22 Mexican Recipes To Spice Up Your Menu

Where would we be without Mexican food? From spicy salsas to creamy guacamole to craving-satisfying tacos and so much more, this varied cuisine is by far one of the world's favorites, with the global Mexican food market set to grow by more than $113 billion by 2026, according to analysis by Technavio. And if you love the zippy, well-rounded flavors of this cuisine, you don't have to wait to hit up your favorite restaurant or taco joint in order to enjoy them.

Many Mexican recipes are completely doable for the home cook, whether you're looking to tuck into a breakfast dish such as chilaquiles or chorizo hash with eggs, a hearty stew such as pork chile verde or carnitas, or a sweet dessert like Mexican wedding cookies. These 22 recipes run the gamut, from traditionally Mexican to fun fusion ideas, so grab your dried chiles, fresh limes, and plenty of cilantro, and let's get cooking.

1. Mexican Wedding Cookies

These shortbread-like cookie balls rolled in powdered sugar are a common feature at holiday cookie swaps, according to the Institute of Culinary Education, and have a long history that likely traces its way back to the medieval Middle East, where pastries rich with butter, sugar, spices, and nuts were commonplace. Food historians believe the treat made its way to Mexico in the 16th century, and the cookies have been popular ever since. This classic version features plenty of ground walnuts, resulting in a nutty, melt-in-your-mouth dessert that's perfect for entertaining or simply accompanying a hot cup of coffee.

Recipe: Mexican Wedding Cookies

2. Mexican Gazpacho Soup

Typically known as a Spanish dish hailing from the region of Andalucia (via Spanish Sabores), gazpacho is a chilled soup that's basically summertime in a bowl, made from ripe tomatoes and bell peppers that are chopped or puréed together with other fresh vegetables. including cucumbers, onions, and garlic. This recipe features a few Mexican-inspired twists in the form of a generous dash of Tabasco hot sauce, as well as plenty of fresh cilantro, and is served chunky in order to enjoy the snappy texture of the vegetables.

Recipe: Mexican Gazpacho Soup

3. Fresh Mango Guacamole

There are few condiments as delicious as guacamole, the creamy avocado dip beloved in its native Mexico and all around the world. Basic guacamole is typically a simple mix of avocados, chopped onion and cilantro, lime juice, and salt, but the beauty of this spread is that it's infinitely customizable. We love this fresh version using juicy mango, as its sweetness complements the rich flavor of the avocado: It's great with chips, stuffed into a burrito, or piled on top of a loaded baked sweet potato.

Recipe: Fresh Mango Guacamole

4. Mexican Rice Soup

If you're looking for a hearty soup full of flavor, then look no further than this recipe for Mexican rice soup. A filling mix of pinto, black, and kidney beans with plenty of hominy corn, the soup goes big on seasonings, including chile powder, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder. The dish is made extra-filling with the addition of brown rice, which cooks to chewy perfection in the flavorful broth in about 30 minutes. Once served, the soup is garnished with sliced avocado, diced red onion, plenty of chopped fresh cilantro, and a squeeze of fresh lime.

Recipe: Mexican Rice Soup

5. Pineapple Salsa

It's a wide world of salsas, with the fresh, spicy condiment that is often based on red or green tomatoes, chiles, and onions available in loads of varieties that include the well-known salsa roja and salsa verde, as well as chunky pico de gallo (via PepperScale). But salsa is infinitely adaptable, and this pineapple version is a great choice for those craving something sweet and juicy. It combines chopped pineapple with chopped onion, jalapeño, garlic, and cilantro, plus lime zest and juice to add plenty of zing. Great atop chips, the salsa also pairs nicely with grilled fish tacos.

Recipe: Pineapple Salsa

6. Smoked Pork Tacos

Few among us don't enjoy tacos, those little tortilla-enfolded bites that typically encase a protein plus garnishes, including chopped onion, fresh cilantro, and spicy salsa. Most folks are likely familiar with standard taco options including al pastor, carnitas, and barbacoa, but these smoked pork tacos are a nice change of pace. To prepare them, a juicy pork loin is smoked to aromatic perfection, then sliced into thin strips and piled into corn tortillas along with mashed avocado, chopped pineapple, red onion, and cilantro, plus fresh radishes for crunch. They're a great option for your next backyard barbecue.

