Pastel azteca is also called budin azteca, and it’s basically Mexican lasagna. Corn tortillas instead of pasta, and lots of Mexican flavors.
Mexico has one of the richest, most diverse, and let's face it, tastiest of all world cuisines. With roots dating to the great civilizations of the Maya, Zapotecs, Aztecs and more, compiling a list of Mexican recipes isn't easy.
Mexico is home to some of the most treasured foods in the United States, from corn, beans and squash to tomatoes and peppers -- everything I like to grow in my garden!
This is a wide selection of Mexican recipes I have developed from a combination of travel, study (in English and Spanish), conversations with an array of Mexican cooks, and more.
Hundreds of Mexican cookbooks are out there, but to name just a few in English, I can recommend Pati Jinich's Treasures of the Mexican Table, Nopalito by Gonzalo Guzman, and really any of Rick Bayless' books.
To help you navigate these recipes, here are recipes from some general categories to guide you.
Masa and Tortillas
Making your own masa, tortillas and such is a bedrock skill you need to know to really be good at Mexican recipes. Yes, you can buy tortillas and even masa for tamales, but knowing this skill makes you appreciate it more.
- Homemade corn tortillas. This is a fundamental skill.
- Homemade flour tortillas. Flour tortillas have been part of Mexican cuisine for close to 500 years. They are the soul of the north.
- How to make nixtamal. This is for the serious. This is how to go from dry corn to fresh masa.
Moles and Pipians
These sauces are the soul of central Mexican cuisine. Mexican recipes for mole are usually complex, especially if you are making everything from scratch. If you travel to Mexico and can buy homemade mole pastes at markets, do it! Here are my recipes:
- Turkey mole. This is my take on mole poblano, although it is not exactly the same.
- Mole negro. The queen of all moles, this one is dark and rich.
- Pipian rojo. Pipians are seed-based sauces that predate the Spanish. This one uses ripe chiles.
- Mole coloradito. A lighter, brighter mole. Good in summer.
- Pipian verde. A verdant version of the red pipian.
- Mole amarillo. Such a pretty sauce, great for fish or white meats.
These are the everyday sauces for tacos and other masa-based dishes, yes, including chips. They range from picoso to mild.
- Fire roasted salsa. This is the salsa for outdoor cooking!
- Tomatillo salsa verde. The classic green salsa of Mexico.
- Salsa morita. A salsa that hinges on chipotles in adobo.
- Salsa negra. An unusual, oil-based salsa that uses lots of sesame.
- Salsa de chile de arbol. HOT! Use this one sparingly when you want to feel the burn.
- Avocado tomatillo salsa. A variant on salsa verde that is creamier. Fantastic with fish.
There are scores of Mexican recipes for pozole, the signature soup of that country. Basically every region in Mexico has its own version. Some are by color, some by what's in the pozole. Here are my renditions:
- Pozole rojo. This is the red one, the version most people in America are familiar with.
- Gallina pinta. This is a Sonoran pozole with beans and beef, not pork. It is a pillar of norteño cuisine.
- Pozole blanco. Super simple, with a clear broth. This is the foundational pozole.
- Pozole verde. A specialty of Guerrero, this is a bright green pozole.
Newest Mexican Recipes
Mexican pacholas are a sort of flattened meatball, seared quickly and served with salsa, rice and beans. Any ground meat works here; I used venison.
A cool recipe for shrimp empanadas that uses mashed plantains for the dough. The empanadas are then fried crispy. This recipe is from Tamaulipas, Mexico.
Puchero is a hearty stew made all over the Spanish-speaking world. This is a Mexican puchero recipe uses beef or venison and lots of vegetables. Simple, satisfying and it keeps well.
A classic recipe for chilorio, braised, shredded pork from Sinaloa, Mexico. It’s super easy to make, and is amazing in tacos, burritos, a sandwich, or with rice.
A recipe for Mexican pipian verde, the green pumpkinseed sauce that traces its origins back more than 500 years. Great with any white meat or fish.
A recipe for chicken with walnut sauce from Mexico. Gallina en nogada is an old Mexican recipe that mixes walnuts and chiles. I used pheasant, and any white meat will work.
A recipe for fried empanadas, focusing on how to make the empanada dough for frying. I’ll give you several possible fillings, but really anything goes here.