Mexican Cuisine. All the Delights and Peculiarities of Aztec Cuisine

What is Mexican cuisine? It is considered to be a synthesis of the cuisines of the Mexican natives, the Aztecs, and the Spanish conquerors, most of whose recipes have come down to us from ancient times.

So it is! The Aztecs got their start in what is now the Mexican capital with products such as corn, beans, chilli peppers, Mexican cactus, tomatoes and spices. The Spaniards, on the other hand, can be thanked for bringing rice, olive oil, wine and cheese from afar.

If a trip to Mexico is definitely not in your immediate plans – then I highly recommend trying Mexican cooking, it’s something to behold!

Mexican cuisine is most popular in the US and the UK. Also in many other countries, it tops the gastronomic charts. What is its secret? I don’t think you can understand it until you try it.

However, not everyone will be able to endure all the spicy and searing local colour, so to speak. On the other hand, these days there are plenty of authentic dishes adapted “for Europeans”.

The secret is simple: it is the chilli and other hot spices that help preserve the marketability, and indeed the “edibility” of the food, as in tropical and subtropical climates, food spoils at lightning speed.

The main ingredients in all Mexican dishes are tomatoes, chicken, avocados, chilli peppers, red onions and corn. And the corn alone, there are more than a hundred varieties, to say nothing of the cooking methods…

You have probably heard of, or perhaps even tried, tacos, burritos, quesadillas, fajitos, tortillas or enchiladas, for example. If you still haven’t, you should remedy this urgently.

In a time of lockdown and all sorts of restrictions, the in-house kitchen promises to be the best Mexican restaurant for anyone who isn’t afraid to experiment, and who likes to eat out in a delicious and unusual way!

Main Ingredients of Mexican Cuisine

You can argue for a long time about which ingredient is the main one. However, the recipe speaks for itself. It’s corn and beans.

Both maize and beans can vary slightly in taste, depending on the region of the country. There are four main types of beans, for example, and once you’ve tasted them you’re unlikely to distinguish one from the other. Anyway, the important thing is that the Mexicans themselves see the difference.

Corn. There are more than ten species here. I think it is in Mexico that you can find corn dyed in all the colours of the rainbow. By the way, the locals are used to eating it by first rubbing it with oil and red pepper flakes.

Chilli peppers. Not every pre-schooler would be able to count all the varieties, as there are more than 78 of them. It is simply impossible to imagine Mexican cuisine without this red friend.

Avocado. Not a particularly popular ingredient in dishes, but avocado is a must in more than half of all dishes.

Top 58 Most Popular Mexican Recipes

Mexican snacks and salads

1. Mexican street corn salad

This mix of ingredients for a Mexican street salad will delight you. Sweet, lightly roasted corn, creamy avocado, juicy feta, chilli peppers, parsley, garlic, fresh lime juice, two tablespoons of light mayonnaise and olive oil – a true culinary wonder. 

2. Crab sticks and calamari in a tortilla appetizer

#2  Crab sticks and calamari in a tortilla appetizer

This interesting and unique Mexican snack is a good alternative to the classic meat tortilla. The seafood must be chosen carefully. For example, get fresh crab meat and squid tentacles in advance. Trust me, it’s a delicacy your guests will never forget!

3. Homemade tortilla chips

#3 Homemade tortilla chips
Source: Delish

Tortilla chips are so easy to make that if you are too lazy or for some reason don’t have time, you can make them quickly and easily in the microwave. Not only your friends but even your grandma will love this recipe!

4. Crab tostada

#4  Crab tostada
Source: Olivemagazine

Almost no feast in Mexico is without a tostada. What is a tostada? It is the collective name for a variety of South American and Mexican dishes consisting of a fried tortilla and a savoury filling. In this case, it’s salsa made with crab and vegetables.

5. Guacamole

It’s simply impossible to imagine a Mexican feast and culture in general without delicious guacamole. It cooks in no time and disappears from plates even faster. The perfect snack for every day and every time of year.

