17 Delicious Tex-Mex Recipes Your Family Will Love

Tamale pie casserole served with sour cream close-up in a pan. horizontal


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Tamale pie casserole served with sour cream close-up in a pan. horizontal

Mexico by Way of Texas

Even if you've got picky eaters to contend with, Tex-Mex is the one cuisine that family members universally love. Taco Tuesday is as ubiquitous at family dinner tables as it is at Mexican restaurants, and salsa dethroned ketchup as the top-selling condiment in the U.S. all the way back in 1991, according to the New York Times. So if you find yourself in a dinner (or breakfast) rut, it's time to bust out these classic Tex-Mex recipes — from breakfast tacos to family game night bean dip — to spice up your family's routine.

Two Homemade Chips in a Glass Bowl of Salsa, Surrounded by More Homemade Chips and Two Slices of Lime on a Slab of Slate

1. Restaurant Style Salsa

First thing's first: You've got to have great salsa, whether it's for chip dipping or topping tacos. This recipe for restaurant-style salsa includes both canned and fresh tomatoes so it's both rich and fresh. Classic additions of onion, garlic, cilantro, and lime give it a familiar flavor profile. Leave the seeds and membranes in the jalapeno if you want it hotter.

If you don't have time to make your own salsa, just grab one of our top salsa taste test picks at the grocery store instead.

Recipe: House of Yumm

Beef Steak Fajitas with tortilla mix pepper, onion and avocado on wooden board

2. Grilled Skirt Steak Fajitas

While the dramatic sizzling plate might be unrealistic for dinners at home, you can still get that amazing smell when you cook up your own steak fajitas. The meat marinade in this recipe is fantastic, with soy sauce and lime juice as its flavor-packed base. You can use it on chicken if you prefer, and you can do it in a super hot cast iron skillet on the stove if you don't feel like grilling.

Recipe: Serious Eats

Mexican refried beans with cheese and totopos

3. Instant Pot Refried Beans

Refried beans are a staple on a Tex-Mex plate. You can make them from scratch without having to soak the beans if you use an Instant Pot. Once you make your own beans with cumin, oregano, and bay leaves, you'll never go back to the canned stuff again. 

Recipe: Well Plated By Erin

Homemade Frito PIe Mexican Casserole

4. Frito Pie

Frito pie is like tacos (or sometimes chili) built on top of Fritos or other corn chips. This recipe for it sticks with classic, crowd-pleasing taco-seasoned ground beef mixed with beans, canned tomatoes, and corn. Cheese is melted all over the top in a casserole dish, but you can also serve individual portions right in small Frito bags, like a walking taco.

Recipe: Spend With Pennies

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Homemade Cowboy salad or Texas caviar bean dip lime dressing, served with tortilla chips closeup in the bowl. Horizontal top view

5. Texas Caviar

At your next family party, break out a fresh batch of Texas caviar and watch everyone go nuts for the healthy snack. Despite its name, there's no fish — or fish eggs — in it at all. Instead, it's a corn, bean, and fresh vegetable mix that's equally as good as a dip or salad. Don't skimp on the cilantro, and add the avocado right before serving. 

Recipe: House of Yumm

Homemade Loaded Sheet Pan Nachos

6. Ultimate Fully Loaded Nachos

If you bust out a full pan of nachos on your next family game night, you're going to be a hero. These are topped with a homemade nacho cheese sauce that's way easier to make than it sounds: all you need is cornstarch, evaporated milk, and cheese. This is a vegetarian recipe with lots of beans, but you can add any protein or toppings your family likes.

Recipe: Serious Eats

Homemade Chorizo Breakfast Tacos

7. Breakfast Tacos with Chorizo, Potato, and Egg

Tex-Mex isn't just for dinner. Forget the pancakes and bacon and try these filling breakfast tacos instead. They're full of spicy Mexican chorizo sausage, and the bright red pan drippings flavor the diced potatoes and scrambled eggs as well. Though it calls for a homemade pico de gallo topping, you can use whatever salsa you have on hand.

Recipe: Food Network

Related: Start Your Morning Right: 25 Easy Breakfast Casseroles

mexican rice and mole poblano, traditional food in Mexico
Marcos Elihu Castillo Ramirez/istockphoto

8. Red Rice

The reddish colored rice that comes on the side of practically every Tex-Mex dish is pretty simple — and inexpensive — to make at home. Just puree some tomatoes (canned are fine!), onion, and garlic, and then cook it with rice and chicken broth. Adding frozen vegetables, like peas and carrots, make it look just like what you get at a restaurant.

