The Fourth of July represents a lot of things. It epitomizes summer fun: being shoeless in a bathing suit and watching fireworks from a hot sidewalk or park with loved ones. It feels like freedom: no work, no school and, of course, our county's independence. Fourth of July smells like barbecue smoke and melting popsicles and freshly cut grass. And it tastes like … well the options are endless, really.
While savory grilled dishes like dogs, burgers, ribs and potato salad reign supreme on Independence Day, let's not forget to relish the sweet possibilities of this special holiday. We're talking desserts!
Summer is such a fun time to enjoy a range of decadent after-dinner dishes. During the months when juicy fruits like strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, peaches, plums and cherries are in their prime, fruit-forward pies, crisps and cake ooze with flavor. For the folks who don't want to turn on their oven because it's a scorcher out there, try no-bake Fourth of July cakes, no-churn ice creams, ice pops and other easy desserts are as cool as they are delicious. Plus, there's always a few healthier dessert options that are equally festive and fun.
Sweet and crunchy freeze-dried berries add a patriotic pop of color to these gooey marshmallow and cereal bars. We love blueberries and raspberries, but feel free to pick and choose your favorites. Note that you do need the freeze-dried berries for this recipe; fresh or frozen berries will add too much liquid to the treats, and regular dried berries are too chewy.
Make your pies even more tempting on the Fourth with this pie crust that's made into a simple yet classic lattice pattern. In this recipe, Martha Stewart shares all her crust-worthy pie-making tips.
It's always fun to have a dessert with a little red, white and blue, or — in this case — blueberry. An easy pudding pie is almost simple enough for kids to make on their own! From the beginning to end, this recipe is perfect for summertime fun for kids in the kitchen.
This is the perfect dessert for the height of strawberry season, and with the addition of a few blueberries, becomes red, white and blue, which makes it a perfect way to celebrate the Fourth of July. Put on your garden party hat, grab a flute of Champagne and savor.
Don't ruin the holiday by spending the entire time cooking — this five-ingredient peach cobbler recipe is the perfect solution. This easy entertaining dessert is also a winner any time of year because it can be made with fresh, frozen or canned peaches.
A skillet fruit crisp is Lazarus Lynch's No. 1 go-to dessert because it's so easy to make. You just toss in the fruit, top it with a crumble, bake it … and that's it!
These three-ingredient s'mores bites are just so cute — and you don't even need a campfire to enjoy them. The mini sweets are an ideal Fourth of July dessert for a party and can be thrown together in minutes … without the sticky mess.
"My dad's peach cobbler was just out of this world," says Lynch. "It's really a great summer dessert, but I eat it all year round. Over the years, I've kept this recipe true to its core: a great crust and sweet peaches soaked in cinnamon and sugar. Obviously fresh peaches are better, but this is the way my daddy made it and I ain't changing it."
If it's too hot out, why bake? With this easy fruit-filled recipe, you can make a delicious dessert without ever turning on the oven.
Key lime pie originated in the Florida Key Islands where the citrus grows in abundance. Sweeter than their tart cousins, Key limes have a gentle tangy flavor that enhances the creamy filling of the pie and is a perfect foil to a classic graham cracker pie crust.
Move over, cookies! Whip up a quick batch of mini funnel cakes for these amazing ice cream sandwiches that are a perfect sweet Fourth of July dessert.
Kill two birds with one stone by making a big batch of honey butter biscuits. Some can be served with your barbecue spread and then the rest to make strawberry shortcake for dessert. Cook once, eat twice. Genius.
Only super humans can look at this gorgeous icebox cheesecake without wanting to take a bite. As rich as this five-ingredient miracle is, it's surprisingly much lighter than a traditional no-bake cheesecake. Serve with a dollop of hot fudge for an extra indulgence.
Poke cakes are making a comeback! What is a poke cake, you ask? Well it's a cake that gets holes poked into it after baking to soak up all the liquid topping. They're super simple, moist and make for a very pretty slice on the plate. This one uses store-bought pound cake an a luscious sour cream topping, accented by beautiful, patriotic-colored berries.
