Top 30+ Most Popular Mexican Foods (With Pictures)

Mexican cuisines have been well-known for their colorful, plentiful, and flavorful essence.

Hence, they have been ranked among the most beloved cuisines by food lovers worldwide. As a result, many desire to try the multi-ingredient recipes of Mexico’s gastronomy cuisine.

If you’re planning to travel to Mexico or simply curious about their best recipes, stay with us to discover the most popular Mexican foods, as demonstrated below.

Top 30+ Best Traditional Mexican Recipes to Try

Tacos

tacos

One of the most iconic foods when it comes to Mexican cuisine.

Tacos are basically fillings placed on top of small corn or wheat tortillas or wrappers. The tortillas would then be wrapped and keep the fillings in place. And people would eat tacos by hand most of the time.

The fillings are also the most interesting part here. You can use almost all kinds of things like beef, chicken, pork, cheese, or even seafood. They’re then combined with different types of vegetables like beans for a wide variety of tastes.

You should enjoy tacos with condiments like salsa, guacamole, and added vegetables such as onion, tomatoes, chiles, etc. And if you ask people around the world which Mexican dish they recognize the most, Tacos would probably top the chart.

This Mexican street food is really phenomenal.

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Aguachiles

Aguachile is a spicy but addictive Mexican food in which fresh shrimps are immersed in a vibrant green sauce loaded with lime juice, chile, cilantro, and salt.

It’s best to serve cold with sliced cucumber and onion on top, resulting in an eye-catching and delicious dish that is irresistible.

Aguachile originally means “chili water,” which stands for the flavor of the dish. This raw seafood recipe originates from west Mexico, considered a spicy version of the famous Ceviche. Mexican loves to have it for an appetizer or a main dish with tostadas and tortilla chips on the side.

Related: Aguachile vs Ceviche

Burritos

Mexican is always proud of their flour tortillas recipes, particularly the crunchy Burritos. An authentic Mexican Burrito is made of wheat tortillas loaded with abundant types of fillings.

Meat, beans, and salsa are the most popular main ingredients, white cheese, sour cream, and veggies are specifically for additions.

People often get confused between burrito and taco. Just a minute, here are the differences: Taco is made from either corn or wheat tortillas in a small size, and you would need several pieces to satisfy your hunger. Meanwhile, Burritos require wheat tortillas of various sizes, but a standard roll will be able to make up a savory meal.

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Chalupas

Chalupas, a typical south-central Mexico dish, initially consists of a crispy fried masa shell filled with red or green salsa, cheese, and shredded lettuce. As time passed, Chalupas now are also topped with various toppings such as shredded chicken, pork, sliced onion, and sour cream.

Mexican chalupa is genuinely a flavorful dish, where the savory taste of meat is immersed in a mild spice of salsa and sourness of cream. This crunchy-outer and flavorful-inner dish has satisfied Mexican food lovers for many years. As a result, everyone who once tried it often desires to have another.

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Ceviches

Ceviche, also known as cebiche, seviche, or sebiche, resembles the Aguachile mentioned earlier but is less spicy and marinated longer. This dish is a fantastic choice for a  snack or an appetizer. Also, adding some potato, avocado, or salad would deliver a fresh main dish.

Ceviche is considered low-fat and high-protein, especially contributing to healthy diets. In addition, a fresh and authentic Ceviche dish loaded with seafood, green salsa, and yummy veggies will bring you the taste of the beach on hot days.

Chilaquiles

What would a Mexican do with some leftover corn tortillas? The simplest way is to fry their pieces, saute them with red or green salsa, spread cheese on top, and serve with eggs and beans. That’s all for a tasty and nutritious breakfast, also for an authentic Mexican Chilaquiles recipe.

You can have your Chilaquiles crispy or tender, depending on the saute time in which salsa will soak into and soften the crunchy tortilla. Also, once you don’t appreciate such greasy fried tortillas, take baked Chilaqueles instead.

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Chimichangas

Chimichanga, or chimi, is considered a big deep-fried burrito as an American-Mexican fusion. A perfect Chimichanga is a large wheat tortilla filled with meat, cheese, and filling stuff, then rolled into tubes and fried. It’s often served with salsa, sour cream, and sliced herbs on the top.

As deep fried, Chimichangas come with crispy shells and tender fillings. Besides, don’t mistake this dish for standard Burritos. Specifically, Chimichanga is fried while Burrito is not. Also, Burritos contain various fillings while Chimichangas often consist of meat, cheese, and beans.

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Elotes

Initially a Mexican “antojitos” (street food), Elotes have become so popular that they deserve a spot on upscale restaurant tables. The flavorful Elote starts with grilling corn with the entire cob, spreading lime juice and mayonnaise, then topping with Cotija cheese and chili powder.

