September 24, 2021

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40 Memorial Day Desserts That Aren’t Just Flag Cake

6 min read

Memorial Day is the unofficial official start of summer. And while we love a kitschy red, white and blue cake as much as the next gal, we’d like to take this opportunity to celebrate all the in-season fruit and warm weather treats that make the season spectacular. With that in mind, here are 40 Memorial Day desserts that aren’t just flag cake, from cherry slab pie to grilled pineapple split sundaes.

RELATED: 76 Easy Summer Dinner Ideas That Everyone Will Love

Roasting marshmallows on a stick one at a time is fun and all, but we’re in it for the end game: digging in and getting chocolate all over our hands.

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Ripe summer berries don’t need much, but a bit of fluffy meringue and whipped cream never hurt.

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Want to know a secret? The cake is store-bought. (What? We’re not turning on the oven until September.)

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Roasting the strawberries really concentrates their flavor, so don’t skip that step. The rest is as easy as scooping a pint of vanilla ice cream.

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If you can make whipped cream, you’re already halfway there. And you can use store-bought chips if you want, but the homemade ones are *chef’s kiss*.

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Psst: It’s ready in ten minutes. The rainbow sprinkles are nonnegotiable, if you ask us.

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A fancy lattice pie is nice, but we’re all about the higher crust-to-filling ratio of a slab pie. (Plus, there’s more leftover for breakfast the next day.)

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Alright, you caught us. We couldn’t resist a little patriotic flair. The best part? All you need to do is assemble.

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Most cheesecakes fall under the “delicious but fussy” category. Not this beauty. There’s no water bath and you don’t even have to turn on the oven.

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The trick to a pretty pink crust is to add freeze-dried strawberries. Pick them up at Trader Joe’s or order some online.

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Whatever you do, don’t forget to snap a picture before you slice in. (You know, for your Instagram followers.)

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Our motto? You’re never too old to enjoy an ice pop. These are made with real fruit (and no dye), so they’re a little more grown up.

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Skip the obligatory fruit salad and head straight for the fruit cake. The base is versatile, so you could use another berry if your heart desires.

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With a press-in crust and easy filling, you’ll hardly have to lift a finger to reach this level of dessert bliss.

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The hardest part is choosing whether to eat this freeform pie with ice cream or whipped cream (or both).

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You likely already fired up the grill for dinner, so why not keep the flames burning? The cherry sauce can be made ahead, if you’re savvy like that.

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Sorry, kids. These babies are for adults only. (We’ll take any excuse not to share dessert.)

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If it’s too warm to turn on the oven, no worries. This entire dish comes together in your slow cooker, and all you have to do is press a button.

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Dare we say it? They’re even better than the ones from the ice cream truck.

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You don’t need a clunky ice cream maker to whip up a batch. You’re welcome.

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Buy five ice creams in various shades, wait for them to get a little melty and layer each in a pan to make a multicolored frozen masterpiece.

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You only have so many days to get your fill of this classic summer dessert, so why not get the ball rolling as early as possible?

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Peaches are really at their peak later in summer, but we love them so much we’re eating them now. Besides, a quick roast in the oven can make even ho-hum fruit taste delicious.

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You’re 35 minutes away from a chic, pie-like dessert. (Take that, double crust.)

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We didn’t think there could be a more refreshing way to enjoy watermelon than eating it freshly cut…and then we tried this beauty.

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Typically, angel food cake is finicky to make at home, but when you scale it down to cupcake size, it’s surprisingly simple.

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These soufflés are “choose your own adventure”—make raspberry, blueberry, blackberry or all three. You can use frozen fruit to keep things super simple.

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They’re just as fun to make as they are to eat, and the biscuit dough is store-bought. (Don’t tell anyone.)

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Skip the box from the freezer section and make your own—it’ll be so worth it. Save the leftover waffles for an epic breakfast in the morning.

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These are ready in less than an hour, so you can get on to more important things…like eating them.

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Here’s that beach vacation you ordered. One bite of this Insta-worthy treat and you’ll be immediately transported to Maui. Better yet, you don’t even need a shave ice machine to make it.

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It’s the perfect mashup between lemon meringue pie and a sugar cookie. The key is rubbing lemon zest into the sugar before you start for extra citrus flavor.

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Summer’s most delicious stone fruit doesn’t need much help in the flavor department. So, we just coat the peaches in butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla, then top them with dollops of biscuit dough before baking.

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All you need to pull this refresher off is a fork and a freezer. Feel free to juice some fresh cara cara oranges instead of blood oranges—they’re extra sweet.

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Between the backyard barbecue and the kids playing in the sprinkler, MDW always makes us feel super nostalgic. Up the ante with this homemade take on the best lunchbox snack of all time.

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So delicious, it’ll make you finally cave and buy an ice cream maker. Did we mention all the recipe calls for is the ripest cantaloupe you can find, fresh mint and a bit of sugar?

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We can hear the kids squealing over these handhelds already. Picture layers of vanilla and chocolate ice creams separated by homemade Oreo crust, all topped with fresh whipped cream.

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America’s most quintessential dessert is even more mouth-watering served in mini mason jars. How cute are those tiny crimped crusts topped with turbinado sugar?!

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Go the extra mile by topping each popsicle mold off with fruit jam for a pretty finishing touch . Raspberry jam’s tartness is a great contrast to the sweet coconut milk pop, but blueberry jam or orange marmalade would also taste divine.

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The mélange of berries makes this dessert red, white and blue without it being too campy. Bonus, the recipe calls for store-bought ladyfingers and raspberry jam, so all you’ll have to do is assemble the ingredients.

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RELATED: 55 Memorial Day Recipes That Aren’t Hot Dogs and Watermelon

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