Mexican food is one of the most popular cuisines worldwide. In fact, statistics show that Mexican cuisine is the 2ns most popular global cuisine in the United States.
With that being said, many people confuse Tex-Mex (an American cuisine inspired by Mexican dishes) with authentic Mexican food because ‘Tex-Mex’ and ‘Mexican food’ have started to be used interchangeably despite the important differences.
Moreover, when asked to name Mexican dishes, most people will be able to list lunch or dinner options like tacos or tostadas (see also ‘20 Best Tostada Recipes For Anyone Who Loves Mexican Food‘), but not so many people are familiar with traditional Mexican breakfast dishes.
In this article, we will be talking about 10 of the most popular Mexican breakfast dishes and answering some frequently asked questions about Mexican breakfast cuisine.
Popular Mexican Breakfast Foods
1. Enchiladas Suizas
If you’re at all familiar with Mexican food, you definitely will have heard of or tried enchiladas. For those who haven’t tried enchiladas before, they are rolled corn tortillas with a savory filling.
However, there are many different types of enchiladas in Mexican cuisine, usually differentiated by the filling inside, and the variety most commonly served at breakfast is enchiladas suizas.
Enchiladas suizas translates in English to ‘swiss enchiladas’. This breakfast enchilada is topped with a heavy cream and cheese-based sauce.
Despite the differences in the fillings and toppings, enchiladas suizas are cooked in the same way as other enchiladas.
This is done by softening the tortillas (usually by soaking them briefly in water) and rolling them so they take on a cylindrical shape.
After that, the cylindrical tortillas are filled with chicken, vegetables and cheese and covered in salsa verde cream sauce and another layer of cheese before cooking.
Often, they are made with either chicken or vegetables rather than both, but it’s also not unusual for both ingredients to be incorporated.
2. Huevos A La Mexicana
Huevos a la Mexicana is a classic Mexican breakfast dish, and if you love scrambled eggs in the morning, we think you’ll also enjoy this Mexican egg scramble.
Unlike your average American scrambled egg dish, this breakfast meal does not start by combining eggs and butter. Instead, the first part of the cooking process for Huevos a la Mexicana is sauteing jalapenos.
This is usually done in either butter or oil and is best done in a skillet.
Once the jalapenos have been sauted to perfection, the eggs can then go into the skillet along with some vegetables like tomatoes or green peppers.
A cilantro garnish is usually added to the egg, vegetable and jalapeno mix as well as some salt for seasoning. Salsa, avocado and pepper sauce are other common toppings for huevos a la Mexicana.
Then, the scrambled eggs are served with either flour tortillas (ideal if you want to make breakfast tacos), refried beans or corn.
3. Pan Dulce
Pan Dulce is an extremely popular breakfast staple in Mexican cuisine, partly because it’s so versatile.
Another reason for this dish’s popularity at breakfast is that it can be served with fruit and coffee as part of a light breakfast, or paired with other more filling breakfast items for a bigger breakfast.
Pan dulce literally translates to ‘sweet bread’, and this is a blanket term for a variety of traditional Mexican baked goods.
Baked items that you might hear referred to as ‘pan dulce’ in the context of Mexican cuisine include cuernitos (these are similar to croissants, especially due to their buttery texture, but they’re often filled with chocolate), orejas (cinnamon and sugar puff pastries) and other kinds of pastries with jelly fillings.
Pan dulce is frequently sold from rolling carts in both the mornings and the evenings in Mexico, so in addition to being a popular breakfast menu item, they’re also sold as snacks for later in the day.
Most people have heard of tamales because they’re such a popular Mexican food item, but many people don’t actually know what they are and that they’re a popular breakfast food in Mexico.
Tamales, for anyone who doesn’t know, are dumplings made out of steamed corn.
They can be either savory or sweet, and both types are regularly enjoyed as part of a traditional Mexican breakfast as well as throughout the day since they make great snacks.
With that being said, tamales are not the easiest breakfast item to prepare. In order to make these authentically, you will need to start by making the corn masa paste.
Once the paste has been made, it needs to be stuffed with either a savory or sweet filling. They are then wrapped in either banana leaves or corn husks and cooked until the paste reaches the point where it’s ready to eat.
Savory tamales usually contain cheese, vegetables, or meat such as chicken. However, sweet tamales are typically filled with fruit and nuts. The most common tamale filling for breakfast is either poblano peppers or panela cheese.
5. Huevos Divorciados
Huevos Dicorciados are similar to Huevos a la Mexicana, but the two dishes have some key differences despite being made from the same core ingredient: eggs!
If you try to translate huevos divorciados literally, you’ll come up with ‘divorced eggs’, which might not sound like an especially harmonious meal, but actually, all it means is that the dish contains two eggs, each of which are topped with a different sauce.
Actually, huevos divorciados is very similar to another Mexican breakfast dish called huevos rancheros, which we’ll be discussing later in this article.
A typical dish of huevos divorciados consists of two fried eggs, one topped with red salsa and the other with salsa verde (a herb-based green sauce). The contrasting red and green colors look somewhat like the Mexican flag when plated correctly.
Usually, huevos divorciados are usually served with fried tortillas although fresh corn tortillas might be preferable if you want to be able to get all the leftover sauce once you’ve finished your eggs.
Ever heard of molletes? If not, you need to add this Mexican breakfast food to your list of dishes to try because although these half-sandwiches are quick and easy to prepare, they’re packed with flavor and make the perfect start to the day.
The base for molletes are bolillos, which are Mexican sandwich rolls that you can find in most Mexican bakeries.
To make molletes, you first need to halve and hollow out the bolillos and top them with refried black beans, queso ranchero, cheese, and peppers. The bread, complete with toppings, is then grilled so that the bread gets toasted and the cheese melts.
