A Make-Ahead Game Plan for the Ultimate Cinco de Mayo Fiesta

By: Alyse Whitney

Throw a summery "Fiesta" party with margaritas, taco bar and colorful piñata.

Photo by: Melanie Grizzel ©2012, Cooking Channel, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Melanie Grizzel, 2012, Cooking Channel, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

This Cinco de Mayo, give your friends something to taco 'bout with a festive Mexican fiesta . Unlike a Thanksgiving turkey or an Easter ham, the food for this holiday doesn't take all day to cook — in fact, you can even start to prepare the feast a few days in advance.

Check out our game plan for an easy Cinco de Mayo party with the best Mexican recipes , from tangy margaritas to creamy guacamole.

Step 1: Make a Big Ol' Pitcher of Margaritas

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Matt Armendariz, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Our top margarita recipes include classic lime, sweet prickly pear and a lot more. It's easier to serve them on the rocks than blended when planning ahead.

Step 2: Prepare Everything for an Epic Taco Bar

Kelsey Nixon's Shredded Pork and Pineapple Tacos for Cooking Channel's Kelsey's Essentials

Photo by: Alice Gao ©2014, Cooking Channel, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Alice Gao, 2014, Cooking Channel, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

The meat in Kelsey Nixon's Shredded Pork and Pineapple Tacos can slow-cook overnight, up to four nights in advance, and pickled red onions can also be made ahead of time. For any taco recipes that you use, you can whip up  guacamole and salsa the day before too, and then just lay out all ingredients and garnishes for guests to assemble tacos at the party. Don't forget to make classic Mexican side dishes like rice and beans!

Step 3: Come On, Get Appy
CC_Susan Vu Beef Nachos 1.tif

CC_Susan Vu Beef Nachos 1.tif

CC_Susan Vu Beef Nachos 1.tif

©2012, Cooking Channel, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

2012, Cooking Channel, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Make a big platter of  Beef Nachos, a big bowl of 3-Cheese Queso, or other Mexican appetizers to get guests in the fiesta mood as they start polishing off margaritas. If you're running late with the main dishes, no one will notice.

Step 4: End on a Sweet Note

Everyone will be cheering for  fried cinnamon-sugar Churros, Tres Leches Cake or Coconut Flan. All of these  Mexican desserts are great ways to end the night (or perhaps start the morning of Seis de Mayo).

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Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Get Cooking Channel's best recipes for throwing a Cinco de Mayo fiesta, including margaritas, tacos, enchiladas, guacamole and more.

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