31 Cool Summer Dessert Recipes

Beat the Heat With These No-Bake Sweet Treats

watermelon granita

 Leah Maroney

Let's face it—the last thing you want to do on a hot summer day is to cook anything in the oven. That doesn't mean you need to sacrifice delicious desserts. There are plenty of ways to make cool desserts, from using purchased cakes and toppings to cooking on the stovetop or in the microwave. For a quick chocolate craving, make a batch of no-bake cookies, which needs only one minute on the stovetop. Or make a sinfully sweet cheesecake or pie that needs no cooking at all.

If you are planning on entertaining, let your guests build their own shortcakes with purchased sponge cake, whipped topping and a variety of fresh sliced fruits and berries. Or bake biscuits on a cool day and keep some in the freezer for those quick shortcakes. Keep frozen fruit juice pops on hand for the kids, along with instant puddings and flavored gelatin for a dessert that can be put together without a sweat.

If you're short on time, soften a carton of store-bought vanilla or chocolate ice cream and add funfetti, chocolate chips, crumbled cookies, or bits of edible cookie dough. Mix your chosen ingredients into the softened ice cream and refreeze.

  • 01 of 31

    Frozen Blueberry Lemonade Pie

    Frozen Blueberry Lemonade Pie

    Diana Rattray / The Spruce

    Fresh blueberries give this frozen lemonade pie extra color and flavor. The pie takes just a few minutes to mix in a blender. Just freeze and eat. Blueberry lemonade pie is an ideal dessert for a hot summer day. 

  • 02 of 31

    Cookie Dough Pops

    cookie dough pops

    Diana Rattray / The Spruce

    The kids will love these no-bake cookie dough pops. Keep some cookie dough pops in the fridge for hot days or make them for a summer birthday party. 

  • 03 of 31

    Maple Walnut Ice Cream

    Maple Walnut Ice Cream With Maple Flakes

    Diana Rattray / The Spruce

    Pure maple syrup is the star ingredient in this rich walnut ice cream, and chopped nuts and maple sugar flakes add a bit of crunch. You will need to plan ahead for this recipe as the mixture needs to be refrigerated for 3 to 4 hours before it goes into the ice cream maker.

  • 04 of 31

    Frozen Peanut Butter Cup Pie

    Frozen Peanut Butter Cup Pie

    Diana Rattray / The Spruce

    This incredible frozen peanut butter cup pie is the perfect dessert or weekend treat for a hot summer day. The classic graham cracker pie shell and simple cream cheese and peanut butter filling take no more than 10 to 15 minutes to prepare—just mix, freeze and enjoy. Try a pretzel crust for a crunchy, salty-sweet base.

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  • 05 of 31

    Frozen Lemonade Pie

    Lemonade Pie

    Diana Rattray / The Spruce

    This easy lemonade pie is made with a three-ingredient filling. Use a purchased graham cracker crust to make assembly even quicker. This recipe is made with sweetened condensed milk but you can also make it with softened vanilla ice cream.

  • 06 of 31

    Peanut Butter Silk Pie

    Peanut Butter Silk Pie

    Diana Rattray / The Spruce

    This creamy peanut butter pie is a snap to throw together with a graham cracker crust, a thin layer of fudge and a cream cheese and peanut butter filling. Make this special and delicious dessert for any occasion.

  • 07 of 31

    Dole Whip

    Dole Whip

    Leah Maroney 

    This Hawaiian dessert just tastes like summer. Pineapple is blended with coconut milk and vanilla ice cream to create a refreshing, thick and creamy frozen treat. The recipe calls for frozen pineapple but feel free to use fresh if you have on hand.

  • 08 of 31

    Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

    Homemade Chocolate Chip Ice Cream (stracciatella)

    Diana Rattray / The Spruce

    This recipe for the popular chocolate chip ice cream is enhanced with vanilla bean paste and sugar cane syrup. You can use chocolate chips, but if you include shaved chocolate instead it will become more like stracciatella, the Italian gelato.

