Our Best Fourth of July Recipes: Hamburgers, Coleslaw, Homemade Ice Cream and More

Independence Day, or the Fourth of July as most of us call it, commemorates the date in 1776 when the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, a written resolution announcing the United States’ freedom from British rule. (The legal separation actually happened two days before, on July 2.) In our founding fathers’ honor, let’s eat barbecue and set things on fire. Here are our best July 4 recipes.

Dips and Appetizers

Load up the picnic table with plenty of appetizers and dips. Lemony whipped feta with charred scallions is a reader favorite (drizzle it with honey before serving for salty-sweet perfection). For a classy(ish) affair, make baked Brie, pigs in a blanket or sausage rolls (use store-bought puff pastry). Go traditional with sour cream and onion dip, seven-layer dip, salsa or guacamole.

Grilling and Barbecue Recipes

Summer is barbecue season, and we’re here for it with tons of recipes for your grill or smoker. We have a great guide to show you how to grill steak, burgers, chicken, seafood and vegetables perfectly. Think you can’t grill chicken breasts without them tasting like shoe leather? Try this recipe with turmeric and lime. Readers love it. If you’re worried about overcooking chicken, try boneless chicken thighs. They’re great on the grill because they’re almost impossible to mess up. These are marinated in and basted with chimichurri for plenty of bright flavor. Is fried chicken more your speed? We like Nashville-style hot fried chicken or Indiana fried chicken for a little kick.

Vegetarian Grilling Recipes

For the vegetarians among us, Melissa Clark’s ultimate veggie burger requires a little work, but it’s well worth it. (Make a large batch and freeze some for Labor Day!) You could grill pizza or asparagus, tofu or peaches, halloumi or bread. Almost everything tastes a little better when it’s been fire-kissed. Even poundcake.

Side Dishes and Summer Salads

We hold this truth to be self-evident: It’s all about the sides. There’s coleslaw, of course. This potato salad with Dijon vinaigrette is a reader favorite because it doesn’t have all the mayonnaise that most traditional potato salads do. (For something along those lines, try Melissa Clark’s garlic aioli potato salad.) Here are 14 salads you can make in advance and take to your neighbor’s potluck. Our favorites are this refreshing cucumber and watermelon salad with feta and this cucumber salad with soy, ginger and garlic. (Cucumbers are having a moment.) Think you don’t like pasta salad? Here are seven pasta salad recipes to make you think again.


Flag cakes are great, but who has the time? Sam Sifton’s blueberry pie (or these simple blueberry pie bars), this easy fresh strawberry pie or this strawberry-blueberry cobbler are excellent, kind-of patriotic choices for Independence Day. And you can never go wrong with poundcake, strawberries and piles of whipped cream. If you’re a fan of 9-by-13 desserts (they feed a crowd, and they’re easy to transport!), here is an entire collection of recipes for that magical, multipurpose pan. We like this simple peach cobbler that you can make with fresh or frozen peaches. Serve it with homemade ice cream.

Cocktails and Nonalcoholic Drinks

For picnic sipping, this batch version of a classic G and T goes well with scorching weather and rich food hot off the grill. This spicy-sweet watermelon and tequila punch is a reader favorite (and this watermelon cooler is an alcohol-free option). There’s always sangria: classic, rosé or strawberry-peach. And margaritas never go out of style.

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