Mexican Main Dishes

Mexico's vast and varied menu includes both regional specialties and dishes like guacamole and carne asada that have transcended geography to become widely-loved classics. The recipes that follow were gathered on our travels to Mexico over the last year or shared by the Mexican chefs who were our trusted guides, including Iliana de la Vega, Hugo and Ruben Ortega, and Roberto Santibañez.

Oaxacan Red Chile Enchiladas (Enchiladas de Chile Ajo)
Oaxacan Red Chile Enchiladas (Enchiladas de Chile Ajo)
These classic Oaxacan-style enchiladas are stuffed with chicken and doused in a sweet chile-and-garlic sauce.Todd Coleman
Pollo en Escabeche Oriental (Yucatan-Style Chicken and Onion Stew)
Delicately spiced, tangy escabeche, a preparation typical of the Yucatan, makes a vibrant marinade and sauce for stewed chicken. The grapefruit, orange, and lime juices called for in this recipe approximate the flavor of the Yucatan's sour oranges, which are difficult to get here.James Oseland
Mexican Noodle Casserole (Sopa Seca)
Mexican Noodle Casserole (Sopa Seca)
This recipe from cookbook author Diana Kennedy is a comforting casserole dense with thin fideo noodles bathed in chile sauce. Serve it with a salad or pickled chiles on the side.Penny de los Santos
Mexican-Style Scrambled Eggs (Huevos a la Mexicana)
Mexican-Style Scrambled Eggs (Huevos a la Mexicana)
This quick breakfast dish is made a la Mexicana with red tomatoes, white onion, and green jalapeño, ingredients that mirror the colors of the Mexican flag.James Oseland
Pork Ribs in Tomatillo Sauce (Costillas de Puerco en Salsa Verde)
Pork Ribs in Tomatillo Sauce (Costillas de Puerco en Salsa Verde)
A spicy, fruity tomatillo sauce offsets the richness of bone-in pork ribs in this luscious dish from the state of Puebla.Todd Coleman
Grilled Steak Tacos (Tacos de Carne Asada)
Grilled Steak Tacos (Tacos de Carne Asada)
Skirt steak, a flavorful, juicy cut, is an excellent choice for carne asada, from Mexico's El Bajío region. This one is marinated with lime and spices before grilling.Todd Coleman
Chile-Spiced Grilled Chicken (Pollo al Horno)
Chile-Spiced Grilled Chicken (Pollo al Horno)
Stained deep orange with achiote paste, this spice-slathered grilled chicken pairs well with fresh, bracing salsa verde, which cuts through the dish's garlicky richness.Todd Coleman
Chicken and Potato Stew (Guisada al Pollo)
Chicken and Potato Stew (Guisada al Pollo)
Hearty and filling, this easy chicken stew gets its signature smoky flavor from chipotles in adobo. Get the recipe for Chicken and Potato Stew (Guisada al Pollo) »Todd Coleman
Chicken with Pumpkin Seed-Tomatillo Sauce (Pollo en Pipian Verde)
Chicken with Pumpkin Seed-Tomatillo Sauce (Pollo en Pipian Verde)
This classic Pueblan sauce is made with pumpkin seeds and tomatillos.Todd Coleman
Pescado Encarcelado (Fish Stuffed with Pico de Gallo)
This clean, flavorful preparation of whole fish stuffed with pico de gallo preserves all the fish's natural juices. Mullet is typically used, but red snapper works just as well.Todd Coleman
Chicken with Puebla-Style Mole Sauce (Pollo en Mole Poblana)
Chicken with Puebla-Style Mole Sauce (Pollo en Mole Poblana)
In Mexico's most iconic molé, mulato, ancho, and pasilla chiles combine with warm spices to create a velvety smooth sauce that's ideal for spooning over chicken.Todd Coleman
Pollo Pibil (Yucatan-Style Chicken with Achiote)
Marinated in a crimson achiote and citrus juice marinade and served with pickled onions, this chicken dish is eaten all over the Yucatan. It gets an additional layer of flavor from the banana leaves that line the inside of the pot, but should you opt not to use them, the result will still be delicious.James Oseland
Huevos Motuleños (Eggs in Tortillas with Ham and Peas)
This Yucatan-style breakfast dish, topped with peas, ham, and Gouda or Edam cheese, has a spicy habanero and tomato sauce.James Oseland
Mexican Bean and Cheese Sandwich (Molletes)
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.Todd Coleman
Salsa-Dipped Potato and Chorizo Sandwiches (Pambazos)
Salsa-Dipped Potato and Chorizo Sandwiches (Pambazos)
These salsa-dunked and griddled sandwiches, an iconic Mexico City street food, are named for the pambazos—soft, oval rolls—they're typically made with. Telera and kaiser rolls make fine substitutes.Penny De Los Santos
Chiles Rellenos con Picadillo (Poblano Chiles Stuffed with Spiced Beef)
This stuffed, fried chile, a specialty of Julin Contreras of Restaurante Pueblo Mio in the town of Tehuantepec, in southeastern Oaxaca state, has a sumptuous ground beef filling dotted with olives and raisins.Todd Coleman
Frijol con Puerco (Pork and Black Bean Stew)
In this dish, from Jorge Boneta, former chef at the Hotel Matilda in San Miguel de Allende, the pork and beans cook together, which enhances the flavor of each ingredient.Todd Coleman
Beef and Guajillo Chile Stew (Caldo de Res)
Beef and Guajillo Chile Stew (Caldo de Res)
Infused with smoky guajillo chiles, this nourishing, slow-cooked stew is usually made with various tough cuts of beef, but we found oxtails to be the most flavorful choice.Todd Coleman
Stuffed Poblano Chiles with Walnut Sauce (Chiles en Nogada)
Stuffed Poblano Chiles with Walnut Sauce (Chiles en Nogada)
Traditionally made in Puebla to celebrate Mexican Independence Day on September 16, these chiles have a minced pork filling enhanced with chopped fruit, and a creamy walnut sauce.Todd Coleman
Huarache con Carne Asada (Mexico City-Style Corn Tortillas with Steak)
Thick, oblong masa tortillas (named huarache, or sandal, because of their shape) are topped with grated cheese, salsa roja, sauteed steak, and sliced cactus in this classic street food.Todd Coleman
Chicken Enchiladas in Tomatillo-Cream Sauce (Enchiladas Suizas)
Chicken Enchiladas in Tomatillo-Cream Sauce (Enchiladas Suizas)
This cheesy, creamy dish originated at a Sanborns cafe in Mexico City in 1950. Its name, "Swiss enchiladas," alludes to its copious use of dairy.Todd Coleman