Mexican cuisine has become remarkably popular over the past few decades, becoming a firm favorite amongst foodies around the world.
The accessibility and comfort of the food is one of the reasons its popularity has endured, and with simple, easy to come by ingredients, almost anyone can create a basic yet delicious Mexican dish from the comfort of their own home.
One of the simplest meals to produce on this list, Mexican beef casserole (see also ‘33 Amazing Ground Beef Casserole Recipes‘) is a fresh take on traditional Mexican beef chili.
Filled with tomatoes, bell peppers, kidney beans, and completely coated with whatever cheese you want, the Mexican beef casserole is as simple as it is indulgent, and can be a great way of providing several days worth of meals for you and your family, using things you might have laying around in the refrigerator.
A classic of Mexican cuisine, the chicken fajita is a staple of contemporary Mexican cooking (see also ‘The 33 Best Simple And Easy Mexican Chicken Recipes‘) that is loved by millions of people around the world.
Relatively simple once again, you can make this by slicing chicken breast into cubes or strips, and cooking it in a traditionally rich sauce of tomatoes, peppers, and chili spices to create something totally satisfying and indulgent.
Then heat up some flour tortillas to create a DIY dining experience that all the family can enjoy.
My personal favorite on this list, beef enchiladas are essentially thin beef burritos, coated in a spicy, Mexican tomato sauce, and laden with melted cheese across the top.
This is the pinnacle of indulgence, and a few mouthfuls of this spectacular dish will leave you full and satisfied for the rest of the night.
This is another great sharing dish, and can be cooked almost like a casserole for all the family to enjoy.
Another simple tortilla dish, chicken quesadillas follow a similar principle to the enchiladas and the fajitas, cooking the pieces of chicken in the sauce of your choice, adding the cheese, and pressing them flat between two flour tortillas, before baking them in the oven to make them crispy and firm.
This might be simple, but the results are phenomenal, and before long this dish will become a firm favorite amongst your midweek family meal menu.
A popular breakfast dish in Mexico and the southwestern regions of the United States, huevos rancheros literally translates to ‘ranch-style eggs’, combining fried chicken eggs with Mexican spices, vegetables, and a rich, decadent tomato based sauce.
This certainly is a great way to start the day with a little spice.
Combining two distinct culinary favorites – Mexican chili and Italian lasagne – the Mexican lasagne is a modern amalgamation of these dishes, using the chili as the filling, and layering the dish between baked flour tortillas and the cheese of your choosing.
This dish is not only a great and creative way to fill your family’s bellies, but can also be frozen to create quick, reheatable lunchtime meals for work, school, or family trips.
These miniature savory pastries are somewhat similar to the traditional British Cornish Pasty, albeit with a distinctly Mexican spicy kick.
These are great for both family mealtimes, as well as pack lunches and daytime snacks, and depending on how many you make, they can be frozen to accommodate any number of functions in the future.
Filling and indulgent, these empanadas are a perfect example of traditional Mexican street food that has stood the test of time to become a modern favorite amongst food lovers.
If you don’t eat red meat, then these chicken and bean enchiladas might be the perfect substitute, offering the same gooey cheese topping, rich, spicy tomato fillings, albeit with fresh cooked chunks of delicious chicken breast.
Once again, these are a great sharer with family, and can be a great way of adding excitement and interest to your generic midweek menu without too much expense, time, or effort.
This great Mexican side dish can be paired with any of the dishes on this list, and can be a great way to add some extra carbohydrates and vegetables into your family’s diet in a way that is interesting and tasty.
While many microwaveable packets of rice can be found in local supermarkets, why not try and create your own, taking normal white rice and concocting your own Mexican spice mix to cater to your family’s tastes?
10. Beef Burritos
Perhaps the most well known Mexican dish, the beef burrito is popular for a reason, and is a simple yet delicious way to feed your family – even on a budget.
Chili is one of those dishes that most people can make in some fashion, and that is all that this dish requires. This can be done to your own taste, and in any quantity you want, and the beauty is that the self assembly required allows you to store and freeze any of the chili beef filling you have left for another day.
This vegetarian take on the classic quesadilla will leave you wondering why you ever bothered with meat in the first place.
This dish also allows for customization, letting you add any combination of beans, vegetables, spices, and cheeses to find the perfect combination for you and your family.
This is exactly what it sounds like – a deconstructed taco served in either a bowl, or in a shaped tortilla made crispy in the oven.
This is an attractive take on the classic, and can be better paired with salad, side dishes, and sauces, allowing individual customization and personalization for each bowl.
If served in a bowl, you also have the benefit of avoiding the unnecessary carbs of a taco shell or tortilla wrap, allowing you to have a taste of Mexico without the guilt.
Mexican cuisine has had a long relationship with corn, and this soup (see also ‘27 Easy Crockpot Soup Recipes You Need To Try‘) very much harks back to the days of traditional Mexican street food that would have been eaten on a daily basis by people from all walks of life.
Simple, effective, and delicious, the corn soup can be customized to your own tastes, adding your own spices and sides to make it your own, and is perfect for soup lovers who crave a little more spice and texture.
These quesadillas have a distinctly Spanish feel, taking inspiration from traditional Spanish and Catelonian tapas dishes to create a delicious amalgamation of the old and new worlds.
Perfect for people who prefer seafood to meat, they can be spiced in any way you choose, and while leaving less room for vegetables and cheese choices, they still give you the choice to make it your own, with different chorizo and dried sausage available, and different kinds of seasonings for the prawns.
If you fancy something lighter than the standard tomato based sauces of Mexican food, then why not try this creamy garlic chicken take on the classic quesadilla?
