Mexican cuisine is one of the most loved and recognized in the world, thanks to its vibrant, flavorful dishes and a rich history that goes back centuries.
While Mexican cuisine has been around for centuries, it was only recently that it started becoming famous on a global level.
Mexican gastronomy is a mix of pre-Hispanic cultural food techniques and European ingredients introduced during the colonization period.
Some of the key preHispanic Mexican ingredients include chocolate, chili, wild turkey, and corn. These traditional foods form the base of many popular Mexican dishes today.
From tacos to quesadillas, here are the best popular Mexican foods everyone needs to try at least once in their life.
Here Are The Best Popular Mexican Foods You Must Try
Visiting Mexico is an exciting experience full of fun activities and tasty meals, although you don’t need to travel to Mexico to experience the authentic flavors.
Many of the best Mexican foods are surprisingly easy to prepare at home, but if you’re looking for a truly authentic experience, there is no substitute for visiting a real Mexican restaurant where the aromas and flavors can transport you right into Mexico!
But before placing your order at a local Mexican eatery, it’s important to familiarize yourself with some of the most popular Mexican foods so that you can choose dishes that match your taste buds and preferences.
To make things easier, we have compiled this guide on the best popular Mexican foods that will help make your dining decision a lot simpler.
Huevos Rancheros (Ranch Eggs)
Huevos Rancheros is a signature dish of Mexican cuisine that dates back to at least the early 1900s. These distinctly Mexican eggs consist of two fried corn tortillas, topped with fried beans, and two sunny-side-up eggs all bathed in red hot sauce and decorated with coriander and freshly ground black pepper.
The dish has since come to be known affectionately as the hats of two ranchmen, or ‘dos rancias’. Simple peasant food at its heart, Huevos Rancheros have become an integral part of contemporary Mexican culture and cuisine, offering hungry diners a delicious and hearty meal that is sure to hit the spot.
Machaca is one of the most popular dishes on the northern side of México. It´s simply a shredded version of dried beef with proper seasoning.
Dehydration is done to preserve the meat, but it also makes Machaca a very versatile dish: you can either eat it in a taco, a stuffed burrito, flautas, or just as a stew with some tortillas, beans, or rice on the side.
It´s delicious! The texture and flavor are different from regular tacos since it’s not just boiled beef. What usually sets apart this traditional dish is the serrano pepper or jalapeño pepper added during cooking (for some extra heat) and fresh Mexican cream – usually sour cream – to top it off.
If you haven´t tried it yet add Machaca to your must-try food list; you won´t regret it!
Discada is a traditional dish from Northern Mexico and the southern United States, consisting of meats and vegetables cooked on a “plow disc”, a flat cast iron plow blade (similar to a wok) that has been cured over some wood. The result is an incredibly flavorful dish full of sweet smoky flavors as delicious as your average barbeque.
A great deal of the flavors comes from the richly marbled pieces of meat, sausage, chorizo, ground meat, ham, bacon, and lard that are cooked into the mix along with jalapeño pepper, onion, thyme, celery leaves, and cumin-all seasoned with oregano, bay leaf, black pepper, and black sauces for extra depth.
A bit of dark beer rounds out the flavor profile before it is all finished off by aromatics such as salt, rosemary, and garlic.
Discada is truly an epic dish that is typically served at family reunions in Northern Mexico or just simply when friends come together for a fiesta.
Tacos, the most popular Mexican dish in the world, have become a work of art! Some say it’s the “art of eating with tortillas” and Mexicans would never deny a taco to anybody.
It is eaten at any hour of day or night: breakfast tacos, lunch tacos, dinner tacos, and even late-night tacos. There is even breakfast for dinner tacos which are becoming increasingly popular.
The possibilities are endless. Hundreds of fillings can be put on a simple corn tortilla! The most common are beef steak, flank steak, chorizo, offal, “al pastor” (pork marinated in pineapple sauce), hot and sweet marinated pork, and tongue.
However, some of the more exotic fillings include fried brains, beef´s eyes, liver with onions, scorpions, bull testicles, and Escamoles which are ant larvae found only in central and southern México.
If this wasn’t enough there are also vegetarian tacos with mushrooms cooked with garlic and onion which makes them really tasty. These creative ingredients together make every bite an explosion of flavors that nobody could ever forget!
Burritos are an essential Mexican meal hailing from the northern region of México and dating back to the 19th century. This popular dish is most often associated with street food that has been enjoyed on the go.
Typically, a burrito consists of a cylindrically rolled flour tortilla stuffed with different ingredients of choice, often a stew.
Depending on which region you try it in, there can be huge varieties in size, shape, and ingredients used for a tasty burrito. The most popular are the fried bean burrito with cheese, as well as the machaca burrito.
Burritos have also become food staples in cities such as Monterrey and Ciudad Juárez especially due to their proximity to borders like the United States.
Cochinita Pibil is a traditional dish from the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. It could not be more authentically Mexican and definitely should not be missed if you get the chance to taste it!
The traditional slow-cooked pork is marinated with achiote, orange juice, onion, and vinegar, before being wrapped in banana leaves and cooked. It is then served with marinated onion and fresh habanero chilies on top, adding some extra zingy flavor.
Cochinita Pibil can be eaten as it is, but can also be used to make tacos or burritos or served as part of a larger feast. If you ever get a chance to try this amazing southern delight don’t pass it up!
Tamales are probably one of the most iconic Mexican dishes and appear in various Latin American countries in varied formats. The word tamal comes from pre-Hispanic America and is náhuatl in the indigenous language, meaning wrapped.
Tamales can be found all day, every day throughout Mexico, especially on the Day of Candelaria, since it was originally a food thought to provide energy for travelers during pilgrimages or trips.
