Sweets in a Snap: Delicious Desserts for When You Just Can’t Wait
20 charming recipes for quick and easy desserts that taste like you baked for hours — but come together in minutes
Delayed gratification can be hard, especially when your sweet tooth cries out for relief — like, now! And while self-control has its place, there are moments when the solution is to step into the kitchen to make yourself a treat. You’ve earned it! Movie night on the couch is more fun with an indulgence on the coffee table, certain times of the month your body might demand a chocolate fix, and there are nights after dinner when it feels like something is missing and you realize: It’s that moment of sweetness.
The recipes that follow can all be fixed in a flash with a handful of ingredients that are probably already in your cupboard and fridge. Some are simple dessert recipes to serve one or two for private moments of indulgence, but some come together fast to delight your entire household (or leave you more for tomorrow!). There are speedy homemade little cakes, sippable smoothies, cookies with only five or six ingredients, and healthy and keto-friendly sweets that’ll leave your belly feeling great. Some are clever twists on savory favorites, others are chocolate delights, and then there is a colorful range of fruit desserts to keep your sweet tooth satisfied for all seasons.
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Tips and tricks for quick and easy desserts
Follow these simple suggestions for fast, easy, and fabulous desserts
What if I’m missing an ingredient?
All of these recipes, except for the cake section, are extremely flexible! Cakes are essentially an edible chemistry experiment, so it’s important not to leave out any ingredients — baking powder makes a cake taste different than baking soda! But for the rest of these speedy delights, feel free to play around. Out of strawberries? Mix some blueberries and raspberries and see what happens. Swap almond or sunflower butter for peanut butter, or honey for sugar, should you desire. The results will still be sweetly satisfying.
Is there any special equipment I need?
All of the recipes below are easy to modify — a whisk can replace a blender if you don’t mind a brief arm workout, a round or square pan can replace a rectangle shape, and a plate can replace a board or platter, no problem. The only important equipment rule to follow is for the mug cakes: Be sure to use a tall, cylindrical mug (ideally 14 ounces or larger) with no fluted sides to ensure your cake rises evenly and doesn’t overflow.
Do I have to share my dessert?
Now this can be tricky. Sometimes loving ourselves means putting our own needs first — after doing so much for others, it can be self-care to make a treat just for you. But it’s also a scientific fact that sweetness shared with someone else tastes all the better! (Though the “science” here might be soft, um, like pudding.) The choice is yours.
Dress (your favorite cutting board) to impress with this gorgeous, fun, no-bake, easy dessert spread
Forget your fancy charcuterie board, it’s time for dessert! Gather your favorite sweet treats (say, dark chocolate squares, marshmallows, pretzels, toffee, truffles, shortbread, graham crackers, you name it!) and make a pretty platter, replete with warm caramel sauce for dipping. Finally, that childhood dream of grazing in Candyland can come true.
Grab your favorite fruit and get ready for a fabulous fiesta in minutes! Pineapples, cherries, berries, lemon, and apples, plus strawberry delights are all invited to this party.
This speedy cobbler only calls for four ingredients and is ready in under an hour. Plus, depending on what sort of cake mix and butter you use, it can be vegan or gluten-free.
These gorgeous little pastries are easy to assemble thanks to frozen puff pastry, and let’s be honest: They’d be delicious any time of day or night. Feel free to mix in or swap out strawberries for any in-season berry.
This classic Italian combination takes the best of summer’s berries and accentuates them with the tart sweetness of your loveliest balsamic vinegar, then softens the acidic notes with ice cream, yogurt, or crème fraiche. Ground pepper on top provides a floral flourish, as well as a kick.
These quick little bites give you all the joy of apple pie in under 20 minutes, thanks to a tube of crescent roll dough that steps in for pie crust.
In this clever dessert with only three ingredients, vanilla pudding mix is combined with crushed pineapple and its juices for a clear, pure taste of the tropics before being mixed with a cup of thawed whipped topping for a light and airy texture.
