12 Easy Recipes for a Last Minute 4th of July Party

Last minute invite to a 4th of July party? We've got you covered. Here are 12 recipes that can be quickly made and whisked to the cookout!

When the 4th of July rolls around, it’s almost guaranteed you’ll be invited somewhere — potentially at the last minute as plans come together. Or maybe you’ll be the one inviting people over the night before the barbecue!

Either way, you might not have a ton of time to prepare something to bring with you—but that’s where these recipes help.

Most of them are pretty quick—or at least easy and hands off, like the Banana Sheet Cake. Some of them you can make ahead if you have at least a little bit of forewarning, such as the Pasta and Bean Picnic Salad, the Gazpacho, and the Swiss Chard Tzatziki.

My advice? Whatever you do, make some fresh lemonade! People often forget about what people at their party will be drinking, and if it’s especially hot, folks will be especially grateful.

Radicchio Salad

Ever try grilling radicchio? You need so little to make this taste so good—just some olive oil, salt and pepper, and a bit of grated Pecorino.

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Stuffed Jalapenos

For those who love spicy heat, these jalapenos are a must. The recipe has two options for fillings—a simple cream cheese filling, or bacon and Monterey jack cheese! (And if you have a little extra time, try these BBQ Bacon Jalapeno Poppers. They take a little more time to assemble, but are so very good.)

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Margarita Recipe with Blueberries serve

Make up a batch ahead of time, let it chill, and you’re ready to serve a crowd. (Or try these Watermelon Margaritas!)

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Banana Cake (Banana Sheet Cake)

Sheet cakes are so great for large gatherings—it’s all in one pan so it’s easy to transport. A cream cheese frosting seals the deal. Make the cake the night before or the morning of your cookout if you have time so the cake has a chance to cool before you frost it.

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Ceviche with Avocado and Grilled Corn

Ceviche is the perfect no-cook dish—the fish is “cooked” in lime juice and then gets tossed with grilled corn, avocado, and cilantro, and served with tortilla chips.

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Chilled tomato soup just screams of summertime. Use any early season tomatoes you’ve got.

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Overhead shot of magic cookie bars ready to eat

Ah, magic bars. Cutting them into small squares means one batch goes a long way! And really, these are so concentrated in flavor and sweetness that a bite or two is all you need.

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Pasta Bean Picnic Salad

There’s no mayo in this pasta salad! Canned beans speed up the process—prep the veggies and whisk up the vinaigrette while the pasta cooks.

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People often bring food to a party and forget about this easy and memorable idea: a cool, refreshing pitcher of lemonade!

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Cucumber Mint Feta Salad

Thin-skinned cukes get sliced thinly and tossed with radishes, mint and feta, along with a white wine vinaigrette. This is a crisp, refreshing side dish to serve on a hot day.

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Swiss Chard Tzatziki

It is hard to go wrong with anything cucumber related in the summer time. You can serve this with pita chips or a veggie platter of sliced carrots, celery, or radishes. Or slather it on your burger!

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Berries and Banana Fruit Salad

The colors in this salad look patriotic, and tossing the fruits with honey and lemon juice make it feel like more than just a simple fruit salad. The lemon juice also helps prevent the bananas from browning.

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Carrie Havranek

Carrie Havranek is a former Associate Editor of Simply Recipes and the author of the cookbook Tasting Pennsylvania (2019). She lives in Easton, Pennsylvania and goes out of her way for farmers' markets, new ingredients, yoga, and walks in nature.

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No Image12 Easy Recipes for a Last Minute 4th of July Party

  1. Christy

    Some really GREAT ideas! Love the variety of recipes to pick from.

  2. Patricia

    You are darling to send these last minute recipes. Happy 4th to you and yours.
    Patricia Cahill