Criadillas a la Mexicana (Mexican Style Bull Testicles)

I don't consider myself an adventurous person, especially when it comes to food.  But when I think of all of the different foods I have tried during my 11 years of living in Mexico, I realize that I've become more like Andrew Zimmern than I ever thought possible.

Case in point, yesterday's mystery ingredient on Name That Food...Criadillas (bull testicles).  Yes, you read correctly.   I think you'll agree with me that it sounds so much nicer in Spanish.


This weekend was my second time eating Criadillas and I just have to say that it was a much more pleasant experience than my first time.

My first time (eating Criadillas) was during my first year of living in Mexico.  My sister-in-law had prepared them (as a treat) for a late Saturday morning breakfast with the entire family.  Back then, I was still a skeptical young Gringa, afraid to try anything new, mostly out of fear that I was going to eat some icky, gross, exotic animal part.  (Nothing like the fearless food blogger that I am today.)  I took one bite and decided that I didn't like them.  Yes, the flavor was a bit on the strong side, but my decision had more to do with me freaking out just thinking about what I was eating than the actual flavor and texture.

Criadillas Mise en Place

Thank goodness, times have changed.  I'm older, wiser and a little more mature.   I've learned to base my decisions about food  on taste rather than judging a food by what part of the animal it's from.  (Most of the time.)  This time as I bit into my Taco de Criadillas, I took the time to really savor the flavors and feel the texture.  And you know what?  It was absolutely delicious AND I liked it! I really, really liked it.

The texture was like biting into a hot dog and the flavor of the Criadillas, sauteed with Salsa Mexicanawas like a spicy sausage.

I still can't believe how much I liked them, even knowing exactly what I was eating.

Somewhere, Andrew Zimmern is smiling.

Tacos de Criadillas

Criadillas a la Mexicana

  • 2 pounds criadillas 
  • Manteca (lard) or vegetable oil
  • 3 large roma tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 to 3 fresh serrano and/or jalapeño chilies
  • Cilantro

In a 4-quart stockpot,  bring the Criadillas and just enough water to cover the meat to a boil over high heat.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for about 30 minutes or until the Criadillas are soft to the touch.

Name That Food...

While the Criadillas are simmering on the stove, prepare the Salsa Mexicana by chopping the tomatoes, onion, serrano chilies and a handful of cilantro.

Salsa Mexicana Prep

Once the Criadillas have finished cooking, drain and chop them into bite-size pieces.

Criadillas Prep 1 

Heat 2 to 3 tablespoons of manteca (lard) in a large pan or skillet over medium-high heat.  (If using the same pot the Criadillas were cooked in, be sure to dry completely with paper towels.)

Copper Cazo

Add the chopped Criadillas and Salsa Mexicana.  Saute for about 10 to 15 minutes; season with salt.

Criadillas a la Mexicana in Copper Cazo

Serve with warm corn tortillas for delicious Tacos de Criadillas a la Mexicana.  Enjoy!!! 

Tacos de Criadillas 2



  1. You my dear are a brave soul. 

  2. Uuuummmmm....NO.  Ha! Hubs tells me they're not too bad (he's also eaten the comment), but adventurous as I am, I don't know if I could get over what my head is saying.  You go girl.  The salsa looks good! ;P

  3. Nope. Nice blog post. But I ain't going there. And yes, I guessed it was that from yesterday's picture. 

  4. Ohhhhh! I was afraid that you would say something like this!! I'm not sure I would have the criadillas to try something like this but it looks good the way it was prepared and served. 

  5. That is so wrong. Just like my recent snake eating adventure, my brain couldn't get past the fact it was a serpent that I was eating. Yuk.

