From the idyllic beaches to the vibrant, colourful houses and ‘mañana’ attitude, Mexico is one of the trips that everyone has to take at some point in their life. Food is such a massive part of every culture, and finding an authentic cookbook can transport you to the heart of Mexico from the comfort of your own kitchen.
We’ve scoured the net and pulled together a ranking of the top 10 best Mexican cookbooks in the UK on Amazon and eBay. This list includes some of the top chefs of our time, including Esteban Castillo and Shay Ola. So whether you're looking for vegan and vegetarian recipes, books for beginners or Oxacan cuisine, soon you'll be whipping up traditional tacos, Chicano burritos and much more!
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Table of Contents
Before you jump straight in, there are some factors and features to consider before buying a Mexican cookbook. In our buying guide we’ll walk you through what to look for. That way, once you do decide on the book for you, you’ll be sure it’s going to work!
The first factor to consider is how competent you are when it comes to Mexican cooking. After all, you don’t want to spread yourself too thin when you're supposed to be having fun! Not to mention, it would be preferable to produce an edible end product.
Being honest with yourself about your cooking skills and your knowledge of Mexican flavours and spices is vital. If possible, look inside the cookbook and check some of the sample recipes as this should help you get an understanding of the required level. Unfortunately, not all books offer this information freely.
To work around this, we have included our recommendations underneath each product. Each text is given a ranking of either beginner, intermediate or advanced, based on the equipment required, the techniques used, and the ingredients needed.
Whichever way you try to slice it, the climate here does not produce the same ingredients naturally as it does in the land of corn. Therefore, if you want to get the most authentic experience out of your cookbook, you’re going to need to do some digging to find places to buy specialist ingredients.
Thankfully, nowadays there are plenty of supermarkets that offer international foods in almost every city in the country. But, if you live out in the sticks where fewer options are available, specialist websites such as Mexgrocer will allow you to have these goodies delivered straight to your door!
With the rise in popularity of plant-based diets, there has been an increased demand for meat-free cookbooks. These days, if you are vegan or vegetarian, you will be able to find plenty of options when it comes to recipe books dedicated to plant-based meals.
It’s worth mentioning that there are a lot of Mexican dishes that are vegan and veggie-friendly by nature. So, even if you opt for a traditional book, there'll likely still be some dishes you can enjoy. Also, due to the ingredients used, a lot of Mexican cuisine is naturally gluten-free too! For example, think corn tortillas instead of wheat.
Mexican food is often thought of as classic street food. However, that doesn’t mean that it is whipped up there and then on the spot. In fact, most of the preparation for traditional taco trucks is done at home throughout the day, so a lot of work (and love) goes into these dishes.
Finding one that suits your lifestyle is essential to finding a book that you will use regularly. Luckily, when it comes to delicious Mexican food, it doesn’t have to be time-heavy. Some books focus on long, slow-cooked dishes, whereas others have short, quick everyday recipes, and many include both!
Finally, you should consider the different formats available to you. The classic hardcover cookbook tends to be bigger, and therefore provides more space for enticing pictures which show you what you should be aiming for. Lighter paperback books will also be a larger size. However, they might be a little fragile in what can become a hot and frenzied kitchen.
In modern times, many of us are now storing recipes on a kindle or as eBooks. These are great if you don’t want a big clunky book taking up a lot of side space when you’re working your magic, but it could lead to disaster if you aren’t careful. Plus, it’s worth remembering that you may need a subscription for these.
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Bricia Lopez, Javier Cabral
Oaxaca: The Food of the Region, and of LA’s Legendary Restaurant Guelaguetza: Home Cooking From the Heart of Mexico
A First Look From a Native Oaxacan Family
Chicano Eats: Recipes from My Mexican-American Kitchen
Enjoy a True Mexican Food Fiesta
Death by Burrito
Where Fresh and Vibrant Flavours Come First
Mexican Vegan Cuisine
Eat a Rainbow of Plant-Based Mexican Dishes
Ideal for Those Who Are Always on the Move
The Art of Mexican Cooking
A Great Cookbook That Beginners Will Love
Luz Calvo, Catriona Rueda Esquibel
Decolonise Your Diet
Inspiring and Delicious Delicious in Equal Measure
The Mexican Slow Cooker
Use New Techniques to Cook Classic Dishes
My Sweet Mexico
For Those Who Have a Sweet Tooth
Part Cookbook, Part Love Song to L.A
Oaxacan cuisine is regarded as one of the jewels of Mexico. It favours local ingredients and sticks to recipes that are passed down through generations. So when Bricia Lopez, co-owner of one of L.A's most notorious Oaxacan restaurants Guelaguetza Restaurante, decided to put pen to paper, the culinary world knew they were in for a treat!
An introduction to this style of Mexican cuisine by a native family, you can tell that there are stories and reasons behind every ingredient. Some of the cooking is complex, so you might need a bit of patience and practice, but following the author's voice makes everything seem manageable.
