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Cinco de Mayo Recipes You'll Want to Make All Year

May 5, 2020

What’s better than salsa, guac, and a cold Mexican lager on a spring day? Here are 8 Cinco de Mayo recipes to try this year.


There’s no better way to spend a spring afternoon than with fresh guacamole, some cold Mexican beers, and a margarita or two. That’s probably why Cinco de Mayo is such a popular holiday despite the fact that only 22% of Americans even know what it’s meant to celebrate!

Not to worry. By the end of this blog, you won’t just know what Cinco de Mayo is actually about, but also exactly what traditional Mexican food and drinks to serve to make the most of this holiday.

A Brief History of Cinco de Mayo

First, let’s get one thing straight. Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day! That’s September 16.

Cinco de Mayo, on the other hand, commemorates the first Battle of Puebla, when in 1862 underdog Mexican troops led by General Ignacio Zaragoza defeated French forces who were trying to occupy Mexico City. Though French troops later claimed victory in the Second Battle of Puebla, the first battle on May 5 was a huge boost to morale for the Mexican side. In fact, stories of the battle spread to Mexican miners working in California. These miners are credited with sparking the first Cinco de Mayo celebrations in the U.S.

Later, in the 20th century, the holiday was incorporated into the Chicano rights movement. Now, Southern California is home to some of the biggest Cinco de Mayo celebrations.

Now that you’re caught up on the history of Cinco de Mayo, it’s time to celebrate with some good food and drink.

8 Cinco de Mayo Recipes You’ll Want to Make All Year

1. Salsa

No party is complete without salsa. That goes double for a Cinco de Mayo party.

Do you know how many ways there are to make traditional Mexican salsa? A lot! That makes this a great opportunity for some experimentation. From spicy to mild, red to green, using fresh ingredients or roasted, adventurous cooks might want to make a few varieties.

Of course, there’s also nothing wrong with the basics. Here’s a recipe for classic salsa roja that requires nothing more than your standard cookware and a blender.

2. Guacamole

Salsa without guacamole is just sad. Get your hands on some avocado, onion, jalapeño, garlic, cilantro, salt, and lime, and whip up a batch of fresh guacamole with this classic recipe.

3. Mole Poblano

Americans love our tacos and guac, but the official dish of Cinco de Mayo is actually mole poblano. This slow-cooked sauce made from chocolate, chiles, and spices is just one of many types of mole that are staples throughout Oaxaca and – where else? – Puebla.

Now, mole poblano isn’t for the faint-hearted cook. To do it right, you’ll want to track down a host of traditional Mexican ingredients, grind your own spices, and slow cook the sauce with care. But the effort is well worth it to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with the real taste of Puebla.

Here’s a relatively simple to follow Cinco de Mayo recipe from Mexico in My Kitchen blog.

4. Chalupas

If you’ve never had chalupas, you’re in for a treat. This is another traditional poblano food that will make your Cinco de Mayo celebration that much more authentic (and delicious). Consisting of thick tortillas topped with meat and sauce, chalupas look a little like flat, baked tacos or even tostadas. Learn more about how to make this traditional Mexican street food, then try a full recipe.

5. Taquitos

Before you stop us, no – taquitos are not traditional poblano food. But they do have Chicano roots: legend has it that the dish was invented in San Diego during WWII by a Mexican restauranteur making portable lunch food for aircraft workers.

Plus, taquitos are perfect party food, made for dipping in salsa, guac, and crema. For an ever-so-slightly healthier version, break out your air fryer and try this recipe for air fryer taquitos from Delish.

6. Tacos de Carne Asada

Who doesn’t love tortillas topped with grilled marinated steak? Take advantage of Southern California’s beautiful spring weather by firing up the grill and making some carne asada tacos. Pile high with salsa and guac, of course.

Check out this mouthwatering recipe for beer-marinated carne asada. (Yes, we did say beer.)


7. Margaritas

You didn’t think we’d forget, did you?

Step up your margarita game this Cinco de Mayo by swapping out the blended version for margs served on the rocks. Here’s a classic margarita recipe to get you started. For best results, serve over ice cubes from a craft ice maker so your margaritas won’t get watered down.

8. Micheladas

You’ve never had Mexican lager like this… and if you have, then you already know why the michelada is a must-have at any warm-weather meal.

There are as many ways to make micheladas as there is salsa, but the general idea is a blended beer cocktail with lime, salt, tamarind or chile powder, and tomato juice – often Clamato. It may sound strange, but trust us – you’ll want to give it a try. Here’s a traditional recipe to get your feet wet.


Now that you’ve got your Cinco de Mayo recipes, make your shopping list and get ready for the season of outdoor cooking. And if you need an upgrade or to stock up on accessories, Howard’s has you covered – view our selection online today.


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