60 July Fourth Picnic Food Ideas

Updated: May 03, 2024

Planning a Fourth of July picnic? Look no further than these portable and delicious recipes.

When it comes to summer entertaining, picnics are among our favorite Fourth of July party ideas. So, we compiled a list of Fourth of July party recipes that are easy to prep ahead of time and to transfer to your picnic spot. That includes summery mains and sides that can be wrapped in foil and patriotic desserts that are assembled in a jar.

Before you venture out, though, read up on our tips for planning the perfect picnic and check that all your picnic essentials are in good shape.

1 / 54

Dill Pickle Potato Salad

This creamy dill pickle potato salad makes a flavorful and attractive addition to a Fourth of July picnic or church supper.—Nancy Holland, Morgan Hill, California

Discover even more irresistible Fourth of July appetizers.

2 / 54

Focaccia Sandwiches

Slices of this pretty sandwich make any casual get-together more special. Add or change ingredients to your taste. —Peggy Woodward, Shullsburg, Wisconsin
3 / 54

Smash Burgers

A Smash burger is exactly what you think it is; balls of ground beef smashed onto a hot griddle. You’ll want to smash them pretty thin so they cook quickly, but it also gets you those crispy, browned edges while still keeping the interior nice and juicy. Now is not the time to cut calories or skimp on salt: Go for ground chuck that is at least 80/20. If you can find a blend with ground brisket or short rib, all the better. The best burger comes with being liberal with kosher salt—it is beef’s best friend. —James Schend, Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin
4 / 54

Watermelon Feta Flag Salad

Our family celebrates the Fourth of July with a watermelon salad that resembles the flag. Here’s an all-American centerpiece that’s truly red, white and blue. —Jan Whitworth, Roebuck, South Carolina
5 / 54

Refrigerator Dill Pickles

Easy and economical, refrigerator dill pickles are tangy, zesty and crispy. No one will believe you made them yourself! —Jake Haen, Ocala, Florida
6 / 54

Pineapple RumChata Shortcakes

This deliciously different dessert is made in the slow cooker instead of in the oven. When done, add final touches to the cooled pineapple shortcake jars and serve. —Joan Hallford, North Richland Hills, Texas
7 / 54

Smoky Baked Beans

They’ll be standing in line for this saucy bean recipe full of campfire flavor. A variation on colorful calico beans, it’ll make a delightful side dish with many of your favorite entrees. —Lynne German, Cumming, Georgia
8 / 54

Red, White and Blue Summer Salad

In this dish, I combine traditional Caprese salad flavors with summer peaches and blueberries. I also add prosciutto for saltiness, creating a balanced, flavor-packed side dish. —Emily Falke, Santa Barbara, California
9 / 54

Summertime Watermelon Punch for a Crowd

I attended a patio party years ago where the hostess had a clever watermelon “bowl” with a scalloped edge and filled with this punch. It was the hit of the party, and she was kind enough to share the delicious punch recipe with me. —Joan Hallford, North Richland Hills, Texas
10 / 54

Slow-Cooked Baked Beans

My friend suggested this recipe when I needed a new dish to bring to a barbecue. It was an incredible success, and I've been making it ever since. —Jodi Caple, Cortez, Colorado
11 / 54

Strawberry Poppyseed Salad with Chicken

This salad is hard to beat when it comes to color, flavor and nutrition! It makes for a wonderful side on a summer day. Diane Sahley — Lakewood, Ohio
12 / 54

Cola Burgers

A friend who's an excellent cook shared this hamburger recipe with me, and it has since become a family favorite. The unusual combination of cola and French salad dressing added to the ground beef gives it fabulous flavor. The mixture is also used as a basting sauce on the moist burgers. -Melva Baumer, Millmont, Pennsylvania
13 / 54

Fire-and-Ice Pickles

These sweet and spicy pickles are great on a sandwich or all by themselves as a snack. The recipe is an easy way to dress up store-brought pickles and make them a special treat! —Myra Innes, Auburn, Kansas
14 / 54

Patchwork Quilt Cake

This cake has a great homemade flavor and tender crumb. Be sure to pile on the buttery frosting, which adds a burst of vanilla. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
15 / 54

Patriotic Potatoes with Mustard Sauce

Show your true spirit with a bowl of red, white and blue potatoes dressed with bacon and sour cream. They’re tops in my hit parade of patriotic dishes. —Julie Murphy, Peachtree City, Georgia
16 / 54

Peach Cobbler Cookies

My sister brought me fresh peaches one year, and we decided to make these fruity cookies. They also make fantastic ice cream sandwiches—just put some vanilla ice cream between two cookies for a delicious summer treat! —Anna Miller, Churdan, Iowa
17 / 54

Lemon Basil Chicken Salad

This 15-minute Chicken Salad Chick copycat recipe has become one of my very favorite meals. But it needn’t even be a meal! The chicken salad is so scrumptious on crackers or as the dip on a crudite platter. —Laura Wilhelm, West Hollywood, California
18 / 54

