Memorial Side Dishes: Honoring Loved Ones Through Food

memorial side dishes

When it comes to honoring our loved ones who have passed away, one way to keep their memories alive is through food. Memorial side dishes are a great way to bring family and friends together to remember and celebrate the life of someone who has passed away. In this article, we will explore some traditional memorial side dishes and offer some unique and creative ideas to help you plan a memorable and meaningful memorial gathering.

Traditional Memorial Side Dishes

Funeral Potatoes

Funeral potatoes, also known as cheesy potatoes, are a popular side dish often served at funeral luncheons. They are a crowd-pleaser and easy to make, consisting of potatoes, cheese, sour cream, and cream of chicken soup.

Baked Beans

Baked beans are another traditional memorial side dish that is both delicious and easy to prepare. They can be made in a slow cooker or baked in the oven and are a great complement to grilled meats.


Coleslaw is a classic side dish that can be easily made in large quantities for a crowd. It is a refreshing and light addition to any memorial gathering.

Macaroni Salad

Macaroni salad is another popular memorial side dish that can be made ahead of time and easily transported. It is a creamy and comforting dish that is always a hit.

Creative Memorial Side Dishes

Signature Dish

If your loved one had a favorite dish, consider serving it as a tribute to them. Whether it’s a family recipe or something they always ordered at their favorite restaurant, serving their favorite dish is a heartfelt way to honor their memory.

International Dish

If your loved one had a passion for travel or a favorite cuisine, consider serving a dish from that culture. This is a great way to celebrate their adventurous spirit and keep their memory alive through food.

Recipe Swap

Encourage guests to bring a dish that was a favorite of the person you are honoring. This can be a potluck-style event where everyone shares their memories and stories associated with the dish.

Dessert Bar

Create a dessert bar with all of your loved one’s favorite sweets. This is a fun way to celebrate their sweet tooth and allows guests to indulge in their favorite treats.


Memorial side dishes are a meaningful way to honor and celebrate the life of someone who has passed away. Whether you opt for traditional favorites or creative and unique dishes, the most important thing is to gather together with family and friends to remember and celebrate the person you have lost.


  1. What are some other traditional memorial side dishes?
    • Other traditional memorial side dishes include deviled eggs, green bean casserole, and potato salad.
  2. Can I serve alcohol at a memorial gathering?
    • It is ultimately up to the host to decide whether to serve alcohol, but it is important to be mindful of guests who may be in recovery or uncomfortable around alcohol.
  3. How can I make a memorial gathering more meaningful?
    • Consider incorporating personal touches like photos, candles, and mementos to create a special atmosphere and honor the person you are remembering.
  4. Should I invite everyone who knew the person to the memorial gathering?
    • This is ultimately up to the host and depends on the size and scope of the gathering. It is important to consider the wishes of the family and the comfort level of guests.
  5. How can I involve children in a memorial gathering?
    • Consider setting up a kids’ table with activities like coloring books or crafts. You can also involve them in creating a special tribute to the person you are remembering, such as a memory jar or scrapbook.

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