Food Network Staffers' Favorite Fourth of July Recipes
We really do love those red, white and delicious desserts.
The Fourth of July may be known for fun and fireworks, but around our office, we're only focused on the food (surprising, right?). Though burgers and hot dogs are a solid option, we prefer sticky ribs, tangy potato salad and all the sweet treats we could possibly eat. Check out our favorite Independence Day dishes, below.
Crispy, creamy snack bars.
Cheesecake and crispy rice treats were meant for each other. I love to make these 100% no bake Crispy-Treat Cheesecake Bars (pictured above) and then top them with fresh berries or a dollop of fruit preserves. They’re perfect for the 4th — boom, bang, crackle, sizzle!
— Leah Brickley, Senior Editor, Culinary
All-American BBQ ribs.
My favorite go-to recipe comes from Kelsey Nixon. Her cumin scented oven-baked ribs work for my small, grill-less NYC apartment. They are tender, fall of the bone and even my Southern dad was happy with them. They even work well when we are at a rented beach house because they require no exotic kitchen tools. I even sometimes cheat and use bottled barbecue sauce (gasp!) and they still turn out perfect. Just a solid slice of Americana to celebrate the 4th.
— Mary Beth Bray, Culinary Producer
A tried-and-true favorite.
I know, I know, I know!!! A flag cake for 4th of July!! How original! But please hear me out. This is the flag cake. I dare say it’s the only one that matters. It’s the OG Flag Cake and I’m really sorry, but I love it. Ina Garten’s vanilla cake recipe is more dense and less sweet than most — and that’s a really good thing. It’s more than hefty enough to hold up all the frosting and toppings, and because it’s not too sweet, the flavor is balanced when you eat it with the cream cheese frosting. Oh, and about that frosting. You will be tempted to skimp on it because, hello, it’s made with one pound or more (!!!) each of butter, cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar. But the magic of this cake is its frosting so you should definitely pipe on every bit that Ina instructs you. (She’s never wrong.) Add to that the little berries all lined up, and you’ll end up with a perfectly party-ready dessert.
— Maria Russo, Senior Editor
Growing up, the 4th of July meant two things to me: Going to my grandparents’ house for dinner and bringing my favorite cream cheese brownies. There is nothing overtly festive or patriotic about the hybrid dessert, but, nonetheless, the creamy, rich combination of cream cheese and chocolate were reserved for just one day a year, and I cherished it. Our family recipe is tucked away somewhere in my mom’s kitchen, but, from what I can remember, this Food Network variation comes pretty close. Just be sure to sneak a bite of the cream-cheese mixture before baking — it’s the best part!
— Rachel Trujillo, Associate Content Editor
Potato salad worth hiding in the fridge.
No cookout (4th of July or otherwise) would be complete without potato salad – and the vinegar-based German style is my favorite. Smoky bacon, tangy Dijon and fresh green onions: I love this flavor in this particular recipe so much that I always make extra (and keep a small container hidden away in the back of my refrigerator for the next day. Yes, it’s that good). For maximum deliciousness, dress the potatoes while they’re still warm. That way, they’ll soak up all the flavorful bacon fat and mustard.
— Kristie Collado, Associate Editor
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Perfectly pink sangria.
I love this refreshing sangria so much that I wrote a love letter to it a while ago, so I’m going to keep this one short. Just know it’s the perfect big batch drink to keep everyone cooled off while grilling and watching fireworks.
— Julie Hines, Managing Editor
No-sweat spatchcock chicken.
This smoked spatchcock chicken is my new July 4th go-to recipe. It’s just not 4th of July until the grill gets going and this recipe is so easy. An overnight brine gives the bird so much flavor and juiciness and because the chicken is cooked slowly over indirect heat, it doesn’t require much attention while it’s cooking. Even my 4 year old loves this chicken! It has just the right balance of sweet, salty and smoky flavor.
— Melissa Gaman, Recipe Developer
A rock star dessert (see what we did there?)
When it comes to the fourth of July, I’m all about the desserts. Burgers and hot dogs are great and all, but nothing comes close to a slice of this buttery bundt cake from Food Network Magazine. You won’t need any fancy ingredients — just some eggs, butter, flour and other add-ins — and the upbeat red, white and blue decor is sure to make you the MVP of the evening. Plus, who doesn’t love an excuse to break out a few sticks of rock candy?!
— Michelle Baricevic, Online Editorial Coordinator — Food Network Magazine