25 Kentucky Derby Food Ideas to Spice Up Your Menu

Elevate your gathering with this list of Kentucky derby food ideas. It includes delicious appetizers, main dishes, desserts and cocktails.

KENTUCKY DERBY FOOD. PHOTO CREDIT: FOOD PLUS WORDS.

Kentucky Derby Day is the perfect occasion to gather with loved ones, enjoy the thrill of the competition, and savor some homemade meals.

Make this event even more enjoyable and create lasting memories!

There’s something truly special about sharing food that you’ve made yourself. Here are some recipes that you can try.

Deviled Eggs with Relish

deviled eggs with relish
DEVILED EGGS WITH RELISH. PHOTO CREDIT: FOOD PLUS WORDS.

If you’re looking to impress your Kentucky Derby day guests, these deviled eggs are an amazing choice.

They’re so smooth and velvety, with mayonnaise, yellow mustard, sweet relish, and a dash of hot sauce. Top it with paprika and dill for garnish.

Get The Recipe: Deviled Eggs with Relish

Mini Pecan Pies

mini pecan pies
MINI PECAN PIES. PHOTO CREDIT: FOOD PLUS WORDS.

These Kentucky Derby treats offer sweet, nutty flavors. They feature a buttery crust packed with a gooey filling made from pecans, brown sugar, butter, and eggs.

You’ll love the contrast between the crunchy pecans and the soft filling. 

Get The Recipe: Mini Pecan Pies

Red Velvet Waffles and Chicken

What Are Red Velvet Waffles and Chicken
RED VELVET WAFFLES AND CHICKEN. PHOTO CREDIT: FOOD PLUS WORDS.

Give a beloved classic a Derby-worthy twist. Check out this recipe if you want a heartier option.

These red velvet waffles are soft and sweet, while the chicken is crispy and savory. Serve this enticing combo hot with a drizzle of maple syrup.

Get The Recipe: Red Velvet Waffles and Chicken

Vegan Fried Chicken

kentucky derby food
VEGAN FRIED CHICKEN. PHOTO CREDIT: HAPPY FOOD HEALTHY LIFE.

Try this vegan fried chicken recipe for a plant-based take on a Southern classic. It uses seitan to mimic the traditional textures and flavors of fried chicken.

The result is a crunchy exterior with a tender, juicy interior that even meat lovers will appreciate.

Get The Recipe: Vegan Fried Chicken

Hot Brown Sliders

Close-up of a tomato and herb focaccia bread with a golden crust, inspired by Kentucky Derby flavors.
HOT BROWN SLIDERS. PHOTO CREDIT: JCP EATS.

Enjoy a miniature version of the famous Kentucky hot brown sandwich.

These sliders include turkey, bacon, tomato, and a creamy cheese sauce, all layered on small, toasted buns. Pair them with a side of crispy fries or onion rings.

Get The Recipe: Hot Brown Sliders

Bourbon Pecan Brownie Blondies

kentucky derby food
BOURBON PECAN BROWNIE BLONDIES. PHOTO CREDIT: THE PERKS OF BEING US.

These blondies perfectly embody the spirit of the Kentucky Derby, thanks to the inclusion of bourbon.

They offer a rich, chocolatey flavor with a hint of bourbon warmth. The main ingredients include chocolate, pecans, bourbon, and butter.

Get The Recipe: Bourbon Pecan Brownie Blondies

Smoked Salmon Canapés with Cucumber

kentucky derby food
SMOKED SALMON CANAPÉS WITH CUCUMBER. PHOTO CREDIT: HOMEBODY EATS.

You can prepare the most elegant and delicious appetizers in less than 30 minutes.

This one has a base of toasted pita bread, topped with a spread made from cream cheese, artichoke hearts, and lemon juice. Pair it with white wine or a light sparkling beverage.

Get The Recipe: Smoked Salmon Canapés with Cucumber

Corn Fritters

kentucky derby food
CORN FRITTERS. PHOTO CREDIT: HEALTHY KIDS RECIPES.

These corn fritters are a fun addition to any Kentucky Derby menu.