6. Nachos

Who hasn’t heard of nachos? If you still don’t know what they are, I’ll explain. Nachos are corn tortilla chips (i.e. tortillas) topped with a variety of savoury sauces. Nachos are considered a classic Mexican snack.

7. Crispy potatoes with vegan nacho sauce

A crunchy and creamy snack that will please not only vegans and vegetarians, but also those who consistently eat meat and fish. The potatoes take on a special, unique flavour with lightly roasted cashew nuts and sweet paprika.

8. Authentic Mexican prawn cocktail

#8 Authentic Mexican prawn cocktail
Source: Allrecipes

What could be better than an authentic Mexican shrimp cocktail on a hot summer day? Like a Mexican shrimp cocktail at a New Year’s Eve party! The perfect appetizer for all seafood lovers and spicy tastes.

9. Chicken quesadilla

#9 Chicken quesadilla
Source: Recipefairy

A true classic of Mexican cuisine. Anyone who hasn’t tried a quesadilla is missing out. The recipe and the ingredients are very simple. You will need: one chicken breast, bell peppers, canned tomatoes (preferably fresh), corn, tortillas, cheese, black and red peppers, sweet paprika and herbs to taste.

10. Mexican grilled salad

A great way to spice up a boring winter menu. Mexican grilled salads are incredibly colourful and taste just as good. A little tip: if you don’t have an electric grill or your own backyard with a full-fledged barbecue, feel free to use a cast-iron skillet. The flavour won’t suffer.

11. Mexican coleslaw with coriander and lime wedges

Sounds unusual, doesn’t it? Definitely worth a try! For a more interesting flavour, you can also add well-cooked broccoli. The salad is considered dietary and also quite vitamin-rich, thanks to the large amount of vegetables in it.

12. Mexican bean and avocado snack

#12 Mexican bean and avocado snack
Source: Eda

Almost like guacamole, only slightly modified. Because of the beans in the appetizer, you’ll be full many times faster than with any other meat dish and won’t feel hungry for a whole day.

13. Mexican-style scrambled eggs

#13  Mexican-style scrambled eggs
Source: Russianfood

It turns out that an egg dish for breakfast isn’t just about scrambled eggs, scrambled eggs or hard-boiled eggs. Mexican-style scrambled eggs will captivate you with their rich flavour and vibrant, Mexican character. Be careful not to overdo it with the spices, scrambled eggs are breakfast after all. Serve on a corn or wheat tortilla with a thick bean sauce.

14. Tacos with meat

#14 Tacos with meat
Source: Zakuskidoma

Often the Mexicans themselves put chicken in this dish. You can play with the flavour a little and add lamb or pork instead of poultry. Be sure to serve it hot with a spicy sauce of your choice.

15. Mexican bean salad

#15 Mexican bean salad
Source: Mirsalata

Beans are another favourite ingredient of all cooks and fans of traditional Mexican cuisine. Salads with chicken, beans, corn or cabbage are the most delicate. This recipe has all of the above and it’s perfect. Make a salad like this not only for festive occasions but also on weekdays.

Mexican soups

16. Mexican lime soup

#16 Mexican lime soup
Source: Bayevskitchen

Don’t panic! Lime soup is not all limes, but also includes onions, chicken or turkey breast, tomatoes, garlic, and even grapefruit. What this dish boasts is an incredible broth. And how could it be any different when it consists of allspice, cinnamon, cloves and oregano. It’s these bright spices that give the Mexican soup its unforgettable and mind-blowing aroma!

17. “Pozole verde de polo”

#17 Pozole verde de polo
Source: Chefspencil

A traditional thick Mexican soup whose recipe comes down to us from antiquity. There is an old, intimidating myth that the soup was made from dog meat. However, whether this is true or not, we won’t test it. Prepare this wonderful, rich dish based on chicken or turkey broth.

