80 Greatest 4th of July Recipes (2021)


While fireworks mark the crescendo of a great 4th of July gathering, food is the real star of the show. When friends and family gather together this year to celebrate the Fourth and salute the red, white, and blue, you’ll want to greet them with some star-spangled food.

We searched the food archives of Parade to round up our favorite 4th of July recipes to give you some fun ideas. We’ve gathered recipes for savory burgers, tasty BBQ, easy side dishes, quick snacks, healthy options and, of course, colorful desserts that will be the talk of your cookout.

Happy Independence Day, and we hope you’ll enjoy our best 4th of July recipes!

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4th of July Dessert Recipes

Red, White and Blue Finger Jello

This is a festive and patriotic red, white, and blue recipe that’s the perfect treat for 4th of July celebrations! Jell-O is a great option for backyard barbeques and holiday parties as they are a kid-friendly dessert that looks great on the dessert table. This recipe is simple and is also adaptable for other holidays.

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Flag Cake

Say “Happy Birthday!” to America with a berry-studded flag cake that’s so fun to make, the kids will want to pitch in. Decorating’s the fun part: Arrange blueberries and halved strawberries in the shape of a flag on top of the cake, then pop it into the refrigerator until it’s time for dessert.

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Star-Spangled Berry Pie

This Star-Spangled Berry Pie is easy to throw together to celebrate your upcoming July Fourth plans. We call for 1–2 packages of refrigerated pie crust—how much you’ll need depends on how lavishly you want to cover the top with stars. We used 1½ packages to create this decoration.

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3-Ingredient Patriotic Pretzels

These festive 3-Ingredient Patriotic Pretzel Rods were so much fun to make with the kids and boy oh boy, do they taste yummy. The best part about these pretzel rods is that you can use any melting chocolate and sprinkles you like, to mix up the colors. You can also add nuts, shredded coconut, or mini M&Ms.

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Patriotic Brownie Stars

For a fun food craft to make with the kiddos, give this recipe a try. They travel well and make for a delish dessert for picnics and barbecues, or a patriotic dessert for the 4th of July. If you’re preparing these brownies for the 4th of July, consider adding festive appetizers and colorful snacks too.

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Quick Easy Double Chocolate Patriotic Cookies

If you are looking for an easy recipe this 4th of July holiday, stop right here. You will certainty wow everyone with the most delectable, deep, dark chocolate cookie. They are tender and melt in your mouth. A huge hit with family and friends.

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Frog Eye Salad

Fluff desserts are cool, creamy, and delicious and Frog Eye Salad is no exception. It’s a sweet dessert salad made with small round pasta (yes, that’s where the name comes from), whipped topping and egg yolks. It has canned oranges and pineapple, plus marshmallows added to round out the sweetness and flavor.

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Shortcut Patriotic M&M Bars

With the 4th of July weekend approaching, this simple dessert recipe works perfectly for the holiday. These red, white and blue cookie bars are so easy to make and they use something you probably already have in your cabinet—cake mix. Then all you have to do is add your favorite ingredients and you have a yummy treat you can bring to picnics, barbecues, or any type of summer gathering.

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Strawberry Shortcake on a Stick

Since 4th of July gets pretty crazy-busy with nonstop barbecues and friends and relatives visiting, it’s pretty nice to have some quick-and-easy recipe ideas on hand to take a little bit of the stress out of it all. Here’s a very simple (and festive!) dessert idea for your summer party: Strawberry Shortcake on a Stick. You can be as lazy as you want with this one—buy store-bought pound cake and string it on skewers with strawberries and whipped topping.

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Patriotic Parfaits

It’s almost time to say “Happy Birthday, America” with all those cookouts, barbecues and picnics. What better way to end all of them than with a no-bake sweet treat that is as pretty as it is easy and yummy??!!

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All-American Apple, Rhubarb, and Berry Crisp

There’s nothing more American than apple pie, especially on the 4th of July, but this summer we’re feeling more crisp than pie! Our recipe for Apple, Rhubarb and Berry Crisp calls for a filling made with four fruits—apples, rhubarb, blueberries and strawberries—and a crumble topping featuring nutrient-rich oats, pecans, and wheat germ, and we use expeller pressed canola oil instead of butter.

