Many people think that Mexican cuisine is simply TexMex food but it’s actually different and is more than just beef and nachos. Real Mexican food is a diverse mix of Aztec, Mayan, and Iberian cuisines, which makes authentic Mexican cookbooks such a powerful idea.
The food itself is the result of the intermingling of traditional staple foods with the food brought over by the Spaniards when they colonized the region. That’s why there’s a lot of variety in its regional cuisines. For instance, those in Oaxaca tend to reflect indigenous tastes while those in the Yucatan region have a strong Mayan and Carribean influence.
Mexican flavors tend to be spicy, savory, sourly and sweet. This is because they use a lot of garlic, onion, spices (oregano and cumin) and chiles. These give Mexican foods their distinctive flavor.
And like French cuisine, Mexican food preparations require lots of ingredients and prepping time. This is why some home cooks might find it challenging to cook authentic Mexicano food.
But there are cookbooks that show you an easy way to cook this ethnic cuisine. These books will show the home cook that there is a wide world of flavorful dishes that go beyond tacos, guacamole, and margaritas.
The best Mexican cookbooks will have a variety of easy-to-do recipes. Some will feature heirloom recipes, others will showcase modern interpretations of classic favorites.
Because this cuisine relies on specific regional ingredients, some recipes may be difficult to make particularly if you’re in the US. But a good book will overcome that by suggesting alternative ingredients that offer the same flavor.
Also important are the inclusion of photos. When exploring an unfamiliar cuisine, it always helps to have a clear photo of what the finished dish looks like. This way, one knows that one has followed the recipe directions correctly.
In this list, I’ve gathered the best cookbooks on Mexican cuisine. Ranging from beginner to expert level, these cookbooks will show you how to achieve that authentic Mexican flavor without having to take a culinary trip to Mexico City.
Here are my top 10 Mexican cookbooks on Amazon.
Table of Contents
- Best Mexican Cookbooks
- 1. The Art of Mexican Cooking: Traditional Mexican Cooking for Aficionados: A Cookbook Hardcover
- 2. The Best Mexican Recipes: Kitchen-Tested Recipes Put the Real Flavors of Mexico Within Reach Paperback – Illustrated
- 3 .Nopalito: A Mexican Kitchen [A Cookbook] Hardcover – Illustrated
- 4. Truly Mexican: Essential Recipes and Techniques for Authentic Mexican Cooking Hardcover
- 5.World Food: Mexico City: Heritage Recipes for Classic Home Cooking [A Mexican Cookbook] Hardcover
- 6. The Native Mexican Kitchen: A Journey into Cuisine, Culture, and Mezcal Hardcover – Illustrated
- 7. Muy Bueno: Three Generations of Authentic Mexican Flavor Paperback
- 8. Mexico: The Cookbook Hardcover – Illustrated
- 9. Mexican Today: New and Rediscovered Recipes for Contemporary Kitchens Hardcover
- 10. Authentic Mexican 20th Anniversary Ed: Regional Cooking from the Heart of Mexico Paperback
- Top Pick
Best Mexican Cookbooks
- The Art of Mexican Cooking: Traditional Mexican Cooking for Aficionados: A Cookbook Hardcover
- The Best Mexican Recipes: Kitchen-Tested Recipes Put the Real Flavors of Mexico Within Reach Paperback
- Nopalito: A Mexican Kitchen [A Cookbook] Hardcover – Illustrated
- Truly Mexican: Essential Recipes and Techniques for Authentic Mexican Cooking Hardcover
- World Food: Mexico City: Heritage Recipes for Classic Home Cooking [A Mexican Cookbook] Hardcover
- The Native Mexican Kitchen: A Journey into Cuisine, Culture, and Mezcal Hardcover – Illustrated
- Muy Bueno: Three Generations of Authentic Mexican Flavor Paperback
- Mexico: The Cookbook Hardcover – Illustrated
- Mexican Today: New and Rediscovered Recipes for Contemporary Kitchens Hardcover
- Authentic Mexican 20th Anniversary Ed: Regional Cooking from the Heart of Mexico Hardcover
1. The Art of Mexican Cooking: Traditional Mexican Cooking for Aficionados: A Cookbook Hardcover
This is an updated edition of a classic cookbook that includes a new introduction by the author. There are 200 recipes here gathered from all the regions of Mexico. The collection is a mix of easy recipes for the casual cook and sophisticated ones for those looking for a challenge.
Readers liked this book more for the cultural stories and history about Mexican cuisine. The recipes are authentic but most will require specialized equipment and ingredients that are difficult to find in American stores unless ordered online. There are also no Instagram-worthy photos of dishes here.
