21 Must-Try Cinco De Mayo Recipes

Are you gearing up to celebrate Cinco de Mayo? While traditional recipes are a beloved part of any feast, it’s also exciting to introduce new dishes. The fifth of May is not just a celebration but a chance to gather with friends and family over a bountiful spread. This year, why not expand your menu with these twenty-one must-try recipes that are perfect for enjoying with loved ones?

1. Corn Salsa

An overhead view of a white bowl filled with corn salsa. It sits on a white cloth with a sprig of fresh cilantro to the left side.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Picture this: a white bowl brimming with vibrant corn salsa, set against a crisp white cloth with a sprig of fresh cilantro to the side. Corn salsa is not just a dish but an experience, essential for any Cinco de Mayo celebration. It’s perfect for keeping guests coming back to the food table. Though unlikely, any leftovers can be repurposed deliciously in tacos or burritos.

2. Shrimp Campechana

A glass filled with Shrimp Campechana, shown from overhead.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

This incredible shrimp campechana makes a great appetizer for guests. It can be served in small cups or containers, or it can be turned into a shrimp salad with the addition of lettuce. Shred the lettuce fine and use it as a bed in smaller serving cups with shrimp to top it off. Whether you serve this on its own or over a bed of lettuce, your guests will love this, and so will you.

3. Easy Guacamole

A wood bowl filled with guacamole and garnished with two lime wedges.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

What Cinco De Mayo celebration would be complete without a big bowl of guacamole to share with everyone? But when you’re cooking for a crowd, you need something simple. This easy guacamole comes together quickly, and the recipe can easily be multiplied to accommodate any size crowd you intend to serve.

4. Queso Dip

A hand dips a corn chip into homemade queso.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

If you like dips you can serve warm and keep warm, this queso dip is the perfect dip for this fun and special day. Everyone loves a good queso dip. You can keep it in a small slow cooker on the warm setting with a small ladle resting in it so guests can help themselves. Have single servings of chips nearby so they are easy to grab and set on a plate.

5. Slow Cooker Taco Chicken

Taco chicken with tomato sauce and cilantro
Photo Credit: Elena Veselova/Shutterstock.

If you are serving anything from tacos to tostadas, this slow cooker taco chicken is an easy way to accommodate all the cooking you’ll be doing. It easily cooks itself in your slow cooker while you prepare other dishes. It can also be served as a main dish with other sides, such as Mexican rice and refried beans.

6. Homemade Salsa Verde

A white, fluted bowl filled with Homemade Salsa Verde.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Everyone loves red salsa, but green salsa can take your celebration to a whole new level. Homemade salsa verde is a fantastic option for tacos, enchiladas, seafood, grilled meats, eggs, nachos, burritos and burrito bowls, soups and stews, sandwiches, grilled vegetables and wraps. Plus, the stuff made from scratch is unmatched. You just can’t buy it this good.

7. Mexican Chicken Skewers

Chicken skewers filled with taco chicken, bell peppers and onions for tacos.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

These Mexican chicken skewers can be served as a main course, or they can be removed from the skewers and used to stuff tacos or burritos. These are a great dish if will be grilling. These skewers, hot off the grill, are a dish that nobody will turn down.

8. Loaded Sheet Pan Quesadillas

A portion of loaded sheet pan quesadilla sitting on a white plate, garnished with fresh cilantro.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

These loaded sheet pan quesadillas are a great dish for feeding a crowd. You can serve them directly on the baking pan you cooked them in with a spatula to let guests help themselves. Set a few bowls around this with various toppings so people can help themselves to the toppings they prefer. Consider fresh cilantro, sour cream, fresh tomatoes, fresh, chopped onions and more.

9. Sheet Pan Nachos

Homemade Loaded Sheet Pan Nachos on a tabletop.
Photo Credit: Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock.

Sheet pan nachos are another great self-serve option for your Cinco De Mayo celebrations. Set them on a warming tray with a spatula or serving spoon to let guests serve themselves. Consider serving the fresh cilantro on the side since not everyone enjoys this controversial herb.

10. Recipe For Restaurant Salsa

Restaurant Salsa in a canning jar with the lid off.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

If you love the red salsa you get in restaurants with that huge basket of chips, try making a fresh batch at home. This recipe for restaurant salsa is the best red salsa you will ever make. It beats out restaurant salsa every time with its freshness and wonderful flavor. Serve a big bowl of chips on the side for guests.

11. Watermelon Agua Fresca With Mint

A glass and pitcher on a white surface both sit full of watermelon aqua fresca. The glass is garnished with a fresh mint sprig and a metal straw.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

What is a Cinco De Mayo feast without something delicious to drink? Watermelon agua fresca with mint is about as refreshing as a drink can get. It will pair perfectly with any dish you serve, and guests will come back for more, again and again. Make sure to have an ample supply of fresh mint leaves for garnishes.

