48 Foolproof Memorial Day Menus

Updated: May 18, 2024

Memorial Day is around the corner! Whether you want something traditional, easy, new, healthy or kid-friendly, we have a Memorial Day menu for you.

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Traditional: Barbecued Picnic Chicken

I like to serve this savory chicken at family picnics. Cooked on a covered grill, the poultry stays so tender and juicy. Everyone loves the zesty, slightly sweet homemade barbecue sauce—and it’s so easy to make. —Priscilla Weaver, Hagerstown, Maryland

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For more, check out our best Memorial Day BBQ recipes.

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Traditional: Patriotic Pepper Platter

Cream cheese stuffed peppers are easy to make, easy to travel with and wonderful to eat at room temperature. This platter can be made all summer long for each red, white and blue holiday! The dish also accommodates those who eat meat and those who don’t. With or without the bacon, these peppers are delish! —Tina Martino, Hewitt, New Jersey
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Traditional: Red, White & Blue Potato Salad

Tossing the cooked potatoes with stock and wine right after you drain them infuses them with flavor. The liquid absorbs like magic. —George Levinthal, Goleta, California
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Traditional: Southern Mac and Cheese

No Memorial Day menu is complete without Southern mac and cheese. Three types of cheese and a squirt of mustard make this comforting dish sing! —Katie Sloan, Charlotte, North Carolina
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Traditional: Sour Cream Cucumbers

It’s been a tradition at our house to serve this dish with the other Hungarian specialties my mom learned to make from the women at church. It’s especially good during the summer when the cucumbers are fresh-picked from the garden. —Pamela Eaton, Monclova, Ohio
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Traditional: Berry Nectarine Salad

I’ve been making this recipe for years. Whenever my family has a summer get-together, everyone requests it. The nectarines and berries look beautiful together, and the topping is the perfect accent. —Mindee Myers, Lincoln, Nebraska
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Traditional: Scalloped Taters

This creamy, comforting slow-cooked side tastes marvelous with almost any main dish on your Memorial Day menu and is a snap to assemble with frozen hash browns. It’s a good way to make potatoes when your oven is busy with other dishes. —Lucinda Wolker, Somerset, Pennsylvania
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Traditional: Old-Fashioned Lemonade

This sweet-tart lemonade is a traditional part of my Memorial Day menu. Folks can’t get enough of the fresh-squeezed flavor. —Tammi Simpson, Greensburg, Kentucky

Lemonade pairs perfectly with these other Memorial Day cookout favorites.

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Traditional: Red, White and Blue Dessert

I changed a recipe I found and ended up with this rich, fresh-tasting dessert. Decorated to resemble a flag, it’s perfect for a patriotic-themed Memorial Day menu. —Sue Gronholz, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin
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Kid-Friendly: Hot Dog Casserole

When our children were small and I was busy trying to get done all those extra things that are part of a mom’s normal schedule, I would make this quick hot dog casserole. Kids love it! —JoAnn Gunio, Franklin, North Carolina
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Kid-Friendly: Almost It’s-It Ice Cream Sandwiches

You’ll discover why this treat is so popular in San Francisco. It’s snack heaven—ice cream, delicious oatmeal cookies and a touch of chocolate. Swap the vanilla ice cream for your favorite flavor, such as chocolate, caramel or cherry when making your own copycat It’s-It ice cream sandwiches. —Jacyn Siebert, San Francisco, California
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Kid-Friendly: Broccoli Fritters

These cute cakes offer a fun and kid-friendly way to use broccoli in your Memorial Day menu. They’re tasty as a side dish paired with any meat, or serve them with salsa and a dollop of fat-free sour cream for a festive appetizer. —Tracy Eubanks, Ewing, Kentucky
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Kid-Friendly: Chocolate Chip Dip

Is there a kid around (or a kid at heart) who wouldn’t gobble up this cookie dough dip with graham crackers? It beats dunking them in milk, hands down! You can also try it with apple wedges. —Heather Koenig, Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin
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Kid-Friendly: Mini Mac & Cheese Bites

Young relatives were coming for a Christmas party, so I wanted something fun for them to eat. Instead, the adults devoured my mini mac and cheese. —Kate Mainiero, Elizaville, New York
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Kid-Friendly: Rock N Rye Pork Roast Sandwiches

Detroit’s Faygo Rock & Rye soda (or pop, as we call it in Michigan) gives these pork roast sandwiches such unique flavor with notes of vanilla and cherry. These sandwiches are a hit at summer picnics and Faygo pop brings back fond memories of growing up in Michigan. —Jennifer Gilbert, Brighton, Michigan
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Kid-Friendly: Rainbow Fruit Salad

