Whether you’re grilling with your family or venturing into post-pandemic entertaining, these recipes will spark joy in you and everyone around you! Wishing you a happy Memorial Day filled with your favorite recipes and all the people who matter most.

Strawberry Jello Poke Cake decorated like an American Flag.
Strawberry Jello Poke Cake.

For many of us, Memorial Day serves as the unofficial start to summer. The last day of school is just around the corner, and then it’s off to summer camp, the lake, camping, or any myriad of wholesome family fun.

But first, let’s barbecue! “Monday holidays” are always an excuse to fire up the grill, gather with friends and family, and dig in to your favorite warm-weather dishes.

Table of Contents
  1. Best Bacon Cheeseburger
  2. Easy Garden Salad
  3. Strawberry Pretzel Salad
  4. Cowboy Caviar
  5. Scotcheroos
  6. Fruit Punch

Best Bacon Cheeseburger

If you’re like me, you’ve been eatings beer brats any day that is warm enough to grill! So this Memorial Day, I’m shifting gears ever so slightly in favor of burgers with bacon and cheese (or whatever else floats your boat!). I love a good burger!

Best Bacon Cheeseburger
Like many people, when bacon enters the picture, I usually go big or go home. This bacon cheeseburger is no different, because I pile bacon onto the patty, sneak it into the sauce, and even toast the bun with it. In this recipe, I go big and go home, because the absolute best bacon cheeseburger I’ve ever tasted is always the one I make myself.
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Someone holding a bacon cheeseburger over a box with a side of fries.

More backyard barbecue favorites

Wisconsin Beer Brats
It's not summer or tailgate season without beer brats. If you like the flavor of caramelized onions, then you'll love this easy 4-ingredient grilled brat recipe.
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A platter of brats served with onions, ketchup, mustard, and sauerkraut.
Grilled Pork Chops
Succulent grilled pork chops make a perfect dinner, any night of the week. A super simple marinade that you throw together with common pantry ingredients does all the work for you; all you have to do is fire up the grill and make a salad.
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Grilled Pork Chops on a white platter.
Smoked Tri-Tip
Tri-tip is a quality cut of meat with the big, bold, juicy flavor of grilled steaks–what better way to enjoy it this summer than making a Smoked Tri-Tip in the backyard? Fire up that smoker–you know you want to. 
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Smoked tri tip on a silver tray.

Easy Garden Salad

There is no better way to celebrate new spring vegetables than with a fresh, colorful garden salad. Follow my ingredient suggestions OR create the salad of your dreams! And I’m all about store-bought shortcuts except when it comes to salad dressing. I hope you can find one you’ll love to make.

Easy Garden Salad
This Easy Garden Salad is colorful, delicious, and completely customizable depending on the season, where you live, and what you have. It's the perfect side dish to almost any meal!
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Easy garden salad on a white platter.

More spectacular veggie salads

The Best Macaroni Salad
The Best Macaroni Salad has ham, bacon, eggs, cheese, and plenty of colorful veggies in a sweet and creamy dressing.
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Macaroni salad in a wooden bowl.
Creamy Cucumber Salad
This Creamy Cucumber Salad is a classic German recipe, an all-around summer favorite, and an easy, tasty way to use up your cucumber bumper crop.
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Creamy cucumber salad on a blue plate.

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

Somewhere between a salad and dessert, this classic Midwestern side dish is the perfect combination of salty and sweet, creamy and crunchy, and downright delicious addictiveness. This strawberry version is most popular but the raspberry pretzel salad is good too!

Strawberry Pretzel Salad
More dessert than salad, Strawberry Pretzel Salad is sweet, salty, made with Jell-O, and topped with cool whip.  If you're still reading, it loves to be made ahead and is an absolute winner at potlucks and parties!
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A serving of strawberry pretzel salad on a white plate with a fork.

