51 Labor Day Recipes Perfect For An End-Of-Summer Party
Parting with summer is such sweet sorrow.
If summer has to end, the food better be good. Chicken, burgers, foil packs, grill skewers—you name it, we got it. Whether you’re celebrating the labor movement, your love of BBQ-ing, or your last three day weekend for a while (yeah, us too), we’ve got something for everyone. Check out our 51 Labor Day recipes for ideas—don't let your summer end without a bang.
We’ve spent all summer glued to our grills, and while we’ll almost certainly continue that as long as the weather allows, Labor Day does mark the unofficial end of grilling season. To commemorate, we’re going all out with all our favorite grilling techniques and recipes. Love a foil pack? Try our Hawaiian chicken, corn & tomato gnocchi, or grilled shrimp foil packs. Looking for impressive burgers and dogs? Check out our pineapple bun burgers, our BLT dogs, our beer can burgers, and our hot dog board (yep, a charcuterie board just for hot dogs). Looking for vegetarian BBQ options? Try our tomato gnocchi kebabs, our BBQ tempeh sandwich, or our grilled pizza.
And we can’t forget side dishes! Potato and pasta salads just don’t taste quite the same outside of summer, so we’re remaking our favorites one last time. We’ve got classic macaroni and simple potato salad, as well as surprise standouts from this summer like our lobster roll pasta salad, our loaded baked potato salad, and our Thai peanut chicken pasta salad.
All our favorite summer produce like sweet corn, watermelon, tomatoes, and pineapple are heading out for the year too (hi, hello butternut squash and apples!), so make as many dishes involving them as you can this Labor Day. Try our watermelon feta salad, our elote (Mexican street corn) tacos, our huli huli chicken, or our grilled tomatoes for some of our favorites, but to be honest, we’ll probably be sneaking produce into everything we make (and recommend you do the same).
Want more Labor Day inspiration? Check out our favorite Labor Day appetizers and Labor Day desserts too.
Macaroni salad works well with most anything you want to add in. We love adding broccoli, pimento peppers, tuna, hard boiled eggs, and bacon!
Get the Classic Macaroni Salad recipe.
Few foods are better than perfectly tender ribs, glistening with caramelized BBQ sauce. Now, you can have smokehouse-quality ribs from the comfort of your own home—all it takes is a grill, a few hours, and a good amount of patience.
Get the Grilled Ribs recipe.
Here's our #1 tip for success: Prep everything you are going to need before you start grilling. The grilling part goes fast. We're talking 4 minutes tops, so don't wait to slice your tomatoes until the pizza is on the grill. Have everything ready and near you so that as soon as you flip the pizza crust, you can start topping and pull your pizza off the grill as soon as it's done.
Get the Grilled Pizza recipe.
We love a good shrimp boil, but sometimes we don't have time for the production. Foil packs turn a shrimp boil into individual parties that are so fun tho throw onto the grill! It's everything you love with way less work.
Get the Grilled Shrimp Foil Packets recipe.
A hot dog board is an easy way to turn the cookout staple into a fun station for your Labor Day party to build and top their own dogs—because, let's face it, everyone likes their dogs a different way!
Get the Hot Dog Board recipe.
The pineapple in this recipe doesn't just serve as a pretty serving vessel (though, WOAH): It adds a fresh and vibrant sweetness to this teriyaki sauce as well. Use the juice that pools at the bottom of your pineapple when scooping out the chunks.
This is our simplest, easiest recipe, but the flavor combo options are endless—check out the rest of our grilled corn ideas too.
Get the Grilled Corn On The Cob recipe.
A classic potato salad is a must-have at every picnic and barbecue. This one is creamy and tangy, with a little bit of crunch from the onion and pickles.
Get the Classic Potato Salad recipe.
Tomatoes are maybe the best part of summer, so say goodbye to them in style. You can season simply with salt, black pepper, and oregano and eat as is, but we love topping this with a flavor-packed tahini-Caesar dressing.
Get the Grilled Tomatoes recipe.
There are about a million ways to top a hamburger, and we're not here to tell you what goes onto your patty. It is our duty to make sure that you're cooking burgers as best as you possibly can. Our golden rules: Be sure to let the meat come to room temperature and season generously with salt and pepper before you grill up.
Get the Classic Cheeseburger recipe.
The foil packets trap in steam from the wine and juices from the tomato and corn as everything grills, which in turn cooks the gnocchi to perfectly tender while infusing the pasta with all the flavors of the dish. Bonus: Some of the meal browns a bit on the bottom right before it finishes cooking, adding extra flavor.
Get the Gnocchi Foil Packets recipe.
Watermelon + cucumbers is one of the most refreshing combos of all time. Throw in some mint, red onion, and feta and toss it all with a very simple vinaigrette (just olive oil + red wine vinegar), and you've got yourself a mean summer salad.
Get the Watermelon Feta Salad recipe.