When my children were young, I would often dress up fresh fruit in this easy salad. Decades later, my grandchildren and great-grandchildren still love digging in to the fruity layers. The salad goes well with a Memorial Day menu that has barbecued meats or cold sandwiches. —Jonnie Adams Sisler, Stevensville, Montana
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Kid-Friendly: Makeover Tater-Topped Casserole

I love Tater Tot casserole, but wanted a lighter version of the recipe. The Taste of Home Test Kitchen slashed the fat in this classic dish, while keeping all the Tots my family loves. Who know you could have healthy Tater Tots?! —Scott Woodward, Shullsburg, Wisconsin
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Kid-Friendly: Crispy Fried Chicken

This Sunday dinner staple is first fried and then baked to a crispy golden brown. Well seasoned with oregano and sage, this classic is sure to satisfy diners at church potlucks or late-summer picnics. I love fixing it for family and friends. —Donna Kuhaupt, Slinger, Wisconsin
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Kid-Friendly: S’mores Brownies

My family simply adores my daughter’s fudgy s’mores brownies. The cinnamon graham cracker crust and the dark chocolate brownies bring our passion for s’mores to a whole new level! —Jennifer Gilbert, Brighton, Michigan
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Quick & Easy: Air-Fryer Lemon Oreos

I love fried Oreos at the county fair every summer. Since this version cooks up quickly in the air fryer, I can enjoy my favorite summer treat all year round! Lemon zest and lemon yogurt add a burst of flavor to the batter, and a dusting of powdered sugar makes for a pretty Memorial Day menu addition. —Jennifer Gilbert, Brighton, Michigan
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Quick & Easy: Crispy Fried Onion Rings

We use this onion rings recipe as a burger topping to add an extra element to already fantastic burgers. These onion rings are also perfect for giving your salads a little crunch. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Quick & Easy: Blueberry Dump Cake

When I need a quick dessert, this is the recipe I reach for most of the time. I usually have the ingredients on hand so I can whip it together in just a few minutes. —Rashanda Cobbins, Taste of Home Food Editor
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Quick & Easy: Beer Dip

Ranch dressing mix flavors this easy dip packed with shredded cheese. It's perfect paired with pretzels. Be forewarned, though—it's hard to stop eating once you've started! The beer cheese dip can be made with any type of beer, including nonalcoholic. I've taken it to many parties and I am always asked for the recipe. —Michelle Long, New Castle, Colorado
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My Favorite Avocado Salad

Tangy lime dressing is the perfect topper for this avocado salad. Toasted walnuts make for crunchy goodness, but try it with any kind of nut you like. —Ilia Kaku, North Richland Hills, Texas
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Quick & Easy: Grilled Vegetable Platter

The best of summer in one dish! These pretty veggies are perfect for entertaining. Grilling brings out their natural sweetness, and the easy marinade really perks up the flavor. They’re an essential to any Memorial Day menu. —Heidi Hall, North St. Paul, Minnesota
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Quick & Easy: All-American Hamburgers

We do a lot of outdoor cooking and this all-American, homemade hamburger recipe is on our Memorial Day menu more than any other food. —Diane Hixon, Niceville, Florida
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Quick & Easy: Lemony Fruit Cooler

This punch looks so pretty with all the colorful fruit floating in the bowl. It has a refreshing taste and is easy to put together. —Dawn Shackelford, Fort Worth, Texas
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Quick & Easy: Strawberry Pretzel Dessert

Need to bring a dish to pass this weekend? This make-ahead strawberry pretzel salad will disappear quickly at any potluck. —Aldene Belch, Flint, Michigan
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New Favorites: Loaded Cowboy Queso

Loaded Cowboy Queso is the ultimate dip for a Memorial Day menu! This easy appetizer loaded with cheese, beer, black beans, tomatoes and sausage is our family’s favorite recipe. I often serve it with homemade tortilla chips sprinkled with taco seasoning. —Becky Hardin, St. Peters, Missouri
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New Favorites: Million Dollar Cake

Pineapple and mandarin oranges give this easy cake a refreshing, tropical twist. With cake mix and pudding mix as ingredients, it is a breeze to put together when you’re short on prep time. Plus, it needs to chill before serving, so it’s a perfect make-ahead dessert for your Memorial Day menu. —Rashanda Cobbins, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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New Favorites: Bacon Potato Salad

