This year marks my family’s second year officially celebrating Juneteenth! Last year, we kept it pretty simple by reading a few stories to the boys, making a flag, and homemade strawberry soda. It was the perfect way to usher in this new family tradition and spend some time learning about it.
This year I plan on having a family Juneteenth feast, decked out in pan-Africa colors of red, yellow, green, and black. (FYI: You can also celebrate with red, white, and blue or heck whatever colors make you happy). We will eat, dance, laugh and celebrate each other and the blessing of freedom. What a glorious day June 19, 1865, must have been!
If you’re wanting to know more about the history of Juneteenth or looking to celebrate it for the first time check out my first Juneteenth post here.
Ok, let’s get started on this amazing Juneteenth menu!
Classic Juneteenth Menu Food Recipes
What traditional food is served on Juneteenth?
Traditionally, people celebrate Juneteenth by having a cookout and serving classic cookout foods like BBQ. Often Juneteenth is also celebrated by serving soul food-type dishes. If you’re looking for a soul food Juneteenth menu then keep reading! But whatever menu you decide to use, don’t forget the red soda!!
Red soda (often strawberry) is consumed on Juneteenth because it was a luxury that slaves were not allowed to have. Once the slaves of Texas were freed they celebrated by drinking red soda! Can you imagine how that must have felt! Red foods and drinks are always a part of the Juneteenth menu to represent the struggle, perseverance, and resilience of the African-American slaves.
I’ll be showing you how to make homemade strawberry soda below. Now let’s get into our Juneteenth Menu!
Classic Soul Food Juneteenth Menu
Juneteenth Main Dishes
There is nothing more Southern, soulful, and delicious than a basket full of well-seasoned, hot, and crunchy fried chicken! This will be the main dish for my Juneteeth celebration! I have many fried chicken recipes on my site but this “oldy but goody” recipe is one of my favorites. It has that “back-in-the-day-after-church” flavor to it lol
BBQ Beef Ribs
These fall-off-the-bone beef ribs can be made in the oven and finished on the grill (if desired) making it perfect for a cookout menu.
Juneteenth Side Dishes
Southern Baked Macaroni and Cheese
I posted this Soulful baked macaroni and cheese recipe on my site in 2009 and it’s still a fan-favorite! That smoked cheddar on top makes it sing and there are never any leftovers!
Soul Food Collard Greens
What’s a soul food meal without a side of slow-simmered, tender collard greens simmered in “pot likker”. The well-seasoned broth is good enough to drink!
Crowd-Pleasing Potato Salad
A side of creamy Southern potato salad is a beautiful thing! Especially when the potatoes are cut and cooked just right with that perfect potato-boiled egg-mayo ratio! This dish belongs on your Juneteenth menu for sure!
Southern Candied Yams
Sweet, buttery, and syrupy these tender baked candied yams balance out all of those savory flavors of your soul food menu and add such a gorgeous color to the plate. No soul food spread is complete with sweet yams!
Moist Corn Bread
Cornbread is known as the bread of Southern Cooking and rightfully so! It’s been a part of Southern cuisine since the Native Americans introduced it! It’s the perfect bread for a Juneteenth menu!
Homemade Strawberry Soda Water
Of course, no Juneteenth menu is complete without red Strawberry Soda! I love this soda recipe because it uses nothing but fresh strawberries for its strawberry flavor and color! It’s so simple and refreshing, perfect for kids to create. Looking for another red drink?
Southern Strawberry Sweet Tea
If sweet iced tea is known as the “House Wine of The South” then fresh strawberry ice tea is a fabulous option for a sou food Juneteenth menu!
Frozen Strawberry Daquiris
If you’re looking for a cocktail to add to your Juneteenth menu, try out these delicious frozen strawberry daiquiris!
From-Scratch Red Velvet Cake
Whether red velvet cake really originated from Texas or not, it’s the perfect “Southern” cake to round out your Juneteenth menu!
Old-Fashioned Tea Cakes
Tea cakes are popular on Juneteenth! This old-fashioned cookie was often baked by enslaved Africans and the recipe (which has several slight variations) has been passed down through African-American families for generations.
Red Velvet Pound Cake
If you’re looking to a pound cake to your Juneteenth menu look no further than a red velvet pound cake!