Mexican Dinner Ideas

A collection of recipes to help you make the best Mexican Dinner! From main dishes to sides, to appetizers, drinks and desserts – every recipe is here to help you have the perfect fiesta!

For more collections: Mexican Sides, Mexican Desserts, Mexican Soups, Mexican Beef Recipes, Mexican Appetizers

Mexican dinner ideas

Cinco de Mayo, Fiestas + More

Who loves Mexican food?! WE DO!

Yes, many celebrate Cinco de Mayo with their favorite Mexican restaurants, but we have it almost weekly at our house. That may be because we are Hispanic or just because we love it so much!

So, whether it’s for a holiday, a fiesta or a weeknight dinner, we wanted to make sure you had all the Mexican recipes you needed.

Mexican dinner recipes

Planning your mexican dinner

Like any dinner party you’ll want to plan your menu beforehand. 

  • Decide which dishes you want to make fresh and which dishes can be made ahead of time. (See the individual recipes for more storage and reheating information.)
  • Mix in traditional favorites with a couple new dishes. Be sure to try out the new dishes beforehand to work out any recipe kinks.
  • Use dishes with different flavors and textures.
    • Be mindful that while some people love spicy hot Mexican food, others prefer a more mild dish. I suggest labeling which dishes are spicy and which ones are more mild. A great way around this is to prepare more mild dishes, but have hot sauce set out for those who want to give their plates a bit more kick

Sit down or buffet style: The amount of guests may determine whether or not you host a sit down or a buffet style dinner. Sit down dinners work best with a smaller gathering whereas buffet style can work with 5 guests or 50. Mexican food, especially, makes a nice buffet spread. Also, I employ the use of Chafing dishes and crock pots in keeping the dishes warm.

Typically, for a meal with guests we like to have the following:

  • APPETIZERS – 1-2 (Salsas + Dips can be made ahead of time.)
  • SIDES – 1 (Rice is a great one that can be made ahead and kept WARM in the slow cooker or chafing dish)
  • MAIN DISHES – 1-2 (That can be made ahead of time). Anything Fried is usually made right before serving.
  • DESSERTS – 1 (Usually made ahead of time and extended with ice cream) 😉

Favorite Fiesta Decorations

When I think of Mexican decorations I think of bold, bright, contrasting colors. I always use red, green, and white (yes, some yellows, reds, pinks, blues and more!) since those are the colors of the flag, from there choose 3 more colors that can be repeated throughout the decor.  

  • Paper Picado Banners strung from above and around tables.
  • Large Tissue Paper Flowers are beautiful and easy to make. Children especially enjoy helping make these.
  • Sombreros are fun to have both for decor and for picture opportunities.
  • Piñata, In my opinion, is a must for any Mexican party. Fill with candies or small toys.
  • Salsa cans are great for holding decor, flowers and succulents
  • Candles – You can usually find these for cheap at the dollar store and they go great with the decor.

So much decor can be found online and on Amazon, so be sure to check those out and then store for future uses. 😉

Easy Appetizers

Chips and Salsa are a MUST to serve! You can go the traditional route with red salsa or include other fun versions of salsa.

Dips are also an easy classic appetizer. You can also serve other simple finger food appetizers. Plan for people to eat 3-5 appetizers per person. If you only have 5-10 people coming plan to serve 1-2 different appetizer dishes. Add another appetizer dish for every 5-8 people in attendance.

