12 Mexican-Inspired Recipes to Try on Cinco de Mayo

Posted: May 2, 2023 12:00 pm

Cinco de Mayo offers the perfect excuse to get together with friends and enjoy great Mexican food and drink. You do not have to be of Hispanic heritage to enjoy this fun holiday.

Here are one dozen recipes to consider if you plan on hosting or attending a Cinco de Mayo fiesta this year.

Conchas Sweet Bread

Start Cinco de Mayo on a sweet note with this recipe for conchas. This traditional Mexican sweet bread makes a great breakfast idea for May 5. This soft bread is best distinguished by its white topping that looks like a seashell.

This makes sense when you learn that “concha” translates to “shell” in Spanish. Serve these conchas for breakfast alongside a bowl of fruit and a glass of milk of Mexican hot chocolate. You can also enjoy them as a snack and bedtime treat.

Pulled Pork Huevos Rancheros

These pulled pork huevos rancheros are another delicious breakfast idea for this day. This recipe is also a good way to use up leftover pulled pork.

Simply top a pan-fried corn tortilla with the meaty pulled pork and then pile on some corn salsa, a fried egg, crumbled queso fresco, and either chopped cilantro or green onion. Other tasty toppings ideas include fresh avocado slices or sour cream.

Note that corn tortillas work better than the flour version if you want to fry up the base of your huevos rancheros.

Instant Pot Black Beans

This recipe for black beans is a wonderful way to use your Instant Pot. You will never want black beans out of a can once you try this easy recipe. The convenience of the Instant Pot delivers these perfectly cooked beans in just an hour.

The only ingredients that you need to pull off this recipe are dried black beans, white or yellow onion, sea salt, vegetable broth, and water. Once the beans are done, you can season them with garlic and cumin.

These black beans go well with a number of Mexican entrees, making them an ideal side dish for your Cinco de Mayo event.

Chicken Tamales with Salsa Verde

These chicken tamales with salsa verde are a true labor of love. While you need to invest some time into creating these beauties, it all be well worth it when you taste them. The tamale filling consists of cooked and shredded chicken breast, fresh tomatillos, white onion, poblano chili, and garlic.

This filling is stuffed inside the corn husks along with homemade masa dough. There is a bit of a learning curve when assembling these tamales but you will catch on quickly.

You may want to think about doubling the recipe so you have some extra tamales to freeze for later use.

Beef Birria Tacos

Birria tacos are all the rage these days. The good news is that you can easily make your own beef barria tacos at home using this proven recipe.

This meal only uses five ingredients: beef birria, corn tortillas, onion, cilantro, and Oaxaca cheese. Feel free to use mozzarella cheese if you cannot find Oaxaca cheese in your area. Top these tacos with guacamole, sour cream, and salsa.

These tacos also pair well with the Instant Pot black beans.

Mexican Street Corn Salad

This bright Mexican street corn salad will add a burst of color and flavor to your fiesta. Do not skip the process of properly grilling the corn. This process is where the salad gets its smoky flavor and distinctive grill marks.

The corn is mixed with a dressing made with mayonnaise, lime juice and zest, and garlic. All of this is tossed with Cotija cheese, fresh cilantro, jalapeño, smoked paprika, and scallions. Adjust the amount of jalapeños for more or less heat.

This side dish is sure to be a hit, potentially outshining some of the entrees.

Carne Guisada

This carne guisada recipe is best described as a Mexican beef stew. The traditional comfort food is a good choice if you are feeding a crowd.

Chunks of beef cook up in a creamy brown gravy, filling the whole house with its mouth-watering aroma. The fragrant gravy is made with tomato sauce, garlic powder, cumin, salt, pepper, onions, and green pepper.

Serve this stew with flour tortillas for dipping and filling. It also works well served over rice or mashed potatoes.

Lentil Tacos

These healthy lentil tacos make the perfect vegan choice for Cinco de Mayo. Lentils are a smart dietary choice, packed with fiber, iron, folate, and protein.

In addition to the lentils, the tacos are stuffed with onion, garlic, and a spice mix made with cumin, paprika, oregano, red pepper flakes, onion powder, and chili powder.

You can also satisfy the gluten-free people in your party by using corn tortillas instead of flour. Or ditch the tortillas and serve the lentils as a taco salad on top of shredded lettuce, tomatoes, and all of your favorite toppings.

Zesty Lime Shrimp and Avocado Salad

This recipe for lime shrimp and avocado salad is another nutritious and light dish that will look beautiful on your fiesta table. Jumbo cooked shrimp are tossed with tomatoes, red onion, avocado, jalapeño, cilantro and lime juice.

You can serve this salad as an appetizer or a side dish. Or serve it with tortillas or over a tostada for a complete meal. It also tastes fantastic served over white rice.


Let’s talk drinks! What Cinco de Mayo party is complete without some awesome drink options? While you certainly want some margaritas on hand, your guests will also appreciate this Michelada recipe.

This Mexican favorite is made with beer, Clamato or regular tomato juice, fresh lime juice, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and a variety of spices to kick it up a notch. Be sure to let your guests customize the spice level of this drink.

Elevate the drink with garnishes such as celery, pickles, olives, shrimp, or bacon, similar to how you would dress up a Bloody Mary.

Tres Leches Cake

For a sweet ending to your Cinco de Mayo celebration, add this tres leches cake to your list of possibilities. Just as the name suggests, the recipe calls for three different types of milk poured over a cake to create a moist and delicious treat.

All of this goodness is topped with a homemade whipped cream frosting and fresh berries to take it over the top. This light dessert will become a favorite that you will want to enjoy all year long.

Arroz Con Leche

For another sweet dessert idea, try this recipe for arroz con leche. This Mexican rice pudding dish is sweetened with condensed milk and topped with a dash of cinnamon.

Mix in some raisins for an additional layer of sweetness and texture. Serve the dish warm or cold depending on your personal preferences. In addition to making a fun dessert, you can also enjoy it as a breakfast item on this day.

Lean into the deliciousness of this day by cooking up some of these Mexican favorites.

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