Light and delicious, what this dish loses in richness it makes up for in the sheer creaminess of the garlic sauce. A perfect lunchtime option, this can be a great way to break up your day and revitalize you for the afternoon ahead.
Or for a slightly more savory take on the traditional quesadilla, why not fill them with leek, bacon, and mustard?
A somewhat more Anglicized take on the classic, this is perfect for those seeking a more controlled spice palette, and the saltiness of the crispy bacon creates a moreish, mouth watering addition to any meal.
17. Fish Tacos
If you find yourself on the coast, why not try some fish tacos? These classics get somewhat overlooked on the global market, despite being popular throughout the US and Mexico.
The fish you use is entirely down to you, but can include cod, tuna, or even something more exotic like red snapper (if you have the means), and when paired with salad, dressing, and sides, can be a great DIY sharing dish for you and your family to enjoy.
Another breakfast favorite with a distinctly Mexican twist, black beans and avocado on toast can be an exciting take on the modern favorite, adding some much needed spice and kick to the (at times) bland avocado.
If paired with huevos rancheros, this could be a delicious breakfast platter for you and your loved ones, getting them an early dose of protein, vegetables, and just a little spice to get them going.
For fish tacos with a little more spice, why not opt for chipotle style cod tacos?
The blank canvas of the white fish sets the perfect tone for the playful bite of the chipotle, and when combined with sides and salad dishes, could be a perfect and enjoyable way to dine with your family and friends.
For something a little lighter, why not try the Mexican corn salad?
Perfect for a filling light bite, this takes fresh, chilled vegetables, tasty, filling sweetcorn, and subtle Mexican spices to create something a little different for your lunch break at work or school.
Sweet potatoes are a traditional part of Mexican cuisine, and offer a rich, comforting alternative to the usual potato dishes.
This soup is different, offering a warming hug in a mug, laden with subtle Mexican spices, chunky vegetables, and a variety of beans.
It can be paired with some nice baked bread, or further fresh salad items to create the perfect lunchtime treat.
Pork is a meat that generally gets forgotten when people think of traditional Mexican food, but the country’s relationship with the animal is as rich and varied as the rest of the world.
This dish offers a fresh take on a classic pork taco, with a sweet, tangy pineapple salsa adding a perfect balance to the spiciness of the meat.
This very much feels like a multi-seasonal dish, light enough to eat in the summer heat, but filling and comforting enough to eat when the nights start drawing in.
But whenever you choose to have it, this is a great, interesting take on a classic that is, above all else, delicious.
Roast chicken is a widely consumed dish around the world, and Mexico is no different.
Having its own take on the classic meat dish, this version tips its hat to both the United States and Mexico, highlighting the cultural exchange that has occurred over the centuries, and which continues to this day.
I suppose this could also be called Tex-Mex, offering a combination of both countries’ cuisines that come together to create something interesting, original, and delicious.
Another Spanish influenced dish that literally translates to ‘potatoes with chorizo’, papas con chorizo is a great dish that can either be consumed on its own, or as a side dish.
Versatile and open to interpretation, this dish could quite easily be a breakfast side dish, consumed alongside huevos rancheros, or as a filling for a family taco night.
25. Tamale Hash
A great way to use up leftovers, this tamale hash is a great way of turning last night’s tamales into something entirely different (see more quick and easy tamale recipes here).
This too would pair perfectly with both breakfast and dinner, and offers a lot of versatility in terms of spice and accompaniments – such as vegetables, eggs, beans, or rice.
So the next time you have some leftover Mexican food, why not give this a try?
A modern cultural favorite, thanks in part to the exploits of Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool, the chimichanga has a rich history within Mexican culture – and is a firm favorite amongst fans of Mexican food.
Not too dissimilar from the other tortilla dishes, at least in terms of ingredients, the real difference with this dish is the deep fried finish, which adds a whole new level of flavor and deliciousness to an already fantastic concoction.
As previously mentioned, Mexican cuisine has had a long relationship with corn, most notably because of the fact that it was their primary crop throughout the centuries.
With this history, corn on the cob has become a popular vegetable side to many Mexican dishes.
Perfect served with butter, or with some additional seasonings, spices, and sauces, these are great additions to any family get-together or BBQ (see also ‘33 Simple BBQ Recipes Perfect For Cookouts‘), and are a light, refreshing sweet treat to accompany any meal.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Mexican Food Be Frozen?
Like most cuisines, most Mexican dishes can indeed be frozen and reheated on another day.
This can be a good way to prepare meals (especially when making large pots of chili), and to create reheatable snacks for school lunches and family trips.
The important thing is to properly reheat the food. This can be done using tin foil to stop the precooked food from burning in the oven, and should be probed with a thermometer to ensure it is thoroughly reheated.
This is especially important with chicken and pork – both of which can be rife breeding grounds for salmonella if improperly cooked.
However, one thing that shouldn’t be frozen is pre cooked shellfish and fish. This can be incredibly dicey during the reheating process, and the best way to avoid poor taste and illness is to cook from fresh each time.
Do I have To Stick To The Recipe?
Not at all! Think of the recipes as a guide to the specific dishes – a stepping stone of sorts. The final thing can be modified and personalized to meet the specifications of you and your family members.
Experimentation in the kitchen can be fun and exciting, and a great way to discover new flavors and combinations.
And there we have it, everything you need to know to prepare simple yet effective Mexican dishes for you and your family.
Mexican food can be a tasty and exciting way to explore new tastes and combinations.
More importantly though, it is a great communal food, allowing you and your family to share, talk, and experience the sense of community that great food is supposed to create!