40 Mexican Recipes For Your Cinco De Mayo Party

We are more than ready to revel in the fun and enjoy the food that comes with warmer weather, and one of the first days on the calendar fit for a fiesta is Cinco de Mayo. It's a day of celebration in both Mexico and the United States, marked by festivals and parties featuring mariachi music, dancing, and boldly flavorful dishes.

It's a common misconception that Cinco de Mayo is Mexican Independence Day, but it's actually a celebration of the Mexican army victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Today, the victory is commemorated with parades and events in the state of Puebla and other areas of Mexico.

Cinco de Mayo is a day to fully enjoy the unique cuisine of Mexico, marked by rich sauces, bold spices, intense flavors, and refreshing libations. Whether you're hosting a party, celebrating with a small group, or bringing a dish to impress guests, Tasting Table has plenty of recipes to please any palate and make your Cinco de Mayo spread unforgettable.   

1. Smoked Pork Tacos

The smoked pork loin that creates the base of these tacos will wow revelers at your Cinco de Mayo party. Tender strips of the meat are laid on a bed of buttery guacamole before being topped with chopped pineapple and diced red onion, which both balance out rich flavors with their sweet, acidic essence.

Garnish the tacos with cilantro and refreshingly crunchy radish slices that enhance the flavor profile and add a textural boost.

Recipe: Smoked Pork Tacos

2. Prickly Pear Margarita

The fruit of the prickly pear cactus is a prized delicacy in Mexican cuisine that's beloved for its flavor — a cross between a melon and a sweet strawberry. Its eye-catching hue ranges from light pink to reddish purple, making for a stunning presentation in this fruit-infused take on the classic margarita.

Homemade or store-bought prickly pear syrup gets amped up with orange liqueur, tequila, and a squeeze of lime juice before being poured over ice into a salt-rimmed rocks glass. The sour and sweet taste and vivid color of this refreshing libation will make a repeat appearance on your Cinco de Mayo beverage menu.

Recipe: Prickly Pear Margarita

3. Pinto Bean Tostada

The complementary textures and versatility of this dish make it a real crowd-pleaser at any Cinco de Mayo fiesta. Mashed pinto beans bring velvety earthiness to crunchy tostada shells that get topped with avocado, cheese, shredded lettuce, and fresh pico de gallo, according to each diner's preference.

Set up a tostada station and watch party-goers delight in making their own tasty creation.

Recipe: Pinto Bean Tostada

4. Grilled Mexican Steet Corn

Your tastebuds will thank you after biting into the flavor explosion that is elote. This classic Mexican street food starts with charred corn on the cob that gets topped with a Mexican crema spiced with chili powder and enriched by creamy mayo, tart lime juice, mild cotija cheese, and bold cilantro.

Garnish the corn with additional cotija cheese, a sprinkle of spicy yet tangy Tajín, and a lime wedge for an additional pop of flavor. Serve each guest a whole cob or cut the kernels and combine all ingredients in a bowl for a less messy side salad.

Recipe: Grilled Mexican Street Corn

5. Crave-Worthy Guacamole

Guacamole has a place on any Cinco de Mayo menu, and this recipe has everything that party-goers expect. Perfectly ripe avocados are gently mashed until creamy (but you can leave a few larger pieces intact if you would prefer a chunkier texture). A squeeze of lime juice and diced tomato and white onion bring tanginess to the mix, which gains heat from cayenne pepper instead of jalapeños. Finish it off with chopped cilantro to round out the flavors.

Season the guac to taste and serve it as a dip with warm tortilla chips or on the side as a condiment that satisfies.

Recipe: Crave-Worthy Guacamole

6. Mexican Rice

No Cinco de Mayo spread is complete without a side of savory Mexican rice.

Long-grain white rice gets a quick sauté to enhance its naturally nutty flavor before it's simmered in broth and tomato sauce seasoned with onion, garlic, cumin, chili powder, and cayenne pepper. After a quick half hour of cooking, the tender grains get stirred with a fork to create a light and fluffy side dish that packs a tasty punch.

Recipe: Mexican Rice

7. Easy Mango Salsa

This fruity twist on traditional tomato-based salsa offers options for those who like a sweeter condiment. The tropical taste of mango is balanced out by chopped tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, and mild red chile pepper. It's a luscious fruit salsa with just the right amount of heat.

Mango salsa is ideally served with seafood or fish tacos, but it can also be enjoyed with tortilla chips as a dip that's more approachable for sensitive palates.

