Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Empanadas, Guacamole, and Pico de Gallo!

These recipes are easy to make!

By Kara Murphy and Erika Veduccio, Co-Arthor, Aree Cunningham May 5, 2022

Let's start with what Cinco de Mayo is not:

It's not Mexico's Independence Day. That's Sept. 16.

It's not a major holiday in Mexico. In fact, it's not even a federal holiday there ... which means offices, banks, and stores remain open on May 5, just like every other day.

So what is Cinco de Mayo then?

Cinco de Mayo — celebrated on the fifth of May, of course —  celebrates the Mexican army’s unexpected 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War. That battle represented a great symbolic victory for Mexico and may well have changed the course of the war. You can read more about it here.

Many Mexican-Americans shake their heads at how Cinco de Mayo is celebrated in the United States (Tequila shots? Really?), but there's certainly nothing wrong with using the date as a reason to recognize and honor the Mexican culture with some amazing traditional Mexican food with Latin empanadas for a twist. 

This year we're going to keep it simple with a little twist, but still wow our family's tastebuds with this guacamole, pico de gallo, and beef empanadas air fry recipes. When you find out how delicious and simple these are, you can make them yourself!

Well, we're here to tell you that you might never buy store-bought again. 

These recipes originally appeared in Macaroni Kid EATS.  


Guacamole Ingredients:

  • 4 avocados, halved, seeded, and peeled. Check out a fun hack HERE on how to easily peel an avocado.
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 3 tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 3/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste


  • Add all ingredients to a bowl and use a fork to mash to the desired consistency. 
  • Salt and pepper to your taste. 
  • Serve right away or cover and refrigerate until ready to use.  

Pico de Gallo

Pico de Gallo Ingredients:

  • 6 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced 
  • ½ red onion, ½ white onion, minced
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • ½ jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • Sea salt to taste


  • Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix. Add sea salt to taste and serve fresh!

Beef Empanadas

Air fryer beef empanadas 

Makes 8 empanadas


  • 8 Goya empanada discs (in the frozen section), thawed
  • 1 cup taco meat or Picadillo (Latin American dish made from ground beef, potatoes, and some type of tomato sauce mixture.)
  • 1 egg white, whisked
  • 1 teaspoon water


  1. Preheat the air fryer to 325 degrees F for 8 minutes. Spray the basket generously with cooking spray.
  2. Place 2 tablespoons of picadillo in the center of each disc. Fold in half and use a fork to seal the edges. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  3. Whisk the egg whites with water, then brush the tops of the empanadas.
  4. Bake 2 or 3 at a time in the air fryer for 8 minutes, or until golden. Remove from heat and repeat with the remaining empanadas.

If you don’t have an air fryer you can bake them on a nonstick baking sheet in a 400-degree oven until golden, about 18 minutes. You can find empanada dough in the freezer in most supermarkets.

Cool and serve with your homemade guacamole and pico de gallo.