Essential Ingredients for Authentic Mexican Cooking

Essential Ingredients for Authentic Mexican Cooking

Food has played a significant role in Mexican culture—each state has its own unique dish, and family recipes find ways to take even the most standard dish and make it something special. As a result, sharing these dishes at festivals and gatherings is a fantastic way to share Latino culture. To help you bring that culture to your home, let us share with you some of the essential ingredients for authentic Mexican cooking so that you can capture the deep flavors and spicy heat we all love.


Maize, better known as corn in English and revered as “the gift of the gods,” is a cornerstone of Mexican cuisine and appears in nearly every single dish. You can find it in enchiladas, tamales, corn tortillas, soups, stews, and even atole – a thick drink made with ground-up corn. To remove the corn from a Mexican dish is to remove its very heart because it’s just that essential of an ingredient.


Frijoles are simply beans. They’re a staple of Mexican cuisine dating back to pre-Columbian times and are easy to prepare by simply simmering them in hot water with fresh herbs like epazote or cilantro. The most common variant of beans in Mexican cuisine that you’re likely familiar with is refried beans. However, refried beans are not beans that have been fried twice; rather, this is a mistranslation of the Spanish word “refrito,” which means well-fried.

Chile Peppers

What would Mexican cuisine be without the heat and spice provided by a wide variety of peppers? With over 60 different kinds of chile peppers, you can customize your dish to suit your heat tolerance or test yourself against progressively stronger spices. These peppers are also a staple of any authentic Mexican hot salsa that, in and of itself, is a versatile and essential ingredient for authentic Mexican cooking as a delicious sauce that adds flavor and texture to any recipe.


Farmers have been cultivating the avocado throughout Mexico for at least the last 5,000 years, and it features in many dishes. It’s the key ingredient for the iconic guacamole, and sliced or diced avocados make a great addition to stews and meat dishes. In contrast to the chile peppers, avocados add a cool and refreshing taste to help find relief after feeling the burn.