If you’re looking for a fun, festive, and somewhat healthy dessert to make for the 4th of July, look no further than my Sugar Cookie Fruit Flag Pizza! Made with a delicious base of gluten-free boxed cookie mix, a yummy layer of vegan cream cheese frosting, and a beautiful assortment of fresh-cut fruit, this American flag fruit pizza is destined to be a bipartisan crowd-pleaser!
This recipe was originally published on June 22, 2021. It was updated with new photos and information on February 12, 2023.
Table of contents
- Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Fruit Pizza
- What is sugar cookie fruit pizza?
- Is dessert pizza healthy?
- Why you'll love this recipe:
- Ingredients & Substitutions
- How to make flag fruit pizza:
- Optional variations
- Choosing fruits by color
- Expert tips
- Serving suggestions
- Storage instructions
- More vegan & gluten-free dessert recipes
Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Fruit Pizza
This sugar cookie fruit pizza decorated to look like the American flag is a perfect way to celebrate the Fourth of July, Flag Day, or any other holiday or event where you need a patriotic dessert! It's a gluten-free cookie baked in a baking sheet, topped with dairy-free cream cheese frosting, and garnished with blueberries, strawberries, and bananas to look represent the stars and stripes.
And the best part: it uses a boxed sugar cookie mix to make life super simple! You’re also welcome to swap in your favorite gluten-free cookie mix and customize this flag fruit pizza however you like. Feel free to swap in a chocolate cookie base, snickerdoodle base, or peanut butter cookie base, or use your favorite assortment of fruits to make any design you like... there are endless options!
What is sugar cookie fruit pizza?
Fruit pizzas are sweet treats, often made with a cookie or brownie base instead of pizza dough. In this case, we’re using sugar cookie dough as our base. Some sort of sweet spread is layered to act as a binder (in this case a dairy-free cream cheese frosting) and is then topped with a variety of sweet toppings (here we use assorted fruit).
Fruit pizzas obviously have to be topped with fruit, but you’re welcome to use other ingredients too. Dessert pizzas can also be topped with non-fruity toppings like chocolates, candies, sprinkles, nuts, cookie crumbs, or even marshmallows!
Is dessert pizza healthy?
While “healthy” is one of those totally subjective and loaded terms that means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, I’d consider this sweet treat as a *relatively* healthy (read: healthier) option since you are getting a good dose of fruit with every slice. That counts for something, right?
As a mom, I feel great about serving my little guy fruit cookie pizza for dessert. That said, at the end of the day, it’s still a dessert and should be consumed in moderation. What I’m trying to say is, don’t make it your whole meal, but don’t beat yourself up for eating a slice either. 😉
Why you'll love this recipe:
Aside from being absolutely adorable and indisputably delicious, this July 4th fruit pizza recipe is also:
- Quick & easy - Mix up a box of cookie dough according to the package directions, then make a simple dairy-free frosting and cut your fruit while it bakes. Once it’s out of the oven and cool, layer on the design of your choice using fresh fruit. It’s so simple!
- Super versatile - Feel free to swap out the vanilla cookie base for a different flavor, use a different flavor of frosting, swap in different fruits, or make an entirely different design based on the theme of your event.
- Made with fewer than 10 ingredients - Boxed cookie mix keeps your ingredient list blissfully short. 💛
- Allergen-friendly - I designed this fruit cookie pizza to be both gluten-free and dairy-free, but it’s also easy to make nut-free, soy-free, and vegan so everyone can get in on the deliciousness.
Ingredients & Substitutions
As promised, you only need a handful of ingredients to make this 4th of July fruit pizza. Here’s what to grab:
- Gluten-free cookie mix - Although you can definitely make your own cookie base for this gluten-free flag fruit pizza, using a cookie mix definitely makes things easier! The remaining ingredients you'll need will depend on what your box of cookie mix calls for. Generally speaking, you'll need butter, eggs (or a vegan alternative), and vanilla. If you aren’t gluten-free, feel free to swap in your favorite cookie mix.
