30+ Mexican Recipes Perfect for Cinco de Mayo

30+ Mexican Recipes Perfect for Cinco de Mayo

As a Southern California native and lover of Mexican food, Cinco de Mayo is by far my favorite foodie holiday. But interestingly enough, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day (as some believe). Rather, it commemorates the victory of the Mexican military over France in 1862, and in fact, it’s not widely celebrated in Mexico.

But in the U.S., Cinco de Mayo has morphed into a heritage and cultural celebration of Mexico. So, what better way to celebrate this beautiful culture than with the best of Mexican recipes, fiestas, mariachi music and perhaps a margarita.

Best Mexican Recipes for Cinco de Mayo

Below is a list of my Mexican or Mexican-inspired recipes (I do take some liberties to make things Downshiftology appropriate). Case in point, the use of cassava flour tortillas to replace more traditional flour tortillas. But trust me, everything is so good, you won’t even know it’s gluten-free.

Essential Mexican Salsas and Dips

A table full of salsas and dips is a non-negotiable when it comes to the best fiestas. They’re perfect for dipping, dolloping, and creating layers of flavor.

Best Ever Guacamole: I’m not lying when I say this is the best guacamole recipe you’ll ever have. It’s perfectly creamy, chunky, and full of the freshest ingredients. 

Pico De Gallo: The classic chunky salsa essential to any Mexican dish. And homemade tastes a million times better than store-bought!

Best Salsa Recipe: This smooth restaurant-style salsa is perfect for drizzling on pretty much anything!

Avocado Salsa: If you can’t decide between guacamole or salsa, combine the flavors to make this insanely delicious avocado salsa! 

Mango Salsa: Come mango season, this fruit forward salsa is a given. It’s sweet and fresh with a little kick. Plus it tastes amazing with seafood. 

Chipotle Sauce: Made with chipotles in adobo sauce, it’s creamy, smoky, and perfect for adding a little heat to your meals. 

Lime Crema: A refreshing, zesty sauce that’s perfectly creamy and tangy.

The Best Mexican Chicken, Beef, and Pork Recipes

These are your must-make staple Mexican recipes. Just click below and learn the best way to cook beef (carne asada and barbacoa), pork (carnitas), and chicken (cilantro lime chicken) with mouthwatering results. Once you master these recipes, you can create dozens of other recipes on this list.

Carne Asada: This tried and true recipe will have people coming back for seconds thanks to my easy and fresh carne asada marinade that’s reminiscent of my travels to Mexico!

Barbacoa: This spicy shredded beef that’s fall-apart tender is incredibly easy to make in a slow cooker or Crockpot.

Carnitas: If you’re a pork lover like me, this recipe cooks up the most juicy, tender, and crispy carnitas. Guaranteed to be a crowd favorite.

Cilantro Lime Chicken: These juicy, golden chicken thighs are coated in garlicky cilantro lime goodness, with a hint of sticky sweetness – yes please!

Flavorful Mexican Taco Recipes

It’s not a fiesta without the ultimate taco spread! Now that you know how to whip up the meat basics listed above, these tacos are a cinch with warmed-up tortillas and a few other fresh ingredients. Here are a few ideas for taco night.

Carne Asada Tacos: You can never go wrong with carne asada tacos! Just dice up your steak into small pieces and top your tacos with guacamole, cilantro, onions, and cotija cheese for the final touch. 

Carnitas Tacos: Tacos made with meltingly tender pork, cilantro, chopped red onions, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. My favorite!

Shrimp Tacos: For a Baja take on tacos, these shrimp tacos can’t be beaten with my special cilantro lime bacon slaw and a drizzle of lime crema! And if fish tacos are more your thing, add grilled Alaskan wild cod into the mix. It’s the perfect summer taco! 

Barbacoa Tacos: Layer juicy barbacoa into quick and easy tacos with onions, cilantro, and lime juice. 

Best Fajita Recipes

Sizzling skillet fajitas are incredibly easy to make with my homemade fajita seasoning or marinades and can be served in many delicious ways. Just don’t forget to prep a few sides (rice, guacamole, salsa, cheese) and tortillas to complete the spread!

Chicken Fajitas: Nothing beats this colorful pan bursting with flavors from perfectly seared chicken breasts, bell peppers, onion, and fresh lime juice. 

Shrimp Fajitas: Amp up juicy jumbo shrimp in this fajita recipe that’s loaded with bold Mexican spices!

Steak Fajitas: Come grilling season, these steak fajitas are sure to be a summertime ritual.

Crowd-Pleasing Mexican Appetizers and Sides

If you’re planning a big party with many mouths to feed, throwing some appetizers and sides into the mix is always smart! These recipes are fun, fresh, and extra tasty.  

