4th of July Recipes

Grilled and the Best of the Rest

4th of July recipes that revolve around the barbecue are the quintessential way to prepare 4th of July food. Heck, a barbecue's darn near mandatory. And the key to a good barbecue is the sauce.

Now, you can buy sauce and use it right off the shelf, or even doctor it to customize it. But if you want the best, you have to use my grandmother's recipe. It will make you swoon...trust me on this one, I come from a family of eaters. Whatever 4th of July recipe you're following, for best results remember to apply barbecue sauce with a brush to both sides repeatedly while cooking.

By the way, we haven't forgotten about the other great foods required for the complete 4th of July menu. Here youll find our delish recipes for good old standbys like potato salad, chicken salad, and coleslaw.

And if you need a few more summer recipes, check out our Memorial Day Menu and 4th of July Food. Leave room for dessert—we have plenty of red, white, and blue sweet ideas at our 4th of July Desserts, 4th of July Cakes, and 4th of July Cupcakes pages. Happy Fourth!


chicken pieces on the barbecue grill

Mom-Mom's Barbecue Sauce

I don't like anyone to have to spend the entire day at the grill, not even for the yummiest 4th of July recipe. So, I make sure I have the chicken parboiled the day before. That way it's ready for the grill in the morning. Same goes for ribs. Slather on the sauce while grilling on the 4th, or finish in the oven as a second choice.

  • 1 stick butter
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1-1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp vinegar
  • 2/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup horseradish or Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup chili sauce
  • 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 to 4 tsp Tabasco sauce
  • (1) 14 oz bottle of ketchup
  1. Melt butter. Add garlic and brown lightly.
  2. Stir in remaining ingredients.
  3. Simmer 40 minutes.
  4. Let age if possible.
  5. Remove garlic cloves before using.

Barbecued Ribs

Get a rib platter from a great take-out joint, and your craving for 4th of July food will be satisfied. But fill up on homemade ribs, and you just might glimpse nirvana.

  • 4 lbs pork spareribs
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 3 stalks of celery, cut into chunks
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, crushed
  • 1 Tbsp Mrs Dash
  1. Place spareribs in pot with enough water to cover. Add onion, celery, salt, pepper, garlic, and Mrs Dash. Heat to a boil.
  2. Cover and simmer for 1-1/2 hours, or until tender.
  3. Drain. Place on barbecue grill and cook for about 10 minutes.
  4. Baste with barbecue sauce, turning and basting several times for about another 10 minutes until well glazed.
  5. Serves 6

Barbecued Chicken

When you're gathering July recipes, you've got to have barbecued chicken at the top of the list.

  • 2 lbs chicken
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 3 stalks of celery, cut into chunks
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, crushed
  • 1 Tbsp Mrs Dash
  1. Place chicken in pot with enough water to cover. Add onion, celery, salt, pepper, garlic, and Mrs Dash. Heat to a boil.
  2. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes to partially cook.
  3. Drain. Place on barbecue grill and cook for about 10 minutes.
  4. Baste with barbecue sauce, turning and basting several times for about another 10 minutes until well glazed.
  5. Serves 4

Grilled Hamburgers

two hamburgers on a sesame seed bun with lettuce, tomato, and cheese

A burger's a burger, right? Nope, not when you follow these super-duper 4th of July recipes. And don't forget your guests who've forsworn red meat—buy ground turkey and prep the same as ground beef.

  • Make some of your burgers gourmet by adding small cubes of cheddar, diced green peppers, and diced onions along with fresh basil to the ground beef or sirloin mix.
  • Have plenty of provolone, cheddar, and American cheese on hand to complete this 4th of July recipe. It's the guest's choice as to which kind gets placed on the hamburger at the last minute to melt enticingly on the patty.
  • Grill plenty of onions to put on top of the burgers.
  • Make a cool toppings tray to accompany the burgers. Slice avocado and heirloom tomatoes in all colors. Wash and tear apart bibb lettuce. Thinly slice red onion. Arrange all of this on a tray along with the grilled onions.
  • Don't forget the condiments. Ketchup, mustard (yellow and gold), and relish are staples in the world of grilling.
  • Slice hamburger rolls, brush a little olive oil on the inside, and toast on the grill. Put the rolls in a basket lined with a red, white, and blue napkin, and you're ready to go.

Try Letetia's Burgers for a traditional tasty burger:

  • 1 lb ground beef or ground turkey
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 to 2 Tbsps Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • Mrs. Dash seasoning
  • Seasoned salt
  1. Mix with a fork in medium bowl: egg, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce.
  2. Stir in breadcrumbs.
  3. Add ground meat. Sprinkle lightly with Mrs. Dash and seasoned salt.
  4. Form into patties.
  5. Cook on grill, brushing occasionally with barbecue sauce.
To cook in oven:
  1. Place patties on foil-covered cookie tray.
  2. Broil for 15 minutes on one side.
  3. Turn over and broil an additional 5 minutes.

