This is a roundup on Mexican recipes you can cook in Portugal and other parts of the world. Let’s talk about local ingredients and substitutions. I’ll also share resources I use for authentic Mexican ingredients.

Carne Asada, roasted salsa, pico de gallo, tortillas & guacamole in Portugal made with local ingredients.

Recipes With Mexican Ingredients & Sources

When doing my Portugal research in Facebook groups, I quickly learned that the number #1 cuisine people miss the most is Mexican food! It warms my heart to know there are so many Mexican food lovers all over the world.

As a native Mexican moving to Portugal, it was very important to me that I would be able to cook my favorite Mexican recipes and also continue to do my work for this blog. This website is my bread and butter, after all, and how I got my visa approved.

A pot with a ladle and two a plate with charro beans.
Frijoles Charros, made with local ingredients.

Buying Guide

We are fortunate that Portugal has MANY ingredients available year round that make making Mexican food at home very easy! Cilantro? not a problem, you can find cilantro everywhere! Limes? you can buy year round. Fresh peppers? there are a few you can buy to substitute on many dishes.

After 8 months of living in Portugal, I can confidently say that you can find most ingredients that will allow you to cook real Mexican food. Here is what I have found so far in Lisbon and Setúbal (where I live with my hubby).

Fresh Peppers

There are a few local peppers you can use to make Mexican salsas without compromising much of the flavor. You can find them at the markets and grocery stores.

  • Pimento Padrão – can be used instead of jalapeños or anaheim pepper.
  • Pimento Picante – use instead of jalapeños or anaheim serrano pepper.
  • Piri Piri – use instead of serranos or combine with other peppers to add a kick.

Staple pantry items

  • Pickled Jalapeños – Auchan or Continente
  • Tortilla Chips – Aldi, Auchan or Continente
  • Flour Tortillas – Homemade are better but in a pinch I like the ones from Aldi the best.
  • Pinto Beans – I buy them at local Frutarias where they have them in buckets. They look like regular pinto beans although they have a little red tint. The flavor is close enough. Note: I did not like the texture from the pre-packaged ones at grocery stores.
  • Hard Shell Tacos – Pingo, Auchan or Continente. Not really for authentic tacos but once in awhile I like to make “American tacos” lol!
  • Lard – I mostly use vegetable oil but if you prefer lard in some of the recipes get Banha de Porco Preto found in the refrigerators at most grocery stores.
  • Mexican Crema (sour cream in the U.S.) –  Creme Freiché or even Greek yogurt will do. Also, Natas Acidas from Aldi.
  • Queso fresco – queso fresco
A man holding a taco with one hand and a corona beer with the other hand.
Carne asada tacos – 100% local Portuguese ingredients – beer bought at Auchan.

Source for authentic Mexican ingredients

  • Martha Tome A great source for everything you need! Including dried peppers like chile de arbol, delicious corn tortillas, maseca, canned tomatillos, spices and even treats! Based in Lisbon where she has a little store you can visit but also ships all over Portugal.
  • The Chili Experience Great source for seasonings, fresh peppers and dry peppers like my beloved guajillo, pasilla and New Mexico. Alan’s farm is located in central Portugal where he grows all of this peppers. Follow his Facebook page where he’ll announce when fresh peppers are available.
  • Chiles mexicanos en Portugal – Adelita and her husband are a lovely Mexican couple growing peppers like jalapeños and chile poblanos, tomatillos and nopales (cactus). They ship all over Portugal when in season.
An oval plate with dried chiles and garlic cloves.
Dried chiles to make Authentic Mexican recipes.

Mexican Recipes

With the sources I mentioned above, I’m confident to say that you can make almost every Mexican recipe while living in Portugal. Feel free to explore my recipes and if you have any questions, just ask in the comments section below or email me at

Here are just a few recipes to inspire you to make a Mexican feast!

Homemade Flour Tortillas

Let’s start with the staple of all recipes. Once you master this recipe, you can make anything you want! If you plan on making flour tortillas often, I highly recommend getting a stand mixer as making the masa will be so much easier! It will saves a lot of time.
After playing around with different local ingredients, I like the texture of tortillas made with vegetable oil the best. These are the measurements I use:

