Fourth of July

17 Sweet & Simple Fourth of July Desserts

Our favorite summer pies, tarts, cookies, and no-churn ice creams.

May 14, 2020
Photo by Julia Gartland

One of my favorite ways to celebrate the Fourth of July is with a killer dessert table. When I was younger, I'd always make a beeline for the blueberry pie my mom would pick up from our favorite bakery in Florida, which was topped with at least two scoops of vanilla ice cream.

Today, I'm still a blueberry pie fanatic, but I've also added a handful of other sweet and simple treats (think: tarts, icebox cakes, no-churn ice creams, and cookies) to my repertoire so that I can satisfy any craving.

From a super-colorful tart starring the season's best fruits to chocolate-dipped mint ice cream sandwiches you can make days ahead of time, here are 17 easy dessert recipes to keep bookmarked for the Fourth of July holiday.


Our Best 4th of July Desserts

1. Dori Sanders' No-Churn Fresh Lemon Ice Cream

You don't need to turn on the stove to make this ultra-refreshing, sweet-tart lemon ice cream, thanks to this recipe from peach farmer and cookbook author, Dori Sanders. Just juice, zest, stir, and freeze.

2. Roasted Raspberry Peach Tart

You'll be hard pressed to find a more showstopping summer dessert than this roasted raspberry peach tart from our resident baking pro, Erin McDowell. But don't worry—this tart's easier to make than it looks, with a small ingredients list and extra-simple instructions.

3. Salted Chocolate Buckwheat Cookie

To say that I'm obsessed with these chocolate buckwheat cookies (that just so happen to be gluten-free) would be an understatement. Their pure chocolate flavor and soft, crumbly texture make it impossible to have only one...or six.

4. Raspberry Ice Cream Sandwiches

Prep the fresh raspberry ice cream and lemon-coconut shortbread a day or two ahead of July 4th so that all you have to do the day of is scoop, stack, and serve.

5. Mint Chocolate Harbor Bars

Harbor Bars—chocolate-dipped ice cream sandwiches made with soft chocolate chip cookies—might be a Maine thing, but they make the most refreshing treat no matter where in the world you happen to be.

6. Texas Ruby Red Grapefruit Cake

Bright, fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice stars in this pillowy-soft cake, while mint adds a light touch to the crunchy, sweet glaze that's drizzled over top; the whole thing's as simple as stirring the wet and dry ingredients together, and mixing the glaze in a bowl.

7. S'mores Icebox Cake

It wouldn't be summer without icebox cake, and this s'mores-inspired version is one of our all-time favorites. It's got all the usual suspects—graham crackers and marshmallows—plus a homemade chocolate pudding that stands in for a Hershey's bar.

8. Berry Summer Pudding

This berry-filled summer pudding from our co-founder, Merrill Stubbs, couldn't be easier to make. You'll need just white bread, sugar, summer berries, and heavy cream, which soak overnight and transform into a layered, fragrant sponge cake.

9. Bill Smith's Atlantic Beach Pie

It should come as no surprise that this Genius whipped, citrusy pie is one of our most popular of all time. Clocking in at just eight ingredients (including butter, sugar, and salt), it's unbelievably easy (some might even call it lazy) and tastes just like summer.

10. Blackberry, Rosemary & Yogurt Ice Pops

Bring on the nostalgia this Fourth of July with these blackberry and yogurt ice pops that look just like the rocket pops you had every summer as a kid.

11. Strawberry Lime Crostata

If you're really hoping to impress your friends and family, make them this gorgeous strawberry-lime crostata. The lime zest and juice (instead of the more typical rhubarb) brings out the sweetness of in-season strawberries and matches up nicely with the buttery crust.

12. Crispy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

These oatmeal chocolate chip cookies offer the best of both worlds: the rich, yet not overstated spice of chewy oatmeal cookies and the caramelly crunch of crispy chocolate chip cookies.

13. Oreo Dessert

In the words of EmilyC, who created this chocolatey, super-creamy recipe: "This dessert is true frozen bliss." Even better, it's totally no-bake—and quick, too.

14. J. Kenji López-Alt’s Ten-Minute Lime Cracker Pie

This dessert earned the Genius stamp of approval for many reasons, including the fact that it calls for just five ingredients (including Ritz crackers!).

15. 'World's Best Cake' With Banana & Coconut

This fluffy, perfectly sweet banana and coconut cake absolutely lives up to its title of "world's best." Don't believe me? Give it a try and see for yourself.

16. Cold Oven Pound Cake

The beauty of this tender pound cake is not only that you can top it any which way you like (whipped cream, berries, you name it), but also that it starts baking in a "cold" oven (meaning it's not preheated).

17. Berries & Cream Cupcakes

These berry-filled cupcakes skip the frosting but do have a sweet surprise at the center: a lemony cream cheese filling with bursts of fresh raspberries.

What desserts will you be whipping up this Fourth of July? Tell us in the comments below!

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Erin Alexander is the Associate Editor at Food52, covering pop culture, travel, foods of the internet, and all things #sponsored. Formerly at Men’s Journal, Men’s Fitness, Us Weekly, and Hearst, she currently lives in New York City.

3 Comments

boulangere June 12, 2019
Pay yourself a dessert (or brunch!) dividend:

https://food52.com/recipes/12744-macerated-summer-fruit-shortcakes-with-a-dividend
 
Kristy C. June 10, 2019
All these recipes look DELISH and would be beautiful on any summer table! I can't wait to make the berry pudding for my upcoming Fourth of July BBQ! You can see my post about it here: https://www.twofunnygirls.com/blog/2019/06/07/throw-a-festive-fourth-of-july-bbq/ !
 
dinaofdoom June 8, 2019
The Atlantic Beach Pie is a perennial favorite. Sooooo good. Perfect summer dessert.