Home - Articles - 18 Recipes to Commemorate Juneteenth

18 Recipes to Commemorate Juneteenth

Celebrate freedom, family, and the future with a festive cookout.

June 19 has long been celebrated as Freedom Day in African American communities. This day marks when Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas with news of emancipation in 1865, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation. While early celebrations would sometimes include pilgrimages to Galveston, today Juneteenth has become a time of parades and outdoor gatherings with friends and family traditions. These celebrations are a way to bring the community together and communicate the value of never giving up hope. Food is an integral part of these celebrations, with red foods bearing extra meaning as a sign of sacrifice, resilience, transition, power, and joy. If you’re stuck on what to serve, these 18 tasty Juneteenth recipes span red foods, delicious Southern staples, and crowd-pleasing plates perfect for your Juneteenth cookout.

Hibiscus Lemonade Red Drink

The official beverage of Juneteenth is red drink, and this version is a mix of raspberries, strawberries, and freshly brewed hibiscus tea for a lemony and fruity flavor. Hibiscus is a bright red flower from West Africa whose petals are often used as a base for different red drink recipes. Store-bought lemonade adds a little extra sweetness to this perfect pitcher sipper.

Get the recipe: Hibiscus Lemonade Red Drink

Strawberry Arnold Palmers

Ripe strawberries turn into a delicious syrup for this Arnold Palmer-inspired red drink. Mix a big batch of lemonade and unsweetened iced tea and serve it over ice to beat the summer heat at your celebration with this Juneteenth recipe.

Get the recipe: Strawbery Arnold Palmers

Fried Green Tomatoes

This Southern staple has only five ingredients and is bound to be a family favorite at any Juneteenth meal as an easy appetizer or side. Green tomatoes are firmer than fully ripe tomatoes, making them ideal for breading and frying.

Get the recipe: Fried Green Tomatoes

Southern Biscuit-Sausage Balls

These turkey sausage and cheddar bites have only five ingredients and take less than 15 minutes to mix up so why not bake a couple of batches and freeze the extras? Serve with plenty of barbecue sauce on the side for dipping.

Get the recipe: Southern Biscuit-Sausage Balls

Skillet Cornbread

If you don’t want to heat up your oven with a Juneteenth recipe in the warm summer months, this easy skillet cornbread cooks right on the grill. Jalapeños bring a little heat, and, thanks to gluten-free flour and cornmeal, this cookout staple is allergy-friendly for everyone at the party. For individual cornbread muffins, try baking it in a greased muffin pan for 20 to 25 minutes.

Get the recipe: Skillet Cornbread

Spicy Tomato and Watermelon Salad

Vibrant tomatoes and watermelon bring the red color naturally to this spicy side dish. Begin by heating cumin, turmeric, paprika, and cayenne pepper in oil to bring out all the flavors. Add some sliced basil for freshness before tossing with the fruit.

Get the recipe: Spicy Tomato and Watermelon Salad

Grilled Okra with Seasoned Salt

Grilling okra delivers beautifully crisp results. Make your own fancy finishing salt by combining smoked paprika, cumin, garlic powder, black pepper, and fresh lemon zest. These easy bites of the Southern produce staple will have everyone asking for more.

Get the recipe: Grilled Okra with Seasoned Salt

Lentil and Black-Eyed Pea Dip

Change up your usual black-eyed peas recipe with this Texas caviar-inspired dip. Use store-bought fresh salsa as the base and add lentils and corn to help bring texture and flavor. Serve it with plenty of chips and a spoon for easy scooping.

Get the recipe: Lentil and Black-Eyed Pea Dip

Grilled Nashville Hot Chicken Drumsticks

Bring on the spice with this Juneteenth recipe! Nashville is known for extra spicy chicken, and this recipe has heat. We’ve thrown it on the grill to make it cookout-friendly. Bump up the cayenne pepper if you’re feeling extra spicy and keep plenty of napkins ready for when everyone digs in.

Get the recipe: Grilled Nashville Hot Chicken Drumsticks

Black Pepper Baby Back Ribs

These savory dry-rubbed ribs will make a great centerpiece for your Juneteenth celebration. Be sure to plan ahead so the rub has plenty of time to flavor the ribs before you cook them. This recipe uses both the oven and the grill to make sure the ribs are super tender but still have that classic char.

Get the recipe: Black Pepper Baby Back Ribs

Baked Mac and Cheese

We couldn’t pack more cheese into this recipe if we tried. With five different kinds of cheese, this decadent dream is bound to be a hit. Try mixing it up ahead of time and then baking it right before everyone arrives. Finish it with some sliced green onions for a pop of color and freshness.

Get the recipe: Baked Mac and Cheese

Dill Pickle Ranch Potato Salad

If your family is a fan of pickles or ranch dressing, this potato salad will be gone as soon as it hits the table. Vinegary dill pickles balance this creamy dish and make it easy to eat by the spoonful. It’s the perfect make-ahead salad to add to your Juneteenth menu.

Get the recipe: Dill Pickle Ranch Potato Salad

Honey Mustard Coleslaw

You can’t have a cookout without coleslaw, and this recipe is a balance of crunchy and creamy. Greek yogurt keeps this dressing from feeling too heavy and store-bought slaw mix keeps prep time low.

Get the recipe: Honey Mustard Coleslaw

Buffalo Corn on the Cob

Save some space on the grill, because this spicy side uses the microwave to cook fresh summer corn until it’s bursting with flavor. Then, mix Buffalo sauce into melted butter to slather all over the corn, sprinkle over some crumbled blue cheese, and you have an extra-decadent dish.

Get the recipe: Buffalo Corn on the Cob

Peach Cobbler Pound Cake with Brown Butter Glaze

We can’t forget about desserts for this recipe round-up! This showstopping cake is a combination of peach cobbler and moist pound cake for a sweet treat that is unlike anything else. Top the cake off with an easy brown butter glaze and plenty of fresh peaches for a finale that is undeniably delicious.

Get the recipe: Peach Cobbler Pound Cake with Brown Butter Glaze

Red Velvet Pound Cake

Bring some red to the dessert table with this moist red velvet pound cake. Simply serve it with plenty of fresh berries, a dusting of powdered sugar, and a dollop of whipped cream.

Get the recipe: Red Velvet Pound Cake

Piña Colada Upside-Down Cake

Coconut milk brings a tropical spin and extra-moist texture to this retro-inspired dessert. Plus, store-bought cake mix keeps the prep time low. Finish the cake off with maraschino cherries for that bright pop of red, and dessert is ready!

Get the recipe: Piña Colada Upside-Down Cake

Berry Swirl No-Churn Ice Cream

Ice cream is one of the best treats of the summertime, and this surprisingly easy homemade recipe is sure to impress your guests. Blend fresh berries into a tangy swirl before mixing up an ice cream base of just whipped cream and sweetened condensed milk. Just make sure there’s a freezer close by to keep the ice cream frozen before serving.

Get the recipe: Berry Swirl No-Churn Ice Cream

Search and shop our 5,000+ recipes

Popular articles

Search and shop our 5,000+ recipes