Master Fourth of July With These Make-Ahead Party Tips

We're helping you enjoy your own party this year.

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July has really snuck up on me this year. But to be honest, I’m okay with that since it means I get to celebrate the Fourth of July in only a matter of days! My family goes crazy for the Fourth. We’re talking a collaborated family party with all our friends and family complete with tasty foods, refreshing summer sips and of course, a spectacular fireworks display. This year, I’ve decided to get ahead of the game by planning some important things I can do ahead of time in order to have more time on party day to relax and enjoy the day. Hopefully you can do the same!

The Food

Fourth of July Burgers

Fourth of July Burgers

No Fourth of July party is complete without burgers. Serve bite-sized sliders in lieu of large sandwiches so guests have plenty of room to eat all the other delicious food.

Photo by: Cheyenne Mojica Photography

Cheyenne Mojica Photography

Certain things, like grilling your burgers, will need to be done at the party, but there are some ways to get a head start. For everybody’s favorite main course, go ahead and mix up your hamburger (and bacon!) and form the patties. Then add your dry ingredients just before grilling for the most perfect, moist burgers.

Pro Tip: Wait until just before grilling to add salt to your burger, and only add it to the outside. Salt can actually break down and dissolve muscle proteins, resulting in a very dry, tough burger (And nobody wants that, right?).

Make This: Bacon Burger

Throw a Vintage Country Fair-Inspired Party

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Vintage County Fair-Inspired Fourth of July Party

Take a cue from Uncle Sam, and host a county fair-themed Fourth of July party complete with vintage inspired decor and throwbacks to classic American foods.

Photo By: Cheyenne Mojica Photography

Rustic Utensil Display

Fourth of July festivities practically beg for vintage decor, so put favorite nostalgic items to use. Old cheese boxes and blue Mason jars provide storage for forks, knives and spoons.

Festive Color Palette

Keep this holiday's iconic color palette chic by sticking to a simple color palette of primarily white and blue and displaying items like linen napkins in vintage containers.

Photo By: Cheyenne Mojica Photography

Cheerful Napkin Rings

Punch a small hole in our free downloadable printable, and secure with string around a napkin to wish guests a "Happy Fourth of July" in a festive way.

Photo By: Cheyenne Mojica Photography

Vintage-Inspired Decor

Mason jars make perfect containers when adorned with vintage trimmings. Simply wrap thick ribbon or fabric around a jar, and secure with double-sided tape before adding a layer of bakers twine.

Photo By: Cheyenne Mojica Photography

Classic Fare

No Fourth of July party is complete without burgers. Serve bite-sized sliders in lieu of large sandwiches so guests have plenty of room to eat all the other delicious food available. Try our bacon beef burger recipe>>

Photo By: Cheyenne Mojica Photography

Miniature Fruit Pies

Mini fruit pies are a necessity when hosting summer's most popular holiday. Try our champagne-glazed fruit tart recipe>>

Photo By: Cheyenne Mojica Photography

Healthy Fruit Cups

Put a healthy spin on dessert by filling a small ramekin with fresh juicy berries and star-shaped sugar cookies.

Photo By: Cheyenne Mojica Photography

Star-Shaped Sugar Cookies

As a nod to the American flag, top the miniature pies with cookie dough cut into star shapes. Use your favorite cookie recipe or a classic sugar cookie recipe.

Frozen Watermelon Slices

Serve frozen watermelon slices on decorative sticks to help guests cool off.

Photo By: Cheyenne Mojica Photography

Signature Drink

Keep everyone hydrated by serving a refreshing signature drink like mint and lemon-infused iced tea, or make our cardamom berry smash drink>>

Photo By: Cheyenne Mojica Photography

Ring Toss Sign

Challenge guests of all ages to a game of ring toss. Everyone will be excited for a throwback to childhood. Download our free Americana-themed printables, and make your own ring toss game with our easy instructions.

Star-Shaped Confetti Bags

Play it safe with the little ones! In lieu of handing out sparklers, hand out favor bags filled with star-shaped confetti, and toss in the air to celebrate our great country.

Popcorn Party Favors

Send guests home with kettle popcorn party favors as a thank you for joining the fun. Get the instructions here>>

Photo By: Cheyenne Mojica Photography

Grilled Fruit Skewers

Grilled Fruit Skewers

Don’t forget about the scrumptious sides. These tasty fruit skewers can be assembled the night before and refrigerated until the party. For an extra delicious twist, try tossing them on the grill and adding a ricotta cheese or yogurt dip.

