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60 Memorial Day Recipes That Aren’t Hot Dogs and Watermelon

We’d never turn down a Memorial Day weekend BBQ (or picnic, pool party, cookout—you get the picture). While we’re always up for eating basic hot dogs, hamburgers and watermelon wedges, they don’t exactly spark joy the millionth time around. So, put down the processed cheese slices, back away from the weenie buns and make room for mouthwatering cocktails, appetizers, mains, sides and desserts on your menu. Here are 60 Memorial Day recipes—from light and tangy coleslaw to grilled flank steak—that will make this year’s holiday one for the books. (P.S.: Here’s how to create the ultimate backyard get-together, even if it’s just you and your family.)

40 Memorial Day Desserts That Aren’t Just Flag Cake


Drinks

1. Boozy Lemonade Granita

  • Time Commitment: 6 hours
  • Why We Love It: no cook, <10 ingredients, crowd-pleaser

All you need to spike it is your favorite vodka or gin. Wow ’em with homemade lemonade and hollowed-out lemons for cups (or just use the store-bought stuff and serve it in one communal bowl).

2. Raspberry-lime Champagne Punch

  • Time Commitment: 25 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, crowd-pleaser, <10 ingredients

Fresh-squeezed limes and ripe raspberries add tart sweetness that seamlessly rounds out the vodka and wine. If you don’t want to splurge on Champagne, prosecco or cava will work just fine.

3. Rosemary Melonade

  • Time Commitment: 5 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, <10 ingredients, vegan

This alcohol-free blended drink is equal parts pretty and refreshing. It’s also loaded with pineapple, strawberries and watermelon, so just pretend it’s a fruit salad and have three.

4. Mint Lime Southern Sweet Tea

  • Time Commitment: 5 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, <30 minutes, vegan

The recipe calls for green tea instead of black, giving it a lighter look and milder taste. Add lemonade to make an Arnold Palmer, or whiskey and honey for a quick cocktail.

5. Grapefruit Radler

  • Time Commitment: 5 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, <30 minutes

When you want a fancy drink but don't feel like busting out the shaker, lean on the grapefruit radler. Just mix grapefruit juice with a little sugar, then pour it into your favorite wheat beer.

6. Frozen Aperol Spritz

  • Time Commitment: 10 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, <10 ingredients, special occasion-worthy

Frosé? We don't know her. This bev stars effervescent prosecco instead, which comes to life thanks to fresh citrus and a dash of Aperol.

Appetizers

7. Caramelized Kimchi Baked Potatoes

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 5 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, special occasion-worthy

Sour cream and bacon are classic baked spud toppers, but they're expected. Spice things up with caramelized store-bought kimchi.

8. Whipped Feta Dip With Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, vegetarian, kid-friendly

All you need to prepare the briny, tangy cheese dip is a blender or food processor. The summer tomatoes will take care of the rest.

9. 15-minute Gazpacho With Cucumber, Red Pepper And Basil

  • Time Commitment: 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: no cook, vegan, <30 minutes, <10 ingredients

This cold tomato soup couldn’t be any easier to make. Round up your produce, olive oil and herbs, plop them in the food processor or blender and give it a whirl.

10. Aran Goyoaga’s Niçoise Salad

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, special occasion-worthy, pescatarian

This has all the elements of an unforgettable summer salad. Goyoaga, a food photographer and blogger, uses bonito tuna, fried capers and dill in her version, inspired by her time spent in the Spanish fishing village of Bermeo.

11. Caprese Salad With Grilled Zucchini

  • Time Commitment: 25 minutes
  • Why We Love It: vegetarian, <10 ingredients, <30 minutes

What is it about caprese salad that never gets old? The trifecta of tomatoes, basil and mozz probably has something to do with it. We’ll give you two more reasons by adding grilled zucchini and a drizzle of balsamic.

12. Prosciutto-wrapped Cantaloupe With Balsamic Glaze

  • Time Commitment: 10 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, <10 ingredients, crowd-pleaser

Fruit salad is something everyone can get behind, even more so when its covered in strips of salty prosciutto. Store-bought glaze will work fine, but you can also reduce balsamic vinegar over medium heat to make your own.

13. 20-minute Burrata Salad With Stone Fruit And Asparagus

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: vegetarian, crowd-pleaser, special occasion-worthy

Make sure your kids get a serving—between the sugar snap peas, plums, peaches and cherries, there’s bound to be something actually nutritious in there that they’ll like. (If not, there’s always the cheese.)

