15 Recipes to Bake When You're Bored (Instead of Reaching for Your Phone)

Updated 04/16/19
Blueberry—Things to Bake When You're Bored
Half Baked Harvest

If I were my ideal self, I'd be a skilled baker. I wouldn't just know how to make cookies or brownies or a cake. I would know, from plenty of experience, how to create the firm peaks of homemade whipped cream, as well as the warm shade of fresh caramel. I could tell you the secret to a magazine-worthy meringue and soufflé, and like Ina Garten, I would taste the difference in a certain "good" chocolate—even if store-bought is fine.

Alas, I'm not my ideal self. I've had a package of slice-and-bake cookies in my fridge for longer than I care to admit. I've only ever tasted canned whipped cream in my kitchen. And honestly, I'm pretty satisfied with Hershey's. That's because when I'm bored, I don't practice baking. I don't read through the stack of cookbooks I own, and I don't get to the list of recipes I've saved. Instead, I let the boredom wash over me, and forget all about this dream I have of being a proficient baker.

But even if your goal isn't to be an expert baker, learning a few tricks in this category can still be worthwhile for those moments when boredom strikes. And to tell you the truth, sifting rather than scrolling is probably a better use of that time. So here are 15 recipes to bake when you're bored, from classic and beginner treats to more detailed and expert displays. Hopefully, I'll take my own advice and work toward this goal in my free time, too. After all, who doesn't want to be more like Ina Garten?

Vegan Banana Nut Muffins

Vegan Banana Nut Muffins—Things to Bake When You're Bored
Minimalist Baker

Difficulty Level: Easy

Leave it up to Dana Shultz, the talent behind the aptly named Minimalist Baker, to create a breakfast-ready banana nut muffin recipe that's simple enough to try with little experience. She combines ripe bananas, flax egg, vanilla extract, brown sugar, and chopped nuts into a bowl; lines muffin tins with paper baking cups; and sticks the mixture into the oven. "The inside is moist and tender while the outside is perfectly crumbly and studded with roasted walnuts," she says.

Bake like a pro: "Remove the muffins from the oven and let them cool in the tin for five minutes," Shultz notes. "Then remove the muffins from the tin and let them cool completely on a cooling rack. The wrappers peel away easier and the muffin texture is best when completely cooled."

Vegan Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups

Vegan Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups—Things to Bake When You're Bored
The Butter Half

Difficulty Level: Easy

When you're in the mood for sweets, this vegan option from The Butter Half can deliver without the added sugar. Plus, it all comes together with barely any hands-on cooking time, which makes it easier to practice this skill. Abbey Rodriguez uses semi-sweet baking chocolate, almond butter, vanilla extract, coconut sugar, and salt for the recipe, and starts things off by melting the chocolate over a double broiler. She stirs in more chocolate, adds in the other ingredients, and lets a refrigerator cool the mixture.

"They are rich and fulfilling in that they taste like a treat, but they actually give you energy," Rodriguez says. "The almond butter is packed with protein and those good fuels we need to keep going throughout the day."

Bake like a pro: "If you don't have a double boiler, you can break the chocolate into pieces, places [sic] it in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat it for 20 seconds at a time, stirring between intervals, until it's melted," she says.

Apple Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

Apple Cream Cheese Bundt Cake—Things to Bake When You're Bored
Melanie Makes

Difficulty Level: Moderate

This bundt cake from Melanie Makes looks more difficult than it seems—all you really have to be sure to do is follow the step-by-step directions of Melanie Bauer, and you should be fine. For the cake, Bauer uses flour, sugar, cinnamon, eggs, and applesauce, and then makes a cream cheese filling with butter and vanilla. After the ingredients are mixed, they are carefully poured into a bundt cake mold and swirled together with the cream cheese filling. "No mixer is required for the cake batter," she says.

"Instead, the batter for this bundt cake is simply stirred together."

Bake like a pro: "Leaving a one-inch border around edges of a bundt pan, spoon the cream cheese filling over the batter," she adds. "Using a knife, swirl the filling through the apple mixture."

Chocolate Pudding Fudge Cake

Chocolate Pudding Fudge Cake—Things to Bake When You're Bored
Melanie Makes

Difficulty Level: Easy

Bauer also has this impressive-looking recipe to offer on Melanie Makes, and here's the reason it's so easy to replicate: It uses a pre-made chocolate cake mix. Plain yogurt, eggs, applesauce, and vanilla add even more texture and flavor, making this a recipe you can master in no time. "Using just seven ingredients you likely already have in your pantry and fridge, this cake is ready for the oven in under 10 minutes," she says.

Bake like a pro: "My favorite way to dress up this cake is by topping it with my dark chocolate buttercream frosting. What's better than a chocolate cake other than a chocolate cake topped with a thick layer of chocolate frosting?"