Ceviche: Serve up the classic ceviche recipe (above) or fun twists, like citrus shrimp ceviche or mango halibut ceviche in individual glasses along with tortilla chips for scooping.

Ultimate Nachos: When can you ever go wrong with a sheet pan overflowing with loaded nachos?

Carnitas Nachos: If you made a batch of my carnitas, shred some up to make this extra tasty sheet pan nachos!

Elote: Give grilled corn on the cob a Mexican twist with elote! This classic dish slathers grilled corn with limey mayo and lime juice, then sprinkled with cotija cheese, chili powder, and cilantro.

Carne Asada Fries: While this is more of an American appetizer, these loaded fries sure are tasty! Golden fries are topped with carne asada pieces, cheese, guacamole, and sour cream.

Taco Stuffed Zucchini Boats: Enjoy your favorite taco flavors in stuffed zucchini boats! It’s light, fresh, easy to make, and served on a platter great.

Quick and Easy Mexican Recipes

If you need some quick “throw together” recipe ideas with ingredients you have on hand, these simple options have just the right amount of Mexican flair. 

Barbacoa Burrito Bowl: With leftover barbacoa (or any meat really) you can create Chipotle-copycat burrito bowls! Just add cilantro lime rice (or Mexican rice), beans, corn, salsa, and fresh guacamole or avocado.

Taco Soup: Enjoy the best taco flavors in one warming soup! Plus, this recipe comes easy with pantry staples you might already have.

Black Bean Soup: Grab a few extra cans of black beans to make this easy soup layered with spicy and savory flavors.

Carnitas Stuffed Poblano Peppers: Turn your batch of carnitas into these crazy good stuffed poblano peppers.

Huevos Rancheros: For a tasty breakfast, or breakfast-for-dinner situation, huevos rancheros can be made in just 10 minutes! 

Mexican Chicken Zucchini Noodles: For a light, refreshing, low-carb meal, zucchini noodles are mixed with chicken and pico de gallo.

The Best Margarita Recipes

There’s nothing like a chilled margarita to amp up a fiesta! And if you’ve got more than a handful of people, these recipes can easily be tripled or quadrupled to make a large pitcher. Bottoms up my friends! 

Classic Margarita: You can never ever go wrong with this classic version. It’s easy, timeless, and simply delicious. 

Mango Margarita: With sweet, juicy mangos, this fruity blend will surely be a summer favorite. 

Strawberry Margarita: While there’s many ways to make a frozen margarita, this strawberry version is always a win! 

Refreshing Mexican Non-Alcoholic Drinks

For my non-alcoholic drinkers, these delicious Mexican drinks are always thirst quenchers on sweltering days! 

The Best Horchata: Who doesn’t love horchata? It’s creamy, cinnamon-y, refreshing, and perfect for serving in a pitcher. 

Agua Fresca: Turn in-season fruit from the farmer’s market into the most refreshing, all-natural fruit juice. 

I hope you, your friends, and your family enjoy these delicious Mexican recipes for Cinco de Mayo or anytime the Mexican cravings hit!

30+ Mexican Recipes Perfect for Cinco de Mayo

5 from 6 votes Prep: 10 minutes Cook: 8 hours Total: 8 hours 10 minutes Servings: 6 tacos Author: Lisa BryanPrintPinReviewSaveSaved


The tastiest Mexican recipes for your Cinco De Mayo fiesta, including these juicy, tender, barbacoa tacos!



4 pound beef chuck roast, cut into 3-inch chunks1 onion, diced3-4 chipotle in adobo sauce, finely diced5 garlic cloves, minced1/4 cup fresh lime juice2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar1 tablespoon cumin1/2 tablespoon dried oregano2 teaspoon salt1 teaspoon black pepper1/4 teaspoon ground cloves3/4 cup beef stock3 bay leaves

Taco Ingredients

tortillasdiced onionavocado sliceschopped cilantrosour cream or cheese


Add all of the ingredients, except the bay leaves, to the bowl of a slow cooker.Gently toss and mix it all together. Then add the bay leaves, and cover. Cook on low for 8-9 hours. The beef should be tender and fall apart easily when shredded with a fork. If it doesn’t shred easily, cook it a bit longer.Remove the beef and use forks to shred it on a cutting board.Place the shredded beef back in the slow cooker, give it a stir, and let it soak up all the juices. Use tongs to remove a serving from the slow cooker, top it on a tortilla, and garnish with diced onion, avocado, cilantro, and other toppings.


Calories: 730kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 63g | Fat: 39g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 209mg | Sodium: 1512mg | Potassium: 1245mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 78IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 138mg | Iron: 9mg Course: Main Course Cuisine: Mexican Keyword: Cinco De Mayo Recipes, Mexican Recipes

Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

Recipe roundup originally posted April 2020, but updated with new recipes.

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