Patriotic Pastries
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31 Spectacular Fourth of July Desserts to Impress the Neighbors

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Patriotic Pastries
leekris/istockphoto

Patriotic Pastries

July 4th is just around the corner, and while we're celebrating America's independence, why not celebrate your natural gifts for making very impressive desserts? Oh, you're not a naturally gifted dessert-maker? No matter. We've rounded up 35 over-the-top desserts that are both easy to execute and patriotically themed. While these are all stunners, you can always make any of them even more festive with accessories like sparklers, America flag toothpicks, or by plating them on plates and stands with a patriotic theme. You could also use your culinary independence to go the more-savory route. Either way, use your imagination, and be prepared to very gracefully accept a host of compliments about your stellar entertaining.

Grilled donuts
Grilled donuts by Jenni Konrad (CC BY-NC)

Strawberry Shortcake Grilled Doughnuts

Even just the word "doughnut" makes people light up. We don't know what saying the name of this recipe will do, but be prepared for some elation. Mention that you made the doughnuts yourself and brace yourself to receive an award on the spot.

Recipe: Half-Baked Harvest

Flag Cake
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Flag Cake

Ina Garten may not have invited us all to her Hamptons home for the holiday, but she did create this delicious sheet cake recipe, so we can probably forgive her for not summoning us to the tonier side of Long Island.

Recipe: Food Network

Watermelon Pizza
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Watermelon Pizza

Trust an almost 135-year-old American magazine to give us a recipe that's festive, scrumptious, and not terrible for the waistline. We'd never heard of watermelon pizza before, but boy are we excited about it now.

Recipe: Good Housekeeping

Mixed Berry Trifle
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Mixed Berry Trifle

This decadent red, white, and blue trifle is both elegant and patriotic, so keep your phone nearby to nab a shot for social media before your guests dig in.

Recipe: Saving Room for Dessert

Red Velvet-Blueberry Ice Cream Pie
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Red Velvet-Blueberry Ice Cream Pie

When you hear the name of this dessert, you probably first think, "Yum!" and then, "Oh, but that's probably hard to make." Fear not — it's only five ingredients, and comes together quickly and beautifully. Thank you, "Food Network."

Recipe: Food Network

Vodka-Soaked 'Firecracker' Berries
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Vodka-Soaked 'Firecracker' Berries

For the grownups, these boozy firecracker strawberries will be the perfect way to get the celebration going. The recipe only requires 10 minutes, leaving you time to work on other parts of the meal or maybe even make another dessert! The spirit-inspired recipe calls for vodka but if you prefer tequila or rum, use that instead.

Recipe: Delish

Fourth of July Cake Roll
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Fourth of July Cake Roll

Your friends who binged "The Great British Baking Show" on Netflix will be so impressed by this cake. OK — everyone will be impressed by this cake.

Recipe: Taste and Tell

No Bake Patriotic Cheesecake
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No Bake Patriotic Cheesecake

Don't feel like spending more time in a hot kitchen? This dessert is here for you. After setting up in the freezer, it's the perfect refreshing end to a backyard celebration.

Recipe: Down Redbud Drive

Fireworks Sugar Cookie Cake
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Fireworks Sugar Cookie Cake

Sugar cookies may not be the first things that come to mind when you think "impressive desserts," but when this cake-sized version hits the celebration, it'll be anything but boring. Familiar flavors, but in a bold presentation worthy of your party.

Recipe: Crazy for Crust

Red, White, and Blue Meringues
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Red, White, and Blue Meringues

We can just hear the neighbors exclaim, "You made us meringues?!" No one has to clue them in that meringues are actually quite easy to make. These will be just the ticket, with their patriotic pizzazz.

Recipe: Farmgirl Gourmet

Berry Tart With Brown Butter Shortbread Crust
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Berry Tart With Brown Butter Shortbread Crust

Chefs everywhere are obsessed with nutty, toasty brown butter (another thing that sounds much harder to make than it is). This recipe utilizes that lovely flavor, which becomes ethereal when paired with fresh summer berries.

Recipe: Bakerita

Buzzed Cherry Bombs
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Buzzed Cherry Bombs

Whether you serve these at the end of the meal for dessert or as a welcome nibble to start things off on the right foot, your guests will love them. Feel free to sub in another flavor of vodka for the vanilla version.

Recipe: Frosting and a Smile

Jell-O Pudding Pops
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Jell-O Pudding Pops

If you and your friends have '80s nostalgia, this recipe will delight your palates and soothe your '80s-loving souls. The homemade magic shell is a tasty addition, but totally optional if you'd rather leave it off.

Recipe: No. 2 Pencil

Red, White, and Blue Stained Glass Jello Stars
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Red, White, and Blue Stained Glass Jello Stars

Speaking of Jell-O, these little bite-sized stars are a delightful and refreshing treat for your July 4th. Why draw stars on your pastries with frosting when you can serve actual star-shaped treats?

