When it comes to warm-weather desserts, there are a few very key considerations:
1. You don’t want something that’s going to get gooey or wilt in some way if the festivities are outside, so stay away from things that melt easily unless you have a definite way to keep them cool!
2. You want something that’s easily portable, so fancy things that are perishable, delicate, or have elaborate toppings are probably out of the question, too.
3. All that, and it's got to be delicious and eye-catching, too—right?!
You'll find many recipes below that use fresh seasonal fruits, satisfy chocolate cravings, cool you off, or cater to dietary needs—all that serve a big crowd for all your summer entertaining.
There’s something so appealing about the jewel-like appearance of berries nestled in a pastry crust. This one is all about the fruit.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
Another classic winning combo—and you don’t even have to turn on the oven, either! Make them ahead of time and refrigerate.
Two whole cups of blueberries fill this cake with their sweet goodness and give the dessert a lovely rustic presentation.
This refreshing dessert is so easy to make. Blend just three ingredients—watermelon, honey, and lemon juice—together and freeze. Scrape the granita with a fork every hour until it's an icy treat.Continue to 5 of 25 below.
Classic Ice Cream Sandwiches
Does any dessert say summer more than an ice cream sandwich? Keep them frozen until it's time to serve dessert, and then enjoy the kudos when you carry them out, cold, refreshing, and full of memories.
Gluten-Free Chocolate Banana Cupcakes
When your summer entertaining guest list includes those with special dietary needs or food allergies, these gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and nut-free, vegan cupcakes must be on the dessert menu.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
Do you really want to be tied to the hot oven, changing out sheet after sheet of cookies as they bake? These bars are just as good as chocolate chip cookies, but one pan full is all it takes. Nuts are optional.
Just add a campfire! No, but seriously, these cookies give you the taste of s’mores but with a lot less mess—no hot fire or oozy marshmallow to contend with here!Continue to 9 of 25 below.
Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble Bars
Take two of the best offerings from late spring and early summer: strawberry and rhubarb. Layer them over rich pastry dough and top with crumbles. Bake, slice, and share.
If you avoid using your oven in the summer as often as possible, this dessert is for you. The most heat this cheesecake sees is 30 seconds when you dissolve gelatin in the microwave to stabilize the cheesecake.
Easy Dump Cake from Scratch
Despite the unfortunate name, this cake is delicious. Flour, butter, fruit, and that’s it. Use whatever fruit you have on hand.
Sweet Cherry Pie
You can use fresh or frozen cherries in this pie, but in the summer, we definitely suggest using fresh. A little almond extract and a small amount of sugar will bring out their brightness, and your summer party pie will be a hit.Continue to 13 of 25 below.
Texas Sheet Cake
This crowd-pleasing chocolate cake topped with pecans is the size of Texas! Not really, but it's baked on a 13- x 18-inch sheet so it serves 36!
Fudgy Chocolate Brownies
Brownies are an obvious choice, right? Easy to transport: Check. Crowd pleaser: Check. Chocolate, but won't melt in the sun: check.
Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake
Between the swirly pan and the swirls from the glaze, this Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake is a real show stopper—regardless of the shape of your bundt pan.
Banana Sheet Cake
There's a lot of potential for dressing this baby up—such as sprinkling mini chocolate chips or fresh blueberries on top of the cream cheese frosting!Continue to 17 of 25 below.
Strawberry Mousse with White Chocolate
Fresh strawberries are all throughout this elegant dessert that's perfect for a smaller summer gathering. It takes several hours to chill so it's perfect to make ahead.
Apple Pie Bars With Crumble Topping
Easy to make, easy to transport, and a great use of fresh apples when they appear in the summer. Makes 16 servings, but if it's one of many desserts, cut smaller squares if there's a big crowd.
Classic Lemon Bars
These tart lemon bars made with velvety lemon curd on top of crisp buttery shortbread crust are hard to resist. Make these, and you'll be the hit of the summer party.
Old Fashioned Peach Pie
Fresh summer peaches fill this pie that fills an easy homemade crust, Bake up to 4 days ahead of time, and make-ahead dessert has never been more delicious!Continue to 21 of 25 below.
Blueberry Crumb Bars
A layer of blueberries turns jammy when it bakes in between a shortbread base and a crumb topping, satisfying a blueberry pie craving, but in an individual, hand-held way.
Strawberry Mascarpone Tart
Strawberries on top of a sweetened mascarpone base will sing when you brush on a balsamic glaze. Make your own tart crust, or buy a tart crust to make this a no-bake dessert.
Light and tender, this white cake frosted with a whipped cream/cream cheese frosting is simple and crowd-pleasing. Versatile, it's easy to switch up the frosting or turn it into cupcakes.
Gluten-Free Vanilla Birthday Cake
It doesn't have to be anyone's birthday to bake this gluten-free vanilla cake with chocolate frosting. It's the perfect dessert for guests who can't tolerate gluten.Continue to 25 of 25 below.
Peanut Butter Cookies
These peanut butter cookies belong in the cookie hall of fame. Make a big batch for the get-together. They'll go quickly!