Recipe: Pati Jinich

Chicken taco with corn, Mexican cuisine

9. Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos

Slow cooker shredded chicken is a great weeknight taco filler, but so many recipes leave you with watery, bland, and dry chicken. This recipe includes enchilada sauce, chipotle chiles, and extra spices so it's full of flavor. Plus, you only cook it for a little over an hour so that you don't end up with mealy, overcooked chicken breast. 

Recipe: Southern Living

Mexican Enchilada Bean Soup

10. Creamy Chicken Enchilada Soup

Come fall, there's nothing more comforting than a big bowl of soup, and this creamy chicken enchilada version fits the bill. You'll need some whole dried chiles, but they're getting pretty easy to find in large grocery stores, and certainly online. All the other ingredients, from bone-in chicken breast to canned beans and cream cheese, are easy to find. And a tip from someone who's made it: Blend a couple corn tortillas into the broth to help thicken it and give it a delicious roasted corn flavor.

Recipe: Serious Eats

Related: 30 Easy Soup Recipes That Last for Days

mexican hot queso blanco cheese dip with corn tortilla chips

11. White Queso Dip

Smooth queso dip is more complicated than just melting some cheese in a pot, but it's not nearly as involved as you might think. Evaporated milk and cornstarch keep everything creamy and smooth as long as you keep whisking while you're incorporating the cheese. This recipe calls for American cheese, but buy the good quality version from your grocery store deli instead of Velveeta-like blocks. (But if you're a Velveeta fan, by all means ...)

Recipe: The Cookie Rookie

Homemade Beef Taco Salad with Avocado

12. Taco Salad

Taco salad is so good, and you don't even need those silly bowl-shaped giant tortillas, either. It's a great way to fill your plate with tons of vegetables and protein, and most kids love it, too. There are two creamy dressing options in the recipe with two different levels of effort, so you can easily make this on a busy weeknight or go all-out on Sunday. We love taco salad so much that we've been known to make extra meat on taco night so we can make salads with the leftovers a couple days later.

Recipe: The Food Charlatan

For a second taco salad recipe option, check out Cheapism's "This Dorito Taco Salad Is the Summertime Side You NEED in Your Recipe Rotation."

Traditional Mexican enchiladas

13. Three-Cheese Chicken Enchiladas

Enchiladas with red sauce are a Tex-Mex classic. Instead of grabbing a can of enchilada sauce, try making your own next time. It just calls for tomatoes, some dried chiles, onion, and garlic. Then layer that on top of chicken-filled corn tortillas and top with three types of cheese for a decadent, comforting dish. This is a great way to use up shredded rotisserie chicken, too.

Recipe: Pati Jinich

bean dip with jalapenos, sour cream and cheddar cheese

14. Spicy Bean Dip

This hot bean dip recipe is super fast because it uses canned refried beans, but if you've got homemade that's even better. You mix the beans with cream cheese and sour cream so they're extra creamy, plus taco seasoning and canned green chiles for extra flavor. The fresh toppings after baking are optional, but highly recommended to offset all that rich cheese.

Recipe: House of Yumm

Tamale pie casserole served with sour cream close-up in a pan. horizontal

15. Easy Skillet Tamale Pie with Cornbread Crust

If you've never heard of tamale pie, it's kind of like a Tex-Mex shepherd's pie, with a chili-like filling on the bottom and cornbread on top. Corn, black beans, and ground beef meeet up with chili in this recipe, with lots of cumin and ancho chile powder for seasoning. The cornbread crust is rich and nutty with browned butter, but we won't tell if you just whip up a quick box of Jiffy cornbread for the top instead — we've totally done it ourselves.

Recipe: Serious Eats

Mexican tortilla egg migas with feta and green onions in a black plate on white background, top view.

16. Migas

A breakfast staple, migas are fried corn tortillas cooked with scrambled eggs. Browning the tortillas so they get crispy is the important first step, but then all you do is cook some garlic and jalapeno in the same pan, and scramble everything with the eggs. Salsa, tomatoes, beans, and cheese are all popular additions to this clean-out-the-fridge kind of dish.

Recipe: Pinch of Yum

Crispy Fried Birria Tacos

17. Birria Tacos

Birria is so trendy right now, so if you make these tacos you'll probably be a superhero in your house. You can use a slow cooker or an Instant Pot to cook your beef with all of its chiles and spices. Once that's done and shredded, dip your tortillas in the broth and heat them up on a griddle for the full birria experience. Don't forget to serve some broth on the side for dipping.

Recipe: I Am a Food Blog