23 Recipes for a Festive Cinco de Mayo Menu

Everything You'll Need for a Fun and Festive Cinco De Mayo Meal

Mexican Birria

 The Spruce

Cinco de Mayo is a holiday that commemorates the Mexican army's victory at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War. Although a relatively minor holiday in Mexico, the day is a popular celebration in the United States. And what better way to celebrate than to eat delicious Mexican food? We've gathered a variety of tasty dishes that are sure to be popular at your Cinco de Mayo gathering. From tacos and enchiladas to guacamole and pozole, you really can't go wrong. Just don't forget the margaritas.

  • 01 of 23

    Easy 30-Minute Mexican Enchiladas

    Easy 30-Minute Mexican Enchiladas

     The Spruce

    Ready in a mere 30 minutes and with just a handful of ingredients, these enchiladas are infinitely customizable. Have some leftover shredded chicken, pork, or beef? Throw it in. Or for a vegetarian option, add sliced, sautéed peppers and onions or mushrooms. There's a green version, too.

  • 02 of 23

    Carne Asada Tacos

    Carne Asada Tacos

     The Spruce

    Carne asada is a simple, marinated beef dish that's bursting with flavor. It makes the ultimate filling for a taco, especially when topped with a sprinkle of onions and fresh salsa. If you've got an Instant Pot, you can use it to make carne asada as well.

  • 03 of 23

    Simple, All-Purpose Guacamole

    Arx0nt / Getty Images

    It wouldn't be a Mexican celebration without guacamole. This flavorful recipe can be used as a dip and served with chips, or used to top tacos and other dishes.

  • 04 of 23

    Pozole de Pollo (Chicken Pozole)

    Chicken Pozole recipe

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

    Pozole is a popular Mexican comfort food and for good reason. It's a warm and hearty soup traditionally made with pork and hominy, a chewy kind of plumped dried corn. Made with chicken, this recipe offers variations for green and red pozole.

    Continue to 5 of 23 below.
  • 05 of 23

    Mexican Birria

    Mexican Birria

     The Spruce

    Birria is a labor of love, but it's not hard to make and it's worth the time spent. It is traditionally made with goat meat, which can be hard to find, so you can substitute pork or beef instead. Start your birria the day before you plan to eat it so that the meat can marinate overnight for the best flavor.

  • 06 of 23

    Mini Chipotle Chicken Taquitos

    Mini Chipotle Chicken Taquitos

     Leah Maroney

    For a crowd-pleasing appetizer, make mini chipotle chicken taquitos. The crunchy, handheld roll-ups are extra tasty when dipped into guacamole and sour cream.

  • 07 of 23

    Dutch Oven Pinto Beans (Refried Beans)

    Mexican refried beans
    Porter Lansing / Getty Images

    A classic Mexican side dish, refried beans go great with just about everything. Start with pinto beans cooked low and slow before mashing and cooking them on the stovetop. Or make them in your pressure cooker or Instant Pot.

  • 08 of 23

    Taco Sauce

    Homemade taco sauce

     The Spruce / Leah Maroney

    This easy taco sauce recipe can become the springboard for hundreds of Mexican dishes. It starts with tomato sauce and canned green chiles cooked with spices. The heat level from the jalapenos is entirely up to you.

    Continue to 9 of 23 below.
  • 09 of 23

    Queso Blanco Dip

    Queso Blanco Dip

    Anita Schecter

    For an appetizer that's sure to be a hit, make homemade queso blanco dip and serve with crisp tortilla chips. Melted white cheeses and a spiced white sauce are combined to make a creamy, gooey dip that's also great on nachos.

  • 10 of 23

    Instant Pot Carnitas

    Instant Pot carnitas in flour tortillas.
    Diana Rattray

    In Spanish, carnitas means cooked shredded pork often served in tacos. While traditional recipes require a low and slow cooking method, this Instant Pot version is much quicker, resulting in a flavorful meat that works perfectly in a soft taco topped with homemade pickled onions.

  • 11 of 23

    Easy Tres Leches Cake

    Slice Of Tres Leche Cake
    DebbiSmirnoff / Getty Images

    Tres leches translates to three milks, and this ultra-moist cake has all three. Made quick and easy using a boxed cake mix, it's still a total treat and a pretty sweet end to a Cinco de Mayo feast.

