Seriously Delicious Mexican Recipes That Aren't Tacos

Like all cuisines, Mexican food consists of many diverse ingredients and recipes, many of which are overlooked by Americans who think Taco Bell is all Mexican cuisine has to offer. But Mexican food has a rich history, which is celebrated in the ingredients still used today, like corn and chile peppers, according to Saveur

Iliana de la Vega, a popular chef based in Austin, Texas, told BBC that it took a while for Mexicans to take pride in the food they made. In Mexico City in the 1960s, she says, "it was not fancy to receive people at home and serve Mexican food. That was everyday cooking. We would serve only foreign dishes, nothing Mexican at all." It's easy to see how this deferential treatment has been adopted by Americans — in the U.S., it's common to see Mexican food priced extremely low compared to other cuisines.

"I think it's the most undervalued, under-appreciated world cuisine with tremendous, tremendous potential," Anthony Bourdain said of Mexican food — and he wasn't just talking about tacos. "These are in many cases really complex, wonderful sauces; particularly from Oaxaca, for instance, that date back from before Europe. I'm very excited about the possibilities for that cuisines, and I think we should pay more attention to it, learn more about it, and value it more" (via Remezcla). Here are some recipes — beyond tacos — to get you started.


Though chalupas come in many shapes and sizes these days, traditionally they consisted of just cheese, salsa, and shredded lettuce atop fried dough (via Cooking Carnival). "Although the first written mention of chalupa dates back to 1895 in Mexico, it is believed that the dish originates from pre-colonial times," according to Taste Atlas

This recipe suggests using classic toppings like cheese, beans, and salsa, but if you're feeling adventurous, you can switch things up by opting for sweet chalupas or trying a more Americanized version, like cheese and ham.

To make chalupas, you'll need at least the ingredients for the bread itself — flour, salt, baking powder, shortening, milk, and canola oil for frying. Since this bread doesn't need to rise, it makes the process quick and easy! Simply mix the ingredients together, separate into pieces and form into balls, and roll them out into 5-inch circles. Then all it takes is a quick fry on each side of the dough, and you've got yourself the foundation of a perfect meal!


If you thought nothing could beat the taco, think again. Taquitos encapsulate everything you love about tacos without the messiness of actually eating a taco. While taquitos are infamous in the frozen food aisle at the grocery store, this homemade version will keep you coming back for more. Serve these up with a side of Mexican rice and you've got a simple, delicious dinner. 

For chicken taquitos, you'll first need to make shredded chicken to use for the filling. From there, it's simple — mixing together the rest of the ingredients (green onions, cheese, canned green chiles, and spices) gives you a flavorful taquito filling that tastes much better than their frozen store-bought counterparts. For the best of both worlds, make a batch of homemade taquitos and freeze them yourself!


Enchiladas are a staple of modern-day Mexican restaurants, and with this recipe, they can become a staple in your own home. It only takes 45 minutes to whip these up, and once you try them fresh, you won't be able to go back to your favorite chain store enchiladas.

The key element in this recipe is the sauce. Forgoing the store-bought stuff requires a little extra effort, but once you taste these enchiladas, it'll all be worth it. To make the sauce, you'll need to make a roux using a few simple ingredients like tomato paste, flour, and oil. This sauce can be a little tricky to master, but as long as you keep an eye on it and whisk until the lumps of flour dissolve into the sauce, the result will be a bold and complex flavor that adds depth to your already-delicious enchiladas.

Chicken fajita pasta

You might be surprised to find fajitas and pasta on the same list (not to mention in the same dish), but never fear — we assure you this is one cuisine fusion you don't want to miss. This pasta dish combines Italian food with Southwestern Tex-Mex, making for a surprisingly tasty and hearty meal that is sure to please any crowd. Even better? It's quick and easy to make, requiring just a few minutes of prep and about 20 minutes to cook, so those happy crowds won't be too much of a burden on the cook.

To make this chicken fajita pasta, you'll want to be sure you have chicken at the ready. Any kind of cooking method works, be it baking, air frying, grilling, or poaching. To make things even easier, you can use canned chicken or pre-cooked rotisserie chicken.

The rest of the recipe requires simple ingredients like cheese, pasta, cream, and bell peppers, which will all cook together to produce a pasta with a creamy sauce. The sauce gets most of its flavor from a package of taco seasoning — it's like Tex-Mex macaroni and cheese!

