This list is a collection of the Best Family Reunion Food Ideas and recipes to help plan your summer family get-togethers with ease! This checklist includes main and meat dishes, sides, appetizers, and desserts that will work wonderfully for large or small families.
What kind of food is good for a family reunion? We love to stick to easy recipes that you can typically find at Black family reunions. The spread typically includes family favorite Southern and soul food dishes.
A family reunion is a special occasion where members of extended family come together for parties, events, and fun. A lot of Black family reunions are scheduled and held regularly, sometimes annually, or every other year.
These gatherings are usually well planned and thought out. Activities, parties, banquets, and picnics are typically a part of the agenda. Of course, that also means amazing food!
Family Reunion Planning: Determine How Many People Will Be in Attendance
When planning your family reunion menu ideas, figure out how many people are coming by. One of the great things about family gathering menus is that you can always make more to share. If you have a small family of three to four, a main dish and two sides are often enough. If you add extras, you will have plenty of delicious leftovers.
If you have a larger family or plenty of guests, it’s best to load up on the sides and showcase the best recipes. Plan to have around six to seven dishes on the table.
Menu Planning Tips:
- Ask for help and volunteers to cook entrees ahead of time. Ask the best cooks in the family or friend circle.
- Consider trying new recipes. Traditional recipes are great, but people love to see new additions, too.
- Prioritize recipes that can be made ahead of time. You will run out of time and stress yourself out if you don’t
- Ask guests if they have any food allergies or special dietary needs. Safety first!
- Relax and enjoy the festivities. Friends, family, and fun are always what matter the most.
How to Organize Food for a Family Reunion
I like to separate each dish in either Tupperware or bags that are clearly marked and labeled.
Foods that Travel Well
Desserts and main dishes that are served hot typically travel the best. Both can be covered and stored in a car or van until you arrive at your destination.
Foods like cold cuts or lunch meats foods like lunchmeats, cooked chicken, potato or pasta salads should be kept in a cooler. You want to keep the food at least 40 degrees F. Use blocks of ice or frozen gel packs, or even frozen water bottles. Block ice will keep longer than ice cubes. Check out these Tips on How to Store Food While Traveling.
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Soul Food Easter Dinner Recipes
Best Vegan Soul Food Recipes
Family Reunion Food Ideas: Appetizers
While the main dishes cook on the grill and everyone listens to music, enjoy these easy appetizers.
This staple black cookout appetizer is a blend of assorted flavors but the heat carries the day. Deviled eggs are made from boiled eggs, sweet pickle relish, mayonnaise, mustard, creole seasoning, pepper, and hot sauce.
Keto Jalapeno Poppers
How to Make the Best Charcuterie and Cheese Board
Jamaican Saltfish Fritters
If you’re looking for a delicious and authentic Jamaican dish, look no further than these saltfish fritters. These golden fried fritters are savory and full of delicious Caribbean flavor.
Crab Stuffed Shrimp
BBQ Cauliflower Wings
BBQ Cauliflower Wings made with just 9 ingredients are the perfect cauliflower wings for Game Day Snacks and Appetizers, and any occasion! They’re crispy, crunchy and coated in a saucy bbq sauce with just a few ingredients. Learn how to make these in HALF the time!!
Air Fryer Crab Stuffed Mushrooms
Family Reunion Food Ideas: Main Dishes
These family reunion main dish recipes include staples like ribs, but also a few alternative options like vegan and keto versions of some staple dishes.
Big Mama's Fried Chicken
My Big Mama’s Southern Fried Chicken Recipe is highly flavorful because of the seasoned flour and fried to golden brown crunchy perfection. Serve with my Collard Greens, Cornbread and Garlic Mashed Potatoes for the best meal ever.
Easy Grilled Baby Back Ribs
This Easy Grilled Baby Back Ribs recipe will show you the best way to season and grill the ribs using a homemade BBQ seasoning and rub. You can prepare these tender, fall off the bone ribs using a gas grill or charcoal.
Southern Fried Catfish
This Southern Fried Catfish is golden brown on the outside and flaky and delicious on the inside. Seasoned through and through, it’s the perfect recipe for when you want a good piece of fried fish.
