30 Traditional Mexican Foods & Easy Mexican Recipes in 2024

Traditional Mexican foods go way beyond tacos and salsa. You are exposed to endless options in Mexican cuisine and authentic Mexican recipes. From chilaquiles to empanadas to fajitas, the best Mexican food is tasty, spicy and oftentimes very easy to prepare.

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traditiona Mexican Recipes

30 Traditional Mexican Foods & Easy Mexican Recipes

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5 Each: Breakfast, Bread, Appetizer, Side Dishes, Lunch/Dinner & Desserts

5 Samples of Traditional Mexican Breakfasts

Mexican cooking is one of the most vibrant and flavorful cuisines there is. Using cheese, eggs, beans, avocados, and sour cream in most recipes makes the dishes sinfully delightful! Mexican food is also very hearty, so it only makes sense to serve them for breakfast. One serving of these dishes is enough to get you pumped up in the morning. It only takes one bite to fall in love with these scrumptious Mexican breakfasts.

1. Mexican Breakfast Casserole – Mexican Foods

Mexican Breakfast Casserole - Mexican Foods

This recipe combines eggs, sausage, salsa, cheese, tortilla, corn, and cheese all together in one mind-blowing breakfast dish. Ultra-rich, meaty, and cheesy, this is Mexican comfort food at its best. Plus, there’s something magical about the aroma of this dish as it bakes. I wouldn’t mind waking up to this hearty feast every day.

This Mexican Breakfast Casserole is so easy to make and prepare ahead of time and pop it in the oven when you’re ready to eat! This classic breakfast casserole gets a little bit of a Mexican cuisine flair with layers of fluffy eggs, spicy salsa, ground taco meat, black beans, corn, cheese, and corn tortillas.

2. Huevos Rancheros – Mexican Dishes

Huevos Rancheros - Mexican Dishes

Huevos rancheros (or rancher’s eggs) are a typical breakfast served at Mexican farms, featuring corn tortillas and fried eggs topped with plenty of warmed salsa. Refried beans are often a component.

It’s the perfect way to start the day. This classic Huevos Rancheros recipe features fresh Pico de Gallo on top.

3. Huevos Motuleños – Traditional Mexican Foods

Huevos Motuleños - Traditional Mexican Foods

These Yucatan-style eggs are a delectable breakfast dish of a fried tortilla topped with black beans, a sunny-side-up egg, red sauce, and golden fried plantains.

A lot of recipes for huevos motulenos call for peas, ham, or chorizo, so feel free to customize as you like. Avocado, lime, crumbly cheese, pickled jalapeños and cilantro are a given.

4. Huevos a la Mexicana – Mexican Recipes

Huevos a la Mexicana - Mexican Recipes

Huevos a la Mexicana is a nostalgic and comforting breakfast or brunch — it is a simple mixture of sautéed onions, jalapeños, and tomatoes scrambled with farm fresh eggs.

These were the basic Mexican style scrambled eggs I grew up eating made with kitchen staples and basic Mexican ingredients.

5. Traditional Mexican Molletes – Mexican Cuisine

Traditional Mexican Molletes - Mexican Cuisine

Essentially a bread roll (bolillo), sliced in half lengthways before being toasted, topped with a healthy schmear of beans and cheese, plus the added extras that you choose. A kind of Mexican breakfast pizza.

A traditional Mexican open sandwich with refried beans and melted cheese served with salsa. Perfect for breakfast, lunch, or as a tasty snack.

5 Mexican Bread Recipes That Are Popular in Mexico

Popular Mexican breads include those with great significance, such as Pan de Muerto and Rosca de Reyes, and bread that people commonly enjoy, like Bolillo and Conchas. From sour and savory to sweet, there is a wide variety of Mexican breads that people love. Typically corn is found in almost every meal in the form of flatbread known as a tortilla. Pastries and breads are homemade or bought. In northern Mexico, flour tortillas are consumed but the corn variety is common.

