The best basic ingredients in the Mexican diet

Some of the best ingredients in the Mexican diet have crossed its borders. Vanilla, cocoa, avocado, corn, chilli or potatoes are native to this country and without them a large number of recipes would be unthinkable.

In addition, its gastronomy and its traditional recipes have become common in other countries. Today it is on the same level as the Mediterranean, Japanese and French diets; recognized the 4 as Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

Mexican gastronomy: an ancestral culture

Mexican gastronomy is characterized by a large number of dishes and dishes and the use of the most varied ingredients and seasonings. It is a symbol of national identity, made collectively and supported by the use of products originating from their land.

Green tomatillo salsas, corn tacos or roast beef are an explosion of textures, colors and flavors. They make it one of the most appetizing and suggestive cuisines in the world.

Its origins date back to the pre-Hispanic period. Corn, tomato and chilli were the basis of the entire cuisine, which was completed with meat, fish, aromatic herbs and chocolate, among other ingredients.

Over the centuries it has been enriched with ingredients supplied by the Spanish conquerors and migrant peoples. And although there is a big difference between the regions, some dishes have become characteristic throughout the country, such as cochinita pibil, mole poblano, pozole or curundas purepechas.

If you want to know more about the most used ingredients in the Mexican diet, we offer you a detailed list of them and two recipes typical of this country.

The most common ingredients of the Mexican diet

A large number of foods are present at the base of all gastronomy. However, some of them are more remarkable, either for the variety of their use, their symbolism or because they are the protagonists of emblematic recipes. These are the most relevant in Mexican cuisines.


Chili pepper can never be lacking in Mexican pantries, an ingredient that provides a very distinctive spicy flavor. In this country they have a great variety of them and the best known are the poblano pepper, the habanero, the jalapeño, the pasilla, the morita and the chipotle.

Chilli can be added fresh, dried, ground or cooked and is ubiquitous in sauces, moles and condiments. However, given their great variety, there are many possibilities to include them in recipes according to their colour, shape and degree of spiciness.

Chili in a plate of beans.
Mexican peppers make their appearance in various dishes of the country’s gastronomy.


Tamed by the Mayans and the Aztecs, The tomato is a universal food of Mexican origin. Its most typical preparations are cooked meats and fresh sauces. The latter are prepared with some of the basic ingredients of the Mexican diet: tomatoes, onion, chili pepper and coriander.

But it is also part of almost all culinary preparations. It gives color to soups, broths, purees, salads, ceviches and risottos. Although it is also possible to taste only its fresh juice.


While not a native ingredient, it is widely used throughout the country and It is found at the base of many dishes: soups, stews and sauces. It is also very common to add it to salads, tacos, sopes and gorditas, raw, pickled or roasted.

Corn: one of the ingredients of the Mexican diet for daily consumption

Along with wheat and rice, Corn is one of the top 3 most consumed herbs in the world and an essential food in Mexico. It continues to be a staple and self-sufficient crop for many peasant and indigenous communities.

As indicated José de Jesus Cuevas Mejia, the list of preparations in which corn is present can be endless. Over the centuries It has been used ground to make all kinds of doughs, like tortillas. Used daily by almost all Mexicans, they are filled with beans, rice, meat or stews, in the form of tacos, enchiladas or chilaquiles.

But it’s also common to consume the roasted whole grain; seasoned with lime, chilli and mayonnaise (esquites) or in the form of vegetable and meat soup (pozole). Also, not everything is food, but drinks such as tejuino or atole are also produced.


The essential companion of corn and a very important part of Mexican cuisine are beans. Of the 150 species known in the world, 50 are found only in this country and They can be both purple and black, white, yellow, bay and pinto.

They are present in most snacks, such as tlacoyos or panuchos. They’re also the star of staple dishes, such as refried beans, charro beans, or pork beans.


Along with the previous two, pumpkin has been the third column of the staple diet since pre-Hispanic times. Its cultivation dates back to 7500 years ago and of all the varieties, the most common is green or yellow in color.

It is cooked whole and the pulp is used to make tamales and moles. It is also found in sweet preparations, such as the pumpkin in tacha typical of the Day of the Dead and which is prepared with guava, sugar and cinnamon.

Nopal: the most emblematic ingredient of the Mexican diet

Nopal is a cactus and is a symbol of the country all over the world. Staple food for the Nahuatl civilization, appreciated both for its flavor and for its nutritional composition and properties. Once the bones have been removed, it is used in salads, soups, stews, or pickled.


This fruit has been grown in Mexico for about 5000 years and today one of its biggest exports. Its worldwide popularity is due to its great versatility in cooking, its delicate flavor and texture and for being a highly nutritious ingredient.

Guacamole is one of the most international recipes of Mexican cuisine, prepared with mashed avocado. Sliced, it is also added to many dishes, such as beans, ceviches, rice, soups and broths.


The history of dairy products in Mexico begins with the arrival of the Spanish conquerors. Most of the indigenous cheeses are made with cow’s milk. Some are known throughout the country and others are produced regionally.

It is an exceptional ingredient in gastronomy which adds flavor and a creamy texture to many preparations. Chihuahua, Oaxaca, cotija, fresco, or adobero cheeses are used to garnish enchiladas, beans, or tacos.


Cilantro is very important among the ingredients of the Mexican diet, to which provides an intense citrus flavor with a slight spicy touch. The fresh leaves are added to flavor fish and shellfish and to garnish guacamole, tacos or pico de gallo sauce.

Mexican tacos.
Mexican dishes have a special flavor and usually come in a great variety of colors.

The recipe for huevos rancheros

A star breakfast in this country is huevos rancheros. Scrambled eggs are served on corn tortillas and optionally accompanied by fried plantains.

To make 2 servings you need the following:

  • 4 eggs.
  • 1/2 onion.
  • Chili powder.
  • fresh coriander.
  • 1 large tomato.
  • Corn Tortillas.
  • 1 large tomato.
  • Avocados to taste
  • Salt and pepper.

To start, peel and dice the onion and fry it in a pan with the oil until golden brown. Add the diced tomato and cook for 2 minutes. Make a couple of rounds to homogenize everything.

In a bowl, lightly beat the eggs and add them to the pan with the onion and tomato. Lower the heat, add a good handful of chopped cilantro, season to taste and let the eggs curdle to the desired point.

At your service, corn tortillas can be placed on top and decorated with a few slices of avocado. But if you have leftovers from previous meals (mushrooms, chicken, some ham), you can add as many ingredients as you like.

Other recipes with basic ingredients of the Mexican diet: quesadillas

THE snacks They are a type of street food that is very common in Mexican markets, both in the morning and in the afternoon. Some of the best known are tacos, tamales or gorditas. Even the quesadillas, that they are prepared with corn tortillas filled with cheese, folded in half and toasted on a plate

The most used cheeses in Mexico are Chihuahua and Oaxaca, but they can also be used Mozzarella cheese, emmental, cheddar or any other that melts well. The cheese can be accompanied by other very varied ingredients, such as avocado, tomato, chicken, refried beans, mushrooms, roasted peppers or chorizo.

Have fun in the kitchen with the typical ingredients of the Mexican diet

Summarizing the wide variety of ingredients in the Mexican diet into 10 foods is no easy task, since It is a gastronomy formed by a set of traditions local culinary. However, these basics are to get you started and learn more about this rich and diverse cuisine.

The use made of these ingredients is personal, but what we have no doubts about is that they are healthy and tasty foods that guarantee a delicious culinary experience. So, without further ado, we encourage you to give them a try!

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