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37 Recipes for Your Derby Day Buffet

Fill your plate (and your glass) with these southern classics before your favorite horse runs for the roses. Win or lose, here's a Derby Day spread you can bet on!

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Easy Pimiento Cheese

Every good Southerner has their own easy pimiento cheese recipe. It’s wonderful on crackers, in a sandwich with a fresh summer tomato, inside a grilled cheese sandwich or plain with some crackers. —Josh Carter, Birmingham, Alabama
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Kentucky Hot Brown Sandwiches

Hot Brown Sandwiches are as popular in Kentucky as The Derby. Some recipes stack both turkey and ham, although we prefer it without ham. Paired with a side salad, this sandwich makes a hearty meal.
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Mint Julep

It wouldn't be Kentucky Derby Day without this mint julep recipe! But, really, this Kentucky Derby mint julep recipe is good anytime. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Bourbon Ice Cream

The brown sugar in this decadent bourbon ice cream gives a hint of caramel flavor, which complements the bourbon. When the custard is still liquid, before it goes into the ice cream maker, add more or less bourbon to suite your taste. —Peggy Woodward, Taste of Home Senior Food Editor
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Shrimp Cocktail

During the ’60s, shrimp cocktail was one of the most popular party foods around. And it is still a crowd favorite. It’s the one appetizer that I serve for every special occasion as well as for munchie meals. —Peggy Allen, Pasadena, California
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Benedictine Spread

This version of a traditional, Kentucky cucumber spread comes from our Test Kitchen. Serve it as an appetizer dip or sandwich filling.—Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Cheesecake

This Kentucky bourbon pecan cheesecake will wow your guests and your taste buds. Serve in spring during the Kentucky Derby or at any other special occasion throughout the year. —Rashanda Cobbins, Taste of Home Food Editor
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Smoked Pimiento Cheese Crostini

Pimiento cheese has long been a favorite in our family, so these bite-sized appetizers are a treat! I add Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce to give them a little kick. Caramelized onions create another layer of flavor. You can make the cheese and onions three to five days in advance; they store well. If you need to save time, you can use premade jalapeno pimiento cheese. —Caitlyn Bunch, Trenton, Georgia
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Kentucky Lemonade

Mint and bourbon give this drink a bit of a Kentucky kick, and ginger ale makes it a fizzy party punch.—Cathy Justus, Taylor, Michigan
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Turkey Cordon Bleu with Alfredo Sauce

For our annual Kentucky Derby party I wanted to create a twist on a traditional Kentucky Hot Brown sandwich, and my turkey cordon bleu was born. The turkey is tender and flavorful, full of smoky ham and melted cheese, but the crispy bacon really sets the dish off. —Sandy Komisarek, Swanton, Ohio
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Smoked Brisket

This smoked brisket recipe is always a crowd favorite—it really melts in your mouth! —Jodi Abel, La Jolla, California
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Hush Puppies

A fish dinner isn’t complete without a side of hush puppies, and my mom is well-known for this recipe. It's the best! —Mary McGuire, Graham, NC
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Cucumber Canapes

I always get requests for the recipe for these canapes whenever I serve them. They're delicate finger sandwiches with a creamy herb spread and festive red and green garnishes. —Nadine Whittaker, South Plymouth, Massachusetts
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Southern Mac and Cheese

No down-home meal 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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Kentucky Pecan Pie

This rich, dense Kentucky pecan pie recipe is perfect for your next party. It features a delicious dark chocolate filling topped with plenty of toasted pecans. —Emily Baldwin, Fort Collins, Colorado
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Pimiento Cheese Ball

This rich and creamy pimiento cheese ball looks so festive with flecks of green onion and red pimiento dotting with cheddar cheese. It's a crowd-pleaser at any party. —Sundra Hauck, Bogalusa, Louisiana
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Mini Hot Browns

Here's my take on the famous Hot Brown sandwich. Guests quickly saddle up for juicy turkey slices and crispy bacon piled on toasted rye bread and then topped with a rich cheese sauce. —Annette Grahl, Midway, Kentucky
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Lemon Chess Pie

This bright and creamy lemon chess pie cuts beautifully and has a smooth texture. It’s one of my favorites. —Hannah LaRue Rider, East Point, Kentucky
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Potluck 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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Easy Peasy Biscuits