Grilled Green Beans

I cook almost everything outdoors, including grilled green beans. I prepare this snappy side dish while the entree is cooking. The recipe has won over my picky eaters. —Carol Traupman-Carr, Breinigsville, Pennsylvania
19 / 54

Red and Blue Berry Lemonade Slush

This delightfully sweet-tart beverage showcases fresh raspberries and blueberries. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
20 / 54

Homemade Guacamole

I always judge a Tex-Mex restaurant by its guacamole. And although it's simple to prepare, it can go wrong oh, so easily. I've spent many years perfecting mine, to the point where I think it's better than most restaurants. —Joan Hallford, North Richland Hills, Texas
21 / 54

Sour Cream Potato Salad

Italian dressing and horseradish make this sour cream potato salad different from most, plus those ingredients really add some zip! It’s perfect for picnics or potlucks. —Veda Luttrell, Sutter, California
22 / 54

Blackberry White Chocolate Cheesecake Cups

I read that white chocolate intensifies the flavor of blackberries. It’s true! The crunch of baking chips, the blackberry puree, and the sweet and salty pretzel crust make this a sensational mini dessert. —Arlene Erlbach, Morton Grove, Illinois
23 / 54

Strawberry Corn Salsa

This recipe makes art in a bowl! All the colors of summer are captured in this salsa with a fresh, light flavor perfect for snacking between swims or to kick off a backyard barbecue. This can be served with chips or alone as a side dish. —Catherine Goza, Charlotte, North Carolina. Celebrate with these 4th of July BBQ recipes that are so good, you and your guests will be licking your fingers clean.
24 / 54

Club Roll-Ups

Packed with meat, cheese and olives, these roll-ups are always a hit at parties.
25 / 54

Grilled Firecracker Potato Salad

I can eat potato salad like crazy. A little spice is nice, so I use cayenne and paprika in this grilled salad that comes with its own fireworks. —Ashley Armstrong, Kingsland, Georgia
26 / 54

Black-Eyed Pea Tomato Salad

Spending time in the kitchen with my late aunt was so much fun because she was an amazing cook and teacher. This black-eyed pea salad was one of her specialties. It is easy to make and is a nice alternative to pasta or potato salad. Add cooked cubed chicken breast to make it a meal on its own. —Patricia Ness, La Mesa, California
27 / 54

Caprese Sandwich

This caprese sandwich is a staple in my family. We make it several times a month when things are hectic and we need a fast, fresh and healthy dinner—it’s always a hit! —Stacey Johnson, Tacoma, Washington. Here are a few things to do on the Fourth of July.
28 / 54

Barbecue Brats & Peppers

We live in brat country, and this barbecue-style recipe feeds a crowd. The sauce gives it a welcome change from the same old grilled bratwurst. — Maria Zrucky, Kronenwetter, Wisconsin
29 / 54

Maryland Corn Pops

Fresh-picked sweet corn is a big thing in Maryland. Here’s my homespun version of Mexican street corn that brings in local bay flavors. —Kristie Schley, Severna Park, Maryland
30 / 54

Healthy Spinach Dip

I needed something healthy and low in fat to take to a get-together, so I experimented and came up with this dip. It's packed full of flavor and color. Served with assorted veggies, bread or crackers, it's always a hit. People ask for the recipe every time. —Noelle Myers, Grand Forks, North Dakota
31 / 54

Crispy Star Pops

These patriotic pops are a hit at our annual Fourth of July get-together. Serve them as an after-picnic dessert. Or slip them into cellophane bags, tie on ribbons and give them as favors. —Colleen Sturma, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
32 / 54

Grilled Sweet Corn

Since we have plenty of fresh sweet corn available in our area, we use this recipe often in summer. Parsley, chili powder and cumin accent the corn's just-picked flavor. —Connie Lou Hollister, Lake Odessa, Michigan
33 / 54

Air-Fryer Spicy Ginger Beef Skewers

My family loves the flavors of these zippy kabobs. I usually grill them outside, but if it’s cold or rainy, I love cooking them in my air fryer. —Jasey McBurnett, Rock Springs, Wyoming
34 / 54

Five-Star Brownies

There's a bit of my state's history behind these brownies' name and shape. In 1990, when I entered them at our state fair, Kansas was celebrating the 100th birthday of a famous native son, Dwight Eisenhower. In fact, that occasion was the theme of the fair. So I renamed my brownies, in honor of the rank he'd achieved as a general and cut them out with a star cookie cutter. They ended up winning a blue ribbon! —Pam Buerki Rogers, Victoria, Kansas
35 / 54

Bomb Pop Cookies

The sound of the ice cream truck has even my husband running out to the curb with money in hand. Our neighborhood has a big potluck on the Fourth of July, so I decided to make cookies that resemble Bomb Pops. These were a big hit! —Darlene Brenden, Salem, Oregon
36 / 54

