16 Recipes to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo by exploring Mexican culture and cuisine. Serve some of our favorite recipes, such as Chilaquiles and Enfrijoladas.

Three recipes to celebrate Cinco de Mayo set side by side.

Simply Recipes

When Cinco de Mayo rolls around, the urge strikes to break out the chips and salsa. After all, the American love affair with Mexican food goes back many, many decades and it’s still going strong.

Think of Cinco de Mayo as an opportunity to explore Mexican culture and cuisine. The holiday commemorates the Battle of Puebla, in which a far outnumbered Mexican army defeated French forces on May 5, 1862. It, contrary to popular understanding, is not Mexican Independence Day.

  • If you want to learn more about modern Mexican cooking check out our guide here.
  • Read our interview with the world renowned chef, restaurateur, and cookbook author Gabriele Cámara.
  • Need to master the art of homemade tortillas? Try using a Comal. Learn about it here.

The recipes we’re sharing here are some of our favorites, whether you’re having a weeknight family dinner or a casual party.

  • How to Make Corn Tortillas

    How to Make Corn Tortillas
    Elise Bauer

    A fun project, and not nearly as hard as you might think! If you want to learn more about the differences between Masa and Masa Harina check out our Ingredient Spotlight. In the mood for flour tortillas? We have a recipe for those, too.

  • Chilaquiles

    Chilaquiles on a plate with extra toppings around the plate.
    Sally Vargas

    Mexican chilaquiles are a great way to use up leftover corn tortillas. Simmer in sauce and top with eggs or beans. Breakfast is ready!

  • Enfrijoladas with Black Beans, Avocado and Cotija

    Mexican Enfrijoladas topped with avocado and cotija.
    Sally Vargas

    Corn tortillas are dipped in a black bean sauce, folded in half and topped with cheese, sliced avocado and cilantro. It’s healthy, filling and deeply satisfying.

  • Mexican Tostada

    Mexican Tostada
    Elise Bauer

    Corn tortillas for the win! A good tostada stands up against any number of more involved dinners and takes just minutes to assemble. Top this version with avocado, tomato, lettuce, refried beans and cheese!

    Continue to 5 of 16 below.
  • Carne Asada

    Carne Asada
    Elise Bauer

    A perennial favorite when eating out, carne asada is easy to make at home. Marinated and grilled skirt steak is thinly sliced and served with warm tortillas, avocados and pico de gallo.

  • Pressure Cooker Mexican Pulled Pork (Carnitas)

    Instant Pot Pulled Pork Carnitas Tacos on a serving tray
    Coco Morante

    Normally, carnitas is an hours-long affair. Here, you let a dry rub sit on the meat for up to an hour before searing, then let the pressure cooker do its magic. The result? Succulent, flavorful pork.

  • Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas

    Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas
    Elise Bauer

    Just right for a family meal. Use up tomatillos in our garden to make your own salsa verde or save time and use jarred sauce (about 2 cups should do it). If you’re using the jarred salsa make it on a weeknight. If you want to make everything from scratch (including the tortillas) this is a great Saturday project.

  • Posole Rojo (Mexican Pork and Hominy Stew)

    Pozole Rojo (Pork and Hominy Stew)
    Elise Bauer

    Start with dried chiles and puree them for an earthy, deeply flavored stew studded with posole (hominy), and tender chunks of pork. Perfect for making a day ahead.

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  • Sopa Seca de Fideo with Tomatillos

    Sopa Seca de Fideo with Tomatillos
    Elise Bauer

    If you’re looking for a wonderful Mexican side dish look no further than this recipe made with thin noodles, cooked in broth and tomatillo sauce. It takes about an hour but it’s worth every minute.

  • Refried Beans

    Refried Beans Recipe in Bowl
    Elise Bauer

    Once you make your own refried beans, you’ll never think of canned ones the same again. These freeze well, too!

  • Pico de Gallo (Fresh Salsa)

    tomato salsa in a bowl showing chopped tomatoes and onion
    Elise Bauer

    A scoop of pico de gallo makes most anything come alive, from tacos to tostados.

  • Mexican Red Chili Sauce

    Red Tamale Sauce in bowl
    Elise Bauer

    Add a little zip to any of your favorite Mexican recipes with this homemade red chili sauce made with dried Ancho chilies. Use in with tamales, enchiladas and more!

    Continue to 13 of 16 below.
  • Horchata

    A large mason jar of easy homemade horchata with a cinnamon stick inside is in front of a similar glass and a pitcher of homemade horchata. A small bowl of rice and cinnamon sticks are to the left.
    Marta Rivera

    Variations of this rice-based drink are common in many Latin American cultures. Made from rice and cinnamon, horchata is a light, and refreshing drink to enjoy on hot days. Drink it as it is or add a little of your favorite alcohol. Whip up a batch and keep it ice cold in the fridge to enjoy all week long.

  • Agua de Jamaica (Hibiscus Tea)

    Agua de Jamaica, Hibiscus Tea
    Elise Bauer

    Use dried hibiscus blossoms (look in the Latin food aisle, or order online) to make this stunningly tart, ruby-hued agua fresca.

  • Tres Leches Cake

    Authentic Tres Leches Cake Recipe
    Marta Rivera

    Tres leches is at once light and deceptively rich. Be careful, it’s easy to inhale a slice in seconds! A sponge cake soaks up a milk syrup, and it’s all topped with whipped cream and cinnamon.

  • Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream

    Scoops of Mexican Ice Cream in dessert bowl
    Elise Bauer

    Our smooth, custard-based chocolate ice cream gets spiced up with cinnamon and a little cayenne.