Easy Tiramisu

Easy Tiramisu—Things to Bake When You're Bored
The Modern Proper

Difficulty Level: Easy

Natalie Mortimer at The Modern Proper assumes you're a fan of a classic tiramisu. But here's something you don't have to assume: that it's hard to do yourself. Thanks to a few simple steps that include heavy whipping cream, softened mascarpone, maple syrup, coffee, and a package of ladyfingers, assembling this recipe is simple but the results are stunning. "The most challenging part about this recipe is resisting the urge to dive into the dish with a fork while it is chilling in the refrigerator overnight," Mortimer says.

Bake like a pro: "Dip each lady finger into the coffee," she notes. "Don't soak the cookies or they will get too soggy."

Coconut Thumbprint Cookies With Salted Caramel

Coconut Thumbprint Cookies with Salted Caramel—Things to Bake When You're Bored
The Modern Proper

Difficulty Level: Hard

Don't let the classification of "hard" discourage you—if anything, take it as a welcome challenge. The reason we think this intricate recipe from The Modern Proper deserves that ranking is because there are a number of steps involved that take precision. The cookies come together with flour, eggs, vanilla extract, and coconut flakes, and once they're slightly baked, they're filled with heavy cream, sugar, and butter. "I love the idea of sharing something baked from your own kitchen with all your friends, family, and neighbors," Holly Erickson says.

Bake like a pro: "In a small saucepan bring the sugar and water to a boil, swirling from time to time until a nice golden brown color is achieved," Erickson notes about the filling. "This should take about eight minutes."

Rhubarb Mint Cobbler

Rhubarb Mint Cobbler—Things to Bake When You're Bored
The Modern Proper

Difficulty Level: Hard

The team behind The Modern Proper has another intricate but rewarding baking recipe to offer, and this one combines its two namesake ingredients with the irresistible look and taste of golden biscuits. Once again, don't shy away from a challenge! As with any baking recipe, success can be found in strictly following the measurements. All-purpose flour, baking powder, heavy cream, and butter comprise the biscuits, which are arranged over fresh rhubarb, chopped mint leaves, sugar, and butter. "Serve the cobbler warm with vanilla or strawberry ice cream, sweetened crème fraîche or fresh whipped cream," the recipe says.

Bake like a pro: "While the rhubarb is baking, make the biscuits," the recipe notes. "Put the flour, baking powder, salt, and three tablespoons of the sugar in a food processor and turn it on long enough to mix the ingredients. Add the butter and pulse until the largest pieces of butter are smaller than grains of rice."

Hydrangea Flower Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Hydrangea Flower Carrot Cake Cupcakes—Things to Bake When You're Bored
Half Baked Harvest

Difficulty Level: Moderate

The picture-perfect frosting on these hydrangea flower carrot cake cupcakes from Half Baked Harvest looks tough. But Tieghan Gerard wants to reassure you that the only thing that's challenging about them is getting the frosting into a piping bag with the right tip—and you should practice a few times before frosting the cupcakes. They are made with cinnamon, carrots, buttermilk, brown sugar, flour, and eggs, and then they're cooled and prepped for the hydrangea effect. "Pipe around the edge of the cupcake and work your way in," Gerard notes.

Bake like a pro: "If desired, you can divide the frosting between two to three bowls and color each a slightly different color for an ombre effect," she says.

Crinkle-Top Brownies

Crinkle Top Brownies—Things to Bake When You're Bored
Half Baked Harvest

Difficulty Level: Easy

A baker has to have a brownie recipe on speed-dial, and this one from Half Baked Harvest should be yours. It's made with semi-sweet chocolate chips, vanilla extract, instant coffee, cocoa powder, and flour, which is all mixed together and evenly distributed in a pan. When the brownies are cooled, dust them with powdered sugar. "Whisking the eggs prior to mixing them in the batter creates air within the eggs that helps to create that crinkly top," she says. "It might seem like an unnecessary step, and a waste of a clean bowl, but just trust me on this, it's what makes these brownies great."

Bake like a pro: "In the microwave, melt together the butter and chocolate chips (stir at 30-second intervals) until smooth," Gerard says. "Then, stir in the sugar, vanilla, and instant coffee."

Blueberry Chamomile Galette

Blueberry Chamomile Galette—Things to Bake When You're Bored
Half Baked Harvest

Difficulty Level: Easy

When you're baking for a crowd, it's always a good idea to find a recipe that can make an impact without costing you a lot of time and effort. Thanks to this recipe from Half Baked Harvest, you can do that with a blueberry galette. Aside from the star ingredient, this is made with chamomile tea, lemon juice, vanilla extract, puff pastry, and coarse sugar, where the blueberry mixture is layered onto the pastry with a one-inch margin. "Fold the edges up and over the blueberries, and then brush the edges of the pastry with egg and sprinkle with sugar," Gerard says.

