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Flavorful Extravaganza: Common Spices Used in Mexican Food

Mexican food is known to be one of the tastiest cuisines in the world.

Most of the dishes in this famous cuisine are saucy, meaty, spicy, but most of all flavorful.

Flavorful in the sense that each food will give your palate surprisingly different flavors. And these flavors will most likely keep you begging for more.

But in truth, Mexican cuisine being known for its rich flavors is not surprising at all.

A lot of herbs and spices are known to be used in every Mexican food.

You can even say that spices are the ultimate strength and secret ingredient for the iconic taste of this cuisine. And if you do so, no one will probably contradict you.

Unseasoned is something that you can never associate with any Mexican food.

So in your quest to cook for a Mexican dish you are badly craving for, perhaps it would be best to know more about the most commonly used spices.

What is the Mexican Cuisine Flavor?

It is hard to pin down one specific taste that will encompass all the flavors you can find in the Mexican cuisine. There are just too many flavors present and it varies from dish to dish.

One can say that the majority of these dishes are saucy and meaty.

While others may say that a lot of Mexican foods are salty and spicy. And if we include desserts here, these are a whole other set of flavors.

Going Back to the Roots

The reason why there are different flavors in this cuisine can be traced back to its origin.

Mexican is considered to be a fusion of different cuisines that have evolved in time.

A major influence to this is the Spanish cuisine since the country was colonized by the Spaniards for a long time.

But even before the Spaniards came, there was already a thriving food culture in ancient Mexico.

The Aztec and Maya were known to have used maize and beans as their staple food.

But more importantly, during that time, they were already using spices such as chilies and tomatoes.

What are the Most Common Spices Used in Mexican Food?

  1. Garlic

    Garlic is one of the major spices that are often used in Mexican dishes. If you ask what is the main spice in Mexican cuisine, garlic can be a frontrunner.

    Whether used as fresh or in dried powder form, you can’t deny the strong flavor and aroma that garlic gives to any dish it is used on.

    Commonly, garlic is used in salsas or sauces, meaty dishes like Chili con carne, and even to rice dishes like the Spanish rice.

    Sometimes, it’s also used in some grilled Mexican dishes like Grilled Chicken Tacos and Grilled Fajitas.

  2. Onion

    A common tandem of garlic in most dishes is the onion. Onion gives a very authentic and distinct flavor to both the traditional and modern Mexican foods.

    And like the garlic, onion can also be used as a fresh ingredient or in its dried powder form.

    When used as a powder, the resulting dish will have a smoother texture. However, the use of fresh onion with its moist texture and aroma will prove beneficial to other dishes.

    Although any variety of onion can be used, most Mexican dishes are using white onion.

    Some of these dishes are enchiladas, fajitas, and salsas which you can also find in our menu at El Rincon Mexican Kitchen & Tequila Bar.

  3. Chilies

    red chillies - El RinconSince this cuisine is known for its meat and vegetable dishes, it is only logical that chilies are widely used.

    Chilies are known for their heat and light to strong spiciness that will truly spice up whatever dish you are cooking or ordering.

    There are a lot of chile peppers that are native to Mexico, but some are also imported from other countries.

    There are specific types of chiles, whether as fresh peppers or in powder form, that will fit for each Mexican dish.

    Basically, you can’t just use any chile pepper for a dish you want.

    Some of the famous Mexican chiles are Jalapeño, Poblano, Chipotle, Serrano, Guajillo, and Habanero.

    Poblano and Arbol chiles are perhaps some of the most widely used in different meaty dishes.

  4. Cinnamon

    cinnamon rolls - El RinconOf course a list of Mexican spices will include something that is widely used for desserts.

    Cinnamon has a very distinct taste that complements the taste of whatever dessert or dish it is used on.

    If you love churros and hot chocolate, cinnamon is an ingredient you should always include.

    But cinnamon is not restricted into desserts only. You can even use this in moles, stews, and other savory dishes.

  5. Cumin

    bowl of cumin - El RinconAlthough cumin is mostly associated with Asian cuisine, it is also widely used in the Mexican cuisine. This is also because the cumin plant can be easily grown everywhere.

    Most of the time, cumin is paired with other spices like coriander and cilantro because they all blend well.

    Because of its toasty and somewhat bitter taste, cumin is popularly used as taco seasoning.

  6. Mexican Oregano

    mexican oregano - El RinconThe Mexican Oregano is not the traditional oregano that you would often associate with Italian cuisine.

    This unique oregano is native to Mexico and can be only grown in Latin America.

    In terms of taste, the Mexican oregano also differs in taste because of its earthy and citrusy flavor undertones.

    This spice is used in a variety of dishes that include beans, stews, tacos, and chilis.

  7. Allspice

    Who says berries can’t make a good spice? Allspice is made from dried berries of the Pimenta dioica plant.

    Because of its rich aroma, this popular spice works well for meaty dishes and salsas. But sometimes, you can also use it for some desserts and even beverages.
    allspice - El Rincon

  8. Achiote

    Achiote - El RinconAchiote is native to the regions of Mexico and Brazil that is why it is also popular in these areas.

    When used as a flavoring, achiote can either be in its powder or paste form.

    Because of its earthy flavor with a light kick of spiciness, achiote is perfect for stews and bean dishes. Likewise, it can also be a perfect spice for marinating chicken and meat.

Get Spicy

Spices are like a cuisine’s soul. Without it, every dish can be bland and unsavory.

So whenever you plan on cooking any dish from the Mexican cuisine, being extravagant in spices is never a sin.

Happy cooking and eating! Contact us today!

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El Rincon Mexican Kitchen & Tequila Bar or known as El Rincon among the locals around the restaurant serves Mexican food and drink made from the freshest ingredients.

Besides serving food for our customers in Carrollton, Frisco, and Addison we’re also active in communities across Texas.

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1114 South Elm Street #100
Carrollton, TX 75006

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2809 Preston Road #1200
Frisco, TX 75034

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5004 Addison Circle
Addison, TX 75001