Ah, Cinco de Mayo. A day of fun, food, and plenty of margaritas. This year, as you plan your fiesta, don't skimp on the snacks. Mexico has a rich and delicious cultural heritage that spans the gamut from small savory bites to indulgent sweets. So, while you're mixing up a pitcher of your favorite margarita, spend some time in the kitchen loading up on savory skirt steak tacos, fresh from the ocean ceviche tostadas, smoky chicken flautas, and plenty of warm tortillas to serve alongside with chunky, rich fresh guacamole and spicy salsas. So grab your molcajete, your taco stand, and your tortilla warmer and get cooking!
Plan your menu and turn up the music, it's almost time to celebrate. To help you get started, here 25 delicioso recipes for Cinco de Mayo.
This simple guacamole recipe, from Season 3 of Mexico - One Plate at a Time, is featured on the menu at Rick Bayless' Chicago-based Xoco.
- 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled
- 3 ripe avocados, preferably the black-skinned Hass
- 1 small white onion (fresh knob onion—green tops still on—is best), finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- hot fresh green chiles to taste, stems removed
- 2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh Mexican herbs (such as cilantro, pipisa, or papalo)
- queso fresco and sliced radishes, for garnish
Bring the flavors of Latin America home with Picadillo Tacos, a blend of ground pork, golden raisins, stuffed olives, sweet red peppers and onions. Stuffed into crispy corn tacos for a crunchy, sweet, salty and juicy treat, they are easy to make (and easy to eat) any day of the week.
"These Tacos de Jicama are served inside sliced jicama, a crunchy root vegetable, high in vitamin C and fiber and low in calorie,” says Cathy Shyne, executive chef at Tortilla Republic. “The combination of shrimp, tomatoes, avocados, and onions is delicious and hearty, so you'll feel full without consuming naked calories.”
A healthy take on a classic breakfast dish: eggs are smothered in a spicy tomato salsaand served with salty queso fresco and buttery avocado.
- 2 pounds tomatoes, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
- 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
- 4 large eggs
- 4 corn tortillas, toasted
- 1 ripe Hass avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced
- 1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco
Many home cooks are intimidated by the idea of making their own flour tortillas. Getting the masa to the right consistency, and rolling out a perfectly round tortilla can be tedious, and takes practice. Don’t give up! Use a rolling pin that is the diameter of a broom handle, thin and straight. Also, make sure you press a divot into the center of each dough patty before you roll it out. This patty is known as a textal in Northern Mexico. The thin center and thicker edges of the textal will help you roll out a more round tortilla.
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 cup vegetable shortening or lard
- 2 cups warm water
- extra flour for rolling surface
A combination of corn and Anaheim chiles are the perfect sweet and spicy filling for these tamales.
- 15 corn husks
- 3 3/4 cups sweet corn, cut from the cob or frozen if not in season
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup flour
- 4 teaspoons corn meal
- 3/4 cup butter
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 10 strips cheddar cheese
- 10 strips freshly cooked, skinned and seeded Anaheim chilies (canned, such as Ortega will work too)
- 1 cup sour cream
Shrimp, squash, and potatoes make these enchiladas a delicious and hearty meal, especially with the addition of seasonal Hatch chiles. If Hatch chiles aren't in season, you can substitute another chile of your liking, make it as hot (or as not) as you like it.
- 5 tomatillos, washed and casings removed
- 6 large Hatch chiles, roasted, peeled and seeded
- 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
- 1/2 large onion
- 1/2 tablespoon plus1 quart water for boiling, plus 1/2 cup for salsa
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3/4 pound medium shrimp, raw and peeled
- 3 gold Yukon Idaho Potatoes, washed and chopped in 1/2″ cubes
- 2 large Mexican squash, washed and chopped in 1/2″ cubes
- 2 radishes, sliced in matchsticks
Scrambling a few diced pieces of cactus into a breakfast taco is a great way to introduce your friends to nopalitos. Similar in taste to green beans, nopalitos add a touch of intrigue to your morning. Loaded with vitamin C, beta-carotene, fiber, magnesium and calcium, eating cactus is good for you. Add a couple of chopped Serrano chiles to this recipe for a revved up morning taco.
Wonderful on its own, boiled or steamed, with butter, fresh herbs, and salt, you can always keep your market haul simple. On the other hand, elotes - grilled corn covered in crema or mayonnaise and crumbly cheese then sprinkled with hot chili and a squirt of lime - make a good case for complicating it.
