If you have a sweet tooth but aren’t a fan of baking – or you’re just keen to try making some simple yet delicious sweet treats – then why not think about making a no-bake dessert? Though they’re just as indulgent as baked desserts, no-bake recipes are usually much quicker to prepare – and because they don’t contain flour and eggs, they’re much harder to mess up, too.
As summer approaches and the weather warms up, making a tasty dessert without switching your oven on seems even more appealing – so to whet your appetite and get you inspired, here are seven of the best no-bake recipes.
1. No-bake cheesecake
Cheesecakes are one of the most popular no-bake desserts, and they’re delicious, easy to make, and really versatile. Whereas baked cheesecakes usually contain eggs and need to be baked, no-bake cheesecakes are made without eggs and are set in the fridge. The texture of a no-bake cheesecake is wonderfully smooth and creamy, and unlike traditional cheesecake, it isn’t heavy, either. So if you’re looking for a light, sweet and refreshing dessert, this should definitely hit the spot!
No-bake cheesecakes are easy to make, but because you can’t flip them out of the tin like a baked cheesecake, it’s important to use a springform tin with a removal base. The base of a no-bake cheesecake is made from bashed up biscuits that are then mixed with melted butter, then pressed into the springform tin (you don’t need to line it). Then, you simply add your creamy filling and any toppings, and place in the fridge to set – usually for a minimum of four hours.
There are so many different types of no-bake cheesecake – just take a look at some of the delicious recipes on BBC Good Food: if you like fruity flavours, you might want to make this triple-layered berry cheesecake – or if you like chocolate, why not make a chocolate hazelnut ice cream cheesecake? For something more refreshing, you could make this triple ginger cheesecake.
Because they don’t contain eggs, no-bake cheesecakes are really easy to veganise too, so if you’re plant-based, why not try making this dairy-free cheesecake by Nora Cooks?
Have a watch of the video below to see how simple making a no-bake cheesecake really is.
2. Rocky road
Rocky Road is another really popular no-bake dessert – and for good reason! Rocky road is packed with mouthwatering ingredients, is quick and simple to make (you just melt and mix), and unlike desserts like cheesecake, no-one expects them to look picture-perfect. Plus, because rocky road is so easy to prepare, it’s a great recipe to make with grandkids – and it also makes a lovely personalised gift.
Traditionally, rocky road contains chocolate, marshmallows, biscuits and glace cherries, but one of the best things about this dessert is the fact that it’s endlessly customisable, and you can add in plenty of other ingredients depending on your taste preferences; raisins, peanuts, brazil nuts, Turkish delight, coconut and popcorn all work really well in rocky road.
To make a rocky road, you simply melt chocolate, mix in the other ingredients, then pour the mixture into a tin and allow it to cool in the fridge. That’s it! When you’re breaking up your biscuits, it’s helpful to try not to break them too small or your rocky road may lack crunch. It’s also a good idea to freeze the marshmallows beforehand, otherwise they may melt when you add them into the warm melted chocolate.
You might want to try Nigella’s recipe for rocky road, which contains rich tea biscuits, dark chocolate, marshmallows and golden syrup – or why not try this raspberry rocky road recipe by Sugar Salt Magic, which contains raspberries, peanuts, and shortbread?
If you’re gluten-free, you can try making this rocky road recipe by The Gluten Free Blogger, or, if you’re plant-based, this vegan recipe by Wallflower Kitchen looks great. You can even make healthy rocky roads, like this recipe by The Conscious Plant Kitchen, which uses puffed quinoa, cocoa butter and brown rice syrup!
You can see how to make a rocky road, and get some useful tips, by watching the video below.
3. Ice cream cake
One of the best no-bake desserts to make in summer is an ice cream cake. Ice cream cake is a real crowd pleaser, and will delight kids just as much as adults – and if you’re looking to impress, it can be a real showstopper. Ice cream cake is traditionally a no-bake dessert, although some more elaborate recipes use layers of sponge cake between the ice cream, like this recipe from Jamie Oliver. However, if you want to include sponge cake in your ice cream cake, you can always buy a ready-made sponge cake from a shop to keep it no-bake.
If you love flavours like fudge, chocolate and peanut butter, then why not try making this easy five-layer ice cream cake by Sally’s Baking Addiction? With chocolate and peanut butter ice cream, an Oreo cookie crust, ribbons of fudge throughout and colourful sprinkles on top, this is a seriously indulgent dessert.
Or, if you’re looking for something a bit more sophisticated, then why not try making this passionfruit mango pavlova cake by Delicious? Or, if you like strawberries, this strawberry shortcake ice cream cake by Mama Loves Food should hit the spot.
To see how easy it is to make an ice cream cake, you might want to watch Nigella knock up her own (very indulgent!) cake in the video below.
Trifle has been popular in the UK since the 1500s, and despite its age, this dessert has never really gone out of fashion – probably because it’s so delicious and versatile. Packed with custard, jelly and whipped cream, trifle will please most children, but it can also be a really elegant and adult affair, with the creamy exterior hiding the boozy delights inside.
