39 Quick Dessert Recipes Perfect for Any Baking Emergency

Forgot about that bake sale? Unexpected company? An impromptu celebration? We know the feeling, and we're here to help with quick, easy desserts that get you to treat time fast.

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These days, life gets so busy that making homemade dessert feels decadent—almost as indulgent as eating it. That’s a shame, because nothing beats a tasty homemade treat, whether it’s a freshly baked cookie or a heaping ice cream sundae. If you need easy dessert ideas, turn to these quick sweets, no-bake treats and 15-minute desserts.

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Chocolate Chip Blondies

If you’ve never tried blondies, you’re missing out. This recipe is reminiscent of chocolate chip cookies, except instead of pokily measuring out and baking individual cookies, you simply mix the batter, spread it in a pan, and bake. It’s the perfect recipe to bring to the block party.

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Icebox Cake

Because icebox cakes are a no-bake dessert, they’re usually quick and easy to make. And, as a bonus, they don’t heat up the kitchen in the summer. Simply whip cream and spread onto wafer cookies. The assembly is quick, but plan ahead, as icebox cakes need about four to six hours to set in the fridge.
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Peanut Butter Pudding Pie

The custard-y filling of this pie comes together quickly thanks to a secret ingredient: a box of pudding mix. This recipe is very versatile; think of it as a template for all sorts of no-bake pies.
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Pineapple Upside-Down Dump Cake

When you need an easy dessert, it’s tough to beat a dump cake. Popular in the South, they’re a sort of deconstructed cake. To make, spread a mixture of fruit, nuts and/or jam into a pan, top with the boxed cake mix of your choice (gluten-free and other special mixes work just fine), and bake in the oven or slow cooker. Simple, but delicious!
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Chocolate Peanut Treats

Another easy no-bake recipe, these peanut treats come together quickly. Mix together a quick graham cracker cookie and slather with melted chocolate (you can use the microwave to melt the chocolate).
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Old-Fashioned Banana Cream Pie

This creamy pie conjures up our favorite vintage dessert recipes. Of course, conveniences like store-bought pie crust and pudding mix make it far quicker than in the good old days (but just as tasty).
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Quick Cranberry Chip Cookies

These simple cookies are adaptable: Swap out your favorite dried fruit for the cranberries, or replace white chocolate chips with semi-sweet or butterscotch. This makes a big batch of batter, so you can bake half and freeze the rest for an even faster cookie fix next time.
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Five-Minute Blueberry Pie

Can you really make a pie in five minutes? Yes! The fresh fruit filling cooks on the stove-top for exactly five minutes, after which you simply pour it into a graham cracker crust. It’s a great summer pie to share at a picnic.
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Cherry No-Bake Cookies

This blue ribbon-winning recipe relies on a classic flavor combination of almonds and cherries. Since the batter is made with quick-cooking oats, you can easily make these gluten-free cookies if you buy certified GF oats.

Get even more quick, easy desserts with these no-bake cookie recipes.

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Macaroon Bars

Lots of our quick recipes come together thanks to store-bought shortcuts, like the crescent rolls used in this recipe. If you love coconut, these chewy macaroon bars are for you. Top with sliced almonds for a fancy presentation.
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Black Forest Upside-Down Cake

This easy black forest cake is rich with layers of gooey cherries, silky cream cheese and chocolate cake. Since most elements are made with store-bought ingredients, it all comes together quickly.
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Frozen Fruit Whip

This light, refreshing dessert is a perfect summer dessert. Made with freezer staples, it’s quick to toss together. Use whichever berries you have on hand.
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Creamy Pineapple Pie

A can of sweetened condensed milk in the pantry gives you a head start on a variety of yummy desserts. It’s the perfect creamy balance to the sweet-tart pineapple in this tasty pie.
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Yummy Chocolate Cake

Frosted chocolate cake seems like an indulgent treat, but it’s actually a sneakily light dessert. The trick? Baking a cake mix with light pudding mix, which yields a super moist, rich crumb.
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Quick Cherry Turnovers

This brilliant recipe transforms refrigerated crescent rolls and a jar of pie filling into mouthwatering turnovers. Don’t love cherry? Experiment with other fruit and jam fillings—this recipe is adaptable.
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Peanut Butter Cup Trifle

This trifle looks elegant but is delightfully playful, topping its layers of cake and cream with a generous scattering of peanut butter cups. A great way to use up leftover Halloween candy, you can swap out the peanut butter cups with another candy or crumbled cookies if you prefer.
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Easy Pistachio Tube Cake

Most recipes made in a Bundt pan look fancy, no special decorating skills required. That makes them perfect for a low-effort dinner party dessert! Top with fruit or nuts for extra flair.
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Pumpkin Chip Cream Pie

If you like to make quick desserts, keep a few premade pie crusts in your freezer. They’ll come in handy for making a variety of quick pies, like this cool autumnal pumpkin pie. Simply stir together a creamy filling, pour it into a graham cracker crust and chill until ready to eat.
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Cherry Cream Cheese Tarts

Need a quick dessert for two? Make these adorable tarts. You’ll only need five ingredients, most of which you should have in the pantry already (if not, you’ll be better prepared next time!).
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Easy Cake Mix Bars

Need a party dessert, stat? Grab a big mixing bowl and make this one-bowl dessert. The easy recipe jazzes up yellow cake mix with white chips and sprinkles; you can change it up by using chocolate chips and brown jimmies, or butterscotch chips with your favorite color sprinkles.
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Fluffy Key Lime Pie