Recipe: Smoked Pork Tacos

7. Healthy Green Rice

Known as arroz verde in Spanish, this Mexican-inspired side dish makes a nice, fluffy bed for anything from beans to stewed pork. To make it, a vibrant green sauce of vegetable broth, onion, poblano and jalapeño peppers, garlic, cilantro, and parsley are blitzed together in a food processor, then used as the cooking liquid for basmati rice. The grain emerges bright green and full of herby flavor, and is finished with a squeeze of fresh lime and a sprinkle of extra cilantro.

Recipe: Healthy Green Rice

8. Mexican Sugar Cookies

Mexican sweets are known for their bright, not-quite-natural hues, as seen in candies such as Day of the Dead sugar skulls and shaved ice raspados (via Chef's Pencil). Those colors were the inspiration for recipe developer Catherine Brookes, who came up with these sugar cookies in shades of red, green, and yellow. Made from a rich dough of butter, sugar, and fragrant vanilla extract, they're tinted with food coloring and rolled in granulated sugar before baking to chewy, puffy perfection.

Recipe: Mexican Sugar Cookies

9. Fried Salmon Tacos

If you love tacos but have tired of rich fillings based on meat, then these bright, fresh salmon tacos might be just the ticket for dinner tonight. To make them, rich salmon fillets are coated in a spicy dry rub featuring cumin and chile powder, then sautéed in olive oil until crispy on the outside and tender in the middle. The flaked fish is piled into warm tortillas, then topped with diced avocado, cherry tomatoes, and red onion before being finished with fresh cilantro and lime juice, and optional add-ons of sour cream and hot sauce.

Recipe: Fried Salmon Tacos

10. Avocado-Cilantro Frozen Margarita

If you like cocktails that veer away from the sweet and toward the savory, then you'll love this cool, refreshing sipper of a marg that incorporates a little bit of puréed avocado for creaminess and richness. Blended with tequila, fresh lime juice, cilantro, and just a touch of agave nectar, the margarita is served in a chilled glass, garnished with a lime round, and is sure to satisfy both cocktail purists and thrill-seekers alike.

Recipe: Avocado-Cilantro Frozen Margarita

11. Grilled Mexican Street Corn (Elotes)

Even those who have never visited Mexico are likely familiar with elotes, a quintessential street food made of grilled corn slathered with mayo and rolled in grated cheese and chile powder. The corn pairs well with a variety of Mexican main dishes, and is pretty simple to make: Shucked corn cobs are brushed with oil before being cooked on the grill for about 10 minutes, then liberally coated with a mixture of cotija cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, chopped cilantro, lime zest, and chile powder. Sprinkled with additional cotija and cilantro and spritzed with a lime wedge, this corn might well transport you to sunnier climates.

Recipe: Grilled Mexican Street Corn (Elotes)

12. Slow Cooker Tacos Al Pastor

Al pastor is a classic taco option, made from marinated pork that's layered onto a spit, roasted, and then sliced, along with a bit of pineapple, onto small, warm tortillas. Often enjoyed at taco trucks or taco joints, al pastor can be approximated at home sans spit; rather, a slow cooker is used instead, with the cooker's long, gentle heat rendering the pork shoulder meltingly tender. This recipe packs plenty of additional flavor into the slow cooker, including an earthy spice mix featuring cumin and garlic, and after a five-hour braise, the pork is served with tortillas, sliced pineapple, fresh cilantro, and lime.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Tacos Al Pastor

13. Conchas

If you've ever stepped into a Mexican bakery, then you're likely familiar with pan dulce, a wide-ranging category of sweet breads, with the ultimate example undoubtedly being the Mexican concha, a ubiquitous fluffy dome of yeasted bread that's topped with a round of streusel before baking, resulting in a lovely textural contrast between the soft bread and the crunchy sugar on top. These homemade conchas are a bit labor-intensive, involving shaping a raised dough into 15 balls and topping them with two flavors of butter-and-sugar streusel, but the result is well worth it: pillowy, warm, and ready for dipping into coffee or hot chocolate.

Recipe: Conchas

14. Chilaquiles

A classic Mexican breakfast food (and hangover helper), chilaquiles consists of strips of fried tortillas bathed in salsa verde or salsa roja until just tender, then topped with a variety of add-ons, including crumbled cheese, sliced onions and avocado, fresh cilantro, and fried eggs. This homemade version uses bottled salsa for ease and is finished with a dollop of tangy Mexican crema, which can be approximated by mixing 2 tablespoons each of sour cream and heavy cream with 1/2 teaspoon of lime juice and a pinch of salt.

