I’m a year-round baker, there’s no denying it. Even in summer, I crank up my oven to 475 degrees to bake sourdough bread (though more often than not at night, when it’s theoretically cooler). August and September are also prime recipe-testing season for our annual holiday cookie issue. Thankfully, I’m blessed with an air conditioner that can mostly handle my projects, but even I can appreciate the joys of a no-bake dessert.
11 no-bake dessert recipes that will keep you and your kitchen cool
Recipes that don’t require heat are also welcome when I want something light and refreshing. Or when I don’t have the energy for a complicated dish. These sweet treats from our Recipe Finder are ideal for when you feel the same. None require the oven or stovetop, and one uses a microwave.
Black Forest Icebox Cake. Between turning on the oven to bake and worrying about melting frosting, layer cakes can be a less than ideal option in the heat. So, staff writer Aaron Hutcherson found a delightful way to channel this retro dessert as an icebox cake. I’ve made it and can testify to its greatness. McVities Icebox Mess is another variation on the genre.
Rainbow Sprinkle Icebox Cake. Similarly, if you have a summer birthday to celebrate, allow me to suggest this festive, fun centerpiece from Jessie Sheehan. It’s like Funfetti, but in chilled form. For more sprinkle possibilities, check out a favorite from my youth (which my mom just made the other week for us!): That Cream Cheese Cool Whip Pie.
Peaches With Rosemary-Mascarpone Whipped Cream. You’ll need to plan ahead to cold-steep the rosemary in the cream for whipping, but otherwise there’s very little effort to put together this Italian-inspired dessert that features store-bought pizzelle (thin waffle cookies).
Strawberry Fool With Raspberries. Frozen berries, sugar and cream are the foundation for this convenient, wallet-friendly dessert.
Piña Colada Granita. This option walks the line between dessert and drink. It’s refreshing either way you look at it, though.
Rum Balls. It’s a shame people only think of these confections around the holidays, because they’re a great option for a cookie-adjacent treat that requires no baking.
Chai Floats. These creamy floats use coffee ice cream and chai latte mix for a slightly more grown-up version of a childhood staple.
Good Stuff Eatery’s Milky Way Malt. Here’s a decadent, eye-catching milkshake that take its inspiration from malted milk balls.
Cacao Chia Pudding. While many puddings need cooking on the stovetop, this vegan recipe makes use of a food processor or high-speed blender.
Monster Cookie Dough. Customize your own edible cookie dough for the kids or kids-at-heart in your life. Because flour is not safe to eat raw, you need to buy either heat-treated flour, or do it yourself in the microwave, which takes about 2 minutes per the recipe instructions.
No-Bake Hemp Brownie Bites. These raw, vegan and gluten-free bites have the flavor of a brownie. Dates lend plenty of moisture and tender chew. Similarly, Date-Coconut Energy Balls rely on fruit, nuts and seeds.