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 desserts 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.
We searched high and low to find summer-friendly desserts options so you can spend less time sweating in the kitchen and more time chilling with family and friends. Find your favorite from these 15 warm-weather recipes ideas we hand-picked below.
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 from Half Baked Harvest. Only use frosting on the very top and in between each layer to reduce the odds of it melting under the summer sun.
Pro Tip: Finish this dessert off with fresh flower garnish to pretty the presentation 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 by Minimalist Baker is a breath of fresh air. A topping of shredded coconut, coconut sugar, coconut oil, and maple syrup adds some sweetness to fruit and almond flour.
Pro Tip: Don't forget about the scoop of vanilla ice cream on top to complete the dessert. This recipe is also gluten-free and vegan.
Chocolate Fudge Popsicles
This healthy-ish recipe by Half Baked Harvest is delectable thanks to an 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 honestly, we wouldn't).
Pro Tip: To remove popsicles, run the mold under hot water for ten seconds before pulling them from the mold.
Serves: 8 popsicles
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 by How Sweet Eats, 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.
Pro Tip: Go one step further and brush grilled peaches with bourbon.
Blackberry Peach Coffee Cake
Traditional coffee cake gets a seasonal twist in the form of ripe blackberries and peach slices from Half Baked Harvest. And don't worry—Greek yogurt, butter, and streusel keep it from getting dry. A vanilla and powdered sugar glaze is the perfect finishing touch.
Pro Tip: As an option, cover the cake with foil before popping into oven to prevent too much browning.
Strawberry Bourbon Shortcakes
Although this traditional dessert has been around for centuries, you can always change it up with a few modern twists, thanks to Half Baked Harvest. Take, for example, bourbon-infused strawberries and a whipped mascarpone topping.
Pro Tip: Remember the mint garnish to add refreshing balance to this sweet dessert.
No-Bake Creamy Peanut Butter Pie
This creamy (and vegan) peanut butter pie with chocolate crust—made with dates, chocolate cereal, peanuts, and coconut oil—by Brown Sugar & Vanilla only takes 20 minutes of prep time before popping into the freezer. Tofu, maple syrup, peanut butter, and vanilla create your filling.
Pro Tip: Avoid over-blending the cereal to maintain the crust's texture.
Black Plum and Rye Crumb Bars
Butter & Brioche loves her recipe for black plum and rye crumb bars because of the trifecta of jammy, nutty, buttery flavors. Sweet plums join a rye and pecan crust (with a touch of nutmeg, butter, and salt) in the oven for 35–40 minutes before cooling and finishing with powdered sugar.
Pro Tip: This recipe can be adapted with other fruit like white peaches, nectarines, apricots, or summer berries; "Just keep the weight the same and adjust the sugar to the fruit accordingly," writes Butter & Brioche.
Peach Crumb Bars
Peaches spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg make up the filling for Brown Eyed Baker's peach crumb bars, which she writes would be perfect for a light snack. Lemon juice give the bars zest, while a crumbly dough lend these bars structure and texture.
Pro Tip: Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to four days, or freeze them for up to two months.
Serves: 24 bars
These zesty lemon bars from Brown Eyed Baker can be made up to two days in advance, and features a soft crust from cornstarch; while eggs, milk, lemon juice and zest, and sugar make up the custard-like filling. After baking, garnish with powdered sugar.
Pro Tip: Refrigerate or freeze leftovers to keep from spoiling.
Serves: 24 bars
Black Tea and Peach Creamsicles
For a creative spin on the creamsicle, make Hummingbird High's recipe for black tea and peach creamsicles. Brewed black tea is layered with peach chunks and 'cream' (greek yogurt, heavy cream, honey) in popsicle molds before freezing. Make these a day before you'll want to enjoy so popsicles can preferably freeze overnight.
Pro Tip: Brew tea longer than the typical 3–5 minutes to bring out the flavor in popsicle form; Hummingbird High writes that freezing tends to mute the flavors. In this case, try brewing tea for 15 minutes.
Serves: 6 popsicles
Blueberry Cream Cheese Pie
Summery blueberries fill Hummingbird High's blueberry cream cheese pie recipe, which also features a cream cheese pie crust. You'll make the crust first, then the blueberry filling before rolling out the dough, and assembling everything. Bake for up to one hour, checking in at the 45-minute mark.
Pro Tip: "If the crust is browning too quickly, loosely cover the top of the pie with a sheet of foil," recommends Hummingbird High.
Serves: Yields 1 9-inch pie
Mint Cookies and Cream Milkshakes
Hummingbird High's recipe for mint cookies and cream milkshakes is refreshing and totally on-brand as a classic summer treat. Make these milkshakes with vanilla ice cream, Dark Mint-flavored Tim Tam biscuits, mint extract, and fresh mint.
Pro Tip: Save a few whole Tim Tam biscuits for garnish with chocolate sprinkles and fresh mint sprigs.
Serves: 2 12-ounce milkshakes
Watermelon Salad With Feta
Summer is watermelon season and Love & Lemons's watermelon salad recipe is just one of many ways to enjoy the thirst-quenching fruit. Cubed watermelon plays well with avocado and fresh basil or mint, and dressed in citrus.
Pro Tip: Elevate this summer treat by adding thinly sliced serrano pepper.
Strawberry Citrus and Cornmeal Ice Cream Sandwiches
Cookies and ice cream go hand-held in Hummingbird High's ice cream sandwich recipe. Strawberry ice cream fills cornmeal cookies flavored with vanilla extract and orange zest, and is served best when you allow them to chill overnight.
Pro Tip: Bake cookies until "pale golden," writes Hummingbird High, or about 12–15 minutes.
Serves: 12 ice cream sandwiches