Exploring the Various Uses of Nixtamal Beyond Tortillas

Nixtamal has been a staple in the diets of many Mesoamerican cultures for centuries. In addition to being used to make tortillas, there are many other uses of nixtamal that make it a versatile and nutritious ingredient in cooking.

One of the most common uses of nixtamal is in the preparation of tamales. Tamales are a typical Mexican dish made from a nixtamalized corn dough and filled with various ingredients such as meat, beans, cheese, and more. Tamales can be cooked in different ways, such as in corn husks, banana leaves, or even in clay pots.

Another use of nixtamal is in the preparation of pozole, a typical Mexican soup made with nixtamalized corn kernels, pork meat, and other ingredients such as chili peppers and vegetables. Pozole is a very popular dish during the Independence Day celebrations and end-of-year festivities.

In addition, nixtamal is used in the preparation of different types of Mexican antojitos such as sopes, tostadas, and gorditas. It can also be used to prepare stews and dishes such as chile relleno and chilaquiles.

But nixtamal is not only used in cooking. It also has medicinal properties and is used in traditional medicine to treat different ailments such as diarrhea, stomach pain, and respiratory problems. In addition, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties have been found in nixtamalized corn that could have health benefits.

In conclusion, nixtamal is a versatile and nutritious ingredient that has many uses in cooking and can also have health benefits. In addition to being the base of the tortilla, it can be used to prepare tamales, pozole, Mexican antojitos, and other dishes. It is important to continue promoting the use and consumption of nixtamalized corn and exploring all its culinary and medicinal possibilities.


  • Ramos-Elorduy, Julieta, et al. “The importance of edible insects in the diet of the indigenous population of the region of Tehuacán-Puebla, México.” Journal of ethnobiology and ethnomedicine 8.1 (2012): 40.
  • Sanchez-Mata, M. C., & Tardío, J. (2012). Wild edible plants traditionally gathered in Gorbeialdea (Biscay, Basque Country). Journal of ethnobiology and ethnomedicine, 8(1), 16.
  • Tejeda-Ortigoza, V., García-Villanova, B., & Gómez-Favela, M. A. (2017). Nutritional, technological, and functional properties of nixtamalized maize flour. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, 57(13), 2836-2852.

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