These easy Mexican recipes are a great way to enjoy the inspired flavors of this cuisine! Try tacos, enchiladas, sopes, and more.
Looking for Mexican recipes? The flavors of Mexican cuisine make it an exciting, flavor-filled adventure at the table. This cuisine is full of fresh, tangy, zingy and spicy flavors, and many of its dishes are celebrated all over the world. Salsa, guacamole, tacos, enchiladas, burritos and more have become world-wide hits.
Here at A Couple Cooks, we take a “pretty simple” approach to highlighting the flavors of this beautiful region of the world. We’re not of Mexican heritage ourselves, but we’ve studied the cuisine and try to mesh the traditional flavors with ease and accessibility for the modern cook. Here you’ll find our favorite ways to eat Mexican-style flavors: from pico de gallo to guacamole.
First up in our Mexican recipes: shrimp tacos! These are full of succulent, juicy flavor from lots of seasoning, perfect for both easy weeknight mealsand dinner parties. Saute the shrimp with garlic and cumin, then drop them onto a bed of quick slaw. Top it all off with creamy cilantro taco sauce; almost like a ranch with cilantro. You might just want to bathe in it! Surround it with a charred tortilla and dig in.
Next up: refried bean dip! This one is creamy and irresistible, with no cheese to speak of. Somehow it’s just as satisfying as a cheesy Mexican dip, without the extra calories. You can use either Instant Pot refried beans, stovetop refried beans, or canned refried beans, then mix them with green chilis and cumin. Top it with salsa fresca and it's a healthy spin on a bean dip that's seriously satisfying.
Here’s a great easy Mexican side dish to go with tacos and enchiladas: Spanish rice! Contrary to its name, Spanish rice is not Spanish at all! It’s actually a Mexican dish, sometimes called Mexican rice or arroz rojo (“red rice” in Spanish). It gets its red color from cooking it with tomatoes. This recipe is a quick and easy spin: it uses salsa to get big flavor quickly. It’s also got a special flavor secret that takes it from good to irresistible.
Here's a favorite in our Mexican recipes because of the intense flavor it packs in just over 30 minutes! The secret? Adobo sauce from a can of chipotle chilis! It brings in a smoky flavor without adding too much heat. It's filled with black beans, peppers, and corn, and topped with homemade crunchy tortilla strips. It's a crowd pleaser every time.
Pico de gallo translates to “beak of the rooster” in Spanish. It’s a type of salsa made with fresh tomatoes. Where does the name come from? It might refer to the bird feed-like texture, but no one seems to know the true origin! This famous Mexican recipe usually has tomatoes, onion, peppers, cilantro, and fresh squeezed lime juice. It’s always always made with raw tomatoes, and is typically quite chunky.
WOW is all we can say about this black bean enchiladas recipe! It's one of our most crowd-pleasing Mexican recipes and it's got a secret: it's 100% plant based! Enchiladas don't need cheese to be satisfying. Tortillas are wrapped around a veggie filling oozing with flavor, and it’s all doused in a zesty homemade enchilada sauce. With the crunchy veggie topping, this dish looks...and tastes...simply incredible.
Tacos are always a win over here, so might we introduce you to our new favorite? These baked fish tacos! Bake the white fish until it’s flaky with a dry rub of spices: no breading or frying necessary. Then top it with a tangy slaw and a creamy fish taco sauce. This is a spin on Mexican Baja tacos using the flavors and style of this cuisine. They’re tasty, easy to make, and great for weeknights or dinner parties.
Fajitas are a Mexican American creation: not an authentically Mexican recipe at all! They use the flavors of Mexican cuisine to dress up bell peppers and onions, often served in a sizzling skillet. Making this on a sheet pan is a nice way to make an easy version of this dinner recipe! Roast up lots of veggies on a sheet pan with spices, and serve with refried beans and “guac-ish,” a super fast version of guacamole.
