Racing Horses with brightly colored jockeys

Kentucky Derby Recipe Roundup

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Are you Derby-ready?

Fascinator Hats, Bow ties, Hot Browns, and Mint Juleps …These are traditions that make the Kentucky Derby so much fun.  Whether you plan to visit Churchill downs, or host and create your own festive Derby Party, we have assembled the winning recipes your friends will love.  Savor great foods and delicious cocktails to make May 4th 2024 a racing Holiday to remember…the flavors of the Derby

Speaking of traditions, the Kentucky Derby has been the first Saturday in May since 1946.  In addition, the Kentucky Derby is the longest continually held sporting event in America, as well as one of the most prestigious horse races in the world.  Crowds of about 155,000 descend on Churchill Downs each year, but millions have their own celebrations at their favorite party locations.

The Best Kentucky Derby Recipe Round-up for 2023 can be found here.  We have Main dishes, Kentucky Derby Charcuterie, Dips, Cocktails, and Desserts-  delicious and memorable Kentucky Derby Party Foods.  Enjoy and Good Luck on Derby Day.


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What are 10 of the most interesting traditions of the Kentucky Derby?

With 145 years of history,  Kentucky pride, Bourbon, Horse betting and a splash of superstition – you get plenty of traditions that surround the Kentucky Derby.  Derby socialites or newcomers- Everyone partakes in at least some of the beloved traditions.  Luck favors the prepared!   Here are the best traditions to know before the Kentucky Derby.


Traditions we love

  • The date: No one has to ask, ‘When is the Kentucky Derby?’ Since the 1930s, the Derby has been held on the first Saturday in May. No other major sporting event is so closely associated with a particular day and month as the Derby.   That Saturday truly belongs to the ‘Greatest Two Minutes in Sports.’
  • Pink Friday at the Oaks:  A favorite pre-Derby event is the Kentucky Oaks, which is run the day before the Derby. The dress code for this event is specific—everyone wears pink. You can embrace the tradition with a bow, hat or necktie, or be fully committed with a full pink dress or suit.  The tradition is a nod to the horses of the race.  The Oaks is a race for three-year fillies (female horses).
  • The hats:  One of the only places in the U.S. where such outlandish hats fit in. The tradition of ornate hats and fashion date back to founder Colonel Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr.’s vision to make the Derby a place for America’s high class to attend.  The men wore nice suits, and the women wore fancy dresses.  The hats were associated with good luck- so the larger the hat or ‘Fascnator’ – the more luck.  The race quickly evolved into a showcase of the current fashion trends of the Spring.  The introduction of Kentucky Derby on TV in the 1960s gave women an added reason to try and stand out, increasing the size and originality of their fashion.


Much-loved Derby Traditions

  • The song:  ‘My Old Kentucky Home.’ Stephen Foster’s 19th century ballad has been a tradition at the Derby since 1921, and is the official state song for the commonwealth of Kentucky.  It is played by the University of Louisville Marching band with a chorus of Tens of thousands of fans singing along.  The song accompanies the horses as they are led to the starting gate, and is an immense source of pride for Kentuckians
  • The garland: The Kentucky Derby was long ago dubbed ‘The Run for the Roses.’ More than 400 of the red flowers are sewn into green satin .  After the race, the garland is draped around the neck of the winning horse .  The rose was made the official flower of the Kentucky Derby in 1904.  




More Great Traditions

  • The Cocktail: The mixture of bourbon, sugar, and mint is now world-renowned due to its association with the Kentucky Derby. It’s popular, too, with over 120,000 of them served on Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby days combined.  After the race, the winning jockey is invited by the President of Churchill Hill Downs for a mint julep cocktail in special Silver Julep cups.  It is traditional for the Governor of Kentucky to toast the winner with the classic cocktail in the ceremonial cups.
  • Bourbon: Bourbon is resident at the Kentucky Derby.  The Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Bourbon share a rich and intertwined history, embodying the spirit and tradition of the Bluegrass State.  Derby day is synonymous with Southern Culture and celebration, and no event is complete without Kentucky Bourbon. Whether sipped neat, on the rocks, or as part of a Mint Julep, Bourbon is the spirit for cheering on your their favorite thoroughbreds.
  • The Hot Brown:  The Hot Brown has evolved into a Kentucky culinary tradition, and a Derby classic.  This open-faced sandwich is loaded with turkey, bacon, and a rich Mornay sauce.  Created in 1926 at the Louisville at the Brown Hotel- it’s a comfort food for those who grew up in the area, and a must-try for Kentucky visitors.
  • The Infield Party:  Although the Kentucky Derby is known as an elegant affair, the infield can get quite rowdy with celebratory drinking starting as early as 8am.  The entire infield becomes on huge party.
  • Millionaires Row:  This is the dining area above the racetrack where the wealthy can avoid the crazy parties down below.   At over $1000 per ticket, this area is a who’s who of celebrities, and socialites.




