8 scrumptious recipes to make Memorial Day extra special for you and your spouse

From porterhouse to mini burgers and more, here are eight recipes you can make this holiday.
Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival presented by Capital One - Bacardi presents The
Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival presented by Capital One - Bacardi presents The / Jeff Schear/GettyImages

Memorial Day is a special holiday in our household. My husband’s many years in the military gave him some of the closest friendships he’s ever had, but not all of his friends made it back home. My husband’s retired now, but we still remember those who paid the ultimate price by making special recipes to celebrate Memorial Day.

Try these easy recipes if you want to make something new this year. They help us reminisce about my husband’s active duty days and even provide some comfort since we know they’re recipes we’d love to have shared with those who aren’t with us anymore.

How Do People Spend Their Memorial Day?

People spend Memorial Day remembering those who died while serving our country. It’s an occasion for reflection, especially for people like my husband. We always remember those we loved who didn’t get to come back home with comfort food. It’s a simple way to acknowledge how much we still cherish loved ones who aren’t with us anymore and how they chose to spend their last months or years.

Best Recipes to Celebrate Memorial Day

I love making these recipes on Memorial Day because they’re easy, budget-friendly, and delicious. See if your family adores them as much as my husband does by serving these recipes after returning from a Memorial Day parade -- or whatever you're doing with the family.

1.  Porterhouse Steak with Herbed Butter

It doesn’t feel like a Memorial Day meal without firing up the grill. Although our favorite grill brands weren’t around when the holiday began in 1866, there’s nothing more American than grilling perfectly cut steak raised right at home.

I love prepping this herbed butter recipe while my husband grills a few porterhouse steaks. After slathering each steak in vegetable oil, butter, salt, and pepper, my husband chars them to medium perfection. We top them with my herbed, unsalted butter, which only requires thyme, chives, and marjoram leaves. The aroma will make your mouth water as you set the table for dinner.

Check out the recipe at Epicurious.

2. American Spirit Cocktail

I love any opportunity to flex my mixology skills, and my husband loves watching the sunset on our Memorial Day activities with an American Spirit cocktail. The red grenadine, white vodka lemonade, and blue curacao layering make this drink pop with color. It’s also fun to get three drinks in one since every layer features a new flavor. 

Check out the recipe at Peel with Zeal.

3. Chipped Beef on Toast

The British might enjoy beans on toast, but Americans get flavorful ground beef in a thick gravy over chewy hunks of artisan bread. My husband adores this recipe for its home-cooked flavors, while I get to enjoy how easy it is to make. Brown your ground beef and let it simmer in a mixture of butter, milk, and a flour roux.

The savory flavor comes from a splash of Worcestershire sauce and a beef bouillon cube. Let it simmer before serving it over thickly sliced artisan bread. Don’t forget to search for Memorial Day discounts to make this recipe even more budget-friendly. Many brands offer special Military Month discounts in May too, so those still on active duty and veterans can save money on essential services.

Check out the recipe at Allrecipes.

4. Mini Burgers & Crispy Onion Rings

I got creative when making mini burgers and onion rings for last year’s Memorial Day lunch party. My husband loves burgers made with garlic, onions, balsamic vinegar, and kosher salt, so I added them to ground beef and made tiny patties.

While my husband and his friends grilled the burgers, I deep-fried onion rings dipped in buttermilk, flour, smoked paprika, and cornstarch batter. They’re excellent chopped up and used as a mini burger topping or a delicious side. This is one of the best recipes to celebrate Memorial Day because it’s a crowd-pleasing meal that’s easy to personalize with dipping sauces.

Check out the recipes at Hapa Nom Nom and House of Nash Eats.

5. Texas Sunset Cocktail

My husband worked at Fort Cavazos for a few years, so I surprised him with a Texas Sunset cocktail for Memorial Day a few years ago. All I have to do is add grenadine, bourbon, orange liqueur, fresh orange juice, and fresh lemon juice to a cocktail shaker with a dash of bitters. Shake it up, serve it over ice and you’ll have an instant Memorial Day cocktail.

Check out the recipe at Imbibe.

6. Mess Hall Pancakes

National Pancake Day isn’t until September, but sometimes my husband wants to reminisce on his mess hall days with the popular breakfast food. Mess hall staff have to feed tons of people in minutes, so this recipe is quick and easy. I mix cake flour, bread flour, and baking powder to make the mix, then add eggs, buttermilk, salt, and sugar to turn it into a dough. After some time on the griddle, these pancakes taste great with syrup or my husband’s favorite topping — molasses.

7. The State-Fair Grilled Cheese Sandwich

There were plenty of days when my husband and his friends returned from physical training (PT) hungry enough to eat their way through a grocery store. He always gets a good chuckle remembering those moments when I serve a state-fair grilled cheese sandwich for Memorial Day lunch.

This sandwich combines the ravenous hunger of post-PT recruits with the nationwide state fair traditions of eating the biggest combination of unrelated foods as possible. Toasted white bread slices should contain sharp cheddar cheese, pulled pork, sliced Granny Smith apples, and caramel before you grill them in a buttered pan. Make sure you top your sandwiches with powdered sugar if your husband also loves sugar-dusted funnel cakes at state fairs.

Check out the recipe at Little Bitty Bakes.

8. Spam Po-Boy

Back when we were living on a tight budget during my husband’s early years in the military, Spam was our go-to protein when ground beef and chicken were too pricey. Although we loved the frozen Spam fries that only took minutes to bake, we also ate quite a few Spam po-boy sandwiches.

Now, they’re an occasional Memorial Day meal when my husband and I don’t feel like cooking. We slice Spam, add it to po-boy bread and top it with mayonnaise, tomatoes and cheese. If I’m feeling fancy, I even deep fry them in a pan.

Try New Recipes to Celebrate Memorial Day

Anyone can make these recipes to celebrate Memorial Day this year. My husband loves them just as much as I do, so I know they’ll dazzle your taste buds too. Whether you serve burgers and sandwiches or just enjoy a cocktail with your loved ones, you’ll make the day extra special without leaving home.

Who decided Spam fries should be a thing?. Who decided Spam fries should be a thing?. dark. Next