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Authentic Mexican Recipes

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In this Lesson you will Learn

  1. Which cultures have influenced Mexican food?
  2. What ingredients are typical in Mexican cooking?
  3. What are authentic Mexican dishes and recipes?


Mexican cuisine is one of the most popular ethnic cuisines in the US. Its mingling with American food has produced Tex-Mex or Cal-Mex cuisine in the southwestern states. Mexican cuisine itself has been influenced by the Aztecs and Mayans who used the plentiful produce native to Mexico. Spanish conquistadors bringing cattle, chicken, rice, wheat, oranges, black pepper, and other spices also influenced Mexican cuisine.1

All these different foods have lead to fresh, colorful, and flavorful dishes, so the popularity of Mexican food comes as no surprise.

Typical Ingredients

Tortillas, whether flour or corn, are one of the most well-known ingredients in Mexican cuisine for a reason. They are the foundation for many of Mexico's most famous dishes, including tacos, quesadillas, enchiladas, and nachos.2 To make corn tortillas from scratch, a finely ground corn flour called "masa harina" is used. Rice is another popular grain. Beans, particularly pinto and black beans, are also key in the Mexican diet. Common Mexican cheeses (and possible substitutes) include queso fresco (sub: ricotta salata), cotija (sub: Parmesan), and chihuahua (sub: cheddar or Monterey Jack).

As far as produce goes, avocados, tomatoes, tomatillos, corn, chili peppers (fresh and dried, both sweet and spicy), sweet potatoes, potatoes, guava, and mangoes all find their way onto Mexican tables. The vegetables jicama, nopales, and chayote are also common, but harder to find in the US. It might also be difficult to find a store selling dried corn husks if you want to make traditional tamales. Spices and herbs common in Mexican cuisine include chili powder, cilantro, cinnamon, cumin, garlic, and vanilla.3

Authentic Mexican Recipes:

Main Dish: Tacos
Main Dish: Quesadillas
Main Dish: Enchiladas
Main Dish: Tostadas
Main Dish: Tamales
Sauce: Mole Poblano
Side Dish: Corn Tortillas
Side Dish: Refried Beans
Side Dish: Guacamole
Dessert: Churros
Dessert: Arroz con Leche (Rice pudding)
Dessert: Mexican Flan
Beverage: Agua Fresca

Recommended Read

Pati's Mexican Table

This beautiful cookbook is full of simple, fresh, and authentic Mexican dishes, ranging from salsa to shredded pork to agua fresca.

check it out ยป


  1. The Book of Mexican Foods
  2. Mexican Cooking
  3. All About Mexican Cuisine


  1. Mexican cuisine has been influenced by the Aztecs, Mayans, and later, the Spanish.
  2. Typical Mexican ingredients include tortillas, rice, beans, corn, tomatoes, avocados, chili peppers, cilantro, and cumin.
  3. Authentic Mexican recipes include tacos, quesadillas, enchiladas, tostadas, tamales, mole poblano, guacamole, rice pudding, and flan.
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