CInco de Mayo Party Food Recipe Ideas

Searching for some recipe ideas for celebrating Cinco de Mayo? This recipe list has you covered, from breakfast and lunch to dinner and dessert, plus plenty of appetizers and snacks for in between!

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo All Day Long With These Recipe Ideas

You’ve obviously heard of Cinco de Mayo since you’ve landed on this recipe list, but do you know exactly what it is and why it’s celebrated? Is it just an excuse to drink margaritas and eat tacos? Well, not exactly! So before we get into the recipe ideas, let’s dive into the festive world of Cinco de Mayo and uncover the true meaning behind this celebration. (Or, you can just skip to the recipe list if you’re already in the know 😎)

What is Cinco de Mayo and Why is it Celebrated?

Cinco de Mayo, which translates from Spanish to English as the Fifth of May, is a holiday that commemorates the Mexican army’s victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. It’s a day to celebrate Mexican culture, history, and pride. (And let’s be real, who doesn’t love a good reason to party?)

While many people mistakenly believe that Cinco de Mayo is Mexico’s Independence Day, that actually falls on September 16th. Cinco de Mayo is celebrated to honor the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over the powerful French forces. It’s a symbol of resilience, determination, and the power of unity. (Plus, it’s a great excuse to indulge in some delicious Mexican cuisine!)

Cinco de Mayo Food, Ingredients and Prep Tools & Tips

When it comes to Cinco de Mayo celebrations, food plays a central role. Some of the most common dishes enjoyed on this festive day include tacos, guacamole, enchiladas, tamales, and of course, margaritas! Ingredients like avocados, cilantro, lime, and jalapeños are staples in Mexican cuisine and are often featured in Cinco de Mayo dishes. (Get ready to spice up your taste buds!)

When it comes to prepping the ingredients for your Cinco de Mayo celebrations, your most important tools will be a sharp knife and a good cutting board (like F.N. Sharp’s acacia wood cutting board, available in both large and small). Mexican dishes are full of colorful veggies and herbs, so you’ll want to be prepared from a lot of slicing and dicing!

Here’s a quick look at the kitchen knives used in our recipe roundup:

The Chef’s Knife

Often referred to as the most important tool in the kitchen, the Western-style chef’s knife is a must-have for slicing and dicing through ingredients like a boss!

The F.N. Sharp Chef’s Knife was used for the avocado and pineapple prep for the pina colada guacamole; for the onion, jalapeno, cilantro and pecan prep for the Mexican cheese ball; for the fish, fruit and veggie prep for the fish tacos with mango salsa; for the cilantro-chopping for the tequila-lime smoked chicken thighs with cilantro-lime rice; for the watermelon prep in the tequila-lime watermelon sorbet bars; and for all of the veggie prep for the double-spiced tomato salsa, the chicken tortilla soup, the cheesy chicken enchiladas, and the sheet pan chicken fajitas.

The Santoku Knife

F.N. Sharp Santoku Knife with red onion

The Santoku knife, a Japanese-style chef’s knife, has become another popular must-have in the kitchen. The unique blade is designed for creating uniform cuts without ingredients sticking between cuts, and it’s smaller size (compared to the Western-style chef’s knife) makes it a favorite for cooks with small hands.

The F.N. Sharp Santoku Knife was used for the onion, jalapeno and cilantro prep in the pina colada guacamole; for the onion prep in the guacamole toast; and for slicing up the cooked chicken for the tequila-lime smoked chicken thighs with cilantro-lime rice.

The Utility Knife

F.N. Sharp Utility Knife with tomato halves and slices

The kitchen utility knife is another multi-purpose tool that can be used for all kinds of fruit and veggie prep.

Like steak knives, kitchen utility knives often come with a serrated edge, which gives the illusion that they’ll never need sharpening. Not only do serrated knives eventually dull, they’re a lot harder to sharpen than straight-edged knives since you must take care to sharpen between each serration. Check out our steak knife guide to learn more about serrated vs. non-serrated kitchen knives. 

The F.N. Sharp Utility Knife, which comes with a straight, non-serrated edge, was used for the veggie prep for the Mexican veggie and cheese frittata, the cheddar-jalapeno beer bread, and the Mexican stuffed peppers.

The Paring Knife

F.N. Sharp Paring Knife with assorted veggies

Ah, the paring knife – every kitchen needs one of these handy little knives. 

Shaped like a mini chef’s knife, the paring knife is a must-have for tasks like peeling fruits and veggies, segmenting and slicing citrus, preparing strawberries, deveining shrimp, and other small and/or delicate tasks. It’s also great for trimming fat and scoring meats.

The F.N. Sharp Paring Knife was used for the avocado prep for the guacamole toast and the jalapeno prep in the oven-baked jalapeno poppers. 

The Boning Knife

F.N. Sharp Boning Knife peeling pineapple bark

While it’s name might imply otherwise, the boning knife is also comes in handy for preparing fruits and veggies. 

