11 Must-Try Dishes of Mexico's Yucatan Region

Cochinita pibil tacos, a Yucatecan dish
Cochinita pibil tacos, a Yucatecan dish.

Getty Images / carlosrojas20 

The regional cuisine of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, known as Yucatecan cuisine, is a unique melange of influences from Europe, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Set between the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, the Yucatan Peninsula is made up of the Mexican states of Yucatan, Campeche and Quintana Roo.

The influence of the ancient Maya, whose legacy can be felt in many aspects of life in the Yucatan, is especially prevalent in the food of the region. Some of the dishes are unique to the Yucatan and difficult to find outside of the peninsula, while others are eaten throughout Mexico. Still others, like ceviche, are popular throughout the entire Caribbean and Latin American region.

For typical ingredients, you are likely to find meals are made of Pinsavo (turkey), pollo (chicken) and pork as the main proteins, along with fish closer to the coasts. Seasonings that impart a distinctive flavor profile to many Yucatecan dishes are often achiote, a sweet, slightly peppery red sauce made from the seed of the tropical annatto plan, and sour orange, that was brought to Mexico by the Spanish.

!Buen provecho! (Happy eating!)


Ceviche is comprised of raw fish marinated in citrus juice (such as lime or lemon) and served with chopped onion, chiles, cilantro, and sometimes fruit.


Chilaquiles is a breakfast food that is made with fried tortilla strips simmered in a red or green salsa and usually topped with beans, eggs, cheese or meat.

Chiles Rellenos

Chiles Rellenos is a dish consisting of a green poblano chile stuffed with cheese, and then battered and deep fried.

Huevos Motulenos

Huevos Motulenos is a breakfast dish of fried eggs served on tortillas with refried black beans and a tomato-based sauce. It is often studded with ham, peas, and plantains and then sprinkled with cheese.


Papadzules consists of tortillas rolled around a filling of hard-boiled eggs and topped with a sauce made of pumpkin seeds (pepitas) and tomato.

Pavo Relleno Negro

Pavo Relleno Negro is turkey in a dark sauce made from charred chilies and spices. The dish is garnished with hard-boiled eggs and eaten with fresh tortillas.


Pibil consists of marinated meat wrapped in spices and banana leaves and then cooked in a barbecue pit. Cochinita Pibil, meanwhile, is made from a whole suckling pig.

Poc C​huc

Poc C​​huc is slices of pork marinated in a sour orange and achiote sauce. 

Queso Relleno

Queso Relleno is created by taking a whole, hollowed-out Edam cheese, and stuffing it with a mixture of pork, peppers, onions, tomatoes, raisins, capers, olives and herbs, and spices.


Salbutes are a snack made from crisp fried tortillas topped with shredded meat, lettuce, and tomato.

Sopa de Lima

Sopa da Lima is a broth-like hot soup made from chicken stock and lima (a citrus fruit similar to lime, but less acidic) and filled with chunks of chicken and pieces of fried tortilla.


Sopes are a snack food consisting of a tortilla stuffed with refried beans then topped with shredded chicken, pork or beef, lettuce, and sometimes sour cream.