1. Bolillo – Traditional Mexican Foods

Bolillo - Traditional Mexican Foods

Bolillos are a staple of the traditional Mexican diet. These small white bread buns are delightfully crispy on the outside while soft and fluffy on the inside. You can find these buns used to make tortas and molletes as well as sliced up and served alongside an entrée.
Bolillo is made by preparing yeast, water, and flour overnight in a bowl. Leaving it overnight strengthens the bread’s savory flavor. It’s a delightful addition to any meal or an excellent snack on its own.

2. Rosca de Reyes – Mexican Cuisine

Rosca de Reyes - Mexican Cuisine

Also known as “Three Kings Bread,” Rosca de Reyes is a round, spongy cake with sweet additions and fruit. Some could say it’s similar to fruit cake, but Rosca de Reyes has more to it than your traditional Mexican Christmas treat.

3. Flour Tortillas – Mexican Recipes

Flour Tortillas - Mexican Recipes

With its many variations, the tortilla is most commonly used in some of Mexico’s most famous dishes, such as mulitas and others as it holds many types of meat and many other things. However, an authentic tortilla isn’t like the ones at your local supermarket.

If you follow the recipe, you’ll get a soft but slightly crunchy tortilla. This delicious treat can be enjoyed as is, or it can hold all of your favorite toppings. Either way, it’s quite a commonly enjoyed type of Mexican bread.

4. Conchas (Traditional Mexican Sweet Bread) – Mexican Foods

Conchas (Traditional Mexican Sweet Bread) - Mexican Foods

There are many sweetbreads in Mexico, but with a spongy inside and a sweet crumbly topping, it’s no surprise that conchas are the most well-received.

While white topping is the most common, conchas can also have pink, brown, or even yellow topping. The brown one is specifically chocolate flavored. The texture and flavor combination is unique compared to almost any other kind of bread. It packs a punch and crumbles in your mouth.

5. Pan de Muerto – Mexican Dishes

Pan de Muerto - Mexican Dishes

Also known as Day of the Dead Bread, is a sweet bread known for its essential role during Dia de Los Muertos. Between October 31st and November 2nd, Mexicans honor those who have passed away.

In essence, the Pan de Muerto isn’t but a sweet yeast bread that’s often topped with sugar. It’s definitely the least sophisticated food in the Mexican cuisine. With a design that resembles a skull and crossbones, this popular Mexican bread embodies the laid-back perspective of death in the Mexican culture.

5 Mexican Appetizers — 4 Dips & 1 Homemade Chip Recipes

When you eat Mexican food, chips with some type of a dip like guacamole or pico de gallo is pretty much always served as your appetizer. These Mexican appetizers are easy, delicious, and also traditional! These aren’t your average appetizers. These Mexican dishes are rich, festive, and packed with flavor! They’re so good, your guests will be talking about them for days.

1. Jalapeno Popper Dip – Mexican Foods

Jalapeno Popper Dip - Mexican Foods

This is not just any ordinary dip. Cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and jalapenos, and panko bread crumbs are mixed and baked to form a rich, creamy, and irresistible dip. Who needs jalapeno poppers when you can have it in dip form?

The cheeses give it richness; the bread crumbs crispness, and the jalapenos a spicy kick. The best part is that you can whip up this dip up to 3 days in advance.

2. Salsa Verde Dip – Mexican Dishes

Salsa Verde Dip - Mexican Dishes

This homemade salsa verde is incredibly refreshing, flavorful, and addictive. It’s also a breeze to make! It’s so easy, yet so packed with flavor. All you need are tomatillos, jalapenos, onions, cilantro, lime juice, and salt.
There are no fancy ingredients needed, but do be sure to use fresh produce. You’ll want to double the recipe because one batch might not last a day! Whether it’s burritos, enchiladas, nachos, or even just a bag of chips, it doesn’t matter. This dip will make any of them taste 10 times better.
Salsa verde is great with pretty much anything that goes well with regular tomato salsa. It’s especially fantastic with sweet potatoes and eggs (like chilaquiles verdes, huevos rancheros, frittatas and breakfast tacos).

