Having returned from a one month’s trip to Mexico, I have since pined to be taken back to the gastronomic feast that I experience on my travels.
From taco tours in Mexico City, to drinking one too many mezcal margaritas in Oaxaca, you come to realise that Mexican cuisine has it all.
Whether you’re celebrating Cinco de Mayo, a national celebration in Mexico in honour of the failed French invasion, or hosting a themed dinner party, there is no better time to gather your friends for a Mexican food fiesta.
As with many cuisines, the British interpretation can often not do it justice but fear not as this selection of cookbooks will help you learn more about the Cocina Mexicana (Mexican kitchen). If you find yourself craving Mexican food but don’t have time to cook then Jalisco, a great authentic Mexican restaurant in Brixton village, will undoubtedly satisfy your burrito or fajita cravings or check out this roundup of the best Mexican restaurants around the capital.
Of course, no discussion about Mexican food can be complete without tequila. Whether you’re mixing it into your margaritas or aggressively chomping on lime after drinking it straight, tequila, and its sister spirit mezcal, are a great addition to your Mexican culinary experience. If you’re overwhelmed by the variety of tequila and mezcal on offer then a good place to start would be with el Jimador, an affordable yet delicious tequila. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a drinks cabinet addition then try out Casamigos Anejo tequila or Cazcabel Honey Tequila which have beautifully designed bottles as well as providing great taste.
To show you just how delicious Mexican cooking can be, we tried out Thomasina Miers’ Mexican Pizzas (a mix of delicious seasonal vegetables on top of a flatbread base) from her new book Meat-Free Mexican.
Below you’ll find the best Mexican cookbooks out there which offer both traditional and contemporary takes on Mexican food making the cuisine accessible, fun and simple. So, all that’s left to do is gather your friends, put some mariachi music on and tuck into these tasty meals.
Meat-free Mexican: Vibrant Vegetarian Recipes
Best for: Vegetarians and vegans
Winner of MasterChef and co-founder of successful food chain Wahaca, Thomasina Miers has launched her latest cookbook, Meat-Free Mexican which, as the name suggests, contains an extensive number of vegetarian and vegan recipes.
The book seeks to celebrate seasonal fruit and vegetables and many recipes feature a dairy-free switch in order to cater to all dietary requirements. We particularly loved the family friendly dishes such as Mexican Pizzas and Chilli Non Carne which are simple to make and will easily feed a crowd.
Buy now £20.50, Amazon
The Spicery How to be a Taco Legend Cookbook Kit
Best for: Gifting
This beautiful cookbook kit is a perfect gift for any Mexican or taco lovers and comes with 80 recipes and four delicious taco spice blends in lovely storage tins. The four spice blends feature 20 different Mexican spices including eight different chillies that are blended together to make wonderfully tangy, spicy and smoky mixes which can be added into any of the recipes in the book and more.
We loved trying out the classic Mexican dishes such as fajitas and nachos and the spice blends really do work wonders, we were surprised how a simple dish could taste so delicious after a little seasoning. With each purchase of a cookbook, you also get access to the online Taco Legend club which features plenty more recipes and top culinary tips.
Buy now £32.00, Amazon
The Latin American Cookbook
Best for: Food beyond Mexico
If you love Mexican food but also want to find out more about the rich culinary region then the Latin American Cookbook is great as it features recipes across the continent. With over 600 included, this book comprehensively covers traditional dishes such as empanadas and tortillas whilst also including lesser known regional specialities such as Easter soup from Ecuador and Nicaraguan Squash Stew which we thoroughly enjoyed cooking.
We found that overall the recipes, despite being exotic in taste, required basic kitchen equipment and easy to source food. Many of the recipes are also influenced by history and culture with strong indigenous and European influences being seen across the book.
Buy now £24.57, Amazon
Comida Mexicana: Snacks, tacos, tortas, tamales & desserts
Best for: Mexican street food
This colourful and beautifully designed book will take you across the breadth of Mexico and treat you to country’s street food made easy. Focusing primarily on snacks, this cookbook will teach you how to make all sorts of tasty treats such as totopos and quesadillas - the perfect dishes for sharing.
We found that the alitas de pollo (chicken wings) and Chorizo potatoes were particular crowd pleasers. It also has a pretty good range of authentic Mexican desserts such as Flan Mexicana which requires just five ingredients.
Buy now £14.72, Amazon
My Mexico City Kitchen: Recipes and Convictions
Best for: Regional cooking
With a land mass of almost two million km squared and a population of 129 million, Mexico is big and with big countries comes vast numbers of regional varieties and dishes. We love this book because instead of trying to cover it all, it focuses on the foodie paradise that is Mexico City. The book includes150 recipes split into the basic meals, breakfasts, starters, mains and desserts.
If you love Mexican fish dishes this book may be the one for you as it is highly seafood centric with some amazing prawn recipes that are sure to blow your mind. As the book focuses on regional specialities, we found that some ingredients were slightly harder to source from your local supermarket but most recipes provide similar alternative ingredients so it won’t stop you enjoying the dishes to their fullest.
Buy now £18.55, Amazon
Mi Cocina: Recipes and Rapture from My Kitchen in Mexico
Best for: History lovers
Mi Cocina is not only a homage to all the flavours and colours of Mexico but also to its history. Every chapter features small essays on topics such as Middle Eastern influence on Mexican food and the role of migration on traditional recipes, which makes this book both an intellectual and culinary delight.
We love some of the traditional recipes such as Oaxaca’s famous Mole and fried fish tacos from coastal Baja which are full of flavour and highly authentic. It also has a very useful section on the basic essential ingredients to keep in your pantry and where you can source them from.
Buy now £22.01, Amazon
The Mexican Home Kitchen: Traditional Home-Style Recipes That Capture the Flavors and Memories of Mexico
Best for: Authentic cooking
If you’re after regional authentic Mexican food that is easy to cook at home, then this book is an ideal addition to your cookbook cupboard. What we love about this book is that most recipes use easy-to-find ingredients that are relatively inexpensive, which means cooking tasty food such as enchiladas doesn’t have to break the bank.
Not only did we enjoy the great recipes, but the top tips were very useful and will help you improve your culinary skills. Our favourite recipes were those that explained how to make staple Mexican foods that are used across dishes such as homemade tortillas.
Buy now £14.01, Amazon
Frida's Fiestas: Recipes & Reminiscences of Life with Frida Kahlo
Best for: Art lovers
If you’re looking for a cookbook that not only provides you with great recipes, but also helps you learn about the artistic and political history of Mexico then look no further than Frida’s Fiestas. This book, created by Frida’s stepdaughter, features over 100 dishes that were cooked or eaten by Frida Khalo over the course of her life whilst also including family photographs and extracts from Frida’s diaries. Our favourite dishes include the Chocolate Mole Tart and the Red Snapper Veracruz, a whole fish cooked in a herby salsa.
Buy now £20.76, Amazon
Taco Loco: Mexican street food from scratch
Best for: Tacos
Translated into English as ‘crazy about tacos’, this cookbook features wonderfully creative takes on classic taco recipes and includes vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options. Not only did we love the Mexican kebab and pineapple-filled varieties, we also thought that the extensive drink recipes, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, were a great addition to the book and are perfectly designed for summery days and evenings.
Buy now £10.69, Amazon