Recipe: Easy Mango Salsa

8. Tri-Tip Steak Tacos

Tri-tip is popular for good reason, as the cut cooks up tender and juicy and makes an ideal filling for yummy tacos. While your seasoned beef is cooking in the oven, you can whip up a pineapple guacamole that provides a citrusy sweet zing and elevates the flavor of the savory meat.

Garnish your steak tacos with cilantro, fresh chopped onion, and an essential squeeze of lime. Be sure to make extra — Cinco de Mayo diners will be coming back for seconds.

Recipe: Tri-Tip Steak Tacos

9. Mexican Horchata

Offer guests a traditional taste of Mexico with a beloved beverage — horchata. Long-grain white rice and cinnamon are soaked for a minimum of eight hours before being blended and strained. Maple syrup and vanilla are added to bring a subtle sweetness to the drink that tastes milky while remaining dairy-free.

Because horchata takes time to develop its flavor, go ahead and cross it off your to-do list by making it the day before your Cinco de Mayo celebration. Serve it in a big jug or pitcher with whole cinnamon sticks.

Recipe: Mexican Horchata

10. Easy Baked Nachos

A big plate of nachos is a dish that everyone loves to dig into — and this simple recipe makes for an easy addition to a Cinco de Mayo spread. Great as an appetizer or a meal, these crunchy crowd-pleasers are packed with flavor.

Salty tortilla chips are topped with shredded rotisserie chicken, red onion, and cheddar cheese before being popped into the oven to achieve melty perfection. After you top the nachos with fresh tomatoes and zesty lime-cilantro sour cream, you'll have a shareable savory treat that all your friends will rave about.

Recipe: Easy Baked Nachos

11. Vegetarian Bean And Cheese Sopes

Sopes are a fun Mexican street food to serve at your Cinco de Mayo gathering because they allow guests to customize their own meal. Much like a thick corn tortilla, the base of sopes is made simply from a masa harina dough that can be baked or fried.

Build a sopes bar with toppings that include creamy refried beans, shredded cheese, tomato, avocado, onion, and crunchy lettuce. Enjoy watching people eat up every last bite of their personalized sopes.

Recipe: Vegetarian Bean And Cheese Sopes

12. Choco Taco-Inspired Ice Cream Sandwich

Taco lovers know that the folded tortilla treat doesn't always have to be savory. These Choco Taco dupes are made with sweet waffle batter pressed into a pizzelle iron to create a delicate cookie that's folded into a taco shape. These shells are filled with vanilla ice cream with a drizzle of caramel sauce, and then sealed with melted chocolate. Sprinkle sliced almonds on each dessert taco for added flavor and texture before setting them in the freezer.

Customize your tacos with the ice cream flavor and nuts of your choice, and enjoy every sweet bite of this Cinco de Mayo treat.

Recipe: Choco Taco-Inspired Ice Cream Sandwich

13. Classic Frozen Margarita

Cool down on Cinco de Mayo with the tart, boozy flavors of a traditional frozen margarita. Tequila sweetened with orange liqueur and agave syrup gets a citrus kick from lime juice before being blended to icy perfection.

Serve the cocktail in a salt-rimmed glass to amp up every sip and prepare to be on refill duty as drinkers enjoy puckering up with this classic.

Recipe: Classic Frozen Margarita

14. Baked Black Bean Flautas

Flautas are a beloved Mexican food for diners of all ages, making them an ideal addition to your Cinco de Mayo spread. Traditionally fried, these flautas are oven-baked for a healthier twist with less kitchen mess.

Earthy sweet black beans seasoned with chili powder, cumin, and paprika get roughly mashed with sautéed onion, garlic, and poblano peppers before being rolled in a soft flour tortilla with cheese. After crisping in the oven, plate the flautas and serve them with creamy homemade guacamole and sour cream.

Recipe: Baked Black Bean Flautas

15. Charred Tomato Salsa

Instead of popping a jar open, impress guests with this homemade tomato salsa for Cinco de Mayo. Pan-seared plum tomatoes, jalapeños, garlic, and onion develop a smoky flavor that takes this salsa to the next level. The taste is elevated further when the charred veggies join cilantro, lime juice, and a bit of sweet agave for a quick pulse in the food processor.

Serve the salsa with warm tortilla chips or as a zesty condiment that complements many dishes.

