10 Must-Try Mexican Recipes You've Been Missing Out On
The Mexican dishes we know and love—tacos, tamales, burritos, and quesadillas—barely scratch the surface of what this incredible cuisine has to offer. Many dishes skip the usual tortilla-beans-rice trio altogether: Think vibrant soups, messy sandwiches, and a cheesy grilled corn salad. Others are specific to their region, like a shrimp classic from the coastal state of Sinaloa or tortilla pizzas from Oaxaca. All are worth adding to your Mexican meal rotation, especially with these easy, authentic recipes.
We all love Mexican flavors and plate-sized pizzas, so it's a wonder this super-simple dish isn't a staple at home or at most neighborhood Mexican restaurants. This Oaxacan dish consists of a large tortilla that's topped with refried beans and seared or baked, then finished with toppings like cotija cheese, tomato, and avocado. It's different from tostadas, which are smaller and deep-fried. Try these Mexican-inspired Fiesta Corn Tortilla Pizzas for a true tlayuda experience, or use the tortilla pizza inspiration for crowd-pleasing BBQ Chicken Tortilla Pizzas.
Sopa de Lima
This light, brothy chicken soup gets its brightness from a generous dose of fresh lime juice. It comes from the Yucatan region in the Gulf of Mexico, where it's just as welcome on a hot day as on a cool one. Just like tortilla soup, crispy tortilla strips are a common garnish. The chicken and lime are the constants in most recipes; the veggies, herbs, and chiles vary from house to house. Nearly 100 5-star reviews make this Sopa de Lima recipe a great place to start.
The original elote was sold as an on-the-go snack on the streets of Mexico City. The blueprint: Corn on the cob brushed with mayo, coated in crumbled cotija or queso fresco, sprinkled with ground chile, and doused in lime juice. This Elote Salad keeps those same flavors but takes the corn off the cob for an easy-to-eat side. Serve at your next cookout, add to your burrito bowl, or top a taco or quesadilla.
Menudo is the unofficial soup of Mexico. You'll find it served all over the country at casual family gatherings, birthdays, wedding receptions, and (notoriously) as a next-morning hangover cure. Traditionally, tripe is boiled for hours until tender, then added to a spicy, chile-laced broth with hominy and lime. Recipe creator Gustavo06 sticks to tradition with his Menudo Rojo, but you could swap the tripe for stew beef.
If beef tacos make you think of ground beef and lots of seasoning, you have to give barbacoa a try. Traditionally, a whole goat or sheep is buried in an underground oven and slowly cooked overnight. Modern versions use beef cuts like chuck roast and are braised in the oven or cooked in the slow cooker. This Barbacoa-Style Shredded Beef uses the slow cooker. The result is so tender you could pull the meat apart with a fork. Pile onto tacos, tostadas, or burritos.
The city of Guadalajara is known for this "drowned" sandwich. Think of it as the Mexican equivalent of a French dip: A roll stuffed with thinly sliced meat, then "half drowned" (served with a thin, chile-flavored sauce for dipping) or "well drowned" (completely submerged in the sauce). Like all big sandwiches, it's messy in the best possible way. Give it a try with this Drowned Beef Sandwich with Chipotle Sauce (Torta Ahogada) recipe.
What makes this Mexican soup different from a tortilla soup or chili is the addition of hominy—a type of corn that's been dried and rehydrated to give it a chewy, starchy texture. Just like chili, you'll find white and red versions, vegetarian and meat versions, and loaded and simplified versions. Enjoy this Slow Cooker Pozole with lots of fresh toppings. "Traditional Mexican Posole is served with shredded cabbage, lime wedges, avocado, onion, cilantro, and, of course, warm tortillas," says Jules, who submitted the recipe.
While cochinita means baby pig, most versions of this slow-roasted pork dish begin with pork shoulder. A citrus-heavy marinade helps to tenderize the meat. It's then wrapped in banana leaves and gently cooked in an underground oven (called a píib) until fall-apart tender. A standard oven cooks the pork in this Cochinita Pibil recipe.
A dish that translates to "chile water" may not sound like much, which means you'll be incredibly surprised by how delicious it is. This recipe hails from Sinaloa, a coastal state on the western side of Mexico that is known for its seafood. In this Aguachile recipe, fresh shrimp is marinated in a blend of chiles and lime. Just like ceviche, the lime "cooks" the shrimp while it marinates. Cool, crunchy cucumber and red onion are classic garnishes.
No, these Swiss enchiladas weren't invented in Europe. They originated at the Sanborn's Café in Mexico City in 1950. This recipe uses a creamy tomatillo sauce and lots of cheese. All that dairy gave the restaurant the idea to give the dish a Swiss inspiration. Enchiladas Suizas are traditionally made with chicken, but a vegetarian version with black or pinto beans would also be delicious.