July 4th Picnic Recipes

Packed cooler
Start your 4th of July picnic by packing a basket full of these light and fresh recipes. With salads, sides, dips, and desserts, these easy picnic food ideas are sure to please for a casual, patriotic gathering.

Patriotic Candy Bark

Dress up your all-American picnic with a cheery red, white, and blue dessert. This colorful candy bark comes together with only six ingredients and is the perfect end to a festive Fourth of July picnic.

Cilantro-Cucumber-Melon Salad

Make use of fresh seasonal produce with this stunning salad. Sophisticated palates at your 4th of July picnic will thank you for this summertime staple featuring peppery arugula, cool cucumber, honeydew melon, cilantro, and feta cheese.

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Strawberry Hand Pies

When it comes to 4th of July dessert recipes, who doesn't love a slice of fresh, juicy pie? Take the hassle out of serving the crowd-pleasing dessert by making individual hand pies instead.

Greek Pasta Salad

Fresh seasonal vegetables go into this picnic-ready pasta salad that only takes a half-hour to put together. Pack the crumbled feta cheese in a separate container so July 4th picnickers can add as much (or as little) as they'd like.

Blondie Sticks

Food on a stick is the quintessential picnic fare since it requires no utensils or plates. Soft and chewy bars dipped in melted chocolate and nuts are a perfect 4th of July dessert (especially if you have a large crowd). Wrap each individual stick in waxed paper, then put them in a resealable bag for cooler transport.

Roasted Garlic and Bean Dip

Easy to make and easy to tote, this roasted garlic and bean dip will be the first to disappear at your July 4th picnic. Serve it with fresh veggie dippers such as broccoli, cauliflower, sweet pepper strips, and more.

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Safe-to-Eat Monster Cookie Dough

Looking for a unique 4th of July picnic food? Try safe-to-eat raw cookie dough. The sticky treat is served like ice cream but without the mess of melting.

French Chopped Salad

This easy summer salad takes less than 25 minutes from start to finish, so you can easily make it for a last-minute 4th of July picnic. Fresh veggies add a satisfying crunch that pairs nicely with hard-cooked eggs and fingerling potatoes.

Quick Pickle Ribbons

Thinly sliced veggies, such as carrots, onions, and cucumbers, offer a healthier homemade take on store-bought pickles. Plus, this grab-and-go jar is perfect for passing around at a July 4th picnic.

Smoky Pineapple Guacamole

Take this chip-dipping favorite to a new level with fruity and smoky flavors, thanks to chopped pineapple and chipotle peppers. Bonus: The avocado and pineapple are grilled before making the guacamole, allowing their flavors to shine even more.

Roasted Vegetable Pasta Salad with Walnut Pesto

A medley of summer veggies goes into this easily-shareable favorite. The recipe makes enough for 16, but if you have fewer people at your July 4th picnic, it can serve as a main dish.

A bit of overnight preparation can help you make tasty pasta salad. We'€™ve got a tip that infuses the pasta with lots of delicious flavors.

Watch: How to Make Pasta Salad

No one wants a dry pasta salad at their 4th of July picnic. Learn our easy, two-ingredient secret for boosting the flavor and texture of any pasta salad.

Creamy BLT Coleslaw

You can never have too much bacon. Load up this creamy coleslaw with four crisped and crumbled slices, along with carrots, cherry tomatoes, and green onions.

Editor's Tip: Once you remove the coleslaw from the cooler, serve within two hours and discard any leftovers. At the picnic site, keep the dish out of the sun so it doesn't spoil.

Red, White, and Blue Doughnut Shortcakes

Grilled doughnuts topped with seasonal berries and whipped topping make for a deliciously easy 4th of July treat. If there's a grill at your picnic site, use it to heat up your doughnuts—if not, the dessert will still be tasty without the grill marks!

Corn and Roasted Pepper Relish

Three varieties of peppers (sweet, poblano, and jalapeno) go into this deliciously crunchy relish that's perfect for a July 4th picnic. It transports well and goes great with tortilla chips, but it can also be spread on sandwiches or topped on hot dogs.

Coconut Panna Cotta with Tropical Fruit

Sample the tropics with this island-inspired 4th of July dessert recipe. For easy transport, pack the panna cotta in glasses with plastic wrap secured on top with rubber bands. Situate in a bed of ice in a cooler, and toss the plastic wrap before serving.

Garden Sliders

Veggie-friendly variations on slider sandwiches are the perfect choice for a 4th of July appetizer. Make the bean spread a few days ahead, and prep the veggies the night before. Then let everyone stack their own sandwiches on-site.

Watermelon Salad

Keep your 4th of July picnic ideas simple by sticking to crowd favorites, like juicy watermelon. This festive fruit salad makes for a great 4th of July dessert. Mix chopped fruit, such as peeled peaches, nectarines, pears, and grapes, with watermelon juice and gelatin for a refreshingly sweet treat.

Apple Crunch Mix

Five minutes is all it takes to throw together this healthy snack mix. The tasty combination features cinnamon-flavor oat square cereal, baked apple pieces, pistachio nuts, and golden raisins.

Basil-Tomato Salad

This ready-in-30-minutes salad is a good picnic food idea because the ingredients are mixed in a large, portable Mason jar. Keep the dressing in a separate jar, and add it when you're ready to eat the salad.

Red Potato Salad with Mustard Dressing

Try our cup-size variation on this July 4th picnic classic. Coarsely chop the potatoes and vegetables, and then toss with salad greens, tomatoes, and mustard dressing. Serve the salad in individual cups with the dressing on the side so it doesn't get soggy during transport.

Watermelon-Berry Lemonade

Classic summer lemonade gets a new twist with watermelon and strawberries. Plan accordingly, because you'll want at least 8 hours of chill time to allow the additions to flavor the lemonade.

Prize Caramel Apple Bars

Caramel apples are an all-American treat, but they're too messy to make good picnic fare. Instead try these caramel apple bars. Brown sugar, peanut butter, and salted peanuts add to the flavor of this crunchy and chewy dessert—perfect for a 4th of July picnic.

Chunky Tomato Salsa

Skip the store-bought salsa for this flavorful homemade version with fresh ingredients. Pack it in a Mason jar as an easy snack, and don't forget the chips!

Classic Double-Chocolate Chip Cookies

Finish a 4th of July picnic with a batch of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. Our recipe has a twist on the classic with secret ingredients: brown sugar, ground cinnamon, and pecans.

Easy Picnic-Packing Tips

Get the most out of your cooler space with these picnic-packing tips:

  • Let cooked items cool completely before packing them away, especially if you're reheating them and assembling multi-ingredient recipes at the picnic.
  • Pack each item separately in stackable containers to maximize space.
  • For items that don't take up a lot of room, use resealable plastic bags.
  • Keep raw meats away from other foods in the cooler to reduce risk of contamination.
  • Pack in layers: Put the heaviest items on the bottom and the lightest and smallest items on the top. Leave space for drinks, and after each layer add some ice to the cooler.
  • If you have more than one cooler, use a separate cooler for drinks.

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