The May 5 holiday that celebrates Mexico’s victory over France in the 1862 Battle of Puebla is just the latest, greatest excuse to make irresistible recipes for entertaining, like tomato-poblano guacamole and enchiladas suizas.

By Food & Wine
Updated April 29, 2016

Superb Tacos

Perfect Salsas

Excellent Margaritas

Cinco de Mayo Celebration Menu

Celebrate Mexico’s Cinco de Mayo holiday with a festive dinner. Start with tortilla chips and chef Rick Bayless’s simple, 20-minute dip of melted cheese flavored with tomatoes, chiles, onion and a hit of tequila. Then, move on to classic tacos al pastor, made with incredibly delicious grilled pork that gets flavor from a marinade of citrus juice, cola and three kinds of chiles. Finish with an inventive trio of melon granitas, inspired by a popular Mexican snack—salt- and chile-sprinkled fruit.

© Frances Janisch

Cinco de Mayo Appetizers

Queso Fundido al Tequila
Rick Bayless’s simple, 20-minute dip of melted cheese flavored with tomatoes, chiles, onion and a hit of tequila is just the thing to satisfy a sudden craving for something warm, salty and gooey.

© Quentin Bacon

Main Course

Tacos al Pastor
“Tacos, whiskey, hillbilly music”—that’s the promise of Chicago’s Big Star, where famed chef Paul Kahan serves classic tacos—like the exceptional grilled-pork one here—that are impressively fresh.


Black Beans and Rice

Related: Cinco De Mayo Dinner

© Quentin Bacon


Melon Granita Trio
In Mexico, fruit often gets sprinkled with salt and chile powder and eaten as a snack. Michel Algazi and Roni Goldbert, the founders of Palapa Azul, a company that sells fruit bars, sorbet and ice cream, grew up eating these spicy-sweet treats. Their watermelon, honeydew and cantaloupe granitas, accented with cinnamon and cayenne, recall that childhood favorite. Get more Cinco de Mayo dessert ideas here.

More Mexican Menus

Mexican Fiesta (left)

Lesson in Mexican Flavors

Mexican Cocktail Party

At the Casa Noble estate, bartender David Yan created this margarita to showcase the property's own tequila. He coats the rim of the glass with citrusy Tajin-brand chile powder, but any powdered chile will work to give the drink a fun kick. This is the perfect frozen cocktail to sip on by the pool.

More Mexican Recipes for Cinco de Mayo