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Easy Cinco de Mayo Appetizers

Easy Cinco de Mayo Appetizers

Creating the Ultimate Cinco De Mayo Snack Board with Mexican Appetizers

Cinco de Mayo – literally the Fifth of May, in Spanish – is the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla, the Mexican army’s victory over French soldiers in 1862. In the United States, we celebrate Mexican heritage on Cinco de Mayo, exploring some of the music, dancing, drinks, and food from across the country. While not all of the food and drinks you’ll see on Cinco de Mayo are authentically Mexican, many reflect the evolving Mexican-American culture and delicacies that have developed through the combination of different cultures.

Vegetarians are in luck because much of Mexican food is easy to make vegetarian. While there are lots of no-meat recipes available, you can also simply substitute out meat for beans or roasted corn in most non-vegetarian recipes.

Whether to celebrate Cinco de Mayo or just to spice up Taco Tuesday, there are lots of fun and festive recipes to try. If you are having a party, you can load up a party tray with a myriad of Mexican-inspired flavors. Or, if it’s just the family, the snack tray can serve as dinner for your fiesta! Celebrate in style with a mix of familiar and new appetizers so there is something for everyone. Even if your party is smaller this year or just the family, you can still celebrate with a spread of delicious party food!


Chips and dips

I love making dips for parties (and for quiet nights at home, as well!) and there are so many options beyond just chips and salsa for Cinco de Mayo. Since dips are so delicious, I’d recommend having at least three Mexican dips to anchor your board. Your Cinco De Mayo Snack Board should feature tortilla chips as well as soft tortillas to make the majority of your board easy to eat with your hands. Other items on the board, like taquitos, can also be used to scoop up delicious dips! Cold dips like guacamole or seven-layer dip can often be made ahead of time, so you can relax a little more on May 5th.


More fiesta food

Create mini-elote cups to offer the flavor of Mexican street corn in an easy-to-eat format. Ceviche, as well, is perfectly plated with individual cups. Keep the majority of ceviche cups in the fridge so that the cured fish doesn’t stay out too long. Your Instant Pot will make it easy to create a meat feature, like pork carnitas. With delicious flavors like onion, jalapeno, and citrus, the shredded meat will go great in tacos or taquitos.


Putting it all together

First, arrange the large items on the platter to anchor your snack board. For the rest of your items, think about creating contrast by artfully arranging dark foods, light foods, and bright foods for a balanced visual. I love to have some chips spilling across the board, but you’ll likely need a separate bowl full of chips as well! If you end up with leftovers, you can put everything from your appetizer board (except the ceviche) into a pot of Mexican-inspired pasta. Just throw it all in together with some prepared pasta noodles, and you’ll have a delicious melody of salsa, cheese, corn, avocado, peppers, onions, seasoned meat, and more that will create a delicious pasta for the rest of the week.



Dessert options


Cinco de Mayo is the perfect excuse to try new dessert recipes inspired by Mexican cuisine. There are classic Mexican desserts like tres leches cake, but I prefer fusion dishes that take some of the flavors and interprets them in new ways.

For example, you can make Churro Cups and fill them with ice cream for a cool and delicious take on the Mexican street food. Plus, they are adorable! Just use the underside of a muffin tin to shape churro pastry, bake into individual-sized cups, and coat with cinnamon and sugar. 

Or, spice up your favorite brownie recipe with cinnamon and cayenne pepper for a fudgy and flavorful take. You can even save time by using a box mix of brownies and adding the spices to taste, for a quick and easy Mexican-inspired chocolate treat.


Pro tip: Make your own mexican seasoning

It might sound ambitious, but making your own multi-use Mexican seasoning is easy and inexpensive. Even better, it will have much lower salt than store-bought seasoning. You can get the perfect spice level by increasing or decreasing the ratios so you can have a custom-made seasoning, perfectly suited to your tastes. 


  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  •  ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (omit for a less-spicy blend)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons paprika
  •  1 teaspoon onion powder
  •  ½ teaspoon sea salt
  •  ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  •  ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  •  ½ teaspoon oregano
  •  ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, or to taste

We hope you enjoy yourself today and keep checking back for ongoing tips, guides and great shopping!

About The Author

Michelle Stansbury

Michelle Stansbury is a San Diego-based blogger and freelance writer who writes about travel, food, cannabis, and relationships. Follow her Instagram @discoverwithmichelle or visit Eat, Drink, Be SD. Her work has appeared in national magazines like Marie Claire, Forbes, Cosmo, Reader's Digest, and Bustle.

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