- Dairy-free cream cheese - For making delectably tangy dairy-free cream cheese buttercream frosting. My favorite brand is Violife hands down. Feel free to swap in conventional cream cheese or Neufchatel cheese if dairy isn’t a problem.
- Dairy-free butter - Feel free to use unsalted if that’s what you have on hand, but you may want to add a pinch or two of salt to balance out the flavors if you do. You’re also welcome to use regular butter if lactose/dairy aren’t dietary issues for your group.
- Powdered sugar - Also aptly named “icing sugar,” this ultra-fine and powdery sweetener is necessary for making a super smooth frosting. If you don’t have any on hand, you can easily make your own using granulated sugar, cornstarch (or potato starch), and a food processor.
- Blueberries - For the square of stars. Feel free to use the blue fruit of your choosing.
- Strawberries - For the red stripes. You’re welcome to swap in any other red fruit you prefer.
- Bananas - For the white stripes. Again, you can easily trade in a different white fruit of your choosing.
How to make flag fruit pizza:
This 4th of July cookie cake comes together with very little effort. In fact, it’s simple enough to let your kiddos in on the fun! Here’s how it’s done:
Step 1: Prepare the cookie dough according to the package instructions. Let the dough rest in the fridge for 30 minutes so the gluten-free flour blend can properly rehydrate.
Step 2: Bake the cookie base. Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Grease and line a baking sheet (I used a 10x15-inch baking sheet). Press the chilled dough into the baking sheet making sure the surface is flat. Bake for 13-15 minutes. Let it cool completely.
Step 3: Make dairy-free cream cheese frosting. Beat vegan butter and vegan cream cheese using an electric hand mixer. Add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time and beat after each addition. Add the salt and vanilla, and beat again.
Step 4: Assemble. Spread the cream cheese frosting onto the cooled cookie base, and layer on the fruit in your preferred design.
While I’m a big fan of this fourth of July fruit pizza, there are TONS of ways for you to customize it to your liking. Here are just a few variations to consider:
- Use different fruits - Allergic to strawberries? Hate bananas? Not to worry! Jump down one section to see a comprehensive list of alternative fruits you can use.
- Add sparkle with sugared fruits. I especially like using this method for making the stars in the blueberry section.
- Try different designs - There’s no rule stating that fruit pizzas are limited to looking like the American flag. Feel free to celebrate any other country’s flag, or create designs that look like or Christmas trees, Thanksgiving turkeys, Halloween pumpkins, Easter bunnies. You can also just make pretty mandala-style designs instead!
- Branch out with toppings - While I stuck to fruit for this dessert pizza, you can also use any toppings you like. Try colorful candies like M&Ms or Skittles, brightly colored sprinkles and nonpareils, chocolate chips, crushed graham crackers or cookies, or anything else your heart desires.
- Try other cookie flavors - I opted for a plain vanilla sugar cookie base here, but you can easily swap in a chocolate, chocolate chip, peanut butter, snickerdoodle, or lemon cookie base instead. You’re also welcome to make a brownie fruit pizza if you like!
- Use other frosting flavors - Cream cheese and fruit make a lovely pair, but you can also use any flavor of buttercream you enjoy!
Choosing fruits by color
Keep in mind that the fruit you’ll need will change depending on which country's flag (or any other design) you're making! Here are some ideas for painting the perfect picture on your dessert pizza:
- Red/Pink: strawberries, raspberries, cherries, red pears, red apples, red currants, cranberries, pomegranate arils, grapefruit, watermelon
- Orange/Yellow: cantaloupe, oranges, tangerines papaya, apricots, gooseberries, mangoes, nectarines, peaches, pineapples, persimmons, starfruit
- Green: kiwi, green grapes, honeydew melon, green apples
- Blue/Violet: blueberries, blackberries, figs, plums, elderberries, red grapes, concord grapes
- White: bananas, peeled apples, white nectarines, white peaches, dragonfruit
- A note on cream cheese brands: Although it has a good amount of powdered sugar in it, the texture *may be* looser than traditional cream cheese frosting depending on which brand you use. When I made it with Daiya cheese, it worked perfectly as the glue to stick the fruit onto the fruit pizza, but definitely not firm enough to pipe onto the pizza using a piping bag. If you’re looking for a pipeable dairy-free frosting, try using Violife brand cream cheese or consider making a different vegan buttercream recipe.
