Plan the Perfect Fourth of July Party [25 Delicious Recipes]

by Maris Callahan on June 30, 2011

Photo Credit: Eat, Drink & Be Merry

While there are a lot of patriotic holidays throughout the year dedicated to honoring our country and the soldiers that serve us, Fourth of July is undoubtedly my favorite.

While Memorial Day signifies the beginning of the summer, the weather hasn’t always caught up to the calendar. In some parts of the country, the sun shines regardless but where I’ve lived, Memorial Day can just as easily mean a day indoors on the couch with the heater on.

And Labor Day? Well, Labor Day is fine except for the fact that it essentially means summer is over and in just a few short weeks, we’ll be donning sweaters and winter coats. Depending on the summer’s average humidity index I tend to be okay with that, but nonetheless, Labor Day is kind of a bummer, don’t you think?

So that leaves us with the Fourth of July. A day for the pool, the beach, barbecues, Popsicles, fireworks and sunburn. And of course, plenty of red, white and blue. Since party planning can be overwhelming no matter how often you entertain, we’ve pulled together some of our favorite entertaining ideas for the perfect July 4th bash.

Party Tips

Prep ahead. Do all of your baking the day before your party or picnic so that on the day of the party, your pie crusts will be baked, your salads will be chilled in the fridge and you’ll only need to set foot in your kitchen is to refill the sangria. Some dishes are even better the next day like bacon potato salad and cold sesame noodles.

Buy extra ice. Whenever I have a party, one of two things happen: I forget to purchase ice at all and make a frantic call to one of my friends, asking them to pick some up on the way over OR I buy a giant bag of it and someone leaves it sitting out so it melts, leaving our drinks warm and our white wine room temperature. I know, cue the violins. Just don’t forget to buy ice.

Set the scene. Instead of buying tacky July 4th decorations that you’ll only use once, adorn your table with items you’ll actually use, like these festive stripey straws from Jack & Lulu. Not only will they add a retro vibe to your table, but they’ll facilitate efficient cocktail consumption. If you’re serving red sangria or a bright cocktail, serve it in a Mason Jar Drink Dispenser to celebrate traditional American style. If your theme is red, white and blue, pick up a few sets of festive melamine plates from Pottery Barn, which you’ll be able to use again when you’re not saluting the flag.

Menu Ideas

Photo: Baker’s Royale

Appetizers:

Barbecue Chicken Meatballs from We Are Not Martha
Black Bean & Corn Salsa from The Dishes of Mrs. Fish
Mango & Red Onion Guacamole from The Waspy Redhead
Buffalo Chicken Dip from In Good Taste
Corn Dip with Tomatoes and Basil from In Good Taste

Main Dishes:

Minted Lamb Burgers from I Was Born To Cook
Grilled Shrimp from The Little Kitchen
Grilled Chicken Sliders with Roasted Tomatoes from Sweet Caroline’s Cooking
Chipotle Steak Sliders from In Good Taste
Candy Chicken from Chez Us

Salads and Side Dishes:

Macaroni Salad from 101 Cookbooks
Lemon Cole Slaw from One Perfect Bite
Cilantro Lime Corn on the Cob from The Little Yellow Kitchen
Bulgur Salad with Cranberries and Almonds from In Good Taste
Bacon Potato Salad from In Good Taste

Desserts:

Blueberry Sour Cream Torte from In Good Taste
Berry Spangled Lemon Cheesecake from Eat, Drink and Be Merry
Peanut Butter M&M Blondies from Greens and Chocolate
Creme Filled Strawberries from Baker’s Royale
Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter from In Good Taste

Cocktails:

Pomegranate Sangria from In Good Taste
Blueberry and Basil Prosecco from A Nutritionist Eats
Strawberry Margarita from Sweet Life
Fresh Basil Lemonade from In Good Taste
Strawberry Sangria from In Good Taste

{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

Greg June 30, 2011 at 12:12 pm

I can’t wait to check this out more! Such great tips too and that cake is just fabulous. I love the star.

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melissa@IWasBornToCook June 30, 2011 at 12:16 pm

Thanks for featuring my Minted Lamb Burgers! They definitely do not disappoint :) I love the way your Pomegranate Sangria looks and sounds…may have to try it this weekend. Have a great holiday!

