These Make-Ahead Dessert Recipes Ensure You Have a Comforting Treat on Hand Whenever a Sweet Craving Hits
From chewy, fudgy brownies to silky pudding pies, these cozy desserts are all easy to make in advance, then enjoy any night of the week.
Picture this: You're about to sit down to stream your favorite movie and suddenly think how great it would be to have a cozy dish of your favorite dessert to eat while you watch. Even if you wouldn't consider yourself a sweet tooth, you've probably experienced a last-minute craving for something sweet that strikes just a little too late. After all, once you've measured, baked, and cooled the dessert of your dreams, it will be well past bedtime. This all leads to the inevitable question: If our favorite movies and tv shows can be on-demand, why can't our desserts be, too?
This gallery is here to make that happen—with a lot of inspiration from us and a little forethought from you, an abundance of treats will be ready at the press of a button (your microwave's button, that is). There is often a lot of emphasis on the "make-ahead" recipes when it comes to hosting dinner parties and holiday feasts. Rightly so, of course: With a good plan, any party can be a success no matter the size. But there's something extra special about the make-ahead recipes you create just for you. These smaller victories can look like scoops of cookie dough on stand-by in the freezer, or the slices of cake that seems to just get better the longer it chills, or the blondies you can make a week before you will crave them, and they'll still taste fresh.
With a few of the recipes in this gallery, like the Triple Chocolate Brownie Cups and Apple Pie Bread Pudding, you'll want to zap them in your microwave for maximum comfort-food coziness. Others, like our Easiest Rice Pudding and Traditional Tres Leches Cake, will satisfy straight from the fridge. And if you're looking for fresh-baked results, check out the recipes with a make-ahead batter, like the Marbled Soufflés or Warm Chocolate Pudding Cakes.
Bake a batch of these perfectly chewy brownies over the weekend and stash leftover squares in the freezer for an on-demand chocolate fix. A quick stint in the microwave will take the chill off, but many report that brownies can taste even better (read: chewier) straight from the freezer!
Easiest Rice Pudding
Based on its nostalgia factor alone, a good rice pudding is the type of cozy, comforting dessert you'll want to reach for at the end of a long day. The fact that it's easier to make than pie and can be kept on hand for days is all the more reason to put this recipe on your radar.
If you're thinking that there's no way a soufflé can be made ahead of time, then you're half right. With this recipe, you'll get a head start on the airy dessert and be saying, "Voilà!" in no time by making the base of thickened milk and egg yolks ahead, then actually baking your serving when the mood strikes.
Traditional Tres Leches Cake
Butter Pecan Blondies
It's wonderful when a recipe is made up of (mostly) pantry staples, but a last-minute craving usually means you won't have time to start baking from scratch. Plan ahead just a little so you can enjoy them counter-side all week. Another option is to freeze them for a longer stay.
Chocolate Peanut-Butter Icebox Cake
Another make-ahead treat that only gets better as it sits, icebox cakes couldn't be easier to assemble thanks to a short ingredient lists and reliance on store-bought cookies. The longer you give the whipped cream filling to soak into the chocolate wafers, the more cake-like the texture will be.
Apple Pie Bread Pudding
There isn't a stale piece of bread out there that has ever suffered from spending too much time soaking up the sweet, eggy custard that comprises a good bread pudding. Assemble this apple-y dessert casserole the day before and put it in the fridge so that the next day's task will be reduced to just preheating the oven!
Red Velvet Pound Cake
Martha's Warm Chocolate Pudding Cakes
Whip up the batter for these warm little cakes the day before, then pop them in the oven about an hour before it is officially dessert o'clock.
Vanilla Pudding Pie
The cookie crust will stay crunchy—and the custard filling smooth—for days in the fridge, so you can enjoy a slice of nostalgic comfort food throughout the week.
Triple-Chocolate Brownie Cups
Sure, these decadent brownie cups can be thoroughly enjoyed as is from the storage container, but you should know that a quick zap in the microwave and a scoop of vanilla ice cream will take them to new levels of cozy.