3. Qdoba Queso – Mexican Recipes

Qdoba Queso - Mexican Recipes

The combination of Monterey Jack, Cheddar, and American cheeses is the perfect dip trifecta. The roasted poblano peppers and tomatoes add a nice kick and tanginess that balances out the richness of the cheeses well. Best of all, this dip couldn’t be easier to make. You just throw in all the ingredients to a slow cooker, and voila.
It’s cheesy, delicious, and way cheaper than takeout! Served hot, this cheesy delight is an amazing alternative to a simple jar of something from the store. Served with chips, veggies, or crusty bread, queso dip is rich, creamy and totally irresistible. You can always throw in extra jalapenos if you like it a little spicy.

4. Refried Bean Dip – Traditional Mexican Foods

Refried Bean Dip - Traditional Mexican Foods

This Refried Bean Dip recipe comes together in just minutes and everybody always swarms when it’s set out at a party next to a big bowl of tortilla chips! Make it as mild or spicy as you like, then step back and watch your family and friends devour this fantastic dip!
The dip is also super easy to make. It’s done in a few minutes and makes a big batch. An all-time favorite is this classic, easy-to-throw-together bean dip! This recipe comes together in under 5 minutes, then bakes in the oven until hot and bubbly.

5. Homemade Baked Tortilla Chips – Mexican Cuisine

Homemade Baked Tortilla Chips - Mexican Cuisine

Don’t worry, there’s not much work involved in these homemade tortilla chips. Make these tasty chips in less than 15 minutes! Sprinkle sea salt on the tortillas while they bake or add other spices like cumin or a dash of lime for flavor!
And the reward is super flavorful and addictive chips that also happen to be healthy.
Yep, these guys are baked, not fried, so they aren’t greasy and calorie-dense. You and your friends can snack on them all day without the guilt.

5 Popular Mexican Side Dishes To Complement Mexican Entrées

I have nothing but love for Mexican food. I think it’s one of if not the most colorful, fun, and flavorful cuisines out there! Whether it’s a taco, fajita, burrito, or enchilada, Mexican dishes are always welcome in my belly. Scrumptious side dishes add even more excitement to the main course. They’re vibrant, delicious, and complement the flavors and textures of every Mexican dish. So, the next time you’re serving Mexican to your family and friends, don’t forget to whip up some tasty sides, too.

1. Black Beans and Rice – Mexican Foods

Black Beans and Rice - Mexican Foods

Black beans and rice is a staple in Mexican cuisine. It’s simple and straightforward, yet packs a lot of flavor. It’s very easy to make. Just season your rice and black beans with salt, oregano, and cumin, and you’re all set. You can serve it on the side as is, or topped with guacamole.

2. Mexican Cornbread – Mexican Dishes

Mexican Cornbread - Mexican Dishes

Also known as jalapeno cornbread, this side is fluffy, crumbly, and savory. Whatever the main course is, you’ll want this Mexican cornbread on the table. Not only is it bursting with jalapenos, but cheddar cheese as well.
It’s a fantastic combination of savory and spicy. This recipe only takes a few minutes to prepare, and the oven takes care of everything else.

3. Guacamole – Traditional Mexican Foods

Guacamole - Traditional Mexican Foods

Whether you use guacamole as a dip, filling, or a topping to your favorite Mexican dish, you’ll never go wrong. What makes this recipe stand out is the perfectly measured ingredients, which give you the most flavorful, well-balanced guacamole there ever could be.
It’s perfect for spreading on toast and burgers, topping your tacos and nachos, loading up your baked potatoes and deviled eggs, filling your quesadillas and wraps, and serving alongside any number of Mexican dishes.

4. Mexican Corn Pudding – Mexican Recipes

Mexican Corn Pudding - Mexican Recipes

Cornbread is great, but Mexican corn pudding is even better. This recipe has all the flavors of the classic southern side but in soufflé form. It’s soft, fluffy, and melts in your mouth, and it’s perfect with grilled meats!
This delicate soufflé-like dish, the Mexican counterpart to the spoon bread of the American South, is invariably the most popular dish on the Sunday brunch buffet. It is especially good served with grilled meats, ham, or turkey in mole.

5. Mexican Sweet Potatoes – Mexican Cuisine

Mexican Sweet Potatoes - Mexican Cuisine

The sweet potatoes are roasted to perfection and then loaded with a cashew-based cilantro sauce and a spicy black bean salsa. The combined flavors are a lovely sweet and savory blend. Mexican sweet potatoes are great for accompanying any Mexican entree!

5 Mexican Lunch Choices & Dinner Ideas

Comida (Lunch) is the main meal and is taken between 1 pm and 3 pm. Supper is usually a light meal and is taken after 9 pm. Lunch is the larger meal of the day. The first course is usually a salad or soup, referred to as consume. This is usually followed by a main course of meat, chicken or seafood served with rice, beans and corn tortillas.

From chilaquiles to empanadas to fajitas, the best Mexican food is tasty, spicy and oftentimes very easy to prepare. Traditional Mexican cuisine typically relies on indigenous staples like beans, chili peppers, and corn, and you can almost always expect a decadent sauce on the side, such as mole or pico de gallo.

1. Chiles en Nogada – Mexican Foods

Chiles en Nogada - Mexican Foods

We make our chiles en nogada based on an old family recipe from Yuriria, Guanajuato that dates back at least until the 1950s. Chiles en nogada are meat stuffed poblano chiles bathed in nogada, a walnut cream sauce and garnished with pomegranate seeds and parsley.
It is a festive dish typically served in the month of September to celebrate Independence Day because the colors of the dish are said to resemble the colors of the Mexican flag, green, white and red.
The filling is prepared with beef, pork, and biznaga, candied cactus which adds a delicate sweetness. Biznaga will be almost impossible to find but you can replace it with the equivalent amount of any candied fruit or dried fruit with excellent results.

2. Mexican Lasagna – Mexican Dishes

Mexican Lasagna - Mexican Dishes

This Mexican lasagna is layers of flour tortillas, cheese, beans and ground beef, all baked together until golden brown. The ultimate Mexican casserole that’s sure to get rave reviews from the whole family!
This Mexican lasagna is a fun and unique twist on the classic Italian style lasagna, with tortillas instead of noodles and a hearty Mexican beef mixture instead of red sauce. This dish is simple to make, and is sure to please any crowd.

3. Pollo al Horno (Roast Chicken) – Mexican Recipes

Pollo al Horno (Roast Chicken) - Mexican Recipes

This Creamy Chipotle Chicken Breast recipe is easy to make, just takes a few minutes to be ready, and renders a delicious and beautiful looking meal for the whole family.
Roast chicken is popular all over the country, and it has a few variations according to the region. Several prefer to add a dried pepper adobo, while others just season it with herbs, like in this recipe. Sometimes, the chicken is even stuffed in the same way a turkey would.

4. Roasted Pork Leg – Traditional Mexican Foods

Roasted Pork Leg - Traditional Mexican Foods

This roast pork leg is an easy way to enjoy pork and impress your guests if you make it for a nice dinner. The actual prep time takes only a few minutes, and it is so well seasoned that the leftovers can be used for other dishes likes Pork pibil, pozole, pork in salsa verde, and even tamales.
The marinade is inspired by a dish made in the Yucatan Peninsula, called %22sucking pig%22. Just a few ingredients combined with the slow roasting transform this recipe into a finger-licking meal.

5. Spicy Beef and Cheese Empanadas – Mexican Cuisine

Spicy Beef and Cheese Empanadas - Mexican Cuisine

The unsung hero of these empanadas is the dough. A few simple tricks will ensure that you are always pulling out a tray full of tender, flaky empanadas.
Tthe spicy beef mixture combined with some gooey cheese makes these empanadas total keepers. And yes, adding a dipping sauce will take them into a culinary stratosphere.

5 Decadent Authentic Mexican Desserts

Mexican food spans a broad flavor range, including some of the tastiest Mexican desserts in the Western Hemisphere, whatever your savory favorites may be (and everyone has a favorite). Finally, and most crucially, the Spaniards brought oil with them, allowing them to begin manufacturing some of the fried foods we know today. Indeed, historians regard the introduction of oils as a watershed moment in Mexican culinary history.

Many people associate Mexican desserts with churros, tres leches cake, and possibly sopaipillas. Beyond these delectable classics, however, Mexican desserts have an interesting history. Before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors, the indigenous peoples of Mexico employed simple ingredients for their postres (desserts), such as honey, milk, coconut, fruits, nuts, and chocolate from cacao plants.

