Papas a la Mexicana

Papas a la Mexicana is a simple and delicious dish perfect to serve for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. This versatile meatless dish is also budget-friendly and can be made ahead.

Papas a la Mexicana in a turquoise serving platter.

About the recipe

Papas a la Mexicana is a popular and traditional dish made of sautéed potatoes with tomatoes, onions, and chilies.

The term “a la Mexicana” is used widely in Mexican cuisine to refer to dishes made using the three common ingredients that remind the country’s flag: Chilies (green, onions (white), and tomatoes (red).

Depending on the additional ingredient you will find other typical preparations sharing the mentioned term, such as huevos a la Mexicana or champiñones a la Mexicana.

Papas a la Mexicana in a turquoise plate. Seen from above.

How is eaten?

Papas a la Mexicana is used as a main meal served with other typical side dishes like refried beans or red rice. It fits perfectly for any meal of the day, from breakfast to lunch, and even dinner.

And because is a budget-friendly recipe, is very common to find it offered in the street food stalls as a “guisado” to fill gorditas, tacos, and quesadillas.

This dish is also perfect to serve as a side for grilled meats, fish, and other protein-based meals.

As you can see, the recipe is so versatile and no wonder why it is so popular in my country.

What are the ingredients needed?

To make this delicious vegetarian dish you will need simple and cheap ingredients easily available all around the world. Let’s see the list:

  • Potatoes. Use all-purpose potatoes such as Yukon Gold, white potatoes, or Pontiac. If none of those available, use any potato type you find locally, the texture will change a bit but the recipe will be delicious anyway.
  • Tomatoes. Ripe red tomatoes, diced.
  • Onion. White, yellow, or even red onions. Chopped.
  • Green chilies. Jalapeño, serrano, Hatch, or pretty much any fresh green chile you have locally available. Add as many as you want and can handle.
  • Seasonings. Keep it simple, garlic, salt and pepper is all this dish need.
  • Oil. Any vegetable oil you prefer, in Mexico is common to use sunflower or canola oil, but I always use extra virgin olive oil because that’s what is common where I live.
Ingredients for papas a la Mexicana labeled and displayed in a marble surface.

Related: Potato Types, Explained.

How To Make Papas a la Mexicana

Prepare your ingredients, dice the tomatoes, chop onions, and chop the chilies too. You can decide if you want to remove some heat by discarding seeds and veins from chiles or adding them as they are.

Chilies, onions, and tomatoes chopped and diced in a cutting board.

Wash the potatoes under running water, pat dry them and peel them. Next, dice them into small pieces.

Diced potatoes on a plate.

In a large cast-iron skillet or sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add potatoes and season with salt and pepper.

Spread potatoes nicely on the pan and cook stirring from time to time for about 8 minutes or until potatoes start to soften and get slightly crispy.

Sautéed potatoes close-up.

Stir in the chilies and onion, cook for 2 minutes or until onions start to soften and become translucent.

Sautéed potatoes with onions and chilies.

Now, add tomatoes and garlic (you can also use powdered garlic if you prefer). Mix nicely to combine all flavors and then adjust seasonings to your liking.

Sautéed potatoes with vegetables for papas a la Mexicana.

Keep cooking for 2 or 3 more minutes or until potatoes are fork-tender and the vegetables are nicely cooked and combined.

Papas a la Mexicana cooked in a pan.

Serve immediately as suggested below or allow to cool down and store for later.

How To Serve

SIDE: Serve your papas a la Mexicana as a side for other preparations, such as Tinga de pollo, or fried fish.

MAIN: My favorite way of serving papas a la Mexicana is with a fried egg on top, refried beans on the side, queso fresco, and corn tortillas.

FILLING: Make some quesadillas with flour tortillas and use the preparation to fill them. Or you can also lightly mash the potatoes once cooked to make a mixture to prepare some tacos de papa.

A fried egg served on top of papas a la Mexicana.

Useful Notes & Tips

  • If you want to remove seeds and veins from chilies, make sure to use gloves or to wash quickly your hands after handling them to prevent irritation.
  • Even though in Mexico is not customary, you can still remove the seeds from tomatoes before you dice them.
  • Use a large pan to spread the potatoes on a single layer and allow them to crisp evenly.
  • Want to add other spices? Minced garlic, a pinch of cumin, some oregano, or chopped cilantro are all good options.

How To Make Ahead & Store

You can make papas a la Mexicana ahead or store for up to 3 days, this is a wonderful prep meal for those busy days.

Make sure the preparation is well cooled, then place in containers with tight lids to prevent absorbing other smells and store in the fridge. I don’t recommend freezing.

Why do we love this recipe

  • Is delicious. Even though is so simple, for me, simple flavors are the best, and you can’t go wrong with potatoes!
  • Is naturally vegan. No animal products involved to make it.
  • Is budget-friendly. Potatoes are available all year round and that makes them affordable, no matter the type, you can still make this dish with other kind of potatoes.
  • Is versatile. The recipe is perfect to enjoy for a quick breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner. And you can use it as a side, main dish, or even to make other recipes!
  • It doesn’t need hard-to-find ingredients. Potatoes, tomatoes, onions, and chilies are easily available worldwide so you won’t have to chase specific Mexican ingredients to make it.
  • And is SO EASY to make. It takes less than 30 minutes from start to finish to enjoy this recipe.

Other vegetarian recipes with potatoes

  • Tortitas de papa. Soft potato patties served with a delicious tomato sauce and your favorite Mexican side dish.
  • Potato Soup. This traditional soup from Sonora is made with potatoes, California chilies, and cheese. Flavorful, hearty, comforting, and vegetarian.
Papas a la Mexicana recipe.

Papas a la Mexicana

Sauteed potatoes with tomatoes, onions, and chilies deliver this papas a la Mexicana dish that can be served for breakfast, lunch, and even dinner!
PREP 10 minutes
COOK 15 minutes
TOTAL 20 minutes
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Servings: 4
Author: Maricruz

Ingredients 

  • 1.5 lb potatoes (diced into bite pieces)
  • 2 medium tomatoes (diced)
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 2 jalapeño chili peppers (seeded and diced)
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil (or the oil you prefer)
  • 1 garlic clove (minced)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

Instructions

  • In a large cast-iron skillet or sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat.
  • Add diced potatoes and season with salt and pepper.
  • Spread potatoes nicely on the pan and cook stirring from time to time for about 8 minutes or until potatoes start to soften and get slightly crispy.
  • Stir in the chilies and onion, cook for 2 minutes or until onions soften and become translucent.
  • Add tomatoes and garlic. Mix to combine all flavors and then adjust seasonings to your liking.
  • Cook for 2 or 3 more minutes or until potatoes are fork-tender and the vegetables are nicely cooked.
  • Turn off the heat and serve.

NOTES

  • Use gloves or wash quickly your hands if you remove seeds and veins on chili peppers to prevent irritation.
  • If you want, you can remove the seeds from tomatoes before you dice them.
  • Use a large pan to spread the potatoes on a single layer so they will crisp evenly.
  • Want to add other spices? A pinch of cumin, some oregano, or chopped cilantro are all good options.
Nutrition
Calories: 280kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Sodium: 2340mg | Potassium: 923mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 592IU | Vitamin C: 53mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 2mg
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One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    Love the simplicity of this recipe, you really don’t need much to make a delicious and cheap meal for your family using just simple and fresh ingredients, thank you for showing us the real mexican food.