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25 Traditional 4th of July Recipes That'll Make You Feel So Patriotic

Pay homage to the USA with burgers and margs.
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The Fourth of July menu is predominantly made up of things you can cook to perfection on your grill—and we wouldn't dare mess with a good thing. Here are some of our absolute favorite recipes for grilling burgers, hot dogs, and steak, while we've also added some summer-bounty sides, delectable desserts, and refreshing cocktails to complete your Independence Day celebration. Make sure you're staying away from mistakes that can ruin your BBQ and keep those drinks coming. Sign up for our newsletter to get the latest food news and recipes delivered straight to your inbox.

Watermelon Margarita

watermelon manarita pitcher
Courtesy of Teremana

Kick off your July 4th festivities with a refreshing watermelon marg that'll keep you cool and hydrated as you're manning the grill or prepping that marinade.

Get our recipe for Watermelon Margarita.

Cowboy Burgers

Healthy cowboy burger
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

What burger could be more appropriate for a July 4th cookout than one that pays tribute to the Wild West? This spicy, melty, crispy rendition of a cheeseburger has some surprising ingredients, and can be made with bison or beef.

Get our recipe for Cowboy Burgers.

Potato Salad

Potato salad

You can't celebrate without the most popular side dish of July 4th tablescapes. Our potato salad is also the lightest version you'll find. However, it doesn't skimp on flavor at all and has all the makings of a classic—pickles, onions, mustard, mayo, and some hard-boiled eggs, too.

Get our recipe for Potato Salad.

Chicago-Style Hot Dogs

Low-calorie chicago dog
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Pay homage to the home of the best American hot dog with this lightened up take on a classic Chicago-style dog. Note: the order in which you add the toppings is of paramount importance.

Get our recipe for Chicago-Style Hot Dogs


Low-calorie sliders 2 ways
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

A mini version of anything is so much more fun—especially when it comes in two flavors! Make these sliders that'll cook faster on the grill in two mouth-watering flavor combos: mushrooms + blue cheese and chipotle + bacon.

Get our recipe for Two-Way Sliders

Jalapeño Cheeseburgers

Jalapeno cheeseburger
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

We absolutely had to include this cheeseburger recipe because it features pickly spicy jalapeño, caramelized onions, and melty gooey Pepper Jack. Make this and you'll top any takeout burger your guests have ever had.

Get our recipe for Jalapeño Cheeseburgers

Mushroom Burgers

Vegetarian mushroom melts
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

This light veggie burger is perfect for those who don't eat meat but still want to participate in Independence Day festivities by enjoying a true American dish.

Get our recipe for Mushroom Burgers


Vegetarian cole slaw
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Whatever burger, hot dog, or sandwich you're making on the 4th will be that much better with a side of zesty, crunchy coleslaw. Our version of this ubiquitous BBQ side features both green and red cabbage, some jalapeño for spice, and a refreshing combo of yogurt and Dijon for the creaminess.

Get our recipe for Coleslaw

Cheese Fries

Cheese fries
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Fries are super simple to make from scratch if you're using the oven. If your cookout revolves around a backyard with a kitchen nearby, make this as a side to your burgers and watch as everyone announces this is their new favorite 4th of July dish. (Pssst, they're healthy, too.)

Get our recipe for Cheese Fries

Best-Ever Apple Pie

Low-calorie apple pie with crunch topping
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

There's a reason why the saying "as American as apple pie" rings eternally true. This classic patriotic dessert is the perfect sweet complement to your festivities, and we've got a light version that can be loaded with an extra scoop of ice cream guilt-free.

Get our recipe for Apple Pie

Boneless BBQ Ribs

boneless barbecue ribs and broccoli on plates on wooden background
Jason Donnelly

Want the impressive centerpiece of a classic BBQ dish without actually fussing with a grill on a hot day? Roast these sliced, well-seasoned pork chops in the oven for some truly finger-licking results.

Get our recipe for Boneless BBQ Ribs

Tandoori Chicken Skewers

tandoori chicken skewers with lemon slices on pita

Put a little spice in your chicken and marinate it in spices and yogurt for an impossibly tender, tandoori-like skewer. Don't forget the cucumber raita which is the perfect chilled complement to this chicken with character.

Get our recipe for Tandoori Chicken Skewers

Grilled Mexican-Style Corn

Vegetarian grilled mexican-style corn
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Grilling corn on the cob is the first culinary sign of summer. This recipe is a nod to elote, a beloved Mexican street food, but with a lighter twist.

Get our recipe for Grilled Mexican-Style Corn.

Avocado Crab Salad

Healthy avocado-crab salad
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

It's hot and you may as well eat something from the ocean, even if you're far away from it. This uber light yet super flavorful "salad" can be served as an appetizer alongside margaritas or beer while the crowd gathers and waits for the burgers to hit their plates.

Get our recipe for Avocado Crab Salad

Caprese Salad

Vegetarian caprese tomato towers
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Making a summer salad that doesn't prominently feature tomatoes is like visiting Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower. And what simpler way to really highlight all their juicy ripeness than cutting them into thick slices and serving with a mild cheese like mozzarella.

Get our recipe for Caprese Salad

Grilled Steak with Red Wine Butter

grilled steak topped with red wine butter next to steak fries
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

This steak is grilled to perfection and features a slab of butter spiked with red wine. Delight your family with an eating experience reminiscent of old-school American steak houses.

Get our recipe for Grilled Steak with Red Wine Butter

Arugula and Grapefruit Salad with Ranch

keto arugula grapefruit salad
Waterbury Publications, Inc.

This salad checks several boxes. First off, it's fresh and crispy, which makes it a perfect side; second of all, it's got juicy chunks of grapefruit which is a nod to summer; and finally, it's got the two components that every American looks for in a salad—bacon and ranch.

Get our recipe for Arugula and Grapefruit Salad with Ranch

Coca Cola Cake

biting into a slice of coca cola cake on a grey plate
Kiersten Hickman/Eat This, Not That!

If you're going to bake for the 4th of July, might as well make a cake that uses the caramel-y moisture of America's favorite beverage—Coca Cola. That's right, this chocolate dessert uses your favorite soda in both the sponge and the frosting.

Get our recipe for Coca Cola Cake

Hoisin Beef Kebabs

Hoisin beef kebab
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

These may be the best kebabs you'll ever make at home. Reminiscent of Japanese yakitori-style meats, the chunks of beef sirloin get marinated in a mix of hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sriracha, and sesame oil for the most tender cubes of beef you've ever had.

Get our recipe for Hoisin Beef Kebabs

Grilled Flank Steak with Chimichurri

steak chimichurri recipe
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Flank steak combined with a fresh, herby chimichurri sauce is one of the easiest yet most impressive dishes you can cook to perfection on your grill. Combine it with a side of grilled scallions or some pinot beans for a well-rounded South American feast.

Get our recipe for Grilled Flank Steak with Chimichurri

Ginger Carrot Pineapple Cake

ginger carrot pineapple cake sliced with carrot and pineapple toppings on a white table
Waterbury Publications, Inc.

Another awesome dessert option for any summer gathering is a carrot cake featuring pineapple. It's impressive-looking but easier to make than most cakes out there.

Get our recipe for Ginger Carrot Pineapple Cake

Butternut Squash Pasta Salad

Butternut squash pasta salad
Waterbury Publications, Inc.

Is it a pasta? Is it a salad? Who cares! This craveable dish straddles both worlds and makes for a perfect addition to bring to a backyard BBQ because it travels well and can survive sitting out for a while.

Get our recipe for Butternut Squash Pasta Salad

Homemade Salsa

dipping into salsa with a tortilla chip
Kiersten Hickman/Eat This, Not That!

Easy peasy restaurant-level salsa is only five simple ingredients away. Truly the simplest, most popular appetizer you can serve for a crowd.

Get our recipe for Homemade Salsa

Classic Low-Calorie Margarita

If you prefer to stick to a simple, classic margarita, here's a low-cal version you can drink all day long.

Get our recipe for Classic Low Calorie Margaritas

Grilled Strawberry Shortcake

Vegetarian strawberry shortcake with balsamic
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

We don't need to talk this dessert up, we'll just describe it for you: soft, fluffy angel cake gets toasted on the grill, then topped with balsamic-marinated strawberries. You've never had dessert like this before.

Get our recipe for Grilled Strawberry Shortcake

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Mura Dominko
Mura is ETNT's Executive Editor, leading the coverage of America's favorite restaurant chains, grocery stores, and viral food moments. Read more about Mura