Find More Fourth of July Recipes

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Patriotic Ice Pops

Layers of raspberry, yogurt and blueberry make these icy pops the perfect festive treat for your Fourth of July celebration. Get the Recipe>>

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Peanut Butter Cookie Ice Cream

This rich, creamy ice cream is made with real peanut butter cookies and will be a huge hit with all your peanut butter-loving friends. Get the recipe>> 

From: Chrissy Barua

Tomato Burrata Crostini

The flavor and juice from the heirloom tomatoes combined with the cheese and toast create a flavorful bite-sized treat that's easy to eat. Plus, they will add color to your party other than the traditional red, white and blue. Get the recipe>>

Best Potato Salad

This potato salad recipe is a great companion to burgers or hot dogs, or can be served on its own. Get the recipe >>

Grilled Mexican Corn

Spices, lime juice and cotija cheese bring extra flavor to classic grilled corn on the cob, adding Mexican-inspired flair to your outdoor barbecue. Get the recipe>>

Patriotic Panna Cotta Shooters

Panna cotta shooters will surely cool you and your Fourth of July guests off. Give the shooters an American-inspired spin by layering them in red, white and blue. Get the recipe>>

Clementine Sorbet

Your guests will appreciate a refreshing frozen treat during the heat of the day. Give this clementine sorbet the presentation it deserves by using the clementine shells as bowls. Get the recipe>>

Blue Velvet Cupcakes

Put a spin on red velvet cake while showing your patriotism. Blue gel food coloring gives this recipe its patriotic blue color. Top it off with a star-shaped cake piece to really make it a special Fourth of July treat. Get the recipe>>

Spiked S'mores Pie

Add a little twist to your favorite camp-time treat. This s'mores pie is topped with a bourbon ganache to give it an extra-smoky flavor. Get the recipe>>

Frozen Hot Chocolate Cocktail

Make the frozen version of the all-time favorite hot chocolate recipe, and top it with chocolate shavings and whipped cream for a rich flavor. Get the recipe>>

Nacho-Stuffed Potato Skins

Nothing says summer barbecue like stuffed potato skins. Top these skins with bacon, beans and guacamole to keep your guests full and happy. Get the recipe>>

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

This  fluffy chocolate-peanut butter chip cookie is pild with marshmallows, caramel and peanut butter cups. Slice it like cake, and serve it warm with ice cream. Get the recipe>>

From: Heather Baird

Freedom Martini

To make, add 1 ounce cream liqueur, 1/2 ounce banana-flavored liqueur, 1/2 ounce ginger liqueur and 1 ounce pineapple juice to a mixing glass. Fill glass 2/3 full with ice, cap with tin and shake vigorously for 10 seconds. Strain into martini glass. Recipe courtesy of The Melting Pot

Photo By: The Melting Pot

Grilled Fruit Skewers

Grilling fruit may not sound appetizing, but it gives the fruit a caramelized flavor that your guests will love. Pair them with unexpected dips like ricotta cheese and yogurt. Get the recipe>>

Lemon Cupcakes

This bright and refreshing cupcake recipe is made with Limoncello, a lemon-flavored Italian liqueur, adding an extra touch of citrus flavor. Top it with lemon candy and mint leaves to give it a summertime look. Get the recipe>>

Chile and Lime Cashews

Ancho chile pepper, chipotle pepper and lime juice give these nuts a zesty punch. Serve them with your favorite brew for a true pub-style gathering. Get the recipe>>

Watermelon Cake

The inside of this "cake" is actually a generous portion from a watermelon. This refreshing treat is topped with fluffy frosting, sliced almonds and fresh fruit. Get the recipe on HGTVGardens.com>>

Bourbon Cherry Vanilla Coke Slush

Go back to your childhood with a cocktail that tastes just like a cherry slushy. To make, combine 1-1/2 ounces cherry bourbon, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 4 pitted cherries, 3 ounces Coke and one cup of ice in a blender. Blend until it forms a slushy consistency. Pour in a glass, and garnish with cherries.

©BLACK+DECKER, Chef Spike Mendelsohn

Grilled Cumin Shrimp Avocado Gazpacho

Give your guests an easy appetizer that looks like it took you hours to make. The avocado gazpacho tones down the spicy flavor of the grilled shrimp. Get the recipe>>

Confetti Ice Cream Sandwiches

Help your guests cool off during your outdoor party with homemade blondie ice cream sandwiches. The colorful jimmies inside the ice cream and sandwich cookie add a festive touch. Get the recipe>>

From: Heather Baird

Cardamom Berry Smash

The exotic spices in this blackberry juice, mixed with cardamom syrup and citrus botanicals, provide instant relief from the summer heat. Add some gin to really kick it up a notch. Get the recipe>>

Bacon Beef Burgers

Try adding bacon to your burger a different way. This burger recipe calls for half ground bacon and half ground beef for a flavor you can't pull off by just topping a burger with bacon strips. Get the recipe>>

