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20 A+ Graduation Party Recipes

Go big on graduation day with celebration-worthy eats made for entertaining outside.

Hold on to your cap because graduation day is almost here. A backyard bash with friends and loved ones is a personal, memorable way to say, “Congrats!” to your favorite grad. These crowd-friendly graduation party recipes can be made quickly and easily and then served outdoors (in fact a few of them are cooked on the grill), so you can set up a tasty spread and let guests help themselves. Most of these treats don’t require utensils, making it easier for guests to move around and catch up with everyone at the party. Add a touch of themed decor, like paper plates and napkins in your grad’s school colors, for a low-lift, big-energy event that will make their momentous day even more special.

Pulled Pork Taquito Diplomas

Everyone will be talking about these Tex-Mex-inspired munchies stuffed with store-bought pulled pork and melty cheese (when they’re not busy devouring them, that is). A fresh chive “tassel” completes crispy rolled taquitos that look like mini diplomas.

Get the recipe: Pulled Pork Taquito Diplomas 

Buffalo Corn on the Cob

Corn on the cob is a no-brainer for backyard get-togethers, but you’ve never had it like this before. Store-bought wing sauce and blue cheese crumbles turn cobs cooked in the microwave into spicy Buffalo corn.

Get the recipe: Buffalo Corn on the Cob

Grilled Shrimp Lettuce Wraps

Lighten up your snack spread and your party prep load with Thai-inspired lettuce wraps that start with some help from the store. Jarred curry sauce, frozen shrimp skewers, and microwave-ready rice let you roll out these refreshing wraps in less than 20 minutes.

Get the recipe: Grilled Shrimp Lettuce Wraps

Sweet and Sour Meatballs with Sugar Snap Peas

Use mini skewers to serve these tangy meatballs for a satisfying hot appetizer that’s ready in 15 minutes. Store-bought turkey meatballs get a hit of Asian-inspired flavor from an easy, homemade sweet and sour sauce.

Get the recipe: Sweet and Sour Meatballs with Sugar Snap Peas

Graduation Grazing Board

This customizable grazing board lets you serve a bit of everyone’s sweet and savory favorites. Complete with chocolate graduation caps and a shout-out to the grad, it doubles as a festive centerpiece, too.

Get the recipe: Graduation Grazing Board 

Pasta Salad Skewers

This recipe transforms a classic picnic side into a grab-and-go party snack. Wooden skewers turn tortellini, mozzarella, and fresh veggies into Italian pasta salad kabobs with herby pesto.

Get the recipe: Pasta Salad Skewers 

Meatball Sub on a Stick

Stack up rave reviews from the grad with this reimagined take on a meatball sub. Store-bought chicken meatballs are layered with pizza dough and served on skewers to quickly become the “hero” of your party.

Get the recipe: Meatball Sub on a Stick

Pork Satay

These five-ingredient skewers are so easy and delicious, they might become part of your regular grilling routine. Asian chili garlic sauce turns up the heat on lean pork tenderloin rounded out with a sweet peanut sauce for dunking.

Get the recipe: Pork Satay

French Fry Board

French fry grazing board

Turn burgers’ favorite sidekick into the shining star of your grad’s big day. Guests will flock to this unexpected grazing board with three kinds of crispy fries and an array of sauces for dipping.

Get the recipe: Fry Board

Teriyaki Glazed Cocktail Franks

Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Classic cocktail franks get a flavorful upgrade slathered in teriyaki sauce and caramelized on the grill.

Get the recipe: Teriyaki Glazed Cocktail Franks

Mini Grilled Steak Gyros

Two-bite gyros with all the fixings are a smart way to serve steak for a crowd without breaking the bank. The combo of spice-rubbed skirt steak, crisp veggies, and store-bought tzatziki is a taste of the Greek Isles.

Get the recipe: Mini Grilled Steak Gyros

Mini Buttery Shrimp Rolls

If you’re going for beachy vibes at your graduation bash, crank up the surf with these buttery shrimp rolls. The shrimp are drizzled with Old Bay-spiked garlic butter and packed inside a toasted roll for a seaside celebration.

Get the recipe: Mini Buttery Shrimp Rolls

Stuffed Mini Peppers

For a lighter, plant-powered option on the appetizer table, try these vegan-friendly skewers. Mini sweet peppers stuffed with refried beans and your favorite salsa are ready to party after 15 minutes in the oven.

Get the recipe: Stuffed Mini Peppers

Berry Skewers with Cheesecake Dip

These make-ahead fruit and cake skewers are a lighter alternative to cheesecake but have all the great flavor. We’ve used berries here, but feel free to swap in your grad’s favorite fruit, or whatever is in season.

Get the recipe: Berry Skewers with Cheesecake Dip

Mini Lemon Meringue Pies

We packed all the tangy-tart, sweet flavor of classic lemon meringue pie into these two-bite fluffy treats. Store-bought mini graham cracker crusts speed up prep for individual pies made with homemade lemon curd and airy meringue.

Get the recipe: Mini Lemon Meringue Pies

Raspberry Lemon Sorbet Floats

These fruity floats for guests of all ages are equally as refreshing served as a sparkling cocktail, too. Just add scoops of raspberry and lemon sorbet to a tall glass and top with your favorite citrus seltzer or (depending on how old your grad is) sparkling wine for a celebratory twist.

Get the recipe: Raspberry Lemon Sorbet Floats

Cherry Cheesecake Jars

Add these adorable mini cheesecakes to the dessert table or send them home with guests as a sweet souvenir. Individual cherry cheesecakes with graham cracker crust are easy to assemble and serve in jars — no baking required.

Get the recipe: Cherry Cheesecake Jars


A non-alcoholic version of the Spanish wine cocktail sangria, this makes a sweet and fruity pitcher drink for a crowd. It’s so good, you’ll probably need to make a double batch to keep everyone happy.

Get the recipe: Sans-Gria

Coconut Orange Mock Margarita

This cheers-for-all-ages, big-batch mocktail gets a bright pop of flavor from freshly squeezed orange and lime juices. Coconut milk brings tropical vibes, rounding things out with a splash of creamy sweetness.

Get the recipe: Coconut Orange Mock Margarita

Piñata Cake

Skip the blindfold for this delicious take on a party piñata. A towering cake made with colorful boxed cake mix holds a sweet surprise inside — a medley of your grad’s favorite bite-sized candies. You will need to provide forks for this showstopper, but nothing says celebration like a piñata.

Get the recipe: Piñata Cake

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