The Ultimate 4th of July Menu for Your Backyard Barbecue
Use this lineup of delicious dishes to plan your Independence Day dinner.
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. But for those that will be hosting the party this year, the planning process will look a bit different. Your guest list may be smaller to allow for proper social distancing, and yes, it's perfectly fine to ask those who do make the cut to bring a face mask. You may also choose to pre-portion out your glazed chicken thighs, cauliflower steaks, and steak and potato skewers before guests arrive to avoid sharing the same serving dishes; maybe you'll serve canned wine or cocktails instead of all dipping into one big punch bowl or pouring from a shared bottle of rosé.
No sweat—we'll still be (safely) celebrating.
Whether you're catering to meat lovers or veggie enthusiasts, these 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.
Just when it feels like there are no new combinations, this easy dinner salad comes into the picture. It’s a cornucopia of flavors: a sharp mustard vinaigrette, bitter radicchio, rich crab, and tart tomatoes. The eggs add richness and also give the whole thing a refreshed Niçoise salad vibe. It’s light, crispy, fresh, and perfect for warm nights. Shopping tip: It’s worth splurging on nice crab since it’s front-and-center here. Serve with a crisp white wine and if you want to make it more filling, add some fresh, crusty bread.
Get the recipe: Lemony Crab-and-Squash Salad
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, look for black, breakfast, French, Easter, and watermelon radishes for a drop-dead gorgeous salad. The shaved ricotta salata, a hard and salty cheese adds a different kind of punch. While, a mixed mixture of seeds add an extra crunch. It’s gorgeous, restaurant-worthy and best of all, actually delicious.
Get the recipe: Little Gems and Radishes With Ricotta Salata and Seeds
Here are a few facts: BBQ is delicious. Shrimp is delicious. Tacos are… yes, also delicious. So combining all three? It’s as good as dinner gets. This recipe is a mix-and-match take on classic flavors that will win the whole family over. And the best part is, it all comes together in just 25 minutes. The combo of Worcestershire and Creole seasoning on the shrimp might seem unusual, but trust us—it’s seriously delicious. Paired with a crunchy, citrusy slaw and a tangy crema, the result is nothing you’ve ever made before, in the best possible way.
Get the recipe: BBQ Shrimp Tacos
There are dinners that have you fighting over who gets the last of the seconds, and this is 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.
Get the recipe: Glazed Chicken and Pineapple
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.
Get the recipe: Grilled Cauliflower Steaks With Romesco and Manchego
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.
Get the recipe: Steak-and-Potato Skewers With Orange Salsa
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.
Get the recipe: Toasted Israeli Couscous With Corn and Herbs
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.
Get the recipe: Summer Berry Trifle With Elderflower Cream
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.
Get the recipe: Nectarine Olive Oil Cake