Kick Off Memorial Day Weekend With These Easy Appetizers

memorial day appetizers
Memorial Day Appetizers to Kick Off Your CookoutCaitlin Bensel


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Before you dig into the hot dogs and burgers this Memorial Day weekend, let’s kick things off with some of the best holiday appetizers. It’s the unofficial start to grilling season, after all, so you know your guests are going to arrive hungry. To hold them over while your steaks are on the grill, we’ve rounded up the best Memorial Day appetizers that are perfect for a summer party. We’re not just talking about a jar of store-bought salsa, either. Instead, try your hand at homemade pico de gallo made with seasonal tomatoes or a fun twist on deviled eggs made with lots of pickle flavor. There are also easy appetizers made in an air fryer and some that are made on the grill itself!

If your menu of Memorial Day recipes includes grilled steak as the main, try the bacon-shrimp skewers and burrata salad to start. Cooking up a more casual menu of BBQ foods and ribs? You'll love the cool cucumber salad or the quick and easy dill dip served with veggies and chips. You'll also find ideas for other ways to use summer produce, including corn recipes, zucchini recipes, and recipes featuring garden-fresh herbs. Whichever appetizers you choose to serve, you'll want to complete the long weekend with a round of refreshing Memorial Day cocktails and summer desserts for the kids.

Hot Corn Dip

Make summer corn the star of this cheesy dip. The sweet kernels, bell peppers, and jalape?o are combined with lusciously creamy ingredients and diced green chiles for the ultimate crowd-pleaser!

Get Ree's Hot Corn Dip recipe.

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hot corn dip
Will Dickey

Dill Pickle Deviled Eggs

Bring a pop of pickle flavor to your backyard cookout with these dill pickle-infused deviled eggs. They're perfect for picnics, BBQs, or any get-together with friends.

Get Ree's Dill Pickle Deviled Eggs recipe.

dill pickle deviled eggs
David Malosh

Avocado Dip

This cool, creamy dip is made with avocado, Greek yogurt, lemon juice, and lots of aromatic herbs. It only takes 5 minutes to whip up and it's perfect for serving with crunchy seasonal veggies!

Get the Avocado Dip recipe.

avocado dip
Caitlin Bensel

Bacon-Wrapped Jalape?o Thingies

Ree's easy take on popper are always a party hit! They only require three ingredients so the host will love making them, too.

Get Ree's Bacon-Wrapped Jalape?o Thingies recipe.

bacon wrapped jalapeno thingies
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Cowboy Caviar

Planning a BBQ that's fit for a cowboy? Then, you'll need this cowboy caviar to start! It's a colorful and crunchy combination of veggies, beans, and herbs that you can scoop up with tortilla chips.

Get the Cowboy Caviar recipe.

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cowboy caviar
Caitlin Bensel

Air Fryer Taquitos

Crispy beef taquitos have never been easier thanks to your handy dandy air fryer! You can skip the frying in oil and get back to enjoying the outdoors with friends.

Get the Air Fryer Taquitos recipe.

air fryer taquitos
Will Dickey

Eggplant Caponata

This tangy Italian spread is filled with fresh summer vegetables, including eggplant, tomatoes, and bell peppers. You can serve it up on a charcuterie board or make bite-sized crostini using toasted bread slices.

Get the Eggplant Caponata recipe.

eggplant caponata
Caitlin Bensel

Chicken Bacon Ranch Dip

This dip combines some of our favorite ingredients: bacon, chicken, ranch, cheese. and even diced pimientos. You can also mix it up in advance and refrigerate it for easy entertaining!

Get the Chicken Bacon Ranch Dip recipe.

chicken bacon ranch dip
Will Dickey

Popcorn Chicken

Every good picnic needs fried chicken, but this variation makes the dish fun to share! The popcorn chicken is extra-crispy and best served with dipping sauces, like ranch or honey-mustard.

Get the Popcorn Chicken recipe.

popcorn chicken
Caitlin Bensel

Green Goddess Chicken Salad Dip

This colorful dip is made with crunchy veggies, like chopped cabbage, cucumbers, and scallions, along with hearty chicken. But it's the avocado and herb green goddess dressing that really takes it over the top!

Get the Green Goddess Chicken Salad Dip recipe.

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green goddess chicken salad dip
Caitlin Bensel

Pico de Gallo

There's so much to love about pico de gallo, including the "cool, crisp wonderfulness of it all," as Ree Drummond says. The key is to use plenty of onion, jalape?o peppers, and cilantro along with the fresh tomatoes.

