All-American Side Dishes: What to bring to a Fourth of July BBQ


Soon we’ll be celebrating the Fourth of July in the United States, and though one certainly doesn’t need a holiday to throw a sensational barbecue, it never hurts to have a special excuse. Tossing things on the grill is great (and here is a great round-up of interesting toppings to make those hot dogs extra special); but let’s face it: cookouts are all about the sides! We’ve searched high and low and discovered great spins on your favorite all-American classics.

Spread the checked tablecloths, get the fireworks ready, and dig in!

Of course you need a potato salad, and Saveur has eight surprising recipes, from a more traditional red onion take, to a slightly-spiced version with tarragon and shallots, to increasingly adventurous with crab meat or herring!

Sweet baked beans scream summertime cookout, and we love the look of this slow cooker maple bacon recipe from With Salt and Wit.

While Midwesterners will tell you corn is only “knee high by Fourth of July,” what barbecue is complete without it? If you are lucky enough to come across great corn-on-the-cob, The Kitchn has a round-up of six toppings to really liven it up. You could even set up a corn-on-the-cob smorgasbord!

This cilantro-lime grilled watermelon would be the coolest spin on summer’s favorite fruit!

When it comes to a home-cookin’ dish like baked mac-and-cheese, you don’t have to look much further than whatever Ree is serving up at Pioneer Woman. Best part? You can have this recipe prepped and cooked in under 30 minutes.

Barbecue guests always have serious munchies, so it’s good to provide bowls of snacks to spark conversation! Party mixes are always a hit; and while we’re big fans of traditional puppy chow, this peppermint crunch version really caught our eye—especially since the color gives off a patriotic vibe!

Since we’re talking about sweets, you can’t forget dessert. Fruit pies for July, that’s what we say! And Community Table has 22 different recipes you can try.

Make sure you plan for a little grown-up fun, too. Something like these red, white, and blue buzzed cherry bombs are easy, but sure to be a hit!

Since you’ll need to wash down all this delicious food with something equally summery, we’re loving this Real Simple round-up of lemonades–something for every taste (and saving you some time since, currently, if you Google “lemonade,” you’re only going to get Beyoncé in your results)!

Happy Fourth of July!

Thank you to Sarah Ann Noel for her help with these suggestions! Photo: Classic (make-ahead) Buttermilk Fried Chicken from Country Living’s Summer Picnic Recipes

Related posts:

Travel Guides

Browse By Category