Papas a la Mexicana or Mexican style potatoes is one of the simplest and budget friendly dishes you can make. Serve it as a delicious side dish or as a filling for tacos, gorditas, quesadillas or even with some refried beans for a complete vegan meal.
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Papas a la Mexicana
Papas a la Mexicana or Mexican-style potatoes are a stable food in Mexican cuisine.
Potatoes are easy to cook, inexpensive and can be made into countless different dishes. All of this applies to these Mexican potatoes recipe.
You can serve this dish for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Enjoy it as a perfect side dish or as a main dish — it makes a perfect and delicious meatless dish or vegan meal.
Did I mention you can make this Mexican potato recipe ahead of time? Just store in the fridge until ready to use.
You can also make this for your weekly meal prep.
Pair it with a protein like some refried beans for a complete meal. Or use as a stuffing and filling for tacos, gorditas, quesadillas…It’s just such a versatile dish and honestly it’s no wonder why it’s so popular with Mexican people.
More Mexican Potato Recipes to Try
- Tacos de Papa Dorados (Potato Tacos Recipe)
- Easy Chorizo con Papas
- Pambazos Recipe | Potato and Chorizo Pambazos
- Potato and Pumpkin Empanadas (with a twist)
- Potato Tacos with Spinach
- Braised Oyster Mushrooms and Potatoes in Red Salsa
- Chorizo con Huevos | Mexican Chorizo with Eggs
- Pibipollo | Vegan Tamales for Day of The Dead
- Vegan Enfrijoladas
- The Best Vegetarian Mexican Albondigas Soup Recipe
- Verdolagas | Purslane in Salsa Verde
What Does “a la Mexicana” Mean
You may be wondering the a la Mexicana meaning, it simply means Mexican style.
This term is used in Mexican cuisine to refer to dishes made using three common ingredients which represent the Mexican flag.
They are: chilies for the green, onion for the white and tomatoes for the red color in the Mexican flag.
Popular “A la Mexicana” dishes like huevos a la Mexicana, nopales a la Mexicana, arroz a la Mexicana, or calabacitas just to name a few. Salsa like pico de gallo are also based on this traditional combination.
Why You Should Make This Papas a la Mexicana
There’s really no excuse not to make papas a la Mexicana, these are the best potatoes!
The combination of the tender potatoes, spicy green chiles, sweet onions, juicy tomatoes on a warm tortilla and drizzled with some homemade salsa, it’s a scrumptious one.
- It’s vegan but even hardcore meat eaters love this dish.
- It’s inexpensive and very budget friendly.
- Ingredients are easy to find and are pantry items
- It’s easy to make and ready in about 30 minutes.
- You can serve it as lunch, dinner, a main or a side dish, a filling or stuffing, and use any leftovers to make breakfast.
Ingredients Needed for Mexican Style Potatoes
Papas a la Mexicana is seriously one of the easiest recipes you can possibly make.
It’s made with 7 simple ingredients that are all pantry basics. The ingredients are cheap and are available to just about every one all around the World. Plus this is quite a healthy recipe too.
- Potatoes: In Mexico we use white potatoes. But you could also use russet potatoes, yellow potatoes or Yukon golds, red potatoes. You could really use any potato that is available locally to you. They’ll each have a slightly different starch or texture to them, but potatoes are delicious. I personally love starchy potatoes.
- Onion: You can use white onion or if not available then yellow onion is perfectly fine.
- Green Chilies: You can use serrano peppers, jalapenos or even poblanos. I once made this with Hatch chiles and they were delicious.
- Tomatoes: Roma tomatoes that are ripe and juicy are perfect in this simple recipe. But you could also use just regular ripe red tomatoes.
- Garlic: Not everyone uses garlic but I personally love it.
- Oil: Anything from vegetable or corn oil, canola oil or even olive oil work. Olive oil isn’t traditional but it’s what I normally use due to health reasons. Use your favorite.
- Salt: Potatoes need to be well salted to really enjoy their deliciousness.
Additional Optional Ingredients
I personally love to add chop cilantro to the crispy Mexican potatoes to give them a burst of herby freshness. This is optional and up to you.
Some people like to add seasonings like cumin or oregano. I personally don’t, but it’s a personal choice.