Grilled Hotdogs

As 4th of July foods go, hotdogs require the least prep of all. Tear open package. Arrange on grill. Don't burn. Toast the hot dog rolls on the grill until lightly browned. Yep, it gets the prize for being the easiest 4th of July recipe ever!


Melon Salad in Watermelon Basket

Festive and easy, this 4th of July recipe is perfect for a hot summer day.

  • 1 watermelon
  • 1 canteloupe
  • 1 honeydew melon
  1. Lengthwise, cut the top third off of the watermelon. If you're good at wielding a knife, you can cut the melon in a manner that leaves a handle arching over the watermelon bottom.
  2. Using a melon ball scooper, scoop balls from the watermelon flesh, removing the seeds and being careful to leave the bitter white rind behind. Use a spoon to scrape the watermelon shell clean of pulp after scooping out the flesh. Drain the watermelon shell and cut a thin slice off of the bottom so it will sit flat. This will be your melon bowl.
  3. Cut the cantaloupe and honeydew melons in half. Discard the seeds. Scoop out balls of cantaloupe and honeydew melon.
  4. Using a sharp knife, cut a zig-zag pattern along the top edge of the watermelon bowl.
  5. Mix the watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew together in the watermelon basket.

Roberta's Chicken Salad

This is a 4th of July recipe where grapes add a burst of summery sweetness with every forkful. Not a fan of all-white meat? Then feel free to substitue a whole cut-up parboiled chicken to add dark meat to the mix.


  • 4 or 5 skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 3 stalks of celery, cut into chunks
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, crushed
  • Mrs Dash
  1. Add chicken breasts to water with onion, celery, salt, pepper, garlic, and Mrs Dash.
  2. Cook until a fork goes in easily.
  3. Let cool.

  • Cooked chicken
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 or 3 stalks of celery diced
  • 1 cup of mayonnaise, approximately
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Mrs Dash
  • Garlic, powdered
  • 2 cups of white grapes, sliced in half
  1. Remove chicken from bones and cut into small chunks.
  2. Mix chicken, onion, celery, and mayonnaise.
  3. Add salt, pepper, Mrs Dash, and garlic to taste.
  4. Fold in grapes.
  5. Refrigerate until serving time.

Letetia's Potato Salad

Here's another of those 4th of July recipes that just screams summertime. This is how my mom makes it, and her mom before her. Hey, welcome to the family!

  • 8 white potatoes, or enough to fill a large pot
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, coarsely chopped
  • 3 to 4 Tbsp sweet relish
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • Salt
  • Paprika
  1. Boil unpeeled potatoes until tender, about 40 minutes.
  2. When done, drain water and cool.
  3. Peel potatoes and cut into cubes, placing in large bowl.
  4. Mix in onion, celery, hard-boiled egg, relish.
  5. Stir in mayonnaise and mustard.
  6. Add salt to taste.
  7. Sprinkle with paprika and chill in refrigerator for about an hour.

Beth's Cole Slaw

three heads of cabbage, one sliced in half

We all know veggies are good for you, but when's the last time you enjoyed doing something that's good for you?

Ah, here's a 4th of July recipe that makes staying healthy painless. Such an easy way to sneak tasty vegetables into your 4th of July menu.


  • Cabbage
  • Green pepper
  • Carrots
  • Tomatoes
  • Mayonnaise
  • Lemon juice
  • Celery
  1. Dice all the vegetables.
  2. Add a little bit of mayonnaise, lemon juice, and celery seed.
  3. Toss to mix well.

Zucchini Grilled

With summer in full swing, it's time to start using up the zucchini bounty. This is a 4th of July recipe that makes it a pleasure to decimate the zucchini pile.


  • 2 zucchini
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper, freshly ground
  1. Wash zucchini and pat dry. Cut off ends. Slice lengthwise so have long flat pieces.
  2. Brush with olive oil. Place on heated grill in one layer.
  3. Grill for approximately 3 minutes, turning once. Do not overcook; the pieces should be crisp to the bite. Sprinkle with sea salt and fresh-ground pepper during last moments of cooking.


Roberta's Mint Iced Tea

In the heat of the summer, nothing says barbecue like iced tea. And if it's mint iced tea, boy oh boy, am I in heaven. By the time the 4th of July rolls around, mint is abundant and about knee high. No mint running rampant on your property? Buy some from the supermarket, or better yet, beg some off of a neighbor. This 4th of July recipe is the real deal: Southern sweet tea straight from my grandmom's kitchen.


  • 8 tea bags (use a good brand)
  • 1 kettle full of boiled water
  • A handful of fresh mint tips (washed)
  • 1 to 1-1/2 cups of sugar (use 2 cups for really sweet)
  • Cold water
  • Ice
  1. About 1 hour before serving time, remove tags from teabags and tie them together for easier removal later. Put teabags in a pitcher and add boiling water. Let steep for about 1/2 hour.
  2. Add mint to pitcher. Stir in sugar to taste. Let steep for about another hour.
  3. Remove teabags.
  4. Add cold water until pitcher is full. Stir.
  5. Serve in ice-filled tall glasses.

Return from 4th of July Recipes
to 4th of July Celebrations

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