Kitchen essentials

Mexican Spices You Should Always Have In Your Kitchen

When preparing Mexican dishes you always need spices!

Mexican Spices You Should Always Have In Your Kitchen

A lot of recipes are useless without the proper seasoning. They add flavor and depth to your recipes. So here we have 8 basic spices that you should always have. So are you ready to learn which Mexican spices you should always have in your pantry? Let’s get started!

Mexican Spice You Should Always Have In Your Kitchen

The tortilla channel is dedicated to a lot of Mexican, Tex-Mex, and world recipes.

Even though they can be very different one thing they do have in common is most recipes require spices.

You need to add flavor to your recipes. It gives your dishes a much-needed kick or adds that eat-on factor.

But in order to season and spice your recipes, you need some essentials in your kitchen on hand to spice your recipe or make your own seasoning.

With a set of basic spices, you can make just about any seasoning.

What To Consider When Buying Spices

There are only a couple of things to consider when buying spice:

  • What spices do you use the most – when you own twenty different jars of spices you probably will not use them all. This is why we look at the ingredients we use the most when we cook Mexican and Tex Mex recipes
  • Which spices are great substitutes – when a recipe calls for a specific ingredient that you only use very limited which common used alternative can you use instead. It is better to use spices often than have some available that you hardly use
  • Shelf-life – spices lose taste and flavor but you can keep them for a long time. Keep them in a dark and dry space to prevent warmth and moisture to impact the spices.

Basic Mexican Pantry Spices

So here we go and define the basic spices that are used in the Mexican and Tex-Mex kitchen.

We have not included salt and pepper because these are mostly on hand in every household and not specifically used for Mexican cooking.


One of the most characteristic spices in South American cooking is cumin. It is also popular in Indian cooking.

It has an earthy undertone and is ground from cumin seeds. You can also buy cumin seeds and ground them in a pestle and mortar.

Fresh ground cumin seeds add even more flavor. Mexican recipes commonly use ground cumin.

It is one of the main ingredients in Mexican seasoning or spice mixes.

Mexican Spices You Should Always Have In Your Kitchen

Chili Powder

Chili powder is not one spice but in fact a spice blend that you can hand mix yourself.

In fact, I recommend you make your own instead of buying it in the store.

The majority of spice blends you buy in the store have salt as the main ingredient.

When you make your own Chili powder you can determine what is the perfect mix.

Make it as hot as you like. It is very versatile and you can add it to just about any Mexican recipe.

That is why it is so good to have it on hand always.

Mexican Spices You Should Always Have In Your Kitchen

Smoked Paprika

You can use regular ground paprika but you can use smoked paprika or pimento.

I recommend the sweet smoked paprika but if you can buy the spicy version take it home as well.

Smoked paprika is a regular ingredient for most Mexican seasoning recipes.

Mexican Spices You Should Always Have In Your Kitchen

Garlic Powder

Another staple in Mexican recipes is garlic powder. You can use fresh garlic but dried garlic adds another tone to your recipes.

To be honest in a lot of Mexican recipes you use both fresh garlic and garlic powder that is part of a spice blend.

When garlic powder gets older it can become a little hard in the jar and bitter.

So try to not let your garlic powder get too old.

Mexican Spices You Should Always Have In Your Kitchen

Onion powder

Some recipes call for dried onion powder but if you want to keep the number of spice jars limited I recommend you go for onion powder.

Onion powder intensifies your seasoning recipes and as a result your recipes so it is always good to have a jar on hand

Mexican Spices You Should Always Have In Your Kitchen

Cayenne Pepper

Mexican dishes call for some heat which is why I like to have some cayenne pepper on hand.

This will last a lifetime because you only need small amounts to give your recipes and seasoning a major kick.

Start with a small amount you can always add more later but you can’t take too much Cayenne pepper out.

Mexican Spices You Should Always Have In Your Kitchen

Chili flakes

Mexican cooking uses different pepper varieties to cook with. These are used fresh or dried.

If you do not have access to all these pepper varieties it is good to have chili flakes on hand.

Mexican Spices You Should Always Have In Your Kitchen


This is not a spice but a herb but also essential in Mexican and Tex-Mex cooking which is why it is on this list.

In almost all seasoning recipes oregano is used. The Mexican version or if you do not have access to it you can use regular oregano instead.

So that is our list of spices that we like to have in our pantry for South American cooking.

Mexican Spices You Should Always Have In Your Kitchen

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