18. Mexican lentil soup

#18 Mexican lentil soup
Source: Cookingclassy

If you’ve never tried lentils, now’s the time to fix it. This vegetarian Mexican soup is packed to the brim with all sorts of vegetables, spices and vitamins. Serve with a tortilla, or if you don’t have one on hand, replace it with a lightly grilled baguette.

19. Mexican chicken tortilla soup

This quick and easy Mexican chicken and tortilla soup is not only very healthy, but it’s full of vibrant Mexican colours and a magical, ineffable flavour that will whet anyone’s appetite.

20. Mexican bean soup with guacamole

#20 Mexican bean soup with guacamole
Source: Bbcgoodfood

A good option for those who like not only guacamole but also bean chowder, all in one bottle. The soup instantly warms you up and lifts your spirits, guaranteed!

21. Mexican Posole chowder with shredded pork

The classic Posole chowder boasts a delicate and light texture, a deep and rich flavour of pork and a bright aftertaste of lime and cilantro. Serve Posole on special, festive occasions along with warm corn tortillas.

22. Simple Mexican soup with rice and chicken

#22 Простой мексиканский суп с рисом и курицей
Source: Simplyrecipes

I highly recommend mastering this recipe before the bitter cold sets in. Firstly, it’s a great warming dish and secondly, it’s quick and easy to prepare. To make the soup more tender, use a chicken breast or ham.

23. Classic Mexican chilli con carne soup

#23 Classic Mexican chilli con carne soup
Source: Delo-vcusa

Prepare your stomachs, the Chili Con Carne will leave no one hungry! The texture of Chili Con Carne is very similar to a thick vegetable stew. So don’t be surprised if you’re a guest, or in a restaurant, serves it as a main course. A reminder: before putting the tomato in the soup, peel it, it’s important.

24. Mexican tomato soup

#24 Mexican tomato soup
Source: Povar

The spicy, rich flavour of the tomato soup is appreciated even by those who are not a fan of Mexican food. The best option for lunch during the cold season.

Mexican desserts

25. Mexican Chamuco waffles

#25 Mexican Chamuco waffles
Source: Tucsonfoodie

Very similar to the well-known Danish puff pastry, but with a huge amount of filling. They are made with puff pastry, which you can also get from the shop, as it’s just as good as homemade. They have a nice spicy aroma, thanks to the cardamom and cinnamon.

26. Mexican flank

#26 Mexican flank
Source: Exoticpovar

Mexican desserts, unfortunately, are not as well known and popular as, for example, Mexican snacks. I suggest you get to know a wonderful local dessert that, once you try it, will dispel forever the misconception that all Mexican food is hot and spicy.

27. Mexican churros doughnuts

#27 Mexican churros doughnuts
Source: Grandkulinar

They’re a favourite with your children – and let’s face it, they’re yours too. These sweet Mexican doughnuts are lavishly coated in sugar and cinnamon. Serve only when hot, otherwise the crunchy crust may not last.

28. Mexican wedding biscuits

It’s not hard to guess the occasions for these sweet pastries. Mexicans believe that if the bride and groom each take a small bite at the same time, they will have a long and happy life together. Try this lovely, light biscuit and beautiful Mexican tradition.

29. Sweet Mexican corn cake Pastel de Elote

#29 Sweet Mexican corn cake Pastel de Elote
Source: Sbs

Don’t confuse Mexican corn cake with American cornbread, they really are different. ‘Pastel de Elote’ is made with fresh corn and generously filled with condensed milk.

30. “Dulce de leche”

#30 "Dulce de leche"
Source: Preppykitchen

This thick, creamy dessert is made with sweetened milk. Perfect as a standalone dessert or as a kind of topping, or as all kinds of additions to pancakes, sweet cakes, doughnuts and so on.