Esteban Castillo's book is just as bright and playful as his extremely popular blog. Puling on memories from his upbringing, he reimagines some of the classic flavours of childhood to recreate extraordinary contemporary dishes. For example, check out his Alitas de Gusano, chicken wings that are slathered in an excellent tamarind sauce.
There are old-school recipes in there too, if you would prefer to stick to traditional flavour combinations. We particularly like that the contents range from starters to desserts, with a few beverages, cocktails and snacks are thrown in for good measure!
Shay Ola is the founder of food events company The Rebel Dining Society, whose aim is to push the boundaries of fine dining. This gives you a good idea of what you can expect from this book, and while cheesy mince tacos are a classic, you won't see them here.
With this book, you can expect lengthy ingredients lists all in the name of creating fresh and vibrant flavours that put the food first. It's not for everyone, but if you're willing to put in the work, you'll love what this has to offer. There are even some cheeky tequila cocktail recipes too!
Alice Dee is a well-known vegan chef and restaurant owner who has spent over ten years learning and adapting traditional recipes for vegans. Alongside the tasty recipes, you'll also receive helpful information on preparing and stocking your home kitchen with the ingredients and tools needed for the job.
This cookbook is full of original foods with authentic flavours. Incorporating a range of vibrant colours from nature, what you'll be producing will be as much a work of art as the cover of the book!
This everyday cookbook from Rick Bayless provides you with the bold flavours that we all know and love, but with shorter preparation times. All of Rick's meals meet three criteria; they require less than 30 minutes of involvement, they have to be fresh, simple and authentic, and they're nutritionally balanced, fully rounded meals.
This book is a collection of over 90 certified fan favourites including green chile chicken tacos, shrimp ceviche salad and chipotle steak with black beans. So if you're after exciting flavours, this is going to be right up your street.
Okay, the name 'Diana Kennedy' doesn't exactly scream Mexican, but she has lived in and studied Mexican cuisine for over 50 years, making her one of the greatest English-language authorities on this cuisine. Here is one of the nine books she has written on the subject.
It's perfect for beginners as it not only contains classic recipes, but walks you through some of the techniques you're going to need to master. On top of that, the author takes you through all the traditional ingredients, teaching you the best ways of sourcing and cooking them.
Before we get into the contents of the book, we want to tell you a little about the authors. In 2006 Luz was diagnosed with breast cancer. As a result, both partners decided to radically change their diets, searching for recipes that promoted healthy vegetarian foods.
Thanks to their journey of discovery, within these pages you'll find plenty of indigenous plants such as corn, squash, seeds, beans, greens and herbs. Not only is it full of delicious dishes, but this offering redefines what is meant by 'traditional Mexican food' uncovering the real heritage ingredients.
Here, you'll find a collection of 55 recipes, all of which have a similar fix-it-up-and-forget-about-it attitude. Deborah Schneider discovered that using a trusty slow cooker you can create, and arguably enhance, traditional Mexican dishes.
It's packed with classic recipes such as Mole Negro, barbacoa beef and tamales, delivering sophisticated and complex meals in a way that's hassle-free. Yes, the preparation itself might take a bit of time, but it's worth it if you have a slow cooker.
Desserts are part of Mexican cuisine that is often overlooked, despite the wonderful array of different sweet dishes. In this cookbook by celebrated pastry chef Fany Gerson, you'll explore the country's sweet toothed recipes. On top of that, you'll also learn about the history of Mexico's rich and diverse culinary traditions.
It contains classics such as churros, as well as more modern inventions like Passion Fruit-Mezcal Trifle and Cheesecake with Tamarind Sauce. With chapters devoted to different styles of pastries, this isn't to be missed by those who are keen on confection.
While L.A isn't situated in Mexico, a large proportion of the population is Latin American. This has lead to their own unique take on Mexican food, with this offering focusing on this particular fusion cuisine.
It contains both quick evening meals and grand food fiestas and is great for cooks who are just finding their feet as there are plenty of beginner recipes, as well as more complex options. However, there is also a lot of journalism included within the pages, such as biographies of certain chefs, which may or may not be something you're after.
Why restrict yourself to the same staple dishes, when you can explore what the culinary world has to offer? Once you've gotten to grips with Mexican cuisine, try your hand at preparing mouthwatering meals from India, Spain and France. Click the links below for more foodie inspiration!
So concludes our comprehensive guide to finding the perfect Mexican cookbook. Whether you're new to the world of Latin cuisine, or you're a seasoned pro looking for additional inspiration, we're sure that there's a recipe book in our ranking to help you achieve your goals. Here's to mouth-watering dishes - just don't forget the hot sauce!
Author: Lewis Clark
No. 1: Bricia Lopez, Javier Cabral ｜Oaxaca: The Food of the Region, and of LA’s Legendary Restaurant Guelaguetza: Home Cooking From the Heart of Mexico
No. 2: Esteban Castillo｜Chicano Eats: Recipes from My Mexican-American Kitchen
No. 3: Shay Ola｜Death by Burrito
No. 4: Alice Dee｜Mexican Vegan Cuisine
No. 5: Rick Bayless｜Mexican Everyday
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