Recipe: Chilaquiles

15. Pork Chile Verde

Salsa verde is a staple Mexican blend of tomatillos, green chiles, onions, and cilantro (via PepperScale); its vibrant hue and fresh flavor are used not only to top dishes but also as a cooking medium, such as in the case of this tasty chile verde. In it, pork shoulder is slow-cooked in salsa verde and chicken broth until tender, shredded (by hand or using the paddle attachment of your stand mixer), then cooked some more before being served in bowls topped with sour cream and shredded cheese, or rolled inside a burrito.

Recipe: Pork Chile Verde

16. Carne Guisada

Carne guisada translates to stewed meat, and while the dish might not sound all that glamorous, it's packed with bold flavors, including green bell pepper, cumin, oregano, and chile powder. This beef stew meat is browned in oil, then braised in chicken stock with onions, peppers, and potatoes for an hour and a half, coming out nice and tender and ready to serve heaped into tortillas with some fresh pico de gallo.

Recipe: Carne Guisada

17. Tri-Tip Steak Tacos

Tri-tip is an affordable cut of steak that's taken from the bottom sirloin, and it's packed with flavor due to an impressive amount of marbling that runs through the meat. The steak is the star of this taco recipe, in which tri-tip is seasoned generously, roasted in a hot oven until medium rare, rested, and then sliced. The tender meat is served in corn tortillas with a generous smear of guacamole, chopped red onion and cilantro, and fresh lime, making ideal bites for Taco Tuesday — or any other day of the week.

Recipe: Tri-Tip Steak Tacos

18. Chile Colorado

If you like chili, then you'll likely love Chile Colorado, a classic chili iteration made using beef stew meat and a glossy sauce comprised of three types of dried chiles. Our version starts by reconstituting dried guajillo, ancho, and pasilla chiles in chicken stock, then blending the sauce. Beef stew meat is seared, and the chile mixture is added back to the pan along with cumin, oregano, and garlic. After simmering for about an hour and a half, the tender beef and its deliciously reduced chile sauce are served over Mexican rice, or folded into tortillas, and garnished with radish, lime, and cilantro.

Recipe: Chile Colorado

19. Pork With Chiles and Lime

If there's anyone we can trust to advise us on how to cook pork, it's the National Pork Board, which supplied this recipe for a tasty preparation of boneless pork shoulder that's cubed, browned in oil, and then braised in chicken stock with sautéed onions, jalapeños, and garlic. After simmering for about an hour, the pork turns out tender and juicy, ready to be served with its pan sauce accompanied by warm tortillas, chopped cilantro and onions, sliced avocado, black beans, lime wedges, sour cream, and the salsa of your choice.

Recipe: Pork With Chiles and Lime

20. Easy Fried Plantains

Some of the foods nature provides are so sweet that they're pretty much a dessert in their own right, and plantains are one of those foods. Fried plantains are dead-simple and call for just three ingredients — plantains, cooking oil, and salt — and turn out deliciously sweet and dense. If you're not eating them as dessert, they make a wonderful accompaniment to stewed meats and rice. To make them, just heat oil in a pan, add thick slices of ripe plantain, fry until they're well browned on the outside and tender on the inside, and season with salt.

Recipe: Easy Fried Plantains

21. Slow Cooker Carnitas

Carnitas is a classic pork preparation that's traditionally made by confiting pork shoulder in its own fat until it's rich and tender. This slow cooker version is a simple way to prepare carnitas: Just season a whole pork shoulder with a spice rub; place it in the slow cooker with chopped onion, fresh orange juice and peel, and chicken stock; and cook for about four hours, until the meat is soft and deeply flavored. Once shredded, the meat can be used to make tacos or burritos, to top nachos, or piled onto a potato bun for a juicy pulled pork sandwich.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Carnitas

22. Chorizo Hash and Eggs

Hash is a pretty delicious breakfast option, typically combining potatoes, onions, and any leftover meat you might have kicking around into a rich, crispy fry-up that's delicious nestled next to other breakfast classics such as fried or scrambled eggs. This Mexican-inspired take incorporates green bell pepper, Fresno chile, and pork chorizo, which are fried with the potatoes and onions until the dish is crispy yet tender, then finished with lime juice and fresh cilantro. Eggs are then cooked right into the hash until the whites are just set, and breakfast is served.

Recipe: Chorizo Hash and Eggs