When you want to create a traditional Mexican dish, it’s important to know the ingredients that are typically used in a dish. For example, guacamole is a good side dish to serve at a party or to serve alongside tacos, but it’s not traditionally served as a side dish. Instead, it’s a dip that is served alongside tortilla chips.
Another side dish that’s traditionally served is salsa. While some people may think that salsa is just a condiment, it’s actually a side dish. It’s typically served with chips and is meant to be eaten with your hands.
Whether you want to spice up your Mexican food or just want a side dish to accompany your meal, you’re in the right place!
This list features some traditional Mexican side dishes and snacks that can be served alongside tacos, fajitas, burritos, enchiladas, and more!
If you are having a traditional Mexican dinner, you are in luck! You will be getting a range of delicious and unique side dishes to add to your meal.
From corn tortillas to beans, tacos to chiles rellenos, these dishes will definitely add a whole new dimension to your meal.
There are several main categories of side dishes. Some side dishes go well with tacos while others pair well with enchiladas.
Whatever kind of dish you choose, there are a variety of ways to prepare them and enjoy them.
In this article, we will be looking at some of the most popular traditional Mexican side dishes and some of the best ways to enjoy them.
See Also: 22 Best Mexican Vegetable Side Dishes
Why Consider Serving Traditional Mexican Side Dishes?
Many people consider Mexican food to be the most flavorful and delicious food in the world.
While there is certainly plenty of debate regarding this topic, one thing is certain: you can never go wrong with a bowl of Mexican food.
However, it’s also worth noting that some people find it a little difficult to put together a complete meal without the traditional side dishes.
In fact, many people are quite content with their meals without these sides.
If you want to ensure that you enjoy a complete Mexican meal, then make sure to include a few Mexican side dishes as part of the meal.
The best side dishes for Mexican food are those that complement the main meal.
The most traditional Mexican side dishes include guacamole, tacos, enchiladas, and chile con carne.
These side dishes tend to be lighter than other Mexican dishes, making them a great choice for those who prefer to eat lighter foods.
If you’re feeling adventurous, consider pairing your Mexican dish with fried plantains and a spicy salsa.
This creates an unusual combination of flavors and textures that can be quite enjoyable.
However, if you’re looking for something different, there are a few traditional Mexican side dishes that are worth considering.
While the food may not be exactly the same as what you’re used to, it’s still tasty and has plenty of variety.
You might even be surprised at how delicious the dishes can be.
With that said, here are a few dishes you should consider serving with your traditional Mexican dinner.
43 Traditional Mexican Side Dishes
Mexican side dishes can vary greatly depending on region. In the United States, people often choose tacos and enchiladas as their traditional Mexican side dishes. However, in Mexico, the most popular traditional side dish is usually something like tortillas with beans or refried beans.
1. Spanish Rice
This simple side dish is easy to make, inexpensive to buy, and has endless possibilities.
You can add different toppings and seasonings for a unique twist on this traditional dish.
Spanish rice is great served warm with a salad, and it’s especially delicious with your favorite Mexican restaurant’s chimichangas.
2. Mexican Slaw
A good traditional Mexican side dish is usually served alongside enchiladas, tacos, and any other dishes featuring tortillas.
You can use this recipe as an all-purpose side dish for a casual or a festive meal. It’s a delicious combination of crunchy and sweet and can be used in many ways!
I love street corn – especially when I can get fresh, local corn straight from my farmer’s market.
But while there’s no question that fresh corn tastes great, it’s hard to beat the flavor of dried corn on the cob.
So if you can’t find corn from your local farmer’s market, look for it at your local Latin Grocery store or Mexican food market.
And if you can’t find corn in the grocery store, I suggest trying some frozen corn.
While frozen corn is certainly not as good as fresh corn, it does have a slightly sweeter flavor and is a lot easier to work with.
The perfect accompaniment to any of your Mexican-inspired meals is roasted zucchini.
It’s a simple side dish that goes very well with Mexican fare, especially when served hot and fresh.
