Summer was made for indulgence. Frozen treats become a downright necessity as temperatures soar. Plus, have you even bitten into a juicy nectarine or perfectly ripe berry? Um, yum!
Unlike the fussy desserts of the other three seasons — I’m looking at you, pumpkin pie and hot cross buns — summer sweets are best left as simple affairs. Think peach crumbles with vanilla ice cream, and frozen lime pops.
From lounging by the pool, to delighting entire parties, these treats are perfect to beat the heat. Let’s celebrate the best of what the season has to offer, all while staying healthy.
Grilled Peach Crumble
What better way to top off a summer barbecue than with grilled peaches? This recipe skips the hot oven and tops the caramelized peaches with a no-bake walnut crumble. Unfussy and rustic, this quick dessert is made for campsite indulgence or putting your feet up on a hot night. Since it’s loaded with fresh fruit, low in sugar, and has heart-healthy fats thanks to the walnut crumble, you can keep going back for more. Get the recipe!
Grilled Pears and Bananas with Salted Brown Sugar and Pecans
You don’t need a barbecue to indulge in a juicy grilled fruit dessert. This recipe uses the oven to soften and caramelize ripe pears and bananas. With cinnamon and brown sugar, this ‘grilled’ dessert is reminiscent of a churro, but significantly better for you. Once your fruit is soft and lightly browned, top with nuts, shredded coconut, Greek yogurt, or even ice cream. Get the recipe!
Sticky Mango Pudding with Coconut Custard
A play on the classic British dessert, this pudding is all about tropical fruits. A ripe mango brightens up the pudding while a hot or cold coconut custard tops off the dessert. You can also skip the custard and make coconut whipped cream instead. The sticky pudding is a great way to use up overly ripe mangoes so you don’t waste them or miss out on their health benefits. If you like mango rice, this pudding is for you. Get the recipe!
No-Churn Coffee Cake Ice Cream
This easy to make ice cream is the perfect treat for those days you feel like you’re melting every time you step outside. Instant coffee and vanilla wafer pieces punch up the cool dessert. Once it’s mixed up, the ice cream goes straight into a loaf pan to freeze — no endless stirring or waiting on an ice cream maker required. And since you made the ice cream yourself, you may even be less likely to devour it in one sitting. Maybe. Get the recipe!
Flourless Carrot Cake with Bourbon Caramelized Pears and Mascarpone Whipped Cream
Almond butter and eggs create the base for this flourless cake, while cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger give it the flavor of a traditional carrot cake. Instead of cream cheese frosting, this recipe features a mascarpone whipped cream topping and all the ripe fruit you can get your hands on. Since it doesn’t have the flour or nearly as much sugar as its traditional counterpart, you don’t have to feel bad about stealing a few extra bites. Besides, it has vegetables in it. Get the recipe!
5 Minute Lemon Raspberry Frozen Yogurt
Skip the massive lines and sugar bombs at the yogurt shop. You can make frozen yogurt at home in minutes. This recipe uses frozen raspberries and Greek yogurt to create a thick, satisfying treat. With only 3 tablespoons of added sugar in the entire recipe, it’s also a great treat to share with the kids. Get the recipe!
Lemony Zucchini Cake with Goat Cheese Frosting
We’ve all heard of zucchini bread, but how about a cake? This layer cake has some of the hallmarks of the well-known bread like cinnamon and nutmeg, but buttermilk and lemon add a refreshing tang. The goat cheese frosting and lemon glaze keep the sweetness of the cake in check. Get the recipe!
Roasted Strawberry Red Wine Popsicles
Step aside, frosé. These big kid popsicles are easy to make and even easier to grab out of the freezer when the mood strikes. Roasted strawberries and sweet red wine combine to make a fruity treat fit for dinner parties or cooling off after a long day. Get the recipe!
Chocolate-Covered Frozen Key Lime Pie on a Stick
What’s better than a key lime pie? A key lime pie popsicle. Covered in chocolate. This recipe takes the classic citrus pie and transforms it into a frozen treat, complete with a graham cracker crust and chocolate drizzle. Popsicle sticks make it easy to eat while standing around the barbecue. Get the recipe!
Coconut Mojito Ice Pops
You just can’t beat a refreshing mojito on a scorching day. Unless that is, you make these coconut mojito ice pops. The boozy treat is made with a homemade mint simple syrup, lime juice, coconut milk, and coconut rum. Cocktail on a stick anyone? Get the recipe!
Quick and Easy Raspberry Fool
Short of eating raspberries fresh off the vine, this is one of the easiest raspberry desserts to make. This fool — yes, fool — is made of whipped cream, fresh raspberries, a touch of sugar, and vanilla extract, but you can’t beat the texture or the flavor. While it’s amazing on its own, you can also add it to ice cream, cakes, or just about any other treat. Get the recipe!
Sure, there are Christmas cookies and decadent hot drinks come winter, but summer is arguably the best season for dessert. Fresh fruit steals the show, and makes it easy to whip up a healthy treat, or a not-so-nutritious celebratory indulgence.
After all, summer only comes around once a year, so soak it up. You’ll be baking gingerbread before you know it.
Mandy Ferreira is a writer and editor in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is passionate about health, fitness, and sustainable living. She’s currently obsessed with running, Olympic lifting, and yoga, but she also swims, cycles, and does just about everything else she can. You can keep up with her on her blog and on Twitter @mandyfer1.