Divine Dinner Party

4th of July Party Foods Ideas:
Making your Fourth of July Meal Special

Is the Fourth coming up soon, and your mind has turned to 4th of July party foods? You're in good company. Literally thousands of gatherings will occur over this holiday weekend, each with a slightly different approach to the whole affair.

Fourth of July Burger RecipeSome households go with tried-n-true picnic fare or BBQ foods like potato salad, hotdogs and hamburgers. The great thing about these items is that they're affordable and not terribly time intensive. They also get you outside grilling, which is very traditional --and a lot of fun!-- for the 4th of July.

Changing it Up. While there's no reason not to go for these traditional Fourth of July meal ideas as part of your party menu, let's consider how you might change them up a bit, so you can bring other things into your 4th of July backyard barbeque!

You can also check out 4th of July Party and Backyard BBQ Planning Headquarters!

Forth of July Hotdogs... Improved!

Sure, hotdogs are some of the most popular 4th of July party foods ever. But what can you do with hotdogs to make them really special for this special day? Considering that Americans alone eat over 20 billion hot dogs annually, there's got to be some creative ways to cook and eat them, right?

In particular, hot dog eating contests have been really popular since the early 1900s as a 4th of July activity. But with or without a contest, the best way to change up your dogs is by the toppings you put on them.

Better Toppings, Better Dogs

The most popular topping for a hot dog is by far mustard... but it doesn't have to be boring old yellow mustard. How about honey mustard, grainy Creole mustard, or horseradish mustard?

What else might you put on your dog? Some great hot dog topping ideas might include:


  • Corn relish
  • French Fried onions
  • Cole slaw
  • Salsa
  • Guacamole
  • Sauerkraut
  • Sliced pickled peppers
  • Pickle relish
  • Chopped onions
  • Crushed pineapple

Sauces and More:

  • Grated cheese (your choice)
  • Cheese Sauce
  • Chutney
  • Alfredo sauce
  • Chili (with or without beans)
  • Curry sauce
  • BBQ Sauce
  • Bacon crumbles
  • Hot sauce (like Tabasco or Sriacha)
  • Teriyaki Sauce
  • Aioli

Create a Hot Dog Toppings Bar

Summer Grilling Toppings Bar Options fourh of JulySeem like a lot of toppings for one dog? It is! But setting out all these options (and whatever else you like, including different flavors of gourmet sausages and hot dogs) and letting people create their own dogs at a "hot dog bar" is one of my very favorite 4th of July party food ideas. People have a lot of fun experimenting with different flavors, comparing, competing, and showing off their hot dog creations.

You can even turn this into a Fourth of July fun activity by making the whole thing into a Creative Hot Dog Contest!

Buying Your Dogs. Regular hot dogs make perfectly good 4th of July party food. But if you're going all out on your toppings... don't skimp on the type of hotdogs you buy! Get some good ones (along with quality buns) that will hold up under all that extra weight! Or go for some gourmet or meat-free options, and let people pick and choose!

Making July 4th Burgers Something Special

Last but not least come the most famous 4th of July party foods of them all... burgers! Want to make them special? The sky's the limit!

The first way to make your 4th of July burgers a little unique is by changing the meat you use. If you're feeling really flush, get Kobe burgers! But for those of us on a slightly less extravagant budget you can use ground chicken, ground turkey and ground pork as beef additions or alternatives.

Then you can marry some flavors with those for very tasty outcomes. Examples include:

  • Turkey burger with cranberry orange relish served on potato bread
  • Turkey burger with grilled corn relish
  • Pork burger with teriyaki sauce, green onions and a slice of fresh pineapple served on a Kaiser roll
  • Chicken burger with mango barbecue sauce and sliced sweet onion served on an egg roll
  • Chinese chicken burger with green onions and plum sauce
  • Beef burgers with bacon mix-ins, BBQ sauce, and caramelized onion

Check here to get ideas for a ton of barbeque hamburger toppings, mix-ins, and flavorings!

Gourmet Grilled Burgers for the Fourth of JulyStuffed and Flavored Patties. One fun thing to do with a hamburger is stuff it so that your cheese is on the inside instead of out! To accomplish this, you need to make thin patties. Then take whatever type of cheese you wish and put it into the center of one patty. Take another patty on top, and secure the edges of the meat. You're ready to grill.

Of course, if you want to make this Fourth of July meal idea easy on yourself, you can stick with plain, everyday hamburger patties and just vary your toppings. I love the idea of, like the hotdog bar above, offering a variety of options to your guests... a Burger Bar!

When planning your 4th of July backyard barbeque, sure to offer some veggie burger options for any vegetarians in your group, too!

Transforming Your Party Potato Salad

For your potato salad --perhaps the most flexible 4th of July party food of them all-- instead of using mayonnaise, try a vinegar and oil coating instead.

By doing this, you also give yourself some flexibility - now the salad can be served warm or cold, or even transformed into German Style potato salad by adding some bacon, sugar, chopped green onions, celery seed and mustard seed. Better still, because you have no mayo there is far less risk of food poisoning from the heat of a summer day.

Here's a great recipe for an oil-based potato salad that's just full of flavor.

Other variations on your potato salad might include adding:

More 4th of July Party Food Side Dishes

Of course, potato salad isn't the only Fourth of July meal idea you've got... you'll want to offer plenty of side dishes! While potato salad might be the most common and traditional side dish for a BBQ, some other great ideas and recipes for side dishes are:

Fantastic Fourth of July Desserts

Layer Cake Patriotic 4th of July Cake Recipe

When planning a 4th of July party food menu, you can have a lot of fun with the desserts, offering anything from a traditional all-American fruit pie, to a patriotic flag cake, to creative and unusual international dishes.

The options below cover the whole range, and they're all really wonderful for a summer picnic or BBQ... and will be the perfect ending to your 4th of July party menu.

Keeping Foods Safe

No matter your choice of 4th of July party foods, please remember to cook safely! Keep hot foods hot, keep cold foods cold, and remember not to leave food out over two hours.

Have a safe and happy 4th of July!

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You Might Also Like...

Looking for more 4th of July party foods to help you plan a fabulous Fourth of July party? I've got more! Check out:

4th of July Appetizer Recipes


Fourth of July Dessert Recipes

July 4

Coming Up...

Hippity, Hoppity,
Easter's on its Way

The date for Easter falls on April 20th this year!

Take a look at Easter Dinner and Party Planning for recipes, edd dye tips, assembling Easter baskets, and more!

And plan to make this adorable...

It's so cute, it may be the best thing you do this Easter.


Share and share alike! If you have a great dinner party idea or tip, send it in!

After all, what better way to pass on your knowledge than to share it with other hosts and hostesses?

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