15 Quick and Simple Memorial Day Recipes

Patriotic Cookout for Memorial Day

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Whether you're hosting a barbecue in the backyard or are heading to a potluck picnic, planning a great Memorial Day menu is a lot of fun. It's the unofficial start of summer for many Americans and a time to gather with family and friends. To celebrate, you'll want plenty of delicious food and refreshing drinks.

Memorial Day is also one of the year's first cookouts. From patriotic desserts to tender meats hot off the grill, there are many simple recipes to choose from. 

  • 01 of 15

    Brownie Flag

    Brownie Flag With Raspberries and Blueberries

    Ngoc Minh Ngo/Getty Images

    While this beautiful dessert looks complicated, there's a simple secret lying underneath the American flag. No one will know, though, and they'll think it took hours to make.

    This is a no-fail recipe because the base for the brownie flag is nothing more than a boxed brownie mix. Once baked, adorn it with white frosting and create the stars and stripes with blueberries and raspberries.

  • 02 of 15

    Patriotic Poke Cake

    Patriotic Poke Cake

    Stephanie Gallagher

    Use your favorite white or yellow cake mix, and the patriotic poke cake is a ton of fun. It's also a great kitchen project for kids.

    The recipe dyes coconut milk with red and blue food coloring. This is then poked inside the cake for colorful, delicious stripes. After that, add white frosting and finish it up with blue and red berries. 

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    Raspberry and Blueberry Bundt Cake

    Raspberry and Blueberry Bundt Cake

    Diana Rattray

    Raspberries and blueberries make another appearance in this simple bundt cake. The vanilla glaze completes the patriotic theme, and the cake is perfectly moist. It's sure to be a hit and a recipe you'll want to come back to time and again.

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    Ice Cream Sandwich Cake

    Ice Cream Sandwich Cake

    Stephanie Gallagher

    Ice cream sandwiches are a favorite treat for summer. They get a lot better when you transform them into a tempting ice cream sandwich cake.

    You'll use the sandwiches to create the cake's layers then top it with hot fudge and whipped cream. Add red, white, and blue sprinkles, and it's a perfectly Memorial Day dessert.

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  • 05 of 15

    All-American Sliders

    Three Hamburger Sliders

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    Burgers on the grill are a favorite for any holiday. These all-American sliders are the perfect way to feed a hungry crowd.

    The miniature ground beef patties are above average, adding bread crumbs and seasoning to the mix. Serve them on mini buns, then add American cheese and your favorite burger toppings.

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    Grilled Rib-Eye Steaks

    Steaks on the Grill

    Shannon M. Lutman/Getty Images

    Fire up the grill and enjoy some tasty rib-eye steaks. The recipe uses a flavorful dry rub of garlic, mustard, paprika, chili, and thyme. There's no need to be a grill master either. You'll find plenty of tips for making the perfect steak.

  • 07 of 15

    Homemade BBQ Sauce for Chicken

    Close Up Barbecued Chicken

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    Barbecue chicken hot off the grill is a family favorite. If you're overwhelmed by all the barbecue sauces at the store, try making your own.

    This BBQ sauce is explicitly designed for chicken and uses common ingredients you probably already have. It has a wonderful flavor that everyone will love and is easier than you think.

  • 08 of 15

    Apple Butter Barbecue Pork Kebabs

    Pork Belly Skewers With Cucumber Salad

    Eugene Mymrin/Getty Images

    While you have the grill going, try a new kebab recipe. Everyone's sure to marvel at your skills when they taste these apple butter barbecue pork kebabs.

    The apple-pork pairing is perfect, and both the marinade and sauce take just minutes to mix up. This recipe's so good, though, that you may need to make extra. It will disappear fast.

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  • 09 of 15

    Old-Fashioned Potato Salad

    Old-Fashioned Potato Salad
    Luca Trovato / Getty Images

    Potato salad is a classic dish for summer cookouts because it goes perfectly with any meat you toss on the grill. For a healthier alternative to the sour cream or mayonnaise salads, try an old-fashioned potato salad recipe. It's nice and light and perfectly seasoned.

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    Corn Cucumber Tomato Salad

    Corn Cucumber Tomato Salad

    Molly Watson

    Summer is the season to show off fresh vegetables. There's no better way to do that than with a cold and fresh salad.

    The corn cucumber tomato salad combines all the best flavors of summer. It uses a light olive oil and vinegar dressing and can be prepared in just 10 minutes.

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    Garden Pasta Salad

    Garden Pasta Salad With Rotini

    Diana Rattray

    Perfect for a potluck or picnic, the garden pasta salad is a pure delight. It's a mix of cucumber, tomato, olives, peppers, celery, and onion with rotini pasta. All that is tossed with a combination of mayonnaise, lemon, and pesto for a mouth-watering side dish.

  • 12 of 15

    Grilled Eggplant

    Grilled Eggplant

    The Spruce Eats

    There are all sorts of fruits and vegetables that you can add to the grill and eggplant is a favorite. To avoid overcooking it into a mush, there are a few tricks to ​perfectly grilled eggplant that you'll want to know. Learn it now, and it's a technique you can show off all summer.

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  • 13 of 15

    Agave Lemonade

    Agave Lemonade

    Memorial Day is also a time to enjoy fresh drinks. Few can beat a tall pitcher of homemade lemonade.

    This recipe skips the sugar and sweetens the lemonade with agave nectar instead. It creates a richer flavor that everyone will love and is a perfect base for your favorite lemonade drinks.

  • 14 of 15


    Glass of Weizen
    zmurciuk_k / Getty Images

    For the adults, take some of your lemonade and mix up a shandy. It's an ideal barbecue drink. This one even tastes a little bit better when you're standing over the grill or playing a game in the backyard. Best of all, the only other thing you need is your favorite beer. 

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    Claire Cohen

    The favorite cocktail of Memorial Day weekend is the only margarita made with tequila and fresh lime juice. It's cool, refreshing, and a fantastic way to kick off a season filled with fresh fruits and ice-cold beverages.