Celebrate Cinco de Mayo at Home with Fun Mexican Fusion Recipes!

If you’re looking for easy Cinco de Mayo recipe ideas, you’ve come to the right place! We’ll explain some of the rich traditional foods and share some fun Mexican fusion recipes!

  • By Brittany Yamamoto-Taylor
  • May 5, 2020

From Vancouver to Cincinnati, Cinco de Mayo has grown from Puebla commemorating their victory over France’s army in 1862 to the international celebration of Mexican culture that it is today. This year, we know that local festivals had to be cancelled for those important social distancing measures, but with hundreds of our recipes inspired by Mexican cuisine, we are still committed to celebrating from home.

Thankfully, with amazing technology like Zoom, we can still enjoy the comfort of love and togetherness during these uncertain times. So, let’s celebrate this important day by gathering friends and family over video chat to make fun and festive meals!

While mole poblano, chiles en nogada, and chalupas are traditionally enjoyed during Cinco de Mayo, we know that not everyone has the time and all the ingredients to cook up an authentic mole sauce. That’s why we decided to mix things up a bit with fun fusion recipes for Cinco de Mayo that highlight elements of Puebla’s traditional dishes like poblano peppers, cornmeal, carnitas, and queso fresco.

We know you’ll enjoy the simple, anyone-can-make-these flare to these innovative Cinco de Mayo recipes that are well suited to Zoom cooking sessions with loved ones. So, let’s jump in!

1. Barbacoa Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Since poblano peppers are a staple in traditional Cinco de Mayo fanfair, we’re bringing another element of traditional Mexican cuisine to this recipe, too: barbacoa. If you aren’t familiar with barbacoa, it is slowly cooked meat that is commonly prepared over an open fire, and where we get the word ‘barbecue’ from. It’s a great idea to make a big batch of barbacoa, so that you can enjoy more of it! To make this dish come together quickly, this recipe calls for leftover barbacoa, which you can get from our recipe here.

For even more quick shortcuts, we like to add coleslaw mix for more veggies and leftover quinoa for a boost of protein, but feel free to use whatever leftover grains you have on hand, whether it’s rice, farro, or even cauliflower rice. The faster these get in the oven, the faster you’ll get to enjoy every bite of this meal! After all, the star ingredients of this dish are the poblano peppers and flavorful barbacoa.


These stuffed peppers aren’t only delicious, the entire dish is freezer-friendly and can be made completely ahead of time so dinner is ready in a flash. The barbacoa can also be made in the Instant Pot to shave off a few slow-cooker hours.

2. Mexican Shakshuka

If you’ve never had shakshuka before, you’re in for a real treat. It is a Middle Eastern dish consisting of eggs cooked in a spiced tomato sauce, and has long been a favorite in the Cook Smarts community. With the use of spices, cheese, and bread, we realized this cooking technique could be easily adapted to enjoy our favorite Mexican ingredients, including chili powder, cumin, adobo sauce, pepitas, queso fresco, and tortillas for scooping up the delicious sauce. Queso fresco cheese, which is commonly used in traditional Mexican cuisine, adds a salty, savory flavor to the dish, taking this meal to another level.


Another great thing about this Mexican fusion recipe is that the whole dish is naturally vegetarian and gluten-free. That means it works for a variety of dietary needs and is also a great budget-friendly option!

3. Carnitas Waffle Fry “Nachos”

Since the typical juicy meat that tops chalupas is just too delicious to pass up, we knew it had to make it into these 5 recipes. So, we take the slow-cooked pork shoulder carnitas and incorporate one of our favorite American trends – using waffle fries as the “nacho” base! Frozen fries are a fantastic shortcut and great for having in your freezer for quick and easy meals. You can use your favorite fry shape or even stick with classic tortilla chips. These nachos are easy to customize with your favorite toppings, a real crowd-pleaser, and a great way to get that celebratory mood going.


Have leftover carnitas? Try your hand at making chalupas, a traditional Poblano street food! Fry thick tortillas and top with carnitas, salsa, chopped onion, and queso fresco cheese.

4. Tamale Pie

Hearty and comforting, this meat pie is a thoroughly Mexican-Western fusion casserole that is inspired by Mexican tamales. With cornmeal as an essential part of chalupas and traditional Mexican cuisine in general, our cornmeal mixture is the perfect top to this pie. And, if you didn’t think turkey is very festive for celebrating Mexican culture and cuisine, they actually are! Turkeys were first domesticated in ancient Mexico and have been an element in their food ever since.


This dish is also super convenient because it’s naturally gluten-free and freezes really well so you can have a great meal ready on the fly.

5. Taco Frittata with Ground Beef 

This meal takes some of the incredible flavors of tacos and folds them into a quick and easy Italian frittata with veggies, cheese, and ground beef! This recipe uses coriander, cumin, and chili powder, which are classic spices commonly used in Mexican cuisine, and finishes the whole dish off with a side of chips and salsa.


This is another naturally gluten-free recipe and is also convenient in every way – you can make it all in one pan, it takes only 45 minutes to cook, and it reheats so well you can make it ahead of time and freeze a second batch for later!

Now that you’re armed with these great recipes for a Cinco de Mayo party at home, we hope you’re looking forward to celebrating and learning more about the beauty and diversity of Mexican heritage today and every day!

And, if you’re feeling ambitious and want to add an extra burst of freshness to any of our Mexican fusion recipes above, you can get to know your way around peppers and learn several ways to make your own salsa here.


Peppers, Salsas, and How to Use Them (New Infographic Guide!)

Peppers come in all colors, flavors, and heats. With our infographic guide, you can learn about several pepper types and… Read more.

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