Kentucky Hot Brown Casserole

Bitchin Barb’s Hot Brown Casserole

The roasted turkey, crispy bacon, tomato and creamy Mornay sauce over Texas Toast puts this casserole at the top of the ‘Favorite Comfort Food’ lists.  It is super easy to prepare for a crowd, and a delicious main dish.


Kentucky Hot Brown Dip/ Inspired Grazing Board

This is a platter that transforms the Kentucky Hot Brown into a delicious dip. We added a charcuterie board with some of the delicious toppings used over the years such as pimentos, tomatoes, mushrooms, and Texas toast for dipping.



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Mini Sausage Rolls

Mini sausage rolls are popular and delicious.  Easy to make and quick to disappear.



Colorful Cobb Salad

this Cobb salad recipe is amazing! With the rich bacon, creamy avocado, bright tomatoes and more, it’s the perfect healthy paleo lunch!



Tea Sandwiches

Tea sandwiches are perfect for luncheons, parties, and afternoon tea! From the classic cucumber to the elegant smoked salmon, there are tons of variations you can make for easy sampling.



Louisville Hot Brown   The Louisville Hot Brown is an open faced sandwich topped with turkey breast, a rich mornay cheese sauce, bacon, and tomato and then cooked or broiled until golden and bubbly.  The Kentucky Derby is considered a Holiday around so many parts of the country – and this is part of the Feast.









bowl filled with pimento cheese and jalapenosSouthern Pimento Cheese

Pimento cheese is a spread that is part of life in the South.   It has salty sharp cheddar cheese, creamy mayo, and cream cheese, some spices, and sweet red bell peppers diced, known as pimento (pimientos).  Great with crackers or veggies.


Buffalo Chicken Dip

Everyone’s favorite game day or party appetizer! Made with juicy shredded chicken, creamy ranch dressing, cream cheese, hot sauce, and loads of cheese, this easy and delicious Buffalo Chicken Dip is then baked until golden, bubbly, and perfect for dipping.






Easy Shrimp and Crab Dip Recipe for a Crowd  This Shrimp and Crab Dip is terrific for a party or large family gathering because the recipe makes a generous amount of dip.  Easy to put together and always a favorite.



Feta cheese dip with home-made pita chips


My Fetish  This is a Fetish you will want to bring out of the closet!  A XXX appetizer with fresh, and flavorful Feta Cheese Dip, Dill, Oregano, and Red pepper flakes- it’s a guilt-free dip you will want to share in an uninhibited way.  Pair our Feta dip with our homemade PITA chips, crackers, carrots, celery, peppers, cucumbers, sugar snap peas, or mushrooms.  As with all good fetishes…the possibilities are endless


Dirty Martini Dip   If you’re looking for a dip recipe that’s creamy, tasty and pairs beautifully with any kind of dippers from pita chips to crackers, consider this Dirty martini dip. Contrary to the name, it’s alcohol free, and it gets its moniker from the inclusion of stuffed olives, like you’d find in the classic cocktail. The recipe is really easy to make and it’s great for any occasion






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Oaks Lilly punch made with 5 sisters vodka

Lusty Lilly   You may have heard of the signature drink, the Mint Julep, and perhaps even some Bourbon punches for the Kentucky Debry, but the official cocktail of the Oaks Derby (the day before the Derby) is the Kentucky Oaks Lilly.  Our Lusty Lilly, is a Kentucky Derby inspired drink that you will love – a brightly colored, fruity and tart libation, which takes just a few minutes to combine.



Bourbon sangria

Sassy Sangria  Sangria does not have to be sweet!  In fact, our Sangria is dry and delicious- AND it is Kick A$$!  Our Sassy Sangria starts with a Marlboro Sauvignon Blanc, bold Kentucky Bourbon and refreshing Ginger Beer.  Sassy Sangria is smooth, and crisp with a wonderful depth of flavor.










More Gorgeous Cocktails

Pitcher of Sparkling Bourbon Peach Punch

This sparkling bourbon peach punch features sweet bourbon mixed with ginger beer and a bounty of fresh fruit including peaches and pomegranate. It’s a refreshing cooler that’s ideal for a hot summer afternoon, a sophisticated evening party or special brunch.  Add it to your menu!





