Though summer officially starts in June, for many, Memorial Day is the annual first chance to get together with friends for a warm weather cookout. Whether you’re just celebrating the return of BBQing or remembering those who died serving in the military, take this holiday as an opportunity to get your grill on. It’s also a great time for a picnic or potluck—don’t be that person who just brings a stack of cups (unless you’re also bringing a big-batch summer cocktail for sharing)! Instead, check out this list of 78 delicious Memorial Day sides, mains, salads, and more for ideas.
We’ve included tons of burgers and hot dogs, of course, including some fun spins on the classics like our pigs in a quilt, our pineapple bun burgers, our beer can burgers (use a beer can to create a hole in the hamburger that you can stuff with cheese), and our hot dog Cubans. Not a bun fan? No worries, we’ve got tons of chicken, seafood, and steak recipes that are perfect on the grill too, like our strawberry-jalapeño chicken, our cowboy steak, our grilled honey-chipotle salmon foil packets, our carne asada, and more.
Lots of salads here as well, and we don’t just mean the green ones (though we love leafy summer salads too!). We’ve got tons of potato salad recipes, pasta salads, and bean salads here as well, like our black bean & corn salad, our cowboy pasta salad, our tzatziki potato salad, and our antipasto potato salad.
Speaking of greens, don’t be tempted to skip the veggies at your BBQ. While everyone loves the meaty options, it’s the vegetarian sides and mains recipes they consistently ask for, like our Thai-inspired cauliflower steaks, our tomato gnocchi skewers, our grilled broccoli, or our veggie kabobs. Plus, your plant-based friends will be SO thankful you thought of them!
Now you’ve got all your savory options down, don’t forget about dessert! Check out our fave grilled fruits (if you’ve never had a grilled peach, get ready), our best summer desserts, and our top easy fruit desserts too.
Spicy Coconut Grilled Chicken
BY LAURA REGEPUBLISHED: JAN 5, 2023
Get these spicy coconut chicken thighs on the grill, you won’t regret it. They’re insanely tender thanks to a tasty duo of coconut milk and tenderizing pineapple juice in the marinade. The marinade is easy to prepare: Just chop the ginger and garlic and stir the rest together; the thighs can be marinated for as little as 20 minutes or up to 4 hours in the refrigerator. Don’t discard the marinade. Boil it on the stovetop until thickened and drizzle all over the chicken before serving for maximum flavor. From there, it only takes about 10 minutes on the grill to finish off the dish.
Leftover coconut milk can be stirred into soups and stews for a creamy finish, mixed into rice in place of some of the water for coconut rice, or stirred into oatmeal to add richness without dairy or blended into smoothies.
Made this? Let us know how it went in the comments below!
YIELDS: 4 – 6 serving(s)
PREP TIME: 15 mins
TOTAL TIME: 50 mins
1 c. canned unsweetened whole coconut milk
3/4 c. pineapple juice
1/4 c. chili-garlic sauce
1/4 c. fresh lime juice
1/4 c. packed light brown sugar
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp. finely grated peeled ginger (from one 2″ piece)
2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 8 small)
Vegetable oil, for grilling
1 pineapple, sliced into rounds
1/4 c. packed fresh cilantro leaves
Step 1 In a large bowl, whisk milk, pineapple juice, chili-garlic sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, garlic, soy sauce, and ginger until well combined. Add chicken and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 20 minutes or up to 4 hours.
Step 2 Remove chicken from marinade and transfer to a baking sheet, letting excess marinade drip back into bowl; season chicken all over with 3/4 teaspoon salt. Reserve marinade.
Step 3 Prepare a grill for medium-high heat; preheat 5 minutes. (Alternatively, use a grill pan.) Lightly brush grates with oil.
Step 4 Meanwhile, transfer marinade to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue to boil, stirring occasionally, until marinade is thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Step 5 Grill chicken and pineapple, turning once, until chicken is lightly charred in places and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of chicken registers 165° and pineapple is tender and lightly charred, 8 to 10 minutes.
Step 6 Transfer pineapple and chicken to a platter, drizzle with sauce, and sprinkle with cilantro.