Elote is mainly served on its cob, alone, or as a side dish to many meals. Its taste is incredibly blended among sweetness and sour, creamy and spicy. Apart from Mexico, food lovers can quickly encounter it all over America – Texas, Los Angeles, New York, and Boston, to name a few.

Related: Elote vs Esquite

Empanadas

Another street food that is enjoyed all over Mexico is Empanada. Basically, it is made by grounding fresh corn into tortillas, filling, sealing, and frying or baking until golden brown, resulting in a crunchy and pleasantly salty crescent-shaped puff pastry, particularly excellent for entertaining.

Like any tortilla recipe, Empanada is super flexible in its ingredients and has been developed into many variants so far. This puff pastry can be stuffed with a wide variety of components, from meat and cheese to veggies and anything you are craving.

Related: Empanadas vs Pastelillos

Enchiladas

Talking about the most popular Mexican dishes, food lovers can’t miss the authentic Enchiladas stuffed with meat, melted cheese, veggies, and the famous enchiladas sauce. They are described as spicy, colorful, and flavorful.

Enchiladas perfectly match fresh salad and never go wrong with Mexican dishes like refried beans or Mexican rice. Also, to enjoy them as snacks, simply add veggies and herbs such as avocado, tomato, and cilantro for fresher and healthier.

Both Mexican and non-Mexican gourmets have enjoyed those multi-ingredient corn tortillas for many years. As a result, you can encounter them in every street corner of Mexico.

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Entomatadas

Entomatadas, a traditional Mexican snack, are made by immersing fried folded corn tortillas in seasoned tomato sauce. It is somewhat similar to Enchilada but less spicy with its Entomatada sauce.

The tortillas are often filled with shredded beef or chicken, refried beans, and cheese. At the same time, the sauce consists of tomatoes, garlic, onion, and seasonings such as oregano, chile serrano, and salt.

Mexicans enjoy it alone or with rice or beans. Sour cream, shredded cheese, sliced onion, and fresh parsley are favorite toppings for the dish. In short, a real treat for breakfast and pleasure for snacks.

Related: Entomatadas vs Enchiladas

Esquites

Esquites, also Mexican street corn cups, delight food lovers with their sweet, spicy, and tangy. A standard cup of Esquites is filled with cooked corn, mayonnaise, cheese, lime, and chili. Such a nice way to enjoy the off-the-cob version of the Elotes that comprises all the pleasures of corn in “salad” form.

Slightly varies from region to region, Esquites come in different varieties across Mexico, mainly due to the ingredients. But all of them are delicious!

Moreover, it seems effortless to find this yummy snack since it’s one of the staples on the streets of Mexico. Most diners feel addicted and keep coming back for more.

Fajitas

Fajita is a healthy, tasty rolled tortilla dish in which juicy shredded meat is cooked, mixed with sauteed onion and bell pepper, then served with warm tortillas and toppings. Some side dishes often come in for more flavor, for example, sour cream and salsa. Such a favor for your hunger!

Apart from Mexico, Fajita is extremely popular in America and can be found in most Mexican restaurants worldwide. The restaurants prefer to spread all the ingredients on the table and let the guests assemble their own Fajitas, which is a part of the pleasure of enjoying the dish.

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Flautas

Flauta is a crunchy Mexican “antojitos,” which begins with wrapping corn tortillas around mixed-filling, deep-frying in oil, then topping and serving. Popular ingredients for the filling are mashed potatoes, chicken, and cheese, while typical toppings are fresh veggies, lettuce, tomatoes, and sour cream.

Flautas reportedly originate from Sinaloa, a region in northern Mexico, neighbors to the U.S. That’s why the dish has achieved popularity in many parts of America.

People enjoy them in cylindrical rolls resembling flutes. Flauta translates to “flute” in English, but this “flute” is not only edible but crispy and delicious.

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Gorditas

Meaning “chubby” in English, these cute round corn cakes possess a pocket for a bunch of savory fillings to locate inside. In detail, they are thick corn tortillas stuffed with mixed fillings such as meat, beans, chorizo, cheese, and whatever you are craving.

Gordita is a classic Mexican snack, well known as a puffed and stuffed corn pastry. There are two popular ways to cook the dish: deep-fried and baked (in a comal or an oven). Central and southern Mexicans love to fry them until golden and crispy, while the rest prefer to bake Gordita.

Huevos Rancheros

Has been one of the Mexican all-time favorite breakfasts, this “ranch eggs” is simply and quickly made by serving fried eggs and salsa on a warm corn tortilla. Huevos Rancheros are served all over Mexico, particularly at Mexican farms, primarily for breakfast but anytime will be fine.

Also, there is no wrong to additionally top the tortilla with your desirable ingredients or serve with other dishes. It’s just a matter of taste.

Imagine that, start your day with a sunny-side-up fried egg served on a corn tortilla and drenched with savory salsa, fried beans on the side. Anything else for a hearty breakfast?

Migas

You’ve got some eggs and leftover corn tortillas, also great salsa and some cheese at home. What’s next for a big brunch? Simply make your pan-fried tortillas and scrambled eggs, spread them on a plate, then coat with shredded cheese and your favorite salsa. Now, treat yourself to the tasty Migas!

The name Migas means “crumbs,” which stands for the form of the dish itself. Mexicans have enjoyed this recipe over the years as a quick but fragrant breakfast.

Also, there is another version outside of Mexico, named Tex-Mex Migas, where dozens of components have been added, such as sour cream, bell pepper, diced tomatoes, and avocado.

Nachos

Nacho is a delightful snack, a stimulating party appetizer, and a savory home cooking recipe. Of course, the list of possible ingredients is always endless, but a standard Nachos dish consists of chips, shredded meat, cheese, beans, and veggies. What a nutritious mixed-component recipe!

There is an exciting story about the history of Nachos. Back in 1943, at a restaurant in the little town Piedras Negras of Mexico, the first dishes of Nachos were invented for a group of US army wives by a Mexican restaurateur, over a request of “an unusual snack for regular customers.”

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Quesadillas

The quesadilla was first enjoyed in Mexico back in the 16th century among the recipes with a long tradition. A Quesadilla is initially made by warming a corn tortilla filled with cheese, meat, and veggies on a grill, then folded over and eaten by hand.

Over the years, the recipe has evolved as people always desire to diversify their experiences. Quesadillas now are topped with salsa, guacamole, sour cream, and so on. Also, many use wheat tortillas for the recipe instead of corn-based shells.

Typically, the chef would cook the ingredients earlier, not letting the tortilla stay long on the heat.

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Sopes

Sope is a thick masa cake fried or baked and topped with various fillings such as shredded meat, cheese, beans, and veggies. Its popular side dishes are avocado, radish, pickled carrot, Mexican cream, and other thousand things according to specific taste.

You may wonder if this easy-to-make recipe could taste that good. The secret is in the great masa and various delicious fillings. Mexicans are always proud of their masa recipes, which form a significant part of the culture.

Besides, baked versions often have borders around their edges, resembling most tart cakes.

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Tamales

Tamales are a fun snack and enjoyable dessert that you can find almost anywhere around Mexico. They are masa dough pockets filled with savory or vegan components, wrapped in corn husks or banana leaves, then steamed.

Sweet tamales contain a variety of fruits, nuts, and sweeteners. Meanwhile, other versions feature popular Mexican ingredients, such as pork, chicken, cheese, beans, and veggies. In most cases, the filling is well seasoned for more flavor.

The dough plays a significant role in Tamales so that the chefs always spend time choosing and preparing masa for the recipe. An authentic Tamale has a nice and crumbly corn taste.

Machaca

Machaca is a northern Mexican dried meat, mostly beef, seasoned and dehydrated to become a versatile cooking ingredient. Hence, you can quickly encounter it in many snacks and main dish recipes, from tacos, burritos to a stew dish with rice and beans on the side.

Machaca is specifically popular in northern Mexico, where it is available in local groceries and markets. There is a typical breakfast consisting of Machaca and eggs associated with miners in Chihuahua, northwestern Mexico.

Traditionally, sliced beef is marinated with minimal seasonings like salt and garlic, then exposed to the intense desert sunlight for several days.

Other great dishes compared:

Discada

Discada is another meat-based recipe of northern Mexico, also a typical dish for family reunions. It includes various types of meat grilled on a disc, which looks like a BBQ party. That’s the reason for the name Discada which means plow disc BBQ in English.

You can find almost all types of your favorite meat versions there, from fresh meat to ham, bacon, sausage, and chorizo. All of them are seasoned with herbs and seasonings according to specific tastes.

Besides, onions, peppers, and tomatoes are often added for more colorful and less greasy. Discada serves well with Mexican dishes like rice, beans, and sometimes beer.

Related: Longaniza vs Chorizo

Menudo

Menudo, or Ginamay and Pancita, is a crowd-pleasing Mexican soup made with cow’s stomach as the main ingredient and hominy, onion, garlic, lime, and dried chili as additions and seasonings. The dish typically takes a long time to cook as the trip will take hours to get tender.

Some have said that Menudo is good for our health thanks to its high nutrition and water content. Also, since it reportedly magically reduces the hangover feeling, people love to have it after drinks.

Menudo is considered a traditionally occasional dish that is often served at important events like celebrations and weddings.

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Dorilocos

“You’ve gotta try it”; “Mexico’s craziest street food”; These are some comments for Dorilocos, a colorful Mexican snack consisting of chips and various toppings. Some even call them “walking antojitos” since Mexicans often have them on the go.

Typically, a bunch of savory toppings will be added, from pickled pork, Jicama’s small batons, grated carrots, peanuts to lime, chili powder, and salsa sauce.

Dorilocos became popular since it combines many flavors that people love at once. Not only the kids but parents enjoy it as well. The taste of Dorilocos is described in many words, sour, sweet, spicy, saucy, crunchy, salty. In short, crazy but addictive.

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Machete

A Machete is a Quesadilla, but astonishingly long at around 18 inches to 2 feet and looking like a narrowboat. Also, each huge Machete features an endless list of filling, which can please many diners at an affordable price.

Due to various sizes, Machete’s shell tortillas are often handmade by a custom-made tortilla press. Sometimes the inside items are not blended but juxtaposed.

Its vast size almost makes it impossible to cook at home. Hence, a unique eat-out food. So gather your friends and enjoy a two-foot Machete! Don’t miss these huge “antojitos” while being in Mexico.

Related: tortilla chips vs potato chips

Frijoles Puercos

Frijoles Puercos is a thick consistency recipe consisting of grounded refried beans, lard, chorizo, cheese, and pepper. It is considered a comforting Mexican recipe even when it is not always healthy with a pretty high-fat level.

Mexican love to have it as a snack, an appetizer, and sometimes as a dipping sauce. You can easily find it at home meals, restaurants, and parties.

Frijoles Puercos means “piggy bean” in English. It may seem an unusual combination but don’t worry! All of the components are well mixed with proper seasonings, resulting in a nice smoky flavor.

Chiles En Nogada

Representing three colors of the Mexican flag, Chiles En Nogada is well-known as a patriotic recipe of the country. Consequently, it has played a significant part in Mexican Independence Day feasts over a long period.

The dish comprises Poblano chiles stuffed with picadillo (a mixture of meat, spices, and fruits), decorated with a walnut-based cream liquid, pomegranate seeds, and parsley. Hence, the flavor lies somewhere between sweet, sour, and salty.

This iconic recipe is primarily served in August and early September, a time of festivals and Independence Day celebrations. Still, it’s pretty expensive and may take hours to complete.

Torta Ahogada

Torta Ahogada, a drowned submarine sandwich, is a Mexican savory sandwich simply made by stuffing chicken or pork in a birote bread, then partly submerging in dried chili pepper or tomato sauce.

Specifically, birote bread makes this dish more unique. It looks like a small baguette, has a thick and crunchy exterior and tender interior, which allows the sandwich to drown in the sauce without becoming loose and mushy.

The sauce can be spicy or mild, depending on the specific taste. In some versions, people will add fresh vegetables like lettuce, cucumber, and radish for healthier and tastier.

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Camarones a la Diabla

Camarones a la Diabla, a super-spicy shrimp recipe, will satisfy any chile peppers lover coming to Mexico. The dish features an eye-catching red chili sauce covering juicy, large “deviled” shrimps. A low-fat and gluten-free recipe. Super addictive!

Camarones a la Diabla has become familiar with Mexican homemakers thanks to its savory flavor and easy-to-make nature. It serves well with warm rice. Besides, tourists can enjoy it in Mexican restaurants at pretty high prices.

Carnitas

Carnitas is a traditional Mexican pork dish originating from the state of Michoacán. Seasoned pork meat or lard is gradually simmered for hours until tender, resulting in juicy and flavorful meat. Perfect for burritos, tacos, and abundant Mexican recipes.

The secret to its wonderful taste comes from the perfect seasonings and long braising time. During the process, orange juice, salt, cumin, oregano, chili, bay leaf, garlic, etc., will gradually seep into the meat and create a flavorful mixture.

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FAQ’s

Can you find these dishes outside of Mexico?

Yes, of course. Especially in the United States, you can find plenty of restaurants in which you can find these foods.

Is Mexican cuisine popular?

Yes, Mexican cuisine is one of the most popular choices around the world.

Is chicken a popular ingredient for fillings?

Yes, chicken and beef are among the most popular ones.

What are the tips to enjoy a Mexican meal even more?

There are a lot of things you can do, but my best advice is to go eat outside with a friend of yours who is knowledgeable about these Mexican dishes and he/she will help you out.

Conclusion

By the end of this article, you now have a grasp of the top 30 most popular Mexican foods that are sure to make a strong impression on every tourist.

Without a doubt, Mexican cuisine is a masterpiece in which various ingredients and flavors together bring great experiences for food lovers alike. So, if you plan to arrive in Mexico soon, don’t forget to treat yourself to these amazing recipes and share your fantastic experience with us.

Mariana Rouco

Mariana Rouco is the editor-in-chief of Elpasony.com. She loves traveling and writing about foods and cooking in general. She has a degree from the New England Culinary Institute and enjoys Mexican, Italian, and Chinese cuisines the most.

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