The 4th of July holiday is right around the corner, and with that comes picnics, barbecues, and backyard get-togethers.

And, while everyone loves the traditional 4th of July foods, like hamburgers, cheeseburgers, and hot dogs; there’s no reason you should pass up the opportunity to spice things up to celebrate America.

Here are 6 ideas to make your 4th of July Party stand out.

The Wave Your Flag Cake

This festive cake is the perfect end to your 4th of July meal; the red, white, and blue flag motif makes this a perfect patriotic dessert.

To make, you’ll need 4 cups divided strawberries, 1 1/2 cups of boiling water, 2 packages of Jello (red), ice cubes, 1 cup cold water, 1 package of prepared pound cake cut into 10 slices, 1 1/3 cups of divided blueberries, and 1 tub of Cool Whip topping. Take strawberries and slice in half. Add the boiling water to your gelatin until the mix is fully dissolved. Mix cold water into your gelatin. Set in the refrigerator until it thickens.

Next, take a 13×9 pan and cover the bottom with your cake slices. Add your sliced strawberries and a cup of blueberries to your gelatin mix and stir gently. Take this mix and spread it over the cake, then set in the refrigerator for about 4 hours. Lastly, spread your whipped topping on top and form a flag pattern with the remaining strawberries and blueberries.

festive 4th of july cake

Stars and Stripes Donut Shortcake

These red, white, and blue cakes can make for a fun, patriotic breakfast for the kids, or they’re perfect for a dessert after your main 4th of July meal. To make these you’ll need 1/3 cup of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of cornstarch, 2 tablespoons of water, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, 2 cups of fresh blueberries, 6 plain cake donuts cut through the middle, 3-4 cups of assorted fresh berries, like strawberries or raspberries, and whipped topping.

To make your sauce, stir your sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a saucepan with water and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat until the mix gets thick. Once thick, take off the heat and let it cool.

Next, take your donut halves and put them on the grill, cooking on medium for about 3 minutes. Once browned, remove and serve with your sauce and fresh berries.

Patriotic Strawberries

Take plain old strawberries and jazz them up for the 4th with this simple recipe that can be whipped up in no time. What you’ll need are 3 cups of strawberries, 4 cups of vodka, 1 1/2 cup of marshmallow creme, and 1 cup of blue Pop Rocks candy. Put your strawberries into a large bowl and add the vodka making sure your berries are submerged. Next, put this in the refrigerator for approximately one hour. Then, remove and drain the vodka off. Lastly, dry off the strawberries with a paper towel, and microwave your marshmallow creme for about ten seconds. Dip your strawberries in the creme then into the Pop Rocks candy for a neat read, white, and blue treat with a kick.

Arnold Palmer

The most refreshing and popular drinks during every 4th of July or any summer party are lemonade and iced tea, so it only fits that you combine the two for a sweet beverage that everyone will love. Mix fresh lemonade with fresh iced tea and add fresh lemon slices for extra flavor. If you want to make this drink more “adult” add in bourbon or dark rum to help you relax and unwind when the day is done.

patriotic hamburgers

Star Spangled Burgers

What’s a 4th of July or summer party without burgers? It’s pretty much a given that hamburgers are one of the perfect foods of the summer season, but you don’t have to serve up the same boring patties you have in the past. Why not spice things up a bit? To take your burgers from plain to patriotic, gather together 2 pounds of ground beef, 1 large diced red bell pepper, 2 cloves of minced garlic, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, 2 (4 ounces) packages of crumbled blue cheese, and hamburger buns. Preheat your grill to medium-high and if you want, add a light coating of oil to the rack. Mix your beef, red pepper, garlic, salt and pepper into a mixing bowl. Divide into 16 patties. Put an ounce of blue cheese in the center on top of 8 of the patties. Take another patty and put on top of the patty you just put your cheese on. Place on the grill and cook until they’re done to your liking and serve. The garlic mixed with the blue cheese will give these burgers a kick that people will love.

Potato Salad with a Bang

Another mainstay of the backyard picnic is potato salad, but if you’re tired of the plain old stuff you’ve been serving for years, kick it up a notch with this bacon sriracha recipe that you can have all year round. Take 3 pounds of red potatoes, 3-4 slices of bacon, 2.5 tablespoons of white vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 3/4 cup of quality mayonnaise, 1/4 cup sour cream, 1.5 tablespoons of sriracha chili sauce, 1/4 cup chopped green onion, and paprika for flavoring. Peel and cube the potatoes boil them. While waiting, cook your bacon. When the potatoes are tender, drain and place them in a large bowl. Add in your salt and vinegar and stir. Let the potatoes cool, then mix your mayo, sour cream, sriracha in a bowl. Once your potatoes are sufficiently cooled, add in your sauce mix then top with bacon. This potato salad is guaranteed to be the star of your 4th of July party or whatever summer party you attend.