When I think of summer desserts, my mind goes to bright, fruity, and light recipes.
In the heat, I don’t like anything super filling. But I still want flavor!
Summer is the perfect time to take advantage of all the amazing fruits that are in season and create a colorful and appealing dish that is bursting with flavor.
Let’s take a look at 25 of the best desserts that just scream summer.
The first time I had key lime pie was in a bar, at sunset, in Key West. So it holds a special place in my heart.
I love the addition of brown sugar into the graham cracker base here for a deeper flavor.
The filling is just four ingredients. Start with the juice and zest of regular limes. If you can find key limes, great!
But regular limes will still make an awesome tasting pie.
Add condensed milk and Greek yogurt, and you’ll have a creamy and zesty filling.
Top with some whipped cream and lime zest for a real taste of the Keys.
Jelly (Jell-O) isn’t just a great treat for the kids.
This grown-up version is made with sweetened passion fruit puree and Prosecco, for a fruity and boozy little treat.
Don’t be afraid to use gelatin sheets. Simply ‘bloom’ them in some cold water until soft before mixing into your hot syrup.
This just means submerging the sheets in cold water for around five minutes.
As if it wasn’t good enough, this gets served with a sweet and creamy mascarpone topping made with powdered sugar.
I’m more drawn to lemon bars for their color. Of course, they taste amazing! But that bright yellow is just so sunny and happy.
The crust for these bars is a wonderfully sweet and buttery shortbread. Sprinkle with a little sugar for the real Scottish feel.
Back to the lemon…
The lemon filling is a simple mixture of eggs, flour, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. Though you might think the sugar content is a little high, it’s actually there to keep these babies from cracking.
Serve with a simple dusting of powdered sugar.
Peaches are big in my house. Come summer, they go in everything from salads to cakes.
This is the perfect recipe for one of those summer nights that has a slight chill. The kind where you need a light blanket over your legs.
Using an oven-proof skillet, mix your sliced peaches with some sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice.
The crisp topping is a simple mixture of flour, oats, brown sugar and butter. The whole thing can come together in just 15 minutes.
A great alternative to ice cream, this frozen mousse is surprisingly easy to make.
By whipping heavy cream with sugar and sour cream to stiff peaks, you’ll get a creamy base that will freeze just right.
Gently stir through fresh raspberries and chopped pistachios, and freeze in a loaf pan for at least four hours.
Slice and serve with honey-soaked raspberries for a great twist on a frozen dessert.
This Australia Day tart uses classic Anzac biscuits for an oat and coconut crust. If you can find something similar, that’s great.
Otherwise, a graham cracker crumb with some toasted coconut would be equally as delicious.
The filling is a mango custard made by blending mango puree with lime juice, sugar and eggs. Once smooth, you’ll need to gently heat until thick, stirring constantly.
Whisk in the butter right at the end and allow it to set in the tart case for at least four hours.
Serve with lightly whipped cream and passionfruit.
If you’re looking for something fast and fun, this recipe is for you.
Using store-bought cookies and your favorite ice cream, you can have these whipped up and ready to go in minutes.
The great thing here is how easy they are to modify.
Try chocolate chip cookies and caramel ice cream. Or gingersnaps with coffee ice cream. Better yet, a white chocolate macadamia cookie and raspberry ripple ice cream.
S’mores and summer go hand in hand. Unfortunately, we don’t all have access to an open flame.
These brownies might not be traditional, but they give you all those great flavors with the added benefit of a fudge brownie.
You’ll your brownie batter on top of a graham cracker base. Before they’re done cooking, top the whole thing with a ton of marshmallows.
The marshmallows will melt and brown on top for the perfect s’mores finish.
I think an extra drizzle of melted chocolate would really push these brownies over the edge.
If you thought the key lime pie was easy, this will knock your socks off.
Using a pre-made pie crust cuts down on the prep time, giving you more time by the pool.
The filling is super simple. Combine condensed milk with crushed pineapple, juice and all, with some Cool Whip. That’s it.
Being as creamy as this is, it can be served with just a slice of pineapple and maybe some crushed nuts for crunch. Though I think a sprinkling of toasted coconut would work really well.
This fried ice cream is not technically fried. It might be cheating, but I won’t tell if you don’t.
Start by scooping your favorite ice cream and freezing in balls. It’s important that these scoops are solid so that you can handle them.
The ‘fried’ part comes in with a simple trick. Gently fry cornflakes with a little cinnamon and honey for that toasted flavor and extra crunch.
Then it’s just a matter of rolling your frozen ice cream and serving.
Hot fudge sauce and sprinkles are suggested, but you can go crazy with anything. I think I’d go for caramel and M&Ms.
There’s nothing quite like a cool G&T on a hot day, and this recipe is definitely one for the grown ups.
With a layer of cookie crumb, topped with a creamy lemon filling and gin and tonic flavored jelly, you’ll need to keep the kids away.
The lemon and G&T layers are set with gelatin and should be allowed to set fully before slicing.
Serve with a little whipped cream, citrus zest, and a tall glass of gin and tonic.
This make ahead summer dessert might look intimidating, but it’s worth the extra effort, I promise.
Making meringues can be tricky, especially on a hot day. The key here is the added cornstarch and cream of tartar.
They help to stabilize the meringue, along with ensuring you whip them to stiff peaks.
Once you’ve gently swirled the blueberry through for a wonderful color and flavor kick, you’ll need to bake your little nests nice and low at 225°F.
