Make Dairy a Part of Your Derby Celebration

May 1, 2021, marks the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby and the return to the historic date of the first Saturday in May. After being postponed due to the pandemic (and eventually run without crowds in September of 2020), fans are eager to cheer their favorite horse to victory from the stands. Whether you choose to host a small gathering of friends or view the “Run for the Roses” with family, the Derby is the perfect time to serve up some Kentucky favorites. So, don your Derby hat or fascinator and whip up a few of these tasty dishes!

First up on the menu are Mini Hot Browns. This Derby Day staple was originally created by the chefs at the Brown Hotel in the early 1930s. This version is served in a bite-sized portion for an easy party dish, using thick slices of turkey on toasty bread, covered with cheesy sauce, and topped with crispy bacon.

Next, serve Pimiento Cheese Deviled Eggs. This recipe gives a new take on a Southern favorite by adding sharp cheddar cheese and a dash of heat to the creamy filling. Even guests with lactose intolerance can enjoy this appetizer because cheddar cheese is naturally low in lactose.

Chicken and Brie Quesadillas are a fan favorite from The Dairy Alliance. They are easy to make with a store-bought rotisserie chicken, crisp apples, and the dairy goodness of creamy Brie cheese.

Add some crunch with Buttery Cayenne Pecans. These savory nuts with a hint of spice can be prepared in advance and will be a hit with guests. 

Your menu would not be complete without Derby Pie! Add a new twist to this gooey chocolate dessert by topping with Kentucky Bourbon Whipped Cream.

Sure to please even the most discerning race fans, the dairy in these Bluegrass-inspired recipes not only makes them delicious but also provides essential vitamins and minerals, including protein, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamins A, D, B12, riboflavin, and niacin. For more dairy-packed favorites to add to your Derby Day menu, check out The Dairy Alliance recipes.

Catherine Arnold MS, RDN, LD, The Mindful Dietitian LLC, is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist based out of Louisville, Kentucky. She specializes in weight management, pediatric nutrition, and comprehensive nutrition and wellness education.  Her goal is to empower individuals to reach and maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle. You can find her at

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