Get Ree's Pico de Gallo recipe.

pico de gallo
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Burrata Salad

Seasonal cherry tomatoes add a burst of juicy, sweet flavor to this summer salad. They also happen to pair well with the tanginess from the balsamic and the creaminess from the burrata cheese.

Get the Burrata Salad recipe.

burrata salad
Caitlin Bensel

Esquites

This popular corn dish is like a party in a bowl! It's zesty, spicy, and full of cheesy flavor. You can serve it up in mini bowls or even scoop it up with tortilla chips if you'd like!

Get the Esquites recipe.

esquites
Caitlin Bensel

Upside-Down Tomato Cornbread

Take your cornbread up a notch by giving it a layer of beautiful heirloom tomatoes. There's also jalape?o for spice and plenty of melty cheese.

Get the Upside-Down Tomato Cornbread recipe.

upside down tomato cornbread
Caitlin Bensel

Avocado Salsa

You can think of this dip like a mash-up between a guacamole and a pico de gallo. It's the best of both worlds!

Get the Avocado Salsa recipe.

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avocado salsa
Will Dickey

Coconut Shrimp

Bring on the tropical flavor with this party shrimp that's coated in shredded coconut! There's also a Thai chili dipping sauce that's perfectly sweet and spicy.

Get the Coconut Shrimp recipe.

memorial day appetizers coconut shrimp
Caitlin Bensel

Tomato Tart

Store-bought crust makes this beautiful tart easier than you might think. Layer on caramelize some onions, cheese, and summer tomatoes. Then, cut into small squares for the perfect bite.

Get Ree's Tomato Tart recipe.

memorial day appetizers tomato tart
Caitlin Bensel

Avocado Salad

Not only does this salad keep things light and refreshing with its fresh veggies and creamy avocado, but it's also tossed with a salsa verde dressing that you'll want to make again and again.

Get the Avocado Salad recipe.

memorial day appetizers avocado salad
Caitlin Bensel

Taco Dip

Grab your favorite taco toppings! This dip is great for customizing to your family's liking. You can add corn, avocado, or sliced green onion.

Get the Taco Dip recipe.

memorial day appetizers taco dip
Caitlin Bensel

Grilled Pizza

You'll want to fire up the grill for this summery take on pizza. When cut into small squares or wedges, the Caprese-style pie is perfect for a Memorial Day appetizer.

Get the Grilled Pizza recipe.

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memorial day appetizers grilled pizza
Caitlin Bensel

Fried Eggplant

Cooking your eggplant this way ensures that it's meltingly tender on the inside and extra-crunchy on the outside. Basically, it's the perfect finger food, especially when dunked into a bowl of tomato sauce.

Get the Fried Eggplant recipe.

memorial day appetizers fried eggplant
Will Dickey

Cheeseburger Sliders

These are not your average cheeseburgers—they’re fit for a crowd! The bite-sized sliders are made with a big ole pile of ground beef so they're easier than flipping patties, too.

Get the Cheeseburger Sliders recipe.

memorial day appetizers cheeseburger sliders
Will Dickey

Fried Pickles

Planning a Southern-style barbecue? Pickles are practically required! But in this case, they become a crunchy starter or snack.

Get the Fried Pickles recipe.

memorial day appetizers fried pickles
Will Dickey

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Eating healthy on a holiday isn't always easy, but this protein-packed hummus is a great place to start. It'll keep you fueled up for any weekend activities.

Get the Roasted Red Pepper Hummus recipe.

memorial day appetizers roasted red pepper hummus
Caitlin Bensel

Hushpuppies

These mini cornbread bites are crunchy, golden, and slightly spicy thanks to chopped jalape?o. The key to making them is to fry in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan.

Get the Hushpuppies recipe.

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memorial day appetizers hushpuppies
Caitlin Bensel

Corn Salsa

Fresh, seasonal corn gives this salsa a pop of sweet summer flavor, but if you like a bit more spice, you can always add more jalape?o!

Get the Corn Salsa recipe.

memorial day appetizers corn salsa
Caitlin Bensel

Jalape?o Poppers

Who doesn't love jalape?o poppers?! Now you can make the restaurant-worthy app right at home with all the spiciness you know and love.

Get the Jalape?o Poppers recipe.

memorial day appetizers jalapeno poppers
Caitlin Bensel

Deviled Eggs

Deviled eggs are practically required when it comes to entertaining (at least according to Ree!). Whip up this classic recipe for your picnic, cookout, or dinner party.

