62 Recipes for Authentic Mexican Food

Authentic Mexican food and drinks are more than tacos and margaritas. Here are our favorite Mexican recipes—including elote, micheladas, posole and churros.

Explore some of the most famous Mexican food (and drinks!) from various regions. From warming soups and stews like pozole to classics like tacos and burritos, we compiled the fan favorites and the not-so-known Mexican meals you should definitely try. Who knows, they may even make your weekly menu rotation once you start experimenting with new ingredients.

While some of your go-to Mexican restaurant copycat recipes might be a bit heavy on meat, cheese and carbs, not all meals are created equal. Just check out all the meat-, gluten- and dairy-free recipes in this list, plus all the Mexican drinks and Mexican dessert recipes fit for a dinner party.

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Slow-Cooker Barbacoa

We’ve cracked the code on restaurant-style barbacoa, which is essentially beef roast simmered in lime juice, chipotle and cumin. This hearty version pairs best over cilantro rice with a spritz of lime.
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Add crunch to your pozole with shredded cabbage, chopped green onions and crushed tortilla chips, or dollop with sour cream for a rich, creamy texture. If you happen to have any leftovers after, let the pozole cool completely, then refrigerate it and enjoy the leftovers for up to five days.
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Mexican Street Corn (Elote)

Once you try elote, aka Mexican street corn, there’s no going back to plain corn on the cob. These cheesy cobs are grilled in husks, then slathered in a mayo, sour cream, cilantro and lime mixture before being dusted with chili powder and Cotija cheese for next-level corn with a kick.
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Once you learn the basics of how to make conchas, which are a type of sweet bread referred to as Mexican pan dulce, you’ll want to try our recipe for this chocolate streusel-topped pastry that puffs up like brioche and can be eaten for breakfast or as a snack.
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Chicken Flautas

Flautas are similar to taquitos, but flautas are usually made with flour tortillas that are slightly larger than the corn tortillas typically used for taquitos. Chopped green chiles, chicken, salsa and cheddar cheese fill these flautas, but you can use whatever you have on hand. Make them a meal with recipes like Mexican rice, refried beans or Mexican street corn.
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This common Mexican street food is usually served in a fried masa base and piled high with refried beans, meat and cheese—but the toppings are endlessly customizable. Our version of sopes makes use of leftover shredded cooked chicken, lettuce and crumbled queso fresco, although pico de gallo, sour cream and avocado slices would also do the trick.
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Fresas con Crema

For a Mexican-style take on berries and cream, try this refreshing fresas con crema recipe when strawberries are in season. Media crema is a rich, unsweetened cream found in the baking aisle or ethnic food section of the grocery store. It’s similar to creme fraiche, which you can also use if you can’t find media crema.
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Pressure-Cooker Beef Carnitas

For flavorful beef carnitas that taste like they’ve been simmering all day, enlist your Instant Pot for a 40-minute version of the recipe. The tender meat is perfect for tacos and burritos, or even just with a side of rice and beans.
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Pico de Gallo

Skip the store-bought salsa in lieu of a made-from-scratch pico de gallo bursting with fresh flavors. Chopped onions, tomatoes, cilantro and jalapenos are even better when you let them sit in their juices for an hour or two before serving with tortilla chips.
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Chicken Mole

Fun fact: There are more than 40 forms of mole sauce and they don’t all include chocolate. If you’re not familiar with this versatile Mexican sauce, try it with chicken. We guarantee it’s the game-changing chicken dish you’ll be making from here on out.
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Fresh Lime Margaritas

The one thing that will always pair well with authentic Mexican food? Fresh lime margaritas. Once you master the easy recipe (that’s also great frozen!) you won’t be returning to premade mixes anytime soon.
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Creamy Caramel Flan

If you’re a fan of cheesecake, chances are you’ll be just as tempted by Mexican flan that has a creamy custard-like center and a glazed caramel top. A small slice of this luscious treat goes a long way in the dessert cravings department. If you love this recipe, try baking your way around the world with these other globally-inspired baking recipes.
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Mexican Cinnamon Cookies

Traditional Mexican cinnamon cookies, called reganadas, are a sweet surprise after any celebratory dinner. They’re easy to execute with a mix of on-hand pantry staples and one egg.
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Homemade Guacamole

