4th of july

72 Best 4th of July Side Dishes for Your Cookout

updated Jun 26, 2024
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overhead shot of a mixed up and dressed broccoli salad, with some missing out of the left side of the bowl and a wooden spoon resting in the bowl.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: James Park

I firmly believe a good 4th of July meal is as much about all the summery sides that fill up the plate as it is about the grilled burgers and grilled hot dogs. Whether you’re having a big backyard cookout or keeping things small, your outdoor feast is worthy of the all the best side dishes that you can possibly handle⁠—just don’t forget the dessert!

When it comes to side dishes to round out the meal, there are so many delicious options to choose from. If you have it, take advantage of the grill by tossing on corn on the cob. Plus you can never go wrong with the classics like a bowl of potato salad, pasta salad, or creamy coleslaw. Here are 72 of our favorite 4th of July side dishes to serve with whatever you’re cooking up.

4th of July Classic Side Dishes

From classic potato salad and broccoli salad to grilled corn on the cob, these classic side dishes are a must at your 4th of July cookout!

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Classic Potato Salad

Master the classic cookout side dish, potato salad, made with tender red-skinned potatoes, briny pickles, crunchy celery, and hard-boiled eggs.

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Broccoli Salad

This is a classic bbq side! Broccoli is a great base for a make-ahead summer side dish because it holds up well to dressing without sacrificing crunch.

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Easy Pasta Salad

This easy pasta salad is one we think you should know by heart. It's a summer cookout staple.

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Grilled Corn on the Cob

Learn two simple methods for grilling fresh corn on the cob – with husks and without husks – for your big 4th of July summer cookout.

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Cucumber Salad

This five-ingredient salad is the refreshing cucumber side you’re going to want at every barbecue and picnic. It’s bright and tangy, with just enough sweetness to keep the acidity in check.

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Tomato Salad

This simple salad — made with thinly sliced red onions, fresh herbs, and a drizzle of oil and vinegar — lets juicy summer tomatoes shine.

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Coleslaw

Coleslaw is the ultimate summer side dish. It goes with everything because it serves multiple purposes. It can be a salad, a side, and a topping (think: fried chicken sandwiches!).

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Three-Bean Salad

Summer is the time for potlucks and picnics so there’s lots of seasonal sides to choose from. This classic summer side is made with a trio of beans and crunchy celery tossed in a tangy dressing.

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Vegetarian Baked Beans

Sweet and smoky baked beans, just without the bacon! It’s simple to turn humble canned beans into the classic potluck side dish.

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Avocado-Corn Salad

Fresh sweet corn, creamy avocado, and juicy tomatoes shine in this flavorful summer side dish.

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Watermelon Feta Salad

This zesty, sweet and savory watermelon salad has all the delightful, crunchy elements of a perfect summer side. It’s crunchy, juicy, sweet, salty, and perfectly balanced.

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Caprese Salad

Our easy caprese salad recipe features summer tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, fragrant basil, a drizzle of olive oil, and a spoonful of balsamic glaze.

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Bacon BBQ Baked Beans

Smoky bacon, a handful of pantry spices, and barbecue sauce go a long way in transforming an ordinary can of beans.

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Pasta Salads and Macaroni Salads

The best part about these pasta salad sides is that they can be made in advance.

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Classic Macaroni Salad

This classic macaroni salad is perfect for picnics and potlucks. It’s an all-in-one side dish made of cool and creamy noodles tossed with punchy quick-pickled veggies, fresh herbs, and gems of sharp cheddar cheese.

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Dill Pickle Pasta Salad

Everything about this dill pickle pasta salad is fast, easy, and flavorful. The noodles are even soaked in pickle brine before being tossed with the mayo and sour cream-based dressing to amp up the tangy pickle flavor. It’s a batch big enough to feed a hungry crowd at your next bbq.

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Pesto Pasta Salad

Nothing says summer like tendrils of pasta, fresh mozzarella pearls, juicy tomatoes, and crunchy cucumber dressed in a basil pesto sauce.

