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Summertime means cookouts, and Memorial Day is the unofficial kickoff to the grilling season. This year, why not mix things up a bit and try some new recipes? I’ve put together a list of 55 Memorial day food ideas that will make your BBQ rock. From appetizers to desserts, I’ve got you covered! So fire up the grill and get cooking!
When I think of Memorial day recipes, the first thing that comes to mind is bbq and burgers. A table set with a spread of pasta salads, potato salads, and grilled meats is always a winner in my book. And, of course, no cookout is complete without a few patriotic desserts!
WHat is Memorial Day?
If you live outside the United States, you may not be familiar with the holiday, but Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the US that commemorates the men and women who have died while serving in the armed forces. It is observed on the last Monday of May, and many people use it as an opportunity to take a long weekend trip or get together with family and friends.
Food is often the center of any gathering, and Memorial Day is no exception. The end of May tends to be warm and sunny and just perfect for firing up the grill!
tips for making memorial day foods
- Start with good quality ingredients. This is especially important for things like burgers and hot dogs, which can be easily overcooked.
- If you’re grilling for a crowd, make sure to have everything prepped ahead of time, so you’re not running around like a chicken with your head cut off when everyone starts to arrive.
- Plan your menu in advance. This will help you make sure you have everything you need and also avoid any last-minute scrambling.
- Pick some make-ahead recipes. This will help you enjoy the party instead of being stuck in the kitchen all day!
- Ask friends and family members to bring a dish. This is a great way to lighten your load and also get some new ideas.
how to plan a memorial day menu
When it comes to planning a Memorial Day menu, the sky’s the limit! If you’re having a big party or get-together, you may want to go all out with a full spread of appetizers, main dishes, sides, and desserts. If you’re keeping things on the smaller side, a few simple recipes will do the trick. No matter what you choose to make, remember, that good quality ingredients are key!
Here are some of my favorite Memorial day food ideas:
- Appetizers: Chicken Taco Wonton Cups, Buffalo Chicken Dip, Avocado Deviled Eggs, 7 Layer Mediterranean Dip, or Baked Feta Dip.
- Main course: Grilled Mediterranean Chicken Kabobs, Grilled Lemon Chicken, Grilled Lamb Kabobs, Grilled Shrimp Skewers, or Grilled Mahi Mahi with Avocado Salsa.
- Sides: Corn Ribs, Grilled Asparagus, Strawberry Caprese Salad, Shirazi Salad, Mediterranean Potato Salad, or Roasted Delicata Squash.
- Desserts: Lemon Bars, Easy Apple Pie, No Churn Ice Cream, Banana Pudding Parfaits, or Pistachio Cookies.
best Memorial Day recipes
If you’re looking for some great recipes to try this Memorial Day, look no further! Here are 55 of the best Memorial Day recipes we could find. From sides to desserts, we’ve got you covered. So fire up the grill and get cooking!
burger recipes perfect for memorial day
- Classic Beef Burgers – There’s something about a big, juicy, perfectly seasoned beef burger on the grill that completes any cookout.
- Salmon Burgers – A great alternative to beef burgers. Made with only a few ingredients, they’re nutrient-dense, protein-packed & fun for summer grilling!
- Ground Chicken Burgers – These chicken burgers are wonderfully seasoned and loaded, full of flavor, perfect for any summer feast!
- Lamb Burger – Juicy and full of flavor, these easy grilled lamb burgers are quick and easy to make. Served with tzatziki, every bite is extra delicious!
- Avocado Burger – Quick and easy to make, this grilled avocado burger is juicy and full of flavor. Top it with avocado crema and add it to your summer barbecue! Plus, there’s avocado in the patty too!
- Chickpea Burger – This healthy veggie chickpea burger recipe is so simple to make and packed with Mediterranean ingredients like sun-dried tomatoes and feta.
- Salsa Black Bean Burger – Made with salsa and pantry staples, this black bean burger is a hearty, healthy, protein-packed meat-free burger with a Southwestern flair.
memorial day side dishes
- Instant Pot Baked Beans – Quick and easy to make, these Instant Pot baked beans are rich in flavor with just the right amount of sweetness. This is one delicious veggie side dish!
- Mediterranean Potato Salad – This Mediterranean Potato Salad is a refreshing salad filled with tender potatoes, fresh herbs, onions, and a simple citrusy dressing- perfect for the summer
- Mexican Street Corn Salad – Easy Mexican street corn salad with frozen corn, cotija cheese, lime, & cilantro. This elote salad is mayo-free, big on flavor, and perfect for get-togethers!
- Macaroni Egg Salad – Simple and easy to make, this no mayo macaroni egg salad is made with yogurt for a lighter and healthier summer side dish that’s still creamy.
- Turmeric Rice Salad – Turmeric Rice Salad is a Mediterranean-inspired salad that’s a great way to bulk up a salad or use leftover rice – easily customizable and ready in minutes!
