16 Treats That Will Be Surefire Winners at Your Next Bake Sale

Photo: Romulo Yanes

Want to be the star of the bake sale? Then you need to select a crowd-pleasing recipe to prepare. These cakes, cookies, and other treats are all sure to sell fast.

01 of 16
mueseli coffee cake on parchment paper
Con Poulos

The sweetest way to raise money—for the PTA, local rec center, sports teams, drama clubs, and local and global causes of all kinds—is by holding a bake sale. There's something truly gratifying about whipping up a batch of treats—cookies, brownies, cupcakes, coffee cakes (like the Muesli Coffee Cake pictured here), and more—with the intention of providing much needed financial support. You get the satisfaction of making something from scratch and knowing that your efforts in the kitchen will be put to very good use beyond it.

The only tricky part is knowing what to bake. Here are a few suggestions based on many years of bake sale experience. First, opt for a recipe that features universally appealing flavors—chocolate, vanilla, lemon, and pumpkin spice are all safe bets. Second, make sure there's something for everyone. That means you may need to prepare a few specialty items that people with dietary concerns can enjoy. A vegan baked good or something gluten-free, for example, will likely sell out quickly if there's nothing else like it on the table. Along the same lines, you'll want to clearly label items that feature potential allergens, like peanuts and dairy.

And to make things easier on yourself (or whoever will be selling the baked goods), prepare treats that can be easily portioned out for individual servings. It's a good idea to slice a cake, bar cookies, or brownies before you set it out on the sale table so that portions are even.

If you're donating cookies, cake pops, or something similarly single serving size, make sure to deliver the necessary packaging along with them; consider mini paper envelopes or tiny brown paper bags.

02 of 16

Double Chocolate Brownies

Double-Chocolate Brownies
Con Poulos

Forget about hotcakes. Since brownies are always the first thing to disappear at any bake sale, maybe the expression for something so wildly popular that the seller can't keep up with the demand should be forever known as "selling like brownies." Or, make that "double chocolate brownies."

03 of 16

Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Vanilla Buttercream Filling

Yossy Arefi

There's much debate about where whoopie pies were invented—some say Pennsylvania, others say Maine—but the origin story is not nearly as important as the fact the sandwiched snack cakes are so very delicious.

04 of 16

No-Bake Chocolate Almond Oat Bars

Con Poulos

No one at the bake sale needs to know that these chunky, crunchy, nutty, chocolatey bars are not baked at all. They'll be too busy snapping them up and gobbling them down them to ask any questions.

05 of 16

Graham-Flour and Jam Pastry Squares

Con Poulos

Toaster pastries probably fall into the category of something you'd never think to make from scratch, but don't let that stop you. These much more wholesome but no less tasty treats come together quickly. They're baked into one giant rectangle and then easily sliced into a dozen portions.

06 of 16

Granola Cookies

Con Poulos

Grown-ups will go for the granola part of the title of this recipe, while kids are sure to be won over by the word cookie. A win-win for all involved.

07 of 16

"Jamaretti" cookies

Romulo Yanes

Here's a clever twist on slice and bake cookies—bake and slice cookies! These jammy, almondy treats are formed after baking. Use your favorite flavor of jam (we like apricot, blackberry, and raspberry), or make all three, for wider appeal at a bake sale.

08 of 16

Half Moon Cookies


You can make these tender, cakey cookies the traditional way—with cocoa powder added to half the icing, and the remainder left plain white—or substitute fresh berry purée in place of the cocoa, for a variation in flavor and color. You can also choose to make them large or tiny sized. The choices are up to you!

09 of 16

Toffee-Almond Popcorn Balls

Andrew Purcell

Traditional popcorn ball recipes require a candy thermometer to gauge when the sugar syrup has come to just the right temperature to hold them together. The technique can be a little finicky, especially for first-timers. We've simplified the process (and ditched the thermometer) by melting mini marshmallows and butter together and then tossing the other delicious ingredients right in. The whole thing takes less than 10 minutes from start to finish.

10 of 16

Vegan Banana Bread

Emily Kate Roemer

First rule of the bake sale: Aim to please everyone. That means including a nice variety of baked goods that are inclusive of special dietary requirements, like this eggless, dairy-free banana bread that's perfect for vegans, and so tasty that non-vegans will love it, too.

11 of 16

Pumpkin Orange Bread

pumpkin orange bread
Marcus Nilsson

Pumpkin and warming flavors like allspice and nutmeg have an autumnal appeal, but you can make this easy loaf cake with supermarket ingredients all year long.

12 of 16

Chocolate Chip-Streusel Brownies

chocolate-chip streusel brownies
Linda Pugliese

Our food editors in the test kitchen took to calling these brownie-cookie hybrids "brookies" when they were first developed, and maybe you should, too! The bottom layer is made with brownie batter, which is then topped with portions of cookie dough before baking, for a deliciously cakey, fudgy, two-part dessert that adds up to ten times the fun.

13 of 16

Lemon-Yogurt Cupcakes

Con Poulos

A few healthier swaps—whole wheat flour for the usual all-purpose white, yogurt in place of sour cream, and fresh raspberry purée in place of food coloring in the frosting—make cupcakes that grown-ups can feel better about serving to their kids.

14 of 16

Vanilla Sheet Cake with Malted-Chocolate Frosting

Jonathan Lovekin

Sheet cakes are far more bake sale-friendly than layer cakes: easier to assemble, easier to transport, and easier to slice and serve. This recipe features the dynamite combination of vanilla cake and a swoopy, swirly, milk chocolate and malted milk powder frosting. Chopped malted milk balls scattered over the top make a super fun finish.

15 of 16

New York Crumb Cake


New York-style crumb cake is generally heavier on the crumb than on the cake. It hits the spot with a cup of hot coffee or cold glass of milk, morning, noon, or night, and it's another surefire bestseller at any bake sale.

16 of 16

Whole-Wheat Snickerdoodle Bites

Con Poulos

The beloved cinnamon-dusted snickerdoodle goes bite-size in a cookie that's about the size of a half-dollar. This recipe includes both whole-wheat flour and wheat germ, and yields an impressive 12 dozen(!) little cookies. Pack them three or four to a bag—they're easier to share that way.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles