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Sharing my 4th of July party menu, along with some easy entertaining tips and tricks, to make your patriotic gathering the best ever. Talking about everything from cocktails, to appetizers, to main courses, to sides, and of course desserts. This menu has something for everyone!

Blackberry Lavender Naked Cake with White Chocolate Buttercream | halfbakedharvest.com #summerrecipes #layercake #blueberries

Happy Friday before 4th of July week! I decided I would do something a little different today. Instead of sharing a recipe, I thought it be fun if I shared my easy 4th of July menu, along with some tips to make entertaining this summer fun and easy.

Growing up, I used to help my Nonnie with family parties before everyone would arrive. It was my favorite thing to do, especially in the summer when I was bored. I’d head over to her house early in the day to help her prepare for later guests. After setting up for many a party with her, I learned a thing or two along the way. Entertaining is something I’ve always loved, so I’m excited to be sharing my love for throwing a good party with you guys!

This is meant to be more of a mix and match menu. Meaning you guys pick out your favorites based on my suggestions. I didn’t want to overwhelm you with dozens of recipes (because I literally have SO many I could share), so I picked my favorites. Use what you love, overlook what you don’t!

Let’s get started!

Cocktails 

Every good summer party needs a refreshing cocktail. Since it’s the 4th of July, I have a few options for guests, but don’t worry, that doesn’t mean a ton of work for you. Each of these is meant to be made ahead so you don’t have to play bartender all night.

Hibiscus Cherry Vodka Spritz | halfbakedharvest.com #summercocktail #cherries #easy #vodka

Hibiscus Cherry Vodka Spritz

Summertime Rose Tequila Sangria | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Summertime Rosè Tequila Sangria

Tip: freeze the fruit for the sangria and use the frozen fruit in place of ice cubes to keep your sangria from becoming watery.

Strawberry Melon Elderflower Pimms Cup | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Strawberry Melon Pimms Punch

Tip: cut the melon into stars using a small star cookie cutter for a patriotic punch.

Blackberry Bourbon Smash | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Blackberry Bourbon Smash

Tip: make this cocktail in mason jars (8 ounces is best) and seal with a lid. Keep them chilled in a cute bucket or washtub full of ice. Then simply have guests add ice and ginger beer before drinking. It’s super cute and fun and gets your guests involved!

Summer Sodas 3 Ways | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Bonus: Summer Sodas 3 Ways

It’s always nice to have a non alcoholic option and either of these sodas are great for summertime!

Tip: make the cocktails the day before your party and keep them in the fridge, this will save a lot of time and stress the day of.

Appetizers

If you ask me, the appetizers are the star of any summer party, so have some fun ones on the table for guests to snack on all night long. You can never have too many appetizers.

Marinated Cherry Tomatoes with Burrata + Toast | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Marinated Cherry Tomatoes with Burrata and Toast

Tip: make the cherry tomatoes and grill the bread a few hours in advance. Also, cheese is best served at room temperature, so set this out a little before guests arrive.

Melon Caprese Salad | halfbakedharvest.com #summerrecipes #caprese #healthy #buratta

Melon Caprese Salad

Thyme, Honey, Peach, and Goat Cheese Crostini | halfbakedharvest.com #peaches #summerrecipes #appetizers #easy

Thyme, Honey, Peach, and Goat Cheese Crostini

Tip: grill the bread for the cherry tomatoes and this crostini at the same time.

Sides

Sides are also very important. You need a good veggie, a good carb…or two, and at least one fun salad. Below are a few options. I’d pick at least two for a good BBQ menu.

The Best Herby Potato Salad | halfbakedharvest.com #summer #easyrecipe #vegan #potatoes

The Best Potato Salad

Tip: make this ahead of time, but serve at room temperature for best flavor.

Cheese Makers Mac and Cheese | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

The Cheese Makers Mac and Cheese

Fact: this is a true crowd pleaser, no one can resist it.

Sunflower Seed, Kale and Cherry Salad with Savory Granola | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Sunflower Seed, Kale, and Cherry Salad

Fact: this is the perfect make ahead salad, that will not get soggy on you.

Mexican Grilled Corn with Green Chile Honey Butter

Mexican Grilled Corn

Blueberry, Melon, Feta, Fruit Salad Stacks | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Melon Feta Salad Stacks

Mains

I always keep it simple when it comes to the mains. I like to provide a meat based option as well as a veggie based option, so I’d pick out two of the options below.

