Our favourite easy dessert recipes are those that are sure to impress guests but are also deceptively simple to make at home with just a few ingredients and not much time to spare.
Many of these simple dessert ideas require no baking, and most of the recipes are make-ahead desserts, allowing you to spend more time enjoying the company of your guests when you're entertaining.
There are plenty of easy chocolate dessert ideas in the list, including warm brownies that you can serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, as well as fruit filled desserts with strawberries, cherries and other seasonal berries that make wonderful pudding ideas when served in the summer.
This recipe collection is all about cheating it, but with excellent results. So whether you're looking for dinner party desserts that will impress even the most discerning of guests, or you need lunch ideas for entertaining friends, there will be a quick and easy dessert idea below for you.
29 easy dessert recipes to make at home
Tropical cheesecake pots
Was there ever a simpler or more tasty tropical dessert? Granted the pineapple crisps are a little on the fiddly side, but even without them, these cheesecake pots are still pretty splendid. To add a tropical flavour to the cheesecake mix we have used coconut milk. As well as piling them high with mango. To make them even more simple these yummy cheesecake pots don’t require baking. Instead we have added a touch of gelatine to set the mix.
Get the recipe: Tropical cheesecake pots (opens in new tab)
This delectable French classic takes just 20 minutes to prepare and is super easy. A galette is similar to a pie, as it’s made of pastry and fruit. However, it’s easier to make because you just fold the pastry edges directly over the fruit. So there is no need to mess around with lining a pastry case. Removing the cherry stones can be a laborious task, so it’s worth investing in a cherry pitter to save time. The British cherry season is short, just June to July. This galette is a fantastic way to utilise this wonderful fruit while they're at their best.
Get the recipe: Cherry galette (opens in new tab)
Cherry ice cream
This simple cheats cherry ice cream doesn’t require an ice cream maker. It’s a bung it in a blender and whiz it together jobbie. To make it even easier we used frozen cherries this time, so you don’t have to pit them. The homemade cones are an optional extra, but if you’re in a rush shop brought ones are great too. Or if you’re like us you might resort to eating this delicious ice cream directly from the tub! Yes, it really is that good.
Get the recipe: Cherry ice cream (opens in new tab)
Kaiserschmarrn is essentially a pancake gone wrong. It may not be the most attractive looking dessert out there, but trust us, it tastes utterly amazing. We love to serve it with apple sauce or berry compote as well as some fresh berries for good measure. As puddings go kaiserschmarrn is actually quite filling, so perfect for a winters day when you fancy a comforting warming treat. It is also a great dish to serve at brunch.
Get the recipe: Kaiserschmarrn (opens in new tab)
If you are looking for a quick-to-make and gluten-free dessert then look no further. This vibrant bake is a real crowd-pleaser. Gluten-free puff pastry is now readily available at most supermarkets. Although obviously this galette can be made with regular puff pastry too for those without specific dietary restrictions.
Get the recipe: Rhubarb Galette (opens in new tab)
Chardonnay poached apples with crunchy granola
The ideal dessert for the Chardonnay lover. Poached fruit is a great dinner party pud. It’s classic and classy, and the perfect way to finish a rich meal. In this recipe, Senior Food Writer Jessica Ransom has paired sweet pears with a dry oaky Chardonnay. Jessica explains, “choosing an oaked Chardonnay intensifies the buttery notes in this wholesome dessert”. To make this pudding even faster to prepare, swap the lovely homemade granola crumb for a shop bought variety.
Strawberry Cheesecake with strawberry sauce
The Wimbledon classic of strawberries and cream is reimagined in this gorgeous strawberry cheesecake. It’s simple to make and doesn’t require baking. It’s a foolproof recipe that works every time. Follow the link below to find the recipe and to watch a video to guide you through the steps.
Low-Fat Lemon Posset
We've taken this smooth lemon dessert and made it lighter by using half-fat crème fraîche. We don't think anyone will notice! This easy dessert recipe takes just a few minutes - put it together and leave in the fridge a few hours before your guests arrive. You'll have much more time to enjoy the evening if you know the sweet course is already taken care of.