- 4 ear corn, silks removed but the husks left on
- 1 cup crema Mexicana, créme fraîche, or sour cream
- 1 cup crumbled queso fresco or cotija cheese
- 1/4 cup cilantro, leaves and stems, finely chopped
- chili powder, to taste
This dish can be served as a guacamole with chips or even as a pineapple-avocado salad appetizer.
- 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced (10-12 ounces)
- 1/2 cup red onion, finely diced
- 2 fresh serrano or jalapeño chiles, minced, including seeds
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, or more to taste
- 3/4 teaspoon fine salt or 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 large or 4 small ripe Mexican Hass avocados, halved and pitted
- 1/2 pineapple, peeled, cored, and diced (1/2 inch sizes)
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, divided
Fish tacos certainly get a lot of press these days, but sometimes Oyster Tacos are the ticket. Quick prep and ready ingredients make this dish easy and impressive. It also pairs nicely with our Easy Salsa de Chile Chipotle.
Gorgeous, honey sweet pineapples are in every produce market these days. Peeled, cored and chopped for your convenience, it would be a crime to pass them over for jarred salsa. Making Salsa de Piña couldn’t be easier. Of course, we love it on Camarones de Coco, but add a spoonful to your next fish taco or even your pork carnitas, and you will be hooked. Make it a day ahead and let the flavors marry. (Salsa gets hotter when left overnight.)
Crispy corn tortilla, chicken barbacoa, black bean puree, tomatillo salsa, and crema fresca come together in this traditional Mexican appetizer.
- 3 corn tortillas
- 1/4 cupnapa cabbage
- 1 crema fresca, drizzle
- 1 cotija cheese, sprinkle
- 2 cups tomatillo
- 2 serrano chiles
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/2cup onion, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
- 1 organic chicken, butterflied
This delicious tuna tostada is a must-order at Rene Ortiz's Austin-based restaurant La Condesa.
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup chipotle in Adobo
- 3 yellow corn tortillas
- 3 cups vegetable oil
- 5 ounces tuna loin
- 1 small cucumber cut into coins
- 2 teaspoon skosher salt
- 3 juiced limes
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 piece serrano chile
- 1 ounce soy sauce
Even though this salsa is ready to eat the minute you blend it, you can always opt to heat it for a minute or two in the microwave before you serve it. Add a spoonful to a saucepan of canned beans for a spicier side dish or stir together equal parts mayonnaise and salsa to make a chipotle mayo for sandwiches and burgers.
A Spanish food staple (black beans) get a lift with fresh lime juice, cilantro, red pepper flakes and sea salt in these Black Bean Burritos, a vegeterian meal bursting with flavor.
- 4 cups black beans, cooked
- 4 whole wheat tortillas
- 4 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
- 2 limes, zested and juiced
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 small onion, minced
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 ripe avocado
- salt and pepper to taste
Flautas or flute shaped tacos are perfect when feeding a large numbers of guests. If you are having guests over, you can always make the flautas in advance. You can store the unfried tacos in the freezer (without their toppings) and use them when you need. Or, you can fry the tacos, and keep them warm in the oven until you are ready to serve them…just add the toppings at the last minute.
- 24 corn tortillas
- 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
- 2 cups finely shredded cabbage
- 1 small onion cut in thinly sliced rings for garnish
- 1 cup crumbled cotija or shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
- 1/4 cup mexican crema or crème fraîche
- vegetable oil for frying
These fried tortillas are the perfect platform for classic Tex-Mex ingredients and unexpected layers of beets and Parmesan.
- 4 corn tortillas or store bought tostadas
- 1/2 cupcooked ground chorizo (optional)
- 2 cups refried beans
- 1 1/2 cups shredded lettuce
- 1 splash homemade or store-bought vinaigrette
- 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced beets
- 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
Diced avocados remain chunky once they're mixed with the remaining traditional ingredients of this classic dip.
- 3 avocados, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 plum tomato, seeded and finely chopped
- 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 Serrano chile, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- kosher salt
- tortilla chips, for serving
Serve these ceviche appetizers with Chipotle Cream to add a creamy, spicy component to really make the flavors shine.
- 2 jars (14 ounce each) hearts of palm, halved lengthwise, then sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
- 2 limes, juiced
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
- 8 plum tomatoes, cored and chopped
- 1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
- 1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and chopped
- 10 corn tortillas
Nearly every restaurant in the U.S. offers some form of nachos - a perfect sports party appetizer made with tortilla chips and cheese. “Pancho," one of the best nacho variations, includes morsels of tender beef crumbled on top of layers of chips and cheese.