Food & Drink

Winning Recipes for the Kentucky Derby

Beer cheese, bourbon-glazed chicken wings, and of course, mint juleps round out our list of party-ready dishes with Bluegrass State flavor

Photo: COPYRIGHT © 2022 BY WILL TAYLOR | Kelly Puleio | Margaret Houston Dominick

Every May, thousands of fans travel to Louisville’s Churchill Downs to watch the Run for the Roses. If you’re not among them, you can still bring a taste of the Kentucky Derby to your house. Below, find some of our favorite Kentucky-inspired recipes, all fit for a party, fancy hat optional (but encouraged).

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photo: Garin Pirnia

Beer Cheese Buttermilk Biscuits

Biscuit dough spiked with Kentucky-style beer cheese makes for a great comfort-food pairing. Get the recipe.

photo: Courtesy of The Brown Hotel

Hot Brown Quiche

A Derby-season snack from Louisville’s Brown Hotel. Get the recipe.

Dips and Spreads

photo: Margaret Houston Dominick

Freight House Beer Cheese

Just two ingredients, plus a few flavorings, are all you need for classic Kentucky beer cheese dip. Get the recipe.

photo: Garin Pirnia

Bourbon-Spiked Beer Cheese

A classic cheese spread gets the boilermaker treatment. Get the recipe.

photo: Margaret Houston Dominick

Benedictine Spread

Pimento cheese’s Kentucky cousin. Get the recipe.

photo: Jessica Fey

Dill Pickle Benedictine Spread

Benedictine, the classic Kentucky recipe, gets a dill pickle update. Get the recipe.

photo: Margaret Houston Dominick

Kentucky Hot Browns

No matter how you slice it, this classic will feed—and please—a crowd. Get the recipe.

photo: Courtesy of 21C Museum Hotels

Spreadable Deviled Egg Salad

A Bluegrass State chef shares his modern take on a classic Kentucky Derby recipe. Get the recipe.


photo: JACQUELINE STOFSICK | Food Styling: Dacey Sivewright

Bourbon Trail Chili

Ouita Michel’s go-to chili recipe tastes like Kentucky in a bowl. Get the recipe.

photo: Margaret Houston Dominick

Kentucky Burgoo

How do you burgoo? Get the recipe.

photo: Jessica Ebelhar

Bourbon-Glazed Chicken Wings

An all-American match made in heaven. Get the recipe.


photo: Margaret Houston Dominick

Traditional Kentucky Bourbon Balls

What’s not to love about bourbon, chocolate, and pecans? Get the recipe.


Kentucky Bourbon Balls, Three Ways

Try a few variations on these bite-size, boozy Southern confections. Get the recipe.

photo: Courtesy of House of Marigold

Marigold Banana Pudding

The House of Marigold shares its own Derby-day delight. Get the recipe.

photo: Ryan Mahony from Hermitage Farms

Racetrack Pie

Kick off Derby weekend with a pistachio chess pie mingled with bitter chocolate. Get the recipe.

photo: Courtesy of Freight House

Strawberry Basil Pie with Black Pepper Whipped Cream

One Kentucky chef’s favorite childhood dessert plays up sweet spring strawberries. Get the recipe.

photo: Courtesy of Nokee Bucayu

Pineapple Butter Cake with Bourbon Ginger Mint Glaze

Fresh fruit and libations combine in a spin on a Kentucky favorite. Get the recipe.


illustration: Derik Hobbs

Mint Julep

The classic Derby-day must-have. Get the recipe.

photo: Margaret Houston Dominick

Mint Julep Slush

This batch cocktail is proof that bourbon and ice belong together. Get the recipe.

photo: Michael Turek

The Concord Grape Julep

A smooth recipe to get you in mint condition for the Derby. Get the recipe.

photo: Julie Soefer

Alba Huerta’s Sparkling Julep

A bourbon-less alternative to the Derby classic. Get the recipe.

photo: Kelly Puleio

French Julep

Cognac and fig preserves put a tasty twist on the classic Derby-season cocktail. Get the recipe.

Other Drinks

photo: Johnny Autry

The Old-Fashioned

Bourbon the old-fashioned way. Get the recipe.

photo: Johnny Autry

Bourbon Negroni

A Kentucky cocktail with Italian roots. Get the recipe.

photo: Jacqueline Stofsick

Debutante Cocktail 

Meet the julep’s bubbly cousin. Get the recipe.

An Englishman Went to Kentucky

A mint twist on the classic G&T. Get the recipe.

photo: Andrew Hyslop

The Seelbach

Louisville’s pre-Prohibition cocktail. Get the recipe.

photo: Margaret Houston Dominick

The Commonwealth

A sweet and spicy drink featuring Kentucky’s Ale-8-One. Get the recipe.

photo: courtesy of Woodford Reserve

The Spire

The refreshing combination of bourbon, lemonade, and cranberry juice just might tempt you to switch horses. Get the recipe.