Get ready to send off summer in style with these 20 Labor Day recipes. From delicious BBQ mains and scrumptious sides to refreshing beverages and sweet treats, I’ve gathered the best recipes to ensure your Labor Day gathering is a gastronomical hit.
Make your backyard BBQ the talk of the town with classic favorites like hamburgers, hot dogs, and baked beans, or impress with unique delights like watermelon salad and berry trifle. Read on to discover a bounty of flavors that are sure to make this Labor Day memorable.
1. Grilled Corn on the Cob
A Summer Classic
Grilled corn on the cob is a summer staple that pairs perfectly with any Labor Day cookout. The smoky flavor from the grill brings out the natural sweetness of the corn, making it a delightful side dish for your guests.
Grilling corn outdoors is a fun activity that you can enjoy with your family and friends. The aroma of fresh corn roasting on the grill will make your backyard gathering even more festive.
Feel free to experiment with different varieties of corn or add your favorite seasonings for a unique twist. Whether you prefer it slathered in butter or sprinkled with herbs, grilled corn is always a crowd pleaser.
2. BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches
An All-American Dish
BBQ pulled pork sandwiches are an all-American classic that your guests will love. The tender, smoky pork combined with tangy BBQ sauce creates a flavorful sandwich that’s perfect for a Labor Day picnic.
Serve with Style
Serve these sandwiches with your favorite coleslaw and a side of pickles for the ultimate picnic meal. Your guests will be raving about your BBQ prowess!
The Perfect Pulled Pork
Don’t be afraid to play around with different BBQ sauces and spices to make the pulled pork your own. Try a spicy or a sweet sauce depending on your taste preference.
3. Classic American Burger
A Grilling Favorite
No Labor Day cookout is complete without a classic American burger. The combination of juicy beef, fresh lettuce, ripe tomatoes, and tangy pickles creates a mouthwatering meal that is universally loved.
Perfect your burger by using high-quality beef and grilling it to the right temperature. Top it with your favorite cheese for a deliciously melted finish.
Make It Your Own
Feel free to customize your burgers with unique toppings such as grilled onions, avocado, or bacon. The possibilities are endless and will make your cookout memorable.
4. BBQ Chicken Drumsticks
A Picnic Essential
BBQ chicken drumsticks are a delicious and finger-licking addition to any Labor Day picnic. The sweet and smoky BBQ sauce pairs perfectly with the tender, juicy chicken for a match made in heaven.
Grilling chicken drumsticks over a hot fire will create a crispy exterior and a succulent interior. The smoky flavor from the grill elevates the taste of the chicken and BBQ sauce.
Customize Your BBQ Sauce
Don’t hesitate to try different types of BBQ sauce to find your favorite flavor combination. From sweet to tangy to spicy, there’s a sauce to satisfy every palate.
5. Grilled Vegetable Skewers
A Colorful Addition
Grilled vegetable skewers are a vibrant and healthy addition to your Labor Day menu. The charred vegetables are bursting with flavor and provide a nice contrast to the heavier meats.
Grill to Perfection
Grilling vegetables enhances their natural flavors and gives them a delicious smoky edge. Use a variety of vegetables like bell peppers, onions, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes for a colorful presentation.
Marinate your vegetable skewers in a blend of herbs and spices for an extra flavor boost. You can also serve them with a tasty dipping sauce for added zing.
6. Smoky Baked Beans
A BBQ Companion
Smoky baked beans are the perfect side dish to accompany your BBQ meats. The hearty beans, combined with a smoky, sweet, and tangy sauce, offer a comforting taste that’ll be a hit at your Labor Day gathering.
Easy and Convenient
These beans are easy to prepare and can be cooked in the oven or slow cooker, freeing up your grill for other items. It’s a fuss-free dish that delivers high on taste.
Feel free to experiment with different types of beans or add some cooked bacon or ground meat for an extra layer of flavor. This recipe is versatile and can be adapted to suit your taste buds.
7. Classic Coleslaw
A Crispy Side
Classic coleslaw, with its crisp cabbage and creamy dressing, provides a refreshing contrast to grilled meats. It’s a classic side dish that’s ideal for any Labor Day picnic or BBQ.
Quick and Easy
Coleslaw is quick and easy to make. You can whip up a large batch in no time, and it’s even better when made in advance, as the flavors get a chance to meld together.
Personalize Your Slaw
Feel free to switch up the vegetables or dressing in your coleslaw. Try adding some shredded carrots, red cabbage, or even a dash of hot sauce for a spicy kick.
8. Patriotic Fruit Salad
A Healthy Treat
A patriotic fruit salad is a healthy, refreshing side dish that your guests will love. The combination of red, white, and blue fruits creates a festive dish that’s perfect for Labor Day.
Read also: 22 Calamari Recipes
The natural sweetness from the fruits provides a nice balance to the savory items on your menu. Plus, it’s a great way to stay hydrated on a hot summer day.
Feel free to use your favorite fruits in this salad. You can add a drizzle of honey or a splash of lime juice for added flavor.
9. Grilled Shrimp Skewers
A Seafood Delight
Grilled shrimp skewers are a light and delicious option for your Labor Day celebration. The shrimp cook quickly on the grill and soak up the flavors of your marinade beautifully.
Grilling shrimp gives them a slightly smoky flavor and a wonderfully firm texture. Pair them with a tangy dipping sauce for an extra flavor punch.
Feel free to experiment with your marinade to suit your taste preferences. Try a garlic and lemon marinade for a classic flavor, or spice things up with some chili and lime.