Recipe: Charred Tomato Salsa

16. Fried Salmon Tacos

If you've grown weary of predictable taco fillings like beef or chicken, change up your Cinco de Mayo menu with these savory salmon tacos.

Succulent skin-on salmon filets are seasoned with a bold cumin, garlic, chili powder, and onion powder rub and pan-fried until crispy and lightly charred. Each one is then broken down into small bite-sized chunks. Diced avocado, tangy sweet cherry tomatoes, red onion, and cilantro accompany the fish in tortillas to create tacos with both traditional and updated flavors. 

Recipe: Fried Salmon Tacos

17. Crispy Chicken Quesadilla

A crunchy, cheesy quesadilla is always a hit, and the addition of earthy black beans and mashed sweet potatoes in this version enhances classic ingredients like tender chicken and a yummy Mexican cheese blend. Everything gets tucked into mayonnaise-coated tortillas that crisp up to golden perfection.

Garnish the dish with pico de gallo and make sure you made enough, as the flavors and textures will keep Cinco de Mayo party-goers coming back for more.

Recipe: Crispy Chicken Quesadilla

18. Mexican Wedding Cookies

You don't have to attend a wedding to enjoy these sweet treats. Mexican wedding cookies are melt-in-your-mouth delicious on top of being easy to make.

Walnuts are pulsed in the food processor before being mixed with flour, creamed butter, and sugar to form a delicate dough. Once baked, the warm bites are rolled in powdered sugar not once but twice to add a double dose of sweetness.

Recipe: Mexican Wedding Cookies

19. Slow Cooker Mexican Tinga

Plain chicken tastes bland until you add Mexican oregano, tangy tomatoes, sweet onion, pungent garlic, and chipotles in adobo sauce to make this easy and delicious tinga. All the ingredients go into a slow cooker to bring out intensely bold flavors that infuse every bite of the bird.

The slow and low cooking time allows you to make this dish ahead of time or mingle with guests before shredding the chicken and serving it in a taco, on a tostada, or stuffed into a burrito for Cinco de Mayo.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Mexican Tinga

20. Fire-Roasted Salsa

If you need salsa in a pinch for your Cinco de Mayo gathering, grab a few cans of pre-roasted tomatoes to quickly create a condiment that features complex flavors. The canned tomatoes lend fire-kissed notes to the mix of diced jalapeños, garlic, onion, and cilantro that intensify the salsa in a tasty way. Lime zest and juice add a citrusy kick, and a drizzle of honey balances everything out with a hint of sweetness.

Keep this salsa chunky and serve it with warm tortilla chips or as an add-on that spices up any meal.

Recipe: Fire-Roasted Salsa

21. Smoked Chicken Tacos

For these bold tacos, lean chicken breast benefits from the deep savoriness that comes from two hours in the smoker. The fiery flavor infuses the tender meat — accompanied by smoked bell pepper and crisp red onion all tucked into a soft tortilla (corn or flour is your choice, just make sure they're taco sized).

A cool avocado crema made with tangy sour cream, cilantro, and fresh lime juice is the ideal finishing touch for these tacos.

Recipe: Smoked Chicken Tacos

22. Esquites (Mexican Street Corn Salad)

When you love the taste of elote but want to pass on the mess of chowing down on whole corn on the cob, enjoy all the same flavors in this easy-to-eat salad instead. The tender corn is given a quick char on the grill to bring out its natural sweetness. The kernels are then cut off of the cob and mixed with diced jalapeño, red pepper, onion, cilantro, cotija cheese, and a homemade zesty and creamy sauce with a hint of Tajín.

Serve the dish as a vibrant and flavorful side salad on your Cinco de Mayo table.

Recipe: Esquites (Mexican Street Corn Salad)

23. Ice Cream Nachos

Surprise Cinco de Mayo guests by moving the nacho bar to the dessert table. Cinnamon- and sugar-coated tortilla chips form a delectable layer that gets topped with vanilla ice cream. Let your friends have fun with toppings like sprinkles, chocolate sauce, and caramel sauce before digging into this unique treat.

Feel free to offer a variety of ice cream flavors and add-ins, such as fresh fruit and chopped Mexican chocolate.

Recipe: Ice Cream Nachos

24. Party-Pleasing Taco Dip

This tasty dip with all the familiar flavors you crave makes for an easy dish to bring to a Cinco de Mayo party when you've been assigned appetizer duty. Tangy tomatoes, chopped romaine lettuce, and bell pepper meet rich black olives and unctuous shredded cheese before being tossed in a spicy sour cream sauce that offers a taste of taco on every tortilla chip.