Tips for Substituting Ingredients
If you don’t have access to fresh chilies then in a pinch you could use chili powder. If you’re out of fresh garlic then garlic powder is a good substitute.
If you’re out of onion then even onion powder can be used in a pinch. Red onion would work it just wouldn’t have that Mexican flag look to it.
For the potatoes use any of the varieties mentioned and stay away from sweet potatoes for this recipe. It wouldn’t work too well here.
Of course please notice that the results using any of these substitutions will be quite different then the traditional dish and what you see pictured here. Still yummy, just different.
How to Make Papas a la Mexicana
This authentic Mexican recipe is one of the simplest and easiest ones to make.
To begin with peel the potatoes then run them under cold water and pat dry. Chop into very small pieces. This helps cooking go faster. Prepare the rest of your ingredients because this easy recipe moves quickly.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the potatoes and sprinkle a bit of salt over them. Sauté until fork tender or crispy. Try to create one single layer with the potatoes to help them cook faster. You can cook until you have extra crispy potatoes if you’d like.
Add the onion, garlic and chile and sauté for 4 minutes or until the onion is soft and translucent.
Next you’re going to add the chopped tomatoes and season with salt. Cook just a few minutes or until the tomatoes begin to break down.
Lastly mix in the chopped cilantro, if using, and stir until well combined. Remove from heat and serve as desired.
How to Serve
Now that you’ve made these easy Mexican potatoes, it’s time to enjoy them. Below are some of the many ways you can eat papas a la Mexicana.
As a side dish you can serve them with any protein as the main dish. These vegan fajitas would go great with these papas. So would enchiladas, grilled vegan steaks, bistec a la mexicana, tinga tostadas, vegan chicken milanesa torta, on the side of my Mexican Broccoli Recipe (Brocoli A La Mexicana)or my Breakfast Tacos: Huevos con Salchicha.
Don’t forget to drizzle your papas with some homemade salsa verde. Try my easy recipe.
If you’d rather have these potatoes for breakfast, or you have any leftover potatoes, then you can serve with a fried egg on top. I like to sprinkle with some cotija cheese over the potatoes before adding the egg.
How to Store and Reheat
You can store Mexican-style potatoes in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Just allow to come to room temperature and store leftovers in an airtight container before placing in the fridge.
I really don’t recommend freezing. Potatoes don’t freeze nor defrost well.
To reheat do so on a hot pan with a little bit of oil. You can also microwave for about 30 seconds. In the oven would be fine too, or in the air fryer to end up with extra crispy potatoes.
- Cut potatoes into small even bits, this ensures a shorter the cooking time.
- You could also pre-cook the potatoes then just sauté with the other ingredients.
- Use a nonstick pan so you’ll need less oil.
- Cook potatoes until golden brown for a crispier texture, make sure to aim for an even layer whilst cooking in the pan.
- Remove the seeds and veins to make chiles milder — also, wear gloves to prevent chili burns.
- For extra fiber you can leave the potatoes unpeeled.
- To make the meal gluten free use corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas.
Papas a la Mexicana | Easy Mexican Potatoes Recipe
- 2 Tablespoons oil
- 1 ½ lbs potatoes cubed into small bits
- ⅓ cup white onion finely chopped
- 3 large garlic cloves finely minced
- 1 large serrano or jalapeño pepper chopped
- 2 medium Roma tomatoes chopped into small pieces
- 1 teaspoon salt adjust to taste
- 1 large handful cilantro chopped
- Heat the oil in a large pan, once hot add the potatoes and cook until soft. Add the onion, garlic and chili pepper and mix into the potato pieces. Cook for 4 minutes or until the onion is soft.
- Mix in the tomato and the salt and cook until the tomatoes begin to break down.
- Lastly mix in the chopped cilantro and stir until well combined. Remove from heat and serve as desired.
Nancy Lopez is a food blogger and author of the cookbook Mexican Tamales Made Meatless. Born in Mexico, raised in the US, and currently living in Southern Mexico, she has followed a meatless diet for almost 10 years. It is her passion and mission to share all she has learned about vegan Mexican cooking and vegetarian Mexican recipes. Mexican Made Meatless is a blog dedicated to preserving the authentic flavors of Mexican cuisine just without the meat. It’s a place to celebrate Mexican culture and all it’s delightfully delicious traditional foods. Read more…