Memorial Day Recipes

A collection of all our favorite Memorial Day Recipes, including meats, sides, salads, desserts, and drinks! Perfect for any holiday BBQ!

For more collections: Memorial Day Desserts

Collage of Memorial Day Recipes

Memorial Day BBQ’s

Do you throw a big party or get together for Memorial Day?? We always have a BBQ with family and assign each person to bring a dish to share. Whoever is hosting typically is in charge of the main dish or grilling the meats, and then everyone else brings sides, salads, desserts, drinks, etc.

I put together this collection with our favorite Memorial Day Recipes from each category, so hopefully if you’re assigned to bring something specific, you can find the perfect recipe to make for your holiday gathering!

Before we get into the list of recipes, however, I have a few tips to make sure your Memorial Day BBQ is a real hit!

Cheesecake fruit salad in a red bowl for a Memorial Day side

Tips for Memorial Day Gatherings

BBQ FOOD TIPS: Keep these things in mind when preparing food for this holiday.

  • Clean the grill a few days before the event.
  • Keep lids or plastic wrap handy to keep food covered and pesky bugs out.
  • Plan Menu ahead of time. This helps with shopping and if guests offer to bring a dish.
  • If keeping food in a cooler be sure to separate meats and poultry from other food items. 
  • Food should not be out for more than 2 hours. Only put out enough food that can be consumed within that window of time. Keep extra portions in a cold cooler or fridge.  
  • Take meats out of the fridge 20-30 minutes before grilling.
  • Cook and Serve meat according to done, medium and rare. Have designated signs labeling which plate is which.
  • Have a box of baking soda on hand in case of a grill fire.

OUTDOOR PARTY TIPS: Just a few things that may help if planning a party outside for Memorial Day.

  • Pick up the yard beforehand. Be sure there aren’t any tools left out that children may get hurt on. 
  • Seating: Have plenty of seating set up around the yard. A Pic Nic Blanket is easy and  perfect for children. 
  • Tables: Older guests will especially appreciate a table. Also, provide tables if you’re serving anything that needs to be cut with a knife. No one one wants to try that on their lap. 
  • Avoid long lines: Set food out in such a way that there can be more than one point of access. 
  • Lighting: If your BBQ is going to extend into the evening, be sure to have lighting such as torches or strings of light . A fire pit is also fun to have at night.
  • Shade: Use umbrellas or awnings. You can even string up bed sheets. Your guests will appreciate the shade. 
  • Be sure to provide plenty of trash bins. 
  • Have lawn games available
  • Music adds nice element

Main Dishes

Main Dishes

It’s common to grill meats on Memorial Day, since the weather is warming up, and nothing is better than the smell of grilling on a Summer holiday!

Plan on serving each adult 6 to 8 ounces of meat. Children will only need 3-4 ounces. Note that people tend to eat more in the evening than during the day. 

Main Course Dr. Pepper Ribs Recipe
Pork ribs cooked in Dr. Pepper, grilled to perfection, and smothered in BBQ Sauce. These Dr. Pepper ribs are fall off the bone delicious!
Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
4.5 from 6 votes
Check out this recipe
Main Course Ranch Burger Recipe
These Ranch Burgers make the BEST homemade hamburgers!! This easy burger recipe is complete with the most delicious secret sauce that compliments the ranch burger perfectly!
Total Time: 20 minutes
4.67 from 3 votes
Check out this recipe
Main Course Easy Steak Marinade Recipe
This is Our All-Time Favorite Steak marinade! It requires only four ingredients, and makes our steak taste SO amazing! Everyone always asks for this Easy Steak Marinade recipe because it's just that good!!
Total Time: 5 minutes
4.8 from 15 votes
Check out this recipe
Main Course Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Sandwiches Recipe
Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Sandwiches - simple, delicious and perfect for your next BBQ!
Total Time: 25 minutes
5 from 1 vote
Check out this recipe
Main Course How to Cook Hot Dogs in Crock Pot
The easiest way to make hot dogs for a crowd! Cook hot dogs in the crock pot for all of your summer potluck needs.
Total Time: 2 hours 2 minutes
Check out this recipe
Main Course Crock Pot Brisket Recipe
Juicy and delicious meat, easily made in your slow cooker! This crock pot brisket is so tender it just falls apart.
Total Time: 8 hours 5 minutes
5 from 6 votes
Check out this recipe
Main Course Huli Huli Chicken Recipe
This Grilled Huli Huli Chicken is the juiciest and most delicious Hawaiian chicken you'll ever try! Great alone or served on rice or noodles!!
Total Time: 21 minutes
4.91 from 11 votes
Check out this recipe
Appetizer, Main Course Honey BBQ Wings Recipe
Delicious homemade boneless chicken wings, double breaded, baked to a crispy perfection, then smothered in sweet and tangy honey bbq sauce. This Boneless Honey BBQ Wings recipe makes for the perfect game day appetizer, or weekend dinner item! 
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
5 from 5 votes
Check out this recipe
Main Course Kalua Pork Recipe
This Slow Cooker Kalua Pork is a classic Hawaiian favorite made easily in your slow cooker with just a few ingredients. Eat it on it's own, or in tacos or sliders.
Total Time: 9 hours 5 minutes
5 from 11 votes
Check out this recipe
Main Course Carnitas Recipe
Carnitas AKA Mexican Slow Cooker Pulled Pork takes minutes to prep and is great in tacos, bean burritos, quesadillas, chimichangas and more!
5 from 6 votes
Check out this recipe
Main Course Pulled Pork Recipe
This Delicious and Easy Pulled Pork Recipe is one that is made in the slow cooker and takes just minutes to prep. Use the pork for any recipe, including Pulled Pork sandwiches, and you'll love just how simple and tasty it is.
Total Time: 8 hours 5 minutes
4.92 from 12 votes
Check out this recipe

