15 Easy Cinco de Mayo Recipes You’ll Love
Mexican food may be one of my favourite cuisines.
The diversity in each region is incredible and shown in this round-up of easy Cinco de Mayo recipes – with stews, soups and ceviches.
Cinco de Mayo is an interesting holiday. It literally means May 5th and while it’s technically a Mexican holiday the American celebration is much bigger.
I’m sure it’s the same with St.Patrick’s Day and the Irish aren’t drinking green beer on March 17th.
Some regions in Mexico observe the holiday which celebrates Mexico defeating the French army at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.
However, in the United States it has become a celebration of Mexican heritage and culture but often mistaken as Mexico’s Independence Day – although that is September 16th.
Sadly it’s not a significant holiday in Canada but I don’t need an official holiday to make Mexican food.
Easy Cinco de Mayo Recipes
Mexican food can be complex and take hours if not days.
However, all of these Cinco de Mayo recipes are quick and easy to make. Perfect for a last minute Cinco de Mayo party.
Instant Pot Carnitas
Almost like a Mexican pulled pork recipe, carnitas are pork simmered all day and then crisped in the broiler at the end of the day.
So they are soft on the inside and crispy on the insider.
But unlike cochinita pibil it doesn’t have the typical Mayan flavouring of achiote. Both slow cooked pork recipes are great – just different flavours.
Using an Instant Pot is modern authentic. Traditionally carnitas are slow cooked in a copper pot.
But many Mexican kitchens are now cooking them in a pressure cooker.
Pico de Gallo
Pico de gallo is one of the easiest things to make IF you like dicing vegetables. It’s not the same as salsa as it never uses cooked ingredients.
It takes a bit of preparation but it is amazing as a topping on tacos, with shrimp or on eggs at breakfast.
Even if you aren’t quite sure what to do with it just make a bowl and you’ll find someone wants to put it on something.
Cochinita Pibil – Mexican Pulled Pork
Cochinita pibil is a very traditional food from the Yucatan. It is cooked in banana leaves and either served on a soft bun or a tortilla.
However, it’s also fantastic in a slow cooker, instant pot or dutch oven.
It’s a recipe that impresses but really the flavour is from taking the time to let the meat cook. This party food is “set it and forget it.”
Birria Mexican Stew
This recipe is adapted from Chef Roy Choi’s book L.A. Son: My Life, My City, My Food.
Although his heritage is Korean, Roy Choi is deeply influenced by the Mexican culture in LA and made Korean tacos famous.
I love the stories in his book and this Mexican stew is so versatile and great for Cinco de Mayo.
This is one of the easy Cinco de Mayo recipes. You can make a pot, serve it with tortillas and everyone will be happy.
I contemplated whether to call this dish posole or pozole when we shot this video.
It was a heated debate on my YouTube page as some people were very upset that I labelled it posole.
However, posole is a regional with many variations. It is sometimes spelled posole, pozole or even pozolli.
I’m not going to argue about the spelling, let’s all just agree that it is delicious.
Want easy Cinco de Mayo recipes that can be served in less than ten minutes?
Look no further than ceviche. This is a recipe from the West Coast of Mexico and uses fresh fish, papaya and lime to “cook” the ingredients.
Don’t be intimidated by ceviche because it appears to be an advanced recipe.
As you aren’t cooking with heat it can be such an easy dish as long as you use the freshest ingredients.
If you’re familiar with making ceviche and want something different check out this Colima-style fish ceviche.
Sikil p’ak or sikil p’aak. This is its Mayan name, which literally means pumpkin seed and tomato.
In Spanish it is sometimes known as pepita con tomate,although most places in Mexico use its Mayan name.
And in English it’s sometimes called Mayan pumpkin seed dip, pepita dip or Yucatecan pumpkin seed salsa.
Looking for a lean Mexican pork recipe? Poc chuc is an ancient Mayan dish that is very popular in Mexico today.
Pork loin is marinated in a sour orange juice, grilled and served with tortillas and pickled onions.
Street food in Mexico isn’t just savoury, you can also get dessert and chocobananos is one of the tastiest.
Frozen bananas dipped in chocolate and topped with a variety of things from nuts to candy. This is a very easy recipe to make with kids.
And even better, they freeze beautifully for a couple months.
I will make any recipe that involves tortillas. This one is adapted from Chef Rick Bayless and is originally from Puebla – probably the greatest food city I’ve never visited. I really need to change that.
Poblano food is an interesting blend of the indigenous cuisine and nuns from the Spanish resettlement.
Shredded chicken simmered in a chipotle tomato sauce is the traditional way to cook chicken tinga.
However, you can easily cook it in a slow cooker or dutch oven.
Sopa de Lima
I discovered this dish in Valladolid, I have great memories of eating this and discovering the secret to getting to Chichen Itza before the tourists.
The literal translation is lime soup but that really minimizes just how good it is.
Sopa de lima is a simple but rich soup taking traditional chicken soup to the next level with lime juice, cilantro, jalapeno and tortillas.
You’ll never make boring chicken soup again.
The Michelada is Mexico’s answer to hangovers. Much like the Caesar drink, Canada’s national cocktail, the Michelada uses Clamato juice, a combination of tomato and clam juice.
Instead of vodka, it uses beer, worcestershire sauce and a dash of soy sauce.
If you’re not a fan of Clamato juice you can also try a chelada, which is the same recipe without Clamato.
Another great Mexican beer cocktail that uses salt and lime.
All the major beer companies are bringing their lime beer out now but it’s always been in Mexico.
A chelada is the perfect way to have a refreshing drink on a hot day without feeling too heavy.
A twist on the Cuba Libre, this Mexican cocktail is named after a very spooky legend of Charro Negro.
The story says Charro Negro, a friendly cowboy, appears in the wee hours of the morning offering a ride or coins to those who are out far too late.
But that friendly stranger may not have the best intentions so it’s best not to accept his kindness.
Thankfully the charro negro cocktail isn’t as dangerous!
What are your favourite easy Cinco de Mayo recipes? Let us know in the comments below!