31. Mexican rice pudding

#31 Mexican rice pudding
Source: Recipefairy

The pudding is unbelievably tender and light! It will change the way you think about rice and Mexican desserts forever. You can serve it in the morning for breakfast or for dinner after a hearty main course.

Mexican pastries

32. Mexican pie

A very tasty and easy-to-make pie with interesting ingredients that include: beef, finely chopped onions, Cheddar cheese, green hot peppers, eggs and spices to taste.

33. Very simple Mexican chicken pot pie

#33 Very simple Mexican chicken pot pie
Source: Taste

The pie looks more like a small meat envelope, but the Mexicans called it a pie. Serve with a sweet chilli sauce or guacamole. As it is quite compact and doesn’t take up much space in a lunchbox, you can take it with you to work.

34. Mexican cornbread

As the Russian proverb says: “Bread is the head of everything”. And cornbread is no exception. It tastes like a classic shepherd’s pie, but with a twist of its own, namely the addition of sweet chilli peppers to the batter. The cornbread is made up of three meats and cheddar cheese, which is nothing short of satisfying.

35. Tomato Mexican pie

#35 Tomato Mexican pie
Source: Oldelpaso

Just 30 minutes in the oven and an unforgettable dinner for the whole family is ready. The pie is interesting because it consists of mashed potatoes, beaten tomatoes, chilli powder, Cheddar cheese and tortilla chips. It tastes amazing!

36. Mexican cheese cake with bacon

Such a riot and frenzy of flavours can’t be found anywhere else! The pie is really worth the sweat. Make sure you prepare all the ingredients beforehand and also cook the bacon well. And one more thing: you don’t have to spare the cheese. Use Cheddar or any other cheese you prefer.

37. Mexican beef pancakes

#37 Mexican beef pancakes
Source: Yummybook

A new, unbaked variation of the classic Russian pancakes. The only difference is that the pancakes are crumbled in breadcrumbs and cooked in a deep fryer. Yes, yes, Mexicans are used to this version of the dish.

Mexican main dishes with meat and more

38. Spicy Mexican pizza

#38 Spicy Mexican pizza
Source: Acouplecooks

This savoury Mexican pizza recipe incorporates cream-fried beans (you can also use the rich homemade sour cream), hot jalapeño peppers and sweet corn. A perfect dish for those evenings when you can’t decide between Mexican and Italian food.

39. Mexican pizza with seafood and salsa

An unforgettable combination of ingredients! If you’ve only had Mexican pizza once, you’re at risk of becoming addicted to this original dish. The best toppings are a mix of tiger prawns, scallops, octopus tentacles and ripe avocado.

40. Mexican red perch

#40 Mexican red perch
Source: Food.ndtv

A dish you don’t often see in a Mexican restaurant. So make it in your own kitchen. Have you guessed why the perch is called red? It’s the sauce made from sweet red peppers, tinned tomatoes, capers, olives and toasted almonds that you pour over the fish.

41. Mexican Sopa Seca noodles

#41 Mexican Sopa Seca noodles
Source: Saveur

The recipe comes from bestselling cookery author Diane Kennedy. A noodle that definitely deserves your time and attention. Diane suggests serving the dish with a fresh vegetable salad or pickled chilli pepper.

42. Mexican prawns with rice and avocado

#42 Mexican prawns with rice and avocado
Source: Wellplated

Great for lunch and dinner, and for any occasion, both festive and casual. The key is to choose the right rice and shrimp size. The rice should only be long grain and the prawns should be bigger than the average woman’s pinky finger. Enjoy!

43. Mexican burger

Juicy Mexican beef burgers with homemade, creamy guacamole and pico de gallo – the perfect treat for dinner party guests at your party. It combines well with french fries and hot sauce.

Mexican side dishes for main dishes

44. Mexican jasmine rice

Undeniably suitable for absolutely all dishes, whether they are fish, meat or corn tortillas. The chilli-fried tomatoes and authentic spices add a special, unconventional flavour to the side dish.