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Fruit Salsa for the Fourth

July 4th is all about grilling out, having fun, and enjoying the company of family and friends. This recipe would be a great addition to any BBQ you attend this Fourth of July. Enjoy! Try serving this with vanilla wafers.

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Banana Split Fluff

What if we told you you can have all the same flavors as a classic banana split in a new fun, delicious sweet treat, no ice cream required? All the same flavors you ask? Yep. Pineapple, cherries, banana, nuts and chocolate syrup in every single bite. My Banana Split Fluff comes together in no time, is a great one for the kids to help with and will make you look like a genius come dessert time!

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Sweet & Salty PB&J Cobbler

If you shamelessly enjoy peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as an adult, you’ll love the classic combo in this summer dessert that’s great for potlucks and 4th of July cookouts. It comes together quickly thanks to two grocery store shortcuts: frozen berries and peanut butter cookie mix. With a scoop of vanilla ice cream, this sweet and salty treat is almost too good to share.

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Ice Cream Sandwiches

For a gourmet twist on an old-fashioned treat, try these adorable ice cream sandwiches made with store-bought cookies and premium ice cream. Kids love them, adults love them—they are hard to beat!

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Fruity Pebbles Cookies

This dessert isn’t really red, white, and blue. But it does involve all those colors! Plus a whole bunch more. Which make it more party-like than patriotic. And I think our nation would appreciate the fact that we’re throwing it a big party with confetti. Or Fruity Pebbles. Whether you’re having people over for a nice relaxed 4th of July or you’re headed to a BBQ with friends, bring these Fruity Pebbles Cookies with you as part of the celebration. Happy 4th of July!

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4th of July Recipes for Snacks & Dips

Old Glory Dip

Every heart will beat true for this red, white and blue seven-layer dip. It’s easy to transport to a picnic, you can make it the day before and it feeds a crowd. Truly a grand old flag.

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July 4th Patriotic Popcorn

With the Fourth of July coming soon, the pressure is on to impress party guests with creative sweet treats. So if you’re looking for a really easy recipe you can throw together in no time at all, you’ve come to the right place. What’s so great about this patriotic popcorn recipe is that it’s versatile. You can change the kind of chocolate, as well as the add-ins.

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No-Bake 3-Ingredient Pretzel Bites

These simple No-Bake 3-Ingredient Pretzel Bites are very versatile and perfect for the 4th of July. Nothing says patriotic party food like red, white and blue nibbles and these all-American sweet snacks will certainly win you some major hostess bonus points if you have a few trays of them laying around. Plus, you can swap the colors for any occasion and they’re the perfect bite of sweet and salty!

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Bacon-Wrapped Pineapple Mozzarella Rings

The saltiness of the bacon combines with the sweetness of the pineapple, the tang of the onion and the gooeyness of the cheese for a creation few backyard cookouts have ever experienced. They can be cooked over a gas or charcoal grill, just set it up for two-zone cooking (one side on for direct heat, one side clear for indirect). They take some time, but are worth it!

Related: 70 Best Bacon Recipes

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Cherry and Tomato Salsa

Cherries add a fruity sweetness to this salsa, perfect for summer cookouts. Serve this bright-colored salsa with grilled fish, chicken, pork or steak, or dig right in with tortilla chips.

Related: 100+ Vegan Recipes

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Chilled Cucumber Dip

Who doesn’t love a refreshing cucumber dip on a hot day? This dip is perfect to bring along to picnics, barbecues, potluck dinners, and, of course, a 4th of July party. Plus, it’s amazing on a sandwich and can last in your fridge for a few days without going bad.

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Classic Onion Dip with Bacon

“This is an elevated version of French onion dip, and I can promise that you’ll never go back to making it any other way—or buying it from the store—ever again,” promises Gaby Dalkin about this recipe for Bacon French Onion Dip from her new cookbook, Eat What You Want.

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Grilled Bacon-Wrapped Poppers in 30 Min or Less

This grilled take on jalapeno poppers is absolutely perfect and perhaps even yummier than the traditional recipe. These jalapenos are stuffed with a scrumptious southwestern cheese blend, wrapped in bacon, then grilled to perfection!  The entire recipe goes go from prep to plate in 30 minutes and are the perfect addition to your 4th of July barbecue.

