45 Must-Have Recipes for Your Memorial Day Cookout

From burgers and side salads to lemonades and desserts, there’s no better way to celebrate the holiday weekend than with these summery recipes.

May 06, 2022

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Photo By: Alice Gao ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

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Plan a Next-Level Cookout Menu

You can’t serve just any dishes at the first cookout of the season — your grilling game needs to be on point, and we have all the appetizers, sides and mains you’ll need to plan the best Memorial Day menu right here. Serve up great bbq, all the greatest sides, and even red, white and blue desserts. Start your party with Katie’s layered dip for a fun and festive dish fit for a crowd. And don’t forget the chips for dipping!

Get the Recipe: Star Spangle Layered Dip

Sunny's Sizzling Summer Burger

Take pre-made burger patties over the top by seasoning with a flavorful spice rub and topping with lettuce, onion and a sriracha-cheese sauce.

Get the Recipe: Sunny's Sizzling Summer Burger

Bacon and Egg Potato Salad

Jet uses Greek yogurt and mustard as the dressing for his tangy potato salad.

Get the Recipe: Bacon and Egg Potato Salad

Grilled Cajun Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings

Grilled chicken wings are the quintessential finger food for a summer cookout with family and friends. Just toss the chicken in a flavorful rub, then grill to golden brown perfection. A final toss with Cajun lemon-pepper seasoning adds a kick of spice and acidity.

Get the Recipe: Grilled Cajun Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings

Broccoli Slaw

This sweet-and-savory slaw is sure to be a hit at your cookout. Best of all, you can throw it together fast — it’s ready in just 25 minutes!

Get the Recipe: Broccoli Slaw

Charm City Corn

Nothing says summer quite like corn on the cob. Wow your guests by tossing the boiled corn in a spicy melted butter.

Get the Recipe: Charm City Corn

Bite-Size Burgers

Wondering where to find the buns for these mini bites? We make our own in a matter of minutes using refrigerated, ready-to-bake bread dough and a mini muffin pan.

Get the Recipe: Bite-Size Burgers

Surf and Turf Skewers

Ready to take your cookout to the next level? Ree alternates pieces of steak and lobster meat on skewers for a quick-and-easy grilled main that’s guaranteed to impress.

Get the Recipe: Surf and Turf Skewers

Antipasto Salad

Giada gives classic pasta salad an Italian twist, tossing traditional ingredients like salami, cheese, peppers and olives with fusilli.

Get the Recipe: Antipasto Salad

Strawberry Country Cake

Ina flavors this impressive country cake with sour cream plus lemon and orange zest. Spread generous spoonfuls of whipped cream and fresh strawberries between the cake layers and on top for a decorative cookout centerpiece.

Get the Recipe: Strawberry Country Cake

Poppy-Seed Potato Salad

Try this mayo-free take on potato salad, made instead with an easy dressing of Dijon mustard, poppy seeds, oil and vinegar.

Get the Recipe: Poppy-Seed Potato Salad

Sparkling Summer Lemonade

Fresh berries and a mint simple syrup infuse sparkling lemonade with fresh summer flavor.

Get the Recipe: Sparkling Summer Lemonade

Crunchy Lemonade Drumsticks

Treat skin-on drumsticks to a fragrant lemon-buttermilk marinade for at least 4 hours (or up to overnight) before breading and baking them. It's best to dip the drumsticks in mayo before rolling them in panko to ensure the breading sticks.

Get the Recipe: Crunchy Lemonade Drumsticks

Cucumber Salad

Ellie's refreshing cucumber salad is an easy addition to any picnic or cookout.

Get the Recipe: Cucumber Salad


Stacked with layers of sopressata, mortadella and provolone, this hefty sandwich is made to survive on the road. A muffuletta is really at its best when it's been pressed for up to 3 hours — giving the briny tapenade time to soak into and soften the Italian loaf — which makes it the perfect make-ahead addition.

Get the Recipe: Muffuletta


What could be better than the tried-and-true combination of fried chicken and coleslaw on a summer day? For the best results, try preparing the slaw the night before the big cookout — that way, the cabbage and carrots have time to soak up the tangy dressing.

Get the Recipe: Coleslaw

Fried Chicken Sandwiches

These easy-to-make sandwiches are filled with crispy buttermilk fried chicken, crunchy coleslaw and spicy chipotle mayonnaise.

Get the Recipe: Fried Chicken Sandwiches

Grilled Corn with Smoky Butter

Add a subtle, smoky flavor to grilled corn by slathering each ear with a simple seasoned butter.

Get the Recipe: Grilled Corn with Smoky Butter

Mom's Salad

It’s all about the vinaigrette in this five-minute salad. The combo of fresh oregano and garlic promises a bright taste that pairs perfectly with grilled meats and your favorite summer sides.

Get the Recipe: Mom's Salad

Grilled Burgers

Use a gentle hand when mixing together the meats: If they are overworked, the burgers will be tough.

Get the Recipe: Basic Grilled Burgers

Grilled Beans

You can’t have a cookout without a side of beans! Kardea’s better-than-canned version is cooked right on the grill, so there’s no need to stand over a hot stove.

Get the Recipe: Grilled Beans

MacDaddy Mauro BBQ Boneless RiBurger

You don’t need beef to make a great burger. Jeff seasons ground pork with a BBQ rub, then bastes each patty with barbecue sauce as they cook. As reviewers say, it tastes just like your favorite fast food sandwich — only better!

