24 Easy No-Bake Desserts to Keep Your Cool This Summer
When the summer sun hits "broil," the last thing you want to do is turn on the oven. Satisfy your sweet tooth with a dreamy, no-bake summer dessert.
Photograph by Olga Ivanova
If you’ve landed here, chances are good you’ve got a serious dessert craving, but it’s way too hot to bake even a quick batch of chocolate chip cookies. And while you could reach for a mediocre ice cream sandwich that you picked up from the grocery store, that would hardly satisfy an intense dessert longing. Fortunately, making amazing desserts without turning on the oven is easier and faster than you might think. We picked out 24 sweet treats that don't need to be baked and are presented so beautifully that you'll still feel like a pastry chef when you're done.
You'll notice a few common ingredients are used to pull off some spectacular summer desserts (though not all of them): Store-bought cookies or cake, whipped cream, and cream cheese are major players. They're mixed and matched with different flavors and varying presentations to make unique and surprising desserts that don't require heating up the house.
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Great for all ages, pudding is easy to make and easy to eat!
Banana pudding is a classic no-bake dessert that's as easy to make as it is to eat. Rich vanilla pudding is layered with banana discs and vanilla wafers for a texture trifecta. The cookies absorb the moisture from the custard and take on a cake-like consistency. Turning cookies into a no-bake cake is one of my favorite kitchen hacks.
If you're looking for a no-bake chocolate dessert, this one not only has the merits of creamy pudding, but it's also gluten-free and dairy-free. It also takes 5 minutes to make (literally FIVE minutes) so you can get back to summer fun.
Layered no-bake desserts
Stack ‘em up! Trifles, icebox cakes, and shortcakes are simple no-bake desserts where assembly is the key.
Much like the other no-bake treats, this one is all about layering cookies and whipped cream, but what makes this dessert extra-achievable is how it's served, because you can adjust the number of delivery vessels to suit how much whipped topping, bananas, and cookies you have on hand.
After looking at that picture, how much convincing do you really need to make this icebox cake? This one uses cream cheese and whipped cream to form a mousse. The mousse is then layered with chocolate wafer cookies and chocolate ganache to build a tower of temptation. Can you resist it? Probably not, which is why you should make it.
This should just be called whipped cream cake because about 95% of it is just that. The other 5% is made up of layers of chocolate cookies. Done and DONE.
Instant vanilla pudding, whipped cream, and strawberries are the star ingredients in this easy, summery dessert. Assembled in a baking dish, you could also fill individual ramekins for single servings — and portion control!
A trifle dish or tall-sided glass bowl is a must so you can show off the gorgeous layers of angel food cake, pudding, and summer berry filling. An optional glaze helps preserve the fruit if you are making this ahead.
Ice cream, sorbet, and more frozen treats
Nothing beats a scoop of ice cream on a hot day. Frozen treats are, well, no-bake by definition. Keep the oven off and instead relax on the porch with one of the yummy ice cold desserts below.
This might just be THE dessert hero — more than 41,000 people aspire to make this easy ice cream cake and have saved it to their recipe collections on Yummly. And what's not to love about an Oreo cookie crust with an ice cream filling and fudge drizzled on top? If you answered with "nothing," you're in the right place.
Here is our token no-churn ice cream recipe, because you can't have a collection of no-bake desserts without including summer's favorite treat. This recipe follows the conventional method of combining pureed fresh strawberries, sweetened condensed milk, and whipped cream. It's gotten rave reviews like: "Loved it! Very easy and it made a lot" and "It was very good and easy to make." Take it from your fellow (non-cooking) cooks: It's a good recipe!
This semifreddo is an excellent introduction to the cold and fluffy Italian dessert which is something like a frozen mousse. Instead of egg whites, this recipe relies on coconut milk to mix with the condensed milk, whipped cream, and fresh fruit puree before chilling, for an easy no-bake dessert that even the kids can help with.
Having friends over? Host a banana split party for the fastest table spread you’ve ever put together. Offer traditional toppings, such as toasted almonds, hot fudge, and maraschino cherries. But have fun adding more unique options too, such as crumbled shortbread, chopped pistachios, peanut butter sauce, and white chocolate curls.
With just four ingredients, most of which you already have on hand, these fudgy ice pops are practically instant gratification — minus the freezer time! Blend together your favorite chocolate spread, milk, cocoa powder, and vanilla and pour the mixture into popsicle molds. Don’t own popsicle molds? Check out our article “How to Make Homemade Popsicles” for resourceful ways to make a mold out of things you already have at home.
Watermelon, lemon, mint, and sugar are all you need in this non-dairy frozen treat.
While the traditional method for preparing cheesecake is baking it in an oven before chilling it in the fridge, there are many no-bake ways to arrive at cheesecake desserts
The author of this recipe describes it best: simple, cool, and easy. And with just five ingredients, it's also fast! Pureed mango is layered with whipped cream and graham crackers for flavor AND texture. Dessert is served in under 25 minutes.
If you want to bliss out, it should be with a Lemon Bliss Cheesecake. Picture this: Pulverized lemon cookies are the foundation that holds up a creamy layer of lemon fluff, followed by a tier of cookies and more fluff. This all comes together in 20 minutes. Giving it the time to firm up (overnight) in the refrigerator is the only real challenge with this dessert.
The only thing more delightful than having a mini fresh raspberry no-bake cheesecake bite sealed in chocolate? Having a good half-dozen of them all to yourself. And now you can. If you’ve searched for recipes like this before, you know they can involve toothpicks and laborious individual dunking. Not here. You simply coat an ice cube tray with melted chocolate, dollop in a cream cheese mixture along with fresh berries, and paint the tops with more chocolate. After an hour in the fridge, they’re ready to pop out.
Use your favorite nut butters to make one of these nutty no-bake treats
For peanut butter lovers who like salty with their sweets, this no-bake pie solves the dessert dilemma. To cut some of the sweetness, instead of a graham cracker crust or cookie crust, the pie calls for crushed pretzels for that crucial crunchy component. You then whip together cream cheese and peanut butter before folding in a non-dairy whipped topping (you can substitute whipped cream for Cool-Whip if you prefer). The best part? If you're in your kitchen, you're only 10 minutes away from a slice of pie.
For those of you longing for college football season, these Sunbutter Buckeye Balls simultaneously give you a taste of fall and abide by the summer dessert rule of not firing up the oven. These buckeyes deviate from Ohio's traditional chocolate peanut butter-based recipe but use sunflower seed butter instead. The little truffles are dipped in chocolate for a delicious dessert that even football fans with peanut allergies can enjoy.
Similarly sweet and dreamy (and easy), but with the added crunch of candy, the No-Bake Butterfinger Cream Pie takes the peanut butter pie flavor and turns it inside out. Crushed candy bar is folded into the sugar, cream cheese, and whipped topping mixture and spread into a chocolate cookie crust. It takes just 25 minutes to put together.
Peanut butter cookie lasagna is not as weird as it sounds. In fact, it's distinctly delicious, especially if you like Nutter Butter cookies. A scoop of this lasagna delivers a cross-section of cookie, peanut butter, peanut butter cups, and whipped cream. It takes a lot less time to put together than a meat lasagna, that's for sure.
A few handy shortcuts — from using the microwave to using store-bought ingredients — will have you eating your no-bake dessert within minutes
It’s too hot to turn on the oven, and you’re longing for a brownie. Mug brownie to the rescue! Your chocolatey treat will be amazing served warm just as it is, but to send it over the top, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a drizzle of caramel sauce.
This gluten-free recipe brings the campfire classic home, and in mug form. Limit your dirty dishes by mixing the ingredients right in the mug itself.
White cake mix and canned yellow peaches in syrup are the secret ingredients to this instant gratification. Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for the a la mode experience.
Cut store-bought pound cake into bite size morsels that you dunk in melted white chocolate, then invite the kids to decorate with sprinkles and other festive toppings. Just don’t leave these cute little cake bites sitting in the hot sun to melt.
Hungry for more cool summer recipes?
When it's too hot to crank up the kitchen, cool off with an icy cocktail, a cold, crisp salad, or a frosty popsicle.