It's definitely hot out, but when it comes to desserts, we're just getting warmed up.
Summer gets a good reputation for being the season that encourages relaxation. Whether it's cooling down after a busy day working or enjoying time off to relish lazy afternoons in the sun, there's just something special about scorching temperatures and no school. When it comes to these cherished morsels of time, nothing quite beats frozen treats, summery cake or sweet berry pies. Because if there's one thing as special as a summer day, it's the dessert at the end of it.
Between June and August, berries and peaches reach their peaks, which makes any kind of bubbling cobbler — the juices saturated in natural sugar and buttery crumb topping — completely dreamy. And enjoying quality, small-batch ice cream doesn't have to be limited to the family-owned parlor down the block. In fact, there are simple tricks to making easy, no-churn ice cream in your very own kitchen. In addition to ice cream, anything cold and flavorful is truly a win for summer dessert spreads. That means we're making unique ice pops and decadent cakes that don't require any cooking or baking.
So when it's time to whip up something delightful for a party or just because it's summer, here are some of our favorite desserts, selected especially for the season of fun!
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.
"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.
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!).
Panna cotta, a smooth, gelatin-based dessert that is served cold gets infused with the natural flavors of a summer garden in this easy Italian dessert. The heavy cream, vanilla bean and rose water make this panna cotta a simple confection worthy of an elegant soiree or warm weather picnic. It pairs perfectly with fresh berries and honey.
"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!"
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.
"Juneteenth coincides with summer heat. It's a time when a lot of us are trying to spend as little time in the kitchen as possible,": says Nicole A. Taylor. "This dessert requires minimal baking and so is perfect for the dog days of June."
If chocolate and cakes aren’t your thing, don’t waste that open bottle of red wine; instead, use the leftover glasses to create Kardea Brown's fruit granita, enhanced with a mixed berry simple syrup to create a deliciously different dessert.
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.
Ice box cakes are incredibly easy and make a great summer dessert. Ree Drummond's cold and creamy recipe is made with layers of pound cake, blackberries and sweet whipped cream.
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!
Seasonal berries, tangy cream cheese filling and flaky, buttery crust combine to make a dessert that is rich in flavor but still has a light and airy feel.
"This recipe is my go-to for summer entertaining, as it celebrates the bounty of the season but is also so easy to prepare," says Elena Besser.
"I love baking a fresh pie crust and then just filling it with fresh fruit and ice cream. It's simple and really takes me back to my childhood," Alex Guarnaschelli said of her summery recipe. "I think strawberry ice cream works best with a drizzle of aged or reduced balsamic vinegar for some grown-up acidity. If you want to get even more into summer, top the berries with some fresh basil or mint leaves."
Skip the store-bought cake (who knows how long it's been sitting in that freezer?) and make your own! We cheat a little with the boxed cake mix, but let's keep that between us. Everyone else can just think you're a superhero. This chocolaty, minty dessert only has five ingredients and only takes 30 minutes to put together before freezing.
Ice cream is always a treat, but it tastes even better when you make it yourself. This creamy, dreamy, no-churn ice cream comes together in just 10 minutes. The hardest part is simply waiting for it to chill.
Jeni's Splendid is one of President Biden's favorite ice cream brands, and its founder Jeni Britton Bauer dishes up her secrets to create the ultimate vanilla ice cream. This creamy concoction made with real vanilla bean is simple to make but it's no plain Jane.
Turning these tasty brownies into ice cream sandwiches is so perfect because the chewiness is so, so delicious with the ice cream and a great treat for special occasions. Plus, it's easy enough to make with the kids.
Chocolate and peanut butter are the perfect pair. The dynamic duo is, hands down, Joy Bauer's my favorite combo. Naturally, the nutrition expert turned the flavors into a frozen sandwich format — and it's dairy-free!
These gorgeous ice cream sandwiches, Aarti Sequeira's sweet ode to Bedouin culture, are rich with cardamom-scented coffee, dates and pistachios swirled into a creamy, slightly crunchy confection.
It's a carnival in your kitchen! Try this sweet ice cream sandwich, featuring a nostalgic summertime treat: funnel cake.
The ingenious thing about this recipe (beside it being a mashup of two childhood favorites) is that the Rice Krispies treats mimic the texture of waffle cones. Be sure to use premium quality ice cream because it's churned with less air which makes it melt more slowly.
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.
When a day out in the burning sun leaves you feeling less than peppy, try this cool treat that also has a kick of caffeine. These chocolaty coffee pops provide just the right amount for an early afternoon boost.
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.
These four-ingredient pops are made with fresh ingredients like pink coconut water, lemons, agave nectar and a pinch of salt to balance out the acidity. You may never use lemonade from concentrate again.
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 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!"
This is the perfect dessert for the height of strawberry season, and with the addition of a few blueberries, becomes red, white and blue, which makes it a perfect way to celebrate the Fourth of July or even Bastille Day. Put on your garden party hat, grab a flute of Champagne and savor.
"I had never heard of blueberry buckle before I met my husband," says Dylan. "His grandmother makes it for him and it's his absolute favorite. When he asked me to make it for him, I didn't want to compete with his grandmother's recipe or try to imitate hers, so I made a completely new recipe of my own, mixing a few elements from various recipes. This way, we each had our own version of buckle. Mine was a hit and passed the taste test. I make it whenever blueberries are in season."
Crisps are a flavorful and satisfying alternative for people who want the same peachy goodness of a cobbler or pie but don't want to fool around with pie dough. You can peel the peaches if you like, but I keep the skin on because it fits the rustic nature of the dish and it makes the prep easier.
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.
This is slab pie, meant to feed a crowd and usually a rustic affair, is beautiful inside and out. And the beautiful lattice on top of the pie is a showstopper.
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.
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.