Memorial Day is the United States holiday honoring soldiers that died while serving the military. To celebrate, the government and many private companies give non-essential employees the day off. Memorial Day parties are held during this time, and you might be invited to one. Wanting to be a good guest, you are likely considering taking something delicious for everyone to enjoy. But what type of food is appropriate for a Memorial Day party? Since the holiday is observed on the last Monday of May, many people see it as the start of summer, which leads them to have cookouts and barbecues. But deciding what foods to take is not as simple as it seems. There are many things to take into consideration, such as location, allergies, and dietary restrictions. To help you choose, we’ve compiled a list of the top Memorial Day foods.

What To Know Before Choosing

It's imperative to ask questions about the party and the dishes that will be served to figure out what to take. For example, bringing a pot roast when the host has already made an entrée might lead to too much food and not enough mouths. To avoid situations like this, talk with the host and make sure you go over the following topics:

  • Coordinate with the host to make sure they’re okay with you bringing something. The host will likely want you to bring something that fits the menu. You also want to make sure you don't take something that will already be at the party.
  • Ensure the food you are bringing is in line with the host’s and guests’ diet. Just like you would let your host know about your diet and allergies, you need to know about any dietary restrictions the individuals may have to avoid initiating allergic reactions or disregarding dietary preferences.
  • Serve your food in a disposable container or one that matches the party’s aesthetic. Ask your host what type of tableware and decorations they will use, so your container does not stick out from the rest. Another option would be to serve food in a disposable serving bowl. A single-use serving container ensures the host will not have an extra dish to wash, and you won’t have to worry about getting the bowl back.

Food To Bring

1. Cocktail Meatballs

Many people think of meatballs as the dish that accompanies spaghetti. However, cocktail meatballs are mini meatballs with wooden picks inserted into them, so guests can easily pick them up. Cocktail meatballs are easy to make, and you can choose what flavor to make them, such as sweet and sour, barbecue spicy, grape jelly, and more. Plus, they're appropriate for formal and casual gatherings.

cocktail meatball

2. Potato Skins

Save those potato peels and fill them with cheese, chili, vegetables, and more. The great thing about potato skins is that they allow you to get creative, which means you can customize the ingredients however your host or guests prefer. Not to mention, you also get to repurpose food and reduce waste in your kitchen.


potato skins on plate

3. Sausage Balls

Sausage balls tend to be a favorite among party-goers due to their savory and bold flavors. Sausage balls are excellent if you want to prepare something last minute. Their ingredients are self-rising flour, grated cheese, and ground pork sausage. If there are guests who cannot consume pork, you can replace the pork with tofu, tempeh, or vegan sausage.

Sausage balls with vegetables


4. Potato Salad

Potato salad is a classic dish that you're more than likely familiar with and is almost always present at cook-offs or barbecues. You'll be especially appreciated if you take this dish to a Memorial Day party. Just make sure you are careful and refrigerate this dish for the appropriate amount of time to ensure its freshness.

potato salad in bowl

5. Deviled Eggs

An appetizer that is the staple of party food, deviled eggs are inexpensive, healthy, and easy to make. Everyone has memories of enjoying deviled eggs at a social gathering, either from childhood or adulthood. This is why deviled eggs are considered to be comfort food. It conjures nostalgic and comforting feelings fellow guests are sure to enjoy.

deviled eggs with jalapeño

6. Guacamole Dip

The creamy texture combined with tortilla chips creates a savory taste guests will not be able to resist. Guacamole can also be spread on toast or burgers. But there's more to guacamole than taste. According to the American Heart Association, avocados can help lower cholesterol. You can treat your fellow guests to something tasty and healthy with guacamole.

chips and guacamole dip

7. Onion Dip

Onion dip is a versatile dish that can be used for eating potato chips and vegetables or spreading on sandwiches and tacos. This dip is easy to find in grocery stores, or if you prefer, you can make your homemade dip using olive oil, diced onions, salt, sour cream, mayonnaise, garlic powder, and ground white pepper.

onion dip and toast


8. Watermelon

Because summer is just around the corner, it's probably going to be hot during the Memorial Day party. Watermelon slices make a wonderfully refreshing snack to keep everyone cool. To give watermelon slices more flavor, add spices such as lime, tajin, sesame, ginger, or soy, which may delightfully surprise your guests.

watermelon in bowl

9. Ice Cream

If you want to take a dessert that is sure to get everyone excited, there's no better option than ice cream. Choose from classic flavors like chocolate or vanilla or mix things up and choose something like red, white, and blueberry ice cream or popsicles, which are delicious and patriotic. Just remember to keep the ice cream cold on the way to the event.

USA-themed popsicles

10. Sangria

This delicious cocktail is perfect for those hot summer days and nights. Sangria has a great, refreshing taste that is sure to be a big hit. You can buy a bottle at almost any liquor store, but you can also make your own to customize the taste to your liking. Add in some lemons, limes, or grapes for decoration, or include some frozen fruits as makeshift ice to keep the sangria cold without watering down the beverage.

sangria in pitcher