Get the Deviled Eggs recipe.

memorial day appetizers deviled eggs
Caitlin Bensel

Cheeseburger Dip

Anyone who's a fan of burgers will love this creamy, cheesy dip! You can serve it with any sturdy dippers, like kettle-cooked potato chips or pita chips.

Get the Cheeseburger Dip recipe.

memorial day appetizers cheeseburger dip
Will Dickey

Cucumber Salad

You'll want to keep this cucumber salad recipe on hand all summer long. It's a refreshing way to start a meal!

Get the Cucumber Salad recipe.

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memorial day appetizers cucumber salad
Caitlin Bensel

Spinach Dip

A cool, creamy spinach dip is the perfect party starter in the warmer months. You can prep it ahead and pull it out of the fridge whenever your guests arrive.

Get the Spinach Dip recipe.

memorial day appetizers spinach dip
Will Dickey

Air Fryer Okra

No need to stand over a pot of hot oil to make these satisfyingly crunchy bites. The okra is dredged in cornmeal and crisped up in the air fryer instead!

Get the Air Fryer Okra recipe.

memorial day appetizers air fryer okra
Will Dickey

Strawberry Arugula Salad

This fresh summery salad is sweet, tangy, and nutty thanks to the strawberries, feta, and pecans. It'll look so pretty on your holiday table.

Get Ree's Strawberry Arugula Salad recipe.

memorial day appetizers strawberry arugula salad
David Malosh

Bacon-Wrapped Dates

These small bites are sticky-sweet with a hint of spice. Once you try one, it'll be hard to stop eating them!

Get the Bacon-Wrapped Dates recipe.

memorial day appetizers bacon wrapped dates
Will Dickey

Fried Zucchini

Summer veggies are here at last. It's the perfect opportunity to make some crispy fried zucchini sticks. Try them dipped in ranch—we promise you'll love them!

Get the Fried Zucchini recipe.

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memorial day appetizers fried zucchini
Caitlin Bensel

Whipped Feta Dip

You don't have to heat up the kitchen for this easy, no-cook dip. Just a simple blitz in the food processor and you'll have a creamy, salty garlic-infused feta dip in no time.

Get the Creamy Whipped Feta Dip recipe.

whipped feta dip in blue bowl with pita wedges
Caitlin Bensel

Chicken Taquitos

Making your own taquitos is easier than you might think—this recipe uses a rotisserie chicken! And, the whole process takes just 35 minutes.

Get the Chicken Taquitos recipe.

chicken taquitos on platter guacamole in corner
Will Dickey

Beet Hummus

Add something colorful to your Memorial Day menu! This bright pink hummus gets it's vibrant hue (and earthy, sweet flavor) from tender cooked beets.

Get the Beet Hummus recipe.

beet hummus with walnuts on top and pita chips
Caitlin Bensel

Strawberry Spinach Salad

To give this fresh, seasonal salad a patriotic spin, swap the oranges for blueberries. It'll add the perfect amount of red, white, and blue to your party.

Get the Strawberry Spinach Salad recipe.

strawberry spinach salad with oranges and lemon poppy seed dressing
Will Dickey

Crab Cakes

You'll feel like you're at the beach (even if your just in your own backyard) with these delicious homemade crab cakes. Just don't forget the spicy mayo remoulade!

Get the Crab Cakes recipe.

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crab cakes with mayo and side salad on blue plate
Will Dickey

Buffalo Chicken Dip

This cheesy, spicy dip is the ultimate crowd-pleaser. Serve it up with carrot sticks, potato chips, or toasted slices of bread—it's delicious every which way!

Get the Buffalo Chicken Dip recipe.

buffalo chicken dip with potato chips in basket and glass of beer
Will Dickey

Grilled Shrimp Skewers

You can serve this simple, flavorful grilled shrimp over a salad or straight up on skewers. Either way, it's a fun starter for any backyard cookout.

Get the Grilled Shrimp Skewers recipe.

grilled shrimp skewers with lemon wedges on floral table
Will Dickey

Sausage Rolls

Make these sausage rolls in advance, then store them in the freezer. All you'll have to do is pop them in the oven whenever guests start to roll in.

Get the Sausage Rolls recipe.

sausage rolls on white plate
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Mexican Street Corn

This twist on grilled corn is loaded with a thick layer of mayonnaise, chili powder, and cheese. It's perfect when paired with your favorite tacos and margaritas!

