Grow Your Best Garden: Top Herbs for Mexican Flavor

When it's Cinco de Mayo, we associate the holiday with parties and drinking, but how about celebrating Cinco de Mayo year-round by growing herbs that are commonly used in Mexican cuisine for all your favorite dishes?

This way, you can enjoy the holiday with your stomach and have a deeper connection to the culinary traditions of Mexico.


Epazote is a herb native to southern Mexico and Central America, known for its unique flavor and culinary uses in Mexican cuisine. Its pungent, slightly citrusy taste with hints of mint and anise makes it a distinctive ingredient in a variety of dishes. Epazote is commonly used to flavor bean dishes, such as frijoles refritos (refried beans) and frijoles negros (black beans), where it helps to reduce the gassiness often associated with beans. 

Additionally, epazote is frequently incorporated into soups, stews, and sauces, such as caldo de pescado (fish soup) or mole verde (green mole sauce) and paired with anything with tortillas! 


Cilantro, also known as coriander in some regions, is an essential herb in Mexican cuisine, loved for its bright, pungent flavor and fresh aroma. This versatile herb is commonly used as a garnish or ingredient in a wide range of Mexican dishes, adding a burst of freshness and depth of flavor. You can expect to find cilantro in classics like salsa verde, guacamole, and pico de gallo, pozole and soups, as well as in marinades for grilled meats such as carne asada and al pastor. 

Additionally, cilantro is loaded with antioxidants, which can help reduce inflammation and support heart health. It's also great for digestion and detoxifying your body, especially when it's fresh. That's why it's a top pick as a topping in nearly all Mexican dishes!

Bay leaves

Bay leaves are a staple herb in Mexican cuisine, loved for their aromatic flavor and subtle earthy notes. In Mexican cooking, bay leaves are often found in hearty dishes such as birria (spiced meat stew), pozole (hominy soup), and mole sauces. Their addition lends a depth of flavor and complexity to these traditional dishes, infusing them with a rich aroma that tantalizes the senses. 

Bay leaves are full of vitamins and minerals and have been used in traditional medicine to aid digestion, reduce inflammation, and lower blood sugar levels. Adding bay leaves to your favorite Mexican recipes not only enhances their taste but also nourishes you from the inside out!


Oregano, a staple herb in Mediterranean cuisine, also plays a significant role in Mexican cooking. While it may not be used in all dishes, it is a requirement in those that call for oregano, as it can make or break the dish. 

Oregano isn't just a flavorful herb—it can help lower inflammation and protect against chronic diseases, and fight off harmful viruses and bacteria with its antimicrobial properties. Additionally, oregano has been linked to improved digestion and may even support heart health by lowering cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Incorporating oregano into your cooking not only enhances the taste of your dishes but also adds a nutritional boost that can contribute to overall well-being. So, sprinkle some oregano onto your favorite Mexican dishes and reap the delicious and healthful benefits!


While thyme is not traditionally found in Mexican cuisine, it does make appearances in certain dishes, particularly those featuring beans, grilled meats, salsas, marinades, and seafood. 

Thyme is incredibly beneficial for your health because it's packed with antioxidants that shield your cells from free radicals, lowering the risk of chronic diseases. Additionally, it has anti-inflammatory properties that can ease symptoms of arthritis and asthma. 

While not stealing the spotlight, thyme contributes to the harmonious blend of flavors that makes Mexican cuisine so delicious, so toss some into your cooking and enjoy its healthful perks!

Final thoughts

Incorporating these fresh herbs into your dishes brings an authentic taste of Mexico to your table.

Leave a comment