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Dishes of Mrs. Fish June 30, 2011 at 12:22 pm

Thanks for including me on your link up! :) All the recipes you’ve included sound delicious and the perfect addition to any summer party!

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JulieD June 30, 2011 at 12:23 pm

Great tips…I’m usually really good about preparing but the last two parties I threw were really stressful because I didn’t prep ahead of time! Thanks for including my grilled shrimp! :D

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yummychunklet June 30, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Great list! I’m finalizing my menu tonight!

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Caroline June 30, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Thanks for the shout out, Maris!! I can’t wait to check out all of these recipes, as I’ve been hunting for good 4th of July recipes. Those are some gorgeous photos, too. The fourth is one of my favorites holidays as well. :)

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marci June 30, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Fun holiday for cute food decorating! I’m hoping to make strawberries dipped in white chocolate with blue sprinkles. Did it for Memorial Day and it was fun and easy.

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Daryl June 30, 2011 at 1:02 pm

What an awesome recipe roundup!

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sarah June 30, 2011 at 2:02 pm

I love roundups and this is a good one. I haven’t finished figuring it all out so this helps me a lot! I need to make room on my menu for pomegranate sangria for sure.

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Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga June 30, 2011 at 2:37 pm

Love the roundup!

I am posting a red, white, and blue post in about a half hour.

I love seeing things like this!

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Betty @ scrambled hen fruit June 30, 2011 at 2:56 pm

What a great roundup of delicious food! This year- for the first time in many- I’m not hosting a party for the 4th, but these dishes would be wonderful for any occasion. :)

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Emma June 30, 2011 at 2:58 pm

We as of now have no concrete plans for the 4th – I know we’ll be somewhere, but that’s all I know! So I will make some sort of blueberry dessert for us tonight. June 30th is the new July 4th:)

Ah I love Labor Day – because I love sweaters.

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Jamie Walker June 30, 2011 at 3:06 pm

You’re making me wish that I had spent my day preparing food for my 4th of July weekend..but alas, I’m not. So many wonderful recipes in here – thank you for sharing…that cake looks AMAZING.

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Liz June 30, 2011 at 3:45 pm

Such fabulous ideas and recipes! Love the pie…and I’ve stuffed strawberries before, but the blueberry is a wonderful twist for the patriotic holidays. Thanks!

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lisa @ smart food and fit June 30, 2011 at 5:39 pm

Thanks for the ideas and tips! I was just thinking about what to make for this weekend! The bacon potato salad looks good. I can’t wait to explore the menu options!

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Lisa from Lisas Yarns June 30, 2011 at 6:09 pm

What a great post- I am def book marking this for when I have a party at my new place!! I won’t be doing anything special for the 4th since I move this weekend, but I will hopefully catch some fireworks – if I haven’t passed out from exhaustion. ;)

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katelin June 30, 2011 at 6:16 pm

love some of these ideas, i might actually have to try and make one of these. have a fabulous 4th of july!

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Karriann Graf June 30, 2011 at 6:31 pm

A perfect round-up for this weekend, thanks for sharing Maris!

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amy @ fearless homemaker June 30, 2011 at 6:35 pm

great tips + awesome menu suggestions. i love making minted lamb burgers as a change from regular burgers. we’ve converted quite a few ‘we-don’t-eat-lamb’ people with those!

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velva June 30, 2011 at 7:13 pm

Lots of great recipe ideas for the 4th of July. Although, unbelievably hot in Florida in July, it is a wonderful time of the year. I was smiling when you mentioned Labor Day, and in a short few weeks following we would be donning our sweaters. We will still be bathing suits here until mid-November (smile)

Great post. I enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing.

Velva

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Vanessa June 30, 2011 at 7:23 pm

So many awesome ideas. I am bringing two side dishes to the 4th of July party at my parents. Found a few yummy recipes to try! Great post :)

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Maria @ Scandifoodie June 30, 2011 at 8:11 pm

What a perfect round-up and great tips too!

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T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types June 30, 2011 at 8:20 pm

Happy Fourth, Maris! Hope it’s a great party for you!

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Junia @ Mis Pensamientos June 30, 2011 at 9:23 pm

these are FABULOUS recipes here!!! esp that pommy sangria! hope you have a wonderful 4th of july :)

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Lauren June 30, 2011 at 11:49 pm

Great round up! Now I have an even bigger list of recipes to try!