My family was tired of the same old potato salad at family functions, so I created this potato salad with bacon. Now I’m always asked to bring it to potluck gatherings. —Tami Gallagher, Eagan, Minnesota
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New Favorites: Peach & Blueberry Galette

My husband’s favorite pie is blueberry, made with fresh picked northern Ontario blueberries. Adding peaches and a rustic crust creates a bit of summer fun, perfect for a picnic. —Christine Kropp, London, Ontario
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New Favorites: Jalapeno Sloppy Joes

I am always looking to kick things up a notch with heat and my husband really likes jalapenos, so I thought this savory joe would be perfect for a make-ahead entree on our Memorial Day menu. Adjust the jalapeno amounts to your preference, and serve with your favorite chips. —Julie Herrera-Lemler, Rochester, Minnesota
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New Favorites: Spicy Pickled Grapes

I love sweet and spicy flavors, so I created these pickled grapes. They are excellent as an appetizer, a sneaky addition to salads or a topper in your favorite Bloody Mary. —Carla Hinkle, Memphis, Tennessee
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New Favorites: Watermelon and Spinach Salad

Summer’s the perfect time to toss up this watermelon salad. You’d never expect it, but spinach is awesome here. Eat it and feel cool on even the hottest days. —Marjorie Au, Honolulu, Hawaii
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Caribbean Jerk Chicken

Get ready to rock the grill with this wonderfully fragrant, spicy chicken. The bold marinade includes hints of cinnamon, cayenne and thyme. We like to think of this dish as “chicken with attitude.” —Judy Kamalieh, Nebraska City, Nebraska
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New Favorites: Strawberry Cooler

During the dog days of summer, my family looks for a cold, thirst-quenching drink. I like this ons because it’s sparkling, refreshing and fast and easy to make.
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New Favorites: Blackberry Daiquiri Sherbet

When I decided to try making sherbet, which is one of my favorites, blackberries were in season in my mom’s garden. I love the flavor of daiquiris, and lime and rum blend with the juicy blackberries! —Shelly L. Bevington, Hermiston, Oregon
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Special Radicchio-Spinach Salad

Almost too pretty to eat, this colorful salad combines mint, chipotle pepper and honey to create a refreshing sweet-spicy flavor combination. —Roxanne Chan, Albany, California
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Healthy: Herb-Stuffed Red Peppers

We love to cook and experiment with new dishes. We found this recipe online but were missing a few of the ingredients, so we improvised. We like the results. —Brenda Joyner, Pateros, Washington
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Healthy: Parmesan Chicken Couscous

Simple ingredients make clever use of leftover chicken in an innovative dish any home cook would be proud to plate. I like to serve it with a side of fresh fruit. —Lisa Abbott, New Berlin, Wisconsin
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Healthy: Spicy Roasted Carrot Hummus

This is a wonderful appetizer to add to your Easter, Mother’s Day or Memorial Day menu. The roasted carrots give this hummus such a bright, fresh flavor. People who say they don’t like hummus have loved this version! —Anne Ormond, Dover, New Hampshire
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Healthy: Sweet and Hot Chicken

This is my low-carb version of Nashville hot chicken. We try to cut carbs as much as possible, so the fried breaded version and the sandwich version of this dish were out. Instead, I make a baked rendition with the same delicious flavors. This is also amazing made with chicken tenders and served in wraps. —Fay A. Moreland, Wichita Falls, Texas
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Healthy: Easy Shrimp Tacos

I love preparing these easy shrimp tacos. Hatch chiles are a staple ingredient in my home state of Texas, and this was the very first recipe that I conquered with them. Mix and match your favorite toppings—salsa and avocado would be perfect additions. —Deborah Jamison, Austin, Texas
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Healthy: Kabobless Chicken and Vegetables

As the primary caregiver for my grandma, I am trying to cook healthier for her. I am fascinated with Mediterranean cuisine. It is much easier to have chicken and vegetables off the kabob, which inspired this sheet-pan dinner. —Chelsea Madren, Fullerton, California
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Healthy: Pineapple Smoothies

I got this pineapple smoothie recipe over 20 years ago. I’ve tried several diabetic recipes, and this is one of the best. —Margery Bryan, Royal City, Washington
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Healthy: Patriotic Pops

My kids love homemade ice pops, and I love knowing that the ones we make are good for them. We whip up a big batch with multiple flavors so they have many choices, but these patriotic red, white and blueberry ones are always a favorite! They’re the perfect treat to end a day full of yummy Memorial Day dishes. —Shannon Carino, Frisco, Texas