Get the recipe: Low-Fat Lemon Posset (opens in new tab)
Easy Avocado Chocolate Mousse
Who wouldn't want a dessert recipe that tastes great and is good for you? Whip up this easy mousse in no time for a super tasty dessert that's also really healthy - it's dairy free and sugar free, so you can enjoy it guilt free! Make it ahead and keep it chilled in the fridge until you're ready to enjoy it.
Get the recipe: Avocado Chocolate Mousse (opens in new tab)
Ice Cream Waffle Sandwiches
Everyone loved ice cream sandwiches as kids, so why not make your own and customise it with your preferred ice cream and nuts? Our is one that you'll be making time and time again on those sunny days. This easy recipe only takes fifteen minutes and feels like a real treat.
Get the recipe: Ice Cream Waffle Sandwiches (opens in new tab)
We love this strawberry fizz recipe - it requires so little hassle and time that guests won't even realise you've left the table to throw it together. This is a really sophisticated and classy grown-up dessert that'll really add a touch of style to your dinner party. Plus, it looks so special in the individual glasses that everyone will be really impressed.
Get the recipe: Strawberry Fizz (opens in new tab)
Fool-Proof Chocolate Fondant
Who doesn't love a good indulgent chocolate pudding? Saucy chocolate pudding is easier than you think to make, but with rich, oozing results that will impress your guests. So step away from anything shop bought and make you're own, as this tasty treat is ready in just 30 minutes.
Get the recipe: Chocolate fondant (opens in new tab)
Instant Frozen Berry Sorbet
Who doesn't love a light refreshing dessert that's full of berries? You'd be surprised how easy this frozen berry sorbet is to make and it's ideal for when your sweet tooth starts acting up or as a quick pud for those unexpected guests. Plus, being a sorbet it's super healthy too - so it's a win win!
Get the recipe: Instant Frozen Berry Sorbet (opens in new tab)
Peanut Butter Crunch Cups
These peanut butter crunch cups quickly become a favourite as they combine everyone's favourite flavours, peanuts and chocolate. They're really quick to make but look impressive, so any visitors will love them too. Enjoy them as a treat to appease your sweet tooth!
Get the recipe: Peanut Butter Crunch Cups (opens in new tab)
DIY Raspberry Eton Mess
If friends have unexpectedly shown up, why don't you treat them to this super simple DIY raspberry Eton mess. It's sure to be a hit and is the perfect dessert, especially on a warm day! This recipe is really quick to whip up and can help use up any leftover berries you've got sat in the fridge - and it tastes delicious!
Get the recipe: DIY Raspberry Eton Mess (opens in new tab)
Blackberry Fool with Homemade Shortbread
Whether you go the whole hog and make the shortbread or not, this blackberry fool with homemade shortbread recipe is a delicious dessert your friends and family will love. This lovely recipe only uses a few ingredients and is really quick to prep, so make it in advance for your next dinner party and you'll have more time to enjoy with your guests.
Get the recipe: Blackberry Fool with Homemade Shortbread (opens in new tab)
Super Dark Venezuelan Truffles
For a dessert that's really easy to make but feels really indulgent, give these luxurious truffles a go. This delicious, rich super dark Venezuelan truffles recipe is a doddle to make - not that your guests would ever guess that! The recipe makes 40 truffles, so you could even box them up and give them as gift.
Get the recipe: Super Dark Venezuelan Truffles (opens in new tab)
Strawberry Peach Plate Trifle
All the yumminess of a trifle in a fraction of the time, this peach and strawberry plate trifle recipe is really quick to through together and looks gorgeous to boot! Most of the ingredients you'll already have in your cupboards and it's all put together in one plate - so that means less washing up! Try it if you're in a rush or have last minute guests and you'll be pleasantly surprised.