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4th of July Recipes for Burgers

Stuffed Bacon-Ranch Cheddar Burgers

The Fourth of July isn’t far away, and people across the country are preparing to fire up the grill and find the ultimate summer burger recipes for their cookout. Seasoned with ranch and stuffed with cheese, these pumped-up patties promise no more boring barbecues. Before you get started, you first need to determine how many burgers you need for everyone at the cookout—no one will want to miss out on these glorious Stuffed Bacon-Ranch Cheddar Burgers.

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Chipotle Burger

Heat things up at this year’s 4th of July cookout. Chipotle chiles mixed right in with the meat make for a super-flavorful patty. Cool coleslaw piled on top counters the heat from the adobo.

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Guy Fieri’s Bacon Mac ‘n’ Cheese Burgers

“Is this a cheeseburger? Is it mac ‘n’ cheese? It’s an award-winning Burger Bash champion!” says beloved Food Network star Guy Fieri (Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Guy’s Grocery Games) of this over-the-top creation adapted from his cookbook, Guy Fieri Family Food. There are lots of components to amp up the flavor and texture of these burgers, but much of the work can be done ahead of time: Prepare and refrigerate the mac ‘n’ cheese and Donkey Sauce up to two days in advance, and fry the onions a few hours ahead. This will make more mac than you’ll need for the burgers, but you’ll have leftovers (it freezes well) for an indulgent supper another night—or another round of burgers.

Related: 150+ Ground Beef Recipes

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Martha Stewart’s All-Time Favorite Turkey Burgers

This recipe was developed by the Martha Stewart test kitchen back in 2003, and for many at Martha Stewart Living, it’s been the go-to turkey burger ever since. Hearty hits of Dijon and grated Gruyère make the patties especially savory, sliced scallions and minced garlic lend bite, and dried breadcrumbs help to bind them together. Get a good sear, then finish over indirect heat until fully cooked. As an alternative to the toppings here, try them with tomato slices, pickles, avocado, and especially bacon.

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4th of July Recipes for Side Dishes

Copycat KFC Coleslaw

That’s right, now you can make the Colonel’s secret side dish anytime you want! With a few key ingredients, you will get that KFC flavor generations have craved. Of course, it goes perfectly with fried chicken, but we love it on burger night too!

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Classic Potato Salad

Part of the charm of a 4th of July picnic is its informality, whether you are in a sunny glade or right in your own backyard. No matter where you are, you want something to eat that isn’t difficult to make, that travels well, and that tastes—and looks—great some hours after it’s prepared. For that, nothing beats this amazing potato salad.

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Copycat Texas Roadhouse Green Beans

These Copycat Texas Roadhouse Green Beans are easier than you might think, and there is bacon in there, so you know they’re going to be a winner! They are the perfect side dish for a grilled steak, or take along to those summertime backyard barbecues we can all start to look forward to as well!

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Grilled Corn

There’s a lot to love about Southern grill master Matt Moore’s cookbook, Serial Griller, starting with spotlight-stealing side dishes like this Grilled Corn With Dill Buttah and Feta, pairing smoky-sweet grilled corn on the cob with dill-flecked compound butter and salty feta.

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Star-Spangled Salad

Juicy berries and creamy feta cheese give this crisp salad a patriotic feel that’s sure to charm your crowd. Tip: Give your Fourth of July menu a patriotic punch with miniature star-shaped cookie cutters. Use them on fruits and vegetables (such as cucumbers, carrots, bell peppers, melon, peaches and pineapple) for a festive touch.

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Pepperoni Pasta Salad With Mozzarella and Pesto

Packed with flavor, this Pepperoni Pasta Salad With Mozzarella and Pesto features summer-fresh cherry tomatoes, olives and lots of pepperoni, tossed in a sun-dried-tomato-spiked pesto dressing. It’s perfect for a quick lunch or dinner, or even as a travel-friendly dish to take to a cookout or potluck. For a vegetarian option, simply omit the pepperoni and to make this low-carb or gluten-free, try using chickpea or lentil-based pasta.