Other potential toppings for delicious molletes include avocado or a pico de gallo salsa, which can add some creaminess and zestiness, but even molletes topped with just cheese and refried beans are incredible.
7. Torta de Tamal
In Mexico, torta de tamal is commonly served as a breakfast dish.
If you haven’t tried it for yourself, you definitely should because this high-carb breakfast option will provide you with plenty of energy for the day ahead as well as just being a delicious meal.
Like molletes, torta de tamal is made with bolillo sandwich rolls. The English translation for torta de tamal is ‘tamale sandwich’, which is exactly what torta de tamal is!
As we discussed earlier, tamales can be either sweet or savory, but the tamales used for torta de tamal are typically savory.
You could use chicken mole tamales for torta de tamal, but you could also opt for a beef-based tamale, pork tamales, or even plain cheese tamales.
You can find ready-made torta de tamal in Mexican bakeries and you can also buy them from street vendors, but if you’re prepared to put the effort into making the tamales and baking the sandwich yourself, homemade and piping hot torta de tamal are an amazing way to start the day.
8. Huevos Rancheros
We mentioned earlier that huevos divorciados is similar to huevos rancheros and that both are popular Mexican breakfast foods, so let’s talk about huevos rancheros!
Translated into English, huevos rancheros means ‘rancher’s eggs’. Like huevos divorciados, huevos rancheros are eggs served fried and sunny side up.
They’re topped with red salsa and paired with fried corn tortillas. So basically, the main difference between huevos rancheros and huevos divorciados is that huevos rancheros aren’t served with salsa verde.
Huevos rancheros are usually topped with cotija cheese, cilantro, and refried beans. Sometimes, black beans and avocado are added, too.
Interestingly, while huevos rancheros hasn’t been established as a breakfast food in the US, it has become more popular as a brunch food, possibly because eggs are a classic breakfast menu item in America while the sauces are more common at lunch in the United States.
Arguably the most popular breakfast food in Mexico, chilaquiles are one of our favorite Mexican dishes ever.
If you’ve ever wished you could sit down and eat a plate of nachos for breakfast, chilaquiles are almost exactly that!
Chilaquiles are made with fried tortilla chips and this dish is extremely versatile because you can make it with all kinds of toppings.
Traditionally, chilaquiles are softened by simmering them in salsa so that they become less brittle and pick up some of the flavor from the salsa.
After being softened to the point where they’re not completely soggy but not brittle either, the chilaquiles are then topped with either red or green salsa, a fried egg, sliced avocados, cotija cheese, and meats such as chicken, chorizo, or pork.
Diced onions are often also added for extra flavor.
10. Huevos Motuleños
As you might be able to guess by now, huevos motulenos is another egg-based breakfast dish. After all, eggs are a great breakfast food!
The name huevos motulenos comes from the town Motul, which is in Yucatan – a Mexican state in the south of the country. Huevos motulenos are not just a popular breakfast food in Mexico, though.
They’re also frequently enjoyed in Costa Rica and Cuba.
This traditional Mexican breakfast consists of a fried egg, refried beans, and cheese layered on top of a fried tortilla.
Usually, huevos motulenos are garnished with salsa, but if you order this dish in Cuba, you might get plantain and ham on top as well.
We find that some chopped cilantro, red onions and lime juice add some extra flavor which works really well with the salsa and beans.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Most Popular Breakfast In Mexico?
Overall, statistics seem to show that the number 1 most popular Mexican breakfast food is chilaquiles.
As you already know since we discussed chilaquiles in this article, chilaquiles are deep-fried tortillas usually topped with ingredients such as cheese, cream, tomato or tomatillo sauce, and onion.
Are Migas And Chilaquiles The Same?
Chilaquiles are often confused with migas, but the two dishes are actually quite different.
While chilaquiles are made with fried tortillas and then adorned with various toppings, migas are made with tostadas which have been crushed and scrambled along with eggs, chilis, tomatoes, cheese, and onions.
The reason people often get migas and chilaquiles confused is because many restaurants are now using the names of these dishes interchangeably despite them being so different.
Should Chilaquiles Be Crunchy Or Soft?
We have established that chilaquiles are one of the most popular, if not the most popular, breakfast foods in Mexico. However, proper chilaquiles should have a specific consistency that can be difficult to achieve.
Chilaquiles are a tortilla-based dish, so part of cooking this meal correctly is making sure that the tortillas strike the perfect balance between crunchy and soft.
Ideally, the tortillas should be moist with some crunchy areas so that they melt in the mouth but aren’t too limp to hold all the toppings.
The softening is usually done by soaking the fried tortilla chips in hot salsa, but you don’t want to do this for too long otherwise they will absorb too much moisture and lose their shape completely.
Is Brunch Eaten In Mexico?
We’ve talked a lot about Mexican breakfast foods throughout this article, but some of you might be wondering whether unique brunch ideas for Easter Sunday feature in a traditional Mexican diet and, if so, what foods would be served.
Actually, in Mexico, breakfast is typically a smaller meal served early in the day straight after waking up. This might be between 6 and 7 am and usually consists of coffee, fruit, and pan dulce.
After that, a larger morning meal is served roughly around 10 or 11 am.
This is around the time Americans would have brunch, but in Mexico, this is where most of the larger breakfast dishes we’ve discussed in today’s article would be served.
Because this breakfast meal is typically more satiating, lunch in Mexico is usually served between 2pm and 3pm while dinner is typically around 6pm.
If you were looking for Mexican breakfast dishes to make at home or to order when you’re in the mood for authentic Mexican cuisine, we hope that our top 10 list has inspired you and maybe even taught you something new!
Remember that the Mexican breakfast foods served in American restaurants are often (though not always) quite different from the traditional recipes, but you can easily find authentic recipes to follow at home.