Once it's baked, it's served with ice cream.

Bake like a pro: "You can really use whatever berry you love," Gerard notes. "Blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, or a combo of your favorites, all will work and they'll be delicious."

Bourbon Brûlée Pumpkin Pie

Bourbon Brûlée Pumpkin Pie—Things to Bake When You're Bored
How Sweet Eats

Difficulty Level: Hard

Once you're feeling more confident in the kitchen, push your skills even further with this recipe from How Sweet Eats. It features all of the beloved flavors of a classic pumpkin pie—like cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice—plus some added layers from bourbon, ginger, and maple syrup. After you form, roll, and bake the crust, the filling is poured in and baked as one. The big brûlée finish comes once the pie is served, using a handheld torch. "I enjoy crème brûlée, but it wasn't until I came across the idea of a brûlée pumpkin pie that I was super into it," Jessica Merchant says.

"This is one of those desserts that I couldn't get out of my head."

Bake like a pro: "You can make it a day or two ahead of time and brûlée the topping right before serving," she notes.

Salted Dark Chocolate Fudge Donuts

Salted Dark Chocolate Fudge Donuts—Things to Bake When You're Bored
How Sweet Eats

Difficulty Level: Easy

Save a doughnut run for a particularly lazy Sunday because this recipe from How Sweet Eats proves how easy and delicious it can be to make a batch at home. These chocolate donuts are made with cocoa, brown sugar, espresso powder, milk, and apple cider vinegar, and then they're poured into molds and baked. Later, they're topped with a frosting of dark chocolate, heavy cream, and sea salt. "They are delicate but fudgy," Merchant says. "When I say that, I mean that you must let them cool completely before dipping them."

Bake like a pro: "Fill the donut pan about two-thirds of the way full," she says. "Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until the donuts are set."

Baked Oatmeal

Baked Oatmeal—Things to Bake When You're Bored
How Sweet Eats

Difficulty Level: Easy

Speaking of weekend breakfast meals, this baked oatmeal recipe from How Sweet Eats could also kick off a perfect Saturday morning feast. It features oats, sliced almonds, chocolate chips, chia seeds, and hemp hearts that are combined with wet ingredients in a deep baking dish. "Remove the dish from the oven and place the chocolate chips on top right away," Merchant says. "Top with the coconut, almonds, hemp hearts and chia seeds."

Bake like a pro: "The oatmeal recipe itself is very versatile. I added nothing extra to it," she says. "But that's the thing! You can add whatever you want to it. You can stir fruit or chocolate chips or toasted pecans into the oatmeal before baking."

Lemon Sheet Cake

Lemon Sheet Cake—Things to Bake When You're Bored
How Sweet Eats

Difficulty Level: Easy

You can never go wrong with a charmingly decorated sheet cake for a party, and this recipe from How Sweet Eats is yet another option to have in your arsenal when the time is right. Merchant combines cake flour, granulated sugar, lemon extract, vanilla extract, and butter into a greased pan, and once it's baked, it's frosted with cream cheese and powdered sugar. "Frost the cooled cake, then top with sprinkles," she writes.

Bake like a pro: "On top of the cream cheese icing, I added the little candied lemon rounds from Trader Joe's!" Merchant says.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies—Things to Bake When You're Bored
Gimme Some Oven

Difficulty Level: Easy

Mastering the art of a delicious chocolate chip cookie may be considered baking 101, and thanks to this recipe from Gimme Some Oven, you can get expert results on the first try. These cookies are made with softened butter, brown sugar, cornstarch, flour, vanilla extract, and semisweet chocolate chips that are mixed together and chilled for two hours. "Scoop out and roll dough balls that are one-inch in diameter," Ali Martin says. "Then place the dough balls on a baking sheet that is covered with either parchment paper or a silicone baking mat." The cookies bake for up to 12 minutes.

Bake like a pro: "Sprinkle with a pinch of flaky sea salt, if you would like," Martin notes. "Then transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling."

Perfect your baking skills with these items:

Williams Sonoma Red Goldtouch Non-Stick 3-Piece Bakeware Set
Williams Sonoma Red Goldtouch Non-Stick 3-Piece Bakeware Set $75 $40
Things to Bake When You're Bored Williams Sonoma Offset Icing Spatula
Williams Sonoma Offset Icing Spatula $12
Things to Bake When You're Bored Williams Sonoma KitchenAid Artisan Design Series Stand Mixer
Williams Sonoma KitchenAid Artisan Design Series Stand Mixer $430

Related Stories