Mexican-ish food has inserted itself into all of our lives, whether it’s our weekly Taco Tuesday date with the girls or the fast-food burrito bowls that we rely on for a quick dinner on the way home from work. But if you grew up with a Mexican abuela, you know that there’s so much more to the traditional cuisine than nachos and margs. When we’re in the mood for the real thing—warm, freshly made tortillas, crispy carnitas and rich mole sauces—these are the recipes we turn to.
13 Old-School Mexican Recipes Your Grandma Used to Make
3. Tacos Al Pastor
Traditional al pastor is made by roasting pork on a spit with pieces of pineapple on top, so the juices marinate the meat as it cooks. Since most of us don’t have a spit roaster handy at home, we love this version, which uses chile-marinated boneless pork shoulder and caramelized grilled pineapple. We think that abuela would approve.
5. Chilaquiles with Poached Eggs and Spicy Honey
Chilaquiles might be Mexico’s best kept secret—it’s basically nachos masquerading as a protein-packed breakfast food. In this take, a drizzle of spicy honey cuts the richness of the eggs and fried tortillas for a beautifully balanced dish.
10. Baked Chicken Quesadillas
Your abuela always somehow made a big batch of quesadillas on the stove for the whole family without breaking a sweat. But when we have a crowd, we love this method — one sheet pan in a very hot oven gets us five crispy, gooey, chicken-stuffed quesadillas at once. And guac is never extra at our house.
11. Crispy Baked Chicken Burritos
We tend to think of burritos as overstuffed gut bombs filled with rice and beans and all sorts of other things. But traditionally, burritos are actually pretty manageable—these ones just have shredded chicken, cheese and a tangy salsa verde on top.