10 easy red, white and blue recipes for July 4th

·6 min read

If you're like us, you looked at a calendar and realized that Fourth of July barbecue you've been planning is coming sooner than you thought.

And now, facing down the week's other responsibilities, you're out of time to dig through your cookbooks or sift through Google.

To cut down on search time, we've rounded up a variety of sweet, savory and delicious recipes to elevate your Independence Day spread. And, even better, they're all red, white and blue foods to keep your party patriotic and they're easy to make too.

Check out the ideas we found most enticing for celebrating below.

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Blueberry kuchen

Kristen Coffield's blueberry kuchen
Kristen Coffield's blueberry kuchen

Growing up, we had this every Fourth of July, Memorial Day, neighborhood block party — you name it. Whatever warm weather holiday or occasion was on the calendar, a blueberry kuchen was on the table. This sweet fruit tart is delicious a la mode and perfect for summer.

With Kristen Coffield's version calling for seven ingredients and six steps, this summer favorite is a winner every time.

And, it can be made even more festive with an addition.

“You can add fresh raspberries to the topping and then sprinkle with confectionary sugar," Coffield told USA TODAY in an email. "This makes for a festive red, white and blue presentation.”

Red, white and blue fruit salad

Talk about easy — and a fan favorite. Who doesn't love a fruit salad? As The Wiggles say, "yummy yummy."

Between raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, bananas, cherries, white peaches and watermelon, the red, white-ish and blue color range is easy to accomplish.

And there are ways to make your fruit salad stand out at a patriotic event, too. Two Healthy Kitchens provides tips on how to artfully prepare your Fourth of July fruit salad and on when to do so (think cookie-cutters for star shaping and how to avoid banana browning by adding the fruit right before serving, for instance).

Festive charcuterie board

July 4th charcuterie board can be built with cheese, crackers, salami and fresh fruits.
July 4th charcuterie board can be built with cheese, crackers, salami and fresh fruits.

Like a fruit salad, a charcuterie board requires less cooking and more assembly. And it can be done in patriotic shades.

Charcuterie boards leave room for plenty of creativity and for varying assemblies of tastes.

Tasty Oven's July 4th themed board recipe pairs sweet fruits — including watermelon, strawberries and raspberries — with savory items such as tomatoes, pepperoni and salami, along with cheeses like mozzarella pearls and white cheddar while adding sugary delights including mini marshmallows and M&Ms.

That said, all boards are open to interpretation. Choose whatever red, white and blue flavors you fancy.

Cheesecake stuffed strawberries

I'm drooling just thinking about these. I love cheesecake and I love strawberries — topped with a blueberry what could be better? Or more patriotic-looking?

Dessert Now Dinner Later offers a simple how-to on the no-bake dessert that looks as pretty on a platter as it will taste — and prep time is only 15 minutes. These are sure to please kids and adults at your party, and you can serve them as appetizers or dessert.

Red, white and blue flag cake

Ina Garten's "Flag Cake" recipe is sure to add a patriotic flare to your table and is structured from blueberries, raspberries and frosting.

A bit more labor-intensive, this cake takes 45 minutes to prep and quite a lot of butter — 6 and a quarter sticks for the cake and frosting altogether. But it serves 20-24 people, so who's counting?

Garten has shared this cake for several all-American celebrations and called it the "perfect baking project with the kids."

Cherry pie

What says Fourth of July more than a cherry pie?

There are a couple ways to tackle the cherry pie: One takes significant effort, the other is minimal.

The first, which calls for making the crust from scratch, as The Pioneer Woman directs in her recipe, takes more time and more effort. But who can beat a homemade crust?

If you have less time or baking confidence, a cherry pie can also be made easily with a pre-made crust. Pillsbury, the pie dough and crust producer, has a recipe on its website using four ingredients including the brand's pre-made crusts, pre-mixed cherry pie filling, milk and sugar.

If you're gluten free, pre-made pie shells can be found on Instacart and sometimes in Trader Joe's.

Red, white and blue popsicles

Patriotic Red White Blue Popsicles for 4th of July holiday.
Patriotic Red White Blue Popsicles for 4th of July holiday.

July 4th weekend is typically warm — or sweltering — making it the perfect holiday to provide your guests with popsicles.

One important thing to note: This recipe requires popsicles sticks, popsicle molds and a blender. Once you have those supplies, with only four ingredients to consider (strawberries, blueberries, coconut milk and granulated sugar) these will be a breeze to assemble, freeze and enjoy.

If you're not a fan of any of these ingredients, Cooking Therapy recommends substitutions: Raspberries for strawberries, Greek yogurt to replace coconut milk, other fruits and blue food coloring to avoid using blueberries and agave sweetener in place of sugar.

Red, white and blue corn tostadas

The perfect combo of salty and crunchy, Frugal Nutrition's red, white and blue corn tostadas are simple, easy to make and cost effective.

They're baked, not fried, so they land on the healthier side of things and are vegetarian to boot. Assemble the stacks using blue corn tortillas, smashed white beans, tomatoes or salsa and a salty cheese such as queso fresca, cotija or feta.

Frugal Nutrition estimates that the recipe, which is designed to serve six, comes out to just under $5 to make, or just over 80 cents a person.

Berry vodka soda

We can't be without libations at a party, now can we?

In addition to the easy on-theme drinks like red and white wines, EatingWell has a recipe for a berry vodka soda made with thawed frozen berries, seltzer water and vodka, providing a light and refreshing option for Fourth celebrations.

And for those who don't want to drink alcohol, that Berry vodka soda could be altered to be sans-vodka — a thawed berry soda (and if that's not appealing to you, there are plenty of non-alcoholic beverage options on the market right now).

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Red, white, and blue wine sparklers

"Light" on alcohol and heavy on festive-vibes, Fox and Briar's red, white, and blue wine sparklers are meant to be sessionable, meaning easy to drink especially on a hot day.

The cocktail, which can be made in a batch for pitcher pours, is made with white wine, fruit and sparkling water and can be made a day in advance, saving you an extra step of prep day-of barbecue.

Check out these recipes to up your kitchen game: 

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: July 4th party foods that dazzle in red, white and blue