25 Best Summer Desserts

Our 25 sweet summer treats are sure to be a hit at your next gathering.

grilled-banana-smores-recipe

Photographer Fran Gealer

Grilled Banana S'mores

Round out any outdoor party with this sweet gooey dessert. Substituting bananas for marshmallows is a new twist on a classic favorite.

Grill Tip: Keep the skin on the banana or peel and skewer to hold the fruit together on the grill.

Peach-and-Blueberry Crispy Crumble

Reena Bammi

Peach-and-Blueberry Crispy Crumble  

Bake the crumble on a parchment paper- or foil-lined baking sheet to catch any fruit that may bubble over.

Blackberry Ice Cream

Howard L. Puckett

Blackberry Ice Cream

After you’ve worked up a sweat picking buckets of fresh blackberries from the bushes, cool down with a scoop of this creamy frozen treat.

White Chocolate-Key Lime Pie

Howard L. Puckett

White Chocolate-Key Lime Pie

Take your taste buds to a tropical resort with one bit of this delightfully sweet-tart pie.

Nectarine-Blueberry Cake

Ralph Anderson

Nectarine-Blueberry Cake

Make the most of summer produce by using fresh nectarines and blueberries in a layer cake worthy of company. If you don’t have nectarines, summer peaches are a great substitute.

Summer Melon with Sherbet and Fresh Mint Syrup

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Summer Melon with Sherbet and Fresh Mint Syrup

This refreshing low-fat dessert will help you look good in your bikini all summer long. Use whatever melons and berries look the best at your local farmers’ market.

Frozen Lime Pie

Howard L. Puckett

Frozen Lime Pie

Reminiscent of a Key lime pie, this frozen treat uses regular limes and has sweetened flaked coconut mixed into the graham cracker crust. It’s a great choice for entertaining because you can make it a few days ahead.

Waialua Chocolate Tart with Sable Crust

Jean Allsopp

Waialua Chocolate Tart with Sable Crust

One bite of this rich dark-chocolate tart and the accompanying passion fruit–vanilla sauce and you’ll be sailing away to the Hawaiian islands. The crust―made with butter, powdered sugar, egg white, flour, and cocoa―adds an extra level of flavor and texture.

Blueberries and Chilled Cream

Sara Gray

Blueberries and Chilled Cream

Summertime is the season for simple desserts, and this five-ingredient, no-cook berries-and-cream dish fills the bill perfectly.

Mango Cheesecake

Howard L. Puckett

Mango Cheesecake

Add golden color and tropical flavor to cheesecake by stirring a mango puree into the cream cheese mixture. Create a summer garnish by topping the cake with mango slices, fresh berries, and mint sprigs.

Lemon-Buttermilk Tart

Howard L. Puckett

Lemon-Buttermilk Tart

If you grew up eating buttermilk pie in your grandmother's kitchen, you may get a little nostalgic when you taste this tart. Make one for your family reunion this summer and treasure the memories.

Peach-Raspberry Cobbler

Sara Gray

Peach-Raspberry Cobbler

Nothing says summer like the sight and smell of baskets of fresh peaches at a roadside stand. And what better way to showcase them than in an old-fashioned cobbler topped with ice cream?

Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut-Cream Cheese Frosting

Photographer Becky Luigart-Stayner

Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut-Cream Cheese Frosting

To toast coconut, spread it on a baking sheet in an even layer. Bake at 350° for 5 to 7 minutes, shaking the pan frequently. Keep an eye on it; after toasting to a golden brown, it can burn quickly.

Grilled Chocolate-Hazelnut-Pound Cake Sandwiches

Photographer Becky Luigart-Stayner

Grilled Chocolate-Hazelnut-Pound Cake Sandwiches

Keep these ingredients in your freezer and pantry and you’ll always be ready for dessert. For a crowd, cut the pound cake sandwiches into small 1-inch cubes. They’ll love the small bites.

Grilled Nectarines with Vanilla-Honey Sauce and Ice Cream

Photographer Becky Luigart-Stayner

Grilled Nectarines with Vanilla-Honey Sauce and Ice Cream

Brush an oil-soaked paper towel across grill grates before placing fruits or other sweet foods—which have a tendency to stick—over the heat.

Berries with Mascarpone

Food Stylist Jamie Kim, Photographer Melanie Acevedo

Berries with Mascarpone

This fresh fruit dessert is an easy menu addition—and is sure to be a hit with kids!

Grilled Glazed Pineapple with Coconut Sorbet

Photographer Con Poulos,

Grilled Glazed Pineapple with Coconut Sorbet

Grilling brings out the extra sweetness in the pineapple, but don't overcook or the fruit will get mushy.

Banana Crème Brûlée

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Banana Crème Brûlée

Give this French dessert a tropical twist with fresh bananas. Helpful hint: Prepare these the night before; they need to chill in the fridge at least eight hours.

Mini Strawberry Shortcakes

Photo: Jennifer Davick

Mini Strawberry Shortcakes

Instead of biscuits or shortbread, this sweet concoction uses packages ladyfingers, which give it a light texture that's good on blazing days. Individual desserts are easy to serve—no cutting or scooping—and easy to eat. (They'll disappear in a flash!)

Orange-Mango-Triple Sec Layer Cake

Orange-Mango-Triple Sec Layer Cake

Be sure to allow enough time for the filling to chill before preparing the cake.

Brown-Sugared Barbecued Bananas

Brown-Sugared Barbecued Bananas

Throw this quick treat on the grill for a fast and easy end to your barbeque.

Summer Sorbet Trio

Photo: Tara Sgroi; Styling: Rebecca Bull Reed

Summer Sorbet Trio

You can make cantaloupe, honeydew, and strawberry sorbet with this one recipe. Letting the sorbet stand in the refrigerator gives it time to soften, but you can speed up the process by breaking it up and pulsing it in a food processor fitted with a metal blade.

Triple Berry Tart

Photo: Sara Gray

Triple Berry Tart

A store-bought pie crust speeds up prep for this pretty pastry. Assemble the tart up to two hours ahead and chill. Bring it to room temperature before serving.

Perfect Picnic Brownies

Photo: Jean Allsopp

Perfect Picnic Brownies

Nothing says summer like a picnic on the beach. Pack a plate of these chocolatey treats to end your outdoor meal on a high note.

Panna Cotta al Mascarpone con Fragole

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Panna Cotta al Mascarpone con Fragole

Make entertaining easier by prepping this dessert the night before.

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