Tamales are basically dough that is blended with lard, salt, and achiote, which gives it its color, then wrapped in corn leaves or banana leaves.
That can then be stuffed with any stew of your choice: mole (yes there are different types), shredded chicken or pork with green or red salsa, pepper with cheese, or yellow corn kernels if you want a classic version.
All those little parcels have been traditionally made by hand. Once they’re stuffed and folded tightly they can be boiled on top of an old kettle while sitting on a wood-burning stove.
Quesadilla (otherwise known as Cheese-adilla) is one of Mexico’s most iconic snacks. It originated in the northern part of the country but nowadays it is consumed all over Mexico, and also many other countries.
The picture shows a blue corn quesadilla, filled with Cochinita Pibil, a marinated pork dish from Yucatan, and of course, cheese.
Basically, it is a corn or flour tortilla folded in half, stuffed with cheese or other ingredients such as shredded chicken, mushrooms, or potatoes, deep fried or grilled to give it a crunchy texture, and eaten hot.
Quesadillas are extremely popular and can be found almost everywhere: street stalls, food trucks, and even fancy restaurants across the country serve them.
For those looking for an authentic Mexican snack experience – you can’t beat a freshly cooked quesadilla served with guacamole!
Pork beans, or frijoles puercos in Spanish, is a very popular dish in Mexico. This Mexican delicacy is a mixture of beans cooked with lard, chorizo, bacon, cheese, serrano peppers, and some other secret ingredients that make this such a delicious dish.
The combination of the different ingredients is unique for each region and every cook has their own secret recipe that makes their pork beans stand out from the rest.
One of the key ingredients to this amazing dish is lard, which adds not only great flavor but also helps in thickening the sauce and giving it a velvety texture.
Pork beans are usually served as an accompaniment to steak or enchiladas but can be enjoyed as part of any well-rounded meal.
Whether you try it at home or enjoy it at one of the many Mexican restaurants around the world, you must give pork beans a try!
Enchiladas are a Mexican dish that is popular around the world. This is fast food made from corn tortillas dipped in hot sauce and filled with various stews, vegetables, or proteins, depending on the style.
The name comes from Spanish and it pretty much tells us all—enchilada is en-chili-ada—so always expect a tasty spicy touch!
Enchiladas can be served as either dinner plates or side dishes to accompany other meals. They are usually served with sour cream, fresh cheese, onion, and celery.
When people think of fajitas nowadays, they think of a delicious Mexican food dish that is served on a sizzling platter with succulent beef or chicken and soft warm flour tortillas.
But it wasn’t always that way. Traditionally, fajita was a snack served to ranch hands in West Texas as part of their payback in the 1930s.
Since these ranchhands had access to less desirable cuts of beef, they made something tasty out of them by grilling them this way over an open fire on their ranches.
It usually comes with accompaniments like onions and peppers, plus toppings like cheese, salsa, sour cream, and guacamole for extra flavor. It’s no wonder it’s become so popular! You can easily make your own at home.
Mexican Rice, also known as Spanish Rice is a staple in Mexican cooking. This easy-to-make dish is a perfect addition to tacos, burrito bowls, or just on its own.
It’s slow-cooked in a crockpot with the main ingredients being fresh tomatoes, onions, tomato paste, and long-grain rice simmered in chicken or vegetable broth.
You can add your favorite vegetables from peas, corn, carrots, and peppers for color, flavor, and texture. Cumin and chili powder can be added for extra flavor and jalapeño peppers for added spice.
All of the ingredients should be mixed together in the slow cooker and allowed to cook for 20 minutes before topping with cilantro. Mexican Rice is sure to be the star of your next meal.
For many, Guacamole is an easy yet classic dish. This traditional Mexican sauce dates back to the time of the Aztecs, and its popularity has only grown since then.
Made from mashed-up avocados, onions, tomatoes, lemon juice, and chili peppers (with sometimes a clove or two of garlic thrown in for extra flavor), there is no doubt it adds a unique touch to any meal.
Guacamole can be eaten with tortilla chips as an appetizer, or as a side dish alongside tacos and burritos. It’s also a great addition to salads or sandwiches.
If you’re looking for something quick and easy that tastes delicious, try the fabulous classic guacamole recipe.
Menudo is a spicy soup that has been a staple in Mexican cuisine for centuries. It’s made from tripe (cow stomach), which may not be for everyone, but it’s widely enjoyed throughout Mexico and Central America and remains a must for those looking to get the true taste of Mexican cooking.
The tripe does have a somewhat chewy texture that won’t melt in your mouth like other stew-based soups, but if you enjoy spicy food then you’ll appreciate the chili powder base that the dish is cooked in.
While it’s traditionally eaten as breakfast or lunch, Menudo has become popular at any time of the day, and can usually be found alongside other Mexican favorites such as burritos, tacos, and enchiladas.
When you think of Mexican cuisine, what typically comes to mind? For many people, the answer is a unique blend of Mesoamerican recipes and Spanish influences.
However, one food item that is entirely Mesoamerican is pozole – a foam-like soup made with locally-grown hominy (maize kernels).
Pozole has a slightly sweet flavor and plenty of nutritional benefits. To counterbalance this natural sweetness, rich and savory meats (such as pork or beef) are often added to pozole.
While pozole may be a simple dish, it can fill you up and leave you feeling satisfied – making it an excellent source of sustenance during lunchtime or dinner hours.
If you’re eager to experience authentic Mesoamerican cuisine in its purest form, then eating pozole should be one of your priorities when visiting Mexico.
Mexican food is one of the most popular cuisines in the world, celebrated for its varied flavors, rich ingredients, and large portion sizes. From tacos to tamales, to enchiladas, there are endless opportunities for deliciousness when it comes to Mexican food. Regardless of which dishes you choose, there’s no doubt that Mexican food has something special that brings joy.