Whole Grilled Chicken with Peaches and Basil Vinaigrette | halfbakedharvest.com #chicken #easy #grilling #summer

Whole Grilled Chicken with Basil Vinaigrette

Tip: marinate the chicken and make the vinaigrette the night before so all you have to do the day of is grill the chicken.

Grilled Pesto Zucchini Stuffed with Tomatoes and Orzo | halfbakedharvest.com #grilling #summer #easyrecipes

Grilled Pesto Zucchini with Tomatoes and Orzo

Tip: this is just as delicious at room temperature as it is warm, so grill this ahead of time to leave room on the grill for the chicken.

Smoky Chipotle Cheddar Burgers with Mexican Street Corn Fritters | halfbakedharvest.com #burgers

Smoky Chipotle Cheddar Burgers

Tip: skip the corn fritters, since there will already be corn on the table

Tip: make the burger patties before the party, then grill just before serving

Korean Grilled Steak with Toasted Sesame Chimichurri | halfbakedharvest.com #summergrilling #easyrecipes #dinner #steakrecipes

Korean Grilled Steak with Sesame Chimichurri 

Dessert

And finally dessert…the part everyone waits and waits for (at least in my family)! Here are all my favorites. Make as many as you feel necessary!

Blueberry Ricotta Chamomile Galette | halfbakedharvest.com #blueberries #summer #easyrecipes

Blueberry Chamomile Galette

Tip: this is best for a smaller gathering, and while it’s great at room temperature, it’s magical right out of the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Blackberry Lavender Naked Cake with White Chocolate Buttercream | halfbakedharvest.com #summerrecipes #layercake #blueberries

Blackberry Lavender Naked Cake with White Chocolate Buttercream

Tip: use two or three sparklers to decorate the top of this cake to make it extra festive.

Bourbon Pecan Cherry Hand Pies | halfbakedharvest.com #pie #cherries #4thofjulyrecipes #easy

Cherry Bourbon Hand Pies

Tip: instead of serving these for dessert, try packaging them up as cute take home party favors. I recommend wrapping the pies in cellophane or brown parchment paper and tying them up with cute red and white string.

6 Ingredient Rice Krispie Treat Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwiches | halfbakedharvest.com #icecream #easyrecipes #chocolate

Rice Krispie Treat Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwiches

Toasted S'more Chocolate Ice Cream Cups | halfbakedharvest.com #icecream #summerrecipes #smore

Toasted S’more Chocolate Ice Cream Cups

Some More Entertaining Tips

  • serve your menu family style. this is easiest when entertaining big groups and allows for guests to pick and choose what they’d like to eat.
  • keep the table decor simple by lining the tables with single stem flowers. this is simple, but elegant and pretty at the same time. It also allows for guests to not have to talk over a large centerpiece.
  • make red, white, and blue mason jars for your flowers. love this easy DIY project. these can be used to hold flowers and eating utensils.
  • embrace the casual summer gathering and use mix and match plates to keep thing fun and colorful. I love this look and recently did it for my Anthropologie workshop.

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Comments

  1. WOW! you are a genius, Tieghan. I’ve never been so inspired to make and eat. I bought your cookbook on a whim and dogeared pretty much every single page. Yumminess galore! Thank you for sharing your gifts with us all. Simply scrumptious:)

  2. This is the best summer menu ever! From the gorgeous cocktails to all the fresh produce, I’m in love!

  3. I made the potato salad for a family reunion on 6/30. I had saved the recipe from the original publishing, saw it again on your “favorite July 4th’s” grouping. The creamy cashew sauce is unbelievably great! I made 1-1/2 times the amount, Was so glad I had extra, into which I blended some lemon juice, fresh basil & chives (which made it a beautiul green) in order to get all the flavors from the original recipe and used it as a dip for veggies, Thank you not only for the original potato salad but also for the inspiration!

  4. I made your summer kale/cherry/granola/corn salad when you first posted in years ago…and seeing it again makes me want to make it again ASAP! 🙂

  5. Such great inspiration for cooking ideas. Everything looks amazing and original. I can’t wait to try to make them all.

  6. All looks amazing. Love your recipes! We had leftover crawfish tails from a crawfish boil, added some green onions and sautéed squash and zucchini since we had some on hand from the garden and I was trying to stretch this into a full meal, and I added them to your spicy corn and peaches with Burrata and I thought my husband died and went to heaven. We have had it 3 times in the past 2 weeks!