15 Most Popular Mexican Dishes

15 Most Popular Mexican Dishes

Last Updated on October 4, 2023

Mexican cuisine is a rich tapestry of flavors, colors, and traditions that have captivated the taste buds of food enthusiasts around the world. From the smoky sizzle of carne asada to the comforting warmth of tamales, Mexican food are renowned for their diversity and depth of flavor. In this gastronomic exploration, we will delve into the most popular Mexican dishes, each offering a unique culinary experience that showcases the country’s vibrant culture and culinary heritage.

Most Popular Mexican Dishes

1. Birria

Birria is a celebrated Mexican dish that hails from the state of Jalisco. This flavorful stew is traditionally made with goat or beef, slow-cooked in a rich and spicy broth until the meat becomes tender and succulent. The key to birria’s distinctive taste lies in its fragrant blend of spices, including cloves, cinnamon, and bay leaves. Often served with corn tortillas and a side of consommé for dipping, birria is a beloved dish, particularly famous for its role in birria tacos, where the meat is wrapped in tortillas and pan-fried to perfection.

2. Diezmillo

Diezmillo, also known as chuck flap, is a mouthwatering cut of beef widely enjoyed in Mexican cuisine. This tender and well-marbled meat is often used in dishes like carne asada and fajitas due to its excellent flavor and tenderness. Whether grilled to perfection or simmered in a savory sauce, diezmillo showcases the exquisite quality of Mexican beef.

3. Carne Asada

Carne asada, a Mexican barbecue favorite, features marinated and grilled beef, typically skirt steak or flank steak. The meat is seasoned with a flavorful mixture of spices, including garlic, cumin, and lime juice. Carne asada is often served with warm tortillas, pico de gallo, guacamole, and a squeeze of fresh lime, making it a popular choice for tacos and burritos.

4. Chalupa

Chalupas are a delightful Mexican street food that consists of deep-fried masa dough, forming a boat-like shape to hold various toppings. Popular toppings include shredded meat, beans, lettuce, salsa, and crumbled queso fresco. These crunchy, flavorful snacks are enjoyed throughout Mexico and are perfect for savoring the delicious melding of textures and flavors.

5. Elote

Elote, or Mexican street corn, is a simple yet irresistibly delicious dish. Grilled or boiled corn on the cob is slathered with a creamy mixture of mayonnaise, sour cream, and cotija cheese, then sprinkled with chili powder and fresh lime juice. The result is a symphony of sweet, savory, and tangy flavors that burst with every bite, making elote a beloved street food across Mexico.

6. Empanadas

Empanadas, savory turnovers filled with a variety of ingredients, are a beloved Mexican snack and appetizer. The dough can be made from wheat or corn, and the fillings range from meats like picadillo (spiced ground beef) to cheesy, spicy jalapeño and cheese combinations. Empanadas are typically fried to achieve a crispy exterior, and they make for a satisfying, portable treat.

7. Enchiladas

Enchiladas are a classic Mexican dish that revolves around tortillas rolled around a filling and covered with a flavorful chili sauce. The filling can vary widely, including shredded chicken, beef, cheese, or beans. Enchiladas are then baked until the tortillas are soft, and the cheese, if used, is bubbly and golden brown. These savory delights are often garnished with sour cream, chopped onions, and fresh cilantro.

8. Fajitas

Fajitas are a sizzling sensation that originated in Northern Mexico. Thinly sliced grilled meat, usually diezmillo or skirt steak, is served with sautéed bell peppers and onions. Fajitas are typically accompanied by tortillas, guacamole, sour cream, and salsa, allowing diners to assemble their own custom creations. The sizzle and aroma of fajitas as they arrive at the table are a tantalizing experience for the senses.

9. Nachos

Nachos are a beloved Mexican-American creation that has found its place in the hearts of people around the world. Crispy tortilla chips are smothered in melted cheese and often adorned with jalapeños, sour cream, guacamole, and salsa. While nachos may seem simple, they offer a satisfying combination of textures and flavors that make them a staple at sports events, movie theaters, and casual gatherings.

10. Quesadilla

Quesadillas are a versatile and beloved Mexican dish that can be found throughout the country. Essentially, quesadillas consist of tortillas filled with cheese and other ingredients, such as mushrooms, huitlacoche (corn fungus), or squash blossoms. They are then griddled until the tortilla is crispy and the cheese is gooey, creating a delightful blend of textures and flavors.

11. Tamales

Tamales are a time-honored Mexican tradition that involves masa dough filled with various ingredients, such as meats, cheeses, and vegetables. These savory or sweet bundles are wrapped in corn husks and steamed to perfection. Tamales are often enjoyed during holidays and special occasions, and they serve as a testament to the skill and love put into Mexican home cooking.

12. Tostada

Tostadas are crispy tortillas that are usually flat or bowl-shaped and topped with a medley of ingredients. Popular toppings include refried beans, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, crumbled cheese, and a choice of meat or seafood. Tostadas offer a delightful contrast between the crunch of the tortilla and the freshness of the toppings, making them a refreshing and satisfying dish.

13. Tacos

Tacos are undoubtedly one of Mexico’s most iconic dishes, cherished for their simplicity and versatility. A taco consists of a tortilla, typically corn or flour, filled with a variety of ingredients. The filling can range from carne asada and al pastor to grilled fish or vegetables, all garnished with salsa, onions, cilantro, and lime. Whether enjoyed at a street vendor’s cart or a high-end restaurant, tacos represent the heart and soul of Mexican cuisine.

14. Pollo Asado

Pollo asado, or grilled chicken, is a flavorful Mexican dish featuring marinated chicken cooked to perfection on a grill or open flame. The marinade often includes citrus juices, garlic, and a blend of spices, infusing the chicken with a smoky and tangy flavor. Pollo asado is a favorite for family gatherings and celebrations, showcasing the art of grilling in Mexican cuisine.

15. Al Pastor

Al pastor is a beloved Mexican dish with Middle Eastern origins, brought to Mexico by Lebanese immigrants. It features thinly sliced marinated pork cooked on a vertical rotisserie. The marination process involves achiote paste, pineapple, and various spices, resulting in tender, flavorful meat with a hint of sweetness. Al pastor is typically served in tacos with chopped onions, cilantro, and pineapple, creating a delightful fusion of flavors.


This is our selection of the most popular Mexican dishes, let us know in the comments if you have tried them all and if you would add any other delicious Mexican dishes to the list. Provecho!

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About Maria Kennedy

Maria Kennedy is the managing editor at Travel for Food Hub. Maria is on a full-tilt mission to share local food and travel inspiration. When she is not writing about food and travel, startups or social media, she is enjoying her time with her boys in sunny Spain.

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