Salads

Salads

We love to serve a variety of sweet and savory salads on Memorial Day.

Depending on how many salad options are available, plan for each guest to be able to have about ½ -1 cup of salad. 

Dessert Strawberry Pretzel Salad Recipe
This classic treat is always a crowd pleaser with a pretzel crust, cream cheese layer and strawberry jello topping! Strawberry Jello Pretzel Salad is the ultimate combination of sweet and salty!
Total Time: 20 minutes
5 from 7 votes
Check out this recipe
Salad Tortellini Salad Recipe
Super YUMMY and easy Tortellini Salad filled with tortellini, salad, ranch, tomatoes and bacon bits - perfect for summer time!
Total Time: 20 minutes
4.84 from 6 votes
Check out this recipe
Side Dish Easy Pasta Salad Recipe
Easy and delicious Italian Pasta Salad recipe that includes Rotini pasta, olives, tomatoes, & cheese in Italian dressing! It takes minutes to make and is perfect for any get together including BBQs and holidays.
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
4.93 from 14 votes
Check out this recipe
Salad Potato Salad Recipe
Our all-time favorite Potato Salad - it's simple, flavorful and filled with chunks of potatoes, eggs and olives! It's the perfect addition to any BBQ or picnic and is so creamy and tasty, it will wow everyone who tries it.
Total Time: 55 minutes
5 from 16 votes
Check out this recipe
Dessert Cheesecake Fruit Salad Recipe
This Cheesecake Fruit Salad is the perfect combination of creamy, light, and fresh! Fresh berries tossed in a cream cheese pudding mixture—it's the perfect side, or crepe filling!
Total Time: 7 minutes
5 from 11 votes
Check out this recipe
Salad Asian Ramen Salad Recipe
Asian Ramen Salad that is easy and yummy - perfect for your next party or BBQ! Simple ingredients including ramen, almonds, & coleslaw in a delicious dressing!
Total Time: 15 minutes
5 from 2 votes
Check out this recipe
Salad, Side Dish Ambrosia Salad Recipe
This ambrosia salad will take your straight back to your childhood. The best creamy fruit salad with mini marshmallows mixed in!
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
5 from 7 votes
Check out this recipe
Side Dish Coleslaw Recipe
This quick and Easy Coleslaw makes the perfect side dish for any picnic or BBQ. It takes just minutes to put this classic coleslaw recipe together, and it can easily be customized with the spices and flavors you love most.
Total Time: 10 minutes
5 from 6 votes
Check out this recipe
Salad Corn Salad Recipe
This Summer Corn Salad is a light, flavorful salad filled with corn, tomatoes, feta, basil and cucumber. It's so simple and quick that it's perfect for get togethers and BBQs.
Total Time: 7 minutes
4.93 from 41 votes
Check out this recipe
Salad Broccoli Salad Recipe
This Sunny Broccoli Salad is a simple, tasty and hearty broccoli salad served with bacon, cranberries, sunflower seeds, and mixed with a delicious, homemade mayonnaise-vinegar based dressing that is perfect for BBQs and get togethers.
Total Time: 10 minutes
4.94 from 32 votes
Check out this recipe
Salad, Side Dish 7 Layer Salad Recipe
7 Layers of Goodness in this delicious layered Salad. This recipe isn't only delicious, but is easy to customize and is great to make ahead of time too!
5 from 6 votes
Check out this recipe
Side Dish Fruit Salad Recipe
A fresh fruit salad that makes the perfect side dish to any meal! Colorful, healthy, delicious, and filled with all your favorite fruits!
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
5 from 9 votes
Check out this recipe

Sides

Side dishes

Memorial Day sides are some of our favorites. If hosting, be sure to get others involved and give them a side to bring. Most are simple and require little prep work.

Most adults will have about 3-4 total servings of sides. Children will have 2-3 servings. 