- Creamy Avocado Pasta Salad – This Avocado Pasta Salad recipe is a healthy summer salad that’s perfect for picnics and potlucks. It has a rich, creamy avocado sauce with tomatoes and corn.
- Healthy Coleslaw – Add this easy Healthy Coleslaw recipe to your potluck, picnic, and barbecue events this summer. It’s a tangy, creamy, mayo-free coleslaw made with Greek Yogurt
- Corn Tomato Avocado Salad – This Corn Tomato Avocado Salad is a quintessential and easy vegan summer recipe made with fresh vegetables and tossed with lime juice, olive oil & cilantro
- Cucumber Lemon Orzo Salad – Fresh, vibrant, and so easy to make, this cucumber lemon orzo salad is a perfect summer side dish. Full of flavor and it can be made ahead of time in minutes
memorial day salad ideas
- Peach Salad – This simple and delicious Peach Salad is loaded with texture and flavor. Quick to make with fresh ingredients, it’s a tasty summertime recipe!
- Mediterranean Kale & Farro Salad – Tangy goat cheese, juicy tomatoes, fresh kale, and lemon dressing come together for the perfect warm or cold farro salad!
- Strawberry Caprese Salad – Strawberry Caprese Salad is a refreshing summer salad bursting with fresh flavors. Easy to make, this sweeter version of Caprese is vibrant and fun to try!
- Tomato Avocado Cucumber Salad – This Tomato Avocado Cucumber Salad requires 4 simple ingredients and is paired with a fresh dill & lemon vinaigrette! It’s the perfect avocado salad recipe!
- Roasted Beet Salad – Roasted Beet Salad is made with two types of seasonal beets and served over a bed of arugula; it’s a fresh, light, and nutritious summer salad.
- Tropical Fruit Salad – Easy to make and packed with fresh kiwi, mangoes, pineapple, and berries. Plus, my “secret sauce” adds an interesting twist!
- Strawberry Arugula Salad – This strawberry Spring Salad is made with arugula, strawberries, pecans, and feta cheese and tossed in a fresh, bright pink sweet vinaigrette!
- Chickpea Couscous Salad – This easy Moroccan couscous salad with chickpeas is the perfect summer salad! It’s filling, and full of bright flavors from the lemony vinaigrette.
- Lebanese Cabbage Salad – This easy 10-minute salad is a delicious and vibrant side. Dressed in a lemon and olive oil dressing, it’s light, refreshing, and full of flavor.
- Green Goddess Salad – This Green Goddess Salad is a healthy, fresh & light salad that’s antioxidant-rich but also flavor-rich; served with an easy yogurt dressing!
- Shirazi Salad – A quick-to-make side dish full of fresh and vibrant flavors. Dressed with olive oil & lime, it pairs well with many dishes!
memorial day bbq ideas
- Grilled Corn – Is it even a BBQ without the grilled corn? Here are some tips on how to grill corn with or without the husks. Or try these Corn Ribs for a fun twist.
- Grilled Mediterranean Chicken Kabobs – These Grilled Chicken Shish Kabobs are flavorful & easy to make! The chicken is marinated with bright Mediterranean spices on a skewer with fresh veggies.
- Grilled Mahi Mahi with Avocado Salsa – A quick and easy recipe that is loaded with flavor. Served with a fresh mango and avocado salsa, it’s perfect for a refreshing dish on a hot summer day!
- Grilled Shrimp Skewers – Keep the grill going for these grilled shrimp skewers. They are so quick and easy to make and wonderfully flavored with a lemon and herb marinade.
- Chicken Kafta – Traditional Lebanese Chicken Kafta is so quick and easy to make with simple ingredients. Serve alongside rice, salad, or in a pita with some garlic sauce!
- Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Pizza – This Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Pizza is a delicious balance of sweet and tangy – it’s easy to throw together without any fancy sauce or complicated preparation!
- Shish Tawook – This popular Lebanese grilled chicken skewers recipe has tender, juicy chicken marinated in yogurt, lemon, and garlic.
- Corn Ribs – These air-fried corn ribs are so delicious! This TikTok viral trend is full of herby and buttery flavors, and they are ready to enjoy in minutes.
- Cilantro Chicken and Veggie Skewers – Cilantro Chicken is a simple chicken recipe made with a few ingredients. It has a fresh lemony flavor and makes for an easy, tasty summertime grilling recipe.
memorial day dessert ideas
- Grilled Fruit Kabobs – This summer, add grilled fruits kabobs to your barbecue spread. Grilling fruit caramelizes the natural sugars in them for a sweet, easy, and healthy dessert!
- Banana Pudding Parfaits – This banana pudding parfait recipe is made with simple, fresh ingredients for a decadent, delightful & delicious treat that everyone will love!
- Lebanese Rice Pudding – This Middle Eastern rice pudding is easy, homemade, and full of creamy goodness, topped with pistachios!
- Watermelon Pizza – This watermelon pizza is one of my favorite summertime dessert for picnics and barbecues. It’s healthy, easy to make and customize, and so fun for a crowd.