Guac may be extra when you order it at a restaurant, but you can enjoy as much as you want when it’s homemade! This chunky guacamole is one of the best we’ve tried thanks to the right ratio of cilantro, lime juice and avocado.
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Shrimp Ceviche

Not feeling a hot kitchen tonight? This no-cook seafood dish is your key to a cool and quick meal and can be served with tortilla chips, spooned into lettuce wraps or topped on a tostada. For those who can’t eat shellfish, you can always replace the shrimp with tuna, cod or haddock.
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Refried Bean Tostadas

Have extra refried beans to use up? Try this veggie-packed tostada with the mashed beans as the spread. You can even substitute store-bought tostada shells for tortillas and add an egg for more protein.
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Easy Chili Verde

Once fall hits, stew season is on and nothing tops chili—verde style. Whether you prefer to eat it with a fork or with a side of warmed tortillas, just make sure you have a buffet of toppings nearby. Some of our favorites include lime wedges, minced onion or green chile sauce.
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Arroz Con Leche (Rice Pudding)

Arroz con leche translates to comfort food in any language. This Mexican rice pudding is studded with raisins and uses warming spices for an irresistible combination that calls for seconds.
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Easy Chicken Enchiladas

Enchiladas are one of the most ordered dishes at Mexican restaurants, but if you’re not used to making them at home, they can be semi-intimidating. This easy recipe takes all the guesswork out of the equation. The best part is you can intensify the spiciness or reduce it with more or less green chiles to suit your family’s tastes.
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Mexican Steak Fajitas

Tender strips of sirloin get the fajita treatment with onions, peppers and a cacophony of spices in this low-carb recipe that calls for just a bit of orange juice for sweetness. Not big into red meat? Other fajita recipes use different fillings, such as chicken and even squash!
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Chiles Rellenos

Roasted poblano chiles stuffed with Oaxaca cheese and white onions, fried, then plated over tomato sauce—if that’s not enough to entice you, we don’t know what is. This increasingly popular dish in Mexico is fun to put together and is quite the eye-catching appetizer.
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Instant Pot Black Beans

There are plenty of healthy dinners that start with a can of beans, but this recipe calls for dried beans. Black beans are one of the most affordable and healthy legumes around, and when prepared in the Instant Pot, they can be an under-30-minute addition to taco salads, breakfast burritos or quesadillas anytime you want them.
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Chicken Tamales

Making tamales is a Christmas tradition in many Mexican households, and this homemade recipe tastes just like abuela’s. They do take a few hours, so set aside most of the day when making this recipe.
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Green Tomato Salsa

If you’re tired of your go-to red salsa, switch things up with a vibrant green variation that makes good use of garden-grown green tomatoes or tomatillos. Perfect with fish or grilled veggies, it’s cold, creamy and herbaceous.
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Beef Flautas

You may want to double or triple this recipe—these beef flautas go quickly, especially with a ravenous crowd around. If you’ve had issues breaking the tortillas in the past, simply warm them for 10 to 15 seconds in the microwave to make them more pliable when filling.
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This beer cocktail is a zesty mix of Mexican lager, lime juice and hot sauce. Many riffs on the thirst-quenching libation exist, but this easy recipe is perfect for rookie mixologists. No shaking or straining necessary!
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Mole New Mexican Wedding Cookies

If you’ve never harnessed the power of the one-two punch that is chili powder and chocolate chips, you’re in for a sweet-meets-heat treat with these mole-infused Mexican wedding cookies that melt in your mouth.
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Homemade Tortillas

For the chewiest, slightly charred tortillas that resemble those from an authentic taqueria, bookmark this foolproof recipe that will turn you into a tortilla-making pro in no time. The recipe makes eight, so you can easily double it for larger groups (or to have leftovers throughout the week).
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Mexican Street Corn Salad (Esquites)

All the flavors of Mexican street corn—just shaved off the cob in easier-to-eat salad form. The mix of fresh corn, spicy jalapenos, smoky chili powder, cool Cotija cheese and creamy mayo makes it hard to stop at just one scoop.
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Carne Guisada

This Tex-Mex style stew is smoky, savory and extremely satisfying, thanks to chunks of beef that have been simmering in fragrant brown gravy for seven hours. Is it labor-intensive? Yes, but like any good dish you dream about long after the last bite—it’s worth it.
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Empanada Beef Chili

The art of empanadas is undisputed, although each region of Mexico has its own way of making them. For those of us trying to cut carbs, there’s this empanada beef chili, which calls upon the same meat filling, minus the pastry encasement outside.
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Spicy Refried Beans