Appetizer Homemade Salsa Recipe
This is such an EASY homemade salsa recipe! All you have to do is throw diced tomatoes, rotel, cilantro, lime juice, onion powder, jalapeños, and cumin into your blender, and blend! It goes perfectly with tortilla chips, tacos, enchiladas, or any other Mexican food!
Total Time: 10 minutes
4.94 from 30 votes
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Appetizer Salsa Verde Recipe
Sweet Salsa Verde - a delicious salsa recipe that is sweet and takes just minutes to make. Ingredients include tomatillos, jalapenos, sugar, & cilantro.
Total Time: 6 minutes
4.95 from 17 votes
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Appetizer 7 Layer Bean Dip Recipe
7 Layer Bean Dip - our family's favorite recipe with loads of flavor and all your favorite dip ingredients including avocados, olives, tomatoes, cheese and more! It's a must-have appetizer at most family functions.
Total Time: 10 minutes
4.89 from 9 votes
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Appetizer Cream Cheese Bean Dip Recipe
This Cream Cheese Bean Dip recipe is our new favorite Mexican dip! With sour cream, cream cheese, Mexican cheese, refried beans, and salsa, it is the perfect dip to eat with chips, tacos, or any other Mexican dish! SOO good!!
Total Time: 30 minutes
4.92 from 37 votes
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Appetizer Chili Cheese Dip Recipe
Just four ingredients make for the BEST and yummiest chili cheese dip! Melty cheese and hearty chili are so tasty together! It's the perfect appetizer for any party.
Total Time: 10 minutes
5 from 9 votes
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Appetizer Jalapeno Poppers Recipe
Spicy fried jalapeño poppers are a classic appetizer that everyone wants! Bite into these cheesy poppers for a flavor explosion!
Total Time: 15 minutes
5 from 13 votes
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Appetizer, Main Course Chicken Taquitos Recipe
You will love these Cream Cheese and Chicken Taquitos filled with cream cheese, salsa, cheese, sour cream and spinach.
Total Time: 15 minutes
4.78 from 90 votes
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Appetizer, Main Course Chicken Quesadilla Recipe
These easy, cheesy Chicken Quesadillas are not only filled with cheese and chicken, but a delicious homemade sauce that makes these hand-held goodies irresistible!
Total Time: 12 minutes
4.9 from 38 votes
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Appetizer Guacamole Recipe
Spicy, Chunky Guacamole That You Won't Be Able To Stop Eating! Filled With Avocados, Spices, Onion, Tomatoes, Garlic, Cilantro And More - This Easy But Addicting Dip Is Sure To Be A Crowd Pleaser.
Total Time: 10 minutes
5 from 1 vote
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Sides

Sides are a must with your Mexican meal. Plan to serve 2-3 sides for 5-10 people. Add another side dish for every 5-8 people after that. 

We’ve put together a post all about our favorite Mexican Side Dishes so be sure to check that out (as well as a list of Mexican Soups too!)

Bread Jalapeño Cornbread Recipe
This Mexican Cornbread (AKA jalapeño cornbread) is light and fluffy and is filled with cheddar cheese and jalapeño. With a bit a nip and a lot of flavor, this cornbread is the perfect side for any of your soups or chilis.
Total Time: 50 minutes
4.84 from 6 votes
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Appetizer Refried Beans Recipe
Get perfectly creamy restaurant style refried beans by adding just THREE extra ingredients to your canned beans! These refried beans are perfect served as a dip, side, or filling for burritos and tacos!
Total Time: 10 minutes
5 from 10 votes
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Side Dish Spanish Rice Recipe
Restaurant-Style Spanish Rice (aka Mexican Rice), that is easy to make and tastes like it came straight from the restaurant, and is the best side dish to any Mexican entree.
Total Time: 45 minutes
4.95 from 366 votes
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Side Dish Cilantro Lime Rice Recipe
This recipe tastes just like Cafe Rio and Chipotle Cilantro Lime Rice! If you've ever been to either of these restaurants, you know how delicious cilantro rice is inside a salad, burrito, or taco. Now you can make this delicious lime rice from home! 
Total Time: 30 minutes
4.91 from 11 votes
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Main Course Homemade Flour Tortilla Recipe
Homemade Flour Tortillas made from 5 Ingredients - butter, warm water, flour, baking powder, and salt! They're so soft, easy to make, and can be used for burritos, tacos, quesadillas, however you like!!
Total Time: 31 minutes
4.93 from 14 votes
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Side Dish Sour Cream Rice Recipe
Mexican Sour Cream Rice filled with cheese, corn, green chiles, sour cream and cilantro. This delicious side dish is simple and great with any meal!
Total Time: 55 minutes
5 from 7 votes
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Appetizer Loaded Nachos Recipe
These Loaded Nachos Are Piled High With Chips, Beef, Beans, Cheese, Pico De Gallo, And Avocado. They're The Perfect Game Day Food, Are Easy To Make And Are So Easy To Customize Based Off Of Your Favorite Nacho Toppings.
Total Time: 27 minutes
5 from 6 votes
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Soup Taco Soup Recipe
One of the EASIEST dinner recipes of all time! This super easy Taco Soup is made from canned chili, beans, corn, tomatoes, and green chiles, plus ranch dressing mix and taco seasoning. All you have to do is dump everything in a pan and simmer. It's ready in under 20 minutes!
Total Time: 20 minutes
5 from 11 votes
Check out this recipe

 

Mexican Main Dishes

I like to have at least 2 main dishes to choose from when there are 5-10 people. Add another main dish for every 5-8 people after. 

For even more of a breakdown, check out: Mexican Beef Recipes and Mexican Chicken recipes.