Here's a traditional Mexican recipe: sopes! Sopes are a sort of thick tortilla with upturned edges, topped with meat, beans, and sauces. Our friend Alejandra is originally from Mexico and now lives in the States and she created this special homemade sopes recipe for us to share. They are extraordinarily delicious: these are vegan and topped with refried black beans, but you can use any filling you like.
Here's a Mexican side dish recipe: a spin on coleslaw that’s little lighter and fresher. There's no mayo, and instead focuses on fresh flavors: crunchy cabbage, red onion, cilantro, and cumin. It’s got both cumin seed and ground cumin for a double hit of flavor. Oh–and it doubles as a taco topping.
These crispy avocado tacos a creative spin on a favorite Mexican recipe! They're almost like a fish taco, but plant-based. You’ve got avocado fries, breaded and baked in a hot oven until crispy. Then top that with spiced black beans, pico de gallo, and the refreshing crunch of romaine lettuce. Drizzle on a creamy lime and cilantro sauce, and it’s heaven on a plate.
Black beans and rice are a classic Latin-style side dish recipe: but there are so many different ways to make them! There are two main styles you may think of. First you’ve got Cuban style black beans, saucy and savory, served over rice. Then you’ve got Mexican-style black beans, jumbled with rice and green bell pepper, and seasoned with cumin, lime and cilantro. That’s what you'll see here, and it's an ideal side to serve with tacos or as a lunch idea.
A quesadilla recipe with avocado? Yes, please! This quesadilla is filled with black beans and corn, but the real star is the avocado! It adds healthy fats and richness to the filling and cuts down on the amount of gooey cheese. Zesty and creamy Chipotle Sauce sends it over the top.
One of the most classic Mexican cocktail recipes is the Paloma! This easy bubbly cocktail combines tequila with grapefruit to make a simple sour that’s sweet tart and refreshing. It’s perfect for happy hour drinks, or water it down and it could be a brunch drink too. The Paloma is traditionally made with grapefruit soda, but this recipe uses grapefruit juice and soda water.
Of course, the margarita is the best known of all Mexican drink recipes! Did you know the classic recipe has no added simple syrup? Here's the classic way to make it: with three ingredients and a salt rim. It's true perfection. Try all our Margarita recipes (Mezcal, Skinny, Jalapeno, Mango, and more).
Something about all those tasty fillings snuggled cozily into a tortilla makes a burrito irresistible. This burrito is packed with flavor from Spanish rice (aka Mexican rice), seasoned black beans, peppers and onions, and mashed avocado. Even better, step it up with a zingy vegan sauce.
This Mexican salad recipe is a great side dish for Mexican-inspired meals. Though it's not authentically Mexican, it uses Latin-style flavors: colorful veggies, cilantro lime salad dressing, and tortilla strips. It all combines into a super-flavorful dish that can be served as a side, or dressed up to work as a healthy main dish salad. It’s got 3 dressings to choose from, based on your tastes (easiest, easy and vegan).
Here's a traditional Mexican recipe: guacamole! What makes this version so great? It uses classic ingredients and has the perfect balanced flavor: perfectly savory, creamy, and tangy. Serve this classic vegan Mexican dip with tortilla chips and your guests — and you — won’t be able to stop eating it.
Here's a spin on homemade refried beans that's easy to make and takes about 20 minutes total. We guarantee that you’ll find it’s worth the time when you take your first taste! They taste rich and buttery, though they don’t have any butter or lard like traditional recipes. In fact, they’re a whole food plant based (WFPB) version, with only a touch of oil.
Rounding out these Mexican recipes is one of our hands-down favorites: Elote! This Mexican street corn is a popular street food in Mexico. Grill corn on the cob until it's tender and lightly charred. Then spread it with a creamy sauce made of sour cream, mayo, cumin, and chili powder. Top with feta crumbles, cilantro and lime. There's so much flavor going on, you won't be able to put it down!
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.