The shape and size of the boning knife’s thin blade makes it perfect for carving the rind off of melon slices, peeling papayas and mangoes, and removing the bark from a pineapple without carving away too much of the fruit.

The F.N. Sharp Boning Knife was used for the pineapple prep in the pina colada guacamole recipe.

The Bread Knife

F.N. Sharp Bread Knife with sliced cheddar jalapeno beer bread

Of course, the bread knife is a must when it comes to slicing up fresh bread, but it comes with other skills, from slicing up cakes and other sweet treats to prepping fruits and veggies to slicing up cooked meats.

Bread knives also come in all shapes and sizes with either super pointy or rounded serrations. While that pointy edge might seem better for slicing though crusty breads, the rounded edge of a scalloped bread knife does it better with less crumbs (check out this guide for more about pointy vs. scalloped bread knives).

The F.N. Sharp Bread Knife was used for slicing up the sourdough bread for the guacamole toast; for slicing up the cheddar-jalapeno bread, for slicing up the tequila-lime watermelon sorbet bars; and for slicing up the lemony sugar cookie fruit pizza. 

Get All the F.N. Sharp Essentials: The F.N. Sharp’s 6-Knife Set & Magnetic Knife Block

Now that you’ve gotten a little rundown on prep tools and ingredients, check out these how-to videos for tips on prepping three of the most common Mexican food ingredients:

How to Slice and Dice a Jalapeno

How to Slice and Dice an Avocado

How to Chiffonade Cilantro

For more on cutting fruits, veggies and herbs, check out these F.N. Sharp Guides:
🔪 The F.N. Sharp A-Z Guide to Choosing, Cutting and Storing Fruits
🔪 The F.N. Sharp A-Z Guide to Choosing, Cutting and Storing Veggies
🔪 The F.N. Sharp Guide to Cooking With Fresh Herbs

17 Party Food Recipe Ideas for Your Cinco de Mayo Celebrations

F.N. Sharp recipe collage for Cinco de Mayo party food ideas

From breakfast, lunch and dinner to appetizers, snacks and desserts, these recipes will keep the Cinco de Mayo celebrations going all day long!

Mexican Veggie and Cheese Frittata

F.N. Sharp Utility Knife with Mexican Veggie and Cheese Frittata

It doesn’t matter if you make this one for breakfast, lunch or dinner, this frittata recipe will bring the party to your mouth!

Eggs, heavy cream, shredded Monterey jack cheese, crumbled cotija cheese, thinly sliced scallions, halved cherry tomatoes, diced bell pepper, diced jalapeno and spices all come together in this Mexican veggie & cheese frittata recipe!

Guacamole Toast

F.N. Sharp Paring Knife with Guacamole Avocado Toast

This follow-along recipe video serves avocado toast with a twist!

Homemade guacamole made with mashed avocado, diced red onion, fresh squeezed lime juice, salt, pepper and fresh cilantro is slathered on some freshly sliced and toasted sourdough bread, then topped off with some garlic ‘n herb goat cheese crumbles for a party in your mouth 😋

Cheddar-Jalapeno Beer Bread

F.N. Sharp Utility and Bread Knives with Cheddar Jalapeno Beer Bread

While this cheddar-jalapeno beer bread recipe was originally created for an Irish holiday, the ingredients also make it perfect for celebrating Cinco de Mayo – Jalapenos? Check! Cheese? Check! Beer? Check!

Try slicing it up and enjoying as-is, toasted with some butter, or topped with some of the homemade guacamole from the recipe listed above 😋

Pina Colada Guacamole

Recipe for Pina Colada Guacamole

If you like pina coladas, then you’ll love this follow-along video recipe! 

You don’t have to get caught in the rain or wait until happy hour to enjoy this recipe, either! Mashed avocados, coconut cream, lime juice, rum, diced jalapeno, onion and tomato, roughly chopped cilantro, salt, pepper and sour cream all come together in this recipe for pina colada guacamole!

Double-Spiced Heirloom Tomato Salsa

Recipe for Double-Spiced Heirloom Tomato Salsa

Double your appetite with some double-spiced heirloom tomato salsa recipe!

Diced heirloom tomatoes, diced red onion, diced jalapenos, diced cucumber, resh or frozen corn, pickled jalapeno brine, freshly squeezed lime juice, olive oil, ancho chili powder, ground cumin, salt and pepper all come together in this tomato salsa recipe!

Easy Homemade Pico de Gallo

F.N. Sharp Chef's Knife with pico de gallo ingredients

A little bit of pico (AKA fresh chunky salsa) can add some big flavor to any Mexican dish, from tacos to burrito bowls!

Diced tomatoes, diced white onion, minced garlic cloves, minced jalapeno, fresh lime juice, roughly chopped cilantro, salt and pepper all come together in this easy pico de gallo recipe with follow-along video!