Main Course Carnitas Tacos Recipe
Tender pulled pork makes up these delicious carnitas tacos! These tacos are super flavorful and really easy to make for dinner with the help of a crock pot.
Total Time: 9 hours 10 minutes
5 from 5 votes
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Main Course Taco Casserole Recipe
This delicious Taco Casserole is like a taco salad in casserole form! With a ground beef and biscuit base, plus layers of sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, and olives, this casserole is the perfect way to switch up your dinner routine.
Total Time: 40 minutes
4.88 from 70 votes
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Main Course Pork Tacos Recipe
Pork tacos made simple using slow cooker pork and all of your favorite taco toppings! These tacos are flavorful, easy to make, and a big crowd pleaser.
Total Time: 6 hours 5 minutes
5 from 5 votes
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Main Course Carne Asada Tacos Recipe
Juicy grilled carne asada loaded in tortillas with all of your favorite toppings! This recipe makes perfectly seasoned steak tacos that everyone is going to enjoy.
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
5 from 4 votes
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Main Course Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos Recipe
We love this slow cooker version which involves salsa, taco seasoning, cilantro and more. You'll never find an easier way to enjoy chicken tacos!
Total Time: 7 hours 5 minutes
5 from 7 votes
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Main Course Ground Beef Tacos Recipe
One of our favorite versions of tacos - ground beef tacos!! They're filled with meat and cheese, fried until golden and topped with lettuce and tomatoes.
Total Time: 35 minutes
5 from 7 votes
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Main Course Mexican Lasagna Recipe
Flour tortillas layered with tons of cheese, shredded chicken, las palmas green chile enchilada sauce, black beans, corn, and lots of seasonings!!
Total Time: 40 minutes
5 from 10 votes
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Main Course Mexican Casserole Recipe
This Mexican casserole is an easy weekday dinner idea that is full of Spanish rice, chicken, and melty cheese. It's flavorful and everyone will love it!
Total Time: 1 hour
5 from 9 votes
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Main Course Sweet Pork Barbacoa Recipe
Sweet Pork Barbacoa is the best slow cooker pulled pork recipe you will ever try. Better than Cafe Rio—you better make a double batch!
Total Time: 6 hours 5 minutes
5 from 8 votes
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Main Course Beef Empanada Recipe
Our favorite Mexican dish - Beef Empanadas in Red Chili sauce. This crispy, airy taco made from dough and filled with red chile sauce, shredded beef, and olives is one of our favorite Mexican recipes!
Total Time: 4 hours 20 minutes
5 from 15 votes
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Main Course Carne Asada Recipe
Carne asada is the perfect Mexican flavored meat to add to tacos, burritos, salads, or quesadillas. It's tender, flavorful, and juicy.
Total Time: 3 hours 20 minutes
5 from 2 votes
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Main Course Cafe Rio Chicken Recipe
Copycat Cafe Rio Shredded Chicken - a simple and delicious chicken recipe that is perfect for salads, burritos, quesadillas and tacos!
Total Time: 3 hours 5 minutes
5 from 17 votes
Check out this recipe
Main Course Dorito Casserole Recipe
Everyone loves this crunchy and flavorful Dorito casserole. It's layered with lots of meat, cheese and (of course!) nacho cheese flavored Doritos!
Total Time: 55 minutes
5 from 15 votes
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Main Course Slow Cooker Chicken Enchiladas Recipe
Hot and cheesy Slow Cooker Chicken Enchiladas to feed your family any day of the week! So easy to throw all the ingredients in and let the crock pot do the work for you.
Total Time: 4 hours 45 minutes
5 from 7 votes
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Main Course Easy Chicken Enchilada Recipe
One of our favorite Mexican dishes - Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas recipe!! Corn tortillas stuffed with chicken, cheese, las palmas green chile enchilada sauce, sour cream, and green chiles, topped with more sauce and cheese! The whole family loves these easy chicken enchiladas!
Total Time: 40 minutes
4.96 from 148 votes
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Main Course Sour Cream Chicken Enchilada Recipe
Green chile chicken enchiladas made from chicken, sour cream, cream cheese and more stuffed into a soft flour tortilla. These are the creamiest chicken enchiladas you will ever find!
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
4.92 from 24 votes
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Main Course Cheese Enchilada Recipe
Restaurant-Style Red Cheese Enchiladas - Corn tortillas filled with cheese, chile puree, salt & garlic pepper and topped with more cheese!
Total Time: 47 minutes
4.87 from 98 votes
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Main Course Chicken Enchilada Casserole Recipe
Everything you love about chicken enchiladas and casseroles combined into one tasty dinner dish. This simple recipe is a crowd pleaser and will become one of your weekly dinner rotations.
Total Time: 1 hour
5 from 10 votes
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Main Course Enchilada Casserole Recipe
Enchilada Casserole is a comforting family favorite meal, perfect for weeknights. The layers of tortillas, ground beef, beans, corn, and cheese, all smothered in red enchilada sauce will have you coming back for seconds!
Total Time: 50 minutes
5 from 15 votes
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Main Course Beef Enchiladas Recipe
Shredded Beef Enchiladas Made with Just 6 ingredients! This easy dinner idea is a crowd pleaser and is filled with corn, beef, green chiles, cheese and covered in red sauce.
Total Time: 30 minutes
4.84 from 12 votes
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Main Course Bean Burrito Recipe
Cheesy bean burritos are so easy to whip up for dinner! These are perfect for making ahead of time, or freezing for later.
Total Time: 30 minutes
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green chili smothered burrito with olives, cilantro and avocado on plate
Main Course Green Chili Smothered Burritos Recipe
Pull together the canned items in your pantry to make these super easy smothered burritos! Filled with chicken, black beans, corn, and green chilis, then smothered in enchilada sauce and cheese. YUM!
Total Time: 35 minutes
4.5 from 2 votes
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Main Course Chicken Chimichanga Recipe
Baked Chicken Chimichangas - stuffed with rice, chicken, cheese and more. Such a simple dinner recipe that everyone will love.
Total Time: 25 minutes
4.93 from 57 votes
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Main Course Bean Chimichangas Recipe
Easy and Delicious Bean Chimichangas - tastes just like the ones at the restaurants!!
Total Time: 19 minutes
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Main Course Tostada Recipe
Open face tostadas topped with all of your favorite Mexican ingredients! These tasty tostadas are a frequent meal in this house!
Total Time: 20 minutes
5 from 10 votes
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Appetizer, Main Course Flautas Recipe
Delicious, crunchy flautas filled with shredded chicken (shredded beef works too), salsa, cheese, green chiles and more! They can be fried, air fried or even baked to be a delicious and easy dinner idea or appetizer.
5 from 7 votes
Check out this recipe

