9 Easy, No-Bake Desserts to Make This Summer


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We’re nearing that point in the summer where we simply do not, under any circumstances, want to turn on our ovens. But that doesn’t mean we don’t want dessert. There’s always ice cream, of course, but what about cookies, pies, and tarts? Here, we’ve gathered our favorite dessert recipes to inspire your summer “baking” projects, none of which require you to turn on the oven. And in case you’re wondering: Yes, there are a lot of cheesecakes on this list (it’s a dessert that adapts particularly well to no-bake methods!), but you’ll also find cookies and bars to round out the selection.

1. No-Bake Lime Cheesecake

“I’ve never been a huge fan of Key lime pie (too sour, too sweet), which is where this no-bake cheesecake swoops in to save the day,” says recipe developer Eric Kim. It’s creamier, lighter, and softer than your typical baked cheesecake, meaning it’s a perfect dessert for the season.

2. No-Bake Pineapple Tart

This cheesecake-esque tart comes together in—no joke—15 minutes, but you’d never know that from looking at its beautiful concentric pineapple topping. A store-bought graham cracker crust makes for an especially swift assembly.

3. No-Bake Butterscotch & Chocolate Haystacks

These three-ingredient “haystacks” are a longtime favorite in Resident Erin Jeanne McDowell’s family. They’re also riffable: While the original recipe calls for a mix of semisweet chocolate and butterscotch chips, feel free to use milk or white chocolate, or even peanut butter chips.

4. No-Bake Mini Pistachio Cheesecakes

These adorable, shareable cheesecakes get their flavor (and cute pastel color) from pistachio paste. Pistachio not your thing? Swap in any nut-based spread, like peanut butter, almond butter, or chocolate-hazelnut spread. According to Erin Jeanne McDowell, cookie butter works, too!

5. No-Bake Orange Cream Pie With a Pretzel Crust

A salty pretzel crust is the ideal complement to this pie’s orange creamsicle-inspired filling. “The secret ingredient here is orange juice concentrate,” says recipe developer Jessie Sheehan, “as it provides just the right amount of orange flavor without loosening the filling.”

6. No-Bake Cookies

Rather than baking in the oven, the dough for these cookies gets quickly cooked on the stovetop, then portioned out and left to set. Thought to have originated during the Great Depression, these cookies are also known as “preachers cookies,” “cow pies,” or “peanut-butter delights,” says Ella Quittner.

7. Nigella Lawson’s No-Bake Nutella Cheesecake

This six-ingredient Nutella cheesecake from Nigella Lawson has been a Food52 community favorite for years, and we understand why. In addition to being delicious, it’s an instant crowd-pleaser that’s “embarrassingly easy to make.”

8. Triple-Chocolate No-Bake Cheesecake

Yes, we realize that this list features two chocolate cheesecakes in a row. They’re both just really, really good. This nut-free version from Erin Jeanne McDowell layers milk, dark, and white chocolates for a striped effect.

9. No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars With Oreo Crust

These bars are designed for all the Oreo-lovers out there. The crust makes use of the chocolate cookies, while the peanut butter layer is sweetened with their creme filling. We’re not done: The bars are finished with Oreo crumbles on top for delightful textural contrast and visual appeal.

What’s your go-to no-bake dessert?

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