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58 of the Best 4th of July Side Dishes, from Peach and Corn Caprese to Caesar Pasta Salad

Red, white and grilled watermelon

4th of July side dishes: side-by-side images of corn caprese salad, grilled melon and grilled cherry tomatoes
Mark Weinberg/EE Berger/Susan Spungen

Of course I love the burgers, hot dogs and fireworks. But if I’m being honest, come July 4th, I’m most excited about piling my plate high with delicious side dishes (and then going back for seconds). From crunchy salads and smoky beans to gooey jalapeño mac and cheese and cast iron cornbread, here are 58 4th of July side dishes that deserve a spot on your table.

65 Delicious 4th of July Recipes to Make for an Epic Summer Cookout


1. Grilled Melon With Tahini, Chili Oil and Sesame Seeds

  • Time Commitment: 10 minutes
  • Why I Love It: <15 minutes, vegetarian, dairy free

I love pairing melon with salt. (It’s just too refreshing to pass up!) This nutty, creamy side is just as good on its own as it is alongside a grilled chicken or steak.

2. Spicy, Crunchy Sesame Cucumber Salad

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes
  • Why I Love It: vegetarian, <10 ingredients, no cook

I used to think cucumbers were boring, until I tasted them paired with ginger, sesame and chiles. This salad requires a bit of time to remove excess moisture from the cukes, but it’s still a breeze to put together.

3. Grilled Cherry Tomatoes with Yogurt and Mint

  • Time Commitment: 15 minutes
  • Why I Love It: <15 minutes, vegetarian, <10 ingredients

Maybe you’ve roasted your tomatoes before, but I bet you’ve never grilled them. They get jammy and sweet with a touch of smokiness that pairs perfectly with the accompanying garlic yogurt.

4. Classic Macaroni Salad

  • Time Commitment: 25 minutes (+ chilling time)
  • Why I Love It: <30 minutes, make ahead, kid-friendly

Did you really host a July Fourth barbecue if you didn’t serve this must-have side dish? It definitely tastes better if you give the flavors a chance to meld, so make it the day before for best results.

5. Watermelon Salsa

  • Time Commitment: 15 minutes
  • Why I Love It: no cook, <15 minutes, <10 ingredients, make ahead

Swap out the typical tomatoes and the result is a tart-sweet, just-spicy-enough salsa that’s begging to be served with a mountain of salty tortilla chips. (You could also dish it up on grilled chicken or spicy shrimp tacos, FYI.)

6. Broccoli Rabe and Burrata with Lemon

  • Time Commitment: 10 minutes
  • Why I Love It: ready in <15 minutes, <10 ingredients

I love broccoli rabe as much as the next person, but I’ll be honest: It’s the creamy puddles of cheese that really sell this gorgeous side dish.

7. Corn and Tomato Salad with Feta and Lime

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes
  • Why I Love It: ready in <30 minutes, <10 ingredients

My mantra for this side: Make, eat, repeat. It’s a good thing it takes almost no time to cook, and it’s supremely easy to scale up for a crowd.

8. BLT Pasta Salad

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes
  • Why I Love It: crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly, <10 ingredients

Much like its sandwich namesake, this is a summertime masterpiece. A fun, frilly pasta shape (like reginetti) adds texture and makes it even more kid-pleasing.

9. Cast Iron Cornbread

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why I Love It: crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly, less than 500 calories

Cornbread is a must for sopping up all those saucy barbecue drippings. This version stands out from the crowd because it’s made with brown butter, aka liquid gold.

10. Chilled Cucumber Salad

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 35 minutes
  • Why I Love It: no cook, <10 ingredients

The temps are soaring but this salad is calm, cool and collected. Don’t let the 95-minute time commitment fool you; this dish is largely hands off. (A full 90 of those minutes are spent marinating, so you can kick back and watch an episode of 3 Body Problem—or get to work on the rest of your July Fourth menu.)

11. Summer Millet Salad

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why I Love It: make ahead, low sugar, vegetarian, crowd-pleaser

Quinoa salad, I love you, but it’s time to try something new. Millet is even easier to cook—it takes just 15 minutes—and tastes just as delicious.

12. Smoky Barbecued Corn

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why I Love It: less than 500 calories, vegetarian, gluten free

You might never eat plain, boiled corn on the cob again, thanks to chili powder, Parmesan and smoked paprika. (Not into grilled veg? Here’s how to cook corn nine other ways.)

13. Corn Fritter Caprese with Peaches and Tomatoes

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why I Love It: beginner-friendly, crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly, vegetarian

How many summer fruits and vegetables can you fit into a single dish? A lot, it turns out. This salad sounds complicated, but the most difficult thing you’ll do is fry up the fritters (and it’s not difficult at all).

