30+ Mexican Recipes Perfect for Cinco de Mayo


This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure policy.

Jump to Recipe

The tastiest Mexican recipes for Cinco De Mayo! I’ve got tacos every which way, the best guacamole and salsa, and burrito bowls loaded with fresh flavor. Plus, a few ice-cold margaritas. This list has everything you need for your Mexican fiesta. 

Barbacoa tacos on a plate with cilantro and lime wedges.

Best Mexican Recipes 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.

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.

Guacamole in a bowl with a chip dipping in.

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 in a bowl with chips.

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

Salsa recipe in a bowl surrounded by chips, limes and cilantro.

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

A big bowl of avocado salsa next to a plate of chips.

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

Mango salsa in a bowl next to chips.

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. 

Pouring chipotle sauce from food processor into a glass jar.

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

Lime crema in a serving bowl.

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.

Sliced carne asada on a cutting board

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!

Carnitas on a plate.

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.

A bowl of Mexican beef birria.

Birria: This rich and spicy stewy slow-cooked beef has become a huge fan favorite! Plus, the shredded beef tastes amazing in quesabirria tacos (which I’ll show below).

Beef barbacoa on a plate with lime wedges.

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

Six cooked chicken thighs with cilantro lime flavors in a fry pan.

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 on a plate.

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 on a plate.

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

Birria tacos on a plate.

Birria Tacos: Oh boy are these tacos mouthwatering! They’re like mini quesadillas with melty Oaxacan cheese, shredded birria, onions, and cilantro. Then dipped in a rich and spiced consomme.

Shrimp tacos on a plate next to avocado

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! 

A plate with beef barbacoa tacos.

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 in a pan on a table with toppings.

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

Shrimp fajitas in a pan with avocado slices and lime wedges.

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

Steak fajitas in a skillet with toppings on the side

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.  

A bowl of ceviche

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.

Elote on a plate with limes

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.

A tray filled with nachos and toppings.

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

A tray of carnitas nachos on a table

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

Fries topped with carne asada, guacamole and sour cream on a plate.

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 on a sheet pan.

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. 

Bowls of tacos soup

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 in a bowl next to a napkin

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

Beef barbacoa burrito bowl on a table with salsa.

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.

Carnitas stuffed poblano peppers in a baking dish.

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

Huevos rancheros on a white plate next to forks.

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

Close up of zucchini noodles with chicken and pico de gallo on a white plate.

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! 

Glasses of margarita.

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

Mango margarita on a table with bottles of alcohol.

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

Pouring strawberry margarita into a glass.

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! 

Horchata in a glass with cinnamon stick.

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

Several agua fresca drinks.

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! If you make any of these recipes, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment box below.

30+ Mexican Recipes Perfect for Cinco de Mayo

5 from 7 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 8 hours
Total: 8 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 6 tacos
Author: Lisa Bryan


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



Taco Ingredients

  • tortillas
  • diced onion
  • avocado slices
  • chopped cilantro
  • sour 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.

About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before appearing on the site. Thank you for sharing your feedback!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. Attractive component of content. I just stumbled upon your blog and in accession capital to assert that I get in fact loved account your blog posts. Any way I will be subscribing to your augment or even I success you get entry to constantly rapidly.

  2. The Taco Soup was a big hit with my family today. I love how quickly it comes together with a few simple ingredients and of course, your infamous taco seasoning!5 stars

  3. The lime Crema was fantastic! I couldn’t get enough of it and I can’t wait to make it again. Thank you!5 stars

    1. Hi Vicki- Wonderful! Now you can enjoy the lime crema with tons of Tex-Mex recipes :)

  4. This is such a great round-up, I can never have enough Mexican food! So many great ideas here and I love that they are healthy too!5 stars

    1. Oh yes, huevos rancheros is the best for breakfast! You’ll definitely have to give that recipe a try.

  5. Mexican is my ultimate favourite cuisine!! I could eat something from this awesome collection every single day. So many ideas here and plenty of flavour packed dishes, I can’t wait to try a couple of them!5 stars

    1. Hi Adrianne- It’s my favorite cuisine as well! You can’t go wrong with any of these dishes :)

  6. Having moved to New Zealand from the states many years ago, good Mexican food is one of the things I miss most. We always make it ourselves and welcome new recipes. Lots of options to choose from here, but I am starting with either your pulled pork or shrimp tacos. Yummy! Thanks for all these options.5 stars

    1. Hi Rhonda- Luckily New Zealand is full of fresh ingredients, where these Mexican recipes can easily be made right at home! The pulled pork and shrimp tacos are a great start to this list :)

  7. I love anything with a Mexican inspired twist, especially when they’re better for me. Can’t wait to try these out over the weekend!! Thanks for sharing :)

    1. I’m with you, Deanne! I’ll gladly eat all the Mexican food. ;) Hope you enjoy a few of these recipes!

  8. Mexican is my favourite!! I especially love the Black Bean Vegetarian Pizza, it sounds fabulous.

    1. The Black Bean Vegetarian Pizza is one of my favorites! Thanks for the kind comment, Adrienne! :)

  9. I’m a huge fan of Mexican ingredients and I’m always happy to discover new recipes, especially healthy ones!

    1. Thanks, Corina! Yep, these recipes are all delicious Mexican or Mexican-inspired dishes!

  10. All of these Cinco De Mayo recipes look amazing! I really love the mango margarita and Carne Asada Fries.