Best used as a reference manual rather than a go-to cookbook for Mexican food, this book will help anyone understand the flavors and procedures involved in Mexican cuisine. Recommended for average to expert home cooks.
2. The Best Mexican Recipes: Kitchen-Tested Recipes Put the Real Flavors of Mexico Within Reach Paperback – Illustrated
This cookbook presents traditional Mexican recipes that have been modified to make them easy to follow in a modern American home kitchen. There are 175 kitchen-tested recipes here, ranging from appetizers, soups and stews, authentic egg dishes, tacos and tamales, burritos and enchiladas, to all kinds of meat and seafood dishes.
The book is laid out in a typical user-friendly America’s Test Kitchen (ATK) format. There’s a primer on Mexican home cooking along with information on key ingredients that can be found locally. There’s also a section on innovative techniques which shave off prep time significantly.
The featured recipes are diverse; there are authentic regional dishes, popular street foods and modern Mexico-style cuisine. There are many full-page illustrations of the recipes along with smaller how-to photos for illustrating various cooking techniques.
Readers liked the reliability of the recipes. One said that its photo glossary of chiles, corn products and common Mexican seasoning and herbs was very helpful. This book is a great starting point for anyone wishing to try Mexican cuisine but doesn’t want to waste time with recipes that fail. Recommended for beginner to expert level home cooks.
3 .Nopalito: A Mexican Kitchen [A Cookbook] Hardcover – Illustrated
Written by the head chef of the popular Nopalito restaurant in San Franciso, this cookbook features 100 recipes for regional Mexican food. Samples of the recipes include Crispy Red Quesadillas with Braised Pork and Pork Rinds; Toasted Corn with Crema, Ground Chile, and Queso Fresco; Tamales with Red Spiced Sunflower Seed Mole; and Salsa-Dipped Griddled Chorizo and Potato Sandwiches.
This book also teaches you the fundamental techniques of Mexican cooking and includes insights into Mexican food and culture. There are also recipes for aqua frescas and cocktails here.
Recipes are straightforward and include beautiful photos of the dishes. Most of these recipes can be made one at a time and then stored in the fridge for future meals.
Readers liked the flavorful recipes. One liked its informative section on essential Mexican pantry staples and kitchen equipment. Recommended for home cooks of any skill level who are interested in replicating the popular dishes from the Nopalito restaurant.
4. Truly Mexican: Essential Recipes and Techniques for Authentic Mexican Cooking Hardcover
This cookbook covers 128 authentic Mexican recipes ranging from main dishes, sides, salsas, guacamoles, moles, adobos, etc. Sample of recipes include Braised Short Ribs Adobo and Red Snapper Papillotes in Green Mole.
The book provides clear instructions on prepping and cooking techniques like how to roast chiles or tomatoes or toasting fresh tortillas. It tells you how to use or combine Mexican ingredients to create sauces, salsas, and adobos. It also includes a section on nut and seed-based sauces.
Recipes are detailed and can easily be made by newbies. There are many color photos that accurately illustrate the dish and the techniques.
Readers like how the book breaks down the techniques and suggests ingredient substitutions. Many recommended this book as an excellent resource for making sauces which are an essential element in Mexican cuisine. Recommended for those looking for authentic but easy-to-do Mexican sauces.
5.World Food: Mexico City: Heritage Recipes for Classic Home Cooking [A Mexican Cookbook] Hardcover
Both a tribute to Mexico City and to its culinary culture, this cookbook features some 50 authentic recipes gathered from the city’s markets, restaurants, and home kitchens. Samples of the recipes include authentic guacamole and homemade tortilla chips, Mexican-style stewed zucchini and a modern classic from the popular resto Contramar, the tuna tostada garnished with chipotle mayonnaise and avocado.
It includes a comprehensive illustrated reference section that tells you how to source, prep, and store essential Mexican ingredients. Throughout the book, memorable anecdotes of the city provide a colorful and vibrant context to the recipe selection.
Recipes are very accessible for beginners and skilled cook. There are also more than 150 eye-pleasing color photographs in the book.
One reader noted that its section on cooking techniques are very clear and concise. Another liked the warm tone of the writing. Recommended for those interested in exploring the local cuisine of Mexico City.
6. The Native Mexican Kitchen: A Journey into Cuisine, Culture, and Mezcal Hardcover – Illustrated
This book features more than 100 Pre-Hispanic Mexican recipes that have been updated to reflect modern ingredients and cooking techniques. These recipes are accompanied with personal stories of mezcaleros, traditional cooks and native healers to provide context for the culinary traditions in Mexican cooking.
