Skip to main content

Chef John's Best Cinco de Mayo Recipes

Orange and Milk-Braised Pork Carnitas
Photo by mauigirl

Feed your fiesta with Chef John's best Cinco de Mayo food.

We're not here to pick apart the difference between authentic Mexican cuisine and what's evolved into Tex-Mex. Nope. We're here to share some of Chef John's best recipes for Cinco de Mayo, inspired by Mexican and Tex-Mex ingredients and cooking styles. So, if you're looking for party-worthy Cinco de Mayo recipes and ideas, you've come to the right place.

Better still, each of Chef John's recipes includes a helpful how-to video to guide you every step of the way. If you don't see the video in the article, you'll see it when you click through to the recipes. Let's take a look:

Cinco de Mayo Appetizers

Chorizo Fundido

Pork chorizo and three kinds of peppers get baked up in an ooey, gooey cheese sauce you'll want to scoop up with all the tortilla chips you can hold. "This is an amazing recipe and so easy to make," says loretta. "Made it for two parties in the last few weeks and first appetizer to completely disappear with everyone loving it."

Chef John's Classic Guacamole

Fresh serrano chili, cilantro, white onion, and salt get minced and mashed into a fine paste to be smooshed with ripe avocados and lime juice. "Delicious," says Cara Van Dyke. "I love the technique of smashing the onions, cilantro and peppers with salt. It makes the final product much smoother."

Chef John's Classic Guacamole
Photo by Chef John

Shrimp and Jalapeno Nachos

"What better way to 'fiesta' than with this beautiful plate of alternative nachos? This will make a very delicious change of pace to the traditional version. Each nacho is separate from the next so you don't end up with a plate containing one giant nacho that you have to pull apart." -- Chef John

Shrimp and Jalapeno Nachos
Photo by Christina

More Cinco de Mayo appetizers to try:
Chef John's Queso Dip
Mexican-Style Shrimp Cocktail
Super Deluxe Steak Nachos
Homemade Nacho Cheese Sauce

Cinco de Mayo Main Dishes

Orange and Milk-Braised Pork Carnitas

Chef John explains it this way: "It must have been the subliminal beer and liquor advertising that got me, because I wasn't even thinking about Cinco de Mayo when I decided to make this milk-braised pork carnitas recipe. The milk braising beforehand seems to give the meat a little extra succulence. The subtle sweetness from the orange is also very nice."

Pork Chili Verde (Green Pork Chili)

"It was a wonderful recipe," says Elizabeth Lonergan. "I live in Mexico so we use a lot of chilies and tomatillos. The only change that I made was to roast the chilies and tomatillos before in put them in the blender."

https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/245359/pork-chili-verde-green-pork-chili/
Caption

Grilled Pork Tacos al Pastor

"Al Pastor is a really popular way to prepare pork, famous in San Francisco's Mission District. It's a marinated roast pork. They make the most incredible tacos and burritos. This is inspired by those flavors." -- Chef John

Grilled Pork Tacos al Pastor
Photo by Chef John

More Cinco de Mayo main dishes to try:
Crispy Pork Carnitas
Chicken Chile Verde
Chicken and Mushroom Chimichangas
Easy Cinco de Mayo Recipes for a Homemade Fiesta

Cinco de Mayo Side Dishes

Chef John's Refried Beans

"Wayyyy better than the canned stuff, and super easy. I love homemade options over store bought. After we ate dinner I froze smaller portions for future taco nights, nachos, or whatever we may want received beans for." -- Cheri Rose Caire

Chef John's Flour Tortillas

Yes, you can make homemade tortillas. Watch the video to get all the tips, then give it a a try. "I didn't think there was a snowball's chance in you know where that my tortillas would turn out being my first time making them. I will never buy them again! These were excellent." -- Volleyballmom.

Chef John's Flour Tortillas
Photo by mommyluvs2cook

Cinco de Mayo Salsa Cruda

"Wow! A super fresh tasting salsa! The mint adds an unexpected accent. Used Roma tomatoes and it worked out just fine. Definitely make a double batch." -- Dean Stresing.

Cinco de Mayo Salsa Cruda
Photo by samtheham

More Cinco de Mayo side dishes to try:
Spicy Spanish-Style Rice
Mexican Grilled Corn
Avocado Tomatillo Salsa

Cinco de Mayo Desserts

How to Make Tres Leches Cake

"Tres leches cake is a cake soaked in a sweet milk syrup and topped with whipped cream. If you want to get really fancy, spoon some diced strawberries and syrup over the cake. It's really moist, delicious, and simple." -- Chef John. You can also decorate the top with pineapple slices and cherries, like Marydhdz did.

How to Make Tres Leches Cake
Photo by Marydhdz

More Cinco de Mayo dessert ideas:

See more Cinco de Mayo dessert recipes.

Cinco de Mayo Drinks

The Perfect Margarita

Are you ready to ratio? "Mastering the margarita requires a certain amount of practice, but once you dial-in your perfect ratio, it's a really easy cocktail to replicate," explains Chef John. "The classic recipe is 3 parts tequila, 2 parts triple sec, and 1 part freshly squeezed lime juice, and you should probably start off pretty close to that, but my personal favorite proportions are 4-3-2."

The Perfect Margarita
Photo by Chef John

Chef John's Horchata

Here's a refreshing no-alcohol drink made from rice and almonds. "The result is something that sort of looks like milk, but is much lighter, and pairs perfectly with all your favorite summer foods." -- Chef John

See more Cinco de Mayo drink recipes.


Get our entire collection of Cinco de Mayo recipes.

About Vanessa Greaves

Good food, friends, and fun are always on the menu. Find me as foodelicious on Allrecipes and vanny.gee on Instagram (but only if you don't mind cat pics and cocktails).