It’s a great alternative to standard potatoes or rice and tastes fantastic with a variety of dishes.
If you’re looking for a traditional Mexican side dish that won’t break the bank, look no further than guacamole!
The best guacamole always begins with a great homemade avocado puree.
You can get your hands on a super ripe avocado and start mashing right away, but be careful not to mash too hard because you don’t want your guacamole to turn into a mayonnaise.
Then it’s just a matter of adding your favorite spices and other fresh ingredients.
Sweet potatoes are the perfect side dish for an authentic Mexican meal. They are high in Vitamin A, fiber, potassium, and iron – the perfect health food!
They are also delicious and versatile – they can be served roasted, boiled, fried, mashed, or even turned into a soup!
This is a traditional dish from Mexico, but it’s also a great way to add some flavor to any meal.
It’s made with masa harina, which is corn flour.
You can make this recipe ahead of time and then reheat it when needed. It’s super easy to prepare and very flavorful.
The classic Mexican potato salad is a perfect accompaniment to any kind of Mexican food. It’s simple, but it packs a lot of flavor!
The best way to make this dish is by boiling your potatoes first and letting them cool down before mixing in all your ingredients.
I had to look this up, but apparently, it’s not a side dish at all, but a filling meal in its own right!
If you enjoy Tex-Mex food, I highly recommend that you try out this delicious chicken tortilla soup!
It’s got all the same ingredients of your standard chili recipe – meat, beans, cheese, and of course, a nice big helping of tortilla chips!
Mexican cornbread is a traditional dish that goes great with tacos, burritos, enchiladas, and fajitas.
It’s a delicious dish that’s perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!
I’ve seen them in many different forms – baked, boiled, fried, steamed – but corn fritters are my favorite.
They’re very simple to make and easy to enjoy. They can be served as an appetizer or side dish and they always bring a smile to your face.
13. Black Beans
Nothing beats a good ol’ black bean salad to go with fajitas.
It’s simple, quick, and delicious. So much so that I always make extra for myself at parties.
You can never have too many black bean recipes, especially when they’re this tasty!
Cilantro-lime rice is a tasty side dish that has been enjoyed by Mexicans for generations.
This is not your average rice, it’s actually a type of pilaf. It’s a great alternative to plain white rice if you want to add more flavor.
It can be served with tacos, quesadillas, burritos, or any other traditional Mexican dish.
When it comes to Mexican food, potatoes are one of the most common side dishes. They’re delicious on their own, and they pair perfectly with all kinds of Mexican food.
For a traditional Mexican side dish, try to find Fiesta Red Potatoes.
This particular variety is known for its earthy flavor, which pairs perfectly with the heat of Mexican dishes.
Fiesta Corn is a traditional side dish that originated in Mexico.
The sweetness of corn and the heat of chiles is the perfect combination.
It’s one of my favorite recipes in the book. It’s simple, versatile, and always a crowd pleaser.
I often think of this combination as a Mexican version of a shepherd’s pie.
Both potato and chorizo are well-known favorites throughout the world, but they’re rarely found together on a plate.
That’s why I came up with this delicious side dish for Mexican-style gatherings.
It’s very easy to make and the texture is so incredibly unique.
You can find a lot of different varieties of chorizo in the store these days.
But, it can be hard to decide which one to choose, so I’ve put together this easy recipe.
This spicy and smoky chorizo is not only great on its own, but it makes an excellent pairing with beans or other stews and soups.
It has a nice flavor and texture that is perfect for a side dish.
Not sure how to make it? Check out this video:
Elotes, or grilled corn, is a traditional side dish of Mexico.
It’s a simple snack that’s enjoyed all over the country.
I love serving it with some fresh cilantro, and a squeeze of lime for the perfect Mexican flavor.
20. Patio Pintos
For many of us, tacos are a great way to start off our Mexican food adventures. But we can’t forget about the classic Mexican side dishes!
In particular, one of my favorite traditional Mexican side dishes is patio pintos.
It’s a delicious and easy side dish that combines three of my favorite things: beans, potatoes, and pork.