Recipes include birria and barbacoa, and beloved market foods like tlayudas, tacos al pasto, and signature mezcal cocktails. There are also modern vegetarian and seafood recipes that are inspired by traditional recipes. Particularly noteworthy is the cookbook's section on medicinal recipes which feature a host of teas, tinctures, and herb baths that are used for the treatment of various ailments like colds, muscle tension, and infertility.
Readers have noted that while the recipes are do-able, most of them require a pressure cooker or an Instant Pot. One liked the variety of its recipes, particularly the mole section. The book is recommended reading for anyone interested in indigenous-adjacent Mexican home cooking.
7. Muy Bueno: Three Generations of Authentic Mexican Flavor Paperback
This book features three generations of authentic Mexican family recipes. There are over 100 recipes, ranging from traditional old world northern recipes, southern home-style dishes to modern Latin fusion recreations.
Along with the recipes are heartwarming stories of the Mendias-Soza matriarch and her daughter and granddaughters. It also includes a chile photo glossary and step-by-step instructions for roasting the chiles and making tamales or red chile sauce.
Readers liked that the recipes are easy to follow and require no exotic ingredients. One said that this book is an excellent, no-frills introduction to authentic home cooking. Recommended for collectors of family heirloom recipes.
8. Mexico: The Cookbook Hardcover – Illustrated
This book is a compilation of some authentic 700 recipes from all across Mexico. The recipes cover every type of food from snacks and street food, starters and salads, eggs, soups, fish, meat, vegetables, accompaniments, rice and beans, breads and pastries, to drinks and desserts.
The recipes are identified from which region they come from and include notes on its origins, ingredients and techniques. Samples of the recipes include Acapulco‐style ceviche, Barbacoa de Pollo from Hidalgo and the classic Salsa Ranchera. There are also recipes contributed by some of Mexico’s top chefs like Enrique Olvera and Hugo Ortega.
Recipes are a mix of easy and sophisticated. As is usual with regional cookbooks, some recipes will require ingredients that may be hard to source unless you’re living in Mexico. But if you’re looking for a reference bible of Mexico cuisine, this comes recommended by readers. Not for newbie cooks, though.
9. Mexican Today: New and Rediscovered Recipes for Contemporary Kitchens Hardcover
This is a cookbook of contemporary Mexican cuisine. There are more than 250 recipes here that are a mix of classic favorites and new creative spins on traditional recipes. Some of the recipes featured in the author’s cooking show also appear here in this book.
Samples of recipes include Miners’ Enchiladas with fresh vegetables and cheese, Drunken Rice with Chicken and Chorizo and “Sweaty” Tacos. Recipes are clearly written and include notes on prep and cooking times, ingredient substitutions and options for segments that should be made ahead. There’s also a “Cook’s Tips” section that features useful tips.
Readers liked the colorful visual layout of the book which makes the recipe presentation exciting and sassy. Another liked that the recipes are more reflective of modern Mexican kitchens because they use ingredients and techniques that are adapted from other cultures. Recommended for the fans of Pati Jinich and for anyone interested in practical, modern Mexican home cooking.
10. Authentic Mexican 20th Anniversary Ed: Regional Cooking from the Heart of Mexico Paperback
This cookbook takes you on a culinary journey to six distinct regions of Mexico and introduces you to their regional recipes, their kitchens, their markets, and their feasts. The master recipes featured here will teach you how to recreate authentic Mexican flavors and textures while making room for adjustments for hard-to-source ingredients.
It also includes menu suggestions as well as tips for preparing the dishes in advance to accommodate busy households. Cooking techniques are presented with illustrative photos and there’s a glossary for ingredients.
Recipes are clear and detailed but for the most part, are labor-intensive and geared to special occasions and large gatherings. However, one reader noted that this cookbook is more easily adapted for western home kitchen than most regional cookbooks. Recommended for experienced cooks interested in regional Mexican cooking.
THE BEST MEXICAN RECIPES: KITCHEN-TESTED RECIPES PUT THE REAL FLAVORS OF MEXICO WITHIN REACH PAPERBACK – ILLUSTRATED, edited by the American Test Kitchen
Reliable and kitchen-tested recipes. This is the book’s main value. It’s all about making contemporary Mexican-style cuisine easy to cook in your home kitchen.
It’s a user-friendly tutorial cookbook that introduces you to Mexican food that’s not Taco Bell but also not as exotic as using tripe or offal meat. There are traditional Mexican recipes here but they have been modified so that a newbie cook can easily make them without sacrificing Mexican flavors.
Readers liked the step-by-step photos of techniques as well as the pictures of ingredients. Another liked the useful info on the “Building Blocks” of Mexican cooking. Overall, a great pick for anyone willing to explore Mexican cooking right in the comfort of their own home kitchen.