14. Grilled Peach And Halloumi Salad With Lemon-pesto Dressing

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: vegetarian, special occasion-worthy

No limp lettuce leaves here, folks. Think mixed greens, fresh basil and crisp green beans topped with charred summer peaches, salty halloumi and toasted pine nuts.

15. Fruicuterie Board

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: no cook, crowd-pleaser, special occasion-worthy

You won't need to work too hard at all to put together this stunning centerpiece. All the in-season stone fruits, melons and berries will handle the the heavy lifting.

16. 15-minute Cucumber-avocado Blender Soup

  • Time Commitment: 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, kid-friendly, vegetarian

We can't decide what we love more, the uber-refreshing soup that takes minutes to whip up or the Asiago-encrusted baguette for dipping.

17. Avocado Chicken Salad

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why We Love It: no cook, high protein, make ahead, crowd-pleaser

Ditch mayo for avocado, then add scallions and celery for crunch. With a spritz of lemon, fresh dill and a whole lot of cracked black pepper, this rotisserie chicken-based spread is ready for crackers, sandwiches or a sneaky spoon.

18. Skillet Nacho Dip

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why We Love It: one pan, high protein, kid-friendly, crowd-pleaser

This bubbling-hot app boasts ground beef, onion, tomatoes, cheese, green onions, salsa and pickled jalapeños. Buy (or, dare we say, make) tortilla chips for dipping, put out the sour cream and your work is done.

19. Grilled Flatbread Pizza With Artichoke, Ricotta And Lemon

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, beginner-friendly, vegetarian

Homemade pizza just got way easier. Snag a few flatbreads from the supermarket, load them up with your favorite toppings and pop 'em right on the grill.

20. Watermelon Feta Skewers

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, vegetarian, kid-friendly

OK, we said no watermelon, but you need to try this dish. Summer’s official fruit mascot is teaming up with feta for a savory, smoky twist that you definitely don’t want to miss.

21. Mini Peach Tarts With Goat Cheese And Honey

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, vegetarian, crowd-pleaser, beginner-friendly

Simple enough to whip up in 30 minutes (thanks, store-bought puff pastry), elegant enough that your guests will never know.

22. Loaded Baked Potato ‘chips’

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 5 minutes
  • Why We Love It: kid-friendly, crowd-pleaser, <10 ingredients, one pan

We have serious love for potatoes in all their forms, but this one may take the cake. You get bacon, cheddar cheese, potato and sour cream in every bite without having to commit to an entire spud.

23. Spicy Avocado Hummus

  • Time Commitment: 10 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, crowd-pleaser, vegan

Break out the cherry tomatoes and pita chips: There’s a new dip at the barbecue. This hummus-guac hybrid has earthy nuttiness from tahini, plus spice from jalapeño and cayenne.

24. Roasted Poblano And Corn Guacamole

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, crowd-pleaser, <10 ingredients, vegan

Come summer, we want charred corn on *everything*, and guac is no exception. It gives it a smoky je ne sais quoi we never get tired of.

25. Cuban Sliders

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: one pan, crowd-pleaser, <10 ingredients

Aka the quickest way to feed the hungry masses. Did we mention it'll only take you six ingredients?

26. Blt Tacos

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes
  • Why We Love It: kid-friendly, <10 ingredients, high protein

White bread who? Swap it for taco-sized tortillas, bake a batch of thick-cut bacon and assemble. We use creamy avocado and a squirt of lime in place of mayo, but feel free to spread a layer on before adding the fillings.

27. Smoky Barbecued Corn

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, crowd-pleaser, vegetarian

It’s tough to find a better mate for burgers, ribs and steak than sweet yellow corn. It’s even tougher to find a better match than this corn, which is charred on the fire before being spread with lime-chili mayo and dusted with Parmesan and smoked paprika.

28. Avocado And Black Bean Pasta Salad

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly, vegan, <30 minutes

No backyard shindig is complete without a chilled pasta salad. Just be sure to prepare it right before the party so the avocado is nice and green once everyone starts making their plates.

29. Japanese Potato Salad With Eggs, Ham And Cucumbers

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly

If your favorite part of any dish is the crunch, you’re in luck. This fun twist on potato salad calls for crispy cucumbers, peas and carrots, plus ham, eggs and umami-rich Japanese mayo spiked with mushroom powder.

30. Light And Tangy Coleslaw

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: no cook, <10 ingredients, crowd-pleaser

The party doesn’t start until the slaw walks in. This one has a zesty, acidic vinegar base (see ya, mayo) and pairs with everything from brisket to burgers to hot dogs.