- Make sure the butter and cream cheese are at room temperature.
- Know your flag! Make sure you know the aspect ratio of your flag. Make sure you know the size and number of lines, stars, animals, etc. on the flag you’re designing so you don’t accidentally ruffle any feathers.
- Press the cookie dough into the baking sheet evenly. You want the base of your flag to be flat, not bumpy. I like to use the bottom of a cup to help.
- Slice the fruit evenly. For example, in my American flag fruit pizza, I sliced the strawberries and bananas evenly so they lay flat. There’s no need to get too picky and whip out a ruler, but be mindful, you know?
- Have a bowl of watered-down lemon juice ready! If you're using any fruit that oxidizes and turns brown quickly (e.g. bananas, apples, pears), dip it in some lemon juice before putting them on your flag fruit pizza. I dilute lemon juice with water at a 1:1 ratio.
This bright and tasty fruit flag dessert is perfect for celebrating Independence Day, but it can also be served in many other settings. Consider making one for:
- Different holidays and parties, including Valentine’s Day (use red and pink fruits), St. Patrick’s Day (use green, yellow, and white fruits), Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or any other celebration on your calendar. It’s easy to make basic shapes including hearts, stars, letters, or numbers, so they’re also great for going-away parties and birthdays!
- School or team pride. Make one with your school or team colors to celebrate the end of a season or to raise money at a bake sale or school fundraiser.
- BBQs, picnics, potlucks, or any other time you need something sweet to share.
Feel free to leave your fruit flag cookie cake at room temperature for up to 4 hours. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers for up to 3 days if needed.
It all depends on the recipe. This one is made from a gluten-free sugar cookie crust, vegan cream cheese frosting, and bananas, blueberries, and strawberries for decoration.
Assembled dessert pizzas with fruit are best eaten within 24 hours but can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Note that the cookie base will soften and the fruits will dry and possibly oxidize the longer they’re stored in the fridge.
More vegan & gluten-free dessert recipes
- Dairy-free Fudge
- Shiratama Dango
- 7 Layer Magic Bars
- Coconut Macaroons
- Rice Pudding
- Mango Lime Sorbet
- Lemon Thumbprint Cookies
- Cranberry Thumbprint Cookies
Alright, friends! I hope you loved this yummy fruit and cookie dessert pizza idea as much as we did! Until next time, I wish you and your family happy tummies and yummy eats.
For even more dairy-free, gluten-free, and altogether crave-worthy recipes, be sure to follow me on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook. You can also sign up for my email newsletter to get ALL of my newest content delivered straight to your inbox. 😉
Sugar Cookie Fruit Flag Pizza
- 1 box gluten-free cookie mix, and the required ingredients listed on the box
- ½ stick vegan butter softened at room temperature
- 4 oz vegan cream cheese softened at room temperature
- 1¼ cups powdered sugar sifted
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 1½ cups blueberries
- 1 cup strawberries sliced
- 2½ medium bananas sliced
- Prepare the cookie dough according to package instructions. Let the dough rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease and line a baking sheet (I used a 10x15-inch baking sheet). Press the chilled dough into the baking sheet making sure the surface is flat. Bake for 13-15 minutes. Let it cool completely.
- In a bowl, add vegan butter and vegan cream cheese. Beat using an electric hand mixer. Add the powdered sugar ½ cup at a time and beat after each addition. Add the salt and vanilla, and beat again.
- Spread the cream cheese frosting onto the cooled cookie, and layer on the fruit.