Patriotic Picnic Food
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20 Easy, Patriotic Foods to Bring to a Fourth of July Party

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Patriotic Picnic Food
Kristen Prahl/istockphoto

Celebrate America

America's birthday, Independence Day, July Fourth. Whatever you call it, this is a day for fun, fireworks, and low-key cookouts based on recipes — from appetizers through the night's final toast to America — that are cheap and easy to prepare. With the summer harvest coming in, ripe and ready fruits such as berries and watermelon, and vegetables like corn, peppers, and tomatoes sell for budget prices at the farmers market and deserve starring roles in holiday meals. Build them into a patriotic theme with an occasional boost from food coloring or red and blue sprinkles. And don't forget about dessert!

Flag-Colored Chips & Dip
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Flag-Colored Chips & Dip

Thanks to blue corn chips, it's super easy to arrange a chip and dip platter in the color scheme of a flag. Use red veggies such as tomatoes or bell peppers as stripes on the base of a creamy white dip made from beans, garlic, and sour cream or cream cheese.   

Recipe: The Creative Bite

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Patriotic Fruit Kebabs

Arrange strawberries, blueberries, and marshmallows — or banana slices for a healthier alternative — for a row of kebabs that will please your friends and family and show your love of country.

Recipe: Around My Family Table

Red, White, and Blue Deviled Eggs
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Red, White, and Blue Deviled Eggs

Recipe-creator Diane here does not mess around when it comes to food coloring, as these practically pop off the serving plate. She has specific tips to get them this vibrant, but anything approaching patriotic colors will still be impressive. 

Recipe: Created by Diane

Patriotic Popcorn
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Patriotic Popcorn

Whole-kernel popping corn costs about 12 cents an ounce and yields about 4 cups popped. Add the cost of oil and food coloring, and the bottom line comes to less than 10 cents a popped cup. It's versatile, too. For this recipe, you'll have to pop three batches — but the end result will be well worth it.

Recipe: Oh Sweet Basil

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Red, White, and Blue Parfaits

This recipe uses layered vanilla yogurt, berries and granola for a healthier dessert — or cooler mid-day snack. The best part is they look impressive but take almost no time to put together, and don't require firing up a hot oven.

Recipe: To Simply Inspire

Red, White, and Burrata Salad with Blueberry Vinaigrette
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Red, White, and Burrata Salad with Blueberry Vinaigrette

Create a sophisticated yet patriotic salad by combining strawberries, burrata cheese, and a blueberry-based dressing with arugula. Toss a few blueberries over the top to give it even more of a Independence Day vibe. 

Recipe: The Feed Feed

Potato Salad
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Potato Salad

An all-American classic, potato salad is a welcome addition at any summer party. This traditional recipe is spot on, including a trick to pack tons of flavor into the potato chunks by drizzling with vinegar while they are still hot. And if you can find them at the market, try mixing in red and blue potatoes with the white for a colorful twist.

Recipe: Martha Stewart

Blueberry Caprese Salad
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Blueberry Caprese Salad

Here's a twist on a caprese salad that combines in-season blueberries with the usuals — tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil — for a fresh side dish that takes very little time and effort to make. 

Recipe: Love & Olive Oil

Grilling: Mexican Elotes
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Grilled Mexican Street Corn

Corn is native to the Americas, and no July Fourth celebration would be complete without corn on the cob. But to really wow 'em, take your cob cred up a notch with this recipe inspired by our southern neighbors. It includes flavor-popping ingredients like cotija cheese, mayo, sour cream, cilantro, and chile powder.

Recipe: Tasting Table

Bacon Bourbon & Brown Sugar Baked Beans
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Bacon Bourbon & Brown Sugar Baked Beans

Baked beans straight out a can are a little lackluster, but combine them with bacon and bourbon — very American, after all, since it originated in Kentucky — and you've got a Fourth of July side low on patriotic color but big on flavor. The recipe includes instructions for using budget-saving dried beans, too. 

Recipe: No Spoon Necessary

Grilled Vegetables
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Grilled Veggie Skewers

No recipe necessary for this easy, healthy side dish. Skewer tomatoes, onion, button mushrooms, and green pepper — or any other preferred veggies — as a vegetarian contribution to a holiday cookout. Each skewer uses a small amount of vegetables that hits close to $1.

Fries
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American French Fries

There are few foods more American than French fries (despite the seeming oxymoron), and this recipe requires double-frying to get the pillowy-on-the-inside and crunchy-on-the-outside textured perfectness. 

Recipe: Splendid Table

Fried Chicken
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Fried Chicken

If you've already got the fryer fired up might as well throw another classic American dish in there — fried chicken. This recipe from Yankee Publishing's annual almanac requires few ingredients but will deliver on crunch and flavor. 

Recipe: Farmer's Almanac

Red, White, and Blue Burgers
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Red, White, and Blue Burgers

This is more of a play on words than a visual treat, and especially good for burger lovers who want an extra dose of blue cheese. This burger packs big flavor in true American style, and is a delicious twist on a cookout classic staple. Another idea: Use blue food coloring on white cheese such as queso fresco or even cream cheese

Recipe:Genius Kitchen

Firecracker Hot Dogs
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Firecracker Hot Dogs

There's no better time to indulge in this American classic than the Fourth of July. Even the best hot dogs are among the cheapest snacks or foundations for a summer meal, costing less than $2 a dog, fixings included. This recipe requires only three ingredients and a couple special tools.

Recipe: Pop Sugar

Homemade Bomb Pops
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Homemade Bomb Pops

These nostalgic frozen Fourth of July treats are something any generation can enjoy. The key to getting the crisply defined layers when you're not buying them ready-made off an ice cream truck: Freeze them between added colored flavoring. 

Recipe: Cooking With Janica

Vanilla Ice Cream
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True Vanilla Ice Cream

Dessert really doesn't have to be complicated, especially if it's delicious and homemade. You might want to get this ice cream going a few days ahead of time so it has time to set, but it'll be worth it, especially if you pair it with homemade(ish) root beer

Recipe: Epicurious

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American Flag Cookies

Sugar cookies are easy; decorating them not so much. If ever there was a time for the extra effort, however, it's with these, which are not only red, white, blue, but also heart-shaped.

Recipe: Kudos Kitchen

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Sparkling Red, White, and Blue Sangria

This light wine punch is a refreshing drink all summer long, and the festive colors make it a beverage of choice for America's birthday bash. Add red, blue, and star-shaped white fruits to white wine and prosecco and serve over ice.

Recipe: Gimme Some Oven

Lemonade Iced Tea
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Lemonade Iced Tea

Kids need a cool drink, too, during the dog days of summer, and this simple recipe will be one they'll welcome. It's easy to make, but mint and citrus slices give it a bit more flavor than your typical Arnold Palmer. 

Recipe: My Recipes