10 Traditional Mexican Recipes

Mexico has many different regions, each with their own unique dishes and flavor combinations. While you may be familiar with some dishes at Mexican restaurants in the United States, they have often been changed to suit local tastes or restaurant food trends. Explore traditional Mexican recipes to recreate the flavors of Mexico at home.

  • 01 of 10


    Mexican Birria Recipe

    The Spruce 

    Birria is a traditional Mexican dish from Jalisco. Perhaps because it is considered a hangover cure, it's often served for brunch the day after a wedding or other celebration. It's often sold at cafes and street stands in Mexico, where it is often made with goat meat or mutton. But you can make it with beef or pork or a mixture of meats.

  • 02 of 10

    Menudo - Spicy Tripe Soup

    Menudo Mexican Tripe Soup
    DebbiSmirnoff / Getty Images

    Menudo is widely offered as a weekend brunch food at rustic mom-and-pop restaurants in Mexico, perhaps because it's thought to be a hangover remedy. They prepare it a couple of days in advance and reheat it, concentrating the broth and flavor. There are many variations of menudo in different areas of Mexico. This version uses pigs feet and hominy. ​While it is not nearly as labor-intensive as are some versions, it does take time.

  • 03 of 10

    Mexican Picadillo

    Dish of picadillo
    Melanie Acevedo / Getty Images

    Picadillo is ground or finely chopped beef cooked with vegetables and may include fruit. It is enjoyed throughout Latin America and either served as a main dish or used to fill empanadas, tamales, tacos, and more. This is a basic recipe you can use as a main dish or as a filling for tacos, empanadas, burritos, and more.

  • 04 of 10

    Chilorio - Sinaloan Pork in Chile Sauce

    Tamal fried with meat , beans and jalapeño
    alxpina / Getty Images

    Chilorio is a dish that originated in the state of Sinaloa and is now enjoyed all over northern Mexico. Dried chiles are used to make the sauce. You can often find chilorio sold in Hispanic stores, but if you make your own you can adjust the spices to your personal taste. It makes a great filling for tacos, tortas, or burritos, or you can serve it as the main course.

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  • 05 of 10

    Pibil Pollo

    Pibil Pollo
    benketaro / Flickr / CC By 2.0

    Pibil Pollo, a chicken dish is popular in Quintana Roo, in Mexico's Yucatan region. It gets its signature flavor from bitter orange. The chicken is marinated in spices and then steamed in banana leaves.

  • 06 of 10

    Chiles En Nogada

    Chiles en nogada - Mexican food
    agcuesta / Getty Images

    Chiles En Nogada is used to celebrate Mexican Independence Day. It is a favorite traditional dish that has the colors of the Mexican flag. It's a stuffed green chile topped with creamy white walnut sauce and red pomegranate.seeds.

  • 07 of 10

    Puerco or Pollo en Salsa Verde

    Chicken Chile Verde
    sbossert / Getty Images

    Chiles and tomatillos warm this green stew that is enjoyed both in the American Southwest (where it is known as Chile Verde or Chili Verde) and in Mexico where it is called Puerco/Pollo en Salsa Verde. You can make it with either cubed chicken or cubed pork.

  • 08 of 10

    Chile Colorado

    Chile Colorado beef
    Rimma_Bondarenko / Getty Images

    The Spanish word colorado simple means red, which describes the sauce of this tender beef stew. Chile Colorado is a favorite comfort food in Sonora and Chihuahua in northern Mexico. Serve it with tortillas to enjoy as a hearty meal.

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  • 09 of 10

    Caramel Flan

    Caramel Flan
    The Spruce

    Flan is served for dessert in Spain and all over Latin America. Caramel Flan is a creamy and satisfying end of the meal. If you're preparing a traditional Mexican meal, try this simple version made in individual servings.

  • 10 of 10

    Pastel de Tres Leches

    Tres Leches Cake
    Cheryl Zibisky / Getty Images

    For a fancier dessert than flan, Pastel de Tres Leches is made with three types of milk, hence the tres leches name. The cake is soaked in a sauce of sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and heavy cream, and then topped with whipped cream.