More classic fruit sides

Fruit Salad
Freshen up your menu with an easy, make-ahead Fruit Salad that's tossed in a zippy honey and citrus dressing. Toss it together, then allow this crowd-pleasing Fruit Salad to chill for an hour (or more) for a simple and healthy side dish recipe.
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Fruit salad in a small white bowl.
Frog Eye Salad
Frog Eye Salad is a sweet, pudding-based fruit salad that can be made with convenient ingredients or homemade whipping cream, we call it a salad just as an excuse to have two desserts! Sweet, chewy, and decadent, who knew Frogs' Eyes could taste so good!
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Frog eyed salad in a clear dish.

Cowboy Caviar

Cowboy Caviar lands somewhere between an appetizer and a salad, and it’s fantastic. This classic Midwestern side dish is loaded with beans, corns, vegetables, and a sweet and spicy dressing. It’s great with chips or on the side of grilled meats, and it’s perfect for cooling down in hot weather.

Cowboy Caviar
This easy recipe for Cowboy Caviar is fun, fresh, colorful, and endlessly adaptable. It makes a great dip, salad, side dish, or even a topping for grilled meats. Always a potluck favorite!
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Cowboy caviar in a bowl on a white plate with tortilla chips.

More fantastic warm-weather snacks

Crockpot Meatballs with Grape Jelly Sauce
The easiest party appetizer on the planet is also the most delicious. Crockpot Meatballs with Grape Jelly Sauce is a lifesaver for hungry crowds and cocktail parties, so make a double batch! 
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Crockpot meatballs with grape jelly sauce on a silver place.
Bruschetta
Bruschetta, the classic Italian appetizer featuring fresh tomatoes, basil, and garlic crostini, is a cinch to make at home in just 20 minutes. Pair this easy Bruschetta with any Italian entree and you'll feel like you're in a Roman restaurant (or your neighborhood trattoria!).
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Bruschetta on a white platter.

Scotcheroos

These “elevated” Rice Krispy bars have peanut butter in the mix and melted chocolate and butterscotch on top. Make or bring a plate of them to pass and watch them disappear!

Scotcheroos
If you like Rice Krispie treats, then you’ll go head over heels for no-bake Scotcheroos, one of the most decadent peanut butter and chocolate desserts you’ll ever have. They’re ready in minutes and devoured in seconds.
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Scotcheroos on a cooling rack.

More treats to share

Congo Bars
Loaded with chocolate, nuts, and coconut, Congo Bars hit all the right notes. Some say nothing else even comes close to how good they are. No mixer is required and, like other bar cookies, they travel well! 
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Congo bars on a cooling rack.
Blondies
Blondies are like a brownie without the chocolate: Sweet, golden, and buttery, these easy bars are made with just 6 simple ingredients.
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A stack of blondies on a cooling rack.

Fruit Punch

Quench your thirst with this easy, tropical punch flavored with lemonade, orange juice, and pineapple juice. This recipe doesn’t have alcohol, but you can stash a bottle on the side (vodka, rum, brandy) for the adults who want a splash.

Fruit Punch
This Fruit Punch recipe lives up to its name: It's sweet, fruity, and guaranteed to be guzzled by kids and adults alike. Learn how to make Fruit Punch, how to spike it for a cocktail recipe, and how to customize it.
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Fruit punch in three clear glasses.

More thirst quenchers

Strawberry Peach Frosé
This delicious Strawberry Peach Frosé is sweet, summery, and made with just 4 ingredients! If you keep frozen wine cubes on hand, you'll always be 1 minute away from your own personal happy hour.
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Two glasses of strawberry peach frose on a plate surrounded by slices of strawberries and peaches.
Strawberry Margarita
This easy-breezy Strawberry Margarita is made with just 5 ingredients and a blender. Add a salted rim and have it on the rocks or frozen. Either way, its delicious!
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Strawberry margarita in a clear stemmed glass.

Wishing you and yours a safe and happy Memorial Day!

Culinary School Secrets
Pro-level tricks to transform your cooking!

Meggan Hill

I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

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