You may not have heard of this side dish. But I guarantee that you’ll be asking for it over and over again!
This simple side dish is so delicious that you’ll find yourself wanting to eat it by the spoonful! It’s spicy, savory, and flavorful.
It’s easy to prepare, and it goes well with everything from tacos to fajitas.
So get ready to enjoy a delicious traditional side dish that will become your go-to Mexican mealtime classic!
22. Salsa Corn Cakes
A traditional Mexican side dish, corn cakes are usually made with masa, but I’ve found a great alternative: corn tortillas!
They have the same texture and the same flavor as the original corn cakes, and they’re perfect for dipping in the salsa that you’ll be making for the main course.
A traditional side dish in Mexico is corn and beans.
They’re just so delicious, they’ve been a staple for centuries.
And you know what?
You don’t need any fancy ingredients to make it.
It’s so simple you can whip it up at home in no time.
What’s more, it goes perfectly with all the typical Mexican dishes, like enchiladas, tacos, tamales, and burritos.
When you think of Mexican food, green chiles come to mind. They’re ubiquitous in the cuisine – both as a main ingredient and in side dishes.
Green chiles are usually stuffed, stewed, roasted, or fried.
While most people are familiar with green chile and cream cheese, you can use this recipe to make some amazing side dishes out of corn on the cob and creamed corn.
Mexican food is one of the most popular cuisines in America today.
It’s also one of the most versatile and creative – there are so many different options when it comes to flavors and ingredients.
You can create a fabulous meal from almost any traditional Mexican side dish.
In this case, I chose to serve it with an Avocado Onion Salad for a classic Mexican twist.
This salad includes a lot of fresh vegetables and is packed with flavor.
It’s a great way to make a healthy lunch or side dish at home.
The perfect complement to any Mexican feast is a bowl of red pozole.
It’s a hearty soup made with hominy (See Also: Canned Hominy Recipes) and flavored with tomatoes, peppers, and a variety of spices.
Pozole is traditionally served with the “manteca” or pork fat that floats to the top of the soup.
27. Refried Bean Dip
This dish may not look like much, but it is one of my favorite traditional Mexican side dishes.
The simplicity of this side dish makes it easy to prepare and very filling. It’s perfect for a warm summer night.
The perfect accompaniment to enchiladas and other Mexican favorites is a simple side dish of black beans and cheesy rice.
If you love Mexican food, you’ve probably heard of this classic combination of black beans and cheese.
But do you know how to make it at home?
Nothing says “traditional” like nachos!
If you want to make your favorite nacho chips taste even better, try toasting them on the stove top first.
That way they’ll be crisp and delicious.
But if you prefer to make them from scratch, you can follow these easy steps:
- Mix together corn chips and shredded cheese.
- Add salsa and diced tomatoes.
- Bake for about 10 minutes at 350ºF.
Smoky barbecued corn is a traditional Mexican side dish, and one that goes well with practically anything.
This is especially true when paired with enchiladas, refried beans, rice and beans, or simply a bowl of salsa.
Smoky barbecued corn is super easy to make! Just put some cilantro and green onions on top, drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil, and season with a bit of salt and pepper.
A good guacamole is the perfect side dish for tacos and burritos.
But did you know that it can be even more versatile than that?
Here’s a recipe for a quick, healthy guacamole that’s packed with flavor and nutrition.
It’s delicious with a variety of foods – just like the classic Mexican side dishes!
Whether you love chilies or not, green chilies make an excellent addition to any dish – especially in Mexico.
This traditional Mexican side dish is very easy to prepare and tastes great with any type of meal.
You may not have thought of deviled eggs as a side dish, but I guarantee you’ll find yourself wishing they were on the table at every family meal.
That’s because they’re really tasty and easy to make!
The secret ingredient to making this recipe is the cayenne pepper. I know, you’re probably thinking it’s too hot for eggs, but trust me: just a dash of this spice adds a wonderful kick to your eggs without adding any heat at all.