- Lemon Bars – These vegan lemon bars are creamy, chewy, and absolutely delicious – made with an oatmeal walnut crust and fresh lemons, they make the best lemon squares!
- No-Bake Cookie Dough Bars – taste like real deal cookie dough with a hint of peanut butter – a gluten-free, dairy-free, and delicious treat!
- Samoa Bars – These easy No Bake Samoa Bars are made with basic ingredients with the flavors of Samoa Girl Scout Cookies, then topped with coconut, caramel, and chocolate!
- Grilled Peaches – This simple summertime dessert is so effortless to make. Cinnamon and brown sugar grilled peaches served with ice cream, granola & fresh mint.
- Cream Cheese Fruit Dip – A lightened-up version of the classic dip that’s made with only 4 ingredients and packs in some protein from the greek yogurt!
other memorial day Food Ideas
- Guacamole Dip with Corn – This easy and delicious guacamole dip is topped with perfectly grilled/roasted corn. Quick to make and made for sharing, it’s a great summer appetizer!
- Spinach Dip – This Cream Cheese Spinach Dip is a rich, creamy dip that is lighter than the traditional dip, and your party-goers will love to have this to snack on.
- Goat Cheese Stuffed Tomatoes – This summertime Whipped Goat Cheese Stuffed Tomatoes recipe is perfect to throw together last minute for a healthy, refreshing crowd-pleasing appetizer!
- Black Bean Salsa – This flavorful, chunky black bean salsa is a crowd pleaser and can be made in advance for an easy party appetizer; perfect with tortilla chips.
- Grilled Pizza – Easy, homemade grilled Margherita pizza with store-bought pizza dough, marinara sauce (jar or homemade), basil, and mozzarella cheese on a grill or grill pan!
- Chicken Taco Wonton Cups – Crispy wonton taco cups filled with juicy chicken, fresh salsa, & cheddar cheese make for an amazing appetizer that’s great for sharing!
- Crostini with Roasted Tomatoes – Crostini with Roasted Tomatoes is the ultimate party food or appetizer to serve to guests. They look fancy, but are made with only three simple ingredients!
- Avocado Hummus Dip – This avocado hummus is a modern twist on plain hummus and guacamole – a healthy, vegan, easy snack or appetizer with pita or veggie chips!
- Homemade Lemonade – There’s nothing more refreshing on a hot day than a pitcher of simple homemade lemonade. Make your own lemonade recipe from scratch and enjoy it within minutes.
- Raspberry Iced Tea – This Raspberry Iced Tea combines the refreshing flavor of iced tea with the sweetness and tartness of fresh raspberries for an easy summer drink!
HOW TO keep food warm
- Oven: As long as you’re not cooking anything in the oven, you can set it to 200°F and store dishes in there to keep them warm.
- Aluminum Foil: If your oven is not free, you can simply use aluminum foil, which has reflective properties that protects the food from light and oxygen. The foil reflects the thermal energy back to the food which maintains the moisture, flavor, and texture.
- Crock Pots and Instant Pots: Think of recipes that can be made in your crock pot or instant pot that will keep warm during the party. You can even use them to keep foods warm even if you don’t cook in them.
- Insulated coolers: You can use a cooler to keep food hot as well as cold. The insulation technology that keeps out the heat to maintain cold foods also works to trap heat in and keep food hot for hours at a time. You can even line the cooler with aluminum foil for even better results.
HOW TO store all the leftovers
If you’re like me, you always end up with leftovers after any big gathering. And while I’m not complaining (leftovers are the best!), it can be tricky to know how to store all of them. Here are a few tips:
- Make sure everything is cooled completely before storing.
- Label everything with the name and date. This will help you keep track of what’s what and also ensure that nothing gets lost in the back of the fridge.
- Use plastic containers or freezer bags. This will help keep your food fresh and prevent it from drying out.
- If you have any perishable items (like meat or dairy), make sure to store them in the fridge.
frequently asked questions
There is no one answer to this question, as different people have different traditions. However, some popular Memorial day foods include bbq, burgers, hot dogs, pasta salads, potato salads, and grilled meats.
If you’re looking for ideas of what to bring to a Memorial day potluck, try one (or more!) of these recipes. Or, if you’re short on time, you could always pick up some pre-made items from your local grocery store.
This really depends on your personal preferences. Some popular grill items include chicken, steak, burgers, hot dogs, and vegetables.
Memorial Day is a time to come together and celebrate those who have given their lives for our country. It’s also a great opportunity to enjoy some delicious food with family and friends. We’ve provided some tips for planning your menu, as well as some of our favorite Memorial day recipes. Let me know in the comments below what your favorite Memorial day food is!
Thanks for reading! I hope you have a great holiday weekend. 🙂
full list of recipes
Check out the picture cards for all the recipes listed above. You can click on any of the recipes cards to take you directly to those recipes.
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