Keep this recipe vegetarian or add the protein of your choice — and prepare to be the taco dip maker for years to come.

Recipe: Party-Pleasing Taco Dip

25. Super-Garnished Michelada

Your friends are sure to love these amped-up micheladas, which prove the Bloody Mary isn't the only cocktail that can have some "meal-in-a-glass" fun with over-the-top garnishes. 

This ultra-refreshing beverage gets a flavorful kick from a Clamato, soy sauce, Worcestershire, hot sauce, and lime base that's topped off with a Mexican beer (like Corona) in a Tajín-rimmed glass. Sweet cocktail shrimp, celery stalks, pineapple rings, and sliced jalapeños join the mix to create this libation that doubles as an appetizer capable of satiating hungry guests.

Recipe: Super-Garnished Michelada

26. Beefy Cheesy Mexican Casserole

A hearty casserole is an ideal dish for a potluck party, and this recipe creates a melty, savory meal boasting spicy flavors that Cinco de Mayo diners won't be able to pass up.

Tortilla strips create a textural base and refried beans and seasoned beef simmered with tomatoes, black beans, and sweet corn are layered on top. Finished with a hefty helping of shredded cheddar cheese, this Mexican casserole looks delicious and tastes even better.

Recipe: Beefy Cheesy Mexican Casserole

27. Pineapple Salsa

Add a tropical taste to your Cinco de Mayo spread with this sweet pineapple salsa. The juicy flavors of the fruit are balanced by crisp red onion, pungent garlic, and spicy jalapeño rounded out with a citrus burst of lime and an herbal hit of cilantro to complete the complex profile.

Pair this zesty salsa with light proteins like chicken, fish, and pork, or enjoy it with warm, salty tortilla chips.

Recipe: Pineapple Salsa

28. Slow Cooker Al Pastor

Add a yummy traditional dish to your Cinco de Mayo menu with this rich al pastor. Pork shoulder or Boston butt seasoned with oregano, cumin, garlic, and chipotle powder slowly cooks for hours with pineapple chunks and chipotles in adobo sauce to create succulent, fork-tender meat that easily shreds to the touch.

Al pastor is a great make-ahead dish that's an ideal filling for tacos, burritos, and flautas. Pair it with a sweet corn salad and garnish with pineapple chunks, cilantro, and lime wedges.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Al Pastor

29. Loaded Beef Enchilada

Few things satisfy a Mexican food craving like a spicy, cheesy enchilada — and this loaded version offers all the satisfying flavors and textures that Cinco de Mayo diners want. Savory ground beef is sautéed with sweet onion and green chiles before being spooned into soft flour tortillas covered with a mixture of salsa and sour cream. The rolled tortillas are placed in a casserole dish with spicy red enchilada sauce, topped with a blend of Mexican cheeses, and baked to melty perfection.

Sprinkle the enchiladas with fresh chopped cilantro and enjoy this delicious dish with a watermelon salad or a side of Mexican rice.

Recipe: Loaded Beef Enchilada

30. Beer-Battered Fish Tacos

Light and crispy fish tacos are wonderful to showcase at Cinco de Mayo gatherings, especially when they feature the flavors of cayenne pepper with a hint of cerveza. Tender pieces of cod are dipped in beer batter before being quickly fried to develop that craveable crunch. The fish is sprinkled with coarse lime salt — adding a unique kick that pairs nicely with the spicy and cool chipotle crema drizzled on top.

Add fresh radish slices, cotija cheese, and cilantro to the fish tacos to further amp up the bold taste in every beer-battered bite.

Recipe: Beer-Battered Fish Tacos

31. Fresh Mango Guacamole

The refreshing tropical sweetness of mango plays nicely with creamy avocado in this fresh mango guacamole, creating a decadent dip that complements many dishes you're likely to serve at your party.

Spicy jalapeño and pungent red onion balance the rich flavors in this updated guac. To finish, squeeze in zesty lime juice and serve with fajitas, tacos, or a big bowl of tortilla chips.

Recipe: Fresh Mango Guacamole

32. Creamy Salsa Verde

The versatility of a fresh salsa verde makes it a must-have condiment that can readily accompany any dish on the Cinco de Mayo table. Tangy tomatillos, chopped jalapeños, vibrant white onion, and cilantro are blended in the food processor to make a light salsa made creamy with ripe avocado.