Drinks + Desserts

Plan for people to be able to have 1-2 servings of dessert. I like to provide a different dessert for every 5-8 people. If you want less work, keep it to 1 dessert and then serve ice cream to go with it. 😉

Note that we have many more Mexican desserts, so be sure to check those out. These ones are just our go-to’s.

Dessert Churros Recipe
Delicious, homemade, covered in cinnamon and sugar churros are a family favorite! It's hard NOT to love this delicious treat when it reminds you of the Happiest Place on Earth!
5 from 8 votes
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Dessert Sopapilla Recipe
Puffy and pillowy sopapillas are fried to perfection and topped with honey. Sprinkle a little powdered sugar on top of this simple Mexican dessert!
Total Time: 35 minutes
5 from 5 votes
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Appetizer Cinnamon Chips Recipe
The perfect baked snack to dip in sweet desserts, frosting, salsas and more! Super easy to make a bunch and serve with your favorite dessert dip!
Total Time: 15 minutes
5 from 10 votes
Check out this recipe
Tres Leches Cake
Dessert Tres Leches Cake Recipe
This easy Tres Leches Cake recipe is a cool, sweet treat made from a tasty sponge cake, a creamy mixture of three different milks, and homemade whipped topping. Serve Tres Leches Cake with fresh fruit for an extra refreshing dessert!
Total Time: 50 minutes
5 from 18 votes
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Dessert Arroz Con Leche Recipe
Classic Arroz Con Leche - a variation of rice pudding that is sweet and cooked with milk, evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk and topped with cinnamon. 
Total Time: 40 minutes
4.88 from 16 votes
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Drinks Horchata Recipe
A creamy, refreshing, cinnamon flavored drink that will knock your socks off with flavor! It's festive and perfect for any occasion.
4.92 from 12 votes
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Drinks Mexican Hot Chocolate Recipe
Curl up with a good book, blanket, and this Mexican hot chocolate. One cozy cup of this hot chocolate and you'll be hooked with its yummy spices and delicious cinnamon cocoa flavor!
Total Time: 30 minutes
5 from 13 votes
Check out this recipe

We hope these recipes help you in creating the perfect Mexican meal. Just pick one from each category, and we guarantee you’ll get rave reviews and everyone will be asking for the recipes. They’re simple, delicious and perfect your next FIESTA!

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Kristyn Merkley

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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