Traditional Side Dishes Served in Mexico

Mexican cuisine is as vibrant, complex, and wonderful as Mexican culture itself. The dynamic flavor combinations and commitment to authenticity and tradition give the good an incredible essence and earn its fantastic reputation. 

At De La Calle, we are so proud to share the beauty of Mexican traditions with everyone. Mexican food culture is integral to the national identity, and we love to celebrate it.  

Part of what makes Mexican dishes so recognizable and yummy is not just the main dishes, but the side dishes as well. Traditional side dishes served in Mexico are the supporting actors to the lead, and no actor, no matter how good they are, can thrive without a strong supporting cast. 

Alongside the importance of beverages in Mexico, like tepache and Mexican sodas, side dishes add to the overall eating experience. In keeping with traditions, while still adapting to the times, Mexican cuisine shines in part thanks to its solid foundation of fantastic side dishes. 

You have probably already heard of rice and beans, but there is so much more to traditional Mexican side dishes than that. Proper preparation is key, but a variety of flavors and textures is a central component to a successful Mexican meal. 

If you are looking for inspiration for dinner this week, look no further. Read on to check out a few traditional side dishes served in Mexico! 

Mexican Rice or Spanish Rice

Let’s begin with some basics. Spanish rice, also referred to as Mexican rice, is a staple side dish. 

This deliciously seasoned side is great when paired with tacos, fish, meats, or really anything. It is a versatile dish that will surely have you coming back for a second helping!

Mexican rice also is quite simple to make. Preparation time is only about seven minutes! 

Mexican rice combines many classic Mexican flavors to create a wonderful rice experience. The rice is flavored with broth, tomato sauce, garlic, cilantro, garlic pepper, and cumin. All of these are key flavors in Mexican cooking.

Mexican Slaw

A delicious version of traditional coleslaw, Mexican slaw may steal the show from the main course. 

Instead of the usual mayo-coated cabbage and red onion, Mexican slaw plays with tang. This gets your taste buds up and roaring to go! 

In place of thick, creamy mayo, Mexican slaw goes the citrus route. The chopped cabbage and red onion are dressed in cider vinegar and olive oil. 

As is law in Mexican cooking, a little cumin never hurts. The slaw is also seasoned with cumin, alongside the zesty dressing. There is no lack in the flavor department for this tasty coleslaw. 

Mexican Street Corn or Elote

This side dish is incredibly famous, and for good reason. Elote is a grilled corn cob seasoned with a variety of fixings, all designed to make your mouth water and your taste buds rejoice! 

Mexican street corn is often sold by street vendors, and though it can be eaten alone, it is a fantastic friend to any main course. 

The grilled corn is coated in mayo, chili powder, cotija cheese, cilantro, and lime. The dish is well balanced to perfection. Though these seasonings are the traditional fixings, there is no limit to the flavor combinations offered by elote. 

Not only is the crunchy texture a treat, but the heat paired with the zest and refreshing flavors are sure to pair beautifully with any main dish. Oh, and did we mention the cotija cheese? You’ll be in grilled corn bliss with this traditional side dish. 

Mexican Cornbread or Jalapeno Cornbread 

What says comfort more than a warm piece of cornbread? Not much! Mexican cornbread takes the side dish to a whole new level. 

This cornbread is not only sweet, soft, crumbly, and cooked to perfection, but it is also packed with flavor. This side includes cheese and jalapenos to give your mouth a kick and a kiss all at once. It’s an absolute staple at any dinner table. 

Another corn-centric dish, Mexican cornbread combines several quintessential Mexican ingredients: Corn, cheese, and peppers. These ingredients pop up in so many dishes for a reason. They are easy to access, affordable, and pair perfectly with almost all Mexican dishes. 


Though this may seem obvious, guacamole is a star in Mexican cooking. It offers a smooth cooling side to a fiery or dense main dish. Plus, who doesn’t absolutely love avocados? 

A beautiful thing about guacamole is the plethora of different ways to make it. You can go the simple route with red onion, diced tomatoes, salt, and lime juice and have a fantastic addition to your meal or bowl of tortilla chips. 

You can also experiment with flavors and spices to suit your preferences. Plus, guacamole is versatile in its capacity to be a filling, a topping, or a dip. 

There is no end to the kinds of guacamole you can create, nor a limit to the fixings you can add to it to customize and elevate the flavor. 

Pro tip: Try adding diced mango or peaches to your guacamole. The sweetness paired with the zest of lime is a sure-fire way to create a well-balanced and delicious side that everyone will enjoy! 

Black Beans and Rice 

This one is another absolute icon among Mexican side dishes. Beans and rice are also a fantastic main dish if you are looking for simple yet flavorful sustenance. 

The beauty of this dish, again, lies in the ability to customize it to your flavor preferences. The artistry of beans and rice come from the way it is seasoned. This dish is a fantastic pair to any main dish. Just season the rice and beans with salt, cumin, garlic, and oregano, and you are in business. 

There is a reason this dish has stood the test of time. Sometimes, the best foods are the ones that are the most straightforward. Plus, beans and rice are quite filling as well as being delicious. 

Keep It Simple 

No matter what traditional Mexican side dish is your favorite, you are sure to strike gold with every single option. The beauty of these side dishes is that they are not overly complex. That is what has kept them in the lexicon of Mexican cuisine for so long. 

Whether it’s beans or corn, guacamole, or rice, traditional Mexican side dishes are a fantastic way to have sides that are just as delicious as the main course. Plus, these are all simple and quickly made recipes. 

This makes the meal you prepared well balanced and easy to prepare. It is a total win-win. Of course, these dishes only scratch the surface of what you can create. 

There are so many traditional side dishes served in Mexico that far outnumber this list. Get exploring and get excited to have some fantastic flavors coming your way! 

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Elotes (Grilled Mexican Street Corn) Recipe | Serious Eats 

Cumin: 6 health benefits | Medical News Today 

Cilantro | Food Source Information | Colorado State

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