Need a quick appetizer? All you need is a jalapeno pepper, seasonings and cheese to jazz up a can of refried beans. Serve with tortilla chips on the side for scooping, or use them for this 7-layer bean dip recipe.
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Flavorful Chicken Fajitas

Fajita night starts with this best-ever marinated chicken recipe, then the sky’s the limit when it comes to toppings. Set up a DIY bar with guacamole, pico de gallo or salsa, shredded cheese, sour cream, hot sauce and a stack of warm tortillas, then let everyone dig in!
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Pork Tacos with Mango Salsa

What could be better than pulled pork tacos that have been simmering in a spiced pineapple sauce and Mexican beer all day? This dump-and-go slow cooker meal makes the filling for you, so all you have left to do is handle the mango salsa and set the table.
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Salsa Roja

Somewhere in between homemade salsa recipes and pico de gallo is salsa roja, an incredibly delicious condiment that employs four different kinds of canned tomatoes, peppers, onions, spices, cilantro and lime juice. Word to the wise when cutting hot peppers: Wear disposable gloves and avoid touching your face or eyes after so the oils don’t burn your skin.
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Chicken-Stuffed Cubanelle Peppers

We can’t get enough of stuffed pepper recipes. To try a Latin spin on stuffed peppers, pick up a handful of Cubanelles. These sweet green peppers are delicious when filled with a mixture of chicken, rice, salsa and breadcrumbs—and they’re ready in under an hour.
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Shortcut Tres Leches Cake

If you’ve never had tres leches cake, it’s about time you did. One of the most famous Mexican desserts, this spongey, airy cake is akin to angel’s food cake except it’s soaked in three kinds of milk, and then frosted. If you enjoyed this recipe, then learn how to make Mexican buñuelos.
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Skillet Nachos

The skillet never ceases to amaze with its myriad uses, but nachos in a skillet? Our new favorite way to enjoy beefy cheesy nacho goodness—sans the soggy chips. For toppings, think sour cream, tomatoes, jalapeno and red onion.
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Mexican Hot Chocolate

You can’t beat the blend of cinnamon and chocolate in this not-too-sweet Mexican hot chocolate recipe. Richly flavored with cocoa and delicately seasoned with spices, it’s the ultimate treat on a cold day. The whole-stick cinnamon stirrers also come in handy, as the old-fashioned chocolate mixture settles if not stirred before drinking.
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Machaca Beef Dip Sandwiches

The winning combination of beef, cumin, chili powder and the spicy heat of chipotle peppers makes these sandwiches game-day food at its finest! Be sure to whip up some fresh guacamole and salsa as sandwich toppers.
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Mexican Wedding Cookies

As tradition goes in Mexico, these wedding cookies are often served or given as gifts at—you guessed it— weddings. But they’re too good to reserve for only a few special days of the year. Comprised of simple ingredients like butter, sugar, spices and nuts, then rolled in confectioners’ sugar, they’re delicious little delicacies.
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Slow-Cooker Pork Pozole

A heartwarming stew with pork ribs, hominy and simple aromatics is the perfect dish to simmer in the slow cooker. Pork pozole in the Dutch oven usually takes all day, but your trusty slow cooker can cut that time in half.
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Lightly-fried golden pastry puffs called sopaipillas are a sweet way to finish a spicy meal. Serve them warm and top them off with honey or confectioners’ sugar.
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Pork Chile Verde

This flavorful Mexican food involves stewing pork with jalapenos, onion, carrots and the most addictive green enchilada sauce. It’s wonderful on its own or you can spoon the chile verde into a warm tortilla pocket. Top with sour cream and grated cheese and olives on the side.
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Chilaquiles with Bacon

Name a better-looking breakfast…we’ll wait. This hearty morning meal transforms last night’s leftovers into an eggs-and-bacon dish with a Southwest twist. Plus, the short prep and cook time yields six servings.
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Mole Poblano

Yes, you need a bunch of ingredients for this rich, thick, mole sauce brimming with authentic flavor, but the end result is well worth the prep time. Spoon a big ladle’s worth over poultry or fish and freeze any extra sauce for easy dinners during the week.
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Beef Birria Tacos