14. Jalapeño Cornbread Muffins

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why I Love It: crowd-pleaser, beginner-friendly

A little bit sweet, a little bit salty, these guys have all the essential elements: cheese, spice and carbs. Yum.

15. Grilled Zucchini Boats with Quinoa and Basil Vinaigrette

  • Time Commitment: 25 minutes
  • Why I Love It: ready in <30 minutes, <10 ingredients, kid-friendly

I can’t get enough of all the zucchini recipes, especially when they look this appetizing. Luckily, this time of year, summer squash abounds.

16. Corn Salsa

  • Time Commitment: 32 minutes
  • Why I Love It: vegetarian, crowd-pleaser, beginner-friendly

A rainbow of bright flavors and textures that will pair well with any main you’re serving up this holiday. Might I suggest piling it on a taco recipe or some burgers?

17. Cauliflower ‘Tater’ Tots

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why I Love It: kid-friendly, crowd-pleaser, <10 ingredients

They’re crispy. They’re satisfying. They’re perfect for dipping. What more could you ask for? (Trust me, you won’t even miss the usual spuds.)

18. Salt and Vinegar Roasted Potatoes with Feta and Dill

  • Time Commitment: 55 minutes
  • Why I Love It: crowd-pleaser, gluten-free, <10 ingredients

They’re crispy like French fries on the outside but creamy on the inside. Plus, if there are any leftovers, they pair nicely with a fried egg the next morning.

19. Spicy Roasted Broccoli

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes
  • Why I Love It: beginner-friendly, <10 ingredients

Be sure to make extra lemon goat cheese drizzle…so you can proceed to put it on everything. (I like to use it as a side for dipping all sorts of summer veg.)

20. Summer Tortellini Salad

  • Time Commitment: 25 minutes
  • Why I Love It: ready in <30 minutes, crowd-pleaser, <10 ingredients

When the produce is at its best, you simply can’t go wrong with a salad full of tomatoes, red peppers, corn, cucumbers and a basil vinaigrette.

21. French Potato Salad

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why I Love It: crowd-pleaser, vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free

Let the tubers shine in this potato salad by adding a simple garlic vinaigrette and a handful of herbs to the mix. It’s fresher than the usual creamy concoction, but no less satisfying.

22. Whole Roasted Carrots

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why I Love It: <10 ingredients, beginner-friendly, low carb

Forget everything you know about cooked carrots (like boiling them), because from now on, roasting them is all you’ll ever need.

23. Light and Tangy Coleslaw

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why I Love It: no cook, vegetarian, crowd-pleaser, less than 500 calories

This healthier slaw subs Greek yogurt, Dijon mustard and plenty of vinegar for the usual mayo. It’s still subtly creamy, but won’t feel like a dressing overload.

24. Minty-Fresh Zucchini Salad with Marinated Feta

  • Time Commitment: 15 minutes (plus marinating time)
  • Why I Love It: no cook, <10 ingredients, low carb

Save room for ice cream by adding a healthy serving of this light and refreshing side salad to your plate. You wouldn’t think to serve zucchini raw, but paired with the briny cheese and dressing, it really sings.

25. Skillet Pasta with Summer Squash, Ricotta and Basil

  • Time Commitment: 55 minutes
  • Why I Love It: <10 ingredients, vegetarian, one pan recipe

Forget all about the mayo-drenched pasta of cookouts past. Combine cherry tomatoes, thin-sliced summer squash and lots of ricotta and Pecorino Romano instead for an easy win. After all, everything looks better in a skillet.

26. Classic Three-Bean Salad

  • Time Commitment: 10 minutes (+ chilling time)
  • Why I Love It: ready in <15 minutes, no cook

A ten-minute salad that gets better as it sits in the fridge? Sign me up. (OK, technically there are four beans, but what’s cracking open one more can?)

27. Apple, Grape and Pecan Pasta Salad

  • Time Commitment: 25 minutes
  • Why I Love It: ready in <30 minutes, <10 ingredients, vegetarian

July Fourth parties deserve top-notch sides. You don’t have to ditch the classic macaroni salad, but I’m totally in favor of serving this fruit-laden upgrade alongside it.

28. Mediterranean-Style Grilled Zucchini Salad

  • Time Commitment: 15 minutes
  • Why I Love It: ready in <30 minutes, <10 ingredients, gluten free

I know it’s an extra step, but trust me—throwing your vegetables on the grill or an indoor griddle to get them nice and charred is totally worth it.

