Spices Used in Mexican Foods

Mexican food mixed guacamole nachos chili sauce dipping cheddar cheese lemon pico de gallo

Do you love Mexican food? The spices help give it a one-of-a-kind flavor that you desire. You don’t have to let others do the cooking for you. Learn about these spices used in Mexican foods to help you enjoy your favorite foods whether or not a Mexican restaurant is open.

Whole cumin seeds and measuring spoon with ground cumin tipped from the bowl of a spice grinder

Cumin is probably one of the most often used spices in Mexican foods. Chalupas, rice dishes and enchiladas are common foods where you’ll find these spices.

Chili Peppers

Chili peppers are one of the main ingredients in many Mexican dishes. You can use it for meat and vegetables. Add an entire chili pepper to a dish and remove it after it has been cooked, or sprinkle chili powder into your food. Chili powder, including Chipolte, Ancho, Juajillo and Pasilla, are what gives Mexican food the taste you’ve come to enjoy.


Coriander is another spice often used in Mexican foods as well as in Asian and Caribbean recipes. You can expect to find coriander. It has a strong taste often found in meat dishes as well as burritos.

Cilantro herbs and knife.

When you think about Mexican food, you may think of Cilantro. This is the leaf of the coriander plant. You can find Cilantro in salsa, guacamole, meat and fish dishes.

Oregano twigs on wooden background

Oregano can also be found in this type of cuisine; however you’ll most likely use the Mexican variety rather than using Mediterranean oregano. You will often find oregano in dishes using tomatoes.

A typical Mexican dish of chicken with mole

When making sweet dishes, you can expect to use cloves, cinnamon, anise and cocoa. They may also be used in savory dishes, as in the case with Mole which is served with chicken dishes.

Achiote, urucu or onoto (Bixa orellana), Tortuguero, Costa Rica.

Other spices you may find in Mexican dishes includes Epazote, Yucatan spice, Achiote seeds, Amaranthe, Boldo, Hoja Santa as well as honey, agave and vanilla.

It may not always be easy to find an open Mexican restaurant when you’re hungry. If you learn how to mix the spices used in Mexican food, you can begin to create Mexican cuisine that you and your family will love. Break out the cookbooks or find some recipes online to try your hand at preparing delicious Mexican dishes.


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