The batter is a simple mix of sweet corn, whole wheat flour, milk, egg, and spices, pan-fried to achieve the perfect golden crisp. Serve them hot with your favorite dip.

Get The Recipe: Corn Fritters

Brown Butter Bourbon Caramel Gelato

kentucky derby food
BROWN BUTTER BOURBON CARAMEL GELATO. PHOTO CREDIT: COOKING WITH WINE BLOG.

Prepare an easy, exquisite dessert this Kentucky Derby Day.

This gelato blends the nutty depth of brown butter with the sweet complexity of homemade bourbon caramel sauce. Pair it with warm desserts or enjoy it on its own. 

Get The Recipe: Brown Butter Bourbon Caramel Gelato

Bourbon Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies

kentucky derby food
BOURBON PECAN CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES. PHOTO CREDIT: THE G AND M KITCHEN.

These cookies are uniquely crafted with bourbon-soaked pecan pieces, melding beautifully with luxurious chocolate chips.

You only need a few simple ingredients to make them, including eggs, unsalted butter, and dark brown sugar. You’ll love their rich flavor profile.

Get The Recipe: Bourbon Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Bourbon Caramel Sauce with Pecans

kentucky derby food
BOURBON CARAMEL SAUCE WITH PECANS. PHOTO CREDIT: GARLIC AND ZEST.

This sauce blends the velvety texture of caramel with a hint of Kentucky bourbon and crunchy pecans.

It’s relatively simple to prepare and stores well in the refrigerator, thickening as it cools. Drizzle it over desserts for a tasty gourmet twist.

Get The Recipe: Bourbon Caramel Sauce with Pecans

Kentucky Hot Brown Dip

kentucky derby food
KENTUCKY HOT BROWN DIP. PHOTO CREDIT: CUPCAKES AND KALE CHIPS.

This dip combines the textures of melted cheeses with the hearty tastes of smoked bacon and roasted turkey.

It’s perfect for serving with toasted baguette slices or crisp veggies. You can make this delicious dip in less than an hour.

Get The Recipe: Kentucky Hot Brown Dip

Kentucky Butter Cake

kentucky derby food
KENTUCKY BUTTER CAKE. PHOTO CREDIT: HOMEMADE HOOPLAH.

This butter cake is a delectable dessert known for its moist, tender crumb and buttery flavor.

This flavor is further enhanced by a sweet glaze that soaks into the cake. It’s made with basic ingredients like butter, sugar, eggs, and buttermilk.

Get The Recipe: Kentucky Butter Cake

Bourbon Cookies

kentucky derby food
BOURBON COOKIES. PHOTO CREDIT: LOVING LIVING LANCASTER.

Make mouthwatering cookies even as a newbie baker. This recipe is easy to follow and requires only a few ingredients, including a vanilla cake mix as the base​.

The result? Cookies with a unique bourbon glaze you can make whenever you get that sweet craving.

Get The Recipe: Bourbon Cookies

Kentucky Derby Pie

kentucky derby food
KENTUCKY DERBY PIE. PHOTO CREDIT: WELL FED BAKER.

Kentucky Derby celebrations are not complete without a Derby pie. This version includes chocolate and walnuts, all enhanced with a splash of Kentucky bourbon.

The pie uses simple ingredients and includes a gluten-free pie crust, making it suitable for those with dietary restrictions.

Get The Recipe: Kentucky Derby Pie

Pecan Pralines

kentucky derby food
PECAN PRALINES. PHOTO CREDIT: TWO KIDS AND A COUPON.

These pecan pralines are brimming with buttery goodness and a satisfying nutty crunch.

You only need evaporated milk, brown sugar, unsalted butter, pecans, and other simple ingredients to make them. You’ll love their irresistible flavor profile.

Get The Recipe: Pecan Pralines

Kentucky Derby Mint Julep Cupcakes

kentucky derby food
KENTUCKY DERBY MINT JULEP CUPCAKES. PHOTO CREDIT: IF YOU GIVE A BLONDE A KITCHEN.

Enjoy the iconic flavors of a classic Kentucky Derby cocktail in a delightful baked treat.

These cupcakes are made with bourbon and crème de menthe, creating a unique boozy flavor that’s perfect for Derby Day celebrations.

