Make The Most of 4th Of July With These 15+ Make-Ahead Recipes

The 4th of July is here which means it’s time for pool parties, bbq-ing, and fireworks galore. We want to enjoy it all, but in trying to be hostess extraordinaire, it’s easy to get caught up in the kitchen and miss all the fun.

But, don’t fret - we have a solution: we’ve compiled a list of fool-proof recipes which can be prepared ahead of time, so that whether you’re entertaining a crowd or just bringing a dish or two to a potluck, you can spend minimal time cooking the day-of, and maximum time enjoying your Independence Day.

Small Bites and Starters

Papalote-Inspired Roasted Tomato Salsa

How to really bring the fireworks on 4th of July? Make a batch of this homemade pumpkin seed and chile salsa. This classic snack is a crowd-pleaser and is that much better when the salsa is homemade!

Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Cilantro and Avocado Dipping Sauce

This healthy take on sweet potato fries and aioli still manages to feel oh-so-indulgent, but baking the fries and subbing in yogurt for mayonnaise keeps this recipe clean and full of healthy protein.

Peach and Tomato Crostini - by Love & Lemons

The perfect summer bruschetta that only takes minutes to assemble. Fresh herbs and peaches steal the show in this simple, delicious snack.

Wild Rice Arugula Caprese Salad Recipe by Salt & Wind

Salads That'll Stand Up 

Blueberry Watermelon Feta and Mint Salad - by She Wears Many Hats

We love this take on a watermelon salad  for so many reasons! It showcases summer’s best produce, the tangy dressing is just perfect with the ripe-as-can-be fruit, and of course, we can’t help but appreciate its kitschy patriotism when the ingredients are mixed all together.

Midsummer Cherry & Amaranth Panzanella Salad by Dolly and Oatmeal

Panzanella is one of our fave salad choices for any season because it works with whatever produce is tasting best. Case in point: this summer-themed Cherry and Amaranth number which can be made with gluten free bread to satisfy a crowd with dietary restrictions. And, with cherries at their peak in July, this is one of those salads you’ll make all month long.

Steak Salad with Tomato-Sherry Vinaigrette 

Cooking for a crowd on the holiday calls for a hearty salad that could be a meal in itself and this steak with tomato-sherry vinaigrette fits that bill. Prepping the vinaigrette and veggies first cuts out cooking time day-of, so it’s as simple as grilling the steak: effortless independence day dinner served!

Wild Rice Salad with Baby Greens, Tomatoes, Mozzarella and Pistachios 

Grain-based salads are all the rage and, when it comes to summer, we are partial to one that’s a modern twist on Caprese salad. What’s better? The entire recipe keeps in the fridge for up to four days which means an easy breezy 4th of July entertaining plan.

Bison Burgers With Whiskey Onions Recipe @saltandwind

All-American Mains

The Modern Lobster Roll

We’ve got to tip our hats to the other coast for this Cape Cod classic. Lobster Rolls simply scream summer and this recipe is a great way to indulge in this East Coast tradition on America’s fave holiday. Prep the lobster ahead of time, keep it chilled in the fridge, then it’s as easy as loading up the rolls with the filling once you’re ready to party.

Bison Burger Sliders 

What could be more American than burgers fresh off the grill with whiskey onions to go with?? Nothing. That’s why we recommend these burgers big time for your Fourth. They’re an adult twist on the childhood classic that will have your friends begging for the recipe.

Chickpea Sliders with Roasted Red Pepper Ketchup 

These chickpea burgers are how you have your burger and make it veggie too! Yes, they’re made to be made ahead but we’re partial to these guys for their artisanal-style red pepper ketchup. This veggie burger is everything those bland, freezer packed patties are not, and we are so for it!

 Limoncello Creamsicle Popsicles Recipe @saltandwind

Sweet Eats 

Strawberry and Rhubarb Slab Pie 

There is something so satisfying and All-American about this pie, we cannot deny it a spot on our list. Showcase summer’s favorite berry and pay homage to the USA with this timeless classic!

Limoncello Creamsicle Popsicles 

These boozy popsicles are the perfect sweet indulgence for your BBQ, Adulting has never felt SO right!

Chocolate Banana Pudding Icebox Cake 

Chocolate pudding, bananas, and graham crackers and no baking needed...no further explanation necessary!

Individual Pistachio Pavlovas - by This Mess Is Ours

Turn the volume way up with a make-your-own pavlova bar for the 4th of July! Berries and pistachios amp up this classic, and adding blueberries provides a patriotic bonus this Independence Day.

Mint Southern Sweet Tea Recipe @saltandwind

Holiday Libations

Ruby Red Cherry Sangria

Sangria is the ultimate summer libation and we think that we finally cracked the code to the perfect one. It’s portable and versatile enough to be enjoyed poolside in the daytime and later under the nighttime fireworks show because, hey, Sangria is acceptable at any hour! We’ll just let the cherries and the Rose do the rest of the talking.

Summer Break Aperol Spritz Punch

We’ve got the ultimate cocktail for a crowd here, and it’s a grown-up fruit punch. Strawberries and blood oranges make this summery drink a festive choice that is a must-serve for the 4th of July!

Southern Sweet Mint Tea 

Mint and lime brighten up this southern staple, and with temperatures spiking, it’s is the perfect refreshment to cool you down. For those not wishing to imbibe on the Fourth, we insist your give this sweet tea a try.


Opening photo by Kelly Knox

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P.P.S. Did you make any of these recipe? Give us your thoughts by leaving a comment below and show us how it turned out by sharing it on Instagram with the #swsociety hashtag!

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