Plan your best-ever Fourth of July BBQ

Treat your friends to festive food, sparkling drinks, and inventive decorations this holiday weekend with our 125+ July 4th party ideas.


Festive tabletop

This tabletop scheme provides a quick way to tap those patriotic colors with contemporary style.
> More: How to set this festive outdoor table

Star luminarias

White bags and vellum stars make festive outdoor lanterns. Use a star stencil and colored vellum to make red and blue stars. Glue them to white paper bags. For beautiful (and safe) illumination, use a small tap light instead of a candle.

Star-spangled pinwheels
These patriotic pinwheels are easy to make and fun to see spinning in the breeze on the Fourth of July. All you need are a few basic materials.
> More: How to make party pinwheels

RELATED: 6 more fun decorations for July 4


The Party Starter (Watermelon Tequila Cocktail)
This refreshing watermelon cocktail is a pure taste of summer. For a nonalcoholic version, skip the tequila and add a little water to help blend the mixture.

Yield: Serves 8
Prep time: 20 minutes; freeze for 3 hours


  • 1 seedless watermelon (about 6 lbs.)
  • 3/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 cups silver (also called blanco) tequila
  1. Cut melon into chunks and discard rind. Purée chunks in batches in a food processor. Pour mixture through a strainer into a bowl. Pour 4 cups into another bowl; whisk in lemon juice. Save any remaining watermelon juice for another use. Pour juice mixture into 4 ice cube trays* and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours or overnight.
  2. Make drinks: Whirl half the watermelon cubes in a food processor until broken up, then add 1 cup tequila and whirl until blended. Pour into a pitcher and repeat with remaining ingredients.
*A standard ice cube tray has 14 cube slots.

Prosciutto-wrapped Asparagus with Citrus Dip
You can make these hors d'oeuvres even simpler: Without their scallion ties or lemon zest, the asparagus and prosciutto still taste terrific.
> Get the recipe

Honey-Sesame Grilled Chicken Wings

Sticky sweet replaces blazing buffalo with these tasty wings. Serve them as finger food at your party.
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Herb-rubbed Baby Back Ribs

These are the ribs for summer. The black pepper in the rub picks up on the black-pepper notes in Zinfandel. (Be sure to have plenty of bottles on hand!)
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Garlic Smashed-Potato Salad

This chunky potato salad is a cool summer version of everybody's favorite garlic mashed potatoes.
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Warm Bacon and Herb Coleslaw

Add a savory twist to the classic summer side dish: a warm bacon dressing.
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Old Glory Cherry-Blueberry Pie

For the perfect holiday dessert, we give you a summery pie with a patriotic topper.
> Get the recipe


9 more recipes for a mix-and-match July 4 party menu
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