22 Recipes for Your Fourth of July Cookout

Whole Fruit Rocket Pops
Photo: Jennifer Causey

Potato salad? Check. Burgers? Check. Pulled pork sandwiches? You bet. We've gathered over 20 recipes to help you host an unforgettable Fourth of July cookout, from side dishes to a frosty frozen drink. Make a platter of crunchy, crispy fried chicken; serve up Vegetarian Muffulettas if you want something meatless; take advantage of the summer's best produce and make a watermelon salad or this summer squash fricassee. In the mood for cake? Round out your menu with this icebox cake, rated five stars and crowned with bright red strawberries. Read on for all of those dishes, and more recipes to celebrate the Fourth of July.

01 of 22

Quick Red Cabbage Slaw

Quick Red Cabbage Slaw
Jen Causey

Seasoned with a simple mixture of lemon juice, mustard seeds, and salt, this slaw lends itself a variety of uses. Try it on barbecue sandwiches, tacos, and turkey or chicken burgers, or, serve it as a side dish at your next barbecue or potluck.

02 of 22

Whole-Fruit Rocket Pops

Whole Fruit Rocket Pops
Jennifer Causey

"Mine are layered with strawberry-lime, coconut-banana and ginger, and blueberry-mint," says Top Chef judge and cookbook author Gail Simmons of her grown-up take on rocket pops. "Making the simple base for the layers is easy using a home blender; just be sure to freeze each layer sufficiently before pouring in the next, and use a small funnel to get even layers and keep the sides of your popsicle mold clean."

03 of 22


Photo by Huge Galdones / Food Styling by Christina Zerkis

Want a drink with the spirit of a Negroni but the convenience of a beer? Try a Spaghett, an easy-drinking hybrid of the two. This refreshing spiked beer is a popular shift drink in restaurants and bars, and an easy choice on a hot afternoon. You can add a squeeze of lemon if you like, but the light beer and bitter aperitif complement each other nicely on their own.

04 of 22

Vegetarian Muffulettas

Vegetarian Muffulettas Recipe
Photo by Antonis Achilleos / Food Styling by Rishon Hanners

In this meatless take on the classic New Orleans sandwich, garlic-infused roasted vegetables take the place of the traditional Italian cold cuts. You might want to make a double batch of the tangy olive relish — it's also delicious in pasta or bean salad, or served on top of grilled or roasted fish.

05 of 22

Chorizo-and-Kimchi Dogs

Chorizo and Kimchi Hot Dogs
Victor Protasio

Chef Claudette Zepeda has served this dish as an homage to the Sonoran hot dog. Hacks like crumbled chorizo make it easy to pull off for backyard entertaining — a bright cilantro crema and quick kimchi slaw also top the hot dogs off, along with chicharróns and thinly sliced scallions.

06 of 22

Maria Cookie Icebox Cake

Maria Cookies Icebox Cake
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Emily Nabors Hall / Prop Styling by Lydia Pursell

Toasty, slightly sweet Maria cookies were an after-school snack staple for pastry chef Paola Velez while growing up in The Bronx. Here, she transforms those beloved cookies into an icebox cake, layered with a sweetly spiced cream filling, topped with luscious dulce de leche, and festooned with strawberries and flowers. Can't find Maria cookies? Velez says that any variety of thin, crunchy cookie will be delicious here. Just don't skimp on the time in the fridge; this cake tastes best when it has been refrigerated overnight.

07 of 22

Tahini-Tofu Dip with Chili Crunch

Tahini-Tofu Dip With Chili Crunch
Photo by Antonis Achilleos / Prop Styling by Christina Daley / Food Styling by Emily Nabors Hall

This creamy, smooth dip from chef Stephanie Izard creates layers of flavor with a short ingredient list. Roasting the garlic mellows its sharpness — together with the tahini, it brings a subtly sweet and nutty taste to the dish. Tamari provides umami, and fresh lemon juice adds brightness and acidity. After everything is combined in a food processor, a generous sprinkle of This Little Goat Chili Crunch finishes the dip off. Make it the next time you're entertaining, or for your next snack dinner.

08 of 22

Summer Squash and Shrimp Fricassee

Summer Squash and Shrimp Fricassee
Cedric Angeles

"Once the summer starts, there are inevitably big baskets of zucchini and yellow squash that we just don't know what to do with," says Oxford, Mississippi-based chef Vishwesh Bhatt. "This fricassee is a terrific place to use them. It's really light, it's really quick, and it's really easy to cook a big batch of it, making it an ideal centerpiece for summer gatherings." Fricassee is a cross between a quick sauté and a stew. This recipe calls for a habanero chile, which can be very hot but has beautiful floral notes that you can't replicate with other peppers. If you take care to remove the seeds, the heat will be more manageable. "This recipe is inspired by a dish my friend Nina Compton served us for dinner one night at her restaurant, Compère Lapin," Bhatt says.

09 of 22

Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Barbecue Sauce

Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Barbecue Sauce
© Con Poulos

Roasted garlic seasons this pork shoulder, which slow-cooks until tender and deeply flavorful. Shred it and top with barbecue sauce, coleslaw, and a spicy habanero vinaigrette for the perfect sandwich.

10 of 22

Chicken Lule Kebab

Chicken Lule Kebab
Photo by Julia Stotz / Food Styling by Caroline K. Hwang / Prop Styling by Samantha Margherita

The ground beef lule kebab recipe at Mini Kabob in Los Angeles is a Martirosyan family secret, but they were willing to share their equally delicious chicken version. Freshly grinding chicken thighs with lamb fat gives these kebabs a rich, savory flavor and juicy, tender texture.

