30 Celebratory Recipes Perfect for Your Next Graduation Party
Your loved one has graduated after years of hard work, which means that now is the time to honor their accomplishments with a proper celebration; if you ask us, no celebratory party is complete without delicious food. From potluck-friendly pasta salads to barbecue-style meats and sides (like smoky Baked Beans with Bacon), your family and friends will love these graduation party recipes.
If you're hosting a casual backyard bash, make the ultimate summer main: pulled pork. Instead of the usual barbecue sauce, pork shoulder cooks with fennel seeds, parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, and garlic, which infuses the meat with unique, fragrant flavor. Another option is our California Bacon-Wrapped Dogs that are equally festive for a warm-weather fête. They're wrapped with bacon and topped with pico de gallo and spicy, grilled poblano peppers. Feel free to leave the heat off to the side so any little ones in attendance can enjoy a bite, too.
Every great party needs an all-star dessert. Our Strawberry Biscuit Sheet Cake, pictured here, is a genius twist on strawberry shortcake. Instead of serving individual portions of the nostalgic treat, make one giant cake that can feed 12 guests. Another party favorite is brownies; turn it up a notch (or two) and make our super-rich and nutty Fudgy Turtle Brownies. The brownie batter is topped with pecan halves then after it bakes is drizzled with creamy caramel sauce and melted chocolate. These treats make for a great ending to any celebratory menu.
Pull-Apart Pigs in a Blanket
Loaded Baked-Potato Dip
Fruit Platter with Whipped Ricotta
California Bacon-Wrapped Dogs
Italian Pulled Pork
Boozy Melon Three Ways
Save this one for a college graduation party! Tequila-soaked watermelon, gin-soaked honeydew, and vodka-soaked cantaloupe are guaranteed crowd-pleasers if your guest list includes the over 21 set.
Cheesy, creamy, and ultra-comforting, this dip is perfect for a crowd. Combine American and pepper jack cheese with cornstarch in a slow cooker, then add diced canned tomatoes with chile and evaporated milk. Set it to "low" for two hours and wait for the magic to unfold.
Grilled Balsamic Flank Steak With Peppers and Onions
No-Bake Blueberry Cheesecake for a Crowd
Skip the complicated water bath and temperamental mixture in favor of this super-easy and eye-catching cheesecake. The egg-free filling is made with a combination of ricotta, cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, and whipped cream, which is smoothed over a vanilla wafer crust and topped with blueberries.
Mediterranean Three-Bean Salad
This dairy- and gluten-free bean salad offers something for everyone at the party. A combination of pink, white, and green beans are tossed with oil and vinegar, plus piquillo peppers, and curly-leaf parsley.
Orecchiette, Celery, and Olive Salad with Ricotta Salata
Pasta Salad with Tomatoes, Mozzarella, and Chickpeas
Sour-Cherry Frangipane Tart
Grilled Corn with Chile-Lime Salt
Vanilla Sheet Cake with Chocolate-Ganache Buttercream
Pimiento Mac and Cheese
Blackberry-Plum Smash with Basil
Make this berry-delicious punch and earn a seat at the top of the class. Muddle sliced red plums, blackberries, and fresh basil, then top with sparkling lemon soda—it's particularly apt if your school colors are bright red.
Corn-and-Avocado Salad with Goddess Dressing
The star vegetables of summer—think crisp radishes, fresh corn kernels, and bright green avocado—all make an appearance in this party-worthy salad. It earns high marks all around because it can (and should!) be prepared eight hours in advance, which eliminates last-minute cooking.
Dill, Potato, and Egg Salad
Lime Sandwich Cookies
Crispy Cereal Treats
This favorite childhood treat goes from the playground to the party. The recipe lets you choose your own flavor with inspired combinations such as cocoa nutty, trail mix, tropical breeze, and berries and cream.
Baked Beans with Bacon
Cooking out is a summer staple, and nothing says backyard barbecue quite like homemade baked beans with a sweet and smoky barbecue sauce. Pure maple syrup, Dijon mustard, ketchup, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce work as a team to build the flavor we all know and love.
Lemon Mezcal Margarita
Fudgy Turtle Brownies
You'll score high marks all around with these ultra-rich brownies that feature a cream caramel sauce, pecans, and melted chocolate. For one final, schoolyard dare, try eating just one (we bet you won't be able to!).