29. ‘Everything’ Roasted Asparagus

  • Time Commitment: 12 minutes
  • Why I Love It: ready in <15 minutes, <10 ingredients, dairy free, gluten free, vegetarian

Grab that Trader Joe’s everything bagel seasoning—it brings all the flavor to this super-quick roasted asparagus side. (When the produce is at its finest, simplicity is the way to go.)

30. Garlic Fingerling Potatoes

  • Time Commitment: 25 minutes
  • Why I Love It: ready in <30 minutes, <10 ingredients, less than 500 calories

Presenting an elegant alternative to French fries, if your backyard bash is more “pinkies out” than “flag tee casual.” Wait until you taste the accompanying jalapeño green tahini sauce.

31. 20-Minute Burrata Salad with Stone Fruit and Asparagus

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes
  • Why I Love It: ready in <30 minutes, crowd-pleaser, special occasion–worthy

It’s practically no-cook, feeds a crowd and won’t wilt when you set it out in the summer heat. That’s what I call a triple threat.

32. Rainbow Vegetable Skewers

  • Time Commitment: 55 minutes
  • Why I Love It: kid-friendly, vegetarian, crowd-pleaser

Not only does cooking one ingredient per skewer mean that everything is grilled to perfection, but they’ll also look great when you inevitably post them on the ’Gram.

33. Pink and Purple Potato Salad

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes
  • Why I Love It: gluten free, vegan, make ahead

Of course this dish would be just as tasty with yellow spuds, but don’t those colors look gorgeous? Bonus: The vinegar-based dressing will hold up in the summer heat.

34. Grilled Peach and Halloumi Salad with Lemon-Pesto Dressing

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why I Love It: special occasion–worthy, vegetarian, gluten free

Smoky, sweet and oh-so-pretty. Spread it out on a big platter and it’ll wow everyone at your party, thanks to juicy peaches and just-squeaky-enough halloumi.

35. Grilled Corn with Spicy Aioli

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why I Love It: <10 ingredients, gluten free, crowd-pleaser

The days of boiling corn on the cob are over. Give this summer staple an easy and absolutely delicious upgrade with a quick trip to the grill and a creamy sauce.

36. Mexican Street Corn Deviled Eggs

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes
  • Why I Love It: crowd-pleaser, low carb, low sugar, keto

Regular deviled eggs are fiiine, but they’re a million times tastier when topped with a mix of corn and cotija cheese. Best of all, you can whip these cuties up in under an hour.

37. Spicy BBQ Chickpea and Crispy Polenta Bowls with Asparagus and Ranch Hummus

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why I Love It: vegetarian, ready in <30 minutes

Who says meat eaters get to have all the barbecue fun? You’ll want to make a double batch of that ranch hummus, because it’s going to disappear fast.

38. Watermelon Jicama Salad with Cotija, Cumin and Lime

  • Time Commitment: 15 minutes
  • Why I Love It: no cook, vegetarian, gluten free, ready in <30 minutes

Watermelon and feta? I think we can switch things up with our 4th of July side dishes. To really impress guests, try this crunchy, flavor-packed take on the salty-sweet combo instead.

39. Asparagus and Arugula Pasta Salad

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes
  • Why I Love It: ready in <30 minutes, crowd-pleaser

This one’s super easy to prep in advance, and with all those green vegetables, it’s a pasta salad that’s practically good for you.

40. Crockpot Bacon-Bourbon Baked Beans

  • Time Commitment: 13 hours
  • Why I Love It: crowd-pleaser, slow cooker recipe, beginner-friendly, make ahead

There’s a little bit of extra work the night before—ahem, letting the beans soak overnight—but the extra effort is worth it. (Oh, and when you serve it, don’t forget the buttermilk skillet cornbread.)

41. Greek Wedge Salad

  • Time Commitment: 15 minutes
  • Why I Love It: no cook, less than 500 calories, gluten free, vegetarian

The tangy homemade vinaigrette dressing and fresh toppings make for a pretty darn satisfying alternative to the traditional salad.

42. Parmesan Zucchini and Corn

  • Time Commitment: 10 minutes
  • Why I Love It: ready in <15 minutes, beginner-friendly, vegetarian, gluten free

Aka the tastiest way to use up your farmers market haul. Oh, and did I mention that it only takes ten minutes to toss together? Easy-peasy.

43. Cantaloupe and Mozzarella Caprese Salad

  • Time Commitment: 10 minutes
  • Why I Love It: ready in <15 minutes, no cook, gluten free

This sweet-and-savory dish may look fancy, but it’s actually super easy to make. If you don’t have a melon baller, just slice the cantaloupe into cubes and call it a day.

44. Jalapeño-Avocado Mac and Cheese

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why I Love It: <10 ingredients, beginner-friendly, high protein

Spicy jalapeños, creamy avocado and al dente pasta: These are a few of my favorite things. It doesn’t taste like it, but this mac comes together with less than ten ingredients total.

45. Cowboy Caviar Quinoa

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why I Love It: crowd-pleaser, make ahead

Make it ahead of time (just add the avocado right before serving) so you can focus your attention on the important things, like those burgers cooking away on your grill.

46. German Potato Salad

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why I Love It: make ahead, dairy free, crowd-pleaser

While the merits of a mayonnaise-based potato salad are numerous, it doesn’t play so nice with hot weather. This version is good warm or room temp, and with a tangy-sweet vinegar-based dressing, can hang at your outdoor party, no problem. (And if you’re still wondering how long can mayo sit out, it’s only about two hours.)

47. Honeydew, Feta, Jalapeño and Lime Salad

  • Time Commitment: 15 minutes
  • Why I Love It: ready in <30 minutes, no cook, <10 ingredients

Think of this refreshing side dish as the new watermelon and feta. (If you took out the feta cheese, the flavors would also make a knockout blended cocktail, just sayin’.)

48. Charred Summer Squash with Whipped Feta

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes
  • Why I Love It: low sugar, less than 500 calories, special occasion–worthy

If you happen to be growing zucchini in your garden this year, I’d bet money that you’ve already run out of ideas for that bumper crop of squash. Make this fluffy whipped feta next on the menu.

49. Green Beans with Garlicky Pistachio Vinaigrette

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes
  • Why I Love It: <10 ingredients, vegetarian, gluten free

One bite of these crispity-crunchity green beans, and you’ll never serve them hot again. The trick is blanching, which preserves their color while ensuring a tender (but never mushy) bite.

50. Grilled Watermelon-Feta Skewers

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes
  • Why I Love It: vegetarian, crowd-pleaser, gluten free

All salads should be served on sticks, don’t you think? A little time on the grill really brings out the sweet-meets-salty flavors in this side.

51. Caesar Pasta Salad

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes
  • Why I Love It: ready in <30 minutes, crowd-pleaser, low sugar

Crisp, cool, lettuce-based summer salad or creamy pasta salad? At a backyard barbecue, you shouldn’t have to choose. For a special touch, make extra dressing to serve with raw veggies.

52. Strawberry, Basil and Arugula Salad with Lots of Black Pepper

  • Time Commitment: 10 minutes
  • Why I Love It: no cook, ready in <15 minutes, vegetarian

The dressing practically makes itself—no blender or whisk needed. You could swap the strawberries for ripe peaches if you’re feeling adventurous.

53. Zesty Chargrilled Broccolini

  • Time Commitment: 10 minutes
  • Why I Love It: ready in <15 minutes, <10 ingredients, beginner-friendly

Toss the vegetables on the grill right next to those juicy ribeyes (or any other types of steak, TBH). A grating of lemon zest adds a pop of fresh flavor to the smokiness.

54. Watermelon Cucumber Salad with Feta and Honey-Lime Dressing

  • Time Commitment: 5 minutes
  • Why I Love It: crowd-pleaser, <15 minutes

Forget what I said about watermelon and feta, because this salad proves that it’s juicy, sweet, tangy and basically everything a store-bought bowl of grapes and strawberries could never be. To maximize this 4th of July side dish’s potential, make sure to pick a ripe watermelon and skip the pre-cut stuff.

55. Ranch Potato Salad

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why I Love It: vegetarian, crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly

Too many potato salads? I don’t believe there is such a thing. This one is packed with fresh herbs, so it tastes like a better version of your favorite type of salad dressing.

56. Fried Green Tomatoes

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes
  • Why I Love It: <30 minutes, vegetarian

If you’re dishing up barbecue, pairing it with fried green tomatoes is a given. They only take 20 minutes to make, which gives you plenty of time to mix up some pimento cheese for serving on the side.

57. Gochujang Butter Charred Corn with Parmesan

  • Time Commitment: 15 minutes
  • Why I Love It: <30 minutes, <10 ingredients

Rich and spicy gochujang butter is going to become your new favorite way to upgrade this classic summer side dish. If your grill is already fully occupied, you can make this in a cast iron skillet instead.

58. Potato Salad with Fried Capers Recipe

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why I Love It: special occasion–worthy, <30 minutes

With nutty fried capers and a creamy, garlicky dressing, this 4th of July side dish is tasty enough to potentially outshine your main dish. (I told you I was in it for the sides.)


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