Our Best Independence Day Desserts
The Fourth of July is the peak of summer festivities, which is all the more reason to celebrate with something sweet—but not just any cake or cookie will do for Independence day. A great July fourth dessert is cool and refreshing, filled with summer fruit, decked out in star-spangled attire, or all of the above. Thus, we've gathered a collection of spirited sweets that are perfect for enjoying on a warm night under a fireworks display. The recipes here include a mix of July Fourth-themed treats, no-bake desserts, our favorite ice creams, and seasonal fruit-filled baked goodies—so there's truly something for everyone.
Red Velvet-Berry Cobbler
Red, White, and Blue Cupcakes
This is a real dandy. It would be a great addition to your July 4th celebration spread. The amusing effect of the swirled frosting can be duplicated using any colors for any occasion. It makes a fun Christmas cupcake using red and green or a pretty spring cupcake using pink and green.
American Flag Cheesecake Bars
Decorate these easy cheesecake bars as American flags by using blueberries for the star section and piping jelly in thin lines to resemble the strips. It's a great make-ahead dessert for summer entertaining.
Red, White, and Blue Cake
Sparkling Ice Cream Floats with Berries
Who knew the ultimate summer dessert would be the simplest you’ve ever made? These delightfully sweet and boozy floats take only a few ingredients and about two seconds to whip up, but trust us—they are always sure to impress. Rossini is a sparkling wine beverage, usually Prosecco-based, that is mixed with strawberries and raspberries. It is sweeter and fruitier than a rosé or other sparkling wine so it makes a delicious combination with rich vanilla ice cream (we especially love Häagen-Dazs brand here). We found a great one at Trader Joe’s for just about $6, but if you have a hard time finding rossini, you can definitely use your favorite rosé.
Red, White, and Blue Layer Cake
"I wanted to play into the patriotic colors of the Fourth of July holiday, and layered cakes are a great way to make a splash. Plus, kids love a colorful dessert."
These dainty little tarts have an unusual depth of character, thanks to their graham-cracker-like crusts.
Red, White and Blue Ice Pops
Celebrate red, white, and blue all summer long with these patriotic ice pops. The secret ingredient is a blue sports drink, along with cranberrry juice and lemonade.
All-Star Berry Tart
Fill a tart shell with a rich pastry cream and arrange fresh berries on the top in a star shape for a dessert that's perfect for patriotic holidays.
Ice Cream-Only Ice Cream Cake
For some, a typical ice cream cake is a wonderful, frozen amalgamation of two of life’s great desserts: ice cream and cake (obviously). However, for others—those who truly prefer ice cream over cake—the fact that most ice cream cakes still contain layers of frozen cake is… a disappointment. And it is for these ice cream loving people that we created this “cake,” made purely of frozen dairy goodness. We use fresh whipped cream fortified with gelatin to “frost” the cake, holding the layered scoops together and coating the exterior, because a stabilized whipped cream holds its texture incredibly well (without becoming rock-hard) in the freezer. You can use any number and variety of flavors/colors to create your own take on this ice cream-only cake; we opted to go with a rainbow of colors to achieve a festive feel in every slice. Use any custom combination to create the perfect frozen cake for a birthday party, gender reveal party, college game day event, etc. You can even dress the concept up to create an adorable Ice Cream Princess Cake.
Sour Cream Ice Cream
This fabulous 5-ingredient, no-cook ice cream has everything going for it: It couldn’t be easier to make, it’s insanely rich and smooth, and has a element of intrigue (sour cream!) that lends a delicate, something-special factor to the flavor and texture. Now, the key to getting away with skipping the stovetop cooking and pouring your ice cream base mixture right into you ice cream maker is using pasteurized eggs. So even if that’s not your usual egg of choice, pick up a carton if you’re planning to make this recipe. Note: For the smoothest texture, allow the base mixture to chill in your refrigerator overnight before freezing.
Simple Homemade Dreamsicles
Light, creamy, and refreshing, these easy DIY Dreamsicles taste like nostalgia on a stick. The ice pops can also be made in paper cups (instead of plastic popsicle molds), which can be cut away for easy release.
