Weeknight Cooking

Plan Your Fourth of July Menu Without a Recipe

July  4, 2016

Fourth of July, like any good American holiday, revolves around food and entertaining. And while it’s fun to spend time in the kitchen, poring over a cookbook while your friends lounge in your backyard is not an ideal way to spend your holiday. Plus, what if you won't get around to grocery shopping and prepping and cooking till the end of the week? Those cookbooks may just be holding you back.

So, in the spirit of independence, we're going rogue, ditching the recipes, and we're revisiting this collection of 15 of our favorite recipe-less dishes that make for perfect Fourth fare. With these guidelines, you’ll spend less time making sure you got the exact details right and more time enjoying the afternoon.


Salsa on Food52

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Quinoa Salad

NR Quinoa Salad on Food52



Marinade on Food52





NR Burgers on Food52


Fruit Crisp (or Crumble)

Fruit Crisp on Food52



NR Slaw on Food52


Grilled Steak

NR Grilled Steak on Food52

More: Get the grilling gear we fell in love with—from spice rubs to smart thermometers.


Cereal Treats

Cereal Treats on Food52



Vinaigrette on Food52


Ice Cream Cake

Ice Cream Cake on Food52



NR Sangria on Food52


Pasta Salad

NR Pasta Salad on Food52


Icebox Cake

Icebox Cake on Food52


Galette (or Crostata)

Galette or Crostata on Food52

Order Now

Any Night Grilling is your guide to becoming a charcoal champion (or getting in your grill-pan groove), any night of the week. With over 60 ways to fire up dinner—no long marinades or low-and-slow cook times in sight—this book is your go-to for freshly grilled meals in a flash.

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Join the Conversation

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Ellen Francis
    Ellen Francis
  • Kt4
I put chocolate chips in 95% of the things I make and am a strong proponent for lunch dessert.


Ellen F. July 2, 2014
You've got to try the 4th of July Edition of the Amazing, Easy, No-Bake Watermelon "Cake"!! It's dazzling, healthy and ridiculously simple!
Kt4 July 4, 2014
Haha! Great idea Ellen!
I'd like to note, you had someone comment about it being expensive... Where I am, only strawberries are sometimes inexpensive; all other berries tend to cost at least twice as much for half the amount. Though with so few ingredients, I personally wouldn't call your idea expensive.