Memorial Day Recipe Roundup

Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer, a time for families and friends to gather, remember the fallen, and enjoy the great outdoors. One of the best ways to celebrate is by sharing delicious food.

Whether you’re planning a backyard barbecue, a picnic in the park, or a potluck with friends, having a variety of mouthwatering dishes is essential. In this Memorial Day Recipe Roundup, we’ve curated a selection of recipes that are sure to delight your guests and make your holiday celebration memorable.

Grilled Main Dishes

1. Classic BBQ Ribs

Nothing says Memorial Day quite like a rack of perfectly grilled BBQ ribs. Start by selecting meaty pork ribs and preparing a flavorful dry rub with ingredients like brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and a pinch of cayenne. Rub the mixture generously over the ribs and let them marinate for at least an hour. Grill the ribs over indirect heat for about 2-3 hours, basting occasionally with your favorite BBQ sauce. The result is tender, juicy ribs with a smoky flavor that’s hard to beat.

2. Grilled Chicken Skewers

Chicken skewers are a versatile and easy-to-eat option for any outdoor gathering. Marinate chicken chunks in a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and herbs for at least 30 minutes. Thread the chicken onto skewers with colorful vegetables like bell peppers, red onions, and cherry tomatoes. Grill the skewers over medium-high heat for about 10-15 minutes, turning occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and slightly charred. Serve with a cooling yogurt dip or tzatziki sauce for added flavor.

3. Veggie Burgers

For your vegetarian guests, a delicious veggie burger is a must. You can make a hearty and flavorful burger using black beans, quinoa, and a mix of spices. Mash the black beans and combine them with cooked quinoa, breadcrumbs, egg, and spices like cumin, chili powder, and smoked paprika. Form the mixture into patties and grill them over medium heat for about 5-7 minutes per side. Serve on a toasted bun with your favorite toppings like avocado, lettuce, tomato, and a spicy aioli.

Side Dishes

4. Classic Potato Salad

A Memorial Day spread wouldn’t be complete without a classic potato salad. Boil baby potatoes until tender, then toss them with a creamy dressing made from mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, and a touch of sugar. Add chopped celery, red onion, and hard-boiled eggs for extra texture and flavor. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and chill in the fridge for at least an hour before serving to let the flavors meld.

5. Corn on the Cob with Herb Butter

Corn on the cob is a summertime favorite, and it’s incredibly easy to prepare. Grill ears of corn over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until they are slightly charred and tender. While the corn is grilling, make a delicious herb butter by combining softened butter with chopped fresh herbs like parsley, chives, and thyme. Brush the herb butter over the hot corn and sprinkle with a bit of sea salt before serving.

6. Coleslaw

A crunchy and tangy coleslaw is the perfect accompaniment to grilled meats. Shred green and red cabbage, and carrots, and toss them in a dressing made from mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, honey, and Dijon mustard. For an extra kick, add a bit of finely chopped jalapeño or a dash of hot sauce. Let the coleslaw sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to develop.

Refreshing Salads

7. Watermelon and Feta Salad

This refreshing and light salad is perfect for a warm Memorial Day gathering. Combine cubes of juicy watermelon with crumbled feta cheese, thinly sliced red onions, and fresh mint leaves. Drizzle with a simple dressing made from olive oil and lime juice, and sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt and black pepper. The combination of sweet, salty, and tangy flavors will be a hit with your guests.

8. Caprese Salad

A Caprese salad is a simple yet elegant dish that highlights the flavors of fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. Slice ripe tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, and arrange them on a platter with whole basil leaves. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic glaze, and season with a bit of salt and pepper. This colorful salad is not only beautiful but also incredibly delicious.

9. Quinoa Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

For a more substantial salad, try a quinoa salad with a bright lemon vinaigrette. Cook quinoa according to package instructions and let it cool. Toss the quinoa with chopped cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, red onion, and fresh parsley. Make a vinaigrette with lemon juice, olive oil, Dijon mustard, and a bit of honey, and pour it over the salad. Mix well and serve chilled.

Sweet Treats

10. Berry Trifle

End your Memorial Day meal on a sweet note with a berry trifle. Layer angel food cake cubes with fresh berries (like strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries) and a creamy mixture of whipped cream and vanilla pudding. Repeat the layers in a large trifle dish or individual glasses, and top with more fresh berries. This dessert is as beautiful as it is delicious, and it’s perfect for a patriotic celebration.

11. S’mores Bar

For a fun and interactive dessert, set up a s’mores bar. Provide guests with graham crackers, marshmallows, and a variety of chocolate bars. If you have a fire pit, let guests roast their marshmallows over the fire. Alternatively, you can use a small tabletop grill or even an indoor s’mores maker. Get creative with your s’mores by offering additional toppings like peanut butter cups, sliced bananas, or caramel sauce.

12. Lemon Bars

Lemon bars are a bright and tangy treat that’s perfect for a summer gathering. Make a simple shortbread crust and top it with a lemony filling made from eggs, sugar, lemon juice, and a bit of flour. Bake until set, and then let them cool completely before cutting into squares. Dust with powdered sugar before serving for an extra touch of sweetness.

Refreshing Beverages

13. Homemade Lemonade

No Memorial Day gathering is complete without a refreshing glass of lemonade. Make a batch of homemade lemonade by combining freshly squeezed lemon juice with simple syrup (a mixture of sugar and water) and cold water. Adjust the sweetness to taste, and serve over ice with lemon slices and fresh mint leaves for garnish. For a fun twist, you can add pureed strawberries or raspberries to make a berry lemonade.

14. Iced Tea

Brew a big pitcher of iced tea to keep your guests cool and hydrated. You can make classic black iced tea or get creative with flavors like peach, mint, or hibiscus. Sweeten to taste with simple syrup or honey, and serve over ice with lemon slices. For an adult version, consider adding a splash of bourbon or vodka.

15. Sparkling Watermelon Punch

This sparkling watermelon punch is a festive and refreshing beverage that’s perfect for a holiday celebration. Blend chunks of watermelon until smooth, and strain the juice into a pitcher. Add sparkling water and a bit of lime juice, and sweeten to taste with simple syrup. Serve over ice with mint leaves and lime slices for garnish.


With these delicious recipes, your Memorial Day celebration is sure to be a hit. From savory grilled meats and vibrant salads to sweet treats and refreshing beverages, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Remember to take a moment to honor the true meaning of Memorial Day, and then gather your loved ones around the table to share good food and great memories. Happy Memorial Day!