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Hawaiian Plate Lunch Mac Salad

This Hawaiian-style mac salad is creamy, with just the right amount of tang (thanks to pickle juice and apple cider vinegar!).

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BLT Pasta Salad

This pasta salad takes everything you love about that classic BLT sandwich, then folds it into a summery side that's sure to be a hit at your next potluck.

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Ranch Pasta Salad

This creamy ranch pasta salad is packed with veggies and texture, but still delivers classic creamy macaroni salad vibes.

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Orzo Salad

An easy orzo pasta salad filled with Mediterranean flavors like roasted red peppers, olives, crunchy cucumbers, and feta cheese.

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French Onion Dip Pasta Salad

This easy pasta salad utilizes one of my favorite pantry shortcuts: onion soup mix. What can’t that soup packet do?

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Grilled Zucchini Pasta Salad with Burst Cherry Tomatoes

At your next cookout, use the grill (it’s already fired up for the main event!) and char skewers of sweet cherry tomatoes and slabs of zucchini. With the tomatoes ready to burst and the zucchini grill-marked and tender, toss with a store-bought Parmesan and garlic vinaigrette and al dente pasta.

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Tortellini Salad with Marinated Artichokes and Feta

Cheesy tortellini pockets are tossed with marinated artichokes, fresh veggies, feta cheese, briny olives, and a bright lemon vinaigrette.

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Broccoli and Feta Pasta Salad

This reader favorite has a mere handful of ingredients, but they’re winners — feta, olives, snap-tender broccoli, and colorful pasta. This is the easy pasta salad you need at your next cookout..

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Instant Pot Macaroni Salad

This Instant Pot pasta salad is ready in just 15 minutes. As the pasta cooks, you’ll use a jar of pickled giardiniera to make the dressing and easily work in some veggies.

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Sweet Summer Corn Sides

From creamed corn and corn salad to scalloped corn, it’s nearly impossible to think about a 4th of July meal without a sweet corn side dish on the table.

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Creamed Corn

Sweet corn kernels (you can use either white or yellow corn) simmered in butter and heavy cream is better than anything from a can.

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Fresh Corn Salad with Tomato, Basil, and Feta

This fresh corn salad is mixed with juicy tomatoes, sweet basil, and salty feta for a simple, refreshing salad that tastes like summer.

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Elote (Mexican Street Corn)

Don't let the season pass without making elote (a.k.a. Mexican street corn), a glorious mess of crema, mayonnaise, and cotija cheese. Any chili powder will work well in this recipe, but don’t be afraid to experiment with Tajín Clásico, too.

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Maque Choux

A warm sauté of fresh corn, peppers, and onion enriched with heavy cream and topped with crispy bacon. If only all veggies could taste like this.

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Fresh Corn Salsa with Lime and Cilantro

A sweet celebration of peak summer corn. Serve it with grilled chicken and classic guacamole with tortilla chips.

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Fried Corn Recipe

This classic Southern side dish can be made with olive oil instead of bacon grease if you’d prefer to keep it vegetarian. It’s reminiscent of creamed corn, minus the cream and the can.

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Charred Corn and Halloumi Salad

From the sweet corn, salty halloumi cheese, and jammy pickled Peppadew peppers, this easy salad is a trifecta of flavors.

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Butter Bath Corn

There are plenty of ways to cook corn on the cob, but butter bath corn will be your favorite. Cooking ears of fresh corn in a pot of boiling water seasoned with milk, butter, and salt infuses every single kernel with sweet, buttery flavor.

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Scalloped Corn

This tasty side dish is so easy, it only requires frozen corn and a handful of basic ingredients. You'll combine corn kernels with half-and-half, eggs, minced onion, salt, sugar, and crushed buttery crackers; top it with more buttery cracker crumbs; and bake it until warm and creamy on the inside and golden brown on the outside.

