While Mexican cuisine utilizes wheat flour to a large extent in its Tortillas, Sopaipillas, and Empanadas, the cuisine has a powerful gluten-free contingent when 100 percent corn tortillas are used. While you always have to be cautious of food preparation, in Mexican cuisine it’s less common to find the breading, dusting, and dredging with flour that’s so common with Italian, French, and German foods. Where tortillas are listed, always use or request 100 percent corn tortillas and you should be okay.
The most common gluten offenders include but are not limited to:
Fried foods with tortillas
The following list provides an abridged recipe/menu name primer of some popular gluten-based Mexican foods found on menus in North America and abroad. If you see these names on a menu, you know that dish is to be avoided:
Burritos Flour tortillas Chiles rellenos Flour/batter/fried Chimichangas Fried flour tortillas Croquetas Flour
Empanadas Flour Quesadillas Flour tortillas Sopaipilla Flour
Tres leches Flour
Mexican cuisine offers a variety of recipes that are gluten-free when 100 percent corn tortillas are used. When bread and dessert recipes call for flour, try substituting a cup-for-cup gluten-free replacement flour, or look for versions in gluten-free cookbooks that have been modified appropriately.
Gluten-free Mexican fare: Albondigas (meatballs) Carne adovada (pork cubes)
Chile con queso (chile and melted cheese dip) Chorizo (spicy pork sausage)
Flan (custard) Frijoles (beans)
Huevos rancheros (use 100 percent corn tortillas) Menudo (soup)
Nachos (use 100 percent corn tortilla chips) Refritos (refried beans)
Tamales (use 100 percent cornmeal) Tostadas (use 100 percent corn tortillas) Enchiladas (use 100 percent corn tortillas) Tacos (use 100 percent corn taco shells)