Dairy-Free Piña Colada Sherbet
You’re just 4 ingredients and 5-minutes-worth of hands-on work from this rich and luscious Piña Colada-inspired, non-dairy sherbet. Often confused with sorbet—which by definition, contains no dairy—sherbet is typically made with a dairy component like milk, buttermilk, or a heavier cream. However, this tropical twist is perfect for anyone with a dairy allergy or sensitivity, as the cool and creamy treat replaces the cream element of a typical sherbet with canned coconut cream—which provides the necessary amount of fat to lend this dairy-free, vegan dessert a rich, creamy mouthfeel without dairy. As refreshing as it is decadent, and simple-to-make as it is delicious, this coconut and pineapple goodness might just become you’re new favorite, quick and easy summer dessert.
Pineapple-Lime Upside Down Cake
Fresh lime zest adds just enough of a zingy “something special” factor to our foolproof take on the classic pineapple upside-down cake. This easy cake is a fan favorite for good reason—it’s so simple to make and is loaded with a delicious balance of buttery-caramelized and tropically sweet flavors. Pro-Tip: Finish incorporating the ingredients by hand, this will prevent over-mixing your way to a tough cake. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream for a perfect finish.
Edible and Bakeable Cookie Dough
If you’ve ever been scolded for eating raw cookie dough straight from the mixing bowl, get ready to enjoy the satisfaction you were once denied. This edible cookie dough eliminates the fear factor of eating raw cookie dough by following similar safety protocols as manufactures who produce cookie dough that is intended to be eaten raw (like that used in cookie dough ice cream and the cookie dough served at the increasingly popular dessert spots like NYC’s DŌ). The 2 key details of this recipe that give you a pass to enjoy the dough in a raw state is using pasteurized eggs and toasting your all-purpose flour before using it to make the dough. That said, unlike a number of the edible cookie dough recipes out there, which oftentimes do not include an egg at all, this dough will also produce a delicious batch of chocolate chip cookies when baked. So if eating cookie dough by the spoonful isn’t exactly your thing, you can treat this recipe as you would any cookie recipe—except that you can “clean” the bowl with no worries.
Key Lime Pie Ice Cream
Lemon Icebox Pie Ice Cream
Try a scoop of Lemon Icebox Pie Ice Cream. This homemade ice cream with just four simple ingredients and a tangy citrus twist reinvents the classic Southern icebox pie.
No-Bake Strawberry Nutella Cheesecake
Strawberry season is an indicator of two things; it means the sun is out and the oven is off. Take a break from a hot kitchen to make this easy, fresh and stress-free no-bake Nutella flavored cheesecake. The hazelnut spread not only gives the cheesecake a velvety texture and chocolatey taste, but it also helps stabilize the pie to set up a creamy yet firm consistency when chilled. The addition of condensed milk adds a touch of milky sweetness and the lemon juice creates a mellow, zesty flavor that balances the cheesecake’s sweetness. You can prepare the crust a day ahead and also chill cheesecake overnight. This cheesecake will be a hit at any summer event, and it’s a great way to use up the season’s favorite berry.
Strawberry Yogurt Cream Pie with Cereal Crust
Made with a fiber cereal-crusted pie shell, this strawberry yogurt cream pie is the ultimate no-bake dessert. With a fruity, rich filling (made even more digestive-friendly with the addition of Greek yogurt and berries *you’re welcome*), this breakfast-inspired treat is everything you want in a (somewhat) guilt-free dessert. It’s ultra-satisfying with just the right amount of sweetness, without sending you over the edge.
No-Bake Fudgy Toffee Bars
These gooey bars will be your new favorite no-bake cookie. Serve chilled for less mess.
Mini Vegan Key Lime Icebox Pies
Mini Vegan Key Lime Icebox Pies RecipeThis “custard” has an insanely rich and silky mouthfeel born from a partnership between avocado (which also provides the natural green coloring) and tofu. The blend of fats released from the ground nuts and a bit of added coconut oil combined with the sugary moisture of the dates create not only a cohesive crust, but one that is deep in flavor and wonderfully crisp once chilled.
The Ultimate Unbaked Brownies
These incredible brownies are a lot of things all at once: they're no-bake, vegan, and gluten-free. They're also incredibly delicious, and feature a luxurious layer of chocolate ganache on top.
