Summer is officially here, which means Fourth of July is right around the corner – next weekend, in fact! So what are your plans this year? For some of us, this patriotic holiday will also be one of the first family gatherings we have had since the pandemic.
There certainly is a lot to celebrate! And what better way to celebrate than with food, family, and friends!? How about with delish dishes for the Fourth? Specifically, side dishes! Yes, you’ve already got your hamburgers, hot dogs, steaks, and whatever else are your usual Fourth of July eats, but what about the side dishes? Interested in something new?? Whether you’re heading to a cookout for this Fourth of July or enjoying the day right at home, these summer side dishes will make a perfect addition to any table.
I’ve rounded up some easy Fourth of July recipes I’ve found that everyone will love. So if you try one, let me know what you thought of it.
Red, White, and Blue Fruit Salad
Get a little patriotic and satisfy your sweet tooth with a simple fruit salad. The beauty of this dish is that you can mix any red, white (or light-colored), and blue fruit you want, to make it your own.
- Concord grapes
- White peaches
Add a few sprigs of mint and squeezes of lemon or lime for an extra kick of flavor. For presentation, whip out a star cookie cutter to cut watermelon or pineapple into fun star shapes.
This is such a simple dish that’s easy to toss together. It’s great for barbecues, and it will satisfy everyone.
Not feeling creative? Need an actual recipe to take the thinking out of it? This one by Kim from ThreeOlivesBranch looks every inch the patriotic fruit salad – and it’s yummy! A touch of brown sugar and orange juice gives your fruit a little extra zing!
IDEA: If you’re not into fruit but love the idea of a simple salad, a Caprese salad is a great alternative.
Patriotic Fruit and Cheese Board? Yes, Please!
Just in case you can’t decide on whether to do a cheese platter or a fruit salad (unless you’re doing both!), how about making your own festive patriotic fruit and cheese platter? So easy I’m not even giving you a recipe.
Just take the appropriate amount of blueberries and watermelon and your fave white cheese (however big you want your platter to be), do some chopping and dicing, and you’re done! You’re welcome.
Classic Potato Salad
It’s hard to imagine a barbecue or any patriotic meal without at least one potato salad. Like fruit salad, this is a dish that’s flexible and easy to put together. You’ll find countless variations of the classic potato salad if you google.
I mean, there are always the basics:
- Potatoes (any type will do, but Yukon Gold or yellow potatoes are best)
- Hardboiled eggs (you can skip them if you like)
- Vegetables (celery, radishes, onion – whatever you fancy)
- Fresh herbs (dill, parsley, and chives are perfect)
- Dressing (mayo and mustard, or white vinegar and mustard for a German-style salad)
If you ask me, it’s all about the dressing. It’s worth the effort to make it yourself, and it’s easier than you think. Use the freshest ingredients you can get your hands on to maximize the flavor.
But again, if you’re strapped for time, don’t want to come up with your own recipe, or just love trying new ones, here’s a fave of mine from Love and Lemons. Her additions of capers and radishes make her potato salad stand apart from the rest. I’ve made this, and it’s delicious! I’ve shared her recipes in the blog before. I just love her food! Jeanine has a creamy, tangy dressing that makes her potato salad pop with flavor, too!
Another classic cookout side dish. Now, you can just pour a can of baked beans into a bowl and call it a day, but you’d be cheating yourself – and everyone else at the party. You can use canned baked beans (or canned navy beans) as a base for your recipe if you’re pressed for time.
But if you have the time, I recommend cooking the beans from scratch. It’s worth the effort.
No matter which route you take, it’s easier than you think to make homemade baked beans. All you need are a few simple ingredients:
- Beans (navy beans work well)
- Bacon (skip if you want to make this dish vegetarian)
- Tomato sauce
- Maple syrup
- Spices (mustard, paprika, pepper)
- Brown sugar
Some people add barbeque sauce and Dijon mustard. You can also add freshly diced bell pepper and garlic if you wish.
Not feeling creative yourself? Here’s another tried and true that’s easy and fab. It’s an old-fashioned baked beans family heirloom recipe from Kristen, A Mind Full Mom, and yes, I’ve made this one, too, and trust me – there will be no leftovers. And guess what? There’s even a bit of apple cider vinegar in here. If you know me, you know I hate the taste of the stuff, but in Kristen’s recipe, you won’t even know it’s in there!
Don’t Forget Dessert!
Can’t forget dessert. I’ve featured my trifle several times. It’s so easy, as are all of the recipes here!
And that’s what these recipes should be. Easy side dishes – and desserts – that you can whip up easily, leaving you more time for fun! What I love about the Fourth of July is that it’s all about spending time with family and friends, laughing, and enjoying the moment. The food is simple, so you’re not tied to the kitchen all day. And again, you can tweak any one of these crowd-pleasing recipes to make them your own.
What are your plans for the Fourth? Do you have a go-to dish for barbecues? I’d love to hear about them, as well as recipes from some of your favorite chefs and bloggers. So send me a note – and a link, and I’ll check it out.
Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy, festive Fourth of July, filled with fab food and fun festivities!
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- My Favorite Cookbooks – A Baker’s Dozen
- Yummy Trifle Recipe for July 4th!
- Favorite Summer White Button-Up!