Get The Recipe: Kentucky Derby Mint Julep Cupcakes

Hush Puppies

kentucky derby food
HUSH PUPPIES. PHOTO CREDIT: BAKING BEAUTY.

These golden-brown treats are made with a batter consisting of cornmeal, flour, sugar, and a blend of spices.

Cooked by deep-frying until crispy, these hush puppies emerge with a crunchy exterior and a soft interior. Enjoy them on their own or with your favorite dipping sauces.

Get The Recipe: Hush Puppies

Frosty Coconut Mint Green Tea Mocktail

kentucky derby food
FROSTY COCONUT MINT GREEN TEA MOCKTAIL. PHOTO CREDIT: STRENGTH AND SUNSHINE.

This simple concoction is made by infusing coconut water with mint leaves and a green tea bag, then blending with ice to create a frosty beverage.

It’s gluten-free, vegan, and paleo-friendly. You can also add a bit of stevia to make it sweeter.

Get The Recipe: Frosty Coconut Mint Green Tea Mocktail

Sweet Tea Mint Julep Cocktail

kentucky derby food
SWEET TEA MINT JULEP COCKTAIL. PHOTO CREDIT: DASH OF JAZZ.

Here’s a fun twist on the classic mint Julep.

It combines traditional ingredients like bourbon, mint and sweet tea. It’s smooth and invigorating and smooth, perfect for enjoying on a warm day.

Get The Recipe: Sweet Tea Mint Julep Cocktail

Cajun Crab Dip with Shrimp

kentucky derby food
CAJUN CRAB DIP WITH SHRIMP. PHOTO CREDIT: THE FEATHERED NESTER.

This crab dip is a savory, creamy appetizer enhanced by the bold flavors of Cajun seasoning.

It combines cream cheese, mayo, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and cheeses with tender shrimp and crab meat and then baked to a perfect golden brown. 

Get The Recipe: Cajun Crab Dip with Shrimp

Sheet Pan Maple Bourbon Barbecue Spare Ribs

kentucky derby food
SHEET PAN MAPLE BOURBON BARBECUE SPARE RIBS. PHOTO CREDIT: SYRUP AND BISCUITS.

This dish features homemade barbecue sauce enriched with maple syrup and bourbon, which enhances the natural flavors of the ribs.

The spare ribs are oven-baked on a sheet pan, making preparation and cleanup a breeze.

Get The Recipe: Sheet Pan Maple Bourbon Barbecue Spare Ribs

Fried Buttermilk Chicken Tenders

kentucky derby food
FRIED BUTTERMILK CHICKEN TENDERS. PHOTO CREDIT: THE SHORT ORDER COOK.

These chicken tenders are marinated in buttermilk with spices to enhance their tenderness and flavor.

They’re perfect for a quick dinner or as a snack and can be paired with various dipping sauces. This dish comes together in just 30 minutes.

Get The Recipe: Fried Buttermilk Chicken Tenders

Kentucky Bourbon Balls

kentucky derby food
KENTUCKY BOURBON BALLS. PHOTO CREDIT: THE KITCHEN IS MY PLAYGROUND.

These no-bake treats combine finely crushed vanilla wafers and pecans with confectioners’ sugar and corn syrup.

They’re easy to prepare and can be made ahead of time, making them great for festive gatherings.

Get The Recipe: Kentucky Bourbon Balls

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie

kentucky derby food
CHOCOLATE BOURBON PECAN PIE. PHOTO CREDIT: CHAMPAGNE TASTES.

Have you ever enjoyed the richness of chocolate and the aromatic flavor of bourbon in one dessert?

Prepare this pie at home. It features a crispy crust, gooey filling, and satisfying crunch of pecans.

Pair it with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Get The Recipe: Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie

Preparing homemade dishes for Kentucky Derby Day is a wonderful opportunity to explore new flavors and share a heartfelt meal with friends and family.

Don’t hesitate to try classic dishes like Hot Brown sliders, bourbon pecan pie, or mint julep cocktails.

If possible, prepare some items the day before to make the day less hectic.

Looking for more delectable recipes? These dishes are sure to be a hit at any party:

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