17 Delicious Desserts Perfect for Peak Summer
Trying to figure out a dessert course for your next backyard barbecue, or just looking for easy after-dinner treats to give your kids? Look no further. This list of ultimate summer desserts has something for every sweet tooth, whether you prefer a chocolatey treat, scoop of ice cream, punchy ice pop, or a fresh fruit cobbler.
If you're looking for a grand finale to serve at the big family gathering or a sweet treat to celebrate the everyday, you'll find it on our list of best summer dessert recipes. And if you're interested in some savory recipe inspiration, too, we have the ultimate guide to simple summer meal ideas here.
These sweet recipes are fast and easy, so you'll be able to actually enjoy your own patio party for once!
RELATED: 22 No-Bake Desserts
Brûléed Banana Splits With Cashew Caramel Corn
This banana split recipe is so good. You’ll start by caramelizing bananas in a nonstick skillet, which allows them to develop a delicious, sugary crust without using any fat. The result is a golden-brown slice of heaven, all topped off with ice cream and a sprinkling of salty-sweet caramel corn. For a dinner party, serve the bananas, ice cream, and caramel corn family style and let everyone build their own sundaes.
Get the recipe: Brûléed Banana Splits With Cashew Caramel Corn
Friendly’s Dessert Cups
For those who don't want to spend time baking when they could be enjoying a beautiful summer day, that's where Friendly’s Dessert Cups come in. With layers of pie crust pieces, peach pie filling, and vanilla ice cream, it has all the flavor of your favorite summer dessert.
White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Scones
White chocolate and macadamia nut is a proven winning combo in cookies, so it’s no surprise that the duo is right at home between the flaky layers of a scone. Each scone is blanketed in a buttery caramel glaze, a few more macadamia nuts for crunch, and some flakes of sea salt for an elegant finish.
Get the recipe: White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Scones
No-Churn Papaya Ice Cream
What is there to say about no-churn papaya ice cream? So much. First of all, it’s way easier to make than regular ice cream, since all you have to do is whip up heavy cream with sweetened condensed milk and fold in some papaya. No special equipment needed! Not to mention, it’s delicious, too. Scoop right out of the freezer or turn into decadent sundaes with roasted pineapple, toasted coconut flakes, and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt.
Get the recipe: No-Churn Papaya Ice Cream
Coconut Cake Doughnuts
The beauty of making doughnuts at home is that you don’t have to wait in line or feel bad about eating seconds, or…thirds. And these are so delicious, you’ll probably want the whole batch. The batter has coconut cream and nutmeg for a delicious tropical vibe, and after frying you’ll toss the doughnuts in a cinnamon-spiked coconut-sugar mixture. For a brunch treat, serve with coffee, or if you’re serving as dessert, a rum-spiked cocktail would pair perfectly.
Get the recipe: Coconut Cake Doughnuts
Mango Pound Cake
Here’s a fun twist on your average quick bread—a not-too-sweet loaf that folds in fresh chopped mango, while a blend of coconut oil and melted butter makes for a perfectly moist texture. Not only does coconut oil add delicious tropical flavor, it draws out the floral notes of mango. If you by some miracle have leftover cake, griddle up thick slices in melted butter. Bonus points for topping with a scoop of ice cream or mango sorbet.
Get the recipe: Mango Pound Cake
Salted Pineapple-Lime Granita
A great dessert hits many different flavor notes. Case in point: this refreshing granita recipe. You’ve got your sweet and floral pineapple, a tart spike of lime, and a fiery ginger syrup to tie it all together. If you’ve never had a granita, think of it like a grown-up snow cone. The key is to let the mixture freeze and then rake it with a fork to create melt-in-your-mouth icy flakes. The next step is cueing up hot summer night, beach, or fun barbecue to enjoy your frosty treat.
Get the recipe: Salted Pineapple-Lime Granita
Dark Chocolate Coconut Tartlets
Sneak some protein into dessert time with sunflower seed butter or any other creamy nut butter. When mixed with silky melted dark chocolate, it’s the filling for an insanely easy coconut tartlets dessert recipe.
Get the recipe: Dark Chocolate Coconut Tartlets
Flourless Chocolate Skillet Cake
If you’re more of a chocolate person, this skillet cake is a winner. And, let’s be honest, an ideal canvas for coffee (or vanilla, or, what the heck, more chocolate) ice cream.
Get the recipe: Flourless Chocolate Skillet Cake With Coffee Ice Cream
Lemony Almond Macaroons
Packing up a little sweet treat to go is a classy way to send your guests off. Lemony coconut and almond macaroons are a brightened up version of the chewy favorite. Place them in cello bags and tie with a little kitchen twine. I guarantee everyone will eat them in the car home.
Get the recipe: Lemony Almond Macaroons
Mixed Berry Biscuit Cobbler
The warm, fluffy biscuits are the real star here, and have uses far beyond cobbler. Scoop them onto a baking sheet and bake until golden, then build strawberry shortcakes or serve with warm stone fruit.
Get the recipe: Mixed Berry Biscuit Cobbler
Honey Whole Wheat Strawberry Clafoutis
Have you ever roasted or broiled strawberries? It brings out their natural sweetness and softens them to an almost spoonable consistency. We used the technique to add flavor to our whole wheat clafoutis, which is a sweet addition to any summer menu.
Get the recipe: Honey Whole Wheat Clafoutis
Frozen Candy Banana Pops
This tasty treat combines naturally-sweet bananas and candy (we love using Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups) for a fun, kid-friendly dessert. If you don’t have popsicle sticks, this treat can also be made into bite-sized pieces. For extra peanut butter flavor, dip the banana first in peanut butter, then in chocolate.
Get the recipe: Frozen Candy Banana Pops
Papaya-Raspberry Lime Pops
We love the texture that whole pureed fruit takes on when frozen: cold and creamy, just like sorbet. And while lots of fruits will work, we like to pair tropical varieties with ripe summer berries. Whenever you cook or bake with fruit (or any ingredient, really) you should taste a piece before you start to season. In this case, you’ll want to test the papaya and raspberries for sweetness and tartness. If they’re sweeter, dial back the sugar and increase the lime juice. Less sweet? Vice versa.
Get the recipe: Papaya-Raspberry Lime Pops
Banana Pudding Pie Bars With Meringue Topping
Imagine eating a giant bowl of banana pudding, except it’s served atop a Nilla Wafer crust and comes topped with toasty, fluffy, marshmallow-y meringue. The homemade vanilla pudding is a star on its own, so save the recipe and serve it with warm fruit or layered in a trifle.
Get the recipe: Banana Pudding Pie Bars With Meringue
Rosemary Grapefruit Spritzer
This refreshing, fizzy drink is a sophisticated alternative to orange juice and can be made up to a day ahead of a barbecue or brunch party.
Get the recipe: Rosemary Grapefruit Spritzer
Lemon Ricotta Cake
No mixing bowl needed—simply combine all the ingredients for this light and fluffy, sweet and easy breakfast casserole and pop it in the oven.
Get the recipe: Lemon Ricotta Cake