1. Churros – Mexican Foods

Churros - Mexican Foods

Deep-fried dough coated in cinnamon sugar and dipped in chocolate or caramel. Sweet, crunchy on the outside, and fluffy and moist on the inside. Churros are best eaten freshly cooked. This recipe is tremendously easy.
Crispy outer edges only to find soft, tender, buttery centers when biting into them. A hint of sweetness in the dough as well as the coating. Mexican desserts are perfect churros every time.

2. Mexican Buñuelos – Mexican Dishes

Mexican Buñuelos - Mexican Dishes

Bunuelos are a popular Mexican dessert that are crisp on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. Also known as elephant ears, these bunuelos are a popular fair food all over the country.
There’s no need to wait for the next fair to enjoy these fantastic flat bunuelos. Just make them at home! They’re so easy, they come together in less than an hour!
Bunuelos are Mexican desserts made from fried dough covered in cinnamon sugar. They’re usually flattened into disks and served around Christmas and New Years in many Mexican households.

3. Tres Leches Cake – Mexican Recipes

Tres Leches Cake - Mexican Recipes

Tres leches, which literally means, “three milks,” is an incredibly moist and decadent cake. It’s a poke cake that’s drizzled with three different kinds of milk – heavy cream, evaporated milk, and sweetened condensed milk – making it so sweet and decadent.
Topped with a dollop of whipped cream for garnish, this cake is heavenly. If you can make a sponge cake, then you will have no problem making this recipe. Once the cake is baked, all you need to do is poke holes in it, pour the milk over, and refrigerate!
A must try Mexican desserts! It’s a deliciously rich and moist, milk-soaked cake that always gets compliments every time it’s served. It’s sweet and refreshing.

4. Sopapillas – Traditional Mexican Foods

Sopapillas - Traditional Mexican Foods

Sopapillas are fluffy, puffy, and sweet doughs deep fried to perfection! These pillowy doughs have a consistency similar to that of the Indian fry bread.
Puffy and pillowy Sopapillas are fried to perfection and topped with honey. Sprinkle a little powdered sugar on top of this simple Mexican desserts! It’s a fun treat anytime, but especially to pair with a Mexican dinner!

5. Caramel Flan – Mexican Cuisine

Caramel Flan - Mexican Cuisine

Sweet and melt-in-you-mouth custard oozing with caramel sauce. Mexicans take pride in their flans, as the Mexican dessert evolved there and became the sweet staple it is today. If you’ve never tried making caramel flan before, this quick and easy recipe is a good way to start.
It’s simple and only calls for five basic ingredients. With some sugar, eggs, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and vanilla extract, you’ll have the most indulgent flan in no time!

The History of Mexican Cuisine

Traditional Mexican foods consist of cooking cuisines together with traditions of modern Mexico. Its roots trace back to Mesoamerican cuisine. The ingredients, as well as the methods, start with the first agricultural communities including the Maya community who domesticated Maize and created the standard procedure of maize nixtamalization.

The successive waves of the Mesoamerican groups came with their cooking methods including the Teotihuacanos, Olmec, Zapotec, Otomi, Mazahua, Mazatec, and more. Their diet consisted of beans, corn, sweet potatoes, herbs, squash, pepper, and tomatoes.

Chocolate was native to Mexico and was only considered as a drink perfect for royalty. For the Indians in Mexico, they hunted rabbits, wild turkey quail, and deer to complement their vegetarian diet.

After the Spanish conquered Mexico and the entire Mesoamerica, they introduced a variety of foods and the most important were meats from the domesticated animals including pork, chicken, sheep, beef, and goat.

Additionally, they brought dairy products such as cheese and milk. They also brought sugar, rice, olive oil, vegetables, and some fruits. The Spanish also came with some cooking styles and recipes.

The Diverse Geography of Mexico

Mexico is located directly to the south of the U.S. The country is slightly less than Texas by three times. The Sierra Madre Occidental situated in the West and the Sierra Madre Oriental in the East are the two major mountains that run through Mexico’s interior. The country borders the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico to the east.