Beefy Chili Dogs

For years, people have told me I make the best hot dog chili out there. It’s timeless, it’s family-friendly, and I carry the recipe with me because people ask for it. —Vicki Boyd, Mechanicsville, Virginia
37 / 54

Turkey Pepper Kabobs

This is a summertime favorite at our house. While the turkey is a nice change of pace and tastes great with the sweet basting sauce and pineapple, the recipe also works well with cubed chicken.—Traci Goodman, Paducah, Kentucky
38 / 54

Fudgy Patriotic Brownies

A rich chocolate frosting makes these brownies really tasty. I always come home with an empty pan when I take these to potlucks. —Julie Moyer, Union Grove, Wisconsin
39 / 54

Iced Raspberry Tea

Frozen raspberries lend fruity flavor and lovely color to this pretty iced tea that's good throughout the year. The recipe calls for just a few common ingredients and offers make-ahead convenience. —Lois McGrady, Hillsville, Virginia
40 / 54

Caprese Salad Kabobs

Trade in the usual veggie platter for these fun kabobs. In addition to preparing these for get-togethers, I often make these as snacks for my family. And because assembly is so easy, the kids often ask to help. —Christine Mitchell, Glendora, California. Keep your kids entertained with these Fourth of July craft ideas.
41 / 54

Cheese Tortellini with Tomatoes and Corn

Fresh corn and basil make this dish taste like summer. I think it's a good one for bringing to picnics or gatherings, but it's great along with any side dish for a weeknight dinner! —Sally Maloney, Dallas, Georgia
42 / 54

Pina Colada Fruit Salad

Give friends a taste of the tropics on warm summer days with this refreshing fruit blend. For a little extra punch, you might add a splash of coconut rum. —Carol Farnsworth, Greenwood, Indiana
43 / 54

Red Velvet Jar Cake

I love to make these red velvet jar cakes for friends, family and teachers. Red velvet is my favorite during the holidays, but you can use any cake and frosting flavors you like. Then dress up the jars with homemade labels and ribbons for gifting. Don’t forget to tie a spoon to the jar; everyone likes to dig right in! —Lillie Collier, Mobile, Alabama
44 / 54

Strawberry Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

My family is always happy to see this fruit and veggie salad on the table. If strawberries aren’t available, substitute mandarin oranges and dried cranberries. —Irene Keller, Kalamazoo, Michigan
45 / 54

Yummy Cracker Snacks

These treats are my family’s favorite. In fact, it seems no matter how many I make, they always disappear too soon! —D. Weaver, Ephrata, Pennsylvania
46 / 54

Spicy Lemon Chicken Kabobs

When I see Meyer lemons in the store, it must be spring. I like using them for these easy chicken kabobs, but regular grilled lemons still add the signature smoky tang. —Terri Crandall, Gardnerville, Nevada
47 / 54

Watermelon Cupcakes

My granddaughter and I bake together each week. She was inspired by her mommy’s flavored syrups, so we came up with these watermelon cupcakes. If you are not going to pipe the frosting, you can reduce the amount of frosting by half. —Elizabeth Bramkamp, Gig Harbor, Washington
48 / 54

Burger Americana

Go on a burger road trip in your own backyard. Grill the patties and load them sky-high with your favorite toppings. For instance, peanut butter and bacon make them southern style; coleslaw and tomatoes, a northern version. —Susan Mahaney, New Hartford, New York
49 / 54

Minted Fruit Salad

Filled with the season’s best, freshest fruit, this salad shouts summer. The hint of mint adds a refreshing note to the colorful melon compote. —Edie DeSpain, Logan, Utah
50 / 54

Raspberry Lemonade Concentrate

Here's a concentrate that allows you to enjoy a refreshing summer beverage any time of year. Sweet raspberries balance the tartness from lemons. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
51 / 54

Blueberry Zucchini Squares

I saw a bar recipe using apple and lemon zest on a muffin mix. I tried it from scratch with shredded zucchini and fresh blueberries instead. It’s a nifty combo. —Shelly Bevington, Hermiston, Oregon
52 / 54

Bacon Macaroni Salad

This pleasing pasta salad is like eating a BLT in a bowl. Filled with crispy bacon, chopped tomato, celery and green onion, the sensational salad is coated with a tangy mayonnaise and vinegar dressing. It’s a real crowd-pleaser! —Norene Wright, Manilla, Indiana
53 / 54

Root Beer Cookies

When it's too difficult to take along root beer floats on a picnic, take these cookies instead! I've found the flavor is even better the next day. The hard part is convincing my family to wait that long before sampling them.—Violette Bawden, West Valley City, Utah
54 / 54

Italian Sausage and Provolone Skewers

My husband made sausage and veggie kabobs when we didn't have buns to make classic sausage bombers. Grill ‘em up, then add cheese cubes. —Cindy Hilliard, Kenosha, Wisconsin