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The Waspy Redhead June 30, 2011 at 11:53 pm

Thanks for featuring my guacamole!

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peachkins July 1, 2011 at 12:43 am

those are just amazing recipes!

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Nami @ Just One Cookbook July 1, 2011 at 12:53 am

What a great work, Maris! I know it’s not easy to collect all the recipes into one area and your list is a great reference for people who need help with a meal plan! Luckily I don’t need to cook anything for this weekend…but I’ll pass this on to some friends who asked me some advice. ;-)

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Maureen July 1, 2011 at 1:00 am

Your advice about planning ahead is what I need to hear. I always end up working and waiting til the last minute.

I made those strawberries for friends today but dipped them in chocolate and they were delicious.

Since nobody celebrates the 4th around here but me, I’ll definitely be doing all the cooking!

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Shen @ Justonecookbook July 1, 2011 at 1:31 am

Great party tip and recipe ideas! I love the cocktails!

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Glorinha Rinaldi July 1, 2011 at 4:09 am

We are following your blog, it is wonderful and very well done congratulations.
Glorinha and Rogerio Rinaldi
Creators earring Like
http://sbrincos.blogspot.com
bjs.

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Sherilyn @ Wholepromise July 1, 2011 at 5:01 am

What a great selection is on offer here. Can’t wait to start browsing. It all looks wonderful. Enjoy the 4th July!

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Sabrina July 1, 2011 at 5:16 am

Thank you for featuring my start spangled berry lemon cheesecake! it is so simple and easy to make…and delicious too! You have a wonderful site here!!! have a wonderful fourth of July!

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Rosa July 1, 2011 at 5:20 am

What a beautiful cake! Have a great 4th of July!

Cheers,

Rosa

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Kitchen Belleicious July 1, 2011 at 7:06 am

You are like my hero! Girl, is there any recipes or post or article you can’t write. Love this one! Love the fruit tart, love it all! Hope you have a fabulous weekend!

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Joanne July 1, 2011 at 7:42 am

My family has always been really big on celebrating the 4th of July! It’s such a fun, relaxing holiday! I’ll definitely be trying some of these recipes this year. Awesome round-up!

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Barbara @ Barbara Bakes July 1, 2011 at 8:00 am

The 4th of July is a favorite of mine too. Both those pictures and the roundup of recipes are mouthwatering. Have fun!

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Beth @ DiningAndDishing July 1, 2011 at 8:34 am

i have GOT to make those cream filled strawberries. we’re having a potluck on monday and i’ve definitely got my recipe now!! :)

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Susan July 1, 2011 at 8:47 am

What a delightful array of recipes for the 4th! Have a great holiday!

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Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray July 1, 2011 at 9:29 am

What a terrific round-up! Thanks for taking the time to compile and share this!

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Mary July 1, 2011 at 9:34 am

Thank you so much for including me in the round up. Everything sounds delicious. Have a great holiday. Blessings…Mary

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Wendy July 1, 2011 at 10:15 am

Great post! And congrats on the pick up by Food News Journal!

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Lauren at Keep It Sweet July 1, 2011 at 4:48 pm

What a great round-up of delicious recipes! Have a wonderful holiday weekend!

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foodwanderings July 1, 2011 at 8:07 pm

Excellent round up and post Maris. Congrats on Food News Journal and Happy 4th of July weekend my friend!!

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The Harried Cook July 1, 2011 at 9:52 pm

What fabulous suggestions, Maris! Happy 4th of July weekend, and congrats on Food News Journal! Awesome :)

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sweetlife July 2, 2011 at 9:36 am

wonderful round up of great ideas for this weekend!! glad to be on the sipping list, lol
have a great weekend!

sweetlife

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Sawsan@chef in disguise July 2, 2011 at 1:28 pm

I can’t wait to explore all these amazing links

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Reeni July 3, 2011 at 6:24 pm

Thanks for all the great tips and mouth-watering recipes! Have a wonderful holiday!

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Courtney July 4, 2011 at 2:31 pm

What a great line up! Happy 4th to you!!

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Chez Us July 7, 2011 at 12:19 am

Great post on gearing up for the holiday – love it! Also love the shout-out on our candy chicken; thank you!! Hope you licked your fingers clean after eating it!

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