How to Plan the Perfect Fourth of July Menu

The Fourth of July is right around the corner leaving many confused and frustrated about creating a foolproof menu for your patriotic party. We’ve decided to compile a list of our perfect Fourth of July menu to ensure a fun and successful day.

Appetizers:

While bite size appetizers always seem like such a cute idea, in essence they can be time consuming and extremely difficult to eat. Instead I’ve found that dips are the safest bet for a casual snack before the actual meal. My two personal favorite dips are buffalo chicken dip and spinach artichoke dip. Both are extremely simple to make and are immediate crowd pleasers. You can serve the dips with French bread crostinis or simply with scoops tortilla chips. If you know you will have vegetarian guests, is usually a good idea to serve a separate dip so as not to leave out some of your guests.

The Main Dish:

The SoCal Company

Credit: The SoCal Company

When I think of the Fourth of July, I immediately think hot dogs and hamburgers. I thought back to how a large hamburger can be a little daunting when you are trying to enjoy your company and talk to old friends, so I wanted to keep the hot dogs and instead substitute the hamburgers with sliders. The toppings for the dogs and sliders are the most important part, however. Be sure to set up a do-it-yourself topping bar with pre-sliced pickles, onions, tomatoes, lettuce and of course the typical condiments like ketchup, mustard, relish and mayonnaise. If you’re feeling more adventurous try creative toppings like grilled chiles, sautéed mushrooms and bacon. Remember, if you are hosting vegetarians, be sure to have some veggie dogs or patties at hand.

Sides:

For sides, I wanted to add some healthy options to spice up the traditional BBQ side dishes. First, as produce is extremely fresh and flavorful this time of year, I wanted to create fruit skewers in the theme of the fourth. If you want to be extremely patriotic, pick up a star cookie cutter and cut your watermelon with it. Place blueberries or blackberries on most of the wooden skewer and then top it off with a watermelon star, as shown at #23.

The heartier side dish, and a spin on the classic potato salad, is Ina Garten’s French Potato Salad. She does away with the mayonnaise aspect of the dish and actually uses Dijon mustard, champagne vinegar and white wine for a lighter and extremely delicious dressing.

The Drink:

Guy Fieri's Fourth of July Cocktail

Credit: Food Network

While it is typical to have water and soda available for your guests, why not spice up the day with a colorful, red, white and blue cocktail? My favorite is Guy Fieri’s. If you want to provide a fun drink for the non-drinkers as well, try out this super simple strawberry lemonade.

Dessert:

Ina Garten's Flag Cake

Credit: Barefoot Contessa

And finally, you can’t have a great party without a great dessert. There are countless ways to make your favorite cookie or cupcake recipe Fourth of July-friendly, but I personally love a flag cake. It does take a little skill with a pastry bag so if this cake is too daunting for you, you can simply decorate any of your favorite desserts with red, white and blue icing or candy. Ina Garten similarly has a beautiful and yummy flag cake recipe that is decorated with blueberries and raspberry and covered in cream cheese frosting.

While there are many ways to make this holiday great, the food is definitely a fun way to show your patriotism and have an enjoyable experience with your friends and family. Try out our perfect Fourth of July menu for an even more festive Fourth.

SEE ALSO: Looking for a place to view the fireworks?

Do you plan on having a BBQ for the Fourth? What are your favorite foods to serve on this fun holiday? Let us know in a comment.

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Maddie Erdossy
Maddie Erdossy is a junior English major at UNC-Chapel Hill. She is interning at the Blue Book for a second summer as a social media contributor and blogger. As a graduate of The Bishop’s School and resident of Rancho Santa Fe, she is knowledgeable about both La Jolla and all things in North County. Her blog posts focus on food, entertainment and lifestyle around San Diego.

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