We share our list of the best traditional Mexican breakfast dishes you have to try… plus all the trimmings you need to do breakfast the Mexican way. That is, the right way.

Mexican Breakfast Rituals

Breakfast or brunch in Mexico is a sacred weekend ritual, when families head out in droves to get a fix of their favorite Mexican breakfast dishes. You’d better bring your appetite, too, because breakfast comes with all the trimmings.

Besides ordering your choice of eggs or tortillas, breakfast is the perfect time to fill up on Mexico’s beloved ‘sweet bread’ (pan de dulce), such as ‘conchas’ (shells), a rounded sweet dough bun, or pan de elote, a sweet corn cake. These are usually eaten before your meal, along with your coffee or hot chocolate and a plate of fresh food, plus freshly squeezed juice.

And yes, you can also eat tacos, tortillas and quesadillas for breakfast – there are even some recipes that come with egg and beans.

If all the flavors or choices become overwhelming, just order ‘huevos al gusto,” which means “eggs as you like them,” such as revueltos (scrambled or estrellados” (fried). 

What you won’t find on any authentic Mexican break menu is a breakfast burrito. But Mexico compensates by making the authentic version of nachos (chilaquiles) a totally acceptable breakfast dish. No complaints here.

The very best breakfast hotspots in Mexico easily have an hour wait. But trust us, it’s usually worth the wait.

Top Mexican Breakfast Dishes To Try

Huevos rancheros, unless you prefer ‘divorced’ eggs

Americans are not strangers to huevos rancheros, literally ‘ranch-style eggs’, and it is a popular breakfast dish on both sides of the border. The ‘ranch’ sauce is a lightly spiced and herb tomato salsa poured over fried eggs, usually on top of a tortilla or two. The main difference in Mexico is that the sauce is usually blended and smooth, and it’s perhaps not as common as many think.

The key to a perfect ranch sauce is fresh and natural ingredients. Restaurants and families each have their own recipes, which means you’ll never get tired of it, no matter how many times you try it. Sometimes you may be asked if you want red or green sauce, the difference being the color of tomatoes and chili used.

Contrary to its name, perhaps the best match of flavors is huevos divorciados, divorced eggs. The eggs are half bathed in green (verde) tomato salsa and half bathed in red (roja) tomato salsa – the best of both worlds.


mexican breakfast egg dishes
best authentic mexican food

Huitlacoche & Squash Blossom Quesadillas

The origin of ‘quesadilla’ is debated. Some claim it comes from the Nahuatl word quezaditzin, meaning ‘folded or doubled tortilla.’ Experts debased this theory saying the letter ‘d’ didn’t exist in Nahuatl. Yet the argument flared up on social media, mostly to defend the fact that in Mexico City, quesadillas do not come with cheese unless you ask for it. In any case, it’s one of the most popular tortillas eaten at breakfast.

A tasty and colorful filling is pumpkin or squash blossoms (flor de calabaza or calabacín). The adventurous should try huiltlacoche. The black colored corn comes from a yeast-like, edible fungi (corn smut), which gives a unique and rich flavor. It’s also great with eggs.


You won’t find nachos in any authentic Mexican restaurant, but you will find the original Mexican version, chilaquiles, from the Nahuatl word chīlāquilitl. Corn tortillas are cut into quarters and dried until crispy – traditionally in the sun – and then lightly fried. These ‘corn chips’ (totopos) are then topped with green or red salsa, a drizzle of cream, and a sprinkling of strong goat cheese known as ‘cotija,’ onion and parsley. You are usually given the choice to add shredded chicken, scrambled eggs, cecina (thin strips of marinated meat) or other regional combinations. If it is too crunchy or soggy, it hasn’t been done right.

enchiladas mexican breakfast dish


Enchiladas are one of the common tortillas eaten for breakfast, alongside quesadillas. Enchiladas are tortillas rolled around a filling and then drenched in sauce. There are many regional versions so you might see them by other names. Yucatan has its own version, papadzules, which are stuffed with hard-boiled egg, covered in pumpkin-seed sauce (pepita), then finished with a dollop of roast tomato-chili mix. Another common breakfast is enchiladas Suizas – Swiss-style enchiladas – which are filled with chicken and covered in a creamy sauce (usually with red or green salsa), then topped with cheese and lightly baked. Enfrijoladas are covered in refried beans.

Mexican Breakfast Eggs

traditional mexican breakfast dish

If you’re looking for Mexican breakfast dishes with poached eggs, order a ‘cazuela’ (clay pot or casserole) or ‘huevos ahogados’ (literally drowned eggs). The poached eggs are prepared in a small clay bowl and ‘drowned’ in your choice of salsa, typically along with a slice of fresh cheese, black beans, onion and herbs, although the recipes vary between restaurants. Some common salsas used are red and green, or frijoles (pictured above).

authentic mexican breakfast motulenos

Huevos motuleños is a Mexican breakfast plate of scrambled or fried eggs on top of a tortilla, covered in cubed ham, peas, black beans, cheese, fried macho banana, and other garnishes. It is a specialty from the northern Yucatan town of Motul, created by a local chef in 1921 when the Yucatan governor Felipe Carrillo Puerto wanted to treat the town’s guests – among them teacher José Vasconcelos and painter Diego Rivera – to an exceptional breakfast

authentic eggs mexicana dish

Huevos a la Mexicana

“Mexican eggs” repeat the colors of the country’s flag. Red tomato, onion, and a sprinkling of green chili is sauteed and then scrambled eggs. The green chili is usually thinly sliced serrano, which gives it a kick without overwhelming the whole dish with heat. However, you can always ask for less chili (‘muy poco chili’).

Mexican Breakfast Foods


Molletes are perhaps Mexico’s closest answer to a grilled cheese sandwich, although they are significantly different. A slice of crusty bread is spread with refried beans then covered in cheese and grilled until toasted. You then top it off with pico de gallo, a mix of fresh diced tomato, onion, cilantro, a touch of serrano chile, and lime juice. The tastiest molletes come with a sprinkling of grilled chorizo or bacon, giving it a sweet and smoky paprika flavor. Another tasty option is mixing the refried beans with chipotle.

Tamale Sandwich

An easy grab-and-go breakfast is a torta de tamal (also known as guajalota). Tamales are made with corn masa steamed inside banana leaves or corn husks, usually filled with salsa or other fillings like chicken or pork. Look for the street vendors with large silver vats and a pile of bolillo rolls, which are oblong bread rolls. The vendor will unwrap the tamale and plop it inside the bread for the best Mexican breakfast to eat on the run. A common combination is to eat it with atole, a warm drink made from the tamal starch water, mixed with sugar and sometimes chocolate, so it’s sweet and thick.


atole real mexican breakfast drink

Cafe de Olla or Atole

Mexico has a thriving coffee scene that is rapidly evolving, and it is among the world’s top 10 coffee producing countries. You’ll find plenty of typically earthy coffees, especially from mountainous regions in Chiapas, Oaxaca and Veracruz. But if you want to try some unique Mexican drinks, there are two that are common at breakfast: ‘cafe de olla’ (said ‘oy-a’) which is coffee with cinnamon or other spices, and unrefined cane sugar (piloncillo) prepared in a clay pot; and ‘atole,’ a drink that is thickened with corn, rice or oats, then sweetened, and sometimes cacao is added for a hearty hot chocolate (you might see it called champurrado).

Sweet Mexican Breakfast

bisquets mexican breakfast food


When you tire of eggs, dig into a bisquet. They can be loosely described as a dense and buttery scone. Bisquets are usually served warm, or it’s common to takeaway a few and prepare them at home. If you want to be authentic, warm them by frying them in butter, and don’t be shy about it!

For a diet option, they are equally good lightly toasted or heated straight on a pan or hotplate (there is already plenty of butter to get a slight crisp). You can eat them plain or with any topping you would use for pancakes or toast, like jam, syrup,

sweet mexican breakfast food

Sweet Bread

Before any good Mexican breakfast, you will be offered pan dulce (sweet bread or pastries). The typical is a ‘concha’ (shell), which is a dome of fluffy sweet bread coated in a hardened floury sugar coating in flavors of vanilla, chocolate, or experiments like matcha. Then there are curious names like ‘curenos’ (horns, like a croissant shape), bigote (literally moustache, but like a bready croissant) and puerquitos (cane sugar biscuits shaped like pigs). There are hundreds of types of sweet bread depending on where you are. During certain holidays, you will find special sweet breads, such as the orange-flavored pan de muerto to celebrate Day of the Dead.

traditional mexican breakfast food sweet

Homemade Cream & Bread

Nata casera is a simple yet delicous pleasure, taking you back to olden times of fresh milk and cream. You’ll only find it on menus where its usually made inhouse, and typically eaten with soft bread or pan dulce. On the theme of cream, you can also find gorditas de nata (fat and little sweet corn and cream pancakes) and pan de nata (bread of cream), both of which are usually sold fresh by local vendors on the side of the street.

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Images (CC Licence): AlejandroLinaresGarcia via Wikimedia (huevos divorciados), City Foodsters (chilaquiles, huevos motulenos), biscuits, eggs a la mexicana, Ukaizen via Wikipedia (tamal sandwich), Steve Dunham (Swiss enchiladas), ProtoplasmaKid via Wikipedia (cafe), pan dulce, Reginarodes via Wikipedia (gorditas de nata), Sxmuelfernandez via Wikipedia (atole).