Get the recipe: Strawberry Peach Plate Trifle (opens in new tab)
Dairy Free Mango and Passion Fruit Sundae
This easy sundae recipe is great year-round for a fruity and tasty dessert and great for people with dairy intolerance as it's completely dairy free. A great way to use up any leftover fruit you've got in the fridge, this sundae recipe is really quick to throw together and will feed a crowd with ease.
Get the recipe: Dairy Free Mango and Passion Fruit Sundae (opens in new tab)
Strawberry and Chocolate Pavlova Meringue
This strawberry and chocolate pavlova meringue looks stunning and makes a great dessert for when you've got guests coming round last-minute. Perfect for the summer when strawberries are in season, it's a fresh but sweet dessert that the whole family will just love.
Get the recipe: Strawberry and Chocolate Pavlova Meringue (opens in new tab)
No Churn Strawberry Ice Cream
Easy dessert recipes with strawberries don't get simpler than this no churn summer ice cream which takes less than 20 minutes to prep. A simple, make-ahead dessert, this pudding is perfect for anyone looking for a no bake dessert to make at home for a summer soiree.
Get the recipe: No Churn Strawberry Ice Cream (opens in new tab)
Cherry and plum brioche jam pudding
Easy dessert recipes don't get tastier than this summer twist on a classic bread and butter pudding. A really lovely, fruity dessert, the oven does all the work for you when you make this pudding and as it's ready in just two, simple steps, you can spend more time with your guests and less time cooking.
Get the recipe: Cherry and plum brioche jam pudding
Sticky toffee ice cream sundae
What's more satisfying than a big glass of sundae dessert? This mocha and salted caramel sundae is the ultimate indulgence! Build it as big or small as you choose and enjoy - it's a real treat!
Get the recipe: Sticky toffee ice cream sundae (opens in new tab)
Berry Iced Yogurt
A quick and easy summer dessert, this iced berries pudding is both gluten and dairy-free, meaning it's a great dessert recipe to make at home if you're hosting guests with dietary requirements. It's a really easy one to throw together last minute with whatever fruit you've got in the fridge or freezer and it's also a great dessert to make ahead - with no baking involved either!
Get the recipe: Berry Iced Yogurt (opens in new tab)
Apricot and Vanilla Tartlets
Super easy and really quick, this apricot and vanilla tartlets recipe makes the perfect dessert for when you're entertaining friends - even at short notice! You'll probably already have a tin of apricots in the cupboard and since this recipe served six, it's a really cost effective way to feed a crowd.
Get the recipe: Apricot and Vanilla Tartlets (opens in new tab)
Raspberry Meringue Trifles
The taste of a classic Eton Mess, but with a hint of booze - this raspberry meringue trifles recipe is the perfect simple summer dessert. This recipe served up to eight people so it's a great one to try for a summer dinner party for a fancy finishing dish.
Get the recipe: Raspberry Meringue Trifles (opens in new tab)
Tropical Fruit Salad
Make fruit salad more exotic with tropical flavours in this fruit salad with papaya and a squeeze of lime. It's a great way to use up any fruit you've got left over and give it an extra twist, it only needs a few ingredients and you can make this ahead for easy hosting.
Get the recipe: Tropical Fruit Salad (opens in new tab)
Chocolate Macadamia Brownies
Truly delicious (especially served warm), we love this easy brownie recipe. A treat for anyone with a sweet tooth, this easy chocolate dessert can be made ahead and warmed up before serving, or serve them freshly baked with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Get the recipe: Chocolate Macadamia Brownies (opens in new tab)
Fruit Bread and Butter Pudding with Apricot
Fresh apricots add a beautiful, summery sharpness to this fruit bread and butter pudding with apricot recipe. It's super quick to make and is a real treat that will remind you of your mum's cooking - try it this week for a quick sweet treat.
Get the recipe: Fruit Bread and Butter Pudding with Apricot (opens in new tab)
Jane Curran is a freelance food editor, stylist, writer and consultant based in Cape Town. Former food director of TI Media & woman&home. All about food, wine (dipWSET), gardening and the Arsenal.
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