7 Easy Memorial Day Menu Ideas for Your Backyard Barbecue

For an easy Memorial Day idea, honor our veterans and soldiers and signal the arrival of summer with dinner outside.

Show gratitude for the freedom that soldiers have fought for by celebrating Memorial Day with your family. Make some simple Memorial Day recipes and enjoy the barely-there summer weather. We have everything you need to enjoy spending time together. The day will go smoothly with our easy make-ahead menu and our fun family game ideas. Whip up some key lime pie cupcakes or ice cream tacos for a sweet treat.

4th of July fruit holders
James Baigrie

Our No-Fail Memorial Day Menu

These easy party-ready recipes are perfect for an outdoor summer dinner. We've added creative twists to classic summer dishes like burgers, salad, and grilled corn.

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Grapefruit Gin Cocktail Shake

Grapefruit-Gin Cocktail Shakes
Andy Lyons

This boozy blended drink is thick, creamy, and refreshing. Raspberry sorbet is paired with grapefruit juice to make a sweet and tangy drink.

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Watermelon-Mint Salad

Watermelon-Mint Salad in small glass jars
Blaine Moats

Snag a sneak peek of summer's fresh flavors with this watermelon salad perfect for your Memorial Day menu. It's super simple to make and only calls for five ingredients. Make and chill up to four hours before serving. This fruity feta salad is classy twist on a summer staple.

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BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches


These faux-BBQ sammies will please vegetarians and carnivores alike. Their meaty taste comes from shredded jackfruit and barbecue sauce. Top with red onion and coleslaw for some crunch and sweetness.

04 of 07

BLT Pasta Salad

BLT Pasta Salad
Matthew Clark

A barbeque wouldn't be complete without pasta salad. This creamy, sandwich inspired side dish is a crowd pleaser and a must-have Memorial Day dish. It has all the flavors of your favorite sandwich plus a tangy sour cream dressing.

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Padma's Grilled Corn

Padma's Grilled Corn
John Kernick

Corn on the cob is perfect for any Memorial Day menu. It's portable, grillable, and oh, so flavorful thanks to lemons, smoked paprika, and fleur de sel. Toss these corn cobs on the grill right next to the burger. Serve the grilled corn warm.

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Ice Cream Tacos


This cheeky dessert is sure to put a smile on your guests' faces. Upgrade a basic ice cream sundae by making waffle-cone "taco shells." Then let family members create their own masterpieces by setting out different flavors of ice cream and toppings.

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Key Lime Pie Cupcakes


Filled with a rich filling - these fluffy cupcakes are decadent. Enjoy a Memorial Day cupcake that's sweet-but-tart. Sprinkle a graham cracker crumble on top to completely mimic a key lime pie.

Girl playing bean bag game
Kate Mathis

Fun Family Entertaining Ideas

Casual entertaining in the backyard is one of the joys of summer. These fun outdoor game ideas let family members entertain themselves on a whim.

  • Set up activity stations to encourage spontaneous fun. Think croquet, badminton, volleyball, or bocce ball.
  • For the kids (and the kids at heart), set out Hula-Hoops, sidewalk chalk, water balloons, music, and more.
  • Arrange some chairs in the shade, and have a tub filled with beverages to beat the heat. If you live in a hot and sunny climate, consider a kiddie pool for instant cool-offs.
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