Therefore, Mexico has a wide range of climates or rather natural environments, though the temperatures are mostly mild year-round. The lower areas and the coastal plains of Southern Mexico are hot and humid. Annual rainfall can exceed 200 inches in the tropical zones while some other places still receive very little rainfall. Desert-like conditions exist in the North.

Due to the favorable weather conditions in the south, the Mexican food includes indigenous staples such as corn, avocados, tomatoes, beans, peppers, and more.

Old Style Mexican Food Cooking and Food

The Mexican old-style cooking is entirely different from the type of food served in restaurants in Mexico and outside Mexico. The original versions of Mexican cuisine are very different from their Tex-Mex variations. The traditional Mexican foods involve long or complex cooking such as cooking underground. Before industrialization began, the traditional women spent some hours each day boiling dried corn and then grinding the corn on a metate to form a dough for tortillas, then cooking one by one on a comal griddle. Salsas and sauces were ground on a motor known as the molcajete.

Barbacoa is an old-style Mexican food cooking that involves smoking and steaming the meat. This technique adds aroma and moisture to your meat recipes. This method involves placing a cauldron with hot water in a large pit and coals at the bottom. On top of the cauldron, you place a grill where you place your wrapped meat with maguey leaves.

Guisar is another method meaning “to stew.” Different types of meat and vegetables are cooked separately then topped in the traditional sauces called pipian and mole. The cazuelas were used for stewing.

Molar is another traditional cooking technique known as grinding. It is traditionally done by molcajetes giving very smooth textures to your salsas. Spices, herbs, tomatoes, and chilies are then added for cooking advantages.

Modern Mexican Food Cooking and Food

Modern Mexican food is the newest emerging variation on Mexican foods. The variation is inspired by authentic Mexican food and is submissive to fresh flavors as well as the ingredients such as tomatoes, agave, cacao, chili, corn, pumpkin, and squash.

Generally, modern Mexican dishes use the traditional methods and then adds a twist. Some of the modern Mexican foods include Roasted Corn Salad prepared using cheese, grilled corn, black beans, red bell pepper, cheese, vinaigrette, and more. Other modern Mexican foods are Chili Relleno and Coconut Ceviche.

Frequently Asked Questions About Mexican Foods

1. What is a Typical Breakfast in Mexico?

Typical Mexican Breakfasts include many dishes with eggs, like some tasty Huevos Rancheros, eggs in salsa, eggs Mexican Style, and eggs with chorizo. We cannot forget other traditional breakfast items, like chilaquiles and refried beans!

2. What is the Most Common Breakfast Food in Mexico?

Chilaquiles, one of the most popular Mexican breakfast dishes, are deep-fried tortillas soaked in either a red tomato-based sauce or a green sauce made with tomatillos, topped with a dollop of cream, grated cheese, and onion slices.

3. What is a Traditional Mexican Lunch?

Lunch is the main meal of the day and often includes two courses. The first course is usually a salad or soup, referred to as consume. This is usually followed by a main course of meat, chicken or seafood served with rice, beans and corn tortillas.

4. What are Some of the Popular Side Dishes for Mexican Foods

Whether it’s a taco, fajita, burrito, or enchilada, Mexican dishes are always welcome. Mexican Cornbread, Black Beans and Rice, Guacamole, Mexican Corn Pudding, and Mexican Pozole are a few. Scrumptious side dishes add even more excitement to the main course. They’re vibrant, delicious, and complement the flavors and textures of all Mexican dishes.

5. Is Authentic Mexican Dishes Spicy?

Mexican dishes are currently the cuisine that remains most consistently spicy. Fresh chili and dried chili are used in profusion within dishes, pickled chilis as accompaniments, and chili-bearing salsas are offered in multiple versions at a single meal.

6. Is All Mexican Dishes Hot and Spicy?

No. While many famous Mexican dishes do incorporate chili peppers, the chilies used in Mexican food are quite mild compared to the peppers used in many other cuisines around the world, such as Thai or Indian or Korean.

7. What are Basic Mexican Desserts?

The main Mexican dessert is usually a pudding, a custard, or a cooked fruit dish. After this, coffee and fresh fruit follow. Foods that we might serve as a dessert are also eaten at other times of day. Fruit, cookies and sweet rolls are breakfast foods.