Cascade Cocktail

To make, add 1/2 ounce orgeat syrup and two fresh strawberries to a mixing glass. Muddle until strawberries are broken down and incorporated into syrup. Add 1 1/2 ounces gin, 1/2 ounce lemon juice and dash of bitters to the same mixing glass. Fill glass 2/3 full with ice, cap with tin and shake vigorously for 10 seconds. Strain into a footed pilsner glass filled with ice. Add more ice if necessary, and top with wheat beer. Squeeze an orange wedge and discard, and garnish with a skewer of candied ginger cube and an orange slice. Recipe courtesy of The Melting Pot

Photo By: The Melting Pot

Hop, Skip and Go Naked Punch

This punch recipe takes the classic lemonade recipe to the next level. The addition of beer and Canadian whiskey will have your guests coming back for more. Get the recipe>>

Photo By: STEPHEN MURELLO

Mini Tacos

To save you time the day of your party, make these mini tacos the night before and assemble them right before serving. This recipe will satisfy guests that don't like barbecue food. Get the recipe>>

Austin City Lemonade

To make, add 1 1/2 ounces lemon vodka, 1/2 ounce ginger liqueur, 1/2 ounce lemon juice, 1/2 ounce simple syrup and three fresh raspberries to a mixing glass. Fill the glass 2/3 full with ice, cap with a tin, and shake vigorously for 10 seconds. Strain into a highball glass filled with ice, top with club soda and garnish with a skewer of raspberries. Recipe courtesy of The Melting Pot

Photo By: The Melting Pot

Pie Pops

Make your dessert the center of attention by serving miniature pies on sticks. Place the sticks in floral foam, and put them in a basket for an easy treat you can take with you anywhere. Get the recipe>>

Pom-Berry Bellini

The rich red color of this pomegranate bellini is the perfect way to show your patriotism. Serve it with champagne and no alcohol so both adults and kids can enjoy. Get the recipe>>

Tropical Margarita

Skip the bottled mix, and whip up a classic lime margarita with a summery, tropical twist instead. Get the recipe>>

Tags: 
  1. margarita

Photo By: H. Camille Smith

Food Network Creamy Greek Salad Layered Dip

Food Network Creamy Greek Salad Layered Dip

Layer fresh Greek salad toppings over a cool yogurt dip with sweet cucumber and creamy feta cheese for a refreshing, lighter-tasting option at parties.

Photo by: Via Food Network

Via Food Network

To keep guests at bay while the burgers are grilling, serve up this delicious Greek salad dip. It can be easily prepared in advance, and refrigerating it overnight will only enhance the flavors. Served cold, it’s also a great choice for a sizzling summer party.

Plus, 24 More Dips to Try

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French Onion Dip

Sweet caramelized onions and plenty of fresh thyme add bold flavor to brighten this hearty dip, inspired by French onion soup. Serve with cheesy baguette as the traditional soup garnish and endive for some pleasantly-bitter contrast to the richness. Get the recipe>>

Photo By: via Food Network

Crab Dip on Crostini

Keep ravenous guests at bay with this warm and creamy starter that features the fresh flavors of crab, corn and three different cheeses. Get the recipe>>

Supreme Pizza Dip

This hearty dip has the works: pepperoni, onions and bell peppers stirred into a thick tomato sauce, all topped with gooey melted cheese. Serve in a skillet and let your guests pile their baguette slices high with toppings, deep-dish style. Get the recipe>>

Photo By: Via Food Network

Spicy Ginger and Coconut Edamame Dip

The big flavor in this bright dip comes from spicy Sriracha, fresh ginger and coconut. Get the recipe>>

Photo By: Via Food Network

Olive Tapenade

Everyone will love this savory Kalamata olive and feta cheese dip on crunchy, toasted crostinis that you can whip up in just a few minutes. Get the recipe>>

Photo By: Debroah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Irish Nacho Dip

This savory dip (flavored with stout beer) is a great option for a St. Patrick's Day party, but we like it any time of the year! Get the recipe>>

Photo By: Abigail Barnes

Buffalo Chicken Dip

This one is even easier than you might think when you use a store-bought rotisserie chicken. Get the recipe>>

Photo By: Via Food Network

Alton Brown's Guacamole

For a no-fail recipe that is bound to please even the pickiest guest, give Alton Brown's guacamole a try. Get the recipe>>

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Creamy Potato and Roasted Red Pepper Dip

This tangy potato dip is loosely based on the classic Greek skordalia and gets zip from a hefty dose of blanched garlic and fresh lemon juice. A quick roasted red pepper sauce is spooned into the middle of the potatoes to add even more flavor to this crowd-pleasing appetizer. Get the recipe>>

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Bacon Beer Cheese

Cook 6 chopped bacon slices in a saucepan; remove, leave the drippings. Melt 2 tablespoons butter with the drippings. Add 1/4 cup flour and cook over medium heat, stirring, 2 minutes. Add 1 cup each cream and beer, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard and 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika; simmer 5 minutes. Stir in 2 cups grated cheddar until melted. Serve topped with chopped scallions and bacon. 