45. Mexican refried beans

#45 Mexican refried beans
Source: Iamcook

They go really well with meat. Essentially, it’s a well seasoned mash of beans (usually beans). The preparation is simple – the beans are first boiled, then sautéed in olive oil and spices.

46. Mexican baked potatoes

#46 Mexican baked potatoes
Source: Cookpad

The extraordinarily spicy and fragrant potatoes are the perfect garnish for your festive table. It’s easy to prepare these potatoes. The potatoes are baked as usual, but the spices are not quite as we are used to – ground paprika, oregano, jalapeño flakes and coriander. The result is spicy and interesting.

47. Mexican rice with vegetables

#47 Mexican rice with vegetables
Source: Edimdoma

In fact, Mexicans don’t really give much thought to what vegetables to add as a side dish. But the standard set is legumes, red bell peppers, boiled potatoes (sometimes), white onions, tomato sauce, chilli and parsley.

Mexican sauces

48. Salsa rancher

#48 Salsa rancher
Source: Thespruceeats

One of the most versatile Mexican sauces. Great as an accompaniment to poultry and meat dishes, and even as a sauce for hot dogs, pizza, or burgers.

49. Pineapple salsa

If you’re in search of a truly fiery, yet sweetly fruity salsa, congratulations, you’ve found what you’re looking for. Pineapple salsa is just the case when any boring dish can be transformed beyond recognition.

50. Homemade Tabasco

Adjust the spiciness with the red chilli pepper. Trust me, this particular tabasco will make an unforgettable impression on those who join you in tasting Mexican food. The sauce is easy to make, consisting of just three ingredients: red chilli pepper, white wine vinegar and sea salt.

51. Chile con queso

#51 Chile con queso
Source: Sousec

This sauce is considered the product of a fusion of two cultures: Mexican and Spanish. More specifically, products such as tomatoes and cheese. Important: The cheese must melt well or you will end up with no chilli con queso. Emmental and Cheddar would work 5+.

52. Mole verde

#52 Mole verde
Source: Seriouseats

It is made with exactly the same ingredients as the classic mole, but using physalis instead of tomatoes. Herbs (marjoram, parsley) are also added to the sauce. It goes best with roast poultry.

Alcoholic and non-alcoholic Mexican drinks

53. Mescal

#53 Mescal
Source: Gkd

It is similar in strength to tequila. The only difference is that it contains five types of agave juice. For entourage and appeal, they put caterpillars at the bottom of the bottle. I don’t know if you would risk it or not, but personally, I would love to try mescal.

54. “Marble Queen”

Not the most common Mexican cocktail, but still. It’s based on tequila, freshly squeezed lime juice and coconut cream. It is garnished with bright colours and a lime slice. A great and very pretty drink for a first romantic date.

55. “Margarita”

#55  "Margarita"
Source: Mixthatdrink

One of the top 50 best cocktails in the world, which is, in principle, not surprising. “The Margarita has a bright and fresh, even tropical flavour. It consists of silver Mexican tequila, triple sec, sugar syrup, lime juice, lime and salt.

56. Chocolate

#46 Chocolate
Source: Meksika

You may be surprised to hear that chocolate is one of the oldest Mexican drinks. It was served both hot and cold, but always with spicy spices. It was the spices that were said to fill brave warriors with strength and courage before going into battle.

57. “Chico”

The name of the cocktail comes from the carbonated mineral water added to an alcoholic drink of fresh blackberries and silver tequila. Enjoyed by all those who like fruity alcoholic cocktails.

58. Non-alcoholic Mexican Orchata

#58 Non-alcoholic Mexican Orchata
Source: Lavendervines

“Orchata is an extremely popular Mexican soft drink. Everyone, from small to large, is a fanatical fan of it. Depending on the region, orchata can be made with rice, nut or sesame milk and rice. The Mexican version in particular involves the addition of vanilla, cinnamon and nuts. It has a pleasant and delicate milky taste.