Put a bowl of this out on the table and let guests experiment with their favorite way to enjoy it.

Recipe: Creamy Salsa Verde

33. Carnitas Tacos With Tomatillo Salsa

This recipe features tender pork shoulder infused with sweet, bold flavors from the braising liquid, which includes milk, orange juice, garlic, and jalapeño. It's a traditional dish that should make an appearance at your Cinco de Mayo party. The rich flavors of the carnitas pair nicely with a homemade salsa that plays off the subtle citrus essence of the meat and lightens the decadent dish.

Fill corn tortillas with the pork and top them with salsa, cilantro, radish slices, diced onion, and a squeeze of lime juice to enjoy these tasty tacos.

Recipe: Carnitas Tacos With Tomatillo Salsa

34. Crispy Chicken Flautas

Forget the fryer and opt for these baked chicken flautas that offer just as much crunch as their fried counterparts. Shredded chicken, sweet corn, sautéed onion, green chiles, and spicy salsa come together quickly to form a flavorful filling for flour tortillas that gain that essential flauta crispiness after just 20 minutes in a hot oven.

Let Cinco de Mayo guests top their flautas with guacamole, salsa, sour cream, or all of the above for a customized meal that satisfies.

Recipe: Crispy Chicken Flautas

35. Sheet-Pan Quesadillas

These no-fuss quesadillas are a host's delight, as they can feed a crowd while allowing you time to mingle with guests.

A full sheet pan covered with flour tortillas is loaded with flavorful bell peppers, onion, earthy spinach, and creamy refried beans before being topped with a liberal amount of shredded Monterey Jack and cheddar. After a turn in the oven, a hot pan of melty quesadillas is ready to be cut and served — to the delight of even the pickiest of eaters.

Recipe: Sheet-Pan Quesadillas

36. Best Duck Confit Tacos

Duck has a robust flavor and succulent texture that is intensified when cooked for hours in its own rich fat, which you can do by yourself or buy pre-made from the store. The tender shredded meat has a decadent, buttery mouthfeel that's perfect for elevated tacos during a special occasion like Cinco de Mayo.

Serve them with toppings geared toward the flavor of the waterfowl — shredded red cabbage, jalapeño slices, and a tart cranberry salsa with a spicy kick.

Recipe: Best Duck Confit Tacos

37. Mexican Sugar Cookies

Celebrate the vibrant colors of Mexico by serving these simple sugar cookies as a Cinco de Mayo treat. Cookies in hues of bright red, yellow, and green look festive on the dessert table and feature an approachable vanilla flavor that appeals to most palates. After coloring and forming the cookies, they're rolled in granulated sugar and baked, resulting in buttery bites with a subtly sweet crunch.

Feel free to customize your cookie platter by playing with color options and swap in Mexican vanilla if it's available.

Recipe: Mexican Sugar Cookies

38. Mexican Pizza

Not only can you make this iconic Taco Bell menu item at home, but it's a lot easier than you might think, provided you have the correct ingredients.

Savory refried beans and taco-seasoned ground beef are sandwiched between skillet-warmed flour tortillas topped with flavorful enchilada sauce and shredded cheese, creating a dish that looks like a pizza but features classic taco flavors. Top it with fresh pico de gallo and sour cream before enjoying a "slice."

Recipe: Mexican Pizza

39. Easy Cheesy Taco Bake

If it's easy and cheesy, it's going on the Cinco de Mayo menu. Sautéed onions, taco-seasoned ground beef, tangy tomatoes, black beans, and sweet corn make up the savory filling that gets layered on top of crunchy tortilla chips and topped with shredded cheese before baking in the oven.

Serve the dish with sliced avocado, cilantro, a dollop of sour cream, and a side of extra tortilla chips to scoop up all the melty, spicy flavors of this deconstructed taco.

Recipe: Easy Cheesy Taco Bake

40. Shortcut Mole Sauce

Cinco de Mayo commemorates the battle fought in Puebla, Mexico, which is also home to the amazingly complex and flavorful sauce that is mole. There are a variety of traditional moles, which all take a long time to create, but this simplified version uses canned peppers to speed up the cooking process without cutting out any flavor. Bold spices like cumin, oregano, chili powder, and cinnamon are blended with savory broth and ingredients like sweet raisins, cocoa powder, and almond butter to give this delectable sauce its signature flavor.

Pour it over any type of enchilada, or get creative by using it as a dressing or taco condiment.

Recipe: Shortcut Mole Sauce