Mexico has long been a tourist destination for its paradisiacal beaches, ancient ruins, and festive culture. However, the most beloved aspect of Mexican culture is undoubtedly its cuisine.
Mexican food is among the most beloved cuisines in the world. Mexico’s rich culinary traditions feature regional dishes, snacks, stews, salsas, and the best street food on earth. Mexico’s culinary influence extends to all corners of the globe, with taco stands, family restaurants, and tequila bars serving spicy dishes in a fun, colorful atmosphere.
While many Mexican food restaurants specialize in lunch and dinner meals, Mexican breakfast food is equally delicious. They are hearty, savory, comforting, and spicy, often incorporating ingredients you wouldn’t normally see gracing your breakfast table.
I have compiled a list of the most popular Mexican breakfast dishes to whet your appetite and inspire your next brunch order or a homemade meal.
Chilaquiles are akin to a plate of breakfast nachos. They’re highly customizable, but the essential ingredients are fried tortilla chips bathed and simmered in salsa until the chips become soft.
You’ll usually see Chilaquiles in two variations: red or green. The salsa the chips simmer in is either red tomato salsa or green tomatillo salsa.
This delightfully comforting dish is super easy to make at home with store-bought chips and salsa but is also a wonderful dish to order at a restaurant because they come doctored up with tons of extra ingredients.
Chilaquiles are usually topped with a fried egg, cotija cheese, and sliced avocadoes. You can also add chicken, steak, or chorizo.
I love indulging in a plate of Chilaquiles in salsa verde with diced onions, avocados, crumbled cotija cheese, and a fried egg for a decadent brunch.
Tamales are steamed corn dumplings that come in a wide variety of sweet and savory flavors.
These little pockets of deliciousness are the quintessential comfort food, sold on every street corner in Mexico City and made at home during Christmas and Dia de Reyes.
They are a labor-intensive food, made with a thick paste of corn masa stuffed with either meat, vegetables, cheese, or sweet fillings, then wrapped in either corn husks or banana leaves and steamed.
They’re well worth the effort and make a delicious meal or snack for any time of the day or night.
My favorite varieties for breakfast are the rajas con queso with panela cheese and poblano peppers, along with a sweet corn tamale.
Meaning “rancher’s eggs,” huevos rancheros originated as a favorite morning meal for ranch hands in Northern Mexico, using farm-fresh ingredients.
Huevos rancheros consist of fried, sunny-side-up eggs, whole or strips of crispy fried corn tortillas, and a red salsa to top it all off.
The hearty dish is commonly garnished with chopped cilantro and cotija cheese and served with refried beans. I like to add a few slices of avocado and whole black beans to my huevos rancheros.
It’s a cheap and easy breakfast that is both flavorful and filling. Pair it with a hot cup of coffee, and you’ll be ready to wrangle some cattle, as the name implies.
This Mexican dish has become a popular brunch food in the US as well!
As you might have deciphered, huevos divorciados means “divorced eggs,” but I can assure you that the separation is amicable! You get the best of both flavor profiles without choosing a favorite.
Huevos divorciados is a variation of huevos rancheros, consisting of two fried eggs, each doused in a different sauce.
One fried egg comes smothered in red salsa and the other in salsa verde, making for a colorful plate resembling the Mexican flag.
Fried tortillas often accompany huevos divorciados, but I like them with fresh corn tortillas to sop up all the leftover sauce.
Mexican cuisine revolves around corn as the primary carbohydrate source, but they know a thing or two about wheat flour.
Mexican panaderias or bakeries sell fresh baguettes, and football-shaped sandwich rolls called bolillos.
They use these elliptical loaves to make molletes, an open-faced sandwich of hollowed-out bolillo halves topped with refried black beans, sliced peppers, and queso ranchero, then grilled over a flat top or oven to melt the cheese.
I like to top my molletes with avocado for creaminess and pico de gallo for acidity, but I’ll never turn down a basic bean and cheese.
Enchiladas are among the most well-known Mexican dishes, with numerous delicious varieties.
Enchiladas Suizas means “Swiss enchiladas” for their incorporation of heavy cream and cheese in the sauce.
Enchiladas Suizas utilize the same cooking technique as classic enchiladas.
It starts with rolling soaked or softened tortillas into cylinders, stuffing them with cheese, chicken, or vegetables, dousing them in a salsa verde cream sauce, then topping them with white cheese before baking.
The tang of the salsa verde mixed with the cream and cheese is a perfect flavor profile, in my opinion.
I like them stuffed with chicken since there’s enough cheese and cream in the topping and sauce.
Torta de Tamal
If you’re a carb-lover, Torta de tamal will be your new favorite dish. There’s nothing more comforting than a dumpling inside a freshly baked bolillo hot out of the oven.
Popular in Mexico City, Torta de tamal is a tamale sándwich. You’ll often find tamale and torta de tamal vendors posted outside of neighborhood bakeries in the morning, offering their wares to folks on their way to work.
You can choose any tamale you’d like to stuff inside a hot bolillo. I like putting a chicken mole tamale inside mine, but other popular options include pork, cheese, and beef.
I like to add some sliced avocado and melted cheese, but purists might scold me for that!
Huevos a la Mexicana
Huevos a la Mexicana is a flavorful egg scramble that is one of the easiest and most popular Mexican breakfasts.
It starts by sauteing onions, jalapenos, and tomatoes in oil or butter in a skillet. You whisk in a few scrambled eggs until combined with the veggies, then turn the heat off and season with salt and a chopped cilantro garnish.
Huevos a la Mexicana is usually served with refried beans and fresh corn or flour tortillas for making breakfast tacos. Popular toppings include salsa, pepper sauce, or avocado for additional spice and richness.
I love making this dish on a lazy Sunday morning. It is flavorful, quick, and filling.
Named for the town of Motul in the southern Mexican state of Yucatan, huevos Motulenos are common in south Mexico, Cuba, and Costa Rica.
They’re a breakfast tostada, consisting of a fried tortilla topped with a layer of black refried beans, a fried egg, and cheese.
Most Mexican restaurants in the south offer Huevos Motulenos with your choice of salsa for garnish. Cuban versions may add ham and plantains.
Since they have beans, cheese, and egg, they are a complete breakfast with no need for a side dish, but it’s common to drink atole alongside the tostada for a sweet and savory start to the day.
I like to top huevos Motulenos with pickled red onions, chopped cilantro, and lime juice.
Meaning “sweet bread,” pan dulce is a blanket term for the wide variety of sweet baked goods you’ll find at any Mexican bakery.
It’s customary in any Mexican town or city for bakeries to send employees to roam the streets with a rolling cart of the day’s sweet bread in the mornings and evenings.
Popular variations of pan dulce include conchas, cuernitos, orejas, and jelly-filled pastries.
My favorite pan dulce is the cuernitos, croissant-shaped white bread that can be buttery, stuffed with chocolate, or dusted with granulated sugar.