They will need to bake for around an hour and a half.
Here’s the most important part: don’t open the oven door!
Turn your oven off after the bake and leave your meringues to finish cooking overnight. The next morning, they should be perfectly crisp on the outside and chewy in the middle.
Serve with a generous helping of blueberry preserves and some whipped cream.
For something really special, you have to try this very grown-up trifle.
It’s layers of rum-soaked ladyfingers, pineapple jelly, oven roasted pineapples, and coconut custard, topped with caramelized pineapple build up in one grand, over-the-top dessert.
For something extra special, try adding this coconut-rum caramel sauce!
This one’s for the kids!
This no-bake summer dessert is a simple layer of instant pudding, topped with crushed Oreo cookies.
You can use a baking dish for this, but I think they would look super cute as mini-parfaits.
Why not throw in some sour worms for a little extra fun?
Watermelon is a sweet and easy treat on a hot day.
For watermelon ice, all you need is watermelon, lime juice and zest, and some time.
Blitz your melon with the lime and spread out into a baking dish. That’s about it.
All you need to do is check on it every couple of hours. Take a spoon and gently scrape away the frozen layer.
Repeat two to three times until you’ve scraped through the whole thing and you’re left with watermelon shaved ice.
Serve in a fun little dish.
These banana kebabs are easy, delicious, and pretty healthy.
This recipe calls for bananas, pineapple, and strawberries, but you can easily change up the fruits. I think grilled peaches would make a nice addition.
It really is as easy as chopping your fruits and threading onto skewers. Drizzle everything with a touch of dark chocolate and chopped nuts or sprinkles, and keep in the fridge until you need them.
Of course, you can make them a little less healthy by adding pound cake or brownie chunks into the mix!
Crisp pavlova with whipped cream and fruit is one of my all-time favorite summer desserts. It’s light, gorgeous, and always a crowd-pleaser.
This recipe uses layers of thin meringue piped onto your baking tray and baked and cooled in your oven.
As if you’re making a cake, you’ll start with a meringue layer and smooth over some creamy honey-mascarpone, followed by grilled peaches and nectarines.
Repeat these layers three times, finishing with a pile of fruit and lashings of honey over the top.
I would add some berries to the top for even more color.
A good cake is a hit year-round. But this recipe really amplifies what we love about summer.
The cake is yellow, moist, and slightly lemony. The pops of blueberry are perfect against the light cake.
When frosted, you have an airy and very pretty cake that will be hard to resist.
If you want more lemon, try adding a layer of lemon curd with the frosting.
As far as no-bake desserts go, this frozen chocolate and coffee cheesecake is a winner.
Using an Oreo crust for plenty of chocolate flavor, the filling is a creamy mixture of cream cheese, chocolate syrup, condensed milk, and coffee.
Folding whipped cream through the mixture helps to incorporate air for a rich yet incredibly light texture.
Make sure to freeze for at least eight hours before cutting.
Serve with Bailey’s whipped cream for something even more luxurious.
Panna Cotta is a wonderfully simple, sweet, and luscious dessert.
Adding strawberries into the mix creates a perfectly pink variation with a fresh and smooth taste.
Be sure to puree and strain the seeds from your strawberries, and be careful not to heat your gelatin mixture too high.
Strain everything again before pouring into serving dishes.
I love the pink in this dessert and think a whipped chocolate cream would be a great compliment.
You don’t need special little glass dishes or cute little masons jars for this dessert (though mason jar desserts are undoubtedly adorable).
These super-fast parfaits can be made with store-bought pound cake, whipped cream, and sweetened berries, all layered into wine glasses.
The key here is to let the berries marinate in the agave syrup for maximum flavor.
Nothing like the mud pies of your childhood, this pie is made with a pecan shortbread-style crust.
The next layer is a sweet cream cheese and white chocolate pudding delight. It gets aired out with some Cool Whip for a lighter texture.
Over this goes a layer of chocolate pudding, followed by more Cool Whip.
It will take about an hour altogether and is worth every second.
This has to be the easiest of all.
The most time here will be spent hollowing out your strawberries to make room for the sweet and creamy cheesecake filling.
A simple mixture of cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla, you will find it easier and neater to pipe the filling.
But you’re going to dip it in crushed graham crumbs, so don’t worry if they’re not perfect.
The only way to make these any better would be to stripe them in chocolate.
Cannoli filling is creamy and sweet, though not overly so. It took me some time to get it right, and the trick is usually finding the right kind of ricotta.
If you skip the ricotta, it will taste great, but not super-great!
This cheesecake uses real cannoli shells crushed and mixed with melted butter and some graham cracker crumbs.
You can usually buy the shells in the store, or some bakeries will sell them unfilled.
For the filling, beat together the cream cheese with powdered sugar, orange zest, and a pinch of cinnamon until smooth.
Stir in the ricotta and extracts, followed by mini-chocolate chips. You can also use chopped chocolate, but be sure the pieces are small.
It needs to set for around four hours and should be served with extra chocolate shavings.
Nothing says summer like a pitcher of margaritas and a seat by the beach.
To be honest, I drink margaritas all year round, but still. These cupcakes are a great way to celebrate the summer months.
The super soft and moist cupcake has lime zest spread throughout. Though I would probably drizzle them with a tequila simple syrup for added flavor.
For the frosting, you will be adding more lime zest, juice and tequila, beating it to completely smooth.
I think these would be so sweet garnished with a chili and salt dipped lime wedge, and a cocktail umbrella!
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