Side Dish How to Cut a Watermelon
Is there anything better than a ripe juicy watermelon? Learn how to cut a watermelon into cubes efficiently and easily with our tips!
5 from 8 votes
Check out this recipe
Side Dish Fruit Kabobs Recipe
Colorful fruit kabobs are the best appetizer or side for any occasion! Load up your favorite fruits and get snacking.
Total Time: 20 minutes
5 from 6 votes
Check out this recipe
Side Dish Homemade Baked Beans Recipe
This Homemade Baked Beans recipe is a must-have at all of our BBQ's.  It's such a simple and easy recipe, requires only FIVE ingredients, and cooks in the crock pot. 
Total Time: 4 hours 5 minutes
4.91 from 11 votes
Check out this recipe
Appetizer, Side Dish Fried Zucchini Recipe
Whether you serve it as a side or an appetizer, this restaurant style Fried Zucchini is a family favorite. Fried to perfection, this dish is simply addicting, especially dipped in ranch and marinara!
Total Time: 10 minutes
4.98 from 34 votes
Check out this recipe
Main Course Crock Pot Mac and Cheese Recipe
Everyone loves a good slow cooker recipe, and this Crock Pot Mac and Cheese is so simple, cheesy and delicious. With loads of cheese, butter, and sour cream it's hard not to love this creamy macaroni and cheese recipe.
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
4.91 from 21 votes
Check out this recipe
Side Dish How to Boil Corn on the Cob
Boiling corn on the cob is a cinch! You will love this juicy corn on the cob to put on the side of any summer meal.
Total Time: 15 minutes
5 from 6 votes
Check out this recipe
Appetizer Bacon Wrapped Chicken Bites recipe
Barbecue Bacon Wrapped Chicken Bites Are Simple, Quick , And Delicious. Chicken Smothered In Barbecue Sauce And Wrapped In Bacon Make For A Popular Appetizer At Any Gathering! These Savory Little Chicken Bites Vanish In Minutes!
Total Time: 55 minutes
5 from 1 vote
Check out this recipe
Appetizer Deviled Egg Recipe
Nothing better than a smooth deviled egg appetizer! You'll be surprised with how easy these are to make. Tons of flavor, super delicious and perfect for parties and holidays.
Total Time: 30 minutes
5 from 15 votes
Check out this recipe
Appetizer Grilled Bacon Wrapped Asparagus Recipe
This Recipe Is Inspired By One Of Our Favorite Disneyland Foods – Bacon Wrapped Asparagus Skewers From Bengal Barbecue! These Skewers Only Require 4 Ingredients And Take Less Than 10 Minutes On The Grill! 
Total Time: 20 minutes
5 from 7 votes
Check out this recipe
Side Dish Grilled Asparagus Recipe
Grilled asparagus is the best side dish alongside almost any dinner recipe! Sprinkled with salt, pepper, and a little parmesan cheese—this recipe is incredible!
Total Time: 8 minutes
5 from 6 votes
Check out this recipe

Desserts

Desserts

It’s fun to make patriotic themed desserts for Memorial day, or serve cold desserts like ice cream cakes since the weather is hot. We have a more elaborate collection of Memorial Day Desserts, but here is a small list of favorites.

Plan for each guest to be able to have two servings of dessert. The more dessert options there are, the less of each dessert you’ll have to make. 

Dessert Red White and Blueberry Cupcakes Recipe
Red, White and Blueberry Cupcakes - the perfect patriotic treat for your next BBQ or picnic!
Total Time: 28 minutes
5 from 1 vote
Check out this recipe
Dessert Mini Fruit Tarts Recipe
These Mini Fruit Tarts are a delicious and simple summer dessert! Made by filling mini tart cups with an amazing homemade cream and topped with your favorite fruit, these mini treats are perfect for any get together.
Total Time: 30 minutes
5 from 2 votes
Check out this recipe
Dessert 4th of July Rice Krispies Treat Recipe
Delicious, simple and quick 4th of July Rice Krispies Treats. These red, white and blue treats are always a hit, and are festive for any patriotic occasion.
Total Time: 10 minutes
5 from 2 votes
Check out this recipe
Dessert Dirt Cake Recipe
Oreo Dirt Cake - layers of creamy, white chocolate pudding, cream cheese, cool whip and more and topped off with Oreos!
Total Time: 10 minutes
4.89 from 18 votes
Check out this recipe
Dessert Paradise Parfait Recipe
Paradise Parfaits - Fruit and a creamy, fluffy pudding mixture layered together to make a delicious cool dessert!
Total Time: 10 minutes
5 from 2 votes
Check out this recipe
Dessert Jello Poke Cake Recipe
I Love Jello Poke Cake! I Went With Raspberry Here, But You Can Easily Make A Cherry Or A Strawberry Poke Cake.
Total Time: 35 minutes
4.91 from 32 votes
Check out this recipe
Dessert Mini Fruit Pizzas Recipe
Mini Fruit Pizzas - one of the prettiest and yummiest treats you'll ever make. A sugar cookie base with a cream cheese frosting, topped with fruit!
Total Time: 18 minutes
5 from 1 vote
Check out this recipe
Dessert Red, White and Blue Trifle Recipe
The perfect dessert for the Layered Fourth - Red, White and Blue Trifle. Recipe includes white cake mix, red and blue food coloring, white chocolate pudding, cool whip, and strawberries.
Total Time: 40 minutes
5 from 1 vote
Check out this recipe
Easy No-Bake Berry Icebox Cake
Dessert Easy Berry Icebox Cake Recipe
This icebox cake will be the hit of your summer BBQs. It's simple, light and full of fresh summer berries. It'll disappear in seconds!
Total Time: 10 minutes
5 from 6 votes
Check out this recipe
Dessert Dessert Kabobs Recipe
Dessert Kabobs - a simple and delicious way to serve several "mini" treats. Perfect for parties, barbecues and holidays!
Total Time: 10 minutes
5 from 1 vote
Check out this recipe

