Simple 4th of July Meal Plan + Tips for Cooking for A Crowd

Have I mentioned 4th of July is my favorite holiday? Moving around a lot as a kid meant our lake place quickly became home base. We have celebrated nearly every 4th of July there since I was in the 5th grade. My whole family comes to the lake for the 4th of July and this year we are expecting 19. I can’t wait! You better believe my mom, sister and I sat down to plan out our 4th of July meal plan.

Since, cooking for a crowd can be a lot of work, we divide and conquer. My mom will cook her traditional 4th of July meal, my sister’s family will cook one night and my family and I will cook the other. We all picked really simple meals because who wants to be inside when the lake it calling? Not me!

Like I always tell you, “it doesn’t have to be fancy to feed your family!”

So, what is on our 4th of July meal plan? Let me tell you!

Psst…Grab your meal planner on our website here or on Amazon here now for simplified meal planning!

4th of July Meal Plan

4th of July Dinner Menu

Let’s start with the 4th of July because that’s the BIG day! What’s for dinner before the fireworks you ask? The meal my mom has made for the last 25+ years. When it’s good, you don’t mess with it.

simple cheesy hash brown casserole with cream cheese

Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole

She doubles this recipe and makes 2 pans and usually makes them ahead of time and freezes them. She pulls them out to thaw in the refrigerator the day before. People are usually scraping the pan because they are that good.

Get the cheesy hash brown casserole recipe here.

grandma's bacon green beans

Grandma’ Bacon Green Beans

Once you cook green beans with a little bit of bacon and bacon grease, you’ll never go back. My mom uses canned green beans for a crowd and usually cooks 6-8 cans. Get the full recipe here. They come together fast and they are so delicious.

BBQ Chicken Breast

Of course, no 4th of July BBQ would be complete without some BBQ chicken. My cousin Alex is a master barbecuer. While my Mom whips up the green beans and throws the potatoes in the oven, he will slather on some BBQ sauce on the chicken and get grilling.

Fruit Tray

Last but not least, we rinse some of our favorite summer fruits like watermelon, pineapple, cherries, strawberries and blueberries and place them on a tray. If we want to be fancy, we might place in rainbow order. If we are tuckered out after a day on the lake, we buy a fruit tray at the store.


After the clean-up is done, it’s time for a do-it-yourself dessert. We create a tray of all the fixings and let people cook their s’mores the way they like them.

More 4th of July Meal Plan Ideas

Breakfast #1 – Pancakes over the Fire

Every time we are at the lake, we make a quick batch of pancakes using Krustaez pancake mix. We use a cast iron skillet and cook them over the open flame. My mom usually cooks up some pre-cooked sausage in the house to go along with the pancakes.

Lunch #1 – Hot Dogs, Chips, Fruit & Vegetables

Someone, always offers to fire up the grill and cook up a bunch of hot dogs. We pull out the chips, some fruit and a veggie tray and call it a day. No one wants to get out of the lake too long!

BLT wrap recipe 5 ingredients

Dinner #1 – BLT Bar

My sister took a queue from my bar-style meals and decided to make a BLT bar. She plans to cook all the bacon in the oven (check out to do that here). Then, they’ll toast the bread, slice the tomatoes and even add some avocado for those wanting to fancy up their BLT.

Breakfast #2 – Scrambled Eggs & Monkey Bread

My dad is known for his cheesy scrambled eggs so he and my son will whip up a big batch. We serve it alongside frozen monkey bread you can heat up in the microwave. It makes for a super simple breakfast.

Lunch #2 – Cheeseburgers, Chips, Fruit & Veggies

Are you sensing a theme? Someone else will offer to grill up some cheeseburgers. Once again, pull out the chips, fruit and veggies and everyone is happy.

Dinner #2 – Walking Taco Bar

My kids picked this, you already knew that. However, it’s perfect for a crowd. We will cook up the seasoned ground beef ahead and place it in a slow cooker to keep it warm. Then, of course we will set it up bar-style so everyone can make their walking taco how they like it. Check out how to make walking tacos & all the fixings in this post.

What About Dessert?

Besides the s’mores, we each bring a little something to snack on all week for dessert. My Aunt brings chocolate chip cookie bars (think chocolate chip cookie but in a jelly roll pan).

Magic Bars

I am in charge of making a pan of these! We call them Hello Dolly bars and they also go by 7-layer bars but ours don’t have 7 layers. They are so good and rich so you can cut them up small and they go a long way. Grab the simple recipe here.

Mini Strawberry Pies

These also make super cute desserts for the 4th of July. They come together really fast and are actually pretty darn healthy as far as desserts go! Get the full recipe here.

easy spiked strawberry lemonade recipe

Got Any Drink Ideas?

You know I do? This strawberry lemonade recipe is so simple and delicious. Plus, you can garnish it with blueberries for the cutest patriotic drink. You can even spike it for a fun, refreshing adult beverage!

rainbow colored fruit tray for 4th of July

Any Tips for Cooking for a Crowd?

Yes! When it comes to cooking for a crowd, I am guessing you want to enjoy your time and your company so keep these things in mind.

  • Keep it simple. Enjoy time with those you care about and remember “it doesn’t have to be fancy to feed your friends & family.”
  • Make a meal plan. (you know I was going to say that). Knowing what you are going to feed people & buying all the groceries ahead will make life so much easier. Grab this best-selling meal planner on Amazon or on our website here.
  • Make what you can ahead. Those cheesy hash brown potatoes are a perfect candidate to make ahead and freeze. Lighten the load by prepping what you can ahead of time.
  • Buy Pre-Made or pre-cut items. No one is going to judge you for buying a pre-made fruit or vegetable tray. You can even transfer to your tray if you want. Bagged salad kits, dips and deli-style salads are all good options to buy at the store in lieu of making homemade.
  • Use paper products. We generally use paper products for all meals except dinner. We buy in bulk at Costco and enjoy grabbing a garbage bag to do the dishes for the weekend.
  • Serve Buffet Style. Set up all the food in a buffet and allow guests to make up their plate of food how they like.

Psst…Grab your meal planner on our website here or on Amazon here now for simplified meal planning!

Just Remember…

When it comes to any holiday, I hope you enjoy spending it with those you care about. I am grateful we can all gather to celebrate together again and enjoy some summer fun. What’s on your 4th of July meal plan? Tell me in the comments below.

Need More Meal Ideas?

Until next time keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life!

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4th of july meal plan ideas for a crowd

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