  • 12 of 23

    Mexican Enchiladas


    Leah Maroney

    This recipe shows you how to make authentic Mexican enchiladas with your choice of filling, whether it's meat, sauteed veggies, cheese, or a combination. You can make your own enchilada sauce or use store-bought for a quick meal.

    Continue to 13 of 23 below.
  • 13 of 23

    Chiles Rellenos (Stuffed Mexican Peppers)

    Mexican Chili relleno
    Lynne Mitchell / Getty Images

    Deep-fried and stuffed with cheese, no one will be able to resist chiles rellenos. Make them fresh so they're nice and crispy and the cheese is salty and melty. Add a dollop of refried beans or shredded meat to your peppers if desired.

  • 14 of 23

    Gluten-Free Homemade Tamales

    The Tamales are Ready to be Cooked.
    Brenda Jeanne / Getty Images

    If you want to impress a Cinco de Mayo crowd, it doesn't get much better than homemade tamales. They take some time and planning, but they're fun to make and worth every minute. Change up the filling to suit your tastes (may we suggest brisket or corn and green chili).

  • 15 of 23

    Instant Pot Barbacoa

    Barbacoa tacos with fixings.
    Diana Rattray

    Beef barbacoa is a braised meat dish that's tender, flavorful, and an ideal filling for tacos and burritos. Cooking it in the pressure cooker makes it much quicker and easier while still producing delicious results. Try it on nachos, too.

  • 16 of 23

    Easy Mexican Mole Sauce

    Easy Mexican Mole Sauce

     The Spruce

    Mole is a complex, creamy sauce made of a long list of ingredients including chiles, aromatics, nuts, dried fruit, and spices. This simplified recipe still delivers on flavor, and it's perfect spooned on top of chicken.

    Continue to 17 of 23 below.
  • 17 of 23

    Mexican Brownies

    Mexican Brownies

     Leah Maroney

    Adding a little cinnamon and cayenne pepper to gooey, chocolatey brownies adds just the right amount of spice. If you're short on time, use a boxed mix and add the spices before mixing.

  • 18 of 23

    Tacos al Pastor

    Tacos al Pastor

     Leah Maroney

    Tacos al Pastor is traditionally made by marinating pork in a chipotle mixture and placing it on a rotating spit with pineapple. While this version doesn't require a spit, it has all the flavors you want and is easy to make at home. Instructions are included for slow cooking and pressure cooking.

  • 19 of 23

    Mexican Cowboy Beans With Longaniza Sausage and Poblano Peppers

    Mexican Cowboy Beans With Longaniza Sausage and Poblano Peppers

     Nancy Lopez-McHugh

    Known in Mexico as frijoles charros, pinto beans cooked with Mexican sausage and peppers make a flavorful side dish. If you can't find longaniza sausage, substitute Mexican chorizo instead. If you'd prefer to use your slow cooker, try this similar bean dish.

  • 20 of 23

    Mexican Ceviche-Style Shrimp Cocktail

    Shrimp Ceviche
    Juanmonino / Getty Images

    Ceviche is popular on the coasts of Mexico where seafood is plentiful. For a fresh and tasty appetizer, combine shrimp, tomato, cucumber, avocado, and a tomato-based sauce. Double or triple the recipe if you're feeding more than two.

    Continue to 21 of 23 below.
  • 21 of 23

    Salsa Fresca (Fresh Tomato Salsa)

    Salsa sauce
    Coprid / Getty Images

    Just a few fresh ingredients and some chopping are all it takes to make homemade salsa. Use the highest-quality tomatoes you can find for the best results, or make a green salsa instead (or go all-out and make both). It's great as a dip or a topping.

  • 22 of 23

    Easy Ground Beef Tacos

    Easy Ground Beef Tacos

     The Spruce

    While they are non-traditional, hard-shell ground beef tacos are an American favorite and are a total melding of cultures, they're also sure to please the whole family with their crunchy, savory goodness.

  • 23 of 23

    Churros: Cinnamon Sugar Fried Doughnut Sticks

    Typical Spanish churros
    Justoperez / Getty Images

    Sometimes called a Mexican doughnut, churros are the ultimate treat. Light and crispy with a dusting of cinnamon sugar, they can be dipped in a chocolate or caramel sauce or eaten as is. Just make sure they're still warm.