Chef John's Best Mexican Recipes
Here are some of Chef John's best recipes inspired by Mexican and Tex-Mex ingredients and cooking styles. So, if you're looking for a delicious weeknight dinner party-worthy Cinco de Mayo recipes and ideas, you've come to the right place. Best of all, each of Chef John's recipes includes a helpful how-to video to guide you every step of the way. If you don't see the video in the article, you'll see it when you click through to the recipes. Let's take a look.
Pork chorizo and three kinds of peppers get baked up in an ooey, gooey cheese sauce you'll want to scoop up with all the tortilla chips you can hold. "This is an amazing recipe and so easy to make," says loretta. "Made it for two parties in the last few weeks and first appetizer to completely disappear with everyone loving it."
Orange and Milk-Braised Pork Carnitas
Chef John explains it this way: "It must have been the subliminal beer and liquor advertising that got me, because I wasn't even thinking about Cinco de Mayo when I decided to make this milk-braised pork carnitas recipe. The milk braising beforehand seems to give the meat a little extra succulence. The subtle sweetness from the orange is also very nice."
Pork Chili Verde (Green Pork Chili)
"It was a wonderful recipe," says Elizabeth Lonergan. "I live in Mexico so we use a lot of chilies and tomatillos. The only change that I made was to roast the chilies and tomatillos before in put them in the blender."
Super Deluxe Steak Nachos
Chef John's steak nachos start off with a layer of slow-simmered refried beans topped with perfectly seasoned skirt steak and a melty Cheddar and Monterey jack cheeses. Garnish with the works: avocado, tomatoes, peppers, sour cream, and cilantro. "This is one of my all-time favorite party foods," says Chef John. "For big games or special events. I recommend serving this with hot sauce on the side, and lots of beer."
Grilled Pork Tacos al Pastor
"Al Pastor is a really popular way to prepare pork, famous in San Francisco's Mission District," says Chef John. "It's a marinated roast pork. They make the most incredible tacos and burritos. This is inspired by those flavors."
Chef John's Queso Dip
Any melty cheese will work in this this silky queso dip--just make sure to grate it yourself. The saucy texture is the key to its irresistibility. "Instead of too much cheese piled up on your chip, we just get a beautiful, silky coating, and as soon as you finish one, you can't wait to dip another, and another, and another, until there are no chips left," says Chef John.
Crispy Pork Carnitas
Chef John's fragrant, spiced pork carnitas create a perfect crispy exterior and tender inside. Drizzle a little of the braising liquid over the meat, and top it all off with salsa, onions, and cilantro. Tucked into a taco, it’s just about the tastiest thing ever.
Chicken Chile Verde
This classic chicken stew features chicken, onions, and a tasty tomatillo sauce that combines tomatillos, fresh jalapenos, cilantro, garlic, and chicken stock. You'll cook until the meat is falling off the bone, adding chunks of potatoes during the last half hour or so of cooking.
Chicken and Mushroom Chimichangas
Chef John's chimichangas are stuffed with a tasty chicken and mushroom mixture that includes chopped poblano peppers, pepper Jack cheese, onions, cayenne, smoked paprika, and Mexican oregano. Roll everything up in warm flour tortillas, quickly brown them in the skillet, and then pop them into the oven, baking them until they’re golden brown
Mexican-Style Shrimp Cocktail
Cooked cooled shrimp are mixed into a vibrant gazpacho-like sauce featuring cherry tomatoes, English cucumber, red onion, jalapenos, and cilantro. After chilling the mixture, you'll stir in cubed avocado and serves the cocktail in clear glass bowls. "Mexican Shrimp Cocktails don't seem to have caught on elsewhere as they have in the Bay Area," says Chef John. "Here's my version--you can adapt your own recipe using the listed ingredients and amounts as a rough guide."
Chef John's Refried Beans
Garnish these beans with queso fresco and fresh oregano, and serve alongside rice, in burritos, on nachos, on anything! "Wayyyy better than the canned stuff, and super easy," says Cheri Rose Caire. "I love homemade options over store bought. After we ate dinner I froze smaller portions for future taco nights, nachos, or whatever we may want received beans for."
Chef John's Flour Tortillas
Yes, you can make homemade tortillas. Watch the video to get all the tips, then give it a a try. "I didn't think there was a snowball's chance in you know where that my tortillas would turn out being my first time making them," says Volleyballmom. "I will never buy them again! These were excellent."
Shrimp and Jalapeno Nachos
"What better way to 'fiesta' than with this beautiful plate of alternative nachos? This will make a very delicious change of pace to the traditional version," says Chef John. "Each nacho is separate from the next so you don't end up with a plate containing one giant nacho that you have to pull apart."