31. Zoodles With Avocado And Mango Sauce

  • Time Commitment: 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: no cook, vegan, <30 minutes

You’ll be shocked how quickly this “pasta” dish comes together. Spiralize two zucchinis, blend the tropical sauce (hey there, coconut milk and mango) and combine. Then, get yourself a cold one and kick back on the patio.

32. Creamy Dilled Red Potato Salad

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, vegetarian, crowd-pleaser

Chopped red onion offers crunch alongside semi-smashed potatoes and a sauce made from mayo, Greek yogurt and dill. Add celery or other crunchy bits, but we won’t blame you if you opt for less time at the cutting board.

33. Kale And Brussels Sprout Caesar Slaw

  • Time Commitment: 25 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, <10 ingredients, crowd-pleaser

Make room for greens tossed in a Caesar-inspired dressing made from sunflower seeds, almonds, Dijon and lemon juice. Did we mention it calls for a whole cup of blue cheese? Yeah, that’s our kind of salad.

34. Chicken And Chicken Sausage Jambalaya

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, high protein, special occasion-worthy

Our favorite thing about this Creole essential? It's so filling and impressive that it doesn't need any sides to be a complete meal.

35. Salmon Al Pastor

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes
  • Why We Love It: pescatarian, high protein, special occasion-worthy

Because lemon and herbs are only so exciting after the fifth week in a row. Give the fish the al pastor treatment (pineapple! ancho chile powder! citrus juice!) that's usually reserved for pork.

36. 5-ingredient Smoked Gouda-thyme Mac And Cheese

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, kid-friendly, crowd-pleaser

Can you eat barbecue without a heaping scoop of mac on the side? Sure, but we wouldn’t want to. This one stars smoky grated Gouda, which gives it a nutty, buttery note no one can complain about.

37. Roasted Cauliflower Sliders

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes
  • Why We Love It: vegetarian, crowd-pleaser

One bite of this vegetarian sammy and you won’t miss the beef, promise. The cauliflower slices are drizzled with olive oil, seasoned with smoked paprika and thyme and roasted until browned. Our favorite thing about this dish, though, is the spicy yogurt spread.

38. Spicy Shrimp Tacos With Mango Salsa

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, pescatarian, high protein

This recipe can be tackled year-round since it calls for the shrimp to be sautéed on the stove, but we'd be remiss to not suggest skewering and grilling them on the barbecue instead.

39. Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken

  • Time Commitment: 7 hours and 10 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, slow cooker recipe, high protein

Set it and forget it overnight so all you have to do on the big day is shred the chicken.

40. Grilled Flank Steak With Lemon-herb Sauce

  • Time Commitment: 2 hours
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, high protein, special occasion-worthy

Let the steak chill in olive oil, Worcestershire, vinegar, garlic, chili powder and herbs for up to an hour. After grilling, let it rest for 15 minutes, then serve it with a zippy mix of mustard, lemon juice, fresh herbs and the secret ingredient, anchovies.

41. Grilled Jerk Chicken Cutlets With Mango Salsa

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes
  • Why We Love It: high protein, special occasion-worthy

Here’s the tropical retreat you ordered. Jerk seasoning brings warm spices like cinnamon and cayenne to the table, and it just so happens to pair wonderfully with mango and lime juice. Serve with rice or mixed greens.

42. Bacon Cheddar Cheese-stuffed Burgers

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, high protein, kid-friendly

Mix bacon, shredded cheddar, Worcestershire sauce and black pepper into the ground beef for a caramelized, cheese-encrusted burger full of salty-savory goodness. They’re only five ingredients and 30 minutes away.

43. Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

  • Time Commitment: 7 hours and 10 minutes
  • Why We Love It: slow cooker recipe, crowd-pleaser, make ahead, high protein

This sweet-and-spicy main works in sandwiches, salads, quesadillas or all by itself. The slow cooker also saves you from sweating over the stove on a hot summer day.

44. Smoked Ribs With Honey Butter-brown Sugar

  • Time Commitment: 6 hours and 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly

If you’ve been dreaming about buying your own smoker, now’s the time. These pork ribs turn melt-in-your-mouth soft after six hours, and they're seasoned with both dry rub and brown sugar-honey butter.

45. Camarones Al Mojo De Ajo

  • Time Commitment: 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, <10 ingredients, crowd-pleaser

Tender shrimp swimming in lemon-garlic butter is just the entree for an intimate alfresco dinner party. Serve them with plenty of bread or white rice to soak up the leftover sauce.

46. Greek Turkey Burgers With Tzatziki Sauce

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 10 minutes
  • Why We Love It: high protein, kid-friendly, beginner-friendly

We have a big crush on tzatziki because it tastes good on pretty much everything. And once you know how to make it from scratch, you'll never use the store-bought kind again.