Taco pizza

This recipe combines two of the greatest joys in life to make one delicious meal. Stephanie Rapone, Pantry to Plate blogger extraordinaire, says this recipe was inspired, surprisingly enough, by her college days: "I had a mild obsession with these giant vegetarian quesadillas from a place in college. This recipe basically came from the ingredients on those quesadillas, but in pizza form."

If you want to keep this recipe vegetarian, you can skip the taco meat, but if you're looking to add an extra kick to this meal, the first step is preparing the beef. Taco seasoning will add punch to the meat, and making your own is an easy and even more delicious alternative.

Instead of pizza sauce, this recipe combines refried beans and taco sauce for the pizza base. You'll want to cover the crust with this mixture and then add the beef, olives (optional), and queso. After 13 to 16 minutes in the oven, you can add additional toppings like lettuce, tomatoes, and sour cream.

Slow-cooker fajitas

This fajita recipe is a hands-off, simple meal that can be whipped together using just four ingredients. Yep, you heard us — all it takes is meat, bell peppers, onion, and taco seasoning for this dinner to be yours. These super easy, delicious fajitas are sure to become a recurring feature in your weekly dinner rotation.

The most difficult part of this recipe is chopping the onion and bell peppers — as long as you can do that, you'll be able to master this dish in no time. To spice things up a bit (pun intended), we recommend making your taco seasoning from scratch instead of using the store-bought stuff. If you make a big batch, you can store it in the cupboard and use it for all your future Mexican dinner needs.

Tres leches

Though you may not want to use tres leches as a taco replacement, this dish is a perfect Mexican-style dessert. Traditional tres leches dates back as far as 19th century Mexico, and it's still an incredibly popular dish across Latin America today (via Matador Network) — once you've tried it, you'll understand why.

True to its name, tres leches requires three different kinds of milk to make up the rich, creamy topping that gets absorbed into the cake: heavy whipping cream, evaporated milk, and sweetened condensed milk. (Warning: this dessert is not for the lactose intolerant!) In addition, you'll need a few other basic baking ingredients, like sugar, flour, and eggs.

This cake is made by baking a basic vanilla cake, poking a few holes in it, and pouring that three-milk mixture over the top. Over time, the milk will seep into the cake, creating a gooey texture and a sticky sweetness that's cut through just enough by the cool milk.

Bean dip

According to Kristen Carli, this bean dip recipe is "a perfect dish for a football game, casual potluck, or party." All you need is just four ingredients and a bag of chips and you've got yourself the perfect snack (it's so good you may even want to keep it for yourself — and we don't blame you!).

This recipe is about as simple as you can get — by mixing together beans, cream cheese, and taco seasoning, you're well on your way to a delicious appetizer. Then, all you have to do is sprinkle some shredded cheese on top and bake it in an oven-proof dish! If you want to make this recipe dairy-free, Carli says it's easy to substitute plant-based cream cheese and shredded cheese, as long as you choose the right brands. She recommends Kite Hill cream cheese and "a good, melting shredded cheese like Miyokos or Violife." Whether it's cheesy or vegan, this easy recipe is sure to be a hit at your next potluck.

Enchilada soup

If you're craving Mexican food on a chilly day, there's no better choice than this enchilada soup — it combines all the best parts of enchiladas in one yummy bowl. With the protein from the beans and chicken, this soup is hearty enough to be served as a main course, especially if you eat it with chips, rice, or tortillas.

Although this recipe requires a lot of ingredients, putting them all together is actually pretty simple. Like most basic soup recipes, this one consists of an initial sautée followed by a long simmer. In order to get the most flavor out of the onion, garlic, and bell peppers, you'll want to first sautée them in your stock pot for about five minutes, until softened. Then, all you have to do is add the rest of the ingredients, including vegetable broth, enchilada sauce, and shredded chicken, and let the flavors simmer together for about ten minutes, and dinner's ready!


Aguachile is a popular traditional Mexican dish that's sort of like a bright green, spicy version of ceviche. The dish originated in Sinaloa and was made using chiltepines, which are small round chiles native to this part of Mexico (via The Mazatlan Post). When the weather is warm, we at Mashed think this is the perfect snack or appetizer.

Since chiltepines can be hard to find outside Mexico, this recipe uses chiles you're probably more familiar with, like jalapenos and habaneros. To create the bright, zingy paste in which to marinate the shrimp, you'll need a high-powered blender. The rest of the ingredients, like limes, shrimp, and avocado, are easy to find at your local supermarket. Aguachile needs to be eaten raw, so be sure to make this one the same day you plan to eat it.