Pro tip: Make it up to a day ahead so the flavors have a chance to develop.

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Bacon Baked Beans

You can’t have a proper 4th of July gathering without some baked beans. Add in some bacon and you’ve got the ultimate 4th of July side dish.

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Spinach Artichoke Pasta Salad

Spinach Artichoke Pasta Salad has all the flavors you love from the hot-dip appetizer but in a cool, creamy delicious new way. This pasta salad is a great one for a busy day because you can prepare the dressing and veggies while the pasta cooks. Spinach Artichoke Pasta Salad will be that dish you take to a cookout this summer that everyone is talking about once they are home.

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Bacon-Wrapped Onion Rings

“Is there any food more adored than bacon? I can’t think of one,” says competitive barbecuer Bill Gillespie of Abington, Mass., whose award-winning team, the Smokin’ Hoggz, was grand champion of the 2014 American Royal World Series of Barbecue. Gillespie does a bacon-y twist on onion rings that is irresistible. He smokes the rings for over an hour, but you can use a grill with hardwood lump charcoal on one side (for direct heat) and the other side left clear (for indirect). Serve ’em up with his sriracha dipping sauce and watch them disappear.

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Spicy 4th of July Corn on the Cob

The 4th of July is all about hanging out by the grill. And, when I think about grilling on the Fourth, these three foods immediately come to mind: hamburgers (or chicken burgers), hot dogs, and corn on the cob. This year, why not add a little kick to your corn on the cob by whipping up this spice rub to spread on your ears of corn prior to grilling? It’s super yummy and a nice change from the typical butter-and-salt spread. It makes a delicious addition to your more traditional 4th of July recipes.

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Lemon-Dill Potato Salad

This summery lemon-dill potato salad from Platter Talk features chunks of baby new potatoes in a lemon and mayo-based dressing. The pieces of potato lend substance to this classic summer salad while the lemon adds a little tang and a nice balance to the mayonnaise. A few colorful extras with a smattering of chopped dill weed take this lemon-dill potato salad right to the top. It’s a perfect complement to your Fourth of July menu and great for any special gathering!

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Best-in-the-West Beans

Best-in-the-west beans take classic baked beans to the next level, with not one, but three different kinds of beans. This baked beans recipe is a super hearty side dish with ground beef, bacon and onion. A sweet and savory sauce with ketchup, barbecue sauce, mustard and molasses rounds out this amped-up side.

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4th of July Recipes for Main Dishes

Chili Dogs

Historians have a hard enough time pinpointing the birthplace of the hot dog, and determining the chili dog’s origin is just as tricky. But a prominent theory traces it to northern New Jersey circa 1920, when a customer at John ­Patrellis’s hot dog stand in ­Paterson reportedly brought his own cup of chili to use as dressing for his hot dogs. What better way to celebrate Independence Day than with this uniquely American creation.

Related: Best Ground Beef Recipes

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Sausage and Pepper Hoagie

For an easy-to-make recipe for an old-time favorite, try my tasty sausage and peppers sub. Great for a weekend lunch — or to pack for picnics and a day at the beach — after the first bite you’ll know why my whole family loves these so much. Make some soon and enjoy!

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Stuffed Bratwurst

These fun brats are wrapped in bacon and then grilled to crispy perfection. Garnish with some mustard and parsley to add some color.

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Yummy BBQ Ribs

Ribs and the 4th of July are a great combination. Pineapple juice is the secret ingredient in this recipe’s fantastic marinade.

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Healthy 4th of July Recipes

Grilled Chicken

This savory, simple grilled chicken is just the thing to pack on summer picnics or serve a backyard cookouts. Use leftovers in grilled chicken salads or for chicken salad sandwiches.

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Art Smith’s Southern Oven Unfried Chicken

Art Smith, a former private chef for Oprah Winfrey and a partner in five restaurants, lost 120 pounds after being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2009. When PARADE asked him for his alternative to frying foods, he described this recipe as a “fancy Shake ‘N Bake with multigrain flakes.” It’s the top selling dish at his health conscious restaurant, LYFE Kitchen in Palo Alto, California.

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