Cooking with Epazote


Cooking with Epazote: Recipes and Tips


Epazote, a herb native to Central and South America, is widely used in Mexican cuisine for its distinctive flavor and medicinal properties. It has a strong, pungent aroma that can be described as a mix of mint, oregano, and anise.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the culinary uses of epazote, share some delicious recipes, and provide tips for cooking with this unique herb.

What is Epazote?

Epazote (Dysphania ambrosioides) is a leafy green herb that grows wild in many parts of Central and South America. It has long, jagged leaves and a strong, earthy aroma.

Traditionally, it has been used both as a culinary herb and for its medicinal properties, particularly for aiding digestion.

Culinary Uses

Epazote is often used to add a unique flavor to a variety of dishes, particularly beans, soups, and stews.

It is known for its ability to reduce the gas-producing effects of beans, making it a staple in many traditional Mexican recipes.

It can be used fresh or dried, but fresh leaves are preferred for their robust flavor.

Tips for Cooking with Epazote

  1. Preparation: Rinse epazote leaves under cold water to remove any dirt. Pat them dry with a paper towel.
  2. Usage: Epazote can be used whole or chopped. Add fresh leaves towards the end of cooking to preserve their flavor.
  3. Storage: Store fresh epazote leaves in the refrigerator wrapped in a damp paper towel and placed in a plastic bag. They can last up to a week when stored this way. Dried epazote can be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.

Recipes with Epazote

1. Black Bean Soup with Epazote


  • 2 cups dried black beans
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh epazote (or 1 tablespoon dried epazote)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh lime wedges and cilantro for garnish


  1. Rinse and soak the black beans overnight in cold water.
  2. Drain the beans and add them to a large pot with 6 cups of fresh water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer.
  3. In a separate pan, heat the olive oil and sauté the onion and garlic until softened.
  4. Add the onion and garlic mixture to the beans, along with the cumin, smoked paprika, bay leaf, and epazote.
  5. Simmer the soup for 1-2 hours, or until the beans are tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Remove the bay leaf and epazote sprigs before serving.
  7. Garnish with fresh lime wedges and cilantro.

2. Epazote Quesadillas


  • 8 small corn tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded Oaxaca or mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh epazote leaves
  • 1 tablespoon butter or oil for frying
  • Salsa and sour cream for serving


  1. Heat a skillet over medium heat and melt the butter or oil.
  2. Place a tortilla in the skillet and sprinkle with cheese and epazote leaves.
  3. Top with another tortilla and cook until the cheese is melted and the tortillas are golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side.
  4. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and filling.
  5. Serve hot with salsa and sour cream.

3. Mexican Rice with Epazote


  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh epazote (or 1 tablespoon dried epazote)
  • Salt to taste


  1. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Sauté the onion and garlic until softened.
  2. Add the rice and cook, stirring frequently, until the rice is lightly toasted.
  3. Stir in the tomato sauce and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add the broth and epazote, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover.
  5. Simmer for 18-20 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed.
  6. Remove the epazote sprigs before serving. Season with salt to taste.


Epazote is a versatile and aromatic herb that adds a distinctive flavor to many traditional Mexican dishes. Whether you’re making a hearty Black Bean Soup, flavorful Epazote Quesadillas, or a delicious Mexican Rice, this herb will elevate your cooking.

Experiment with these recipes and tips to discover the unique taste of epazote in your culinary creations.