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Easy 4th of July dessert recipes: Ice cream sandwich cake, s'mores cups and more

Anna Helm Baxter makes July 4th entertaining easy with her ice cream sandwich cake, giant crispy cereal treat, s'mores cups, watermelon "pizzas" and more.
/ Source: TODAY

I love hosting a party for Independence Day, but I'm not a fan of sweating over a hot grill. I like to invite my guests over for snacks and sweet treats before the fireworks begin. The key is keeping the recipes simple but fun and — of course — patriotic! Whether it's a DIY watermelon pizza bar or ice cream sandwich cake, your guests are sure to be impressed by these tried and tested ideas, recently featured in Parents magazine!

Watermelon Dessert 'Pizza'

Equal parts refreshing and indulgent! Watermelon pizzas are made using thick slices of baby watermelon and are such an easy way to serve dessert. I love to set up a mix and match toppings bar so guests can make their own.

Independence Ice Cream Cake

I'm a big fan of shortcut desserts, which is why this showstopper is one of my favorites! Make it look even more impressive by piping the whipped cream on top using a large star-shaped piping tip.

S'mores Mess

S'mores Mess

Anna Helm Baxter

Try this fun twist on a old-time classic. I like to use half cream and half Greek yogurt to make it healthy-ish and to cut through the sweetness. Don't worry — it's not as messy as a traditional s'mores!

All-American Crispy Cake

All-American Crispy Cake

Anna Helm Baxter

Bigger is always better! This giant crispy cereal treat is an eye-catching delight and sweet way to finish off Fourth of July festivities. It also doubles as décor and adds a festive touch to your holiday table.

Arnold Palmer Slushy

My twist on the old Arnold Palmer is to add orange juice and turn it into a slushy. Use a star shaped ice cube tray to freeze iced tea to add a splash of patriotic fun to this simple boozy lemonade cocktail.

Nathan Congleton / TODAY


  • Iced tea
  • Lemonade
  • Orange juice
  • Bourbon (optional)


Freeze equal amounts of ice tea, lemonade and orange juice ice in ice cube trays then crush in a blender to serve. Turn this delicious drink into an alcoholic version with a splash of bourbon.

If you like those festive July 4th recipes, you should also try these:

Bacon S'mores

Bacon S'mores

Dan Whalen