I’ve always enjoyed a little kick in my eggs, so I’m really glad to share a recipe with you!
While this dish has become more popular in the US over the past few years, it’s been around for centuries in Mexico.
Its name translates to “squash that the sun dries,” and it’s also known as “poblano squash.”
It’s a versatile vegetable that can be prepared in many ways, but I think that the best way to enjoy it is roasted with some spices, lime juice, and cilantro.
The fresh flavor of this simple side dish is perfect for Mexican cuisine. It’s also a great accompaniment to any sort of seafood, poultry, or meat dish.
35. Tater Tot Nachos
What’s better than a great Mexican side dish? A great Mexican side dish served with nachos.
Not only does it make the nachos even more delicious, it also gives you a reason to have fun and eat as much cheese as you want.
The combination of salty and crunchy, combined with the spicy, creamy, and fresh flavors of this dish, makes it a winner.
I love using fresh fruits in the summertime. Especially during the warm season when mangoes are in season, they are so sweet and juicy.
Grilling them on a grill makes them even better. You can make this grilled mango salsa in advance and keep it in the fridge for 2 weeks.
This delicious side dish goes well with a variety of tacos, nachos, and burritos.
37. Fish Taco Salad
I love to eat Mexican food for breakfast. You don’t need any extra calories on top of those burritos!
When I was in college, I learned about a new type of taco salad. It had all these different ingredients that you usually find in a Mexican meal: refried beans, lettuce, avocado, tomatoes, radishes, and more.
It’s super delicious and so easy to make. It takes just a few minutes to put together, and it’s ready to go when you are.
Slow-cooker chicken enchiladas are a classic Mexican dish that are simple and easy to make.
This recipe will get you out of the kitchen while it simmers away in your slow cooker.
And you don’t have to worry about overcooking because the slow cooker will take care of that for you.
39. Mini Nachos
There’s nothing quite like a traditional Mexican dish and nachos are definitely one of my favorite Mexican dishes.
The fact that they’re so easy to make (especially when you have mini chips) makes them the perfect snack food for any occasion.
Tacos, burritos, enchiladas, tamales – these are some of the most classic Mexican dishes that you can find all over the United States.
And they always include some kind of beans.
But what about a traditional side dish that you can find in most Mexican restaurants?
Let’s start by talking about pinto beans.
Pinto beans are really simple to make. They’re just dried beans and water.
You’ll need to soak them for at least 8 hours before cooking. And then simmer them until tender.
But once they’re done, they have a very mild flavor – which is why they go well with so many different dishes!
From tacos to tamales, they can be used in almost any Mexican food
Chilaquiles Verdes – that is, green chilaquiles – are a dish of tortilla chips, egg, and salsa that’s been around since the mid-1800s.
If you don’t know what chilaquiles are, you may be surprised to learn they’re a side dish and not a dessert.
The first time I had them was at a restaurant in Mexico called Casa Sanchez.
I didn’t even know what they were before I ordered.
But once I started eating them, it was love at first bite!
They’re so simple and yet they manage to pack a ton of flavor.
A traditional Mexican side dish that is full of flavor and very easy to make is a quesadilla.
These stuffed tortillas are often topped with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, and guacamole for a hearty and healthy meal.
43. Queso Fundido
Queso Fundido is a traditional Mexican side dish consisting of a creamy mixture of melted cheese and butter that’s served with tortilla chips.
It’s a tasty treat that’s not hard to make at home. You just have to be a little creative in the ingredients you use.
11 Tips for Choosing A Traditional Mexican Side Dish
Not sure what to look for or what to think of when choosing a traditional Mexican side dish?
Follow these tips:
Tip 1: Avoid the Cheese
It may sound counterintuitive, but you want to avoid cheese when selecting a traditional Mexican side dish. Many of the dishes called “salsa” are actually just a simple tomato sauce with added spices. So, when you’re looking for a traditional side dish, look for something like chili con carne or refried beans.
Tip 2: Look For A Smoky Flavor
There is an array of smoky flavors in Mexican food. Look for dishes that have some of the following ingredients: chipotle chilies, ancho chilies, poblano peppers, guajillo peppers, and/or habanero peppers. These peppers are used to impart a smoky flavor.
Tip 3: Look For Some Chunks Of Vegetables
Vegetables are a traditional part of Mexican cuisine, and they should be included in your side dish. Look for dishes with potatoes, squash, corn, and beans.
Tip 4: Look For A Strong, Fresh Salsa
Look for a salsa with a strong, fresh flavor. This will ensure that the flavors of the dish are more prominent, rather than the flavors of the salsa overpowering the dish.
Tip 5: Look For A Spicy, Tangy Salsa
If you’re looking for a more complex, flavorful salsa, look for a salsa with a spicy, tangy flavor.
Tip 6: Get Your Ingredients From the Local Market
You want the freshest ingredients for your side dish. That means you need to get your beans, rice, and corn from the local market. If you’re lucky enough to have a farmers’ market, all the better. If not, there are a lot of good online resources for finding fresh Mexican food.
Tip 7: Don’t Use Tinned Foods
Tinned beans are not a traditional part of a Mexican meal. They are, however, a convenient substitute. But they’re not the same thing as a fresh bean. If you use them, be sure to rinse them well.
Tip 8: Buy Organic
Organic beans, corn, and rice are generally much better tasting than their non-organic counterparts. And they’re often cheaper too.
Tip 9: Avoid Anything That Sounds “Americanized”
If you’re going to eat tacos or burritos, you don’t want to be eating corn chips or some other Americanized version of a traditional Mexican side dish. You want something with that authentic taste and texture. That means no tortilla chips, no refried beans, no salsa, and so on.
Tip 10: Look For Something Freshly Baked
You’ll also notice that the majority of traditional Mexican side dishes are baked or fried, rather than raw. This is because the freshness of the ingredients is essential to the dish. So, look for something that says “freshly baked” on the label.
Tip 11: Don’t Be Afraid To Ask
Finally, if you have any questions about a particular recipe, don’t be afraid to ask the chef or owner. They may not know the answer to every question, but they will definitely be able to point you in the right direction.
Mexican food is very popular in the U.S.
It’s also a great choice for entertaining, as you can create lots of variety by adding in different side dishes.
If you want to make sure that your guests will have a full meal, we recommend serving some of these traditional Mexican side dishes alongside your main course.
They’re easy to make and won’t take too much time to prepare.
Many of them will also provide you with some extra servings for later on.
43 Traditional Mexican Side Dishes
- Spanish Rice
- Mexican Slaw
- Mexican Street Corn (elote)
- Roasted Mexican Zucchini
- Mexican Sweet Potatoes
- Mexican Corn Pudding
- Mexican Potato Salad
- Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Mexican Cornbread
- Mexican Corn Fritters
- Black Beans
- Cilantro-Lime Rice
- Fiesta Red Potatoes
- Fiesta Corn
- Potato and Chorizo Casserole
- Frijoles Y Chorizo
- Grilled Elote Flatbread
- Patio Pintos
- Cumin Rice with Avocado
- Salsa Corn Cakes
- Fiesta Corn and Beans
- Green Chile Creamed Corn
- Avocado Onion Salad
- Mexican Red Pozole with Pork
- Refried Bean Dip
- Black Beans and Cheesy Rice Skillet
- Skillet Nacho Dip
- Smoky Barbecued Corn
- Guacamole Quinoa Salad
- Green Chili and Roasted Tomato Guacamole
- Mexican Street Corn Deviled Eggs
- Sun-Dried Tomato Guacamole
- Tater Tot Nachos
- Grilled Mango Salsa
- Fish Taco Salad
- Slow-Cooker Chicken Enchilada Casserole
- Mini Nachos
- Mexican Pinto Beans
- Chilaquiles Verdes
- Vegetarian Calabacitas Quesadillas
- Queso Fundido
- Pick any of these tasty side dishes for your meal.
- Prepare the ingredients according to the recipe.
- Enjoy your dinner in no time!