Drinks

Drinks

You’ll want to make sure that you have enough drinks to last through the duration of the party. Plan for guests to drink 4-8 oz in the first hour of the party and 4 oz for every hour after.

We always have water and soda and usually a homemade, kid-friendly drink. Some of our favorites are below:

Drinks Patriotic Drink Recipe
It's not difficult to make this layered red white and blue patriotic drink! All it takes is Hawaiian Punch, blue gatorade, and sprite zero.
Total Time: 5 minutes
Check out this recipe
Drinks Sonic Cherry Limeade Recipe
Delicious recipe for Sonic's Cherry Limeade - tastes just like it! Ingredients include 7-Up, cherries, a lime, and maraschino syrup!
Total Time: 5 minutes
5 from 7 votes
Check out this recipe
Drinks Frozen Strawberry Lemonade
Frozen Strawberry Lemonade - this takes minutes to make and is filled with lemonade, strawberries, ice and pineapple juice.
Total Time: 5 minutes
5 from 1 vote
Check out this recipe
Drinks Watermelon Juice Recipe
Delicious and Refreshing Watermelon Juice - a favorite drink in the summer time! Made with watermelon & strawberries! 
Total Time: 8 minutes
4.78 from 9 votes
Check out this recipe
Drinks Pink Punch Recipe
All-time Favorite Party Drink - this Pink Drink recipe (aka Baby Shower Punch) takes a minute to make and is made with 3 ingredients including  -  pink lemonade dry mix, sprite, & pineapple juice!
Total Time: 3 minutes
4.97 from 52 votes
Check out this recipe
Drinks Mint Julep Recipe (Non-Alcoholic)
Disneyland's Copycat Mint Julep recipe - a non-alcoholic drink that is refreshing and DELICIOUS!! Made with lemonade concentrate, creme de menthe syrup, lime juice, sugar, and club soda - topped with mint leaves and cherries!
Total Time: 10 minutes
5 from 9 votes
Check out this recipe
Drinks Best Strawberry Lemonade
The BEST Strawberry Lemonade filled with chunks of your favorite fruit including strawberries, pineapple, mangos, cantaloupe and watermelon!
Total Time: 5 minutes
5 from 3 votes
Check out this recipe
The perfect cold drink for sipping on a hot summer day! This delicious Sparkling Peach Lemonade is made with just a few simple ingredients and comes together in just minutes. Fantastic for picnics, parties and showers, too!
Drinks Sparkling Peach Lemonade Recipe
The perfect cold drink for sipping on a hot summer day! This delicious Sparkling Peach Lemonade is made with just a few simple ingredients and comes together in just minutes. Fantastic for picnics, parties and showers, too!
Total Time: 5 minutes
5 from 1 vote
Check out this recipe
Drinks Sonic Ocean Water Recipe
Copycat Sonic Ocean Water - so easy to make and so refreshing! It's perfect for parties or a hot, summer day!
Total Time: 5 minutes
5 from 6 votes
Check out this recipe
Homemade Slurpee
Drinks Homemade Slurpee Recipe
Delicious Homemade Slurpee recipe - the kids will LOVE this!! Easy ingredients make this so tasty - club soda, cherry kool aid mix, sugar, crushed ice, and maraschino cherry juice!
Total Time: 7 minutes
5 from 1 vote
Check out this recipe

Shop Online

Lil' Luna Products

See All Products

Want more inspiration?

More Recipes You'll Love

Holiday Punch

4 from 1 vote

Thanksgiving Leftover Casserole

Total Time: 50 minutes
5 from 1 vote

About the Author

Kristyn Merkley

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

Join the Conversation

Rate and Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *