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What is the most popular food to eat on Cinco de Mayo?

Cinco de Mayo is a holiday celebrated on May 5th that commemorates the Mexican army’s victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. While it is a relatively minor holiday in Mexico, in the United States, Cinco de Mayo has become associated with celebrating Mexican culture, particularly Mexican cuisine and drinks. When it comes to the most popular foods eaten on Cinco de Mayo, there are a few standout choices.


Tacos are an iconic Mexican food and a staple of Cinco de Mayo celebrations across the US. Corn tortillas stuffed with meat, cheese, lettuce, and other fillings, tacos are a perfect food for celebrating Cinco de Mayo. They are handheld, customizable, and full of authentic Mexican flavors. Surveys have found tacos to be the most popular Cinco de Mayo food year after year. Their versatility and accessibility make them a crowd-pleaser. Tacos can be filled with all kinds of meats like beef, chicken, pork or seafood, as well as veggie options. They are easy to make for a group and fun to customize to each person’s liking.

Types of Tacos Commonly Eaten on Cinco de Mayo

  • Carne asada tacos – filled with grilled, marinated steak
  • Carnitas tacos – filled with braised, shredded pork
  • Fish or shrimp tacos – filled with battered/fried white fish or shrimp
  • Chicken tacos – filled with shredded or grilled chicken
  • Barbacoa tacos – filled with braised beef
  • Breakfast tacos – filled with eggs, potato, bacon, etc.

Tacos have become a signature Cinco de Mayo food, with countless variations to please any tastes. It’s no wonder they top the list of most popular foods each Cinco de Mayo.


Another iconic Mexican food that is hugely popular on Cinco de Mayo are quesadillas. A quesadilla consists of a flour or corn tortilla that is filled with cheese, meats, and other fillings, then toasted until the cheese melts. Quesadillas make excellent party food for Cinco de Mayo because they can be made ahead of time and customized with all sorts of fillings. Plus, who doesn’t love melted cheese between a crispy tortilla?

Common Quesadilla Fillings for Cinco de Mayo

  • Cheese – Oaxaca, mozzarella, Monterey jack, cheddar, etc.
  • Meats – Shredded chicken, beef, pork, chorizo, etc.
  • Veggies – onions, peppers, mushrooms, spinach
  • Beans
  • Salsa

Like tacos, quesadillas can please all tastes by customizing them with preferred fillings. They hold up well for serving crowds, satisfying with their ooey-gooey melted cheese and crispy toasted exterior. Quesadillas are up there with tacos as top Cinco de Mayo foods.


What goes better with some Mexican beer on Cinco de Mayo than a platter of loaded nachos? This popular Tex-Mex appetizer has become a staple snack for the holiday. Nachos consist of corn tortilla chips layered with melted cheese, beans, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, and any other desired toppings. The warm, cheesy chips covered in colorful fixings make excellent shareable party food. Nachos provide a fun finger food to pick at while drinking on Cinco de Mayo. They are easy to make for crowds by preparing individual plates or a huge, shareable platter of nachos.

Popular Nacho Toppings for Cinco de Mayo

  • Cheese – cheddar, Monterey jack, queso dip
  • Jalapeños
  • Salsa
  • Guacamole
  • Sour cream
  • Beans
  • Pico de gallo
  • Shredded chicken or beef

The customizable and shareable nature of nachos make them an ideal Cinco de Mayo dish.


No Cinco de Mayo celebration is complete without margaritas! This classic Mexican cocktail is hands-down the drink of choice for the holiday. Made with tequila, orange liqueur, and lime juice, margaritas are refreshing, citrusy, and the perfect complement to Mexican food. They are also very easy to make, with the option to blend or shake them. Margaritas are commonly served frozen, on the rocks, or straight up at Cinco de Mayo parties. Their versatility and crowd-pleasing flavor make them pretty much essential on May 5th. Fun garnishes like lime wedges, salt on the rim, or popsicles in drinks add festivity. When drinking on Cinco de Mayo, margaritas are the beverage of choice.


What would a Mexican celebration be without guacamole? This rich, creamy avocado dip is a delicious addition to any Cinco de Mayo spread. Made from ripe avocados mashed with lime juice, onions, tomatoes, cilantro and seasoning, guacamole pairs perfectly with chips, tacos, and more. Making guacamole fresh is easy and allows for customization to personal tastes. Guacamole also adds a cool, creamy contrast to many hot and spicy Mexican dishes. Its bright green color and flavor make it a festive addition to the table. Guacamole is certainly an iconic food for celebrations of Mexican heritage like Cinco de Mayo.

Mexican Beer

A cold Mexican beer is practically required on Cinco de Mayo! Popular Mexican beer brands like Corona, Dos Equis, Tecate, Modelo, Pacifico, Victoria, and Bohemia are widely consumed in the US on Cinco de Mayo. Mexican beers have a light, refreshing taste that pairs perfectly with Mexican food. Serving ice cold Mexican beer is pretty much essential for any Cinco de Mayo gathering. Whether drinking a michelada (beer with lime juice, spices and tomato juice), or enjoying a Mexican beer on its own, they are by far the most popular beers for this holiday.


When celebrating Mexican culture and heritage on Cinco de Mayo, traditional Mexican and Mexican-inspired foods are must-haves. Tacos, quesadillas, nachos, guacamole, and margaritas tend to be the most popular choices year after year for their crowd-pleasing flavors, shareable formats, and ties to authentic Mexican cuisine. Complementing these iconic Mexican foods with Mexican beers like Corona, Dos Equis, Tecate, or Modelo ties the whole celebratory feast together. There are so many delicious options for commemorating the holiday; tacos, quesadillas, nachos, margaritas, guacamole, and Mexican beer tend to top the list for traditional yet fun Cinco de Mayo fare. Feliz Cinco de Mayo!