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22 Recipes That Are Perfect for a Juneteenth Cookout

Updated on April 26, 2024

We asked Food Network stars and some of our favorite chefs what they'd like to serve at their own Juneteenth celebrations. These meaningful mains, sides and desserts are perfect for a party with friends and family.

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Photo: Jonathan Melendez

Plan a Celebratory Juneteenth Spread

Food and drink are an important part of independence celebrations all over the world. Juneteenth is all about community and fellowship, and the cookout is an essential part of that. Family and friends come together to celebrate and partake in red foods and drinks that some view as symbols of sacrifice and suffering and others embrace as signs of resilience and joy. This delicate cake is inspired by Texas sheet cake, substituting chocolate cake for strawberry cake and chocolate ganache for chantilly cream. The strawberry purée is a perfect way to use up slightly overripe strawberries and the strawberry cookie crunch topping adds a nostalgic feel and extra texture to this center-of-the-table cake.

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Photo: Matt

Vallery Lomas's Strawberry Punch

Strawberry beverages are traditionally enjoyed for Juneteenth. For us, this normally meant a commercially-produced strawberry soda that we purchased at the grocery store. But June is also the peak of strawberry season for much of the country, and this recipe uses fresh strawberries for a vibrant berry flavor that is unmatched by a store-bought soda. Boil the strawberries with water and sugar to create a strawberry syrup. From there, the options are limitless. You can add sparkling water to the strawberry syrup for a gourmet-take on strawberry soda. You can top a glass of champagne with the strawberry syrup for a summery bellini-type beverage. Or, you can jazz things up with this recipe and use pineapple juice, orange juice, rum and sparkling wine for the ultimate strawberry punch. — Vallery Lomas

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Carla Hall's Fried Catfish Fingers

Fried catfish is a Soul Food staple found not just across the South, but across America. This favorite is flaky and tender on the inside, crunchy and slightly spicy on the outside. Soaking the catfish in buttermilk for a short time adds a tangy flavor, and if you whisk in a little hot sauce you get an extra layer of heat that can’t be beat! — Carla Hall

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Lasheeda Perry's Juneteenth Macarons

I was inspired to make this recipe because, unfortunately, African American pastry chefs are often viewed as less skilled than their French, Italian, German or other counterparts. We’re too often asked to make stereotypical Southern-style desserts, which, of course, are a very delicious art of their own. But for Juneteenth I thought I’d show a wider embrace of pastry by making macarons. These classically French cookies can be made in any color and flavor; I chose to incorporate black, red, yellow and green, the traditional Pan-African and Black Liberation colors, then flavored them with chocolate and filled them with a mango buttercream to make them irresistible. — Lasheeda Perry

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