Flour tortillas spreaded on a kitchen towel.
Refried Beans
These Three-Ingredients Refried Beans are all you need to complete your Mexican meals! Nothing fancy, nothing fake, just great beans from an easy recipe. 
Get the recipe!
Frijoles refritos in a white bowl topped with crumbled queso fresco
A white plate with red rice and a fork with some cilantro garnish
Easy Mexican Rice
Learn to make my family's Arroz Rojo (Mexican Red Rice) recipe! It's so easy to make and so delicious you'll never want to order take-out Mexican food again. It's the perfect Mexican side dish!
Get the recipe!
Calabacitas (Mexican Style Zucchini)
Calabacitas is a delicious and healthy side dish recipe, perfect for any meal! It just might be the Best Healthy Calabacitas Recipe I’ve ever had. This side dish is good enough to eat on its own, but it pairs well with other Mexican recipes.
Get the recipe!
Calabacitas in a white bowl
sliced red onions in a small glass jar with a fork
Easy Mexican Pickled Onions
This quick Mexican Pickled Onions recipe is so easy – no cooking required! These onions are a great addition to most Mexican dishes and more. Come learn how simple it is to make these quick and easy pickled onions.
Get the recipe!
Tacos De Carnitas
This Tacos De Carnitas recipe may well be the most tender, moist, and flavorful you’ve ever had! High returns for minimal effort. The pork is cooked in the oven (versus deep fried in lard) until the meat pulls apart effortlessly. 
Get the recipe!
Two carnita tacos on a small brown plate with a lime on the side and a bowl of red salsa.
A large skillet with beef picadillo and a white cooking spoon
Mexican Picadillo | Easy & Healthy Recipe
This Picadillo is made with lean ground beef and crispy potatoes with lots of flavor! Easy to make & it comes together in less than 30 mins.
Get the recipe!
Vegetable Tacos
These Vegetable Tacos are so fresh and delicious with just the right amount of spices. The veggies are super healthy and can be enjoyed in many ways! You can grill them, roast them or even sautéd in a skillet.
Get the recipe!
3 vegetable tacos on a white plate garnished with queso fresco
3 tacos of cochinita pibil topped with red pickled onions and limes on the side
Cochinita Pibil
This Healthy Crockpot Cochinita Pibil recipe is a perfect easy, filling weeknight dinner. Made in the slow cooker with only a few ingredients, it’s low in fat, packed with protein and loaded with flavor!
Get the recipe!
Shrimp Ceviche
Made with easy-to-find ingredients, this Shrimp Ceviche tastes just like the one at your favorite Mexican restaurant.
Get the recipe!
A large white bowl of ceviche de camaron.
Fish Ceviche de pescado on top of two tostadas.
Fish Ceviche & Mango
This healthy Ceviche De Pescado (Fish Ceviche) is made with raw fish marinated in lime juice and plenty of fresh vegetables, such as avocado, cucumber, and tomato, to boost its nutritional value and add some extra crunch and texture.
Get the recipe!
Mexican Tuna Salad
Ensalada De Atun is undoubtedly a classic recipe. Canned tuna is tossed with creamy textures and dotted with crisp celery and mixed veggies. But the Mexican version has a little something extra to make it the ultimate tuna salad recipe.
Mexican Tuna Salad
Ensalada de atun on two tostadas garnished with a slice of avocado.
A white dish with the fish covered in sauce and white rice on the side.
Pescado A La Veracruzana
Pescado a la Veracruzana is a tasty fish dish made with a delicious tomato sauce of peppers, baby potatoes, onions, olives, capers and herbs. Ready in 30 minutes or less. iI’s a crowd pleaser. 
Get the recipe!
Sopa De Fideo (Step by step)
Sopa De Fideo is a comforting soup that's easy to become nostalgic for. Like many of our familial recipes, it's a dish whose exact combination of pasta and broth makes us think of our parents or grandparents who lovingly prepared it for us as children.
Get the recipe!
A bowl of soup with a spoon on the side.
A white bowl with soup and a spoon inside.
Authentic Lentejas (Mexican Lentil Soup) Recipe
Sopa De Lentejas is a popular Mexican soup that is healthy, delicious and ready in 30 minutes or less. It's full of flavor! You can’t go wrong with a big warm bowl of lentil soup.
Get the recipe!
Sopa De Verduras – Easy & Healthy
Sopa De Verduras is one of my favorites because it’s so healthy and delicious! Use whatever vegetables you have at hand but I do recommend you incorporate most of them. I know you’re going to love this vegetable soup! This soup serves 8 people but you can also make this much as a meal prep for the week!
Get the recipe!
A pot with vegetable soup.
a bowl of guacamole with tortilla chips on the side.
THE best Guacamole!
THE best Authentic Guacamole! This recipe is fabulous as a snack, as an appetizer or on favorite Mexican dish!
Get the recipe!
Authentic Pico De Gallo (Salsa Fresca)
This isthe best Pico de Gallo (Salsa Fresca) you will ever have! Made with fresh tomatoes, onion, chiles, cilantro and lots of lime juice plus a secret ingredient.
Get the recipe!
Pico De Gallo Salsa on a white bowl with tortilla chips on the side
A white bowl with roasted salsa placed on a rustic tray with a green bottle on the side
Roasted Tomato Salsa
A crowd pleaser Roasted Tomato Salsa – bright, tangy & so flavorful! It's always the star of my parties served with tortilla chips. Also great on tacos, eggs, and everything you can get your hands on!
Get the recipe!
Chipotle Crema – Healthy, Easy & Delicious!
This Chipotle Crema recipe is lightened up with Greek yogurt. No mayo here! It’s so easy to whisk this crema together. Recipe yields 1 cup and keeps well for 10 to 14 days.
Get the recipe!
A slice of flan on a white plate with a fork taking a piece.
Mexican Flan
Mexican Flan is the ultimate indulgence; light and creamy and yet surprisingly simple to make!
Buying guide: All ingredients are easily available at all Portuguese grocery stores.
See Flan Recipe
Pastel De Tres Leches (Cake)
A classic Mexican cake. It may look small when it comes out of the oven but it puffs up after all the milk mixture has been absorbed by the cake.
Get the recipe!
Taking a bite of a piece of cake with a white fork
Two glasses with metal straws and Mexican Horchata. A jar in the background
Traditional Mexican Horchata
Learn how to make the authentic Horchata drink that everyone loves! With this step-by-step tutorial, you’ll be able to make the best homemade Horchata recipe made with a few simple ingredients. Skip the store-bought mixes and use this easy recipe right at home!
Get the recipe!
Agua de Jamaica – only 2 ingredient Hibiscus Tea
Agua De Jamaica is a fragrant, refreshing, and beautiful Mexican drink. This Jamaica Recipe is the ultimate party drink or to enjoy with your meals at home.
Get the recipe!
Close up image of a glass with Agua De Jamaica

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *