Create a July 4th Menu Plan for a Tasty Independence Day

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If you’re hosting an Independence Day party or simply planning a festive celebration, wow your guests and family with a spectacular menu of delicious and patriotic food. Here are a few tips to help you plan out your menu.

A July 4th menu plan is all about presentation. I mean, making delicious food is pretty simple in the summer months. All you need is a grill and some fresh summer fruits. But pulling together a festive patriotic party takes a little bit of planning.

Start with the major groups of menu items: appetizers, main course, sides, desserts and beverages. If you have a large group, planning in advance will go a long way if you need to cater or outsource some items or enlist the help of family and friends.

July 4th Menu plan ideas

Create a July 4th Menu Plan

Here are some general ideas for each category. Keep in mind your guests and family’s dietary needs and restrictions. Don’t forget to include family favorites, too! Above all, feel free to keep it simple.

Red white and blue desserts are easy thanks to delicious berries and whipped cream, and the rest only takes a little bit of advanced notice. 

If you’ll be celebrating outside, choose foods that will work well in the heat or plan for ice and refrigeration needs whenever possible. Be sure to grab the free printable planner at the end of this post to keep track of your ideas!

Start with Patriotic Appetizers

Appetizers are fun because you can get creative with the red, white and blue theme. How about this festive red and blue salsa from Two Peas And Their Pod? Or serve this layered flag-inspired taco dip from Tastes Of Lizzy T with red, white and blue tortilla chips. 


These kid-friendly patriotic firecracker fruit kabobs by Mission To Save are also cute and fun to put together. Or just keep it simple with cheese, crackers, vegetables and dip.

A watermelon arugula salad like the one in my Epcot copycat recipe would also be a great starter to your celebration. 

watermelon arugula salad

Dig into July 4th Side Dishes

What outdoor picnic or BBQ would be complete without a side dish of baked beans? Try this yummy baked beans recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything. Consider cold pasta salads (without mayo, just to be on the safe side) like this antipasto pasta salad from Yellow Bliss Road that you can make ahead and refrigerate overnight.


It’s always easy to prepare a simple traditional pea salad, too. If you’re grilling, throw on some corn on the cob or even some roasted veggies, like zucchini.

Celebrate your Independence with these Main Course Ideas

Take advantage of the summer weather and grill up some delicious main offerings, like burgers and hot dogs. You can get fancy and do skewered meats, too, like these Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs by Dinner At The Zoo, or these Balsamic Beef Kabobs from Joyful Healthy Eats.


If you love BBQ chicken, Simply Recipes shows you how to grill it to perfection.

Freedom to Enjoy Dessert

Ah! Here’s the place to get creative with 4th of July themed food. Strawberries and blueberries are in season and are perfect for creating red, white, and blue desserts.


For a wow factor, try this easy no bake trifle from Natasha’’s Kitchen. Or, how about these make-ahead refreshing patriotic popsicles from The Little Kitchen. 


Tidy Mom shows you how to make these spirited red, white, and blue cupcakes. And don’t forget my easy no-bake mixed berry pound cake that can be put together in 10 minutes!

No Bake Mixed Berry Pound Cake Recipe

Oh Say Can You See How Cute these July 4th Drinks Are?

Classic lemonade is always a favorite choice for a summer beverage. For a naturally sweetened beverage, try this Star Spangled Fruit Infused Water by  The View From Great Island. Not only will it keep your guests hydrated, it’s visually stunning to look at.


If your adults guests like beer, make sure you have an American brand on hand to keep the celebration on point! For your friends who enjoy wine, consider this patriotic wine slushie from A Turtle’s Life For Me.


It’s always a great idea to have some cold bottled water or sparkling water on hand, too.

Free Printable July 4th Menu Plan Worksheet

Have fun planning your menu and getting creative with the Independence Day theme. Feel free to print out this fun and festive 4th of July menu plan worksheet to jot down your ideas and make a shopping list. July 4th Menu Printable

You can take it further by showing off all your delicious food with red and blue plates, cups and napkins. Decorate your tables with patriotic tablecloths and centerpieces.

Don’t forget the sparklers to end the day on a festive note and to celebrate the occasion! Happy Independence Day!

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About Andrea Updyke

Andrea Updyke is a married mom of two boys living in Raleigh, NC. She is a published author and blogger of more than 18 years and loves to celebrate the little things that make life awesome.

Whether she's sharing tasty recipes, traveling or hanging with the family, Andrea's goal is to help make your days a little easier and a lot more fun! Email inquiries to

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