By Marni Fogelson

Published on June 25, 2018

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Photography by weelicious
Celebrating independence and freedom never goes out of style, and neither does honoring the occasion with delicious drinks and dishes. Of course, we’ve got your July 4th classics (coleslaw and potato salad) covered, but you’ll also find plenty of creative yet doable treats that look festive and fun without requiring you to miss any of the day’s holiday activities. Fire up the grill, raid the farmer’s market for the best seasonal produce, and choose one (or several) of these tasty and time-maximizing treats, which are best enjoyed with friends and family.

Fruit Wands

Hand these over to kiddos before they see all the other goodies in the dessert spread to get some fruit in their bellies before they begin the sugar parade. We’d keep them icy cold in the fridge until just before serving.

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Photography by chelsea’s messy apron

Patriotic Flag Bark

Whether you bring this bark as a hostess gift or make a bunch for the dessert table, one thing is for sure: it will get snapped up in a second. We love the swirling, colorful “fireworks” in every bite.

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Photography by foodness gracious

Herbed Red Potato Salad

It’s a 4th of July rule that potato salad must be served so we had to include one recipe. This hearty version relies on plenty of chopped herbs, lemon juice, and Dijon mustard for a fresh and tangy take.

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Photography by i heart nap time

Red, White, and Blue Rice Krispie Treats

As far as all-American desserts go, rice crispies treats top the list of perennial favorites (at least for kids). These decorated treats get a festive makeover, thanks to the perfect addition of the M&Ms on top.

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Photography by PARKER FEIERBACH

Coleslaw

Coleslaw is another 4th of July must-have, and the staple ingredients (shredded cabbage and carrots, mayo, Dijon mustard, and a little grated onion) are just enough to complement your other dishes tastefully without overpowering them). Make this recipe the day of your party to keep the coleslaw crisp and flavorful.

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Photography by ALYSA BAJENARU

Fresh Fruit Cones

These portable fresh fruit cones look so elegant and appetizing and are much more sanitary than a communal fruit bowl. They look a little like the cones of sugared nuts you might buy at a ballgame but are much healthier.

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Photography by THE ENDLESS MEAL

Hawaiian Hot Dogs

These aren’t your everyday hot dogs. Topped with a teriyaki mayo, sprinkled with onions and jalapenos, this barbecue basic get a sweet and juicy flavor from grilled pineapple.

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Photography by DIETHOOD

Grilled Coconut Lime Shrimp and Veggies

Maybe it’s our suppressed inner camper, but we love the idea of these meal-in-a-foil-packet dishes. These grilled and marinated shrimp and summer veggies would be the envy around any campfire, and yet just as appropriate at a more well-heeled get together.

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Photography by FBCDN-SPHOTOS-F-A.AKAMAIHD.NET

Fireworks Cookies

These pretty cookies are made using a daisy cookie cutter. Try your hand at some fireworks decorations or just ice them in patriotic colors.

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Photography by EARTH BALANCE

Grilled Stuffed Avocado

There are not enough grilled avocado dishes in the world. This basic version, stuffed with corn and red peppers, begs for any number of modifications, so try it topped with ceviche, filled with a grilled pineapple salsa, or even just drizzled with balsamic vinegar.

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Photography by CLOSET COOKING

Caesar Grilled Asparagus

Caesar grilled asparagus is a fun party dish-you can prepare the asparagus beforehand to keep the grill from getting crowded then top with the dressing and some flakes of parmesan when it’s time to eat.

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Photography by FAMILY CIRCLE

Fruit Kebabs

A great pick-me-up dessert or snack. Fruit kebabs are endlessly adaptable-try strawberries, red grapes, or chunks or grilled fruit to mix up the flavor possibilities.

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Photography by GO DAIRY FREE

Salad with Red Beet Stars

Red beet stars, made using a cookie cutter, adds Fourth of July flair to any salad. Simply prepare your favorite (or dump a prepackaged version into a pretty bowl) and then pop these babies on top!

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Photography by HOT FOR FOOD

Grilled Corn on the Cob with Coconut Lime Cream

Keep it simple, keep it delicious. Grilled corn on the cob (which is basically the epitome of summer) gets drizzled with a coconut lime cream for an unexpected, but highly appreciated flavor burst.

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Photography by HOMEMADE RECIPES

Patriotic Marshmallows

Another quick fix to make a summer staple into a holiday treat. Put one of these in your s’mores for an ooey, gooey filling.

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Photography by SAVORY SIMPLE

Mexican Tortilla Casserole

We make tortilla casseroles all year round-they are flavorful, comforting, and always a hit, whether we serve them for a family dinner or a group of friends. The actual cooking is pretty minimal but since there are contrasting colors and textures, the casserole looks like you slaved away for much longer in the kitchen.

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Photography by CHEZ US

Teriyaki Portabella Mushroom Kebabs

Meaty portabella mushrooms are an ideal kebab option for vegetarians and vegans. Marinating them with teriyaki sauce, grilling them with pineapple, and serving everything with rice makes them extra tasty and irresistible. We suggest making extra skewers for the veg-curious.

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Photography by GIMME SOME OVEN

Rum-Soaked Grilled Pineapple

Boozy pineapple that takes some serious heat? Sounds like a plan. The ice cream will melt from the heat of the grilled fruit, making a yummy, messy pile of goodness. 

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Photography by MARTHA STEWART

Pizza Pie

Adorable and a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. And really, who doesn’t like pizza?

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Photography by NATURALLY ELLA

Baked Black Bean Taquitos

Freeing up some space on the grill, these black bean taquitos will be snapped up at any gathering. Add additional veggies and spices to the fillings if you like, then roll them up and bake them in the oven. Serve these crunchy, smoky little numbers as slightly messy finger food or top with guacamole and salsa and add them to the buffet.

This story was originally published on June 15, 2016, it has been updated with new information.

See the recipes we’re making this summer:

40 Fun Summer Cocktails You Have to Try
16 Veggie-Friendly Recipes to Make on Meatless Monday
These Pasta Salad Recipes Will Make Your Mouth Water