6 Easy Recipes That'll Impress Your Friends at the 4th of July Cookout

Sure, 4th of July is a celebration of American independence, but it’s also potluck party time.

people sharing food at a 4th of july potluck


Jessica Reyes


Jan 21, 2021

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Your buddy’s throwing a party, your grandma’s throwing a party-- maybe you’re throwing a party. Whether you’re at a poolside hangout, at a backyard barbecue, or even out at a public fireworks event, delicious snacks are a mark of the occasion. Grilled meats and comfort food are classic summer favorites, but we’ve listed some inventive side dishes and sweet suggestions for you to try this upcoming 4th of July.

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Grilled Corn on the Cob with Lime Butter

Servings: 12


  • 12 ears of corn
  • ½ lb butter
  • 3 limes, finely grated zest
  • 1 bunch of chevril
  • ½ lb queso fresco
  • ¼ cup ancho chile rub

Spice up your classic corn on a cob with lime butter and a dash of ancho chile flair! This Grilled Corn on the Cob with Lime Butter recipe starts simple enough: first, grill your corn like you typically would.

Grilled Corn on the Cob with Lime Butter


  1. Mix the butter with lime zest and chervil, and add salt and pepper as you please.
  2. Roll your grilled corn in the lime butter mixture, and then in soft, crumbly queso fresco.
  3. Sprinkle ancho chile seasoning to top off your corn.

If you don’t know how to make your own seasoning, you could find a recipe on the same page as the corn and lime butter preparation instructions.

Spicy Pasta Salad with Smoked Gouda, Tomatoes and Basil

Servings: 6


  • Kosher salt
  • 12 ounces mostaccioli or penne pasta
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup white vinegar, plus more if needed
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoons adobo sauce from a can of chipotles (or 1 minced chipotle)
  • 1 10-ounce package grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • ½ pound smoked gouda cheese, cut into small cubes
  • 24 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced

With the added spice from the adobo sauce and smokiness of the gouda, the Spicy Pasta Salad with Smoked Gouda, Tomatoes and Basil dish spins the typical pasta salad recipe in an creative, flavorful way.

Spicy Pasta Salad with Smoked Gouda, Tomatoes and Basil in a red bowl

The dressing is key. All you need is a mix of mayo, milk, vinegar, and the vital ingredient: adobo sauce.


  1. Toss your pasta in the dressing along with the tomatoes and gouda.
  2. Stir in the basil at the end. Fresh basil is especially fragrant!
  3. Refrigerate a few hours to let the flavors settle before serving.

Prosciutto-Wrapped Crostini with Melon Salsa Crudo

Servings: About 24 crostinis


  • 1 long loaf country-style bread
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup parmesan
  • 1 small red onion, minced
  • 2 tbsp champagne vinegar
  • 1 ripe cantaloupe
  • 2 tbsp minced flat-leaf parsley
  • 12 slices prosciutto, sliced in half crosswise

This toasty, savory finger food will add a hint of sweetness to your platter. Well, the Prosciutto-Wrapped Crostini with Melon Salsa Crudo needs the melon salsa for the savory-sweet punch, but guests can serve themselves extra on the side if they please.

Prosciutto-Wrapped Crostini with Melon Salsa Crudo on a yellow plate


  1. Season bread with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and then sprinkle with parmesan.
  2. Turn the oven up to 375 degrees before popping the bread strips in the oven so that the cheese melts onto the bread and crisps for sharper flavor. Wait for about 10 minutes or until they get that just-right golden brown glow.
  3. But that crisp cheesy goodness is only half the allure. Let the minced onion marinate in vinegar while you dice the cantaloupe for salsa.
  4. Once finished, mix them together and add in the parsley.
  5. Wrap the bread in prosciutto and spoon some salsa on top for serving.

Muddled Lemonberryade

Servings: 6-8


  • 4 lemons, sliced
  • ½ cup mint leaves
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 pint berries (strawberries and blackberries preferable)
  • 1 quart water

“Muddled” is the key word in Muddled Lemonberryade. Mash the fruit enough so that the juices come out, but don’t obliterate it so that mushy fruit flesh is floating around in your drink.

pitcher and three glasses of Muddled Lemonberryade


  1. Slice up the lemons, and then add mint and sugar on top before mashing.
  2. Once you’re done mashing the lemon mix, add the berries in and mash them too.
  3. Add a quart of cold water and let the pitcher sit in the fridge for a bit to both infuse the water and chill the mixture further.

Once it hits that refreshingly cold sweetspot, serve with ice and enjoy! If you want extra fizz, consider adding the club soda on top. Rum is also an option.

Open-Faced Tomato Grilled Cheese

Servings: 6-8


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • ½ baguette, halved lengthwise
  • 1 large clove garlic, halved
  • 1 medium tomato, halved and sliced ¼ inch thick
  • ¼ pound sliced provolone cheese

Consider this Open-Faced Tomato Grilled Cheese a more bougie version of your childhood grilled cheese with tomato. Though it’s simple to make, it looks like a melt that you could buy from your local cafe!

Open-Faced Tomato Grilled Cheese


  1. Once you halve the baguette, brush the insides with seasoned olive oil before grilling until toasted.
  2. Afterwards, rub the garlic onto the browned sides, and top with tomato and provolone. Put the bread back on the grill until the cheese is melted.
  3. Top your open-faced sandwich with the rest of the seasoned olive oil for extra flavor.

Cut the pieces into finger food serving sizes so that everybody could get a little taste.

Easy Peach Cobbler

Servings: 8


  • Two 15-ounce cans sliced peaches in syrup
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup milk

Peach Cobbler may seem like a complicated art, but this recipe makes it easy.

Easy Peach Cobbler in a bowl


  1. First, drain two cans of peaches and keep the syrup.
  2. Melt the butter in a baking pan.
  3. Mix the self-rising flour and sugar, and then add the wet ingredients like the milk and half of your reserve syrup.
  4. Pour the mixture into your baking dish over the melted butter, and arrange the peaches evenly over the top.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for an hour or until brown.

If you want the cobbler less gooey and more crisp, consider adding less liquid or leaving it in longer. Serve with whipped cream.

With these recipes in mind, cook up a storm and leave your friends and family impressed in your wake! Even if you can’t match fireworks (or maybe you can), you could literally bring something new to the table that simple store-bought hot dogs and mac and cheese can’t beat.

June 28, 2018
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