3 Main Ingredients Used in Mexican Cooking

Both traditional Mexican and contemporary Mexican dishes are notable for the way they mix flavors and textures, creating astonishing dishes that are very difficult to replicate if the techniques are not mastered, and the right ingredients are not available.

Our cuisine celebrates our Mexican cultural expression, our traditions and our history. Mexican cooking is a fine art that has developed over centuries. Through its flavors we experience Mexico as it really is, in all its wonderful vibrancy.

Mexico is home to some of the best ingredients in the world. There is a wide existing diversity of products that allows every region to have its particular culinary richness. As it was affirmed by the famous Hispanic writer, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, when she said she lived in the “rich America”[…] where the daily sustenance is almost gifted, so nowhere else Mother Earth is that flaunted”.

Speaking about gastronomy in our country also tells a story of diversity, history, and tradition, as well as identifying the endemic products of Mexico which are so iconic, such as corn, chili, and chocolate.

If you want to experience traditional Mexican flavors and dishes, please consider joining us for one of Our Food Tours in Mexico City.

The Most Important Ingredients for Mexican Cuisine

Corn (maize)

Popol Vuh, which is the sacred book of the Mayas, says that men were made of corn. Pre-Hispanic communities started the domestication and growth of this plant, achieving the current existence of 59 varieties of native maize in Mexico.

This ingredient has been the food base for our country since memory can tell. Its diversity, versatility and nutritional properties have made it the protagonist of an infinity of Mexican dishes that highlight its flavor in different forms that cannot be missed.

Some examples are tamales, pozole, quesadillas, chilaquiles and, naturally, tacos (if you want to try some of the best tacos around, join our Taco Tour in Mexico City).



In Mexican cuisine, the use of chili is a must. It is an ingredient that gives the dishes a very distinctive flavor and challenges the tastebuds of the brave.

Apart from being an essential and precious tribute during the pre-Hispanic era, chili is a necessary element to add flavor and unique features to traditional preparations.

Whether fresh, chopped, dry or cooked, it is an omnipresent fruit in the gastronomy of Mexico – Mexican food without chilis is quite unthinkable.

Some of the most popular kinds of chili are poblano, habanero, jalapeño, pasilla, morita and chipotle – we recommend you try some of them from street food stands as you’re out exploring in Mexico.

Mexican chiles


Native cocoa, which is the mother cob of the seed, once processed, becomes chocolate, and it is an endemic product of Mexico. Nowadays, it’s grown in the states of Tabasco, Chiapas, and Guerrero.

Cocoa’s history dates back to the pre-Hispanic era when it was utilized as a currency. It was also the main ingredient of the beverage of the gods, xocolatl. An antique náhuatl chant said: ”Heart is satisfied and rejoiced when cocoa is drunk”.

So you can easily prove it when trying some delight containing such flavor. To read more about chocolate in Mexico, check out our Best Chocolate Places In Mexico City blog.

And if you’d like to sample Mexican chocolate for yourself, consider joining one of our Friends & Chocolate Tours of Mexico City.

Mexican Chocolate

Now you know a bit more about the three best flavors in the world (or our favorites, at least).

If you’d like to explore the unique world of Mexican cuisine for yourself, there’s no better way than hitting the streets of Mexico City to explore its food stalls, markets, cafes, bars, and restaurants.

By taking a tour with Sabores Food Tours Mexico, you can be sure that you’ll get an authentic local look at Mexican cuisine and support a business that champions local businesses!

Please browse our selection of Mexico City Food Tours, and, if you have any questions, get in touch.