There are tacos and then there are beef birria tacos. Inspired by traditional birria, which is a popular lamb or goat stew from the Mexican state of Jalisco, these juicy tacos are loaded with brothy red sauce and tender shredded meat. What makes them game-changing, though, is that the tortillas are soaked in the same sauce and fried in the skillet before serving.
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Strawberry, Basil and Honey Paletas

Often sold in push carts by paleteros, or ice cream men, these tasty fruit pops are extremely refreshing—and easily customizable with different fruits and herbs. This version calls for just four ingredients.
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The secret ingredient to amazing albondigas? Crushed saltine crackers. That and a saffron-scented tomato sauce soup with beef and rice meatballs floating on top. If desired, serve with tostadas and cabbage and garnish with cilantro. Here’s a guide to saffron, plus an idea for a substitution if you can’t find it in the grocery store.
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Homemade Tortilla Chips

No offense to store-bought chips, but homemade tortilla chips dusted in chipotle powder just hit different. Serve them with roasted tomatillo salsa or a medley of dips.
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Homemade Churros

Right up there with tres leches cake and caramel flan are churros. The beloved Mexican dessert takes fried fritters to another level by coating them in cinnamon sugar—ideal for dunking in coffee or chocolate dipping sauce.
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In this Mexican horchata recipe, a hint of lime accents the mixture of ground rice and almonds. For a thinner or creamier beverage, experiment with more or less water until you reach the consistency you prefer.
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Slow-Cooker Chicken Tinga

The combination of sauteed chorizo and slow-cooked chicken in a chipotle adobo sauce produces the most mouthwatering chicken tinga. Scoop a sizeable heap onto a tortilla or tostada with crumbled cheese, Mexican crema and salsa or shredded lettuce and pico de gallo.
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Grilled Onion & Skirt Steak Tacos

Skirt steak is a popular type of steak for tacos because of its thin cut and juiciness when marinated. Beer and lime make a winning pair in the marinade for these tacos. While your meat sizzles away, toss a few spring onions on the hot grill as well.
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Carnitas Huevos Rancheros

In addition to chilaquiles, huevos rancheros is another popular Mexican breakfast made from eggs, tortillas and salsa. Tender, slow-cooker carnitas dials up the savory flavors in this dish and adds a bonus serving of protein.
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Classic Tres Leches Cake

Although the short-cut tres leches cake we shared earlier will save you a ton of time, nothing compares to the classic recipe. A trio of milks—evaporated, condensed and cream—plus vanilla and rum extract are the key ingredients here, and we highly suggest topping your dessert with dulce de leche or sliced fresh strawberries.
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Easy Stuffed Poblanos

If you can find poblano peppers near you, use them for a batch of these saucy stuffed peppers. They come together quickly and can be topped with low-fat sour cream and your favorite salsa.
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Agua de Jamaica

Contrary to the country its name suggests, Agua de Jamaica is a Mexican agua fresca drink that’s commonly called hibiscus water since it’s made from hibiscus iced tea. For a boozy upgrade, a splash of rum turns this beverage into an adults-only cocktail.
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Low & Slow Pork Verde

This versatile pork dish is so tasty over a heaping mound of cheesy grits, but it also goes well with rice or potatoes. Use leftovers as a filler for a batch of creamy white chili.
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Lime-Chipotle Carnitas Tostadas

An easy way to customize Mexican cuisine for a crowd is to set out a big platter of this lime-kissed shredded pork, alongside various toppings and garnishes so your crew can custom-make their own tostadas.
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Lime-Marinated Shrimp Salad

If you like the idea of ceviche, but not raw fish, this shrimp salad uses cooked shrimp and adds tomatoes, cucumbers and serrano peppers. For a fun serving suggestion, place the mixture inside a tostada shell, then use the broken sides as chips.
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Green Chile Beef Burritos

Not all burritos are created equal, but this green chile take on the loaded favorite relies on a few reduced-sodium and fat-free swaps so you can still enjoy burritos without all the calories.

Kelli Acciardo
Kelli Acciardo is a New York-based journalist and social media content creator, specializing in travel, beauty, fashion, food & wine, health & fitness, and lifestyle reporting.

With over 15+ years experience in the media industry, she is a seasoned pro at crafting clicky engaging copy and her work has appeared in: Brides, Marie Claire, PureWow, InStyle, Martha Stewart, Redbook, Good Housekeeping, The Knot, Domino, Popsugar, Brit + Co, Bustle, Women's Health, and dozens more publications.