Most of us will never turn down dessert (at least by choice), but when it comes to baking over the summer, you likely want to limit the amount of extra heat radiating around you. So when it comes to the best summer dessert recipes, they either don't require the oven or call for minimal baking time. And for things like cakes that you can't make anywhere other than the oven, you can at least inject them with the best that summer has to offer—like fresh strawberries, lemons, or even a floral garnish (now we're talking).
The truth of the matter is that you can't serve ice cream for every warm-weather get-together (we did include one of our favorite no-churn recipes in case you love an ice cream social, though). That's why we searched high and low to find summer-friendly dessert options, like a simple fondue, lemon coconut tarts, and watermelon popsicles so you can spend less time sweating in the kitchen and more time chilling with family and friends.
Fresh Watermelon Popsicles
These hardened fresh watermelon popsicles are not only delicious and easy to make, but they're highly Instagram-worthy. A smattering of dark chocolate, pieces of sea salt, and dried rose petals fancy up the fruit on a stick. Best part? You can keep them in the freezer for up to a week.
For this chocolate fondue, you can melt the semi-sweet and milk chocolate in the microwave rather than the oven to avoid the extra heat. Vanilla extract and sea salt sweeten the dessert that you can dip anything and everything into, from blackberries and oranges to Milano cookies.
Strawberry Chamomile Naked Cake
If you're going to heat up the oven and make a cake, then make sure it's worth it by making this strawberry chamomile-flavored dessert. Only use frosting on the very top and in between each layer to reduce the odds of it melting under the summer sun. Finish it off with fresh flower garnish to pretty it up.
Grain-Free Berry Crisp
For grain-free guests or those who prefer something a little lighter in the sun's rays, a tasty berry crisp is a breath of fresh air. A topping of shredded coconut, coconut sugar, coconut oil, and maple syrup add some sweetness to the fruit and almond flour. Just don't forget about the scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.
Chocolate Fudge Popsicles
Why does everything taste better on a stick? This healthy-ish recipe is delectable thanks to the all-star combo of black coffee, vanilla, raw cashews, coconut milk, and dates. The only slightly naughty part is the fudgy chocolate topping, which you can choose to leave out (but we wouldn't).
Grilled Peaches With Lavender-Honey Whipped Ricotta
It's time to break out the grill—only this time it's to cook up a dessert rather than a BBQ. The best part is that grilling the peaches means that it doesn't matter if they're too ripe or not ripe enough. Finish off the dessert with lavender-infused honey atop whipped ricotta.
Fresh Raspberry Cookies N' Cream Ice Cream
Sometimes ice cream is totally necessary on a warm day, but the homemade version can be time-consuming. Not this recipe: a no-churn take on the treat is made with heavy cream, vanilla extract, sweetened condensed milk, salt, whole raspberries, and chocolate sandwich cookies.
Blackberry Peach Coffee Cake
Traditional coffee cake gets a seasonal twist in the form of ripe blackberries and peach slices. And don't worry—Greek yogurt, butter, and streusel keep it from being dry. A vanilla and powdered sugar glaze is the perfect finishing touch.
Strawberry Bourbon Shortcakes
Although this traditional dessert has been around for centuries (yes, it's true), you can always change it up with a few modern twists. Take, for example, bourbon-infused strawberries and a whipped mascarpone topping. Garnish with several sprigs of mint.
Lemon Coconut Tart With Crème Fraîche
Either you love or hate lemon-flavored things. If you love them, then this lemon tart is worth whipping up this summer. A toasted coconut crust is filled with an easy-to-make lemon curd (no egg tempering!) and then topped with vanilla bean crème fraîche and candied lemons for a totally refreshing treat.
Check out more easy-to-make treats for entertaining.