The secret of many Mexican delicacies

Cook traditional black beans, stews and Mexican antojitos with them

Yes! We love to write about food in our Xcaret blog, even more, if it’s about Mexican food. And yes! Of course, it’s easy to get hocked up preparing and cooking those recipes. We all enjoy the moment of being able to try our favorite Mexican dish prepared with our hands.  In this blog post, we will make a guide to those herbs that are usually the hidden ingredient in some dishes of Mexican cuisine.

Black beans with epazote
Traditional Mexican black beans with epazote

Most importantly, we will tell you which dishes you should use’em and even what natural properties they have. So that the next time you have to surprise your mother-in-law won’t forget to add those herbs that enhance the flavor of any good Mexican stew or broth.

Herbs in Mexican cuisine … what are they for and where do I use them? 

We will begin this guide by resolving one of the most common herb controversies in Mexican cuisine. If you are of those who always have trouble recognizing coriander and parsley in the supermarket, this is for all of us!

Guide of herbs
  • This ends here! Coriander and parsley 
    • Coriander is widely used in all levels of Mexican food. From the preparation of a chicken broth or caldo tlalpeño. It is also used to prepare ceviches and different types of spicy salsas. One of the most important uses we make of coriander is in Mexican tacos and snacks. The next your favorite taquero asks you: “Onion and coriander in your taquitos?” The answer is yes, please.
    • For parsley, Mexicans have other uses. It stands out as an aromatic herb for many dishes around the world. The next time you prepare a Mexican style white rice, in addition to its chopped vegetables, put 1 or 2 sprigs of parsley in the last boil and you will notice the difference. You can accompany it to prepare fish or baked potatoes. Due to its milder flavor, it can be the perfect mix for pineapple water with parsley, as well as being very nutritious.

Here is a very usefull blog post about tacos: the taste of Mexico in a tortilla.


This herb is originally from India and is very popular in Italian food. It is used to flavor broths, pasta, and stews. You will surely find it in Mexican homes in dried leaves stored in glass jars. And if you feel very stressed or have digestion problems, basil tea is a perfect solution.


This is one is very aromatic. I recommend that you have a plant of it in your house. You can use it to cook meat or chicken. Unlike basil, it can be used freshly cut and disinfected. In tea, it works like a natural antiseptic, to relieve symptoms of flu or menstrual cramps.


You cannot visit Yucatan without trying its traditional gastronomy. Chaya is used in many yucatecan dishes. From breakfast time in scrambled eggs, traditional Yucatecan tamales with chaya, empanadas, or even mixed in fruit fresh water. Something peculiar about this very popular plant is that it cannot be consumed raw. It can be toxic. This peculiarly named herb is also very popular in traditional Mexican cuisine. Chicken and fish are used to be wrapped in these leafs. In the same way, you can enjoy it in some moles and Mexican salsas. 

Keep reading about the delicious Yucatecan gastronomy: Cochinita Pibil and other Maya dishes that we can eat today.


If you have ever eaten a esquite, boiled corn with mayonnaise and spicy powder, somewhere in Mexico, you will be able to recognize the flavor of this herb. You will also find it in the mole de olla or belly beef stews. One of my favorite uses is in the cook of black beans. Or how about a quesadilla made with cheese and epazote? Try it!


Oregano is one of those condiments that you cannot miss to enjoy a good pozole. You’ll find it as crushed dry leaves with a strong flavor. So use it with care. As a tea, it is useful for respiratory tract ailments. As a tea, it helps us to relieve respiratory aches.


This is another of those dry leaves that you will find in Mexican houses. A few laurels leaves in some popular Mexican stews such as picadillo or tinga will highlight all the flavors. You can also find it in other dishes such as a Veracruz style fish.


Finally, one more of those known as “fragrant herbs”. Similar to laurel leaves, it is used as a seasoning for stews and meets. Also, very common to find it dry and crushed like oregano. In health, it has diuretic properties and works against diarrhea problems.

So this is our guide of herbs used in Mexican cuisine. Although there are many more, these may be the easiest to find and to use. If we miss any or you want to give us some advice or Mexican dish in which we can use them, you can do it in our comments. 

Let’s learn more about these 10 Authentic dishes of Mexican Gastronomy.

Shout to my mom, this herb guide want’s possible without her help.

Guide of herbs used in Mexican food Pinterest