I love that I can make these biscuits and have enough left over to freeze for another meal. They’re a healthier version of a classic American staple. —Amanda West, Shelbyville, Tennessee
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Watermelon Cups

This lovely appetizer is almost too pretty to eat! Sweet watermelon cubes hold a refreshing topping that showcases cucumber, red onion and fresh herbs. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Root Beer Glazed Ham

For a unique spin on the traditional glazed ham recipe, try this southern specialty where the secret ingredient is root beer! —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Southern Pralines

This recipe is truly Southern, and it’s been a family favorite for years. I’ve packed many a Christmas tin with this candy.
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Bourbon Slush

At our holiday parties, Bourbon Slush is definitely a favorite. Have fun experimenting with different teas when you make it. We like black tea, green tea and orange spice. —Darcene Sigler, Louisville, Ohio
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Chocolate-Dipped Strawberry Meringue Roses

Eat these pretty treats as is or crush them into a bowl of strawberries and whipped cream. Readers of my blog, utry.it, went nuts when I posted that idea.—Amy Tong, Anaheim, California
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Horseradish Deviled Eggs

People say, "Wow!" when they taste these flavorful, tangy horseradish deviled eggs. The bold combination of ground mustard, dill and horseradish is so appealing. The plate is always emptied whenever I serve these eggs. —Ruth Roth, Linville, North Carolina
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Kentucky Butter Cake

I found this Kentucky butter cake recipe in an old cookbook I bought at a garage sale and couldn’t wait to try it. I knew it had been someone’s favorite because of the well-worn page. —Joan Gertz, Palmetto, Florida
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Saucy Barbecue Shrimp

This old, rustic Cajun dish is one of our family favorites. Don’t remove the shells from the shrimp—the beauty of this dish is peeling the shrimp and dipping it in the sauce. We’ve doubled and even tripled this barbecue shrimp to feed crowds and it’s always perfect! —Debbie Glasscock, Conway, Arkansas
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Brownie Bourbon Bites

Chocolate and chopped pecans flavor these simple, spirited treats. Make a double batch so you can give some as gifts and savor the rest!—Paula Kirchenbauer, Newton, New Jersey
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Black-Eyed Susan

The Kentucky Derby has the mint julep; the Preakness has the black-eyed Susan. The drink is a sunny mix of vodka, rum, and pineapple and orange juices to toast your special events.—Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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German Beer Cheese Spread

We love recipes inspired by our German heritage. This tangy spread is fantastic served alongside everything, including pretzels and pumpernickel or crackers and sausage. Choose your favorite beer—the flavor really comes through. —Angela Spengler, Tampa, Florida
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Southern Banana Pudding

This is an old Southern recipe, featuring a comforting custard layered with bananas and vanilla wafers, then topped with a meringue. I serve it all year-round…it’s a nice ending to most any meal.
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Shrimp Salad Appetizers

This refreshing hors d'oeuvre has gained a big following since a friend shared her family recipe with me. My son says it best: The celery and shrimp are so good together. —Solie Kimble, Kanata, Ontario
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Bourbon Ham Balls

Grandma Nette was the queen of ham ball recipes. I make them salty-sweet with a bourbon and vinegar kick. Serve them alone, in a sandwich or over pasta or rice. —Kimla Carsten, Grand Junction, Colorado
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Pimiento Cheese-Stuffed Artichoke Bottoms

When your friends take a look at this pretty appetizer, they'll know they're at a fantastic party. There's nothing better than nibbling on one of these comforting snacks while watching fall football. They are cheesy, bacony and superb. —Elizabeth Bennett, Mill Creek, Washington
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Kentucky Grilled Chicken

This Kentucky grilled chicken is perfect for an outdoor summer meal, and my family thinks it's fantastic. It takes about an hour on the grill but is worth the wait. I use a new paintbrush to mop on the basting sauce. -Jill Evely, Wilmore, Kentucky
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Bagel Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce

I worked in a health club where bagels arrived daily, so I experimented with leftovers. I wasn’t a bread pudding fan until I tried it with bagels. —Kathy Hawkins, Gurnee, Illinois

Katie Bandurski
Katie is an Associate Editor for Taste of Home, specializing in writing and email newsletters. When she’s out of the office, you’ll find her exploring Wisconsin, trying out new vegetarian recipes and combing through antique shops.