Patriotic 4th of July Desserts to Celebrate the Red, White, and Blue
From traditional flag cakes to cookie pizza, we’ve got 25 star-spangled desserts to light up your holiday
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Dessert might be all the fireworks you need this year when you bake up a sweet treat that shows off your patriotic artistry. Ice cream, cookies, cakes, pies, and popsicles can all be your canvas for red, white, and blue desserts bursting with color. No matter your cooking skill set, we’ve got the perfect option, and many are so easy that you can get the whole family involved. So go ahead, bring on the stars and stripes this July 4th! (And definitely keep these summer dessert recipes in mind for other occasions, too.)
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No-bake 4th of July desserts
Maybe it’s too hot to bake, or maybe you’re just looking for an extra-easy July recipe. Whatever the case, you’ve landed in the right place.
Dunk and sprinkle: That, and a little melting are all you do to make these super-cute treats, so by all means get the kids involved. Set yourself up for success with the right ingredients: large pretzel rods, easy-melt vanilla candy wafers, and red, white, and blue jimmies.
These healthy-ish fudgsicles start with lowfat Greek yogurt, milk, honey, and cocoa, which you blend together and freeze in popsicle molds. For the 4th of July theme, drizzle the frozen treats with melted white chocolate and add chopped red and blue M&Ms.
Get the party started with a bang with festive, adults-only layered shots made with two kinds of jello, cherry vodka, maraschino cherries, and coconut milk. If you’re looking for a lower-octane version, try a Yummly user suggestion to substitute water for half of the vodka.
Don’t think your baking skills would earn a blue ribbon? These red, white, and blue dessert kebabs are foolproof. All you need to do is make a batch of Rice Krispie Treats with the addition of candy sprinkles, then alternate squares of them on skewers with blueberries and fresh strawberry slices for a festive snack or dessert.
While classic Italian tartufo, a frozen dessert reminiscent of ice cream, is usually a half-sphere in shape, this patriotic version can easily be made in a loaf pan, forming a rectangular, slice-and-serve dessert. Layer vanilla ice cream with strawberry sorbet and blue maraschino cherries, then drizzle with melted chocolate, and top with colorful sprinkles.
Similar to making the Patriotic Pretzels above, you’ll grab some Oreos, insert lollipop sticks, and then dunk away in red, white, and blue candy melts. Complete the theme with firecracker sprinkles. You could consider these an extra-easy version of cake pops.
Here’s another easy dessert recipe where the kids can lend an artistic hand. You’ll spread ice cream in a baking dish and freeze it until solid. At serving time, slather it with whipped cream and arrange fresh raspberries and blueberries as the stars and stripes.
Easy red, white, and blue desserts
Ready-made ingredients like store-bought mixes and doughs, no-skill techniques such as a press-in crust, and short baking times make this category of recipes perfect for last-minute cooks.
Imagine the crackly fun when you layer graham crackers and melty marshmallows with Pop Rocks candy and "popping chocolate" (Chuao's firecracker version adds a dash of smoky chipotle chili). The recipe explains how to toast the marshmallows from the comfort of your kitchen, but of course, the real sparkler shown in the photo is best saved for the safety of the backyard.
Store-bought sugar cookie dough, baked in a pizza pan, forms the “crust” for this fun 4th of July dessert. Once the base is cool, spread it with a cream cheese-whipped cream frosting, and then decorate with a starburst of strawberries and blueberries.
If you’re serving a crowd but find yourself short on time, these cookie bars are the way to go. Rather than scoop out an individual ball of dough for each cookie, press the dough into a sheet pan and bake. Once it's cooled, frost and add pop rocks for a bit of festive flare.
Inside these firework cupcakes you’ll discover a surprise, a cache of red, white, and blue Skittles. Bake up your favorite cake mix in muffin tins, then hollow out the cupcakes and hide the candy treasure. Canned vanilla frosting and drizzles of colorful candy melts complete the easy treat.
When you start with a cake mix you get to skip straight to the fun of tinting the batter different colors and layering them in a Bundt pan. As the cake bakes, it will create the swirly red, white, and blue stripes!
These ice cream cone cupcakes are fun treats for the kids and you can easily get them involved in the baking process. Have your little ones select their favorite cake mix flavor, then prepare the mix, and pour the batter into ice cream cones. Bake your “ice cream cones,” and then pipe frosting on each for a cupcake that looks like a frosty cone of soft-serve.
With store-bought angel food cake, instant pudding mix, and frozen whipped topping at the ready, you'll need only a short while to layer up a grand trifle with fresh berries. Pop it in the fridge to set up for a bit, and you can have dessert in about 1 ¼ hours total time.
Traditional 4th of July desserts
If you’re not only a dessert lover but someone who loves spending a little time in the kitchen creating desserts, then this category is for you, with multiple dessert recipe options that will show off your baking chops.
The classic Independence Day sheet cake gets a homemade upgrade with sour cream and vanilla batter, buttery cream cheese frosting, and fresh berries to complete the flag.
If Betsy Ross were coming to dinner (or if you fancy yourself the modern-day equivalent, as a baker rather than a sewer of flags), you would make three batches of buttermilk cake batter: one plain, one tinted red, and one tinted blue. And then you would assemble the baked cakes into one grand layer cake held together with loads and loads of buttercream frosting. Watch the video to see how it comes together.
Apple pie might get all the cred as the classic all-American dessert, but for summertime flavor, it can’t hold a candle to a pie made with strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries. Store-bought refrigerated pie pastry mean this ones comes together in a snap, leaving you plenty of time to cut out those snazzy stars in the top crust.
If you’re not familiar with slab pie, it’s a brilliant invention for serving a crowd. This one bakes in a 15 x 10 x 1-inch pan, aka a jelly roll pan; includes four kinds of berries; it makes 24 servings.
The traditional red, white, and blue 4th of July dessert gets a modern spin with a tie-dye interpretation! Though fudge can sometimes be tricky, marshmallow cream and evaporated milk ensure the version here won’t get grainy. You’ll need to work fairly quickly, though, to color portions of the hot mixture, layer them in a loaf pan, and create the swirls before the fudge sets up.
If your holiday meal is a feast, your group might be a little stuffed by the time dessert rolls out. These patriotic mini cheesecakes are a portion-controlled treat to complete your day. Simply line muffin tins with the graham cracker crust, spoon in the cheesecake ingredients, bake, and serve.
Healthy 4th of July desserts
Love a good celebration dessert, but looking for something on the healthy side? These next recipes feature fresh fruit and less sugar. All but the flag cake are gluten-free, and there’s even a keto 4th of July dessert option.
Grab a star cookie cutter to create adorable bursts of red watermelon for ice pops. (Of course, be sure you cut stars that will fit inside your popsicle molds.) Fill the molds with lemonade and add blueberries for a 3-ingredient treat.
Breakfast for dessert? Start or end your day a good-for-you way with layered vanilla yogurt, fresh blueberries, and fresh raspberries.
The ingredients here are similar to the parfait recipe (with the addition of coconut milk), but in this case you purée the mixtures and freeze them in layers to create beautiful stripes.
While this dessert might not be considered health food per se, it’s definitely a healthier approach to the traditional flag cake. Nonfat Greek yogurt and low-fat cream cheese help cut down on calories, part whole-wheat flour ups the nutrients, and the inclusion of honey — but no food coloring — are in keeping with a more natural approach.
When it comes to patriotic treats, there’s no need to feel sorry for those who follow the keto diet, because they can still enjoy red velvet cupcakes made with almond flour, coconut flour, and monkfruit sweetener.