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Succotash

A big platter of succotash is a celebration of all the vibrant vegetables coming into season: sweet corn, baby lima beans, ripe red tomatoes, and tender okra.

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Esquites Recipe (Mexican Corn Salad)

Corn kernels layered with Mexican crema, crumbly cotija cheese, butter, and Tajín Clasico or chile-lime seasoning. It has all the sweet, fresh corn flavor you want in snackable form.

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Grilled Corn with Vietnamese Scallion Oil

A sweet, umami-rich oil made with green scallions, sugar, and fish sauce bathes grilled corn in this summery side dish.

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Potato Salads

Potato salad is a summer side dish essential! Not only does it pair well with just about anything you cook, but there are also so many variations.

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Lemony Greek Potato Salad

Inspired by Greek lemon potatoes, this easy potato salad is packed with bright, tangy flavors. Toss Yukon Gold potatoes with a tangy lemon and garlic dressing, a generous shower of fresh herbs, and crumbled feta cheese, and you’ve got a winning side dish that’s perfect for summer cookouts.

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Buttermilk Ranch Potato Salad

This recipe blends the delicious comforts of traditional potato salad with another American favorite: ranch dressing.

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Loaded Potato Salad

This recipe captures the flavors you love in a loaded baked potato and transforms them into the perfect summer side dish. It's loaded with crispy bacon, cheese, green onion, and a sour cream-mayo dressing.

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Titi Nancy’s Potato Salad

This hearty and satisfying potato salad is a great side dish for a summer cookout. It's made with russet potatoes, bell peppers, mayonnaise, egg, onion, and parsley.

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BLT Potato Salad

This summer salad marries the BLT with an easy potato salad to become one of those recipes that everyone at the BBQ will ask you for.

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Buffalo Potato Salad

This spicy potato salad with buffalo sauce and blue cheese takes the summer cookout staple to a whole new level.

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Potato Salad with Yogurt, Arugula, and Dill

A fresh and simple potato salad with fresh dill, creamy yogurt, and peppery arugula.

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Crispy Sheet Pan Potato Salad

Crispy smashed potatoes tossed with peppery arugula, bacon, red onions, and a whole grain mustard vinaigrette.

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Instant Pot Potato Salad

This basic potato salad has just 5-ingredients and can be served warm or chilled. You’ll use the Instant Pot to cook red potatoes to tenderness in just a few minutes, then season them with a super-simple four-ingredient dressing.

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Classic German Potato Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing

Baby red potatoes, chewy bacon, and lots of fresh herbs are tossed in a warm bacon dressing for a flavorful, potluck-ready potato salad.

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French-Inspired Potato Salad

An easy recipe for a mayo-free potato salad that's light and tangy thanks to Dijon mustard and fresh herbs. If you’re a fan of German potato salad, this one is similar — but we’ve lost the bacon to make it lighter (and veg-friendly).

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Italian Potato Salad

This mayo-free potato salad is made extra colorful thanks to green beans, cherry tomatoes, and lots of fresh herbs.

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Crunchy Slaws

Whether you’re cooking up burgers, ribs, or grilled chicken, there is definitely a place on your plate for a crunchy pile of slaw.

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Creamy 3-Ingredient Cilantro-Lime Slaw

This creamy, BBQ-ready cilantro slaw can be made at a moment's notice, and does not skimp on flavor. The slaw works as a simple side dish you can pull together in just minutes for cookouts, potlucks, and picnics, or as a topping on tacos, sandwiches, or pulled pork.

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Apple-Bacon Slaw

This easy slaw of crispy bacon, crunchy cabbage, and sweet apples is the perfect side to any BBQ.

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Cabbage and Apple Slaw with Honey-Lime Dressing

Great slaw can upstage salad whenever it gets a chance. This one, full of sweet and crisp apples and dressed with honey and lime, is familiar, but not run-of-the-mill. It pairs with everything from grilled chicken to fish tacos.