Oven-Baked Jalapeno Poppers

F.N. Sharp Paring Knife with Homemade Oven-Baked Jalapeno Poppers

Get the Cinco de Mayo party popping with this easier and slightly healthier version of the super popular restaurant appetizer!

Halved jalapenos, chopped bacon, white cheddar cheese, cream cheese, onion powder, garlic powder, chopped cilantro and sliced chives all come together in this recipe for oven-baked jalapeno poppers!

Easy Mexican Cheese Ball

F.N. Sharp Utility Knife with Mexican Cheese Ball

This dippable and spreadable recipe serves up a seriously delicious ball of yum that will make taste buds dance and sing with every bite!

Cream cheese, cheddar jack cheese, diced green chilies, diced onion, diced jalapeno, pecans, pepitas and a medley of spices all come together in this easy Mexican cheese ball recipe.

Veggie-Filled Mac ‘n’ Cheese Cups With Crispy Jalapeno Panko Topping

F.N. Sharp Utility Knife With Veggie-Filled Mac ‘n’ Cheese Cups

What’s better than homemade mac ‘n’ cheese? How about veggie-filled, oven-baked mac ‘n’ cheese served in adorable little cups topped with crispy jalapeno panko?

Elbow macaroni, sharp cheddar, panko breadcrumbs, diced cherry tomatoes, diced yellow onion, diced jalapeno and thinly sliced scallions all come together in this baked mac and cheese recipe!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

F.N. Sharp Chef's Knife with Chicken Tortilla Soup

This classic Mexican dish is so iconic, they named a movie after it!

Shredded rotisserie chicken, sliced celery, diced carrots, diced red onion, sliced jalapeno, finely diced garlic, fire-roasted tomatoes, frozen corn, fresh lime juice, fresh cilantro, sliced avocado, and tortilla chips all come together in this recipe for chicken tortilla soup!

Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas

F.N. Sharp Utility Knife with Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas

Grab a rotisserie chicken and throw a party in your mouth with this recipe!

Shredded rotisserie chicken, shredded Monterey jack and sharp cheddar cheese, finely diced poblano, finely diced yellow onion, finely diced jalapeno, tortillas, Mexican spices and a homemade red sauce all come together in this cheesy chicken enchiladas recipe!

Taco-Style Mexican Stuffed Peppers

F.N. Sharp Utility Knife with Taco-Style Mexican Stuffed Peppers

Move over Taco Tuesday, this recipe is making Stuffed Peppers Saturday the new thing! 

Ground turkey, halved bell peppers, finely diced white onion, diced jalapeno, fresh cilantro, shredded Monterey Jack cheese, Mexican spices, jasmine rice and homemade tomato salsa all come together in this recipe for taco-style Mexican stuffed peppers!

Mahi-Mahi Fish Tacos With Mango Poblano Salsa

Recipe for Mahi-Mahi Fish Tacos With Mango Poblano Salsa

Take tacos to the next level with this recipe!

Sliced Mahi fish, eggs, coconut flour, corn flakes, finely diced poblano pepper, white onion, mango,garlic, and cilantro, fresh basil, fresh ime juice, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes all come together in this gluten-free recipe for Mahi-Mahi fish tacos with mango salsa!

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

F.N. Sharp Chef's Knife with Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

While this recipe is more Tex-Mex than Mexican, it’s made for serving a crowd (with minimal cleanup).

Homemade fajita seasoning, boneless chicken breasts, thinly sliced bell peppers, sliced yellow onion, sliced jalapeno, roughly chopped cilantro, fresh lime juice, shredded cheese and tortillas all come together in this sheet pan chicken fajita recipe!

Tequila-Lime Smoked Chicken Thighs With Cilantro Lime Rice

Recipe for Tequila-Lime Smoked Chicken Thighs With Cilantro Lime Rice

For some people (🖐), even just a little bit of tequila can make everything better, and this recipe is no exception!

Boneless chicken thighs, jasmine rice, chopped cilantro, fresh lime juice, silver tequila, pineapple juice, honey, cornstarch and spices all come together in this recipe for tequila-lime smoked chicken thighs with cilantro lime rice!

Tequila-Lime Watermelon Sorbet Bars

F.N. Sharp Chef's and Bread Knives with Tequila-Lime Watermelon Sorbet Bars

When the time comes to cool off from all the Cinco de Mayo partying, dancing and/or spicy food, this recipe is sure to please!

Seedless watermelon chunks, granulated sugar, fresh lime juice and zest, and tequila all come together in this recipe for tequila-infused watermelon sorbet bars topped with a creamy lime-infused frosting and fresh fruit!

Lemony Sugar Cookie Fruit Pizza

F.N. Sharp Bread Knife with Lemony Sugar Cookie Fruit Pizza

While this may not be a classic Mexican dish, this dessert recipe comes with a lemony sugar cookie base, lemon cream cheese frosting, and lots of possibilities! 

You can top off this fruit cookie pizza recipe with your favorite fruit or get festive and use only green and red fruit with the white icing to represent Cindo de Mayo colors 🇲🇽

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