Crispy Grilled Chicken Wings
Boneless Roast Beef
Simple to prep and perfect for the holidays, this boneless roast beef recipe is a perfect centerpiece for your Christmas dinner. Seasoned with garlic and herbs, this roast beef is easy to cook exactly how you like it, and it comes out wonderfully juicy and flavorful.
Air Fryer Buffalo Chicken Wings
Oven Baked BBQ Chicken Wings
Get sweet, smokey, and crispy BBQ Chicken Wings in the oven with this easy Oven Baked BBQ Chicken Wings recipe. It features my easy bbq seasoning that I use as a dry rub on the meat.
Vegan Fish Sticks (So Crispy and Flaky!)
These beer-battered Vegan Fish Sticks are crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and perfect for pairing with homemade vegan tartar sauce!
Family Reunion Food Ideas: Side Dishes
This next collection of easy Soul Food and Southern side dish recipes will make your family reunion pop.
They say everything tastes better with bacon and that is true of this corn salad. It includes less than 10 ingredients and uses fresh or canned corn.
Collard greens have a special place in family cookouts and thanksgiving get-togethers. This dish is prepared from fresh collards, simple spices, and ham hocks.
If you're going to offer to make the potato salad, you better make sure that you have a tried and tested recipe. This one is from Ms. Patti and uses red potatoes.
Learn from Ms. Patti with this easy macaroni and cheese recipe.
This is the perfect recipe for a beginner. It saves so much time by using Jiffy Cornbread mix.
The BEST Southern Baked Beans
Round up the family, preheat the oven and whip up my Mama’s Southern Baked Beans! Made with ingredients like brown sugar, aromatics, and barbecue sauce, my Mama’s Southern Baked Beans are smoky and sweet in all the best ways.
Southern Potato Salad
Are you looking for deas to carry the day in a cookout? The Southern potato salad is your sure bet, any day. It’s made from simple ingredients like potatoes, boiled eggs, celery, and mayonnaise, yet has a rich flavor that will leave the guests asking for more.
Ranch Potato Salad
Low Carb & Keto Coleslaw Recipe
Want southern-style coleslaw minus the sugar? This recipe is super easy, but uses a sugar-replacement to give all the flavor.
Cook your cabbage in bacon fat using this quick recipe. Though it's optional, I love the brown sugar that adds a tad of sweetness.
Southern Coleslaw Recipe
This Easy Southern Coleslaw Recipe has the best sweet and tangy flavor. It’s served creamy and chilled. Perfect for loading onto pulled pork sandwiches or served as a side dish for any BBQ or cookout spread.
If you’re wondering what simple side dish to bring to a black cookout, this is it. The Southern candied sweet potatoes are easy to prepare but are loaded with enough flavor to create great memories.
Add this easy vegan staple to the family cookout menu. It's soft, fluffy and moist with the help of vegan buttermilk.
Family Reunion Food Ideas: Desserts
No family reunion is complete without some sweet treats. Make these desserts ahead of time and bring them with you for everyone to enjoy.
After a sumptuous black cookout meal, you want to top up with an equally tantalizing dessert to keep your taste buds in high spirits. Nothing does this better than the traditional sweet potato pie. Eggs, cinnamon, vanilla, and nutmeg are the secret ingredients in this feel-good snack.
This pie has the creamiest mixture of gooey, sweet, and sour. Make it ahead in about an hour.
Banana Split Pie (Easy and No-Bake)
This Easy, No-Bake Banana Split Pie is everything you want in an ice cream sundae. This dessert has a graham cracker crust loaded with pineapples, bananas, and a cream cheese filling with no egg. Serve it with whipped cream, cherries, nuts, and drizzled with chocolate syrup.
This quick and easy no-bake option uses any flavor of Kool-aid. Use a store-brought crust to save time. Make it fancy with some whipped cream and fresh fruit slices.
This creamy fruity salad takes 10 minutes or less to make. You simply throw the ingredients in a bowl and stir.
Vegan + Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
These soft batch Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies are the best gluten free cookies I have ever eaten! If you love a bakery-style cookie, this easy recipe is for you.
Sweet Potato Bundt Cake
Topped with a cream cheese glaze, this sweet potato bundt cake is perfectly spiced and deliciously sweet. Simple to make, it’s a great addition for your Thanksgiving menu with it’s wonderful warming flavors.