Beyond Cilantro: Other Common Herbs To Add to Mexican Dishes

Beyond Cilantro: Other Common Herbs To Add to Mexican Dishes

Mexican cuisine offers incredibly deep flavors and varying degrees of spices for people who love to test themselves against Earth’s mightiest peppers. The best aspect of Mexican recipes, however, is how malleable even the most common recipes are. Every state in Mexico has its own take on and variations of these recipes, which have become a part of their very identities. For this reason, we encourage you to experiment yourself by trying out other common herbs to add to Mexican dishes.


Chipotles are dried-out peppers with a distinctive smoky flavor that complements authentic Mexican hot salsas, sauces, and marinades. This smoky distinction gives the peppers a “meatier” or more “grilled” taste for people who don’t enjoy the traditional flavors and aromas that these vegetables typically have. These dried-out peppers are also much easier to crush and grind up to be sprinkled on other dishes as a seasoning.


The cilantro plant actually provides more than just, well, cilantro. The seed of the cilantro plant is called coriander. Coriander is a must when you’re looking for other common herbs to add to Mexican dishes because the seeds possess a distinct sweet and spicy flavor with a hint of lemon. While delicious on its own, coriander is most often used to complement and intensify the flavors of the other spices within a dish.


Speaking of cilantro, papalo is an ingredient similar to cilantro, but it features a much bolder and more complex taste than its milder cousin. Because cilantro already doesn’t agree with everyone’s palates, papalo can be a bit of an acquired taste, but if you enjoy the heat that comes with many Mexican dishes, papalo is a fantastic way to intensify that heat. It’s most often added raw to tacos or guacamole. It’s such an easy way to add a bit of zest and heat to any dish for greater enjoyment.

Hoja Santa

Best defined by its heart-shaped leaves, hoja santa is commonly used in the creation of yellow mole, but more uniquely, hoja santa is also used as a wrapper or seasoning for fish, meats, and tamales. It’s often recommended that you use hoja santa sparingly within your dish because it features a very strong flavor similar to that of mint or peppercorn.