Recipe: Brown Eyed Baker

Patriotic Panna Cotta Shooters
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Patriotic Panna Cotta Shooters

Panna cotta already sounds impressive, and would be lovely for any Independence Day party, but why not make it patriotic while you're at it? The edible glitter is optional, but a whole lot of fun.

Recipe: Sprinkle Bakes

Red, White, and Blue Candy Raspberry Bars
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Red, White, and Blue Candy Raspberry Bars

People may not serve candy bars as dessert very often, but most people also don't make their own patriotic versions for July 4th parties. All we're saying is that these are a great option if you don't want to serve a huge dessert, but still want to make a confectionary impression suitable for our country's birthday.

Recipe: Cherry Tea Cakes

White Chocolate Mousse with Fresh Berries
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White Chocolate Mousse with Fresh Berries

Mousse is another dessert that sounds much trickier to make than it actually is. And, when you make it like this, it's both elegant and holiday-appropriate.

Recipe: Food52

Layered Fruit Flag Salad
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Happy 4th of July Flag Cake
Happy 4th of July Flag Cake by Andreas Ivarsson (CC BY)

Ice Cream Flag Cake

Honestly, we would be thrilled if we were served an ice cream cake — and a homemade one, at that! — on one of the hottest holidays of the year. But this recipe takes it above and beyond. You couldn't ask for a better dessert for the 4th.

Recipe: Food52

Goat Cheese Cake with Mixed Berries
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Goat Cheese Cake with Mixed Berries

Goat cheese sounds (and is) fancy and elegant, so why not make this rustic, not-too-sweet recipe for the 4th? Use a high-quality, American-made goat cheese for maximum USA pride.

Recipe: Food & Wine

Ice Cream Cone Cupcake
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Ice Cream Cone Cupcake

Want an ice cream cone? Or do you want a cupcake? Why settle for just one? Make this recipe for the best of both worlds. Bonus if you can find red, white, and blue ice cream cones.

Recipe: Our Family of Seven

Patriotic Popcorn
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Patriotic Popcorn

Enjoying dessert while watching the fireworks? Make this tasty version and your guests will be dazzled. Meanwhile, you've put in minimal effort! Win-win.

Recipe: JaMonkey

Patriotic Parfaits
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Patriotic Parfaits

There's nothing like serving dessert in a mason jar to say, "This dessert both tastes and looks beautiful, but will be neither fussy nor overdone." These overdeliver on flavor and feel fresh, yet decadent.

Recipe: Woman's Day

Cake Ball Flag Cake
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Cake Ball Flag Cake

And, in the "totally fun" category, this deconstructed cake is really quite easy to make, but with a bit of strategic presentation, is a real stunner. For extra pizzazz, insert sparklers!

Recipe: Betty Crocker

Blueberry Pie
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Simply the Best Blueberry Pie

Sometimes, the old staple desserts, with just a bit of extra sparkle, are the best way to wow a crowd. This pie with Fourth of July stars on the top crust will impress your guests, especially with a dollop of whipped cream on top. How much more summery could you get?

Recipe: Sally's Baking Addiction

Hot Dog Cake
Hot Dog Cake by Rex Roof (CC BY)

Hot Dog Pull Apart Cupcake Cake

This recipe isn't quite America-themed, but also isn't quite not America-themed. What's more American than hot dogs? Or even cupcakes? They were invented in the U.S. Put them together, and you've got the perfect Independence Day treat.

Recipe: Food Network

Patriotic Glazed Funfetti Donuts
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Patriotic Glazed Funfetti Donuts

Here's a recipe for doughnuts guaranteed to put a smile on the face of anyone who eats them. They're patriotic, swirly, sparkly, and delicious.

Recipe: Inside Bru Crew Life

Red White and Blue Berry Coconut Slushies
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Red White and Blue Berry Coconut Slushies

Perfect for a hot summer day, this recipe offers a refreshing Fourth of July-themed treat. Add some booze if you want — tequila, vodka, or rum would work well.

Recipe: Kitchen Confidante

Blue and Red Berry Ricotta Galette
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Blue and Red Berry Ricotta Galette

Blogger Deb Perelman is known for her delicious, everyday-friendly recipes, and this gorgeous galette is no exception. There's no need to tell your guests that "galette" is French for "pie, but way easier to make." OK, that's not a direct translation, but still … you get the point.

Recipe: Smitten Kitchen

Patriotic Ice Cream Sandwich
Patriotic Ice Cream Sandwich by Ann (CC BY)

Patriotic Ice Cream Sandwiches

It's ice cream! It's a sandwich! It's July 4th-appropriate! Wins all around for this recipe pairing chocolate flavor with patriotic M&Ms and sprinkles.

Recipe: Two Sisters Crafting

Jello Shots
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Jello Shots

Hosting an all-adult celebration this year? Why not start out the festivities with these Jell-O shots? They're 100% guaranteed to get the fun (and patriotism) going.

Recipe: Hoosier Homemade