25 Recipes for a Winning Kentucky Derby Party

A day at the races is sure to work up an appetite. Serve a showstopping spread of Derby-inspired classics, from hot browns to mint juleps and everything in between.

April 13, 2023

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All the Classic Kentucky Derby Eats

Whether you’re in it for the horses, the hats or the mint juleps, the Kentucky Derby is always a good time. Known as “the most exciting two minutes in sports” our goal is always to make a delicious spread that’s just as lively as the race itself—full of Southern favorites and Derby classics. Whether you’re hosting a party at home or attending someone else's and taking a dish to pass, these recipes are sure to come in handy. We’ve rounded up plenty of winning picks but, when you're talking about Kentucky recipes, nothing is more iconic than hot browns. Damaris Phillips puts a fun spin on the classic sandwich by deconstructing the components (bread, cheese, turkey and more) and baking them in individual servings. They’re perfect for any party.

Get the Recipe: Kentucky Hot Browns

Pimento Cheese

Ree adds a little heat to her classic pimento cheese by incorporating fiery adobo sauce.

Get the Recipe: Pimento Cheese

Mint Julep

It’s not a true Derby without mint juleps. This classic recipe requires just three ingredients — mint, sugar and plenty of Kentucky bourbon.

Get the Recipe: Mint Julep

Dill Benedictine Dip

Classic Kentucky Benedictine is the perfect partner to a mint julep. Serve the cucumber-cream cheese spread with fresh veggies or crackers for dipping.

Get the Recipe: Dill Benedictine Dip

Honey Ham Sandwich

Buttery homemade biscuits and an herby honey butter make Ree’s ham sandwiches out-of-this-world delicious.

Get the Recipe: Honey Ham Sandwich

Pineapple Sweet Tea

Freeze pineapple chunks in an ice cube tray to make fun and fruity ice cubes that will wow your party guests! Trisha’s secret? She uses canned pineapple, reserves the juice and stir it into classic sweet tea.

Get the Recipe: Pineapple Sweet Tea

Pimento Cheese Stuffed Burgers

Stuff pimento cheese into burger patties for a fun and filling twist on the traditional dip.

Get the Recipe: Pimento Cheese Stuffed Burgers

Bourbon Chocolate-Walnut Pie

You can’t celebrate the Kentucky Derby without bourbon. Use it as a filling in this chocolatey walnut pie for a dessert that’s fit for a day at the races.

Get the Recipe: Bourbon Chocolate-Walnut Pie

Rosetta's Green Bean and Potato Salad

Looking for a simple side dish? Boil potatoes and green beans, then toss the veggies with a quick basil dressing.

Get the Recipe: Rosetta's Green Bean and Potato Salad

Derby Tartlets

A candied walnut crust and boozy chocolate filling will make these treats the hit of any party.

Get the Recipe: Derby Tartlets

Sea Island Bourbon Punch

Punch up your party with Kardea’s boozy beverage. She sweetens bourbon with ginger ale, maraschino cherry juice and a pinch of cinnamon.

Get the Recipe: Sea Island Bourbon Punch

Pulled Pork

You can’t go wrong with Ree’s five-star pulled pork. She roasts the pork low and slow until it’s tender, sweet and deliciously juicy.

Get the Recipe: Pulled Pork

Sunny's Deviled Eggs

Who doesn’t love a deviled egg? Sunny includes pickled jalapenos in her filling for a mild heat that’s wonderfully tangy.

Get the Recipe: Sunny's Deviled Eggs

Honey Fried Chicken Bites

The combo of honey and pickle brine (sweet, sour and salty) makes for the perfect sauce to toss with chunks of fried chicken. We use thigh meat because it stays juicer and add a little buttermilk to our dredging flour; it helps make it shaggy, which makes the chicken crunchier.

Get the Recipe: Honey Fried Chicken Bites

Bourbon Balls

The sweet kick of bourbon in these confections will transport you straight to Kentucky. We dipped the pieces in a bittersweet chocolate coating and topped them off with crunchy pecan. The result is a Derby-worthy treat you can make and enjoy all year round.

Get the Recipe: Bourbon Balls

Baked Cheese Grits

Get golden-brown grits with the addition of Pepper Jack and sharp Cheddar.

Get the Recipe: Baked Cheese Grits

Chipotle Black-Eyed Pea Salad

Toss canned beans with olive oil, white wine vinegar, mustard and hot sauce for a perfectly seasoned side dish.

Get the Recipe: Chipotle Black-Eyed Pea Salad

Fried Green Tomatoes

Celebrate the Derby with traditional Southern dishes like fried green tomatoes. You can serve them as a side dish or as an appetizer with ranch dressing for dipping.

Get the Recipe: Fried Green Tomatoes

Mint Julep Fruit Salsa

Juleps aren’t just for drinking. Mint preserves and bourbon pack a flavorful punch when incorporated into a fruity salsa.

Get the Recipe: Mint Julep Fruit Salsa


This Kentucky-based stew is thick and hearty with various proteins and vegetables that simmer for a long time until tender and rich in flavor. Burgoo has stood the test of time because it not only uses pantry staples and inexpensive ingredients, including game meats and starchy veggies, but also serves a large group of people — making it the perfect addition to your spread if you're hosting a crowd.

Get the Recipe: Burgoo

Cucumber Tea Sandwiches

Valerie’s mini sandwiches are an easy way to add a touch of elegance to any event.

Get the Recipe: Cucumber Tea Sandwiches

Citrus Shrimp Salad

There’s a lot to love about this seafood salad — it’s easy to prepare, tastes delicious and makes a showstopping dish on any table.

Get the Recipe: Citrus Shrimp Salad

Ginger-Sweet Tea Juleps

Sip the best of both worlds with this cross between sweet tea and mint juleps.

Get the Recipe: Ginger-Sweet Tea Juleps

Strawberry and Hazelnut Salad with Orange Blossom Dressing

Introduce fresh flavors to your spread with Molly’s fruity salad. She adds toasted hazelnuts for a delicious crunch that pairs perfectly with sweet strawberries.

Get the Recipe: Strawberry and Hazelnut Salad with Orange Blossom Dressing

Deviled Ham Tea Sandwiches

As Trisha says, “Deviled ham is a Southern classic!” She uses pickled okra in place of relish for a unique pop of acid.

Get the Recipe: Deviled Ham Tea Sandwiches