8. What are Some of the Most Popular Mexican Desserts?

Postres, traditional Mexican desserts, include flans, churros (fried dough strips), buñuelos (fritters), cajetas (caramelized candies), plátanos fritos (fried bananas), pan de elote (sweet corn cake), bionicos (fruit salad), and tres leches (sponge cake with three kinds of milk), among many others.

Foods or Ingredients That Are Included in Almost All Mexican Dishes

The basic diet of Mexico is mostly corn and it has been for many years. Corn if used for tortillas and is also boiled to give pozole, which is a hearty corn stew. The popular vegetables and fruits are tomatoes, squash, avocado, tomatillos (green tomatoes), papaya, pineapples, and nopales. Beef is consumed in Mexico, but pork and chicken are popular. Seafood is popular in coastal dishes.

Mexican Spices

The types of spices and chili include serrano, poblano, jalapeno, and chipotle. The chilies add a unique flavor to Mexican dishes and cooking which is improved by the herbs such as thyme and cilantro and spices such as cinnamon, cumin, and cloves.

Cumin (spice) and Mexican Oregano (herb): These are the big two. Cumin has a bit of a bitter, toasty flavor used in taco seasoning. Don’t use too much, or it can overpower the dish. Mexican oregano, different from normal oregano, has an earthy taste. It is often used in sauces and meat-based dishes.

Garlic and Onion: Both can be either fresh or in powder form, and they are used in many dishes. It is rare that you will find a Mexican dish that does not incorporate at least one of these ingredients.

Chile Powder and Cilantro: Chile powder is known for its heat. It is often meant to season meats and vegetables. Cilantro, an herb, is often found in salsa and comes from the coriander plant.

Cinnamon and Cloves: Cinnamon and cloves are both spices and a bit rarer to the Mexican spices and flavors.

Mexican Foods Prepared for Festivals, Holidays and Religious Celebrations

During the Spanish rule in Mexico, the majority of the citizens were forced to embrace or rather convert to Christianity. Therefore, the celebrated Christian holidays include Navidad (Christmas) and Nochebuena(Christmas Eve) which are celebrated with a variety of family meals. Other festivities include the indigenous Indian traditions. During the Semana Santa known as the Holy Week that leads up to Easter, there is no meat consumption.

On October 30 (Day of the Dead) foods such as mole and tamales are set out on altars and they believe that the visiting dead relatives consume the food. Every night before Christmas, for eight days, neighbors and friends travel house to house to sing and recite verses asking for lodging. When they reach the last door or rather the last house, they are welcomed for festivities such as the breaking of piñata (a paper mache animal figure filled with candies).

Russian Potato Salad. Also known as Ensalada Rusa, traditional holiday Mexican dishes are especially popular in Mexico’s northern states. It generally starts with a base of potatoes, peas, and carrots and may also include beets or apples.

Pavo Navideño. Mexican dishes of roasted stuffed turkey served with gravy is usually prepared criollo style with spices like cumin and achiote and served after mass on Christmas Eve.

Ensalada de Noche Buena. Like it sounds, this fruit-based seasonal salad is served on Christmas Eve or Noche Buena!

Menudo. Come Christmas morning most families in Mexico’s northern states will enjoy a tripe and hominy soup which is also sometimes referred to as pancita or mole de panza. It’s often prepared the night before on Christmas Eve as cooking time can be as much as five hours.

Bacalao with Romeritos is a Christmas tradition of Mexico’s central region. Romeritos are tiny green Seepweed leaves and often mixed with mole, potatoes, and shrimp (both in patty and dry form to flavor the dish). Bacalao is a cod dish. It’s traditionally eaten in Mexico’s southern states, as well as the central states.

Volteado de piña. Pineapple upside down cake is another traditional holiday Mexican dishes that you’re likely to recognize. Though often thought of as an American dessert, this special postre, with it’s irresistible warm butter and brown sugar topping, is served all over Mexico.

Ponche Navideño. To wash it all down, Latin families will often brew up a batch of ponche, a warm spiced Christmas drink made of sugar cane, prunes, apples and the fruit of the tejocotes (a hawthorn bush). Adults often are served ponche with a bit or tequila or rum mixed in.

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