12. Mexican Stuffed Peppers

A single, Mexican Stuffed Pepper in a small, white bowl.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

If you need a delicious main course to add to your table, these Mexican stuffed peppers are a great idea. They come in their own single-serving size and are easy to serve in a casserole dish. Just put out some tongs so guests can serve themselves, and put out a little extra cheese, sour cream, and freshly chopped onions so people can add some extra garnishes.

13. Mexican Ground Beef Casserole

An overhead view of a Mexican ground beef casserole in a cast iron skillet.
Photo Credit: Running To The Kitchen.

Another main course option is this Mexican ground beef casserole. Serve it with a serving spoon and maybe set out some extra garnishes so guests can top this with more of what they love best. Any leftovers can be stuffed into burritos or taco shells for an easy leftover meal that keeps anything from going to waste.

14. Copycat Taco Bell Mexican Pizza Recipe

A close up of a copycat Taco Bell Mexican pizza with a slice removed.
Photo Credit: Feels Like Home.

If you love Taco Bell but don’t want to spend all that money to serve multiple people, try this copycat Taco Bell Mexican pizza recipe instead. It’s easy to duplicate the recipe for a crowd, and you can serve it with different sides so guests can pick their own. While this could be a main course, it’s better served as an appetizer if you are serving a lot of people. Cut these into smaller pieces so people can help themselves.

15. Hot Taco Dip

A chip dipped into hot taco dip in a dish.
Photo Credit: Feels Like Home.

If you want a tasty, hearty dip to serve a group, this hot taco dip is a great option. Topped with all your favorites, this dip is perfect to serve in a bigger dish for a smaller crowd or in smaller dishes for a larger crowd. Serving this in individual cups or bowls will make it much easier for people to enjoy. But you can also simply set a spoon in the dish and let people scoop some onto their plates. Just keep a big basket of corn chips nearby.

16. Mexican Street Corn Salad

An overhead view of a white bowl filled with Mexican street corn salad.
Photo Credit: Pass Me Some Tasty.

Mexican street corn salad is a wonderful salad that you can enjoy as a side dish or as a condiment on anything from tacos and burritos to enchilada and chili rellenos. It’s a wonderful side salad that can accompany any main course with delicious flavor. This one will definitely please a hungry crowd.

17. Air Fryer Salsa

An overhead view of salsa in a white bowl with a few chips around it.
Photo Credit: Fork To Spoon.

Yes, you can make amazing salsa right in your air fryer. It’s a wonderful way to roast all the vegetables so that your finished salsa has all that wonderful roasted and caramelized flavor. This air fryer salsa is super easy to make and totally delicious. The chances of leftovers are slim, so you may want to make a double batch.

18. Carne Asada Nachos

A sheet pan full of carne asada nachos.
Photo Credit: Running To The Kitchen.

Feed a crowd with these carne asada nachos. Savory meat and cheese over crispy corn chips garnished with fresh avocado, jalapeno slices, and even some fresh herbs will really give you something to cheer about. This dish is a fantastic way to celebrate Cinco De Mayo, and you can serve this directly from the pan you baked it on by simply supplying your guests with a metal spatula and some plates so they can help themselves.

19. Lobster Tacos

An overhead view of a platter holding three lobster tacos.
Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

Whether you live in New England or elsewhere, don’t skip these lobster tacos. Lobster makes the most wonderful options for tacos that are just a little bit different than what you are used to. Top these with your favorite taco toppings and watch everyone’s face light up. Delicate, tasty lobster was born to be served inside a taco. Promise.

20. Creamy Chicken Enchilada Soup

An overhead view of a white bowl filled with creamy chicken enchilada soup.
Photo Credit: Feels Like Home.

This creamy chicken enchilada soup is a wonderful appetizer, side dish, or main course for Cinco De Mayo. It can be a first course to a larger meal, or you can simply keep it warm in a slow cooker on a buffet table and let people help themselves. Put out some toppings, such as fresh cilantro and tortilla strips, along with some lime wedges, and nobody will complain there isn’t enough food.

21. Bacon Jalapeno Nachos

A closeup of Bacon Jalapeno Nachos garnished with fresh cilantro.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

While bacon jalapeno nachos aren’t absolutely traditional nachos, they are close enough to get the job done with style and tons of flavor. Here again, you can set the entire sheet on your buffet table with a spatula so people can serve themselves, or you can make smaller, individual sheet pans or skillets to serve a smaller crowd.

More From The Gracious Pantry

A dutch oven with a cooked whole chicken topped with rosemary twigs.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Need more dinner ideas? These can help. Chicken and turkey are very versatile foods that can be used to create an unlimited number of dinners. Here are 118 ideas to get you started.

This originally appeared on The Gracious Pantry.

Author: Tiffany McCauley

Title: Food and Travel Journalist

Expertise: Food, cooking, travel


Tiffany McCauley is a nationally syndicated journalist and an award-winning cookbook author and food blogger. She has been featured on MSN, Huffington Post, Country Living Magazine, HealthLine, Redbook, and many more. Her food specialty is healthy comfort food recipes.

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