11 of 22

Ultimate Veggie Burgers

Ultimate Veggie Burger
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Audrey Davis

These veggie burgers hit every satisfying, savory note with a hearty mix of pearl barley, chickpeas, mushrooms, and crispy panko. For the sturdiest patties, evenly distribute the panko by stirring the patty mixture until very well-combined.

12 of 22

Nina's Potato Salad

Nina's Potato Salad
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Torie Cox & John Somerall / Prop Styling by Audrey Davis

"One of our first — and favorite — Horn side dishes is our potato salad," says chef Matt Horn of his wife Nina's popular recipe. "This is our take on the classic recipe that goes perfectly with barbecue!" This crowd-pleasing side is neither too rich nor too light, hitting the perfect balance of tart and creamy to perfectly complement a smoked brisket.

13 of 22

Virtue Cornbread

Virtue Cornbread
Photo by Antonis Achilleos / Prop Styling by Christina Daley / Food Styling by Emily Nabors Hall

Slightly sweet and buttery, this classic Southern cornbread is a must-order at Virtue, chef Erick Williams' flagship restaurant in Chicago, where he celebrates the food of the Great Migration. Eat this cornbread warm the same day you bake it; any leftovers can be used to make Blueberry Cornbread French Toast or Lobster Tournedos with Cornbread.

14 of 22

Peach Ice Cream with Caramel-Bourbon Swirl

Peach Ice Cream with Caramel-Bourbon Swirl
Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Victoria Granof / Prop Styling by Christine Keely

Tart, buttery, and sweet, the caramel-bourbon swirl here comes through in the best of ways, balancing the rich notes of the crème fraîche in this silky, swirled ice cream. Fresh, ripe peaches add a great bit of texture in every bite. American-style ice creams are eggless (unlike French-style ice creams, which contain egg yolks) and usually made with a combination of milk and cream, sometimes containing cornstarch as a thickener. For this recipe, chef and ice cream maker Fany Gerson's version uses cream (no milk) and crème fraîche or sour cream to balance out the flavors and add creaminess to the fluffy texture.

15 of 22

Stuffed Clams with Linguiça and Arugula

Stuffed Clams with Linguica and Arugula
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Audrey Davis

Littleneck clams are blended with breadcrumbs, jalapeño, celery, arugula, and linguiça­ — a Portuguese smoke-cured pork sausage — before they are stuffed back into their shells and baked until piping hot and lightly browned. Portuguese rolls are light and airy with a crisp crust, making them ideal for this stuffing: the crumb readily absorbs flavor. Save time by stuffing the clams in advance and then refrigerating them overnight. Bring the stuffed clams to room temperature before baking.

16 of 22

Soba and Zucchini Noodle Salad

Soba and Zucchini Salad with Gochujang Dressing
Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Christina Daley

This soba salad offers bracing heat that's most welcome on a hot day when the coldest beers are at hand. Tender buckwheat noodles and crispy strands of zucchini "noodles" soak up a pleasantly piquant dressing laced with both gochugaru and gochujang for a double hit of spicy Korean peppers mellowed by a touch of brown sugar. Perfect served chilled or at room temperature, it's an easy make-ahead dish for summer entertaining.

17 of 22

Pickle-Brined Fried Chicken

Easy Fried Chicken Recipe
Photo by Antonis Achilleos / Food Styling by Rishon Hanners

Adding pickle brine to a traditional buttermilk marinade helps infuse every bite with flavor and a gentle sweetness. Bonus? You can serve the pickles left in the jar alongside the fried chicken. Patience is essential to guarantee the crunchiest, juiciest results, so be sure to marinate the chicken for at least eight hours so it has a chance to fully permeate the bird, and allow the breaded chicken to rest before frying so that the coating adheres to the skin.

18 of 22

Japanese-Style Chili Burgers with Yuzu Mayo

Japanese Style Chili Burger with Yuzu Mayo Recipe
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Margaret Dickey / Prop Styling by Thom Driver

This burger is a two-hander, topped with Japanese-spiced chili, tomatoes, and shredded iceberg lettuce. Be careful not to overmix the beef before shaping it into patties; a light hand yields tender burgers.

19 of 22

Watermelon Salad with Feta and Mint

Watermelon Salad with Feta and Mint
Photo by Antonis Achilleos / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Thom Driver

This easy summer watermelon salad is perfect to make for eating under the warm sun. Watermelon and mint add plenty of refreshing flavor, while briny olives and feta offer the perfect counterpoint. Although chef Jacques Pépin cuts a small, seedless watermelon into rounds with a melon baller (adding the trimmings to the salad, too, so as not to waste them), you can also chop the watermelon into cubes.

20 of 22

Tira de Asado (Argentinean-Style Grilled Beef Short Ribs)

Costillas (Argentinean Grilled Beef Short Ribs)
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Audrey Davis

League of Kitchens cooking instructor Mirta Rinaldi shared this recipe for Tira de Asado, Argentinean-style grilled beef short ribs. The meaty short ribs are a favorite asado recipe, and to go with them, Rinaldi makes a Balsamic Chimichurri. You can make a meal out of the ribs or cut them into thirds for sharing.

21 of 22

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Pickled Ramp Vinaigrette

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Pickled Ramp Vinaigrette
Photo by Huge Galdones / Food Styling by Christina Zerkis

This simple salad is all about perfect, in-season produce like onion-y ramps and juicy heirloom tomatoes. It sits well and makes a great potluck or barbecue side salad.

22 of 22

Miami Vice

Miami Vice
Photo by Caitlin Bensel / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Christina Daley

Frozen canned pineapple and bitters-infused strawberries take this daiquiri-pina colada mash-up to the next level. It's a drink you'll want to sip all summer long.

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