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  • 09 of 31

    Magic Shell

    Magic Shell for Ice Cream

    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni

    When you're serving ice cream, top it with a chocolate magic shell. The simple recipe requires chocolate chips and coconut oil. Melt them in the microwave, let it cool, then pour over a dish of ice cream and enjoy the hard crackle shell. It works on ice cream bars and cones, as well as other treats, too.

  • 10 of 31

    Watermelon Granita

    Two servings of watermelon granita garnished with fresh mint

     The Spruce / Leah Maroney

    When the temperature rises and the only thing that will cool you off is ice, slake your thirst with a watermelon granita. This simple fruit-flavored treat, similar to Italian ice, requires no ice cream machine or churning. With only three ingredients, it's a great summer treat.

  • 11 of 31

    Mochi Ice Cream

    Mochi Ice Cream

     Kristina Vanni

    Mochi ice cream wraps Japanese sweet glutinous rice flour around an ice cream ball. Classic flavors such as chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry taste delicious, but you can also try adventurous ice cream options such as Kona coffee, green tea, plum wine, and red bean.

  • 12 of 31

    Egg Cream

    Egg Cream

    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni

    Fun, fizzy, and very easy, mix up New York egg cream at home. Though it originally included egg, today this soda fountain favorite is a simple combination of milk, chocolate syrup, and seltzer water. Adults and kids alike will enjoy it and it's a simple treat you can make any time.

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  • 13 of 31

    Affogato

    Affogato Italian Espresso Dessert
    The Spruce Eats / S&C Design Studios

    Affogato is a delicious way to enjoy ice cream and coffee in one dish. This fabulous Italian dessert is quick and easy to make, too. Simply brew fresh espresso or strong coffee and pour it over vanilla gelato or ice cream in a frozen glass. Sprinkle it with grated chocolate and serve it with a spoon.

  • 14 of 31

    Semifreddo

    Semifreddo

    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni

    Semifreddo is an Italian ice cream recipe that doesn't require a special machine, so anyone can make it. Instead of churning, this Italian dessert is mixed and molded in a loaf pan then allowed to freeze. Finish it up with sliced almonds and serve it in slices.

  • 15 of 31

    Chocolate Milkshake

    chocolate milkshake

     Leah Maroney

    No dessert screams "summer" more than a chocolate milkshake. Cold and creamy, topped with luxurious whip cream, it's incredible that something so good could be so simple to make. This classic recipe is just three ingredients—milk (soy milk, almond milk, or any non-dairy milk will work great), vanilla ice cream, and chocolate syrup. That's it. The fun part comes in topping your milkshake. The sky's the limit with whip cream, sprinkles, or even whole candy bars. Adults can add a little whiskey or rum, to taste, for a spiked milkshake that can't be beat.

  • 16 of 31

    Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Bars

    strawberry shortcake bars

     Leah Maroney

    Strawberry shortcake ice cream bars only take a few ingredients to make and a few hours of chill time. Adults and kids alike will love eating these festive, fruity popsicles.

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  • 17 of 31

    No-Bake Cool Whip Cheesecake

    No-Bake Cool Whip Cheesecake

    Leah Maroney 

    These individual no-bake cheesecakes combine cream cheese and Cool Whip dessert topping for a rich and fluffy treat. Top them with fresh berries, slices of kiwi, chunks of pineapple, or other favorite fruit. You can make these up to two days in advance and store them tightly wrapped in the refrigerator. Add the fruit just before serving.

  • 18 of 31

    Dirt Dessert

    Pudding dirt cup

    The Spruce 

    Surprise the kids with this popular novelty dessert. Layered with whipped topping, pudding and chocolate cookie crumbs, these adorable dirt desserts are perfect for a summer birthday party or family gathering.

  • 19 of 31

    Mint Ice Cream

    mint ice cream

    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni 

    Mint ice cream is a fun make-ahead dessert. Churn it in your ice cream maker, freeze it for a couple of hours, and it will be ready whenever you need it. Mint extract gives it a refreshing, cool flavor, while green food coloring produces its beautiful color. Add mini chocolate chips for extra flavor or a mint leaf garnish to dress up the bowl if you like.