Get the Recipe: MacDaddy Mauro BBQ Boneless RiBurger

Jalapeño Popper Potato Salad

Ree’s spicy twist on potato salad is a great accompaniment to every dish. She mashes the potatoes just a little bit to ensure a texture that's chunky yet silky.

Get the Recipe: Jalapeno Popper Potato Salad

Daikon-Carrot Salad

Use a vegetable peeler to slice carrots and daikon radishes into ribbons for this refreshing salad.

Get the Recipe: Daikon-Carrot Salad

No-Bake S'mores Bars

Ree upgrades the classic cookout dessert by combining melted marshmallows with graham crackers, chocolate chips and plenty of colorful toppings.

Get the Recipe: No-Bake S'mores Bars

Cornbread Salad

Assemble this salad as you would a trifle. Layer store-bought cornbread with corn, tomatoes, peppers, cheese and more.

Get the Recipe: Cornbread Salad

Picnic Potato Salad

Mix boiled red-skinned potatoes with a quick homemade pesto sauce for a hearty side that's good served cold or at room temperature.

Get the Recipe: Pat's Picnic Potato Salad

Red, White and Blue Salad

Three cheers for Giada’s red, white and blue salad. She puts a patriotic spin on salad by incorporating red grapes, blueberries and Gorgonzola cheese.

Get the Recipe: Red, White and Blue Salad

Curried Chicken Wraps

Ina adds cashews to her curried chicken salad for a bit of salt and crunch. Plan ahead by cooking the chicken a day in advance and allowing it to cool overnight — this will make it easier to shred on the day of the big cookout.

Get the Recipe: Curried Chicken Wraps

Spanish Potato Chip Frittata

This clever riff on a classic Spanish egg dish uses potato chips instead of potato slices for fantastic flavor and texture. The best part? It serves and tastes great at room temperature so you don't have to worry about keeping it warm on the go.

Get the Recipe: Spanish Potato Chip Frittata

Cajun Macaroni Salad

Creole mustard, pickled okra and a dash of hot sauce lend a Cajun flair to traditional macaroni salad.

Get the Recipe: Cajun Macaroni Salad

Spiced Burgers with Cucumber Yogurt

A light, refreshing yogurt sauce made with cucumber and cilantro is just the thing to cool down these curry-flavored burgers.

Get the Recipe: Spiced Burgers With Cucumber Yogurt

Creamy Potato Salad

Add some kick to this quick potato salad by stirring in some horseradish.

Get the Recipe: Creamy Potato Salad

Mini Hawaiian Chicken Skewers

Layer chunks of chicken with pineapple and bell pepper to assemble these tropical-inspired skewers.

Get the Recipe: Mini Hawaiian Chicken Skewers

Berry Dump Cake

Who doesn’t love a good shortcut dessert? Simply spread cake mix and cubed butter over your favorite summer berries, then bake until golden, bubbly and totally delicious.

Get the Recipe: Berry Dump Cake

Guacamole Salad

Turn your guacamole into a salad your friends and family can enjoy by the spoonful by dicing the avocado (instead of mashing) and adding cucumber. Be sure to add a good squeeze of lime on top of the dish before packing it up for a picnic to keep the avocado from browning.

Get the Recipe: Guacamole Salad

Grilled Brie and Strawberries

Kick off your Memorial Day festivities with this easy and elegant appetizer. Guests will clamor for a second helping of gooey grilled Brie and sweet, caramelized strawberries.

Get the Recipe: Grilled Brie and Strawberries

Potato, Tomato, Corn and Basil Salad 

Summer salads don't have to come with a high price tag. Dave's delicious version uses seasonal ingredients, which will save you money.

Get the Recipe: Potato, Tomato, Corn and Basil Salad

Frozen Grape Sangria

A light summer wine, like Pinot Grigio, is best for this white sangria. Freeze only the green grapes before assembling the drink — this makes for a refreshing cocktail that isn't overwhelmingly cold.

Get the Recipe: Frozen Grape Sangria

Pressed Picnic Sandwich with Roasted Red Pepper and Pepperoncini Spread

A great make-ahead dish that can be prepared as early as the night before, this tasty pressed sandwich features a zesty roasted red pepper and pepperoncini spread, tangy goat cheese and artichokes with slices of salami and prosciutto in the middle.

Get the Recipe: Pressed Picnic Sandwich with Roasted Red Pepper and Pepperoncini Spread

Lime Bars

These creamy, zesty lime bars are just the thing to top off any Memorial Day meal. For the neatest presentation, use a metal spatula or a baker's scraper to remove the bars from the pan.

Get the Recipe: Neely's Lime Bars

Avocado Salad

Creamy avocado pairs beautifully with sweet mango and crunchy jicama.

Get the Recipe: Avocado Salad

Flank Steak and Rajas Fajitas

Spice up your picnic with Aarón's grilled fajitas. He fills tortillas with strips of flank steak, onions and both jalapeno and poblano peppers. 

Get the Recipe: Flank Steak and Rajas Fajitas

Gyro-Style Lamb Burgers with Tzatziki and Grilled Onions

Instead of the usual shaved gyro meat, juicy lamb patties star in Michael’s Greek-inspired burgers.

Get the Recipe: Gyro-Style Lamb Burgers with Tzatziki and Grilled Onions

Rustic Strawberry Tart and Sweetened Whipped Cream

Ree’s secret? She prefers store-bought pie crust for her quick and easy strawberry tart. Once the tart is baked, she brushes the berries with apricot preserves for a sweet, glossy finish.

Get the Recipe: Rustic Strawberry Tart and Sweetened Whipped Cream

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