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.
Enchilada de Chile Ajo (Oaxacan Red Chile Enchiladas)
These classic Oaxacan-style enchiladas, stuffed with chicken and doused in a sweet chile-and-garlic sauce, come from Iliana de la Vega, chef-owner of El Naranjo in Austin, Texas. Click here for the recipe. Credit: Rick Bayless
Pollo en Escabeche Oriental (Yucatán-Style Chicken and Onion Stew)
Delicately spiced, tangy escabeche, a preparation typical of the Yucatán, makes a vibrant marinade and sauce for stewed chicken. The three citrus fruits called for in this recipe approximate the flavor of the Yucatán’s sour oranges, which are difficult to get here. Click here for the recipe.
Sopa Seca (Mexican Noodle Casserole)
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. Click here for the recipe.
Huevos a la Mexicana (Mexican-Style Scrambled Eggs)
Costillas de Puerco en Salsa Verde (Pork Ribs in Tomatillo Sauce)
A spicy, fruity tomatillo sauce offsets the richness of bone-in pork ribs in this luscious dish from the state of Puebla. Click here for the recipe.
Tacos de Carne Asada (Grilled Steak Tacos)
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. Click here for the recipe. Credit: Blogchef.net
Pollo al Horno (Chile-Spiced Grilled Chicken)
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. Click here for the recipe.
Guisada al Pollo (Chicken and Potato Stew)
Hearty and filling, this easy chicken stew gets its signature smoky flavor from chipotles in adobo. It can also be made with any shredded, leftover meat, including pork or beef. Click here for the recipe.
Pollo en Pipián Verde (Chicken with Pumpkin Seed-Tomatillo Sauce)
Chef Iliana de la Vega of El Naranjo restaurant in Austin, Texas, shared her recipe for this classic Pueblan sauce made with pumpkin seeds and tomatillos. Click here for the recipe.
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. Click here for the recipe.
Pollo en Mole Poblana (Chicken with Puebla-Style Mole Sauce)
Mexico’s most iconic mole, this preparation marries mulato, ancho, and pasilla chiles with warm spices to create a velvety smooth sauce ideal for spooning over chicken. Click here for the recipe.
Pollo Pibil (Yucatán-Style Chicken with Achiote)
Marinated in a crimson achiote-and-citrus marinade and served with pickled onions, this chicken dish is eaten all over the Yucatán. 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. Click here for the recipe.
Huevos Motuleños (Eggs in Tortilla with Ham and Peas)
This Yucatán-style breakfast dish, topped with peas, ham, and Gouda or Edam cheese, has a spicy habanero and tomato sauce. Click here for the recipe.
Molletes (Mexican Bean and Cheese Sandwich)
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. Click here for the recipe.
Pambazos (Salsa-Dipped Potato and Chorizo Sandwiches)
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. Click here for the recipe. Credit: Girlichef
Chiles Rellenos con Picadillo (Poblano Chiles Stuffed with Spiced Beef)
This stuffed, fried chile, a specialty of Julín 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. Click here for the recipe.
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. Click here for the recipe.
Caldo de Res (Beef and Guajillo Chile Stew)
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. Served with rice, this dish is a favorite meal across Mexico. Click here for the recipe. Credit: Cooking in Mexico
Chiles en Nogada (Stuffed Poblano Chiles with Walnut Sauce)
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. Click here for the recipe.
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, sautéed steak, and sliced cactus in this classic street food. Click here for the recipe.
Enchiladas Suizas (Chicken Enchiladas in Tomatillo-Cream Sauce)
This cheesy, creamy dish originated at a Sanborns café in Mexico City in 1950. Its name, “Swiss enchiladas,” alludes to its copious use of dairy. Click here for the recipe. Credit: Seriouseats.com
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