goods from st. louis mexican markets photo by christina musgrave

Your guide to Mexican markets around St. Louis

You can’t easily replicate the vibrancy of a bustling Mexican restaurant, but with a well-stocked pantry, you can create bright salsas, fresh, warm tortillas and much more in your own kitchen. There are plenty of Mexican grocery stores around St. Louis where you can plug the gaps in your own pantry, but first you’ll need a list. To get you started, here are a few of our favorite Mexican grocery items with recommendations from Aaron Martinez (no relation), who oversees restaurants like Taqueria Morita and Vicia as partner and culinary director at Take Root Hospitality, and Angel Jiménez-Gutiérrez, co-owner of Malinche


El Milagro Yellow Corn Tortillas, 1 dozen
Ditch the shelf-stable tortillas and embrace freshness. When shopping for store-bought tortillas, look for only three ingredients on the package: corn, water and lime. El Milagro passes that test, and their tortillas deliver the earthiness, nuttiness and pliability you should expect from a quality corn tortilla, especially when heated over a griddle or comal for 30 to 60 seconds on each side.
$1.09. Supermercado El Torito

Maseca Masa Instantánea de Maíz, 4 pounds
(Maseca instant corn masa flour) 
When packaged tortillas just can’t beat homemade, turn to Maseca, arguably the most recognizable brand of corn masa flour. Jiménez-Gutiérrez invites you to get creative by swapping water for something that will add depth or color, such as chicken stock, fresh cilantro or red chiles.
$3.99. El Mexiquense

La Finca Tostadas Artesanales Horneadas de Maíz Azul, 8.8 ounces
(La Finca artisanal baked blue corn tostadas)
Take a break from taco shells. Tostadas are the only crunchy vessel you need for savory ingredients like beans, cheese and salsa. These oven-baked tostadas are made with simple ingredients that create a clean, subtly sweet earthiness, including blue corn, amaranth and flax seed.
$3.49. Supermercado El Torito

Masienda Heirloom White Corn Masa Harina, 2.2 pounds
After a few reps of making tortillas at home, you might be keen to invest in higher-quality flour that allows the corn to shine. When not using nixtamalized masa and tortillas sourced from local restaurant Sureste at his restaurants, Martinez uses Masienda’s premium masa harina (flour made from nixtamalized corn) at home. It’s not generally available at the Mexican grocery stores listed here, but it’s worth making an exception for: We’ve found it locally at Whole Foods.  
$7.99. Whole Foods Market


el morelia supermercado in bridgeton // photo courtesy of el morelia supermercado



El Yucateco Chile Habanero Hot Sauce, 4 ounces
One of Aaron Martinez’ favorite condiments, El Yucateco’s line of habanero salsas packs a punch. The bright acidity and intense heat of the green salsa can enhance seafood or balance richness in avocado or heavy meats.
$2.99. Mi Tierra Bonita

Hot Sauce San Luis, 15.9 ounces
San Luis, a mild “salsa botanera,” is typically used as a topping for snacks like chips or popcorn. I use this salsa liberally on my morning eggs when I’m in need of extra salt, acidity and gentle heat. 
$1.99. Supermercado El Torito

El Morelia Salsa Macha
When it comes to adding complexity and depth, salsa macha is liquid gold. This chile oil from Veracruz is made from fried dried chiles, nuts, seeds and, sometimes, dried fruit. The housemade version from El Morelia (find it refrigerated near the meat section) has become a permanent fixture at my house.
$3.99. El Morelia

Pickled & Canned Goods

Doña Maria Nopalitos, 15 ounces
Made from the flat pads of prickly pear cactus, pickled nopalitos make either a delicious, tender complement or a tart alternative to meat. Fry them in chipotle chile sauce or simply grill and top with salt and lime juice.
$2.89. Mi Tierra Bonita

La Costeña Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce, 12 ounces
In a pinch, you can use these canned chipotles the same way you would use dried chipotles: in guisos (stews), salsas and other blends. Just note that the canned variety are made with tomatoes, onions, paprika and sugar, which gives you less control over the final flavor. The adobo is also highly concentrated – a little goes a long way.
$4.99. Mi Tierra Bonita

La Costeña Refried Pinto Beans, 20.5 ounces
While convenient, canned beans benefit from a touch-up. Jiménez-Gutiérrez suggests frying aromatics like onions, serrano peppers or jalapeno peppers before adding the beans to remove that “canned” taste. 
$2.29. El Mexiquense


mi tierra bonita in fairmont city, illinois // photo courtesy of mi tierra bonita


Pastes, Seasonings and Marinades 

La Villana Mole Poblano Tradicional, 1.12 pounds
Mole is often associated with the state of Oaxaca, but it comes in many varieties across different regions of Mexico. Prized for its versatility, good mole can be used as a marinade, a condiment and in many other ways. This blend from Puebla has a deep, chocolatey complexity and features an impressive list of ingredients: Chiles, plantains, raisins, cocoa, sesame seeds, anise, cloves and cinnamon are but a few examples.
$8.29. El Mexiquense

El Mejor Adobo Para Adobada & Al Pastor, 16 ounces
(El Mejor adobo al pastor marinade)
Become the star of your next cookout with this al pastor marinade. The marinade’s orange juice, vinegar and achiote (annatto) tenderize pork or chicken and lend both citrusy undertones and a signature red hue. 
$4.49. Supermercado El Torito

El Matador Arrachera Seasoning, 14 ounces
Arrachera, a skirt steak popular in northern Mexico, is lean and tough by nature and benefits from tenderizers and marinades. The meat counter at your local Mexican grocery store will typically offer pre-marinated arrachera as an option, but if you prefer to marinate the meat yourself at home, El Matador is a dependable choice.
$5.59. El Morelia


Marinela Gansito, 3.5 ounces
Gansito evokes nostalgia for the millions of Mexicans who have enjoyed it over the last 50 years. It features layers of strawberry jam, cream, and vanilla cake coated in chocolate and topped with chocolate sprinkles.
$1.79. El Morelia

Churrumais con Limoncito, 6.5 ounces
A childhood favorite of Jiménez-Gutiérrez, Churrumais are delicate, savory, churro-shaped corn crisps. This snack is popular with children due to its gentle, but addictive, lime flavor. 
$3.39. Supermercado El Torito

De la Rosa Mazapán Original, 30 count
De la Rosa Mazapán is a compact marzipan-like candy that replaces almonds with peanuts. Mazapán is both creamy and crumbly and melts in the mouth. While perfect on its own, I crumble it over ice cream or dissolve it to create an inspired iced latte.
$9.99. Mi Tierra Bonita

El Morelia Supermercado, 12005 St. Charles Rock Road, Bridgeton, 314.209.0014, Facebook: El Morelia Super Mercado

El Mexiquense, 9525 Lackland Road, Overland, 314.428.4919, Facebook: El Mexiquense Market

Supermercado El Torito, 2753 Cherokee St., St. Louis, 314.771.8648, Facebook: Super Mercado El Torito

Mi Tierra Bonita, 3203 Collinsville Road, Fairmont City, Illinois, 618.271.7311, Facebook: Mi Tierra Bonita


Tags : Places, Shops