These Graduation Party Recipes Will Earn You Top Honors

Mini Shrimp Rolls
Photo: Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer

Graduating, whether from high school, college, or any graduate school, is a huge deal that deserves to be celebrated. Celebrating is something Southerners have never taken issue with, especially when there's ample homemade food involved. These are the best graduation party food ideas to show your grad how proud you are of them. Everyone will be happy with party classics like ham biscuits and deviled eggs, and you can mix in new favorites like roasted broccoli salad and our latest spin on potato skins. You can't forget dessert when you talk about festivities, because every party needs to end on a sweet note. Instead of ordering one, try a homemade chocolate chip cookie cake, or send your grad off to the real world with a decadent Texas sheet cake. Whatever recipes you choose for your graduation party, be sure your graduate feels the love. These ideas will end the school year on the best note.

01 of 29

Pork Tenderloin Sliders

Bacon-and-Sweet Onion Jam
Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Pork Tenderloin Sliders

Pork tenderloin sliders are the best party food—they feel dressy but are budget friendly. Plus, they're easy for guests to pick up but more filling than other bite-size foods.

02 of 29

Southwest Black-Eyed Pea Dip

Southwest Black-Eyed Pea Dip
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Christina Lane; Food Styling: Tina Bell Stamos

Recipe: Southwest Black-Eyed Pea Dip

There's nothing like a creamy dip to get the party started. This one combines all the ingredients you love from Texas Caviar and makes them into a warm, cheesy treat.

03 of 29

Ham Biscuits

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

Recipe: Ham Biscuits

Ham biscuits are a Southern party staple. Why? They're easy, filling, feed a crowd, and make a pretty spread.

04 of 29

Petite Sweet Potato Biscuits with Pulled Pork and Slaw

Petite Sweet Potato Biscuits with Pulled Pork and Slaw
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Petite Sweet Potato Biscuits with Pulled Pork and Slaw

These perfect party bites pack everything we love about a cookout in grab-and-go form.

05 of 29

Queso-Filled Mini Peppers

Queso-Filled Mini Peppers
Antonis Achilleos

Recipe: Queso-Filled Mini Peppers

These poppable bites can be made a day in advance to help with prep time.

06 of 29

Mini Shrimp Rolls

Mini Shrimp Rolls
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer

Recipe: Mini Shrimp Rolls

These mini sandwiches are the ideal party snack for the graduation time of year.

07 of 29

Spicy Pimiento Cheese Sausage Balls

Spicy Pimiento Cheese Sausage Balls
Time Inc. Video Studio

Recipe: Spicy Pimiento Cheese Sausage Balls

Sausage balls are already a classic for parties in the South, but we made them even more Southern with a pimiento cheese twist.

08 of 29

Fresh Fruit Salad

Fresh Fruit Salad
Jen Causey

Recipe: Fresh Fruit Salad

Among rows of hearty appetizers and casseroles, it's nice to throw a little fresh fruit in there with this easy salad your guests will appreciate.

09 of 29

Slow-Cooker Beef Sliders with Pickled Peppers

Slow-Cooker Beef Sliders with Pickled Peppers
Photo: Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Slow-Cooker Beef Sliders with Pickled Peppers

Take the work out of prep work and let the slow cooker handle it with this crowd-pleasing recipe.

10 of 29

Broccoli, Grape, and Pasta Salad

Broccoli, Grape, and Pasta Salad
Jennifer Davick

Recipe: Broccoli, Grape, and Pasta Salad

This tangy side dish combines everything you love about pasta salad and broccoli salad.

11 of 29

Texas Caviar

Texas Caviar
Southern Living

Recipe: Texas Caviar

This favorite tailgate dip is happy to please at any party, and it's low-key good for you, too!

12 of 29

Deviled Egg Salad and Asparagus Tartines

Deviled Egg Salad and Asparagus Tartines
Alison Miksch; Prop Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Deviled Egg Salad and Asparagus Tartines

Instead of a self-serve bowl of egg salad, make it easy on guests with these springy toasts.