This top-rated dessert is zesty, sweet and refreshing. It’s also low-sugar, low-fat and no-bake. If you don’t tell, nobody will ever guess!
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Chocolate Peanut Butter Mug Cake

Mug cakes are brilliant—they quickly satisfy a craving for cake and make exactly one serving, so you’re not committing to eating cake for days and days. This simple recipe is easy enough for bigger kids to make for themselves too.
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Easy Fresh Strawberry Pie

Many fruit pies rely on cream. This fresh berry pie uses fresh strawberries and strawberry gelatin, which delivers maximum fruit flavor without a drop of dairy. Use a gluten-free pie crust to make it both gluten- and dairy-free.
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Root Beer Float Cake

What’s more nostalgic than a root beer float? Root beer flavors both the cake mix and the frosting, making this a sweet treat that appeals to kids and grown-ups alike.
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Dream Cupcakes

Simple chocolate cupcakes made from a mix get a huge upgrade in this recipe: a whipped cream cheese filling studded with chocolate chips. Adding a spoonful of filling to each cupcake does add a bit of time to the recipe, but you’ll save it in the end as these don’t need to be frosted.
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Blueberry-Lemon Upside-Down Cake

Some of our most popular dessert recipes start with a cake mix—it’s just an easy, foolproof base for so many different treats. This cake is lemon-scented and dotted with bursts of juicy blueberries as well as a surprising secret ingredient: sweet, gooey mini marshmallows.
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Dipped Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

These “cookies” are the perfect balance of sweet and savory. Start by spreading Ritz crackers with peanut butter, then dip the sandwiches into melted chocolate—easy peasy!
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Chocolate Hazelnut Pudding Torte

A casual twist on tiramisu, this layered dessert is a cinch to make. The secret ingredient? Nutella! The hazelnut chocolate spread is a kid-friendly alternative to the traditional espresso flavor, and it adds moisture and richness to packaged ladyfingers.
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Raspberry Almond Strips

These elegant cookies are perfect for dipping in a cup of tea or coffee. Refrigerated sugar cookie dough studded with almonds par-bakes before getting slathered with yummy raspberry filling. Feel free to use another fruit filling if you prefer.
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Buttery 3-Ingredient Shortbread Cookies

A cookie made with just three ingredients seems impossible, but these tender shortbread cookies are one of our top-rated recipes for both flavor and ease. The butter flavor is the star, so use a good quality butter—we taste-tested several butters to find the best.
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Easy Mint Thins

These simple cookies don’t need to be baked, just assembled. The crispy part comes from Ritz crackers, which add a subtle savory, buttery flavor to the rich mint-chocolate topping. They taste just like your favorite Girl Scout cookies.
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Pumpkin Gingersnap Ice Cream Pie

If you can’t wait to start eating pumpkin desserts before fall weather starts to cool off, try this ice cream pie. The cool, creamy filling is flavored with canned pumpkin, while the easy gingersnap cookie crust is enriched with ground walnuts.
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Pina Colada Lush

This dessert is a tropical vacation on a plate. Sweet coconut balances tart pineapple beautifully. This recipe makes quite a few servings, making it a perfect party treat.
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Pumpkin Whip

Good news for bakers: canned pumpkin is actually preferable to fresh pumpkin in most recipes. The moisture content, texture and flavor deliver the most consistent results. Here’s a super-quick recipe that shows off the silky smoothness of pumpkin.
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Fancy Fuss-Free Torte

This layered confection looks worthy of a showstopper round in the Great British Baking Show, but it only takes about fifteen minutes to put together. Layers of fruit, pound cake and whipped topping are delicious any time of day. The chopped pecan topping adds a pleasant crunch, but you can swap in your favorite nuts (or omit nuts entirely).
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Lemon Pudding Dessert

After a rich meal, this zesty lemon pudding dessert hits all the right notes. The buttery pastry crust is homemade, but it only calls for two ingredients (and no rolling or chilling). A middle layer of cream cheese is dense and tangy, while the final layer of lemon pudding is light. Make sure to budget a little time for chilling before serving.
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Peppermint Puff Pastry Sticks

Need a last-minute addition to the holiday dessert table? Whip up these simple puff pastry cookies. Just slice and bake puff pastry into slim cookies, then dip in melted chocolate and minty candies.
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Crazy Cake

Some of the ingredients in this chocolate cake don’t sound like they belong in dessert: water and vinegar? It sounds impossible, even silly—hence the name—but it results in an easy, rich cake. Being dairy- and egg-free is a bonus.
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Colorful Candy Bar Cookies

These crowd-pleasing, simple sugar cookies (made with store-bought dough) have a present hidden at their centers: tiny candy bars! Use your favorite bite-sized candy for this (Snickers, Milky Way, etc.), and pop them in the freezer for a few minutes before baking, which helps hold their shape.

Kelsey Rae Dimberg
A former in-house editor at Taste of Home, Kelsey now writes, cooks and travels from her home base of Chicago. After going gluten-free over a decade ago, Kelsey turned to home cooking and baking as a way to recreate her favorite foods. Her specialties include gluten-free sourdough bread, pizza and pastry. When not wrangling her toddler, she enjoys reading, watching old movies and writing. Her debut novel, Girl in the Rearview Mirror, was published by William Morrow in 2019, and her second is forthcoming.