Strawberry Ice Cream Pie with Pretzel Crust
This summer-centric pie makes is a so-easy, yet impressive, cool and creamy treat. Use your favorite brand of prepared strawberry ice cream or fill the crust using your your best homemade recipe. Set your ice cream out at room temperature about 25 to 30 minutes before you plan to start scooping it into the cooled crust so that it has enough time to soften. This recipe would work equally well using raspberry sorbet and a blend of fresh raspberries and strawberries on top.
Hot Fudge Sundae Shake
Who knew that a ripe avocado could add such a rich flavor and silky smooth texture to a batch of homemade popsicles? With a pop of fresh citrus juice and sweetened with a little agave nectar, these fun, kid-approved frozen desserts are the perfect summer treat.
Is there anything better than an ice cold popsicle on a hot day? YES, and that something is a boozy popsicle on a hot day. Made with whatever fresh fruit(s) you've got lying around, these easy homemade Prosecco ice pops are the perfect, adult-only summertime treat. They're incredibly easy to customize and make a mixture of your favorite summer produce. Beat the heat with these refreshing pops, which are obviously best enjoyed pool-side.
Coconut Lime Chia Pudding Pops
Cool-down with a nutritious and creamy, summer treat. Don't have a popsicle mold? That's ok. Use a mason jar! Mix ingredients in a small mason jar, shake, add crushed raspberries, a spoonful of chia pudding, and freeze until solid, 4 to 5 hours. Not only is this method mess-free but it's also super cute!
Mint Oreo Icebox Cake
This decadent Oreo icebox cake is incredibly easy to make and requires only six ingredients. It’s a perfect dessert for kids birthday parties that doesn’t require heating up the kitchen. As is, this cooling cake offers a delightful mint-chocolate flavor profile, but feel free to switch things up by using your favorite Oreo cookie flavor (and leaving out the fresh mint).
Coffee Liqueur Cookies-and-Cream Ice Cream
If you like Cookies-and-Cream Ice Cream, this one's a winner. Coffee-flavored liqueur is added to crushed, cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies for a delightful twist on the classic flavor.
Churro Waffle Ice Cream Sandwiches
Plug in your waffle iron for a sinful, sweet treat! Prepare yourself, these decadent ice cream sandwiches are next level. Mouth-watering, cinnamon-sugar churros (waffled) pair perfectly with large scoops of ice cream and a chocolaty drizzle.
Coffee and Doughnuts Ice Cream Sandwiches
Take a tip from cartoon policemen and have doughnuts and coffee for breakfast. But instead of a latte and a chocolate-sprinkled taking up both hands (so difficult to balance while driving to work!) smash both together, add some ice cream for good measure. We take full responsibility for the deliciousness of coffee and doughnuts ice cream sandwiches; you only have to tackle to sugar rush.
If you’re feeling ambitious, fry up a batch of your own doughnuts—here we’ve opted for pre-made. As for the coffee ice cream, you can DIY that as well, or just reach for the carton in your freezer. Soften the ice cream slightly, then smear it onto a halved doughnut. And just in case that wasn’t enough for you, we rolled the exposed ice cream sides in our favorite cereals. Yeah, we’re not holding anything back.
Coffee and Doughnuts Ice Cream Sandwiches
Puff Pastry Summer Fruit Slab Pie
This show-stopper is easy to assemble, but so impressive. The only component of this effortlessly elegant tart that needs to bake is the puff pastry base itself. Once it’s baked and cooled, you’ll top it with a creamy, fluffy spread of sweetened mascarpone cheese mixed with marzipan (i.e. almond paste), vanilla, freshly whipped cream. You’ll want to wait until right before serving time to assemble your dessert. All of those glorious summer fruit juices are going to start seeping into your puff pastry and will lead to sogginess if prepared too far in advance.
Rosé and Raspberry Sorbet Floats
Say hello to your new favorite warm weather treat. With only 3-ingredients, these rosé floats are incredibly simple to prep, but make for such an impressive and deliciously refreshing dessert—perfect for a any summer party. The sweet-tart sorbet pairs really nicely with the dry, crispness of the sparkling rosé. While we opted to garnish with fresh raspberries, you could top these boozy delights with any fresh berries you like, as well as fresh herbs, such as torn mint.