Summer's just one of those seasons that flies by in a flash. Its bright and sunny days invite plenty of outdoor activities, packed afternoons and evenings drinking in every last moment of daylight until poof! It's suddenly September.
Let the flavors of August linger a little longer, however, with a scrumptious sendoff at all the unofficial end-of-summer parties. For last seasonal holiday following the packed festivities of Memorial Day, Juneteenth and July 4, it's important to go out with a bang. That means we're bringing our baking (and no-bake) A-game to Labor Day desserts this year!
Whether you're going to make the sacrifice by turning on the oven for luscious, oozing pies and crisps or opt for a good-old-fashioned icebox cake, we've compiled the ultimate list of our favorite desserts. So when you're looking to use up the rest of all those berries that beckoned their way into your basket at the farmers' market or want a quick, last-minute dessert that will impress everyone at the potluck, we've got your back.
All that's left to do is to savor all the sweetness and imagine summer's got a whole extra month (just take a bite and pretend) — oh, and don't forget to decide on your other Labor Day recipes, including side dishes.
"This is the type of summer pie you layer and freeze for fun," says Alex Guarnaschelli. "I really enjoy opening the freezer and pulling out something I made earlier — I have made frozen tiramisu, frozen Key lime pie and now this. Here, an American campfire classic is taking a trip to the freezer during the summer heat."
"Nothing screams a summer dessert to me more than lemon bars," says Siri Daly. "They're bright, creamy and a delicious treat to bring along to your next outdoor picnic or barbecue!"
We love this recipe because it's easy to whip up and it doesn't require a mixer. It can all be made in one bowl, by hand! Less dishes!
"I loved the idea of a creamy, orange pie filling, reminiscent of a Good Humor Creamiscle bar, with a salty crust made from pretzels, but I wasn't sure what to expect when developing this recipe," says Jessie Sheehan. I'm pleased to say it's all that and then some! Sweet, citrusy, creamy with a good dose of salty crunch from the crust — it's the best easy-peasy pie for summer."
There's few fab-for-entertaining dessert recipes as easier than this cake. Known as a "wacky cake," due to the fact that it calls for no eggs and no dairy (wacky, right?), the cake is also vegan (save for the cream cheese glaze I top it with), tender, moist and, due to the rainbow sprinkles, super fun.
Make banana bread even better by layering it with ice cream! Chill this cake overnight to ensure clean slices of the cake when cutting. You can also make it into ice cream sandwiches instead of an entire cake, if you prefer.
The secret behind the ultimate Rice Krispies recipe is, of course, the Marshmallow Fluff. To turn these into a cool summer treat, place in the freezer for at least an hour. Dip in melted chocolate before serving for an extra indulgent bite. Sprinkle on your favorite crushed candy, chopped nuts or sprinkles!
Making an impressive summer dessert shouldn’t require you to use your oven! This simple icebox cake comes together in minutes, and you won’t even have to heat up your kitchen. The wafer cookies will soften slightly in the fridge as the dessert sits. The small addition of almond extract brings out the pistachio flavor. This recipe truly comes together faster than you could place a delivery order for ice cream.
In 15 minutes, create a luscious creamy, sherbet-style dessert with condensed milk that requires no ice cream maker at all. Scoop it between cookies and a homemade chocolate shell for the ultimate crowd-pleaser at summer's end.
Use any extra fruit that's in the fridge before it goes bad in this ingenuous treat. This pie is every fruit lover's favorite, as it's so light and fresh. This recipe makes two pies: one for home, and one for a Labor Day party!
Make your pies even more tempting with this pie crust that's made into a simple yet classic lattice pattern. Martha Stewart makes a sour cherry filling that is the perfect summery dessert. Alternatively, you can use a sweet, buttery crumble topping on this pie (or any other fruit pie) in place of a top crust.
This strawberry tiramisu takes all the classic moves of the traditional espresso-flavored dessert and gives it a summery twist. Bring this to your next summer barbecue and it will surely be the talk of the party.
Looking for a fun way to make individual desserts? These mini, no-bake cheesecakes are simple, summery and filled with freshly macerated strawberries. Not only do they look adorable, but they taste amazing, too.
This simple cheesecake requires no baking and uses sweetened condensed milk for a smooth and decadent texture. It is delicious on its own or served with any topping of choice, from fresh berries to chocolate chips or even toasted coconut.
"I love this dish because it's easy and elegant," says Padma Lakshmi. "No one wants to turn on their ovens in the summer, so this no-bake dessert is a real crowd-pleaser."
At the end of a good meal, everyone will say they're stuffed — until they see Martha Stewart's ice cream cake. It is made from a rich, buttery blondie bar, vanilla ice cream (filled with more blondie) and a soft, chewy, totally insane chocolate-caramel topping.
The key to a super successful five-ingredient recipe is to choose ingredients that do double or triple duty. In addition to toasty oats, the granola adds sweet spices and nuts. Also, the self-rising flour contains leavening and salt, which makes the crumble especially light and crisp.
How pretty-in-pink is this no-bake, summery strawberry cake? The recipe is completely customizable and takes no effort to put together, with only 15 minutes of prep time, which is perfect when feeding a crowd.
This chocolaty, rich desert looks like it'd be hard to make, but it's straightforward recipe (created in honor of Juneteenth at summer's start) requires minimal baking. It's cold, luscious and ideal for entertaining at summer cookouts.
Slices of rich brownie cake make dramatic stripes in this striking frozen dessert, which features all the fixings of an old-fashioned sundae — and then some. Two kinds of ice cream — vanilla and strawberry — are used as the fillings, along with crunchy peanut butter and crushed raspberries.
Sweet peaches and sugary crumbles is a nostalgic flavor pairing for so many people, especially those who grew up where peaches grow. Put it all together in a bubbly cobbler topped with ice cream and you've got a spoonful of summer.
Ice cream sandwiches are great, but when you dip them in chocolate and roll them through toppings, well, they make us extremely happy. Despite how casual these might seem, they can actually look quite sleek and trendy lined up on a nice platter, making them work nicely in a dinner party setting.
Coconut milk adds an additional layer of tropical flavor to these Key lime pie-inspired ice pops for the ultimate summer dessert on a stick.
This frosty cake is made from just five ingredients and adds a fun and festive twist to dessert.
"This is one of my favorite easy dessert recipes," says Elena Besser. "It's so rich and flavorful, but still light. Also, it only has five ingredients and lasts for months in the freezer … unless it all gets eaten first!"
Honey-balsamic blueberry pie might sound unexpected but it's supremely sensational! A touch of tangy sweet balsamic vinegar combined with honey, cinnamon and a pinch of freshly ground black pepper magnifies the sweetness of the blueberries.
Pre-made cookies and store-bought ice cream make a lovely and easy dessert. Assemble it ahead of time and let it chill in the freezer until you're ready to dig in. Topped with some fresh strawberries, everyone will think you've become a gourmet pastry chef (we won't tell if you don't!).
"Skillet fruit crisps are probably my number one go-to for desserts because they're so easy to make," says Lazarus Lynch. "You just toss in the fruit, top it with a crumble, bake it and that's it!"
You don't need an ice cream machine to make this decadent blueberry cheesecake ice cream. This is definitely a project anyone can take on. To develop a deeper flavor in her no-churn ice cream, Jocelyn Delk Adams first cooks the blueberries.
This amazing, eye-catching pie will be sure to have guests asking if they can have s'more. It incorporates all the elements of the classic campfire treat into a rich, decadent pie that's impossible to resist.