Photo By: Via Food Network

Thyme and Honey Ricotta Spread

Want to impress your guests even though you only have 10 minutes before your party starts? You can with this super simple ricotta spread. Get the recipe>> 

Photo By: Via Food Network

Southern Pimento Cheese

Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tenn., shares a Smoky Mountain-style recipe for pimento cheese fritters, ideal for serving at casual get-togethers or large dinner parties. Get the recipe>>   

Photo By: Photo courtesy of Blackberry Farm and Beall + Thomas Photography

Gorgonzola Spinach Artichoke Dip

Definitely big enough to feed a crowd, this savory spinach and artichoke dip is chock-full of cheesy goodness. Get the recipe>>

Photo By: Via Food Network

Hummus Trio

Three is not a crowd in this flavorful assortment of hummus. Using the same base for all three makes this an easy way to create variety. Just stir in different toppings right before serving. Whether your guests like their dip spicy, earthy or traditional, there will be something for everyone. Get the recipes>>

Red Pepper Hummus

For a little something extra, try your hand at this tasty hummus flavored with sauteed red peppers. Get the recipe>>

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Roasted Broccoli and Cheddar Cheese Dip

This savory dip features the classic combo of earthy broccoli and rich, tangy cheddar. Like most cheese dips it's best devoured immediately after it's prepared, while the sauce is piping hot. Be sure to use mild cheddar in this recipe since sharp cheddars tend to get grainy when cooked in this type of sauce. Get the recipe>>

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Queso Fundido con Chorizo

Cheese, beer, chorizo, yum. This warm party dip is so delicious, you might consider doubling up. Get the recipe>>

Tags: 
  1. party food

Photo By: Via Food Network

Greek Salad Layered Dip

Layer fresh Greek salad toppings over a cool yogurt dip with sweet cucumber and creamy feta cheese for a refreshing, lighter-tasting option at parties. Get the recipe>>

Photo By: Via Food Network

Gouda and Beer Fondue

This delicious fondue is served in a bowl that you can also eat once the fondue is gone. For heartier fare, serve the fondue with pieces of cooked bratwurst as well as the bread and fruit. Get the recipe>>

Photo By: Via Food Network

White Bean Dip

A lighter take on traditional bean dip, white bean dip is a great alternative for summer parties. Get the recipe>>

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Jalapeño Queso Fundido

Cheese stars in this spicy, beer-blasted dip, and grating your own makes all the difference. This dish is best served hot and fresh (not reheated), so wait until your guests have all arrived before popping it under the broiler. Get the recipe>> 

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Artichoke and Black Truffle Dip

Pair flatbreads and pitas with our savory Mediterranean-inspired dip that's served hot fresh out of the oven. Get the recipe>>

Beer Cheese Dip

This tangy and spicy cheese dip gets its kick from horseradish sauce. Serve it with pretzels or on toasted crostinis. Get the recipe>>

Easy Queso Blanco Dip

Creamy and smooth with just a hint of heat, this queso blanco is a definite crowd pleaser. Get the recipe>>

Photo By: Farima Alavi

The Drinks

Red, White & Blue Sangria

Red, White & Blue Sangria

This deliciously festive Red, White & Blue Sangria is the perfect colorful cocktail for your upcoming 4th of July get together!

Photo by: Flynnside Out Productions

Flynnside Out Productions

Now for the drinks. As the host or hostess, you probably don’t want to be mixing drinks all day or night. Try a large-batch cocktail like this festive sangria, and you can mix it and forget it.

15 Big-Batch Summer Cocktail Recipes

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Grapefruit Gin and Tonic

Our twist on the classic gin and tonic combines muddled mint, fresh pink grapefruit and sweet elderflower liqueur for a refreshing summer brew that will prove to be a major party pleaser. 

Make This: Grapefruit Gin and Tonic

Photo By: Jason Kisner ©Copyright Scripps Networks, 2016

The Lime in the Coconut

Made from coconut vodka, coconut water, pineapple puree, fresh-squeezed lime juice and a splash of cherry-lime sparkling water, this refreshing big batch cocktail is a summery twist on the classic vodka soda.

Make This: Lime in the Coconut Cocktail 

Photo By: Jason Kisner ©Copyright Scripps Networks, 2016

Coconut Mango Margarita

Not too sweet — but not too spicy — a blend of jalapeño, mango and coconut milk is a winning combination. You can make it in 10 minutes from start to finish, and no need for a high-powered blender because the recipe uses frozen mango cubes in lieu of ice cubes. 

Make This: Coconut Mango Margarita

Photo By: Jason Kisner ©Copyright Scripps Networks, 2016

Boozy Berry Patch Lemonade

Fresh, ripe berries + whiskey + tart lemonade = a not-too-sweet cocktail that's sure to please a crowd.

Make This: Boozy Berry Lemonade

Photo By: Jason Kisner

Coastal Citrus Punch

This refreshing punch can be made in a large glass jug and placed in a pail of ice for your summertime gathering. Place additional fruit and ice in glasses for a fun, decorative touch.

Make This: Coastal Citrus Punch

Pineapple Hibiscus Punch

Hibiscus tea, pineapple juice, rum and ginger simple syrup are the perfect mix of sweet, spicy and refreshing.

Make This: Pineapple Hibiscus Punch

Photo By: Jason Kisner ©Copyright Scripps Networks, 2016

Honeydew Green Tea

Blend fresh honeydew melon with ice and add it to green tea for a new fruity-flavored drink. 

Make This: Honeydew Green Tea

Photo By: Photographs by James T. Farmer III and Maggie Yelton from Sip & Savor by James T. Farmer III, reprinted with permission of Gibbs Smith

Oranges-and-Cream Punch

The flavors of this festive punch will bring you back to your childhood. Perfect for an outdoor gathering, bridal shower or Sunday brunch, this sunny concoction is easily doubled and great for a crowd. 

Make This: Oranges-and-Cream Punch

(Watermelon) Keg Party

Make a big batch of your favorite watermelon sip then turn the shell into a party serving vessel. Sweet!

Make This: Watermelon Keg

Sparkling Sunshine Punch

Adorn this tart and bubbly punch with pretty, yet simple to make, floating ice flowers.

Make This: Sparkling Sunshine Punch

Lemony Summer Shandy

This beer punch couldn't be easier to whip up, and its light, lemony flavor helps cool down hot summer days. Careful, though: The Canadian whiskey packs a punch. 

Make This: Lemonade-Beer Punch

Photo By: STEPHEN MURELLO

Rose and Lemon Sparkling Punch

Sparkling rosè and cranberry juice give this lemony punch its blush-pink hue, making it perfect for a summer picnic or bridal or baby shower. 

Make This: Sparkling Rosè Punch

Sparkling Summer Sangria

Dress up white wine and Prosecco with summer's freshest fruit and herbs. To keep the mixture cool, freeze the fruit unitl your party begins. 

Make This: Sparkling Summer Sangria

Tags: 
  1. sangria

Photo By: ALX Creatives

Red, White and Blue Sangria

For a patriotic take on sangria, decorate your pitcher with cookie-cutter fruit shapes in red, white and blue. 

Make This: Red, White and Blue Sangria 

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Refreshing Muscadine Sangria

This Southern spin on sangria features thick-skinned muscadine grapes, lime and white wine. 

Make This: Muscadine Sangria 

Photo By: Reprinted from the book "The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen" by Matt Lee and Ted Lee. Copyright © 2013 by Matt Lee and Ted Lee. Photographs copyright © 2013 by Squire Fox. Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, Inc.

Garden Sun Tea

Garden Sun Tea

Sun tea is an easy and refreshing drink to serve your guests during a backyard party. Place a tea bag in each clean and sterile mason jar you plan to use for tea. (Prepare the jars just like you would before canning.) Fill with cold water and let the jars sit in the and steep for 2-4 hours. Remove the tea bag and place the jars in the fridge or on ice until ready to serve.

For your non-alcoholic option, homemade sun tea couldn’t be tastier or more refreshing. In the morning before your party, add fresh herbs, berries, water and a tea bag to a Mason jar. From there, just let the sun do the work! Let your drinks steep for 2-4 hours, then remove the tea bag. Put them in the fridge, and they’ll be ready by party time!

The Sweets

Grilled Strawberry Shortcake Recipe

Grilled Strawberry Shortcake Recipe

To prepare for grilling your dessert, cut the tops off of the strawberries and use a cookie cutter to cut stars out of slices of pound cake. Place pieces of pound and berries alternately on the skewers until they are full. Grill over medium heat until your pound cake is lightly toasted and the berries are just beginning to soften. Cream together 4 ounces of softened butter and 4 ounces of softened cream cheese with 1 cup of powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon of milk and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Serve with fresh off the grill cake and berries.

Now on to the best part: desserts! Both adorable and delectable, we love this innovative take on strawberry shortcake. For a shortcut, buy the cake at the grocery store and use a star-shaped cookie cutter to make the stars. Add strawberries and blackberries on a skewer and grill lightly on medium heat just until the pound cake is slightly toasted. Serve with fresh cream, and your guests will be delighted.

