean dish towel or cloth napkin while you warm the rest of the tortillas. The cloth also prevents the bottom tortilla from getting soggy from condensation by touching the plate it's resting on.
Warming the corn tortillas this way helps to strengthen them for corn tortilla tacos. This way they don't break as easily.
If you don't have a gas stove, no worries. Warm your corn tortillas, stacked together, on a plate in the microwave for 30 seconds. Flip the stack and heat again for 30 seconds.
🧯 Food safety
- Wash hands with soap and water before cooking
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended, especially those tortillas warmed over the fire!
- Don't leave large areas of parchment paper hanging over the food as it has the potential to burn or even catch on fire. Use as much parchment as you need to cover the bottom of the basket and no more. Cut off the excess, if needed. Or, fold it under.
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
⭐️ Expert tips
- If you don't use parchment paper, allow the potatoes to cook until they form a crust and will release from the air fryer basket without sticking.
- Don't multitask when warming the tortillas. They burn very quickly and can even light on fire. Keep a close eye on them!
- Don't use your hands to flip the tortillas, you could burn yourself. Use long-handled tongs to flip them.
- Ninja Foodi Air Fryer - this entire recipe fits in my Ninja Foodi, the one that folds up and down to save space on the counter. If you are using a smaller air fryer, you'll need to reduce the amount in this recipe or make 2 batches. Or, you can make it in a convection fan oven (which is basically a huge air fryer!).
🥡 Make ahead and storage tips
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. This dish can be made ahead and then reheated in the microwave.
👨👩👦👦 Serving suggestions
For an even lighter breakfast, serve them with these less authentic, but still delicious sides of fruit or a non-starchy vegetable: steamed broccoli, air-fried zucchini or calabaza squash, mango, grapes, sliced banana, pineapple or melon.
Choosing to serve these healthy breakfast potatoes with fruit or non-starch veggies makes it a filling and healthy meal for fat loss, since a generous helping of these potatoes is about 250 calories.
There are two main ways to prevent potatoes from sticking in your air fryer basket. 1) Use parchment paper underneath them. 2) Allow the potatoes to cook long enough to form a crust on the bottom. This crust will then release from the air fryer basket when it's crispy enough. Bonus tip) Don't overcrowd the basket, this prevents a nice crust from forming and instead just steams the potatoes.
🗺 Cultural influences
This recipe is inspired by food experiences in my diverse hometown of Houston, Texas and by the strong cultural influences of my family and friends from Mexico. See About for more information on my cultural influences and how I attribute recipes.
💜 More recipes you'll love
If you love this spicy Mexican potato recipe, check out these other TexMex and Mexican-inspired plant-based recipes!
Spicy Air Fryer Mexican Potatoes with Jalapeño, Tomato and Onion (oil-free)
- 1 onion diced, about (2 cups or 250g
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 jalapeño de-seeded and diced
- 5 pre-cooked potatoes cut into 1 inch pieces, about 5 cups or 900g
- 3 roma tomatoes diced, about 2 cups or 400g
- sea salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
- ½ bunch cilantro minced, about ½ cup or 45g
- corn tortillas for serving (optional)
- In a large bowl, toss the cut potatoes, onion, jalapeño, garlic, salt and pepper until mixed well.1 onion, 3 cloves garlic, 1 jalapeño, 5 pre-cooked potatoes, sea salt, black pepper
- Line your air fryer basket with parchment paper, to prevent the smaller pieces from falling through and to keep the food from sticking. If your air fryer is non-stick, you may choose to skip this step (it's up to you). I use a Ninja Foodi and can cook this recipe all at once. If your air fryer is smaller, you may need to do this in 2 batches or reduce the recipe in half.
- Add potato mixture to the air fryer basket that is lined with parchment paper. Air fry the potato mixture at 400°F for 20 minutes. The potatoes should be lightly browned.
- Remove air fryer basket after 20 minutes and spread the chopped tomatoes evenly on top of the hot potatoes. Put basket back in air fryer and air fry at 400°F for another 8 minutes, until the tomatoes are hot and browning on the edges.3 roma tomatoes
- Remove basket from air fryer and sprinkle with chopped fresh cilantro. Taste and add more salt and pepper, as needed. Serve hot with warmed corn tortillas.½ bunch cilantro
How to Warm Corn Tortillas over Gas Stove
- Turn on your gas burner to medium low or low heat. Warm one corn tortilla at a time for 20 seconds on each side. Use tongs to flip the tortilla.corn tortillas
- Keep the tortillas warm and soft by stacking them inside a clean dish towel or cloth napkin while you warm the rest of the tortillas.