15 Easy 4th Of July Desserts That Look Fancy, But Won't Take All Day To Make
Whether you're planning to host a 4th of July barbecue or you've been tasked with bringing something sweet to somebody else's shindig, you might be on the lookout for some patriotic dessert recipes right about now. Actually, make that patriotic dessert recipes that don't require too much time or effort in a hot kitchen, because chances are you're hot enough these days. Fortunately, there are plenty of holiday desserts to make that don't require any cooking (and even the ones that do are still pretty no-sweat). So what are some easy 4th of July desserts?
Depending on your taste, you've got lots of choices. Several of these treats are even legit healthy, thanks to the many nutritional benefits of such naturally red and blue edibles like berries. From refreshing beverages to colorful homemade candies to elegant Pinterest-worthy creations, there's something on this list no matter what you're trying to achieve. Plus, you can even get the kids involved in making some of these (anything that keeps little ones entertained for a little while during summer vacation scores extra points).
Most of these can be made in advance, too, so you can actually spend time hanging out and relaxing instead of whipping up the last course last minute.
1. Patriotic S'mores Cookies
These cute little cookies from Bake Love Give look like a treat from a bakery, but they're incredibly easy to make (thanks to store-bought mini graham crackers). Just heat up the dark chocolate and marshmallow candy melts, dip the grahams, and sprinkle on the red and blue jimmies before the candy sets. The cookies can last up to one week — if they don’t get eaten up first, that is.
2. Red, White & Blue Firecracker Popsicles
A much healthier take on the red, white, and blue popsicles most of us grew up eating, these ice pops from Brown Eyed Baker use yogurt and strawberry and blueberry purées for the different layers. The pops are surprisingly low in sugar, and there’s also an unexpected added ingredient: lime juice, which helps to boost the natural flavors.
3. Red, White & Blue Berry Trifle
Trifles are a great choice for the tricky chef with no time: They look super fancy, but they're so effortlessly easy. This one from Brown Eyed Baker uses layers of angel food cake, berries, and a cream cheese/pudding/Cool Whip filling. You can have little ones help you with layering the cake, berries, and creamy filling. While you should serve the trifle within 24 hours of making it, it can be stored for up to three days.
4. Red, White & Blue Stained Glass Jello Stars
Not only will kids love eating these pretty stained glass Jello stars from The Brown Eyed Baker, they'll love helping to make them, too (because, cookie cutters). This recipe uses two different kinds of Jello, unflavored gelatin, and sweetened condensed milk. Just keep in mind that this recipe requires hours to chill, (overnight, really) so it’s best prepped the night before.
5. Mixed Berry Star Puff Pastry
Speaking of star shaped cookie cutters, these fun, fruit pastries from DIY Candy use frozen puff pastry (which saves you hours of stress and mess). It features (among other ingredients) strawberries, blueberries, cream cheese, and lemon juice. Between the puff pastry and star shapes, this is a berry adorable recipe.
6. Red, White & Blue M&M's Cookie Bars
Cookie dough, M&M’s and mini chocolate chips? Yes, please. The best thing about bar cookies like these patriotic blondies from No. 2 Pencil is that you don't have to go through the hassle of dropping spoonfuls of dough on a cookie sheet or (worse) rolling dough out to cut it into shapes. Just spread the dough in a 9 x 13 glass baking dish, cut into squares, and you’re set.
7. Red, White & Blue Giant Marshmallows
If you thought that marshmallows were strictly for summertime s’mores, think again. All you need to make these festive pops from Pint Sized Baker is a bag of pretzel rods, a bag of marshmallows, and candy melts in red and blue. Definitely get the kids involved in prepping these, too. Red and blue sugar sprinkles help give the treats an added sweet touch.
8. 4th Of July Milkshakes
This pretty milkshake from Pint Sized Baker is all vanilla, but it looks anything but plain... and really, you can't beat a vanilla milkshake. Especially with whipped cream on top. In order to avoid the colors from bleeding into each other, it’s best to make this vanilla ice cream-based dessert fast, and pre-freeze the glasses. You might even want to put them in the freezer while you’re making the colors. Let your kids whip out the whipped cream and top the shakes with sprinkles.
8. Easy Fruit Tart
Fool everyone into thinking you've been secretly attending culinary school with this foolproof tart from Pint Sized Baker, made using frozen puff pastry, pudding and fresh fruit. While you can definitely serve it to the kids, this dessert looks decidedly elegant enough for the adults. For added flair, sprinkle on some powdered sugar, and people will swear you bought it from a bakery. Just be sure to serve and slice it up soon, though, since the pudding can make the bottom of the tart soft and soggy.
10. Red Velvet, White & Blueberry Cheesecake Trifle
Traditionally, trifles are often made with angel food cake. But in this trifle from Something Swanky, angel food cake gets an upgrade with, of all things, yummy red velvet cake. While it might take a bit longer to prepare since you’ll be baking the red velvet cake (as opposed to using a store-bought angel food cake), the results will definitely be worth it. Use a jelly roll sheet pan for a thinner cake that will be easier to cut stars out of, but will also bake faster.
11. Strawberry Banana 4th Of July Smoothie
A good-for-you dessert (or breakfast) filled with antioxidants and vitamins, this smoothie from Your Cup of Cake is naturally colorful (nothing artificial). To ensure that the layers don’t mix, just pop the glasses into the freezer to chill. Dress up the smoothie with berries and red, white, and blue-striped straws for a positively patriotic look.
12. Fruity Brownie Dessert Pizza
This clever dessert pizza from Seeded at the Table is made with boxed brownie mix for convenience, but it'll definitely impress everybody at the patriotic potluck. Top the brownie with a cream cheese frosting, berries, and whipped cream. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, and you have a dessert that is delish and totally kid-friendly. Your kiddo won’t even miss the pepperoni.
13. Patriotic Rice Krispie Stars
If you know how to make Rice Krispie treats (and doesn't everybody?), then you know how to make these patriotic stars from Princess Pinky Girl. Food coloring and star shaped cookie cutters are the only additional things you'll need! Layer each colored Rice Krispies (red, white, and blue) on top of each other and let cool. And here’s a baking tip: the more food coloring you use, the better your colors will come out.
14. Red, White & Blue Oreo Pops
Unforgettable as party favors, these Oreo pops from Happiness Is Homemade don't require any actual cooking, just a bit of melting, dipping, and decorating (so, just the fun stuff). Just insert the end of a candy stick into the melted candy, then place it into the center of an Oreo. Then, dip, dunk, and decorate your way to fun with your little ones.
15. Fourth Of July Candy Bark
Red, white, and blue candy melts come together in an adorable (and delicious) candy bark recipe from DIY Candy. It’s super simple to do: just melt the candy melts, pour onto wax paper. Then, give your kids some toothpicks and let them swirl to their hearts’ content. Top with star sprinkles or other patriotic colors for a decadent dessert that takes minutes to make.
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