17 Fresh 4th of July Recipes for a Tasty Independence Day!

4th of july fruit

Still scrambling for ideas for a 4th of July menu to be reckoned with? Don’t worry — we can help!

Our goal in choosing 4th of July recipes is to select items that can either be made in advance or be thrown on the grill, so even the cook can take full advantage of the party. Our recipes are fresh, fast and colorful, perfect for playing up the hues and flavors of the season.

Patriotic Main Courses and Sides

When it comes to mains, most people have only one criteria: dishes have to be prepared on the grill. And why not? Even the grillmaster can participate in the party when it’s celebrated al fresco. With that in mind, here are some of our favorite mains and sides, most of which can be prepared entirely on the grill or in advance.

1. Grilled Shishito Peppers

image: grilled shishito peppers on square white plate on wood table for grilled shishito peppers recipe via Organic Authority
Ally Jane Grossan

Photo by Ally-Jane

Mild grilled shishito peppers make an awesome appetizer or side. A nice crunchy salt like sea salt or Maldon salt will make all the difference with these two-bite appetizers, which are lightly sweet but mostly charred and savory in taste. But perhaps what we love most of all about these peppers are how easy they are to get right!

2. Baja Ceviche (2 for 1 recipe!)

ceviche recipe

Photography by Poland Persson

We also love these baja ceviches as a somewhat cooler appetizer or main. No cooking involved! Just two flavorful marinades — one more classic, with lime, jalapeñ0 and cilantro, the other a bit more modern with cucumber and herby salsa. Choose a fresh, sushi-grade, sustainable fish, and you’ll be ready to enjoy in no time!

3. Grilled Whole Chicken with Chipotle Sauce

image: whole grilled chicken on a black enamel plate with a halved lime and sea salt in a small bowl and sprinkled around a bottle of Tabasco for whole grilled chicken recipe with chipotle rub via organic authority.
Image from “The Summer Table” cookbook.

Photography by Asa Dahlgren

We bet you never even thought of grilling a whole chicken — until now, that is. What could be more perfect as a special occasion summer meal than a whole chicken, slathered with a rich, spicy chipotle sauce and grilled to perfection? The answer? Not much.

4. Barbecue Chicken “Legs of Fire”

'Legs of Fire' Barbecue Chicken Legs Recipe

Photography by Poland Persson

Can’t be bothered to grill a whole chicken? These legs are just as tasty but a whole lot quicker to make — and for fans of heat, these “legs of fire” couldn’t be better — a hot, sticky, slightly sweet sauce coats the legs to perfection.

5. Grilled Pizza

grilled pizza

Pizza on the grill image via Shutterstock

Have some vegetarians at your 4th of July bash? No big deal — these grilled pizzas will have everyone clambering for more. The base recipe is purposefully simple, allowing you to supply all sorts of toppings so that everyone has the pizza they were hoping for.

6. Chimichurri Sauce

chimichurri sauce recipe

Photo by Ally-Jane

Whatever you’re grilling, be sure you have some tasty chimichurri sauce to go with it. While the Argentinian herb sauce is most traditionally served as an accompaniment for meat, it’s just as good with char-grilled veggies or even as a topping for corn on the cob.

Speaking of which — have you decided how you’re serving your corn?

7. 4 Compound Corn Butters for the Price of 1

corn on the cob recipe

Photo by North Charleston Farmers Market

After all, that’s the real question when it comes to the 4th — not if, but how the corn on the cob is going to be served up. We’ve got a few suggestions for you, including 4 delicious, flavorful compound butters perfect for corn, like maple, bacon and jalapeño, cilantro and lime, peach, honey and cinnamon or buffalo bleu cheese. Choose just one or two, or mix up all four and let your guests choose! They’re just as good on warm rolls.

8. Grilled Corn on the Cob

Image: anathea

And as for the corn itself, you can either go the traditional route and boil it, or you can grill it. We’ve got two different ways to get the job done.

9. Fresh Southern Corn Succotash

Succotash Recipe

Image: Laura Klein

But corn doesn’t have to be served whole on the cob. If you are looking for something a bit different, this sweet corn summer succotash is a good option, filled with the flavors of sweet corn, a touch of garlic, cherry tomatoes and basil — plus a touch of pecorino cheese. While it is cooked over the stove, it goes so fast your guests will hardly have time to notice you’re gone!

Red, White, and Blue Desserts

Desserts at the 4th of July can be tough, if you want to move past flag cake. Luckily, we’ve found one to fulfill all your wildest 4th of July dessert dreams.

10. 4th of July Cupcakes

4th of july desserts
Photo by Ally Jane Grossan.

Photos by Ally-Jane

These 4th of July cupcakes take the idea of a red, white and blue cake to the next level, with red velvet cake, fresh whipped cream and fresh berries. You can’t get more festive!

11. Rainbow Superfruit Popsicles

popsicles recipe

Photography by Oliver Barth

But if you also want something to beat the heat, these rainbow superfood popsicles are a great make-ahead choice. While they’re filled with color — and may even resemble some of those fake popsicles you find at the store — they’re actually chock-a-block with superfoods.

12. Mini Red, White and Blue Pies

Image: Emily Monaco

If you want an even simpler individually sized dessert for the 4th, nothing beats these mini red, white and blue tarts. The crust is actually just a sugar cookie dough, so there’s no pesky rolling or worrying about keeping your butter cold. After that, it’s just a matter of whipping some cream and choosing some fresh fruits to decorate.

13. Panna Cotta Pie

panna cotta pie with fresh berries
Photo from the cookbook, \”The Summer Table\” by Lisa Lemke

Photography by Asa Dahlgren

This beautiful pie is an impressive dessert for any summer cookout, but especially for 4th of July. Pick whatever fresh berries you can find near you for the beautiful topping to this creamy panna cotta pie, made in the spirit of the Italian dessert but complete with a flaky, buttery crust.

Creative, Colorful Cocktails

14. Spicy Sangria Popsicles

Image: LifeSupercharger

It’s hard to know whether these spicy sangria popsicles count as a cocktail or a dessert — we’ll let you choose! As a cocktail, they’re the perfect way to cool down after a long day, filled with just the right hint of spice. As a dessert, they’re sweet and full of seasonal fruit, and a virgin version for kiddies means everyone can partake!

Top fruit image via Shutterstock: Elena Shashkina

15. Red, Blue and White Wine Sangria

how to make sangria

Image: Ally Jane Grossan

Sangria is a typical summer beverage, but we love this white wine version, perfect for the 4th thanks to its color scheme. Pick fresh, organic berries to float in the glasses for a colorful, flavorful punch!

16. Sparkling Blueberry-Basil Lemonade

blueberry lemonade

Image: culinarycara

This sparkling blueberry-basil lemonade recipe is just as tasty virgin as it is spiked with a touch of vodka. Whichever version you pick, be sure you opt for the freshest blueberries and basil you can find.

17. Watermelon Cooler Cocktail

Image by Sheri Giblin

Watermelon is definitely a 4th of July standby — we love serving it fresh, but consider adding some to this cooling watermelon cocktail too. Club soda, lime juice and ice is all it needs to shine, but a little vodka never hurt — for the over 21s only, please!

Related on Organic Authority

Meatless Monday Recipe Roundup: Happy 4th of July!

The 17 Best Summer Recipes: A Definitive Guide to Al Fresco Dining

11 Summer Grilling Recipes to Impress Your Guests

Emily Monaco is a food and culture writer based in Paris. Her work has been featured in the Wall... More about Emily Monaco