10. Blueberry Peach Crumble
A Sweet Ending
This blueberry peach crumble is a sweet, juicy, and crunchy dessert that’s perfect for a Labor Day cookout. The combination of sweet peaches and tart blueberries topped with a crispy crumble is irresistible.
Simple and Delicious
This crumble is simple to prepare and can be made with fresh or frozen fruits. Serve it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a dessert that your guests will love.
Feel free to switch up the fruits in this crumble. Apples, raspberries, or blackberries would also work well in this recipe.
11. Watermelon Feta Salad
A Refreshing Side Dish
This watermelon feta salad provides a refreshing and sweet counterpart to the savory items on your menu. The combination of juicy watermelon, salty feta, and fresh mint creates a unique and delightful flavor profile.
Easy to Assemble
This salad is as easy to assemble as it is delicious. It requires minimal ingredients and can be prepared in a matter of minutes.
Add some thinly sliced red onion or a drizzle of balsamic glaze to add an extra layer of flavor to this already delicious salad.
12. Caprese Skewers
An Easy Appetizer
Caprese skewers offer all the flavors of a Caprese salad in a convenient, bite-sized appetizer. The combination of juicy cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and fragrant basil is an absolute delight.
Quick to Prepare
These skewers can be assembled in minutes, making them a perfect last-minute addition to your Labor Day spread.
For an extra flavor boost, drizzle your skewers with some balsamic glaze or a good-quality olive oil before serving.
13. Labor Day Lemonade
A Refreshing Beverage
Labor Day Lemonade, with its perfect balance of tart and sweet, is the ideal beverage to cool down your guests on a hot summer day.
Customize Your Lemonade
You can easily adapt the sweetness of your lemonade to suit your preference. Try adding fresh fruit or herbs like strawberries, mint, or basil for an extra flavor dimension.
Serve in Style
Serve your lemonade in a large glass pitcher with plenty of ice and lemon slices for a beautiful and refreshing display.
14. BBQ Ribs
A Labor Day Classic
BBQ ribs are a classic Labor Day dish, loved for their smoky flavor and tender, fall-off-the-bone texture. Basted in a tangy barbecue sauce, they’re sure to be a hit with your guests.
An Overnight Marinade
For the best flavor, marinate your ribs overnight. This not only enhances the taste but also tenderizes the meat, ensuring that your ribs are juicy and flavorful.
Serve your ribs with a side of coleslaw, cornbread, or baked beans for a true Southern-style BBQ feast.
A Versatile Dip
Guacamole is a versatile dip that can be paired with chips, slathered on burgers, or used as a topping for grilled chicken or fish. The combination of ripe avocados, tangy lime, and fresh herbs creates a refreshing and creamy dip.
Make it Fresh
For the best tasting guacamole, use fresh, ripe avocados. A squeeze of lime juice not only adds tanginess but also helps to prevent the avocados from browning.
Mix it Up
Feel free to add other ingredients to your guacamole, such as diced tomatoes, cilantro, or a kick of jalapenos.
16. Homemade Lemon Bars
A Sweet and Tangy Treat
Lemon bars, with their buttery shortbread crust and tangy lemon filling, are a refreshing dessert option for your Labor Day gathering.
Lemon bars are a great make-ahead dessert. They need to chill for a few hours before serving, which allows you to focus on other preparations on the day of your event.
Dust your lemon bars with a sprinkling of powdered sugar for an added touch of sweetness and a beautiful presentation.
17. Classic Potato Salad
An All-American Side
Classic potato salad, with its creamy mayo-mustard dressing and crisp celery and onions, is an all-American side dish that’s a hit at any Labor Day gathering.
Read also: 29 Scallop Side Dishes
Making the Perfect Potato Salad
For the best potato salad, make sure you don’t overcook your potatoes. They should be tender but still firm enough to hold their shape in the salad.
Customize Your Recipe
Feel free to customize your potato salad by adding diced pickles, fresh herbs, or even a bit of bacon.
18. Berry Trifle
A Fresh and Fruity Dessert
This berry trifle is a fresh and fruity dessert that’s perfect for a summer gathering. Layers of fluffy sponge cake, creamy custard, and fresh berries make for a delightful and visually impressive dessert.
A Make-Ahead Dessert
Trifles are best made ahead so the flavors have a chance to meld together. This means less work on the day of your gathering!
Make it Your Own
Feel free to customize your trifle with your favorite berries or even a different type of fruit. Peaches or cherries would also work well.
19. Pasta Salad
A Versatile Side Dish
Pasta salad is a versatile side dish that can be customized to suit your main dish. Whether you prefer a tangy vinaigrette or a creamy dressing, pasta salad is a great addition to your Labor Day spread.
Make Ahead for Convenience
Pasta salad is a dish that gets better with time as it allows the flavors to meld together. Make it the day before your gathering for an easy, stress-free side.
Customize Your Salad
Add in your favorite vegetables, cheeses, and meats to make your pasta salad your own.
20. Peach Cobbler
A Classic Summer Dessert
Peach cobbler is a classic summer dessert that’s perfect for your Labor Day gathering. The combination of sweet, juicy peaches and a tender, buttery topping is irresistible.
Making the Perfect Cobbler
The key to a great cobbler is using ripe, in-season peaches. This ensures the best flavor and sweetness.
Serve with Ice Cream
For an extra decadent treat, serve your peach cobbler warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
There you have it – a comprehensive list of 20 must-try Labor Day recipes to make your holiday BBQ an unforgettable feast. Whether you choose to stick to traditional dishes or explore some new culinary territories, these recipes are designed to please everyone’s palate.
So, fire up that grill, bring out your chef’s hat, and let the delicious adventure begin. Make this Labor Day not just a celebration of hard work and achievement but also a tribute to good food and great company.