Fourth of July

35 Stellar Side Dishes for the Fourth of July

They don’t claim to steal the show, but they do!

May 17, 2022
Photo by James Ransom

Sides are the perfect opportunity to add color, punch, texture and variety to the main event, whether that’s a humungo piece of grilled meat or veggie burgers. Personally my favorite kind of feast is when there are lots of sides and you just dig into them like tapas, main dish conspicuously missing. But hey, however you serve it, these sides—which you can grill on the day of or make ahead; serve piping hot or let sit in the sun for hours with no effect on quality—do right by the 4th of July.


Our Best 4th of July Side Dishes

1. Asparagus With Lemon-Pepper Marinade From Bryant Terry

Will you be grilling this 4th of July? Then let your main dish scoot over a bit to make room for some sides, like this vegan asparagus wonder where the marinade becomes the sauce.

2. Pimento Cheese Biscuits

A handshake between two Southern favorites. If your biscuits have been sitting at room temp for a while, you could throw them on the grill for a quick reheat (and do the same for all the biscuits on this list).

3. Pasta Salad With Roasted Peppers, Green Olives, Walnuts & Anchovies

Mix up the colors of the peppers here for a happy-looking pasta salad that’s big on flavor (pretty much all of the ingredients are in the title!).

4. Fully Grilled Caesar Salad

Make the dressing in advance and all you have to do on the day of is grill the romaine hearts and bread before serving.

5, 6 & 7. Three Bean Salads

Not a three-bean salad, but three different bean salads that are perfect for summer cookouts: Melon & Feta Black Bean Salad, Cucumber & Sumac White Bean Salad, Mango & Chile Powder Black Bean Salad. Make the beans in an Instant Pot for the best texture—but you can used canned in a pinch, we’re not judging.

8. Grilled Corn with Basil Butter

Don’t have basil? Use a different herb. Don’t have a food processor? Soften the butter and mix by hand. Don’t have time? Make it in advance and try not to eat it all before July 4.

9. Grilled Peach, Halloumi & Mint "Caprese"

Caprese gets some cool new clothes in this recipe that balances soft ripe peaches with hearty halloumi.

10. Grilled Eggplant with Miso & Doenjang

These eggplants get a grill without the sauce before getting a grill with the sauce, helping it keep a strong texture when served. If there’s no room on the grill (or you don’t have a grill), use the oven.

11. Coleslaw

To mayo or not to mayo? This recipe says yes—but in moderation, along with Greek yogurt and cider vinegar.

12. Grilled Marinated Tomatoes

If you’re looking to have red, white, and blue accents at your 4th of July party, let this very seasonal dish take care of the red.

13. Minnie Utsey's No-Fail Cornbread

Sugar is the secret ingredient here. If you can’t find shortening, use softened butter.

14. Cheesy Mushroom Bread

An Iowa dinner party special, this crowd-pleaser does not involve making the loaf from scratch (but you can do that if you want!). If you have a barbecue, you can wrap the bread in foil as instructed and grill away.

15. Avocado Cornbread

Creamy avocado within crispy cornbread? Sign me up.

16. Heirloom Tomato and Cornbread Panzanella

To American-iza panzanella, use cornbread instead.

17. Arañitas With Garlicky Mayo-Ketchup

If you can use a box grater, you can make Puerto Rican arañitas, adobo-spiced plantain fritters.

18. Canal House's Marinated Zucchini

Make-ahead alert! This simple but kicky side stays in the fridge for a week.

19. Nori Deviled Eggs

Side or appetizer? Perhaps both, but always delicious.

20. Garlicky Roasted Potato Salad

Spanish patatas bravas get the potato salad treatment in this recipe (psst, you can roast the potatoes ahead of time).

21. 3-Ingredient Bacon Biscuits

Let bacon lead the way in these skillet-made buttermilk biscuits.