Get the Mexican Street Corn recipe.

mexican street corn with limes
Will Dickey

Homemade Tomatillo Salsa

If you've never tried green salsa before, there's no better time to start than Memorial Day weekend! The tangy, spicy homemade dip can even double as a dressing for grilled steaks.

Get the Homemade Tomatillo Salsa recipe.

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homemade tomatillo salsa with tortilla chips
Will Dicky

Pigs in a Blanket

Hamburgers and hot dogs are a must-have at any cookout, so these mini dogs are sure to be a hit. They have a fun spin thanks to the everything bagel seasoning toppings.

Get the Pigs in a Blanket recipe.

pigs in a blanket on sheet pan
Will Dicky

Dill Dip

This cool, refreshing dip is perfect for serving before a big barbecue. It won't fill you up too much and it's super easy to make.

Get the Dill Dip recipe.

dill dip with veggies
Will Dickey

Grilled Corn Salad

A fresh, bright, seasonal salad is always a good place to start. Especially when it involves grilled corn, avocado, and a zesty cilantro vinaigrette.

Get Ree's Grilled Corn Salad recipe.

grilled corn salad in wood bowl overhead
Ralph Smith

Classic Guacamole

Zesty lime, fresh cilantro, and spicy jalape?o gives this simple guacamole it's bold flavor. You'll love it with homemade tortilla chips for dipping.

Get Ree's Classic Guacamole recipe.

classic guacamole overhead
Ryan Liebe

Bacon-Shrimp Skewers

Not a fan of shrimp? Well, you will be now. Here, it's coated in juicy, crunchy strips of bacon for a result that's positively mouthwatering.

Get Ree's Bacon-Shrimp Skewers recipe.

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bacon shrimp skewers memorial day appetizers
David Malosh

Horseradish Deviled Eggs

Spice up your deviled eggs with this recipe that uses prepared horseradish and hot sauce. For even more bold flavor, top each deviled egg with a barbecue potato chip.

Get Ree's Horseradish Deviled Eggs recipe.

horseradish deviled eggs with potato chips
Ralph Smith

Corn and Black Bean Salsa

This quick and easy dip can be made with fresh or frozen corn so it's completely versatile no matter what vegetables are in season. Plus, it tastes delicious with chips, nachos, or even tacos.

Get the Corn and Black Bean Salsa recipe.

corn black bean salsa
Will Dickey

Grilled Watermelon

Here's a refreshing way to kick off any party: serve sliced of watermelon that have been grilled for a slightly smoky flavor. Then, serve with lime wedges and cilantro for a zesty twist.

Get the Grilled Watermelon recipe.

grilled watermelon with limes
Will Dickey

Mango Salsa

Of all the fun ways to serve salsa, this one stands out for being both sweet and spicy. Look for fresh, juicy mangoes for the best results.

Get the Mango Salsa recipe.

mango salsa in bowl with blue chips
Will Dickey

Grilled Sweet Mini Peppers with Goat Cheese

The key to nailing this Instagram-ready appetizer? Shop for a variety of multi-colored mini peppers.

Get the Grilled Sweet Mini Peppers with Goat Cheese recipe.

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grilled peppers memorial day appetizers
Brenda Score/The Pioneer Woman

Loaded Wedge Fries

If you're planning on spending the evening with your whole crew, you can try setting up a "toppings bar" next to these gorgeous wedge fries. They're beyond delicious.

Get Ree's Loaded Wedge Fries recipe.

wedge fries memorial day appetizers
Ryan Liebe

Bobby Flay’s Grilled Beef Skewers

These grilled beef skewers are a perfect option for a cocktail party or tailgate-style gathering. They're incredibly filling—but the portions are perfectly petite.

Get the Grilled Beef Skewers recipe.

memorial day appetizers beef skewers
Ralph Smith

Grilled Chicken Sliders

A fiery mixture of cajun seasoning and adobo sauce will delight all of your guests. (And these mini sandwiches just look plain cute.)

Get Ree's Grilled Chicken Sliders recipe.

memorial day appetizers chicken sliders
con poulos

Buffalo Chicken Sliders

Every special occasion calls for buffalo chicken! These miniature sandwiches are a great option for the youngest set.

Get the Buffalo Chicken Sliders recipe.

sliders memorial day appetizers
The Little Kitchen/The Pioneer Woman

Watermelon Salad with Feta and Mint

It may not be served hot off the grill, but this cool, refreshing salad is every bit as important as the rest of the items on your menu. It'll provide a nice contrast to all the heavier fare.

Get Ree's Watermelon Salad with Feta and Mint recipe.

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watermelon salad memorial day appetizers
con poulos

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