Use this lineup of delicious BBQ dishes to plan your Independence Day celebration.
Advertisement
Little Gems and Radishes With Ricotta Salata and Seeds
Credit: GREG DUPREE

If there's one thing Fourth of July food is known for, it's delicious, summer-centric dishes that celebrate the season's finest fresh produce and BBQ fare. And this summer is the perfect time to enjoy some fresh 4th of July BBQ ideas that stray a bit from the traditional burgers and potato salad. How do glazed chicken thighs, cauliflower steaks, and steak and potato skewers sound? And don't forget some fun summery drinks (both mocktails and cocktails!), cold beer, and crisp rosé (which pairs exceptionally well with grilled hot dogs and BBQ pork).

Whether you're catering to meat lovers or veggie enthusiasts, these Fourth of July menu ideas will wow whatever kind of crowd you'll be celebrating our nation's independence with. And don't worry, we included an impressive array of Fourth of July desserts in here, too.

Glazed Chicken and Pineapple Recipe

Glazed Chicken and Pineapple

There are dinners that have you fighting over who gets the last of the seconds, and this amazing 4th of July BBQ idea one of those. It's a boldly flavorful chicken dinner that comes together in just 30 minutes, thanks to a pantry-staple marinade. If you've never made a classic Hawaiian chicken marinade, it might seem weird to stir together pineapple juice, ketchup, honey, and soy sauce, but it turns the chicken thighs into crazy-juicy, tender deliciousness. Fresh pineapple draws out the fruit in the sauce, and steamed rice soaks up every bit of sauciness.

Grilled Cauliflower Steaks With Romesco and Manchego Recipe

Grilled Cauliflower Steaks With Romesco and Manchego

Cauliflower steaks are potentially one of the greatest vegetarian dinners of all time. They're hearty, fork-and-knife numbers that even any meat-obsessed person can get behind. The sauce is a Spanish-inspired romesco sauce, made with almonds, roasted red peppers, and sherry vinegar. Here, almond butter is not only a shortcut to flavor but it also makes for a smoother sauce. And the arugula-radish salad is the peppery sidekick that brings it all together.

Steak-and-Potato Skewers With Orange Salsa Recipe

Steak-and-Potato Skewers With Orange Salsa

File this one under: the recipe that is just as family friendly as it is dinner party-worthy. It turns the classic steak and potatoes dinner into grilled skewers and the result is perfection. The spice rub is just the right amount of heat thanks to chili powder, and the veggies are sweet and charred—an ideal pairing for the steak. Plus, the star of the show might just be the juicy orange relish that brightens up the whole plate. It's a recipe that will be on repeat from here on out. Shopping tip: If you can't find hanger steak, skirt steak will sub in nicely.

Little Gems and Radishes With Ricotta Salata and Seeds Recipe

Little Gems and Radishes With Ricotta Salata and Seeds

Forget limp mesclun greens, goodbye watery iceberg, no more mouth-drying spinach. This recipe is all about the radishes but Little Gem, tiny heads of snappy lettuce that look like extra-pretty, mini hearts of romaine are the vehicle to enjoy an array of radishes. You'll top the wedges with peppery mixed radishes: go wild and look for black, breakfast, French, Easter, and watermelon radishes. The shaved ricotta salata, a hard and salty cheese, adds a different kind of punch, while a mixture of seeds adds extra crunch. It's gorgeous, restaurant-worthy, and best of all, actually delicious.

Toasted Israeli Couscous With Corn and Herbs Recipe

Toasted Israeli Couscous With Corn and Herbs

Think of this recipe as a modern take on pasta salad, perfect for summer picnics and potlucks. This fresh salad pairs juicy summer corn kernels with a showering of fresh herbs—basil, chives, and dill—plus some caramelized onions for good measure. There's no need to cook the corn as you can eat it raw, especially when it's in season. If it's not your thing, just blanch the corn in boiling water for a couple of minutes. It's a savory-sweet combo that would be at home alongside grilled fish, rotisserie chicken, or a seared steak.

Vietnamese Inspired Peach Salad

Vietnamese-Inspired Peach Salad

Peaches are in peak season for 4th of July barbecues—and this flavorful salad shows them off to full advantage, with a sweet, sour and spicy dressing that'll keep everyone coming back for more. 

Watermelon Salad with Pickled Rind

Watermelon Salad With Pickled Rind

Watermelon is a 4th of July party staple—and here it's featured in a sweet-tart salad that includes salty whipped feta and peppery arugula.

Summer Berry Trifle With Elderflower Cream Recipe

Summer Berry Trifle With Elderflower Cream

A great trifle is all about distinct layers. This is no exception. There's a cloud of elderflower-spiked whipped cream to draw out the layers of fresh summer berries, and crushed cookies, which soak up the berry juices until they're perfectly soft. With only five ingredients, the result is a gorgeous sculptural delight. Trifles are a classic English dessert, so put on your best British accent and serve this garden party style.

Nectarine Olive Oil Cake Recipe

Nectarine Olive Oil Cake

At first glance, this might seem like a simple cake, but it's so much more than that. The cake batter is made doubly tender with a complex flavor, thanks to olive oil and puréed nectarines. Then you'll double down on that delicious olive oil-nectarine combo with a topping of sea salt-flecked fruit. It's not only pretty, but it draws out the flavors from the cake for an elegant, bakery-worthy treat. If you don't come across nectarines, peaches will do. The flavor of the olive oil comes through, so it's worth splurging on something nice that has grassy or peppery undertones. Offer up some vanilla ice cream to go with, a scoop definitely can't hurt.

Frozen S'mores Cake Recipe

Frozen S'mores Cake

Turn the campfire favorite into a frozen dessert treat that will help cool off a hot Fourth of July party. (And bonus: you only need to run the oven for a few minutes to create the toasted marshmallow topping.)