Easy Make-Ahead Desserts

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Looking to impress your guests at your next barbecue? With the 4th of July just around the corner, I’ve rounded up a handful of my favorite go-to dessert recipes. These easy make-ahead desserts are not only delicious and straightforward to prepare (one-bowl even!), but they also allow you to get everything ready in advance.

With crowd-pleaser recipes like these, you’ll spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying the summer sun with the people you love!

🥧 An Easy Make-Ahead Dessert Pie Alternative: Mixed Berry Crumble Bars

These bars are tart, rich tasting, and just sweet enough with a crumbly topping and crust sandwiching an easy jammy berry filling. These would be the perfect easy make-ahead dessert for a picnic, potluck or casual summer backyard get-together.

They are closer in texture to a piece of pie than a granola bar, so serve them plated with a fork as you would most desserts, but I won’t say I haven’t eaten one with my fingers cold right out of the fridge… (it was worth it!)

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

These are so so good and so easy to make! I made them for a family cookout and they were a hit! Perfect amount of sweetness and will definitely be baking these again. Thanks for another amazing recipe!

– Catie

4.91 from 10 votes

Mixed Berry Crumble Bars (Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free)

These bars are tart, rich tasting, and just sweet enough with a crumbly topping and crust sandwiching an easy jammy berry filling.
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🥣 When You Want To Make-Ahead & Keep Dishes To A Minimum: One-Bowl Zucchini Cake

When I’m making zucchini cake, it’s because I want cake: fluffy, high, moreish…. and frosting – especially if it’s cream cheese frosting! Too many zucchini cakes come out of the oven looking (and tasting) like zucchini bread dupes, with nuts and maple syrup and a dense texture that isn’t quite what I had in mind when I started. But that ends right here, right now with this recipe.

Friends, this is a cake – an easy, one-bowl make-ahead friendly cake to be exact!

It’s soft and moist and the perfect way to use up a bountiful summer zucchini harvest, with less fat and sugar than a traditional zucchini cake to boot! I affectionately refer to it as a ‘snacking cake’ because it’s perfect for indulging anytime, anywhere – just slice yourself a generous square and enjoy.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Made this for a group gathering, it was an immediate hit.
We all loved the cake texture; a nice change from a zucchini bread. Using zucchini makes you feel less guilty about eating dessert.

– Lisa

Hand reaching for a slice of easy make-ahead zucchini dessert cake
4.63 from 8 votes

One-Bowl Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting (Gluten Free, Less Fat, Less Sugar)

A delicious one-bowl, gluten free snacking cake that is fluffy, moist and the perfect way to use up a bountiful summer zucchini harvest!
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🥥 When You Want Something Simple & Zesty That Feeds A Crowd: Coconut Lime Sheet Cake

Do you like key lime pie? Do you like coconut cake? If you answer yes to both of those questions, then this easy, make-ahead friendly cake for you.

This cake has a dense, moist crumb with a hint of coconut and lime, and is topped with a simple, bright glaze and toasted coconut. it’s ideal for a crowd, as it will feed a lot of people, and trust me, a lot of people will want a piece of this cake.

coconut lime cake

Coconut Lime Sheet Cake with Lime Glaze (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

This fabulous cake is like if key lime pie and coconut cake had a baby. It's moist, with bright summery flavors, and perfect for a crowd.
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