22. Instant Pot Baked Beans With Bacon

When planning a Fourth of July menu, one of the side dishes has to be baked beans (in fact, I think that’s written into the Declaration of Independence). But making baked beans from scratch is a time-consuming feat, so we made it even easier by developing a recipe that can be made in the Instant Pot.

23. Triple-Broccoli Pasta Salad

We love broccoli but we hate seeing the stalks go to waste, which is why we’re so grateful to Emma Laperruque, who developed this recipe for broccoli salad that uses the crowns and stalks in their entirety. “Broccoli stalks, which are all too often thrown out, get shaved into curls and ribbons, then salted and rested until they wilt, like the world’s quickest pickle,” she writes.

24. Sriracha-Lime Corn Salad

Fresh corn is just starting to peak in some parts of the country around the 4th of July, but that doesn’t mean we won’t immediately spring into action to get our hands on it and turn it into this potluck-friendly summer side dish.

25. Martha Stewart's Macaroni & Cheese

No one will ever say no to mac and cheese, even on a hot summer day like the Fourth of July. That’s because it goes so well with burgers, hot dogs, and ribs…plus, it’s vegetarian-friendly!

26. Tomato Cucumber Salad With Fried Capers

Whether you grew them yourself or stocked up at the farmers’ market, this is one of the best uses of colorful heirloom tomatoes and cucumbers. They’re tossed with fresh dill, fried capers, and a touch of sherry vinegar for a quick and easy summer salad.

27. Summer Farro Salad

Our readers call this their favorite use of fresh mozzarella, but we call it our favorite fourth of July side dish recipe. It comes together in the blink of an eye and is jam-packed with fresh parsley and basil, kalamata olives, grape tomatoes, and a sweet honey vinaigrette.

28. Potato Salad With Celery & Hard-Boiled Eggs

You can’t have a cookout—especially a fourth of July bash—without potato salad, and this one is as classic as it gets. We found that waxy Yukon gold or red potatoes held their shape better than russets against the mustard-mayo dressing.

29. Homemade Potato Chips

The fourth of July needs some amount of shock and awe—serving your guests homemade potato chips will certainly do the trick.

30. Grilled Marinated Tomatoes

A make-ahead side dish that uses summer’s shining star—tomatoes! They’re grilled slightly and then dressed in a fish sauce marinade.

31. Marcy Ragan's Grilled Panzanella Caprese

Three Italian-ish staples—Caprese salad, bruschetta, and Panzanella—team up to make this crowd-friendly salad that’s destined to be a part of your summer spread.

32. Smoky Eggplant With Whipped Ricotta & Pistachios

Eggplant is at its peak in July and when grilled, it transforms into a smoky-slightly sweet side dish.

33. Roberto Santibañez' Classic Guacamole

No matter the time of year, every party needs guacamole (is it a party if there isn’t guac)? This recipe is about as traditional as they come, which makes it that much more delicious and dependable.

34. Grilled Green Onion Dip (Charred Scallion Dip)

You can find green onions year-round, but they’re never exactly exciting. We’re taking matters into our own hands by putting them center stage. They’re grilled and then immediately put in the food processor, along with a little bit of sour cream.

35. Spicy Watermelon With Tomatoes, Prosciutto & Salted-Lime Yogurt

Watermelon doesn’t just belong in a fruit salad. In fact, this side dish teeters on the edge of something savory.

Which dishes will you be making this 4th of July? Sound off in the comments!

This article was updated in May 2022 by our editors because we can’t wait for summer.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

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3 Comments

japrovost June 29, 2022
Numbers 12 and 30 are the same. I came for the watermelon salad pictured in the headline, but it's not in the list.
 
Tara D. June 22, 2022
Why is there no recipe for the watermelon salad that is pictured with the headline? It looks like the watermelon, feta, mint salad with the addition of pistachios - so I can certainly fake it, but why start with a picture and not give that recipe?
 
samanthaalison May 7, 2021
This seems a little early? Is this supposed to be for Memorial Day?