The Best Easy Dessert Recipes Only Take 20 Minutes (or Less) to Prep

Updated 06/12/19

The only thing better than a sweet, sugary, rich dessert is a sweet, sugary, rich dessert that's actually easy to make from scratch. If you're a novice baker looking to brush up on your skills in the kitchen, there's no need to spend your time decoding fine French pastry recipes or hoping a chocolate soufflé will rise. Leave the serious baking to the professionals and keep things simple in your home kitchen.

You can quickly whip up four-ingredient no-bake chocolate sweets, boozy pecan rum balls, or a batch of classic chocolate chip cookie bars and call it a day rather than commit to hours in the kitchen. You'll be left with a tasty treat made in no time at all that's sure to satisfy your sweet tooth. Plus, you can use the time you would have spent trying to figure out a complicated recipe enjoying your freshly baked dessert, catching up on your favorite TV shows, or doing whatever else it is you like to do with your free time.

Ahead, study 15 of the best easy dessert recipes around and try your hand at one (or more) of the sweets. 

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Swirled Cookie Bars

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Swirled Cookie Bars
Half Baked Harvest

This easy dessert recipe from Half Baked Harvest has it all: chocolate chips, peanut butter swirls, and a classic cookie bar taste. Since they're made in a baking dish, you don't even have to worry about rolling out the perfect cookie dough balls. Just follow the simple recipe and spread the dough in a dish. You can cut out individual bars once the mixture has baked.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Pecan Rum Balls

Pecan Rum Balls
Boulder Locavore

The great thing about no-bake desserts (besides the fact that they're typically incredibly easy to pull off) is that you can easily slip in a fun boozy element. Take these pecan rum balls from Boulder Locavore, for example. Made with melted chocolate chips, sugar, vanilla wafers, graham crackers, pecans, and rum, they're perfectly bite-sized treats made for adults only.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Pumpkin Chia Mousse

Pumpkin Chia Mousse
Eating Bird Food

Satisfy your sweet tooth without throwing your health goals out the window by preparing this pumpkin chia mousse, created by Eating Bird Food. You'll need non-dairy milk, pumpkin purée, chia seeds, maple syrup, spices, and graham crackers to create this dessert that's bursting with fall flavors. It's basically a healthy pumpkin pie in a cup that's ready to eat in 20 minutes flat.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

No-Bake Lemon Bars

No-Bake Lemon Bars
Food Faith Fitness

If you're looking for a Paleo-friendly, gluten-free dessert, give these no-bake lemon bars from Food Faith Fitness a try. With just four ingredients, you can make this creamy, tangy sweet that's ready to serve to a crowd. Simply blend together soaked cashews, fresh lemon juice, honey, and lemon zest before piling the mix onto a cashew crust. Freeze the finished dessert until firm and slice into perfect squares to serve.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Ice Cream Pie

Ice Cream Pie
Foodie Crush

If you like ice cream and you like pie, this dessert is for you. It only takes four ingredients to make this ice cream pie with peanut butter krispie crust from Foodie Crush. All you have to do is put together a crust made with rice cereal and chunky peanut butter and fill with the ice cream of your choice.

Pop it all in the freezer for a least four hours before digging in.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Crinkle Top Brownies

Crinkle Top Brownies
Half Baked Harvest

A classic dessert, these crinkle top brownies from Half Baked Harvest are easy to execute and taste heavenly. Think fudgy, gooey, chocolatey brownies with a perfectly flaky top layer. Once you make the batter, the oven does the hard work for you. Let the finished treats cool and serve with a light dusting of powdered sugar.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Mini Apple Cheddar Pies

Mini Apple Cheddar Pies
How Seet Eats

If you haven't yet experienced the flavor combination of apple and cheddar, add this dessert to your list ASAP. These mini apple cheddar pies from How Sweet Eats are like little handheld apple pies. Thanks to premade puff pastry, the dessert comes together in less than an hour. It's just the thing to prepare in advance and serve to a crowd.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

No-Bake Guinness Chocolate Cheesecake

No-Bake Chocolate Guinness Chocolate Cheesecake
Melanie Makes

This easy dessert from Melanie Makes combines chocolate and beer flavors in one simple recipe that doesn't even require the oven. It's a no-bake Guinness chocolate cheesecake made with an Oreo pie crust and a creamy filling flavored with dark chocolate and Guinness beer (don't knock it until you try it).

Prep Time: 15 minutes

No-Bake Peanut Butter Cookies

No-Bake Peanut Butter Cookies
Minimalist Baker

There's nothing quite as easy to make as no-bake cookies. Not only are these no-bake peanut butter cookies from Minimalist Baker super easy to whip up, but they're also pretty healthy (as far as desserts go). You'll use a food processor to combine gluten-free rolled oats, Medjool dates, and natural peanut butter into a dough and top with a homemade chocolate glaze. 

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Rosewater Pistachio Shortbread Cookies

Rose Water Pistachio Shortbread Cookies
Sugar Salted

Don't let their sophisticated name fool you, these rosewater pistachio shortbread cookies are actually quite easy to master. From Sugar Salted, this recipe involves a simple dough made with butter, sugar, eggs, rosewater, and pistachios. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes for a fresh, unique dessert.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

No-Churn Blueberry Mascarpone Ice Cream

No-Churn Blueberry Mascarpone Ice Cream
The Butter Half

Specialty ice cream lovers rejoice, this no-churn blueberry mascarpone ice cream recipe from The Butter Half is a cinch to make and will taste as good as the hand-crafted scoops from your favorite creamery. Gather heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, mascarpone cheese, fresh blueberries, lemon juice, and vanilla to make the elevated dessert that comes together in a blender.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Pretzel Turtles

Pretzel Turtles
Foodie Crush

Made with store-bought caramels, pretzels, melted chocolate, and chopped nuts, these four-ingredient pretzel turtles from Foodie Crush are ready in a flash with minimal effort required. Simply unwrap the caramels and roll them out into thin ovals to coat the pretzels with. Then, toss the pretzels with melted chocolate and chopped nuts and leave to harden.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Fudge

Fudge
The Butter Half

One of the best dessert recipes of all time, fudge is certainly a classic. This recipe from The Butter Half, however, calls for a modern twist to make the treat almost too easy to make. Instead of stirring the chocolatey mixture over the stove until it's done, this iteration simply calls for the microwave. You'll need butter, sugar, evaporated milk, chocolate chips, marshmallow creme, vanilla, chopped pecans, and a large, microwave-safe bowl.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Tiramisu

Tiramisu
The Modern Proper

This easy tiramisu recipe comes from The Modern Proper and proves that anyone can make the luxe, Italian sweet. The shortcut version of the classic recipe calls for heavy cream, mascarpone cheese, strong coffee, ladyfingers, and cocoa powder. Layer your homemade cream mixture in between coffee-soaked cookies and chill. Top with a dusting of cocoa powder when you're ready to indulge.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

No-Bake Cookie Dough Bars

No-Bake Cookie Dough Bars
Eating Bird Food

For a vegan and gluten-free treat, give these no-bake cookie dough bars from Eating Bird Food a try. The cookie dough is made with almond flour, cashew butter, melted coconut oil, vegan chocolate chips, and is sweetened with Stevia instead of cane sugar. Top the bars with a layer of chocolate made with more vegan chocolate chips and coconut oil for a healthier spin on the classic dessert.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

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