Many Labor Day cookouts are plagued by folks using breasts and not knowing how to grill them. Chicken thighs like we've used here, however, are a lot more forgiving due to their natural tenderness and flavor. They taste even better when slid on skewers alongside bok choy and scallions, then glazed with a hoisin barbecue sauce.
Get the Grilled Chicken Kebabs recipe.
This versatile, flavorful corn salad is the perfect way to use up leftover grilled corn. Mix and match your favorite cheeses, herbs, and nuts, but keep the citrus for brightness and oil for a little richness. And if your dad like a little *kick*, add some sliced jalapeños or a big pinch of red chili flakes.
Get the Grilled Corn Salad recipe.
Hoping to bring sandwiches to feed your Labor Day picnic crowd, but don't want to spend all morning assembling them? This sheet-pan hack is for you! Overlapping the bread slices means you can fit more onto the sheet pan, and don’t worry—the melty Provolone and pressing these down (sort of like a massive DIY panini press) makes sure they still hold together.
Get the Sheet-Pan Italian Subs recipe.
For the perfect caprese salad you want to avoid any cheese labeled as aged or "low moisture". These cheeses won't give you the luscious creaminess needed to counteract the acidity of the tomatoes here. If you can get your hands on it, look for any mozzarella that is packaged in water or brine, which really helps to maintain the cheese's flavor and texture.
Get the Perfect Caprese Salad recipe.
Mayo dressing is the classic when it comes to coleslaw, but we find that can sometimes be overly heavy or cloyingly sweet and fatty. Adding vinegar along with some bright and tangy dijon mustard really lightens up the dressing in the best way possible.
Get the Coleslaw recipe.
This lobster roll is Connecticut style, which means absolutely no mayo in sight—just melted butter and some chives for freshness. We think this version really lets the lobster take center stage so, crustacean lovers, this is the sandwich for you.
In 1955, Ernest Morgado, a businessman from Hawaii grilled some chicken and brushed it with a sauce inspired by his mother's version of teriyaki sauce. This sauce included pineapple juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, and (stay with us!) ketchup. Paired with delicious grilled pineapple, this recipe is bursting with flavor.
Get the Huli Huli Chicken recipe.
Trust us, Big Mac sauce is great for SO much more than just hamburgers. If you're a hot dog and a fast food fan, these are for you!
Big Mac Hot Dogs recipe.
These tacos have all the deliciousness of elote or esquites in taco form—and you don’t even have to fire up the grill. Oh, and did we mention you can get them on your Labor Day table in 30 minutes?
This super savory pasta salad is a hit at barbecues and potlucks, and hearty enough to qualify as a meal. Swapping in a tangy mustard vinaigrette for the usual mayo-based dressing lightens things up a bit, and a healthy serving of seared chicken and crispy bacon make it satisfying enough to be a meal all on its own.
Get the Chicken Pasta Salad recipe.
This dip is not just mozzarella: ricotta and heavy cream join in to make an epic base for the juicy cherry tomatoes and dollops of pesto too. This summer-y dip just be the perfect Labor Day appetizer.
Get the Whipped Mozzarella Dip with Burst Cherry Tomatoes recipe.
Hot tip for these hot dogs: To ensure the bacon stays wrapped while the dogs cook, secure ends with toothpicks. (Just remember to remove them before serving!)
Get the BLT Dogs recipe.
This is how you get broccoli haters to eat the green stuff. Thank you, bacon! Lightly coated in an apple cider vinegar dressing, and tossed with almonds, carrots, red onions, and bacon, this salad is loaded with flavor and texture. It's the perfect make-ahead side for your Labor Day BBQ.
Get the Broccoli Bacon Salad recipe.
Thanks to a handful of canned goods—pinto beans, sweet corn, green chiles, and pickled jalapeños— these come together almost instantly. Serve them as an appetizer or main dish this Labor Day.
Get the Loaded Campfire Nachos recipe.
Tender Yukon gold potatoes paired with hard-boiled eggs, celery, sweet pickles, and red onion make this Southern-style potato salad the perfect sidekick to summer barbecues, family gatherings, weeknight dinners, and more.
Get the Southern Potato Salad recipe.
This light but satisfying dinner starts with a vibrant sauce made with some of our favorite sunny, bright flavors: sweet bell pepper, nutty white miso, and earthy turmeric, along with plenty of garlic and ginger. Topped with garlicky sautéed shrimp, this meal comes complete with protein, carb, and plenty of veg.
We’re reimagining the classic macaroni salad here by adding buttery lobster meat and crispy bacon that pair perfectly with the tangy, creamy dressing. Think of this like the elevated version of your favorite BLT sandwich or lobster roll, made potluck-friendly.
Get the Lobster Roll Pasta Salad recipe.
To make this a truly vegan-friendly slaw, there is neither mayonnaise nor honey in the mix. We use maple to bring out the veggies’ natural sweetness and Dijon mustard helps emulsify the oil and vinegar while adding a bit of a kick in the back of your throat.
Get the Vinegar Coleslaw recipe.