  • 20 of 31

    No-Churn Ice Cream

    No churn ice cream with cookie crumbs.
    Diana Rattray

    There's no need for a fancy ice cream maker to make this creamy no-churn ice cream. It only has a few simple ingredients and doesn't require cooking. Fold in your choice of mix-ins like chocolate chips or sprinkles, top it with chocolate or caramel syrup, or leave it as simply vanilla.

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  • 21 of 31

    Chocolate Delight Dessert

    Chocolate Delight Layered Pudding Dessert

    Diana Rattray / The Spruce

    By using a store-bought graham cracker crust, you can assemble a chocolate delight dessert in no time without turning on the oven. Feel free to make your own variation by swapping the chocolate pudding for your favorite flavor, or add chopped candy bars or banana slices to the top.

  • 22 of 31

    Easy No-Bake Chocolate Cheesecake

    No bake chocolate cheesecake

    The Spruce

    This simple chocolate cheesecake requires no oven time whatsoever. The filling includes melted chocolate chips, sugar, cream cheese, and butter, mixed with whipped topping and chilled in a graham cracker crust. 

  • 23 of 31

    Red, White and Blue Ice Cream

    Red White and Blue Ice Cream With Raspberry and Blueberry Jam

    Diana Rattray / The Spruce

    Don't wait for the Fourth of July to enjoy this fabulous ice cream. The vanilla ice cream is accented by swirls of raspberry sauce and blueberry jam to create a delicious and beautiful frozen treat.

  • 24 of 31

    Ice Cream Cones

    How to Make Ice Cream Cones

    Kristina Vanni 

    Ice cream parties are great fun on a hot summer day. Homemade ice cream cones will elevate ice cream, sorbet, or sherbert into a special treat. This recipe can also be draped over the back of a muffin pan to make edible bowls.

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  • 25 of 31

    Peanut Butter Milkshake

    peanut butter milkshake

     Leah Maroney

    It only takes three ingredients to make this quick and easy peanut butter milkshake. Use nondairy milk and ice cream if you're lactose intolerant, or add a drizzle of chocolate syrup.

  • 26 of 31

    Creamy Southern Buttermilk Ice Cream

    Buttermilk Ice Cream

    Diana Rattray / The Spruce

    Buttermilk might not be the first ingredient that comes to mind when you think of ice cream, but you'll be pleasantly surprised when you taste it. The tang of the buttermilk in the sweet, creamy ice cream is pure heaven. 

  • 27 of 31

    10-Minute No-Bake Pumpkin Pie

    10 Minute No-Bake Pumpkin Pie

    Diana Rattray / The Spruce

    Just because it is summertime doesn't mean you can't have pumpkin. Treat your guests to this impressive but easy pumpkin pie. And it really takes only 10 minutes to prepare, especially if you use a store-bought graham cracker crust.

  • 28 of 31

    Nutella Pie

    Nutella Pie

    The Spruce Eats / Jessie Sheehan

    Nutella pie is a summertime dream. An impressive, chocolatey dessert that's worthy of potlucks and gatherings, it only takes a few moments to throw together. You don't even have to turn on the oven.

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  • 29 of 31

    Rum Raisin Ice Cream

    Rum Raisin Ice Cream

     Kristina Vanni

    Ice cream isn't just for the kids. This recipe incorporates rum into both the ice cream batter itself as well as the raisins, making for a delicious treat that's like a cocktail in a spoon.

  • 30 of 31

    Easy Chocolate Bourbon Truffles

    chocolate truffles

    Diana Rattray / The Spruce

    Chocolate bourbon truffles are a breeze to fix with melted chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk. Feel free to leave the bourbon out or replace it with a liqueur fruit syrup.

  • 31 of 31

    No-Bake Cherry Cream Cheese Dessert

    no bake cherry dessert

    Diana Rattray / The Spruce

    It's hard to believe this delicious cream cheese dessert requires no cooking. The graham cracker crust is chilled, and then the cream cheese filling is added. Use purchased or homemade cherry pie filling in the recipe.