Salt & Wind Travel

Make The Most of 4th Of July With These 27 Make-Ahead Recipes

Table of Contents

Cue the pool time, bbq-ing, and fireworks — the 4th of July is on the horizon. Of course we want to enjoy it all, but, in attempts to be an hostess extraordinaire, we sometimes get caught up prepping and miss the fun.

Make-Ahead Recipes for July 4th

Our solution: make as much as possible ahead of time. This list of foolproof recipes can all 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.

Shrimp In A Jar

Small Bites and Appetizers

{Cacahuates Oaxaqueños} Chile And Lime Mexican Peanuts

dairy free, gluten free, vegan, vegetarian

The combination of chiles, garlic, and lime makes these peanuts possibly the most perfect make-ahead bar snack.

Hawaiian-Style Spiced Boiled Peanuts

dairy free, gluten free, vegan, vegetarian

The ultimate in set-it-and-forget-it snacks, these spiced boiled peanuts are no-fuss but full of flavor.

Spicy Citrus Pickled Shrimp

dairy free, gluten free, nut free

One of our favorite classic American appetizers is the Southern staple of pickled shrimp. Loaded with herbs, lemons, and chiles, the only work required is to find the best shrimp you can then mix and marinate.

Shrimp and Watermelon Ceviche

dairy free, gluten free, nut free

We had this shrimp ceviche on a trip to Todos Santos, Mexico and insisted they share the recipe with us! It’s refreshing, easy to make, and filled with summery flavors.

Pickled Deviled Eggs

dairy free, gluten free, nut free, vegetarian

If you’re serving any sort of spicy drinks or making real-deal Bloody Mary Cocktails, make sure you serve these along with!

Papalote-Inspired Roasted Tomato Salsa

dairy free, gluten free, vegan, vegetarian

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!

Roasted Red Pepper Romesco Dip

dairy free, gluten free, vegan, vegetarian

The classic Spanish sauce become a dip in this make-ahead recipe that’s a major crowd pleaser!

Phyllo Galette of Labneh, Caramelized Cherry Tomatoes, and Kalamata Olives

nut free, vegan, vegetarian

This show stopping starter takes a bit of prep but can be done the morning of your party and it gets tastier as it sits.

Falafel In Lettuce Wraps On A Plate

Summer Salads

Watermelon, Tomato, and Feta Farro Salad

nut free, vegan, vegetarian

The oh-so perfect combination watermelon and tomatoes gets leveled up and turned into a full meal with the addition of tomatoes, farro, arugula, and an herbed dressing.

Steak Salad with Tomato-Sherry Vinaigrette 

dairy free, gluten free, nut free

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 

gluten free, vegetarian

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.

Taco Salad

gluten free, vegetarian

Salad in a puffy, fried taco shell? That’s so 90s! Here we wrap a summery salad in a tortilla for a welcome makeover.

Tamales On A Plate

All-American Main Dishes

Cream Biscuit BLTs with Brown Sugar Bacon

nut free

As far as summertime sandwiches are concerned, it’s hard to top the classic BLT. We like to make ours with super simple, super old-school cream biscuits, some sweet, salty brown sugar bacon, and the best tomatoes we can find.

Simmered Shoyu Chicken

dairy free, nut free

Like a cousin to Teriyaki Chicken but less work and slow-simmered instead of broiled or grilled, Shoyu Chicken is one of our favorite recipes from Hawaii.

Tamales With Poblano Chiles And Cheese

gluten free, nut free, vegetarian

Yes, making tamales from scratch take some time; however, you can make a ton at once and they’re always a hit. This vegetarian version is make with sauteed chile peppers and cheese.

 Popsicles On A Plate


Strawberry and Rhubarb Slab Pie 

nut free, vegetarian

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 

gluten free, nut free, vegetarian

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

Classic Tiramisu Cake

nut free, vegetarian

There are a lot of recipes for tiramisu out there but we’re going to claim it and say few are this good. There are no shortcuts here yet it’s still easy to make and the updated presentation as a cake means it’s gorgeous too!

Blueberry Icelandic Skyr Cake

gluten free, vegetarian

We’ll take all the berries we can get when they’re in season and blueberries are no exception. This recipe for a classic Icelandic dessert combines tart skyr, sugar, and berries for an easy delicious dessert.

Upside-Down Peach-Rhubarb Polenta Cake

nut free, vegetarian

In that perfect early summer moment where you still have late Spring ingredients like rhubarb and the first peaches, promise us that you’ll make this polenta cake.

Coconut Cheesecake Brownie Bars

nut free, vegetarian

Sometimes we don’t want to have to choose between desserts and this recipe solves that by combining two of our favorite All-American treats, cheesecake and brownies.

Cups Of Sweet Tea

Cocktails & Drinks

Ruby Red Sweet Cherry Sangria

gluten free, vegetarian

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

dairy free, gluten free, nut free, vegetarian

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 

dairy free, gluten free, nut free, vegetarian

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.

Watermelon Blackberry Lemonade

dairy free, gluten free, nut free, vegetarian

Slices of watermelon are so expected — we like to blend it up with lemon, honey, and berries for this twist on lemonade.

Classic Mexican Horchata

dairy free, gluten free, vegetarian

If you’re making anything spicy, you’ll definitely want (no need!) some horchata to serve with it. This Mexican version on classic horchata is creamy, cool and just as good as it is (or spiked with some reposado tequila)!

The Hugo Cocktail Recipe

dairy free, gluten free, nut free, vegetarian

Also known as a White Spritz, this cocktail with elderflower and bubbles is very popular throughout Europe in the summertime!

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Photo Credit: Opening photo by Alondra Olivas; all other photos by Salt & Wind Travel

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