13 of 29

Chicken Biscuit Sandwiches

Chicken Biscuit Sandwiches
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Torie Cox; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke

Recipe: Chicken Biscuit Sandwiches

With the help of your slow cooker, this recipe will free up more of your time for other finishing touches.

14 of 29

Watermelon, Cucumber, and Feta Salad

Watermelon, Cucumber, and Feta Salad
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Prop Styling: Lydia Pursell; Food Styling: Toni Brogan

Recipe: Watermelon, Cucumber, and Feta Salad

Lighten up the spread with this colorful salad that's ideal for the start of summer.

15 of 29

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

Your grad has probably requested a cookie cake for countless events, so surprise them with a homemade version that's even better.

16 of 29

Key Lime Pound Cake

Key Lime Pound Cake
Jen Causey

Recipe: Key Lime Pound Cake

Brighten up the party with a dessert that tastes like a slice of paradise.

17 of 29

Death by Chocolate

Death by Chocolate Recipe
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Death by Chocolate

This classic potluck dessert was made to feed a crowd and make them happy in the process.

18 of 29

Strawberry-Lemonade Cake

Strawberry-Lemonade Cake
Jen Causey

Recipe: Strawberry-Lemonade Cake

This layer cake is perfect for a sunny spring gathering like a graduation party.

19 of 29

Mamie Eisenhower's Chocolate Fudge

Mamie Eisenhower’s Chocolate Fudge
Southern Living

Recipe: Mamie Eisenhower's Chocolate Fudge

It's not a Southern gathering without at least one plate of fudge on the dessert table.

20 of 29

Peach Cobbler

Easy Peach Cobbler
Iain Bagwell; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Easy Peach Cobbler

Has anyone ever turned down a scoop of classic peach cobbler? Nope, especially when it's paired with a scoop of cold vanilla ice cream.

21 of 29

Banana Pudding Poke Cake

Banana Pudding Poke Cake
Photo: Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Banana Pudding Poke Cake

If your grad is a banana pudding fanatic, they'll swoon over this decadent cake that was made for feeding a crowd.

22 of 29

Hummingbird Cupcakes with Candied Pineapple Wedges

Hummingbird Cupcakes with Candied Pineapple Wedges
Photo: Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Hummingbird Cupcakes with Candied Pineapple Wedges

We made our legendary hummingbird cake recipe into a big-batch cupcake recipe that's perfect for parties and just as delicious.

23 of 29

Oreo Cheesecake

Oreo Cheesecake
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Oreo Cheesecake

Milk's favorite cookie is now cheesecake's favorite, too. Kids and adults will love this nostalgic dessert.

24 of 29

Mini Bourbon-and-Cola Bundt Cakes

Mini Bourbon and Cola Bundt Cakes
Iain Bagwell

Recipe: Mini Bourbon-and-Cola Bundt Cakes

Cheers the grad with a classic bourbon and cola—in cake form!

25 of 29

Peach-and-Blackberry Crisp

Peach-and-Blackberry Crisp
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Prop Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller; Food Styling: Katelyn Hardwick

Recipe: Peach-and-Blackberry Crisp

Welcome the beginning of summer with this fresh and easy dessert.

26 of 29

Sweet Tea-and-Lemonade Cake

Sweet Tea-and-Lemonade Cake
Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Sweet Tea-and-Lemonade Cake

This cake version of the Arnold Palmer drink is the perfect dessert to kick off your grad's summer.

27 of 29

Chocolate Peanut Butter-Fudge Bars

Peanut Butter-Fudge Bars
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer

Recipe: Chocolate Peanut Butter-Fudge Bars

This easy, three-layer bar recipe is perfect for feeding a crowd.

28 of 29

Laura Bush's Cowboy Cookies

Cowboy Cookies
Southern Living

Recipe: Laura Bush's Cowboy Cookies

These stuffed-to-the-brim cookies are easy for guests to grab and keep mingling.

29 of 29

Texas Sheet Cake with Fudge Icing

Texas Sheet Cake with Fudge Icing
Iain Bagwell

Recipe: Texas Sheet Cake with Fudge Icing

Despite this cake's size, there won't be any left at the end of the party.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles