Mexico is a fascinating country where over 65 languages are spoken, and an array of traditions, styles of dress, and local cuisines are enjoyed. While staple ingredients include corn, beans, and chiles, there is incredible diversity in just how each region, city, and even household makes their food. So, while this article is thorough, consider it just a scratch on the surface of all the flavors Mexico has to offer.
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Agua Tamarindo Recipe
In just about every restaurant or food stand in Mexico, you’ll find aguas on the menu. While recipes can vary wildly, an agua is essentially a blend of water and fruit. This recipe for agua tamarindo is commonly seen in the Yucatán and Chiapas states of Mexico, where tamarind easily thrives.
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Champurrado is a thick, chocolatey drink made with corn flour. Think of it as a cousin to Mexican hot chocolate, which tends to have a thinner consistency. For a touch of spice, cinnamon is also frequently added to champurrado.
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Tlayuda (Oaxacan Pizza)
A tlayuda (pronounced ("tla-u-da") is an iconic street food from Oaxaca, Mexico. It's made with a giant tortilla (which is also referred to as a tlayuda) topped with asiento, refried beans, and ribbons of quesillo.
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Atole can be made with corn, oatmeal, or rice and flavored with spices, chocolate, or fruit. So while it's clear many variations exist, perhaps the most common preparation of atole uses corn flour and is spiked with cinnamon.Continue to 5 of 22 below.
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Although it’s evolved over time, tepache has been enjoyed since the pre-Colombian period. Primarily, tepache is made by slightly fermenting pineapple skins and cores before adding piloncillo and optionally, spices.
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Chilaquiles are typically made by frying pieces of tortillas until crisp, then cooking them in salsa. This chilaquiles recipe takes a shortcut by starting with tortilla chips. Chilaquiles are popular throughout Mexico, and are most often eaten for breakfast.
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Commonly enjoyed as a light breakfast alongside coffee, pan dulce simply means "sweet bread" in Spanish. Conchas are an especially popular type of pan dulce.
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Slow-Cooked Birria Recipe
The state of Jalisco is located in Northern Mexico and while it's often recognized for its tequila, birria is another culinary gem. Traditionally made with goat or lamb, it's served in its own broth, and meant to be scooped up in one delicious, messy taco.Continue to 9 of 22 below.
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Vegetarian Burrito Recipe
The flour tortilla was developed in northern Mexico, where wheat (imported by Spanish colonialists) grows well. The development of many different varieties of burritos soon followed. This vegetarian burrito is more of an American, Mission-style burrito.
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Tacos al Pastor Recipe
Particularly popular in Mexico City, tacos al pastor are traditionally made from meat cooked on a vertically-spinning spit, the trompo. They’re served with a touch of pineapple and salsa for a savory, sweet, and spicy experience.
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Salsa Rojo Pork Tamales Recipe
Tamales are a labor-intensive dish, so they’re typically only enjoyed for special occasions or bought from vendors in local markets. They're a delicious and creative dish since you can fill your tamales with just about any ingredient you'd like. Sound inspiring? Try your hand at making these pork tamales or chicken tamales.
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Homemade Carnitas Recipe
Made from pork, carnitas make for a rich, tasty taco. The state of Michoacán is most renowned for its carnitas, and carnitas are traditionally cooked outside in huge copper or stainless steel pots over an open fire. This recipe for carnitas is a much smaller version and made on a regular stove.Continue to 13 of 22 below.
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Chilorio Pork Recipe
Chilorio pork comes from the state of Sinaloa and can be used for a number of different dishes, including tacos, a stuffing for tamales, and tortas (sandwiches). It’s similar to an American-style pulled pork but uses a heavy dose of chile for smoky heat.
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Caldo de Menudo Recipe
Mexican cuisine rarely leaves a part of the animal behind, and one of the most popular examples of this is caldo de menudo, or tripe soup. Tripe turns tender when cooked low and slow, and it readily soaks up the flavors of what it's cooked with.
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Rajas con Crema Recipe
Rajas con crema are simply strips of poblano chile, onion, and corn cooked in cream. Poblano chiles are very mild in heat, so the resulting flavor of this dish is actually sweet and creamy. Rajas con crema are tasty in tacos, with eggs, or in a tofu scramble.
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Chiles Rellenos Recipe
Chiles rellenos are native to the state of Puebla, but they're popular throughout Mexico. This recipe uses a poblano pepper, which is native to Puebla.Continue to 17 of 22 below.
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Trés Leches Cake Recipe
The trés leches cake is popularly made for birthdays and special occasions in Mexico. A combination of condensed milk, evaporated milk, and heavy cream is poured over the cake itself, resulting in a very moist, satisfying treat.
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In Mexico, elote simply means corn on the cob. Elote is commonly sold as street food, where it's first boiled or grilled and then rolled in a variety of toppings. Similarly, esquites are corn with toppings, but the kernels are shaved off the cob and served in a cup.
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Cemita Sandwich Recipe
There are many different kinds of sandwiches made in Mexico. One is the cemita sandwich, which is commonly served in Puebla for a quick meal.
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Simple Mole Sauce Recipe
A mole is a type of sauce consisting of toasted chiles, nuts, and numerous other ingredients that are ground and then cooked together. There are countless varieties, many of which are specific to a region. This red mole recipe is an American take on the sauce.Continue to 21 of 22 below.
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Pan de Muerto Recipe
Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is actually celebrated over two days, November 1 and 2. People gather to honor their ancestors and departed loved ones. Several foods traditionally accompany the holiday, including pan de muerto.
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Pozole is a stew made primarily with nixtamalized corn, which causes the corn to swell in size and take on a richer flavor and aroma. Spices, chiles, and pork or chicken are also frequently used, making pozole a full meal, as opposed to a starter.
O'Neill, Aaron. Mexico: Distribution of Languages in 2005. Statista. 2021, September 14.