All it takes is a couple rolls of your favorite European-style biscuits (a.k.a. cookies), strawberries, some plain yogurt, and sugar or honey — and an elegant and refreshing treat shall be yours.
This bright dessert is a lemon lover’s delight. Lemon Jell-O and lemon pie filling get whipped together with Cool Whip for a delicate, sweet-tart citrus delight.
Quesadillas and tacos for dessert? Cookies with only five ingredients? Homemade fudge as a 5-minute easy dessert? Prepare for a creatively sweet surprise: All of the recipes below are quick and easy, with few ingredients.
This nifty dessert turns a cheese quesadilla on its head: A buttered whole wheat tortilla is briefly toasted, then sprinkled with cinnamon before being filled with a peanut butter-honey-chocolate chip mixture. Qué sabor!
These flourless peanut butter cookies only call for five ingredients mixed together in one bowl and take only 9 minutes to bake, for a batch of sweetly satisfying, naturally high-protein cookies in about 20 minutes.
Making fudge — which was first documented as a stealthy midnight treat made by chocolate-hungry women at Vassar College — doesn’t have to keep you up late! With a microwave, it only takes about 4 minutes to prepare using pantry staples; even with cooling time, your first creamy, chocolaty bite is ready in under a half-hour.
All the dough for these cookies is made in the same bowl as each ingredient is whisked in. And even with 10 minutes of chilling time in the freezer, you’ll still have warm cookies fresh from the oven in just over a half-hour.
These festive cinnamon sugar-crusted tacos are the perfect no-bake dessert; they can be fun to make alone or with the help of little hands. A toasty sweet shell is filled with ice cream, sliced strawberries, and drizzled with chocolate syrup, then topped with sprinkles to truly gild the lily.
Whip up a package of chocolate pudding, then pour it over a layer of crushed Oreos. It’s already tempting, but then top it with whipped cream (or Cool Whip) and even more Oreo pieces. Oh yes! Plus, with the myriad Oreo and pudding flavors on the shelf you can customize this dish to your belly’s delight, and assemble as individual parfaits, too.
Homemade cake in minutes
From mug cakes, which can be ready in under five minutes, to a fudgy turtle cake ready in an hour, all that’s missing is a fork.
Make a nearly instant chocolate cake from scratch for you and a friend with these cozy cakes in a cup. Not unlike cupcakes! Two kinds of chocolate — cocoa powder and chips — ensure a depth of cacao flavor, and a kiss of vanilla adds a sweetly floral note.
Coconut flour and almond flour (use super-fine if you have it) combine to make a quick and healthful pumpkin spice cake in mere moments. And it’s got a vegetable in it!
This beloved cookie gets the mug cake treatment. For this recipe, your best option is a taller 14-ounce mug with straight up-and-down sides. If you need to use a smaller mug, put a plate underneath to catch any snickerdoodle in case your mug overfloweth.
With only seven ingredients and an hour from mixing bowl to fork, this Turtle Dump Cake — rich with chocolate, pecans, and caramel — is decadent enough for a celebration … but also any Tuesday night.
Sometimes you need a treat that’s just for you — who doesn’t like a quick and easy dessert for one? Plus there’s an extra coziness and comfort that comes from holding a dulcet drink in your hand.
An entire apple gets blended into this creamy, quick smoothie, for an apple pie experience without having to turn on the oven. And with some Greek yogurt it could pass as a healthy breakfast, right?
With clear chai flavor from a brewed cup of tea, mixed with a quick blend of banana, fresh ginger, honey, and almond or coconut milk (or whatever milk you like), this is a natural, sweet indulgence. Set your cup of tea in the freezer to cool while you whip up the banana-ginger puree, and voila! A sippable dessert in under 15 minutes.
Looking for more easy treats?
Because why stop at 20 recipes! Check out these Yummly articles for more quick and easy dessert recipes: