18 Recipes for a Festive Cinco de Mayo Menu

Everything you'll need for a fun and festive Cinco de Mayo meal

Guacamole
Marti Sans / Stocksy United.

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 18

    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, sauteed peppers and onions or mushrooms. There's a green version, too.

  • 02 of 18

    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 18

    Simple, All-Purpose Guacamole

    Simple, All-Purpose Guacamole
    Marti Sans/Stocksy United.

    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 18

    Pozole de Pollo: Chicken Pozole

    Pozole de Pollo: Chicken Pozole
    Robin Grose.

    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 18 below.
  • 05 of 18

    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 18

    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 18

    Dutch Oven Pinto Beans (Refried Beans)

    Dutch Oven Pinto Beans (Refried Beans)
    Evan Sklar/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 18

    Easy Tres Leche Cake

    Easy Tres Leche Cake
    Dorling Kindersley/Charlotte Tolhurst/Getty Images.

    Tres leche 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.

    Continue to 9 of 18 below.
  • 09 of 18

    Chiles Rellenos: Stuffed Mexican Peppers

    Chiles Rellenos: Stuffed Mexican Peppers
    grandriver/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.

  • 10 of 18

    Gluten-Free Homemade Tamales

    Gluten-Free Homemade Tamales
    Image Source / 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).

  • 11 of 18

    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.

  • 12 of 18

    Mexican Brownies

    Mexican Brownies
    Leah Maroney.

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

    Continue to 13 of 18 below.
  • 13 of 18

    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.

  • 14 of 18

    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 cook with Mexican sausage and peppers for 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.

  • 15 of 18

    Mexican Ceviche-Style Shrimp Cocktail

    Mexican Ceviche-Style Shrimp Cocktail
    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.

  • 16 of 18

    Salsa Fresca: Fresh Tomato Salsa

    Salsa Fresca - Fresh Tomato Salsa
    Debbi Smirnoff / Getty Images.

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

    Continue to 17 of 18 below.
  • 17 of 18

    Easy Ground Beef Tacos

    Easy Ground Beef Tacos
    The Spruce.

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

  • 18 of 18

    Churros: Cinnamon Sugar Fried Doughnut Sticks

    Churros: Cinnamon Sugar Fried Doughnut Sticks
    Tastyart Ltd Rob White / Taxi / Getty Images.

    Sometimes called a Mexican donut, 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.