Traditionally, an English trifle contains sponge fingers – and if you’d like to add a boozy twist, you can soak them in sherry or cassis. Next comes a layer of jelly (usually strawberry or raspberry, and sometimes containing fruit), then a thick layer of custard, and finally, an equally thick layer of whipped cream. You can choose to assemble trifle in a traditional footed trifle bowl or individual glasses, and you can top the cream with berries or flaked almonds or chocolate, if you like.
To make a traditional English trifle, why not try this recipe by The Spruce Eats? Alternatively, for a chocolate-y twist on a classic trifle, you might want to make this chocolate trifle recipe by BBC Good Food – or why not try this zesty lemon curd trifle by Olive Magazine?
For those who eat a plant-based diet, these vegan trifle cups with berries by the Minimalist Vegan are also quick to prepare, and really tasty. Or, if you love fresh, fragrant flavours, you might want to watch the video below to see Nigella make a raspberry and lemongrass trifle.
5. No-bake Banoffee pie
With its buttery biscuit base and thick layers of fresh banana, sweet caramel, and whipped cream, banoffee pie is a gorgeously decadent dessert – and it’s also really easy to knock up, requiring only a bit of melting. It can be whipped up in short notice, so it’s perfect if you have surprise guests pop around – or if you just fancy making yourself a classic English sweet treat.
If you like chocolate, you might want to try making this no-bake banoffee pie by Sweetest Menu, which has a secret layer of dark chocolate inside, as well as plenty of chocolate shavings on top. Or, to add a sophisticated twist to this classic dessert, why not make this salted caramel and hazelnut banoffee pie by BBC Good Food? With a crunchy hazelnut praline, salted caramel and muscovado whipped cream, this is a more grown-up version of the traditional banoffee pie.
To make a vegan version of banoffee pie, you can simply use Biscoff biscuits for your base, vegan condensed milk or caramel (which Carnation sells), and plant cream on top – alternatively, this banoffee pie by Loving It Vegan has a date caramel centre. To make it gluten-free, just make sure you use gluten-free biscuits for the base.
Alternatively, have a watch of the video below to see how a classic banoffee pie is made.
Light, refreshing and cooling, sorbet is a great way to end a meal – plus, because it doesn’t contain any milk, it’s also a low-calorie dessert that’s perfect if you’re watching your weight. Sorbets are just a simple combination of fresh fruit mixed with sugar, so if you’re looking for a dessert that’s really simple to make, this might be the recipe for you. If you’re hosting a dinner party, sorbet also serves as a great palate cleanser between courses.
There are endless combinations of sorbet to enjoy, from simple and classic flavours like strawberry or peach, to more sophisticated flavours, like mint-infused watermelon sorbet, or raspberry-rosé sorbet. To make sorbet, all you have to do is puree some fruit, and then add a bit of sugar; the easiest way to do this is to simmer sugar and water to make a quick sugar syrup, which you then mix with the fruit. While many summer fruits are already sweet, it’s important to remember that freezing dulls sweet flavours, so it’s usually best if the sorbet initially tastes a little too sweet.
If you fancy making some sorbets with a dash of alcohol, there are plenty of great recipes online: this honey peach sorbet by Good Housekeeping has a splash of homemade margarita to give it a zesty kick, and this bourbon and peaches sorbet by The Kitchn beautifully combines the fresh flavours of golden peaches with the vanilla and caramel notes of bourbon. To have a browse at more inventive sorbet flavours, have a look at these recipes by BBC Good Food.
Or, to watch two different methods of making sorbet – one with a blender and another with an ice cream maker – have a watch of the video below.
7. No-bake brownies
If you love chocolate, it’s probably safe to say you love brownies, too. Moist, rich, gooey and fudgy, brownies are a real treat, and there are hundreds of delicious no-bake recipes to try. Because they don’t contain eggs or flour, no-bake brownies are really easy to make gluten-free or vegan, and if you’re trying to eat healthily right now, there are lots of healthy(ish) no-bake brownie recipes too, where dates are used instead of sugar, nuts are used in place of flour, and butter is swapped for coconut oil.
For something super simple but really indulgent, you might want to try making these fudgy no-bake brownies by Carve Your Cravings, which contain only three ingredients: condensed milk, biscuits, and cocoa powder. Or, for something a little healthier, why not try making these unbaked brownies by Chocolate Covered Katie, which contain pitted dates, walnuts, vanilla extract and maple syrup?
If you love the idea of nut-covered brownies which are also topped with a thick layer of chocolate ganache, have a watch of the video below to get inspired.
As these recipes hopefully show, you don’t have to be a whizz in the kitchen to prepare a beautiful-looking and great-tasting dessert… you don’t even have to switch your oven on! From decadent ice cream cakes to chocolatey rocky road and light and refreshing sorbet, there’s a no-bake dessert for every palate and occasion – whether you’re hoping to impress friends at a dinner party or just fancy a sweet treat on a sunny afternoon.
Plus, because they don’t contain eggs and flour, many no-bake desserts are lower in calories than traditional baked desserts – and because they’re usually easy to make vegan or gluten-free, they’re suitable for most dietary requirements, too.
Have you made any great no-bake recipes recently – or are you tempted by any of our suggestions? We’d love to hear about your culinary adventures! Join the conversation on the community forum, or leave us a comment below.