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Honey-Mustard Almond and Dried Cherry Kale Slaw

An easy slaw using shredded cruciferous vegetables, almonds, and dried cherries in a tangy honey-mustard dressing.

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Tangy Cabbage and Jalapeño Slaw

Take this tangy, spicy red cabbage slaw once and you’ll want to bring it to every potluck you ever attend.

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Cilantro Lime Coleslaw

Classic tricolor slaw updated with fresh cilantro and a punchy lime-mayonnaise dressing.

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Taco Slaw

A simple recipe for red cabbage and carrot coleslaw that's tossed in a spicy and creamy dressing — perfect for serving alongside tacos or carne asada.

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No-Mayo Coleslaw

This vinegar-based, entirely dairy-free coleslaw is the perfect summertime side. It’s cold and refreshing, and a lovely way to break up the richness from barbecued meats, mayo-based potato salads, and sweet and savory baked beans.

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Ginger Cabbage Slaw

Whip up this quick & simple slaw for your favorite burger or with grilled chicken.

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Broccoli Slaw

As a salad base, julienned broccoli stems and other crunchy vegetables stand up to creamy dressings like a dream and stay firm for days. Consider broccoli slaw as an alternative to coleslaw and enjoy it with grilled steak or grilled chicken.

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Tangy Carrot Slaw

A recipe for easy carrot slaw tossed with a tangy Dijon mustard dressing.

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Cilantro-Jalapeño Jicama Slaw

Slaws don’t have to be made just of cabbage — there are so many other delicious crunchy vegetables out there! Refreshing jicama and beautiful red cabbage get tossed together with tangy lime juice, spicy jalapeños, and cilantro for a great slaw to serve with grilled steak tacos or carne asada.

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Cucumber Salads

It’s hard to beat a cool, refreshing cucumber salad on a hot summer day. These salads are all incredibly easy to pull off with just a few ingredients.

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Sour Cream and Dill Cucumber Salad

An easy, potluck-friendly recipe for classic cucumber dill salad tossed in a tangy sour cream dressing. It pairs well with whatever’s on the grill — burgers, hot dogs, chicken, or steak — and we guarantee your family and friends will ask you for the recipe.

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Tangy Pickled Cucumber Salad

A light, fresh salad of quick-pickled cucumbers and chopped fresh chives that's perfect for your 4th of July summer cookout.

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Cucumber Caprese Salad

A simple twist on classic caprese salad that adds cool, crisp cucumbers to the equation.

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Buttermilk Cucumber Salad

This refreshing rendition of the classic creamy cucumber salad still has all the zip and crunch, but incorporates elements from raita and creamy tzatziki, other cooling cucumber-and-dairy dishes.

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Smashed Cucumber and Feta Salad

The smashed feta cheese dressing is light, creamy, and what totally makes this super refreshing cucumber salad.

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Pineapple-Cucumber Salad

A quick and refreshing salad featuring chunks of juicy pineapple and crunchy cucumber, all tossed in a chili-lime dressing.

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Salt and Vinegar Cucumbers

When you’re in need of something crisp and refreshing alongside whatever you’re serving — be it grilled chicken or grilled steak — let this be your go-to dish.

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Creamy Cucumber Salad with Dill

The best cucumber salad is made with crisp slices of cucumber tangled with mellow, sweet red onion and wisps of fresh dill, and blanketed with a tangy, creamy dressing.

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Japanese-Inspired Cucumber Salad

This summery cucumber salad, inspired by sunomono, is crunchy, refreshing, and swimming in delicate umami notes. A mix of fresh mint, scallion greens, and cilantro gives this salad its fresh summer feel.

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Cucumber-Onion Salad

When you need a refreshing, easy side, look no further than this cucumber salad, which is crunchy and pairs well with any summer food.

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Tangy Cucumber Avocado Salad

Crisp, refreshing cucumbers and creamy, buttery avocado are tossed with cilantro vinaigrette and quick-picked red onion in this vibrant summer salad.

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