35 Retirement Party Recipes for the Perfect Celebration
Retirement can be a bittersweet event in a person’s life. After years or even decades of hard work, it’s so exciting for a retiree to focus on a little R&R, but leaving a company you’ve grown to love is still difficult. Coworkers who you've become close friends with over the years are equally thrilled for the retiree to have their well-deserved break but are never truly ready to say goodbye. Like many events in the South, what better way is there to celebrate a beloved retiree than with a party full of incredible homemade food? With these ideas in your back pocket, this retirement party will surpass the annual Christmas party as the favorite of the year. Your friend who’s retiring has worked hard, so show your appreciation with a beautiful layer cake or addicting appetizer. For some work parties, we don’t blame you for stopping by the grocery store and grabbing the nearest batch of cookies or tub of hummus (there’s not always time to make everything at home). But for your friend and coworker’s retirement party, leave them with the sweetest goodbye with these recipes. These delicious retirement party ideas will send your coworker onto his or her next adventure with a full heart (and stomach)!
Baked Brie Bites
Recipe: Baked Brie Bites
Baked brie is one of our all-time favorite appetizers, but it can get a bit messy and difficult for a big crowd to serve themselves. Luckily, this mini appetizer is the perfect fix.
Rosemary Pork Sliders with Horseradish Aioli
Even if the menu consists of small bites, guests can still leave full and happy with these delicious sliders that can cook in the slow cooker all day before the party.
Caesar Salad Bites
Recipe: Caesar Salad Bites
Big-batch salads can get frustrating to serve when all the good toppings fall to the bottom of the bowl. Our party-friendly solution? These handy salad bites.
Potato Puffs with Toppings
Recipe: Potato Puffs with Toppings
These poppable potatoes look and feel dressy but taste oh-so-comforting.
Recipe: Spinach-Artichoke Dip
We’ve never—ever—been to a party where the spinach-artichoke dip wasn’t finished off. Put in the extra effort (believe us, it’s not much) to make this creamy dip yourself instead of picking up a tub of it at the store—your honoree deserves the real deal!
Field Pea and Pasta Salad
Recipe: Field Pea and Pasta Salad
Pasta salads are perfect for potlucks and parties because they can be served chilled or at room temperature.
Recipe: Ham-and-Cheese Skewers
With just four ingredients, you’ve got an appetizer that looks pretty and is easy for guests to grab and go.
Recipe: Peach-Ricotta-Prosciutto Toasts
This appetizer manages the perfect mix of fresh, sweet, savory, crunchy, and creamy, but it takes basically no effort.
Pickled Shrimp and Vegetables
Recipe: Pickled Shrimp and Vegetables
Pickled shrimp and veggies is the ultimate make-ahead party recipe for a stress-free week. Keep this classic dish cool by nestling your serving dish in a larger bowl with crushed ice.
Crispy Pork Meatballs
Recipe: Crispy Pork Meatballs
Classic cocktail meatballs can be messy and setting up the slow cooker at the party might not mesh well with your beautiful decorations. These Asian-inspired meatballs pair dressy presentation with addictive deliciousness.
Easy Summer Appetizer Board
Recipe: Easy Summer Appetizer Board
Grazing boards are all the rage for gorgeous party setups right now, and we’re totally here for it considering how easy they are. This recipe includes Southern favorites like a new twist on pimiento cheese, Riesling peaches, and pickled okra.
Quick Chopped Salad with Buttermilk Dressing
Parties can get weighed down with too many indulgent appetizers, so it’s nice to offer up something fresh. This salad is as easy but much prettier than a bag of salad off the grocery store shelf.
Classic Deviled Eggs
Blue Cheese-and-Pecan Stuffed Cherry Peppers
What makes these one-bite delights the ultimate party appetizer? As one of our Test Kitchen Professionals said, they “look sophisticated without taking a lot of time or effort.”
Creamy Crab Dip
Recipe: Creamy Crab Dip
This fresh take on the vintage crab dip Mama used to make is full of fresh lump crabmeat and Southern-favorite Old Bay seasoning.
Spicy Pepper Jelly Coleslaw
Recipe: Spicy Pepper Jelly Coleslaw
Add some color and crunch to the lineup with a fresh new slaw recipe that everyone will be asking to steal.
Shrimp and Bacon Salad Sliders
Recipe: Shrimp and Bacon Salad Sliders
This update on old-school shrimp salad is filled with chopped crispy bacon and fresh citrus notes for a whole new shrimp salad experience.
Spicy Cheddar Appetizer Cookies
Recipe: Spicy Cheddar Appetizer Cookies
Use a star-shaped cookie cutter to add a little fun to classic cheese straws that will disappear well before the party ends.
Inside-Out Hot Brown Bites
Marinated Watermelon and Tomato Salad
There’s not a prettier way to brighten up a summer party than a fresh salad with watermelon and tomatoes.
Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake
Recipe: Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake
What better way to tell someone you’re going to miss them than a decadent chocolate cake? We’d definitely feel the love if given a slice of this all-time favorite.
Ultimate Dark Chocolate Brownies
Recipe: Ultimate Dark Chocolate Brownies
This is a grown-up party, so serve a grown-up dessert! This brownie recipe has the nostalgic feel of your classic milk chocolate version, but espresso and bourbon add richness that’s out of this world.
Coconut Tres Leches Sheet Cake
Chocolate-Caramel Cookie Cups
Recipe: Chocolate-Caramel Cookie Cups
This bite-size dessert recipe has a high yield for a big crowd (or so that everyone can have more than one).
Banana Pudding Cheesecake
Recipe: Banana Pudding Cheesecake
We’re not sure that we need to give you more than the name of this recipe to make you want to bake it, but if you need more motivation, you can make it a day in advance to help you out the day of your event.
Strawberries-and-Cream Sheet Cake
Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies
Recipe: Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies
The honoree can kiss working life goodbye with this simple, sweet dessert. These cookies are perfect to send home in mini tins or clear plastic bags for cute favors.
Classic Southern Pound Cake
Recipe: Classic Southern Pound Cake
If you’re not sure what your guests’ dessert tastes are, you can never go wrong with a delectable Southern pound cake. Include homemade whipped cream and fresh berries on the side for topping.
Rose Petal Cupcakes
Lemon-Lime Meringue Pie
Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake
Recipe: Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake
Instead of ordering a cake, show how much you care by baking a homemade cookie cake. Write out, “We’ll miss you!” or another sweet message for extra brownie—cookie—points.
Recipe: French 75
Refreshing and easy to make, this sparkling cocktail was made for celebrating, and your honoree will love the pretty presentation.
Peach Sweet Tea
Recipe: Peach Sweet Tea
Your retiree deserves the best at this party, so don’t plop a gallon of store-bought sweet tea down on the table. A little effort goes a long way with this delicious, summery sweet tea recipe.
Recipe: Sparkling Punch
You’ll undoubtedly raise a glass to your retiree at the party, so why not raise a beautiful glass of homemade punch instead of something straight from the bottle?