35 Retirement Party Recipes for the Perfect Celebration

Blue Cheese-and-Pecan Stuffed Cherry Peppers
Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Prop Styling: Karin Olsen; Food Styling: William Smith

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 their next adventure with a full heart (and stomach)!

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Potato Puffs with Toppings

Potato Puffs with Toppings
Photo: Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Potato Puffs with Toppings

These poppable potatoes look and feel dressy but taste oh-so-comforting.

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Caesar Salad Bites

Caesar Salad Bites
Photo: Jennifer Davick/Prop Styling: Lydia DeGaris Pursell/Food Styling: Marian Cooper Cairns

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.

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Spinach-Artichoke Dip

Spinach-Artichoke Dips
Caitlin Bensel

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!

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Baked Brie Bites

Baked Brie Bites
Laurey W. Glenn

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.

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Field Pea and Pasta Salad

Roasted Asparagus and Baby Artichokes
Kelsey Hansen; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Julia Levy

Recipe: Field Pea and Pasta Salad

Pasta salads are perfect for potlucks and parties because they can be served chilled or at room temperature.

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Ham-and-Cheese Skewers

Ham-and-Cheese Skewers
Gooseberry Patch

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.

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Peach-Ricotta-Prosciutto Toasts

Charred Potato-Okra Salad
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Peach-Ricotta-Prosciutto Toasts

This appetizer manages the perfect mix of fresh, sweet, savory, crunchy, and creamy, but it takes basically no effort.

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Pickled Shrimp and Vegetables

Pickled Shrimp and Vegetables
Photo: Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Tina Stamos

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.

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Crispy Pork Meatballs

Prosciutto-and-Manchego Cheese Straws
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Prop Styling: Karin Olsen; Food Styling: William Smith

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.

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Easy Summer Appetizer Board

Easy Summer Appetizer Board
Photo: Hector Sanchez; Stylist: Buffy Hargett

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.

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Quick Chopped Salad with Buttermilk Dressing

Chopped Salad with Buttermilk Dressing
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: 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.

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Classic Deviled Eggs

Classic Deviled Eggs
Photo: Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Classic Deviled Eggs

Has anyone ever said "no thanks" to a platter of deviled eggs? Include a deviled egg toppings bar for guests to jazz up their plate to their liking.

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Ham Biscuits

Buttermilk Biscuits with Ham
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Torie Cox; Prop Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas

Recipe: Ham Biscuits

If you're looking for an easy slam dunk of a party recipe, you can never go wrong with classic ham biscuits. Pair them with homemade spreads like our Creole Mayonnaise, Chive-Radish Compound Butter, Spicy Orange-Peach Butter, or Pecan Cheese Spread for a personal touch.

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Creamy Crab Dip

Collard Dip
Hector Manuel Sanchez

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.

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Spicy Pepper Jelly Coleslaw

Grilled Sweet Potato Fries
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

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.

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Shrimp and Bacon Salad Sliders

Shrimp and Bacon Salad Sliders
Alison Miksch; Prop Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller; Food Styling: Torie Cox

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.

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Spicy Cheddar Appetizer Cookies

Spicy Cheddar Appetizer Cookies
Jennifer Davick

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.

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Inside-Out Hot Brown Bites

Inside-Out Hot Brown Bites
Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Inside-Out Hot Brown Bites

We reimagined the famous Kentucky Hot Brown sandwich into a party-ready appetizer that's nestled in Parmesan cheese cups.

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Marinated Watermelon and Tomato Salad

Marinated Watermelon Tomato Salad
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Marinated Watermelon Tomato Salad

There's not a prettier way to brighten up a summer party than a fresh salad with watermelon and tomatoes.

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Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake
Alison Miksch; Prop styling: Mary Clayton Carl; Food styling: Mary-Claire Britton

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.

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Ultimate Dark Chocolate Brownies

Ultimate Dark Chocolate Brownies
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer

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.

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Rosemary Pork Sliders with Horseradish Aioli

Rosemary Pork Sliders with Horseradish Aioli
Photo: Oxmoor House

Recipe: 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.

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Coconut Tres Leches Sheet Cake

Coconut Tres Leches Sheet Cake
Alison Miksch

Recipe: Coconut Tres Leches Sheet Cake

This coconut cake recipe was made to serve a crowd and believe us when we say it is the creamiest, dreamiest sheet cake we've ever made.

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Chocolate-Caramel Cookie Cups

Dog Chocolate Sugar Cookies
Victori Protasio; Prop Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas; Food Styling: Torie Cox

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).

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Banana Pudding Cheesecake

Banana Pudding Cheesecake
Jennifer Davick

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.

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Strawberries-and-Cream Sheet Cake

Strawberries-and-Cream Sheet Cake
Photo: Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Strawberries-and-Cream Sheet Cake

If your retiree is a sucker for strawberry cake, he or she might consider coming out of retirement for you to make this swoon worthy sheet cake for them again.

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Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies
Caitlin Bensel

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.

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Classic Southern Pound Cake

Classic Southern Pound Cake
Skyler Burt; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Karen Rankin

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.

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Rose Petal Cupcakes

Rose Petal Cupcakes
Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Torie Cox; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke

Recipe: Rose Petal Cupcakes

Assigned to bring dessert but not quite an expert baker? This easy cupcake recipe uses boxed mix, but when topped with Rose-Vanilla Buttercream and beautiful but simple rose petals, everyone will assume you'd get Mary Berry's praise for this dessert!

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Lemon-Lime Meringue Pie

Lemon-Lime Meringue Pie
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling; Tina Bell Stamos

Recipe: Lemon-Lime Meringue Pie

Lemon meringue and Key lime pie meet in this airy dessert that will be a hit with citrus-lovers at the party.

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake
Micah A. Leal

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.

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French 75

French 75
Southern Living

Recipe: French 75

Refreshing and easy to make, this sparkling cocktail was made for celebrating, and your honoree will love the pretty presentation.

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Peach Sweet Tea

Peach Truck Pitchers - Peach Sweet Tea
Elesia Johnson

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.

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Sparkling Punch

Sparkling Punch
Photo: Jennifer Davick

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?

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Blue Cheese-and-Pecan Stuffed Cherry Peppers

Blue Cheese-and-Pecan Stuffed Cherry Peppers
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Prop Styling: Karin Olsen; Food Styling: William Smith

Recipe: 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."

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