Find More Dessert Inspiration Here

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Chocolate Panna Cotta

Top off the evening with something sweet and chic, like this creamy Italian custard. Your guests will enjoy digging in to each of the three delicious layers — dark chocolate, praline and vanilla. Get the recipe.

Lemon Meringue Tartlets

Topped with a toasty meringue, these tangy citrus treats are the perfect not-too-sweet ending to any meal. Get the recipe.

Photo By: She-N-He Photography

Pomegranate Blood Orange Tiramisu

Take advantage of in-season blood oranges to make this irresistible dessert that's sure to impress your dinner guests. Sweet-tart oranges and pomegranates pair perfectly with creamy mascarpone cheese. Get the recipe.

Chocolate Brownie Pudding

This chocolate brownie pudding is the ultimate sinful treat. One part brownie and one part molten lava cake, it's 100 percent delicious. Get the recipe.

Champagne-Glazed Fruit Tarts

These bite-size nibbles are the perfect light ending to a heavy meal. Glaze the mini tarts with leftover Champagne or sparkling wine for a sweet finishing touch. Get the recipe.

S'mores Spiked Pie

Kids may be tempted to dive right in to this take on the fire-side favorite but a heavy dose of bourbon makes this boozy, chocolate dessert adults only. Get the recipe.

Easy Tiramisu

This Italian trifle layers coffee-soaked ladyfingers with a rich mascarpone custard. Marsala wine, Grand Marnier and Kahlua give this traditional confection a sophisticated twist. Get the recipe.

Photo By: Cameron Reynolds Photography

Chocolate-Dipped Kettle Chips

We promise: You can't eat just one. Super-crunchy, salty, kettle-fried potato chips are the perfect canvas for a thick coating of chocolate. A thin layer of caramel and chopped nuts ensures this treat will satisfy all your cravings at once. Get the recipe.

Cashew Dulce de Leche Cookies

Dress up basic sugar cookies with chopped cashews, cinnamon and creamy dulce de leche for a new spin on a classic. Get the recipe.

Pumpkin Tiramisu Layer Cake

Top moist pumpkin-and-spice cake layers with rich mascarpone cream and crunchy amaretti cookies for a seasonal dessert your guests won't soon forget. Get the recipe.

Pineapple Tartlettes

Savory hints of ginger and rosemary add an unexpected flavor to this fresh and fruity dessert while the homemade nut crust is the just-right crunchy contrast to the smooth pastry cream. Get the recipe.

Cranberry Orange Linzer Cookies

Sweet and tart, these sandwich cookies combine two favorite seasonal flavors and taste just as good as they look. Get the recipe.

Limoncello Cupcakes

Send your guests off on a citrus-sweet note by topping light and fluffy cream cheese cupcakes with a homemade limoncello buttercream. Get the recipe.

Chocolate-Dipped Pumpkin Madeleines

These traditional French cookies are the just-right treat to serve at any fall get-together. They're also the not-too-sweet complement to a cup of tea and party of one. Get the recipe.

Lemon Curd Tart

Tangy lemon curd combined with fresh whipped cream, a homemade pie crust and gorgeous berries make this tart one for the record books. The pie crust is super easy to make, so don't fear. And the lemon curd filling will have you licking the bowl. Get the recipe.

Baklava With Nutella Glaze

This flaky, nutty, layered dessert is easier to make than you might think. Add a homemade Nutella glaze for a chocolatey twist. Get the recipe.

Cranberry Bliss Dacquoise Recipe

This impressive, towering dessert combines the flavors of cranberries and almonds with a decadent white chocolate mousse layered between homemade meringues. Make the components ahead of time and assemble just before serving to really wow your guests. Get the recipe.

Maple Nut Toffee

Take the traditional taste of toffee up a notch with the addition of real maple syrup. Topped with a layer of semisweet chocolate, it's hard to resist snacking on just one more piece. Get the recipe.

Tasty Pecan Tassies

Maple syrup adds a warm flavor to this nutty, bite-size dinner party classic. Get the recipe.

Pumpkin Mousse and Ginger Parfaits

Layers of creamy pumpkin mousse, crunchy graham cracker streusel and dense maple-ginger cake combine to create this delicious after-dinner treat. Get the recipe.

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Brownies Recipe

Treat your guests to rich cheesecake with the indulgent flavors of chocolate brownies and two kinds of chocolate chips. Get the recipe.

Carrot Cake Cookies Recipe

This iced cookie recipe is a refreshing twist on the classic cake. Best of all, you can spread the homemade cream cheese icing on top of each cookie or layer them to create a sandwich cookie. Get the recipe.

Pecan Pie Tartlets

Pecan pie is a can't-miss treat. Our twist turns them into mini hand-held tartlets, perfect for treating your guests to a dessert buffet or serving after a large meal when just a few bites are all you need. Get the recipe.

Photo By: She-N-He Photography

Salted Caramel-Topped Chocolate Brownies Recipe

Top dense, moist chocolate brownies with a gooey salted caramel layer for a decadent dessert worthy of a special occasion. Get the recipe.

The Perfect Pumpkin Pie Recipe

The pilgrims were onto something — dense, spicy pumpkin pie is a tried-and-true crowd pleaser. Our recipe adds a dash of sea salt to bring out the pumpkin's mild sweetness. Get the recipe.

Lemon Curd Tart With Berries

Lemon Curd Tart With Berries

Tangy and creamy, this fruit-topped tart is the just-right, not-too-sweet finish to your Thanksgiving dinner. Get the recipe: http://www.hgtv.com/entertaining/lemon-curd-tart-recipe/index.html

I’m already drooling over this lemon curd tart. Topped with berries, it can be made ahead of time and chilled in the fridge until your party. Bonus: it’s surprisingly easy to make!

Make This: Lemon Curd Tart

Red, White and Blue Berry Pops

Red, White and Blue Berry Pops

Beat the heat in style with this colorful holiday dessert.

Photo by: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Photo by Mick Telkamp

You can pretty much count on the Fourth of July to be toasty. Cool down your guests with these patriotic ice pops (which of course, you have to make ahead of time). Three colorful layers consisting of raspberry puree, creamy yogurt and blueberry puree look just as good as they taste!

The Decor

Fabric Rockets

Fabric Rockets

You can make lovely fabric rockets by covering an empty toilet paper roll with fabric. Cut a cone out of paper, or use a cone shaped paper cup and cover with fabric for the top. Hot glue the pieces together, and glue some ribbons to the bottom of your rocket. You can decorate with more ribbons, fabric or paint, or leave them as is. Line the walkway to your party with little rockets, or hang them from the trees and let them blow in the wind!

Whether you’re shooting off real fireworks or not, these sweet fabric-covered rockets are the perfect easy accessory for any Fourth of July party. Bonus: This is also a great way to upcycle old toilet paper rolls! Just cover the toilet paper roll with festive fabric, and add a cone on top (create your own cone shape or use a cone-shaped paper cup). Hot glue the pieces together, adding ribbon for extra flair!

Rocket and Pinwheel Wreath

Rocket and Pinwheel Wreath

Welcome your guests with a festive Fourth of July wreath by attaching your rockets and pinwheels to an empty wreath form. Include small, medium and large pinwheels to fill it in and add variety.

After you line your walkway with adorable rockets, make a few for a fabulous fireworks-inspired wreath. Also incorporate matching pinwheels in varying sizes for a patriotic wreath that will definitely impress your guests.

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Fourth of July Party Inspiration

Host a Fourth of July backyard celebration with a few simple ideas that will make your party really shine. This gallery is full of recipes for unusual grilled treats, fresh drinks and icy goodness. Click through, get inspired and craft your perfect outdoor party.

Grilled Fruit

Chances are you're used to barbecuing and eating watermelon during the warm summer months, but if you've never combined the two then now might be the perfect time. Grilled watermelon loses a bit of its sweetness, but keeps that signature watermelon flavor. So pull out the salt, pepper and olive oil and slap that melon on the grill.

Grilled Watermelon Recipe

Before grilling your watermelon, cut it into triangular slices, coat both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Grill each side on high heat until grill marks appear. Remove from the grill and sprinkle with pepper. Add a leaf of fresh basil and a slice of goat cheese to each slice and drizzle with balsamic glaze. Serve warm as is, or slice up for a yummy salad.

Garden Sun Tea

Sun tea is an easy and refreshing drink to serve your guests during a backyard party. Place a tea bag in each clean and sterile Mason jar you plan to use for tea. (Prepare the jars just like you would before canning.) Fill with cold water and let the jars sit in the sun and steep for 2-4 hours. Remove the tea bag and place the jars in the fridge or on ice until ready to serve.

Adding Flavors

You can add extra flavors to your sun tea by adding herbs, fruits and berries from the garden. In keeping with our Fourth of July theme, we used strawberries and blueberries! Wash the berries before placing them in the tea. Strawberries and basil work well together, and blueberries and mint are a tasty combo! Both work well with green tea.

Grilled Dessert

If the grill is already warm, go ahead and make dessert there too. Pull out the skewers, the berries and the pound cake and serve everyone grilled strawberry shortcake. We added blackberries to ours for a festive touch, and you can add any and all of your favorite berries.

Grilled Strawberry Shortcake Recipe

To prepare for grilling your dessert, cut the tops off of the strawberries and use a cookie cutter to cut stars out of slices of pound cake. Place pieces of pound cake and berries alternately on the skewers until they are full. Grill over medium heat until your pound cake is lightly toasted and the berries are just beginning to soften. Cream together 4 ounces of softened butter and 4 ounces of softened cream cheese with 1 cup of powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon of milk and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Serve with fresh-off-the-grill cake and berries.

An Icy Treat

These ginger, mint and lime popsicles are a deliciously refreshing treat for a hot summer day. Sliced strawberries and fresh blueberries look beautiful and add the perfect pop of fruit.

Ginger Mint Popsicle Recipe

Boil 1 cup of water, 1 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup sliced fresh ginger until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and stir in a packed half cup of fresh mint leaves. Let the syrup cool and strain out the leaves and ginger pieces. Add the juice of 6 medium limes and 1 quart of sparkling water. Fill popsicle molds with blueberries and strawberry slices and pour the ginger mint mixture over them. Freeze for 8 hours and enjoy.

DIY Fabric Pinwheels

It's quick and easy to make beautiful pinwheels out of your favorite fabric. You can find more colors and textures with fabric than with paper, and your pinwheels will look more sophisticated than the average plastic one. Simply use fabric glue to attach two squares of starched fabric together. Use 5" squares for an average sized pinwheel. Then cut diagonally from each corner towards the center, leaving an inch radius around the center uncut. Fold the left corner of each triangle in towards the center and stitch or glue in place. If you want your pinwheels to spin, use pinwheel centers from your local craft store.

Mini Pinwheel Bracelets

Looking for a cute craft for the kids or a fun party favor for guests? Make mini pinwheels and stitch or glue them to a festive ribbon. Tie the ribbon in a bow around your wrist for a charming bracelet.

Fabric Rockets

You can make lovely fabric rockets by covering an empty toilet paper roll with fabric. Cut a cone out of paper, or use a cone-shaped paper cup and cover with fabric for the top. Hot glue the pieces together, and glue some ribbons to the bottom of your rocket. You can decorate with more ribbons, fabric or paint, or leave them as is. Line the walkway to your party with little rockets, or hang them from the trees and let them blow in the wind.

Rocket and Pinwheel Wreath

Welcome your guests with a festive Fourth of July wreath by attaching your rockets and pinwheels to an empty wreath form. Include small, medium and large pinwheels to fill it in and add variety.

Floral Arrangements

Your rockets and pinwheels will also look amazing as part of a flower arrangement. Rather than going all red, white and blue, try using cream, pink and purple flowers. It will feel patriotic with a decorative touch. This arrangement of peonies and chive blossoms works perfectly with our pink, blue and purple pinwheels and rockets.

A Tall Arrangement

If you don't have a lot of space for flowers, try a tall arrangement instead of a wide one. These chrysanthemum blooms and blue false indigo are anchored by the peonies, but their height make the rocket look like it's about to soar into the clouds.

Mason Jar Star Lanterns

When the sun starts to set, you may want a little extra light while you wait for fireworks. Create these glowing star jars by placing star stickers on the outside of a clean mason jar. Use a sponge to apply white acrylic paint in a thin, even layer over the whole jar. Once dry, peel off the stickers to reveal the clear stars underneath. Light a candle in the jar and enjoy a mason jar full of twinkling stars!

The Festivities

How to Make a Corn Hole Game From Pallets

How to Make a Corn Hole Game From Pallets

Liven up your next backyard bash with this vintage inspired corn hole game made from old wooden pallets.

Photo by: Flynnside Out Productions

Flynnside Out Productions

You definitely don’t want to save coming up with entertainment ideas until the day of the party or you’ll likely find yourself racing from store to store looking for affordable outdoor games. Not ideal on your day off. Instead, consider a few classic yard games that all your guests will love. We adore these red, white and blue cornhole boards, and you can even make them yourself out of old pallets!

DIY Outdoor Movie Screen

DIY Outdoor Movie Screen

Make this DIY outdoor movie screen in less than an hour and turn your next outdoor get-together into a neighborhood movie night.

Photo by: Brian Patrick Flynn

Brian Patrick Flynn

Or, if guests are staying late, a midnight screening of "Independence Day" might be the perfect way to celebrate the day. Keep the party outside with a homemade movie screen you can use again and again.

469932680

469932680

Laughing little Afro girl and friends playing together on a water slide in their yard in the sun

Photo by: ©iStockphoto.com/wundervisuals

©iStockphoto.com/wundervisuals

Will you have kids at your party? Let them have some fun of their own with a DIY water slide. All you’ll need is a long tarp and a water hose for a warm-weather activity the kids will be looking forward to every year!

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