47. Pineapple Korean Chicken Thighs

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes
  • Why We Love It: one pan, high protein, special occasion-worthy

Ready for a fresh take on grilled chicken? Dress it with ginger, soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic and gochujang. The recipe says to cook them in the oven, but we’re throwing those babies on the grill instead. (Bonus points for grilling the pineapple, too.)

48. Chickpea Burgers

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes
  • Why We Love It: vegetarian, dairy free

These legumes can do so much more than just hummus. Making hand-formed patties out of them turns out to be beyond easy (don’t you just love the food processor?).

49. Crispy Baked Fish Tacos With Cabbage Slaw

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: pescatarian, special occasion-worthy, kid-friendly

If you consider tilapia the boring white bread of the fish world, these tacos have a bone to pick with you. After being dredged in egg, taco seasoning and flour, they bake to maximum crunchiness before getting topped with sour cream and zesty slaw. Someone pass the lime wedges.

Desserts

50. Mini Mason Jar Apple Pies

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 10 minutes
  • Why We Love It: kid-friendly, special occasion-worthy

It wouldn’t be Memorial Day without an appearance from America’s signature dessert. We serve these Granny Smith- and Honeycrisp-filled cuties à la mode because, well…who wouldn’t? (Oh, and save time by using store-bought pie dough.)

51. Strawberry-mango Hawaiian Shave Ice

  • Time Commitment: 5 hours and 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: one pot, <10 ingredients, vegan

It’s hot out there, y’all. Take a trip to Maui without ever leaving your backyard, courtesy of a chilly blend of sugar, strawberries, mango and toasted coconut. No shave ice machine required.

52. Lemon Pie With Blueberry Meringue

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 35 minutes
  • Why We Love It: special occasion-worthy, crowd-pleaser

We love a classic lemon pie, but one look at this take has us ready to abandon all things basic forever. This color combo inspires oohs and aahs every single time. The secret to the dreamy lavender meringue? Freeze-dried blueberries.

53. One-ingredient Watermelon Sorbet

  • Time Commitment: 4 hours
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, no cook, kid-friendly, crowd-pleaser

Have you met the easiest dessert on the face of the earth yet? She’s pleased to make your acquaintance. Cool off with this genius treat made from twice-frozen watermelon purée. No one will ever guess that it’s pure fruit.

54. Mini Strawberry Ice Cream Pies

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, kid-friendly, beginner-friendly

Crumbly graham cracker-crust, warm roasted strawberries, a cold scoop of vanilla ice cream. Sold yet? Good. Sprinkle on some blueberries for a patriotic finishing touch.

55. Cake Batter Dip

  • Time Commitment: 5 minutes
  • Why We Love It: no bake, <10 ingredients, <30 minutes, kid-friendly, crowd-pleaser

Your inner child’s tummy is grumbling. Confetti cake mix, powdered sugar and vanilla make for a crowd-pleaser the kids will be begging to have for their birthdays. (Don’t forget the sprinkles. Lots and lots of sprinkles.)

56. Peaches-and-cream Ice Pops

  • Time Commitment: 2 hours and 40 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, crowd-pleaser

Round up the ice pop molds: It’s time for dessert. Brown sugar-cinnamon peaches are roasted in the oven before being marbled with vanilla-almond yogurt. Your favorite store-bought pops won’t know what hit them.

57. Strawberry Pie With Strawberry Crust

  • Time Commitment: 2 hours and 45 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly, special occasion-worthy

A pretty-in-pink crust dyed with freeze-dried berries is a surefire way to wow every single one of your guests (or you know, your roommate).

58. Lemon-berry Sheet Pan Trifle

  • Time Commitment: 3 hours and 45 minutes
  • Why We Love It: one pan, crowd-pleaser, beginner-friendly

We modernized the old-school British treat by trading a crystal-cut bowl for an easy baking sheet. It still has all the meringue, whipped topping and fresh fruit of the O.G.

59. No-bake Berry Tiramisu

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 40 minutes
  • Why We Love It: no bake, crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly

Some show their patriotism with flag tees and sparklers. We bake. This red-white-and-blue treat is a sweet centerpiece for your holiday spread, and sweeter still because it doesn’t require an oven.

60. Dulce De Leche Skillet Brownie

  • Time Commitment: 2 hours and 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: one pan, kid-friendly, crowd-pleaser, beginner-friendly

Sure, it's fruit season—but we're happy to eat chocolate year-round. Don't even get us started on the homemade dulce de leche swirl.


For even more great recipes, check out our first cookbook, Only the Good Stuff.