Elote (Mexican Street Corn)
Grilled corn is a classic at our summer dinners and BBQs, but when we want to make this classic side dish into the star of the show, we turn to elote. Elote (aka Mexican street corn) is an unbelievably popular antojito (little craving or street food) that you can find all over Mexico and the US. In this craveable dish, grilled corn is covered in a creamy mayo and sour cream mixture before being topped with chili powder, cotija cheese, and plenty of lime juice. Only requiring a handful of ingredients, elote is surprisingly easy to make at home (with or without a grill). Follow our top tips to learn exactly how to recreate this flavor-packed side in less than 30 minutes:
Grilling the corn.
Grilling our corn is what gives that smoky, charred taste we can’t get enough in this dish. Commonly served on a stick, you can also skip the skewer and make it right on the grill if you prefer! No grill? No sweat! You can make elote in your air fryer no problem! No matter your preferred method, we’ve included instructions down below for equally delicious Mexican street corn.
Notes on elote ingredients:
— The mayo. If you’re a mayo hater, don’t write this recipe off just yet. Absorbing the flavor of the chili powder, cotija cheese, and lime juice, the mayo becomes more like a creamy sauce.
— Cotija cheese. If you’re having trouble finding cotija cheese, you can replace it with a salty crumby cheese like feta or ricotta salata. But we really recommend getting your hands on cotija for its perfect blend of texture and taste.
— Chili powder. We used chili powder in our recipe, but your options don’t stop there—feel free to swap it out for ancho chili powder or tajín.
Want a bit more heat?
Add some cayenne pepper!Serving ideas. This side is perfect for any cookout staple—try it with barbecue chicken or grilled steak. For the ultimate party centerpiece , you could set up all of the toppings (adding a few wildcards, like scallions, crumbled bacon and sriracha) and create a build your own elote bar. 😱
In love with this recipe? Us too! Leave us a comment and don’t forget to rate it!
YIELDS: 4 serving(s)
PREP TIME: 5 mins
TOTAL TIME: 25 mins
6 ears corn, shucked and cleaned
1/4 c. mayonnaise
1/4 c. Mexican crema or sour cream
1/3 c. Grated cotija cheese
Freshly chopped cilantro
Lime wedges, for serving
Step 1 Preheat grill or grill pan to medium-high. Grill corn, turning often, until slightly charred all over, about 10 minutes.
Step 2 Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together mayonnaise and Mexican crema.
Step 3 Brush corn with a layer of the mayonnaise mixture and sprinkle with chili powder, cotija, and cilantro. Serve warm with lime wedges.
FOR THE AIR FRYER:
Step 1 Cut corn to fit in air-fryer basket. (You may need to cut cobs in half.)
Step 2 Brush corn all over with olive oil. Working in batches, add corn to air fryer and cook at 400° for 10 to 12 minutes, flipping halfway through, until tender.
Step 3 Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together mayonnaise and Mexican cream.
Step 4 Spread 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise mixture onto each cob, then sprinkle with chili powder, Cotija, and cilantro.
Step 5 Serve warm or at room temperature with lime wedges.
Who doesn’t love an ultra-creamy slice of cheesecake? This mini version is super-easy to make (no water bath!), but just as delicious as its full-size counterpart. Feel free to swap out the fruit for whatever’s in season, or leave out fruit entirely and top with whipped cream and chocolate curls instead!
PREP TIME: 10 mins
TOTAL TIME: 2 hrs 50 mins
14 graham crackers, crushed
4 tbsp. melted butter
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
2 (8-oz.) blocks cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs
1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Pinch of kosher salt
Fresh berries, for garnish
2 tbsp. orange marmalade or apricot jam
See All Nutritional Information
Preheat oven to 325º and line two 12-cup muffin tin with 16 paper liners. Spray liners with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, combine crushed graham crackers, melted butter, and salt and stir until combined. Press graham mixture into paper liners.
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add eggs, sour cream, sugar, vanilla, and salt and beat until combined. Pour filling over graham crusts.
Bake until center is slightly jiggly, 20 minutes. Let cool in muffin tin, then refrigerate at least 2 hours.
To serve: Top with desired fruit. Combine jam with 1 tablespoon water and microwave on medium power for 15 seconds. Brush jam mixture over fruit before serving.