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9 Mexican & Caribbean Recipes to Spice Up Dinner

Inspired by the cruise routes taken by Carnival to Mexico and the Caribbean, we’re sharing nine dishes from these tropical regions to make at home.


We’re always looking for an excuse to head out of town, take a breather, and eat delicious food by some body of water. There’s something about a breeze, a cold drink, and spicy food that makes us feel like we’re far away from pavement—or at least responsibility. But when you can’t get away, transport yourself with these Mexican- or Caribbean-influenced recipes full of sweet and savory flavors.

With cooking influences hailing from across the globe—South America, Asia, and Africa mostly—the countries around the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico utilize a variety of spices in their tropical cuisines. While the following 9 spices are certainly not all the regions have to offer, they’re found in many dishes and regularly end up mingling together. Often ubiquitous in home kitchens, these spices are ones to stock up on (you can find them in just about any grocery store, and your pantry will be thankful for the addition).

Here are 9 ways to use what you’ll likely have on hand to spice up your meals:

Use ginger in Jerk Chicken Kebabs by sdebrango

Use nutmeg in My Favorite Pina Colada by Merrill Stubbs

Use cayenne in Caribbean Ribs with Norman Van Aken’s Classic Sour Orange Mojo by thirschfeld

Use cloves in The Splendid Table’s Refried Beans with Cinnamon and Cloves by Genius Recipes

Use coriander seeds in Roasted, Spiced, Almond-y Cauliflower by Nicholas Day

Use cumin in Carne Asada con Rajas by Waverly

Use allspice in Chipotle Braised Lamb Tacos with Balsamic-Soaked Raisins by clintonhillbilly

Use garlic in José Pizarro’s Salt-Crusted Potatoes with Cilantro Mojo by Genius Recipes


Use cinnamon in Breakfast Churros with Cinnamon Sugar by SweetPaul


First photograph by Mark Weinberg, second by Sarah Shatz, third by thirschfield, last by Alexandra Grablewski, and all others by James Ransom 

This post was created for Away We Go with Carnival, the destination for getting in the getaway state of mind.