  6. I have a difficult time with eating certain textures and criadillas and lengua are two that trigger my gag reflex nearly every time. A little more than a year ago I was traveling in Texas while doing food writing for a magazine and one of the places I visited INSISTED I try their tacos de lengua. I was sweating bullets, but for the first time ever, I ate them without wanting to puke. I don't know if it was a grace under pressure type situation or what but I was definitely glad it tasted good because I couldn't refuse. Your step by step photos actually make this dish a LITTLE less scary ;)

  7. I wish I could, but I can't! Despite how lovely they look, this is one time when I say: No Se Puede! 


  8. I've learned to never say never.  I'm still too chicken to knowingly try bull testicles, but if my hubby slipped them to me with out knowing.... i might just be a big fan!  Who knows.........

  9. Ah Leslie, your a brave one...

  10. These are great.  I try to have tacos de criadillas only once a year.  Gotta try everything once :) 

  11. The final dish looks great and the spices I'm sure makes it delicious.  But the picture of the boiling bull balls is just a little too much.  I certainly would leave that one out of the menu pictures.  thanks for my new Spanish word.

  12. I live in Colorado, and here one of the most popular appetizers at restaurants and steakhouses is Rocky Mountain Oysters- beer battered and deep fried testicles. I thought they were a bit chewy when I tried them, but all and all they were not the worst thing I've ever eaten.  That would have to be cow tongue.  Shudder.

  13. Jenny @simmerandsteamNovember 15, 2011 at 8:08 PM

    Leslie!! I was worried it would be something gross!! But more power to you girl, i really like your traditional cooking style!

  14. Yup, I don't have the balls to try these balls at all. I'll just have to take your word on their deliciousness.

  15. you are one toughen gringo, I am not sure I could do this - even thinking of this makes parts of my body feel a bit scared...

  16. Interesting Leslie! so... it was what I thought it was... and it answers my "are they good" question... you liked them! ... I am a brave (normal) Mexican! I love tongue, cheeks, lips, tripes, eyeballs, brains and all that good stuff (I am sure many Americans won't be able to eat after they read my comment) but Testicles seem to be my very limit! (yes... it seems even I have one) LOL! ... I don't doubt they taste good... I just wouldn't be able to get myself to eat it... who knows... Maybe if I just ate a taco not knowing what it was and I liked them then maybe... so... If I am at your house and you cook them don't tell me what it is... :D  

  17. Leslie, this looks amazing! I don't know if I'm ever going to gain the courage to try this but, it looks so good and you discribe it so well that ,aybe, just maybe, I think about tasting it.

  18. Se me enchino el cuero, amiga. As usual, the presentation and photography are excellent, but I simply could never bring myself to eat 'em. Menudo is about as brave as I get when eating exotic meats. I may never, ever, ever return to this post, again. Ay!!!!!!!!!!!! 

  19. Speechless. Andrew Zimmern has nothing on you. Bizarre Foodie, eat your criadillas out!

  20. OMG!!! This is shocking!!! Im a vegetarian, so I wouldnt have this even if you paid me a million dollars, but this "ingredient" is veeeery popular in Peru too!

  21. I haven't seen this recipe online before! Growing up in a farm area in AZ, it was very common to eat these. Red chile, beans, tortillas, beer, etc. Woo hoo!!! Blood pudding too, as well as cesos, tripas, etc. Nothing goes to waste. I stopped eating them as a teenager; I found it shocking. But in the past few years, it's back to basics whenever the chance arrives.

    By the way, these tacos look delicious!

  22. Right now, you are my hero :) Lol! I've always considered myself an adventurous eater but I don't think I could eat criadillas. I salute you chica for having the hum shall we say "ball" for trying them a second time, haha :)But seriously good for you!

  23. "Somewhere, Andrew Zimmern is smiling."

    Yes, and somewhere a bull is crying. Think of all those pain receptors you're chewing on : { and be glad you have a vagina instead : )

  24. Did you know you were drinking a bull testicle too? In the last photo I can see part of a bottle beer. That particular size and style is called huevo de toro (bull testicle) just for whatbthe bottle resembled, no bull added at all.

    Mexican In the U.S.

  25. Mmmmoo! They'll put hair on your vagina : )

  26. "Try a criadilla- they'll put hair on your bahina!"
    Sorry, couldn't resist ; )