Classic Mint Julep

Time to polish off your sterling julep cups, if you have them, or grab your favorite glasses and ice to make a classic mint julep recipe to enjoy while waiting for the big race. Juleps are the classic drink of the Kentucky Derby






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Pomegranate Lime Mint Julep Cocktail

Our Pomegranate Lime Mint Julep Cocktail is a twist on the traditional Kentucky Derby Bourbon cocktail. Lime and pomegranate juice add a depth of flavor and ginger ale turns it into party punch for a crowd!



Brown Derby Cocktail

The Brown Derby, a classic cocktail that packs a deceptively delicious punch! This timeless concoction of whiskey, honey, lemon juice and bitters is the perfect balance of sweet and sour.







key lime pie flavored martiniShameless Tart

The Shameless Tart is a Brazen Hussy of a Key Lime Pie Martini recipe.  It’s a tropical vacation on your tongue and the cocktail version of your favorite pie!




Kentucky Mule (Bourbon Whiskey Mule)

A Kentucky Mule is a Moscow Mule with a twist – it’s made with bourbon whiskey instead of vodka. This tangy and fizzy cocktail is easy to stir together in a copper mug.



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boozy truffles with hazelnuts, bourbon, animal crackersLuscious Balls

Our Luscious Balls offer up a powerful punch in a small bite. These no-bake treats are the perfect treat for your Bourbon-loving friends, or your next Kentucky Derby Party.  Who doesn’t like Bourbon balls?




Bourbon Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

The buttery sweet caramel aroma of bourbon along with the smoky flavor of bacon take your everyday chocolate chip cookies from ordinary to extraordinary.




Pineapple upside down cake

Bottom’s Up Cake   ‘Bottom’s Up’ and ‘Cheers’ to this Bourbon-infused Pineapple Upside-down cake- This new twist on a retro favorite is deliciously moist and luscious with caramelized pineapple and cranberries.  The Buttery juices and Bourbon literally seep into the cake for a deeper flavor profile




Chocolate Pecan Pie

This pie combines crunchy pecans with the intense flavor of dark chocolate in a sweet-gooey filling. The optional, but highly recommended addition of bourbon gives it a grown-up flair.





plate of southern bread pudding with pecans and buttery bourbon glaze

Butter My Bourbon & Smoke My Pudding (Bourbon Bread Pudding)  Smoke it on the grill or bake it in the oven.  In this Bourbon Bread pudding recipe, there are two kinds of chocolate, pecans, challah bread, and BOURBON!!!!  With ingredients like these how can you not scream with pleasure!




Bourbon is the answer


Wicked AF Praline Bliss

Buttery Caramel Pecan Praline bars- This recipe lives up to the name WICKED- but they are a favorite Kentucky Derby snack





Whiskey Cream Caramels

If you love caramels, you’ll never eat another kind after you try this recipe. This recipe has it all – sweet, salty, creamy, and whiskey; the four food groups! a Perfect Derby dessert


FudgeMother Fudger  Enjoy the soul of Bourbon in this creamy Fudge with Toffee and Caramel… so Fudging Good!  This Boozy Adult-only treat will be a favorite- and it is RIDICULOUSLY EASY to make.  MICROWAVE in minutes.  Satisfy your sweet tooth in record time with this easy and decadent Chocolatey goodness.



southern corn bread


Off the Cob  You have never eaten such a moist melt-in-your-mouth Cornbread.  This recipe is slightly sweeter than most- making it a delicious side, or even a savory dessert.  You will never go back to those gritty, dry cornbread batters!  (No one has ever complained about being too moist?)




Racing Horses with brightly colored jockeys
5 from 59 votes

Kentucky Derby Recipes

Collection of Appetizers, Desserts and Cocktails for the Kentucky Derby May 4th,2024
Prep Time5 minutes
Total Time5 minutes
Course: Appetizer, cocktails, desserts, Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Best Derby Appetizers of 2024, Best Derby Cocktails of 2024, Best Derby Desserts of 2024, Best Derby recipes for 2024, Best Kentucky Derby recipes, Bourbon desserts, Brown derby cocktail, Chocolate Pecan pie, Derby Appetizers for 2024, Derby Cocktails 2024, Derby Desserts for 2024, Derby food, Hazlenut chocolate bourbon balls, homemade Pimento Cheese recipe, Hot Brown, Hot Brown casserole, Kentucky Derby appetizers, Kentucky Derby Cocktails, Kentucky Derby Desserts for 2024, Kentucky Derby Food, Kentucky Derby May 4th, 2024, Kentucky Derby Recipe collection, Kentucky Derby Recipe roundup, Kentucky mule cocktail, Mint Julep, Praline, praline pecan, whiskey Caramels

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4 Responses

  1. These recipes bring back great memories. Looking forward to trying them with my family/friends

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