From tacos to tamales, it’s hard not to love authentic Mexican cuisine. Sure, we love a good Tex-Mex recipe as well, but let’s be clear: it’s a totally different beast from the authentic Mexican food found south of the border.
Mexican Cooking Techniques
Mexican cuisine draws on indigenous staples like chile peppers and corn. Turn the latter into homemade masa, which can be used as a base for the best masa recipes, namely, excellent tortillas. And while tortillas can be found across the canon of Mexican cooking as the starch du jour, a drive through the country reveals that bread too has a place: the behemoth Mexican sandwiches, cemita poblana with fried cutlet, roast pork torta ahogada reminiscent of a French dips, and griddled pambazo, are ubiquitous throughout Mexico.
Looking for comfort food? Mexican comfort dishes are among some of the best Mexican recipes—think hearty stews, cheesy enchiladas, and zesty soups. Mexican food is never short on flavor, but just to make sure, almost every Mexican dish comes with a side of serious sauce, from rich moles to pico de gallo and various salsas. If the spice gets to you, reach for the closest Mexican drink, like a cooling agua fresca.
Whether you’re celebrating Cinco de Mayo or just in the mood for classic Mexican recipes, we’ve rounded up our 80 favorite authentic Mexican recipes here.
In this elote-inspired riff on corn chowder, grilled corn kernels and their cobs are cooked with milk, cream, and potatoes, then finished with crema, cotija cheese, lime, ancho chile powder, and cilantro. Get the recipe for Mexican Street Corn Soup
These enchiladas aren't baked; they're simply drenched in a rich sauce made with fruity dried chiles, rolled, and eaten right away.
Get seasonal recipes, methods and techniques sent right to your inbox—sign up here to receive Saveur newsletters. And don’t forget to follow us on Instagram at @SaveurMag.
This version of the classic Mexican rice-based drink, which writer Sara Deseran adapted from one at Fresno's El Mercado Super, is made with a mix of coconut milk and coconut water for a beverage that is both luxurious and refreshing. Get the recipe for Coconut Horchata »
Every element of this taco—inspired by those at Don Pepe Taqueria in Fresno—is amped up, from the red rice simmered in a blend of chicken stock and puréed tomatoes to the quick-marinated shrimp. Use large flour tortillas as tacos or wrap them into a burrito. Get the recipe for Shrimp Tacos »
Tamales with Black Beans
Meat and fat are scarce in Chiapas, so the local tamale dough is much leaner than it is in other regions. The most common meatless versions at the markets in southern Chiapas are wrapped in banana leaves and can include greens like hoja santa or chilipin, as well as black beans. At Yo'on Ixim in Puebla, the women make both blue corn and white corn versions, sometimes adding fresh shelling beans. Frozen banana leaves are easy to come by in Asian supermarkets—moisten them with water to keep them pliable while filling. Get the recipe for Tamales with Black Beans »
A buttery Mexican-style peanut brittle is the ideal edible gift.
Tacos de Papa
These tacos are stuffed with cumin-spiced potatoes and fried until they're crunchy.
Mole Verde Zacatecano
Lighter and simpler than the nut-enriched moles of Puebla and Oaxaca, this Zacatecan version is made with fresh tomatillos, cilantro, jalapeños, and garlic.
Shredded Beef with Lime and Avocado
Slow-cooked, extra-tender beef brisket is tossed with lime, chiles, herbs, and cheese, then topped with avocado slices for an incredible taco filling.
Chile-Rubbed Roast Turkey
We've tried many roasting methods over the years, but the one Susana Trilling uses to make the chile-rubbed turkey she serves at her Thanksgiving feast in Oaxaca, Mexico, really stands out. An hour into roasting, Trilling flips the turkey so that the breast is on the bottom. The result is juicy white meat and meltingly tender legs and thighs.
Aunt Renee's Gelatin Mold
A flip through any cookbook from the early or mid-20th century will reveal a bevy of shimmering, molded gelatin treats like this one, made with peaches and cream cheese.
Adding beer to the batter helps the fish for these tacos fry up golden brown and lightly crispy.
Mexican-Style Roasted Corn
The key to making this Mexican street-food and market-vendor snack is to char the corn on the grill and then brush it with mayonnaise so that the cheese, cilantro, and chile powder adhere to the kernels.
This popular Mexican sandwich from the state of Jalisco is filled with crisp roast pork, then "drowned" in a spicy chile de árbol sauce.
Mexican Bean and Cheese Sandwich (Molletes)
The bolillo, a French-style crusty white bread roll from Mexico, is the traditional foundation of this comforting dish, but a kaiser or most any other sandwich roll will work well.
Horchata Blanca (White Rice Drink)
Creamy and sweet, this recipe is a far cry from traditional horchata—his is almost like a dessert, and equally good served hot or cold.
Apricot-Rice Drink (Horchata de Chabacano)
When apricots are in season, use them to make this velvety-rich version of horchata. You can also substitute peaches or nectarines—when it's not stone fruit season, the fresh-frozen variety work just as well.
This drink takes its ruby color from blackberry liqueur.