Everyone at the party will be blown away with this blueberry crisp — and no one will know it's made with only five ingredients! Using a nutty, store-bought granola for the topping cuts down on prep time, and adding self-rising flour to the filling's mixture makes the crumble especially light and crisp. For the ultimate Fourth of July dessert experience, serve it piping hot with vanilla ice cream.
Beat the heat on the Fourth of July with these fruity ice pops. The refreshing popsicles are made with a few ingredients that may be already in your kitchen: sugar, water, cream, strawberries, blueberries and mint. Little children and big kids alike will love them.
Just started summer and already feel like it's a treat overload for the kids? This no-bake recipe is juicy and delicious and screams summer fun. Top it with yogurt, dark chocolate chips, your favorite fiber-filled berries (raspberries and blueberries are pretty, but anything goes) and then just slice it up.
This patriotic dessert is red and white thanks to the creamy raspberry, strawberry and cream filling. Top with some blueberries and this refreshing frozen pie turns into a sweet salute to the flag.
How pretty in pink is this no-bake, summery strawberry cake? The recipe is completely customizable and takes no effort to put together, with only 15 minutes of prep time, which is perfect when feeding a crowd.
There's no need to create a fancy lattice for this pie. Bring out the best of blueberries and pile them high in a super easy, free-form pie shell that comes together with just four ingredients.
You don't need an ice cream machine to make this decadent blueberry cheesecake ice cream. This is definitely a project anyone can take on. To develop a deeper flavor in her no-churn ice cream, Jocelyn Delk Adams first cooks the blueberries.
This wonderfully nutty crisp can be easily baked in a skillet. Feel free to swap out the peaches for another sweet summer fruit. Or try a combination of blueberries, raspberries, apricots, cherries, plums and strawberries, as long as the fruit is ripe and juicy.
We're big fans of shortcut desserts, which is why this showstopper makes the list of Fourth of July favorites! Make it look even more impressive by piping the whipped cream on top using a large star-shaped piping tip.
These patriotic popsicles are as festive as the store-bought kind but are made with real fruit so you know that you (or your kids) are eating the good stuff. Each layer only has two or three ingredients.
"Cornbread and sweet potatoes were two things that could consistently be found at my dinner table growing up. These two dishes were a crucial staple on the plates of my ancestors — and this dish reimagines them by combining them," Will Coleman says about his cobbler, which starts with warm spices, maple syrup, sweet potatoes, plums and blackberries and ends with a cornbread crumble.
Honey-balsamic blueberry pie might sound unexpected but it's supremely sensational! A touch of tangy sweet balsamic vinegar combined with honey, cinnamon and a pinch of freshly ground black pepper magnifies the sweetness of the blueberries.
The secret behind the ultimate Rice Krispies recipe is, of course, the Marshmallow Fluff. It keeps the treats moist and, along with mini marshmallows, really amps up that toasty, buttery flavor that some treats lack.
Enjoy summer's bounty of seasonal fruit with this crumble oozing with natural sweetness. It's versatile in that you can use one fruit that looks great at the market or a mixture what you have on hand. Peaches, raspberries, blueberries and strawberries all work beautifully.
During summer, you can bet on an abundance of fresh fruit. Instead of letting extra stone fruits and berries go to waste, put them to use in this delicious tart. The flavors will blend together seamlessly and guests will definitely be impressed.
Ever heard of a blueberry buckle? Dylan hadn't until she met her husband. Like a moist blueberry-packed crumb cake with hints of warm spice from the cinnamon and ginger, it's a lovely summer treat.
No need to turn on the oven! Featuring fresh fruits, rich golden Oreo cookies and homemade coconut whipped cream, this almost-vegan, no-bake icebox cake is the perfect dessert for spring and summer. And it's great for parties because you can make it the day before!
This amazing, eye-catching pie will be sure to have guests asking if they can have s'more. It incorporates all the elements of the classic campfire treat into a rich, decadent pie that's impossible to resist.
Pre-made cookies and store-bought ice cream make a lovely and easy dessert. Assemble it ahead of time and let it chill in the freezer until you're ready to dig in.
"I love this dish because it's easy and elegant," says Padma Lakshmi. "No one wants to turn on their ovens in the summer, so this no-bake dessert is a real crowd-pleaser."