Difference Between Spanish and Mexican Food

By: | Updated: Apr-9, 2023
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Difference Between Spanish and Mexican Food

Spain is a country that has many cultures, traditions and ways of living. When Spain conquered a lot of America, it changed the ways in which the people of Latin America lived, but there were some countries that remained the same, they still had very distinct ways of living, educating and having fun that have not changed at all.

Summary Table

Spanish Food Mexican Food
Spanish cuisine has a milder flavor and depends on additional ingredients to add flavor and aroma. Mexican cuisine uses a variety of peppers and chilis to add flavor and is extremely hot.


More fish, shrimp, and veggies like potatoes are used in Spanish cuisine, along with olive oil. Mexicans are more likely to use meats like pork, chicken, and other kinds.



Spanish cuisine is regarded as a Mediterranean cuisine with Middle Eastern influences and utilizes a lot of garlic. Beans and tortillas are the foundation of every dish and diet in Mexican cuisine.


Even if the rulers of Spain ruled over Mexico for a long time and tried to influence a lot of people’s lives, Mexico has been able to preserve its own people, traditions and cuisine. Many Mexican cooks are influenced by two different cultures. They are influenced by Spain but they are influenced by their own, different cuisines.

It is true that the Spaniards had a major impact on the culture of many Latin American countries, but the agriculture and food habits of many Latin American countries also influence the way these countries are run. If your palate is not used to the different foods that are commonly eaten in Spain and Mexico, you will be amazed by the variety of food that these two cultures produce.

There are many differences between what you will eat in Spain and what you will eat in Mexico, but there are some basic rules that will help you identify the origin of food from the various regions in which you live. How to tell the difference between Spanish and Mexican cuisine? Let’s begin!

What is Spanish Food?

It is able to prepare a variety of dishes by incorporating the flavor of the different regions that make up the country. Its food is a result of the influence of many different cultures and ingredients that have come to Spain in the past, like the Romans, the Arabs, the Persians and the Indians.

The cuisine that is most commonly served in Spain is influenced by the cooking of Europe, and its style is very influenced by the use of seafood in many dishes. This large use and influence of different types of fresh seafood is one of the main differences that separates Spain from Mexico. Mexican food uses very little spice and is more focused on flavor. Saffron, a precious spice, is a very popular ingredient in Spanish cuisine.

The cooking style in Spain was heavily shaped by many people who had lived in the area over the past few centuries, like the Arabs, Persians, Romans and Indians. An interesting fact is that Mexicans do not use eggs in the preparation of their tortillas. Instead, they use corn flour to make tortillas that are thin like a burger. Whereas espadrilles in Spain are usually cooked and served with two eggs and a cheese sauce, tortillas in Mexico are usually cooked and served as a flatbread.

What is Mexican Food?

Difference Between Spanish and Mexican Food

Mexico’s cuisine combines many elements of both Mesoamericans and Europe, and it was taken over by Spain in the 16th century. Some food is largely made from locally produced food, including corn, beans and chili peppers.

Mexico is known for its very diverse and complicated food. Many people understand how to cook with food that has been in existence for thousands of years. Mexican cuisine uses ingredients that are indigenous to Mexico, as well as those that were imported by the Spaniards during the conquest of America. Some new ingredients have been introduced in recent years.

Spanish people have long eaten food that was derived from indigenous food, which is rich in nutritional value. There are many ways to cook with the foods that are commonly found in Mexico: cooking with avocados, tomatoes, chiles and green chiles, and with meat like beef, chicken, pork and fish, or with rabbit and lamb, for example.

Corn, tomatoes, squash, chile peppers, and beans form the base of the diet in Mexico. In Mexico, the main ingredients for a typical meal are rice, beans, and meat; but in the north of the country, people eat a lot of cheese and meat, chocolate, and even turkey.

How are They Related?

Mexico is a country whose cuisine has been heavily shaped by the culture of the Spaniards, but is mainly based on cooking from Mesoamerica. It relied more on local meat. For example, they used to cook chicken and pork for a long time. There are many more kinds of spices in Mexico than you will find in other countries like Spain. Some of the dishes are much more flavorful and spicy than what you will find in Spain.

Spanish settlers brought many new ingredients and recipes to the natives, including rice, olive oil, cinnamon, coriander and many more spices. They imported pigs, sheep, cows, chickens, and goats that were domestic and could produce an abundant source of protein.

It is evident in the sweet things that are made in Mexico, like alfajores, alfeniques, and churros. Spanish settlers brought many Chinese and Indian spices with them in order to spice up their food. It was the result of slave labor being conducted by the slave owners in New Spain and the Manila-Acapulco invasions that brought many foreigners to Mexico.

Spain is well known for its delicious food, which uses some staples, such as olive oil and rice. Some of the foods that we take today were brought to the US by the Spaniards, but others were brought here much more recently, such as wine, brandy, nuts and olive oil.

What are the Differences?

Many of us think the influence of Spain in Mexico, for so long, has had a significant effect on the country’s people and culture. Even if this is true, it would be useful to know that the cuisines of the two countries are very different. The differences are explained primarily by the fact that the two republics are different in terms of their geography and their climate.

The ingredients

It is important to understand that there are many different food types in Spain and Mexico. Spain has a cuisine that is more influenced by the Middle Ages and uses plenty of seafood, paella fish, shrimp, potatoes, eggplant and olive oil, but Mexico has a more modern food culture and uses many chili peppers and tortillas as well as meats such as beef and chicken.

The tortilla

This is also a difference between the cuisines of Spain and Mexico. Both cultures love to make delicious tortillas, which are very common in both cultures. Spanish food is very rich in eggs and many people prefer to eat it with that rather than using any other food.

The spices

Food from Mexico is spicy, and a lot of hot peppers are used which are like habanero and chipotle peppers, as well as chili powder, garlic, and cloves which add spice to the food, meanwhile food from Spain is mild. Even if they do not use a lot of hot peppers, some dishes in Spain still rely on other flavoring and aroma-giving ingredients.

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