Cinco de Mayo Salsa Cruda
"Wow! A super fresh tasting salsa! The mint adds an unexpected accent," says Dean Stresing. "Used Roma tomatoes and it worked out just fine. Definitely make a double batch."
Spicy Spanish-Style Rice
A fantastic side dish for so many main courses, Chef John's Spanish rice has perfect texture and bite. You’ll cook long-grain rice with jalapenos, garlic, chili powder, chipotle, and cumin in chicken broth and tomato sauce. "This Spanish rice-inspired spicy tomato rice recipe is super easy to make and is always a crowd-pleaser," says Chef John.
Mexican Grilled Corn
Delicious grilled corn brushed with a mayonnaise mixture of ancho chile powder, smoked paprika, and lime juice. "I consider this to be the greatest corn-on-the-cob recipe of all time," says Chef John. "The way the mild, subtly salted cheese works with an ancho-lime mayonnaise, along with that buttery, smoky corn, is a magnificent combination of flavors. Perfecto!"
Chef John's Classic Guacamole
Fresh serrano chili, cilantro, white onion, and salt get minced and mashed into a fine paste to be smooshed with ripe avocados and lime juice. "Delicious," says Cara Van Dyke. "I love the technique of smashing the onions, cilantro and peppers with salt. It makes the final product much smoother."
The Perfect Margarita
Are you ready to ratio? "Mastering the margarita requires a certain amount of practice, but once you dial-in your perfect ratio, it's a really easy cocktail to replicate," explains Chef John. "The classic recipe is 3 parts tequila, 2 parts triple sec, and 1 part freshly squeezed lime juice, and you should probably start off pretty close to that, but my personal favorite proportions are 4-3-2."
Chile Relleno Pancakes
Here's Chef John's amazing chile rellenos in pancake form! "This tasted and felt just like a chile relleno, which isn't surprising, as we used the same ingredients," says Chef John. "Not only did it taste the same, but I think it's easier to eat, since we don't have to worry about eating around the seedpod and stem. If you love chile rellenos as much as I do, you'll love these pancakes."
Avocado Tomatillo Salsa
Avocado adds a wonderful richness to the slightly tart tomatillos in this salsa. "This spectacularly simple green sauce may be the perfect summer condiment," says Chef John. "It requires no cooking, only takes 10 to 15 minutes to make, looks gorgeous, and tastes amazing with anything grilled and most things that aren't. Spoon over grilled pork tacos, grilled meats, or serve with chips.
Tres Leches Cake
"Tres leches cake is a cake soaked in a sweet milk syrup and topped with whipped cream," says Chef John. "If you want to get really fancy, spoon some diced strawberries and syrup over the cake. It's really moist, delicious, and simple." You can also decorate the top with pineapple slices and cherries, like Marydhdz did.
Chef John's Horchata
Here's a refreshing no-alcohol drink made from rice and almonds. "The result is something that sort of looks like milk, but is much lighter, and pairs perfectly with all your favorite summer foods," says Chef John.
Veracruz-Style Red Snapper
This Veracruz-style red snapper is Chef John's quick-and-easy take on a classic Gulf Coast fish dish that features vibrant flavors, like capers, cherry tomatoes, green olives, and jalapeno rings. "I like red snapper for this, but any white, flaky fish will work," says Chef John. "By the way, many Veracruz-style fish recipes call for pickled jalapenos, but I think there's plenty of acidity in this from the lime and tomatoes, so I like the fresh pepper a little more."
"If you like beef stew, and you're a fan of chili, you're going to go nuts over this," says Chef John. "Serve with lime wedges as-is, or with warm flour tortillas, chili oil, salsa, or diced avocado next to some Spanish rice and a nice green salad." Be sure to save some beef birria for Chef John's queso tacos...up next!
Beef Birria Queso Tacos with Consomé
"This is my take on what is currently the world's most trendy taco recipe," says Chef John. "Seriously, it's blowing up everywhere and when you make these you're going to understand what all the fuss is about. Start with a batch of my Beef Birria and then combine this super savory, aromatic consomé with amazing beef and cheese tacos to take it up to another level."
Easy Red Chicken Enchiladas
"Starting with a homemade red sauce, these Tex-Mex enchiladas are faster and easier to make than their Mexican forefathers, but still so delicious," says Chef John. "This recipe makes 2 1/2 cups sauce, enough for 4 to 6 individual skillet enchiladas or 1 regular baking dish. Garnish with sour cream and guacamole."