From Cake to Fruit to Ice Cream, These Are Our Favorite One-Pot Dessert Recipes
When you're in the mood for something sweet but want to keep prep work and cleanup simple, turn to these streamlined desserts.
We're going to let you in on a little secret: It's possible to make all of the cookies, cakes, fruit desserts, and ice cream dishes you love without spending hours on prep and cleanup. Here, we're sharing one-pot desserts that are made using time-saving techniques, minimal ingredients, and revolve around easy clean up, and they offer all of the things you love about our one-pot recipes just with a sweet twist. But because desserts are slightly different than savory meals, we had to bend our one-pot rules ever so slightly: While these recipes do feature simplified prep, streamlined ingredients, and just one cooking vessel—or, in the case of the Coconut Water Granita that's shown here, one vessel for freezing—in some cases we may require an additional bowl to mix everything together. Still, we match that extra dish to wash with smart techniques and tricks that ensure you're able to enjoy your sweet treat faster than usual.
Not only are these some of our easiest desserts, but they are also some of the test kitchen's favorite recipes. Baking chocolate chip cookies in a skillet isn't just for show: The contrasting texture of a tender, gooey center with a crispy outer crust makes for one irresistible cookie. If you are hankering for chocolate cake, we suggest the Busy-Day Cake. Its batter is made in one fell swoop right in the baking dish—no bowl necessary. It's simple to prepare, but the end result is so delicious. Then there's our easy churros, which don't require a fryer or even the time to prepare a batter. All you'll need to do is MacGyver store-bought puff pastry into cinnamon-coated twirls. Are you craving the decadence of a flaky pastry? Bake our four-ingredient cherry crisp; it proves that store-bought phyllo dough is the only way to go.
Should you prefer something a bit lighter for dessert, make our simple citrus salad with pomegranate, coconut, and honey—it will have you wondering why you don't eat fruit for dessert more often. You could also turn up the heat and roast peaches with vanilla or broil pineapple with cinnamon for juicy warm preparations to serve alongside creamy, vanilla ice cream.
Fruity, chocolatey, buttery, creamy, or crispy—no matter the craving, we have an accessible and tasty one-pot dessert recipe to match.
Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie
Skip the scooping and rolling and opt for one mouthwatering skillet-sized chocolate chip cookie in lieu of the traditional baker's dozen. Slice the baked cookie into wedges like a pie to form triangular pieces with super crispy edges and a slightly gooey center, then enjoy warm topped with vanilla ice cream.
Baked Cherry Crisp
Crispy layers of store-bought phyllo dough create an easy route to homemade pastries, and it's an ingredient that is key to minimizing steps. Layer the phyllo with olive oil for a fruity note, then bake tart cherries right on top with a generous sprinkle of cinnamon-sugar that crisps and caramelizes as it bakes.
Citrus, Pomegranate, and Honey with Toasted Coconut
Don't overlook fruit for dessert; it's refreshing, colorful, and easy to transform into a sophisticated treat that isn't overly sweet. Here, we simply sprinkle crisp toasted coconut and crunchy pomegranate seeds over fan-shaped citrus slices and finish with a drizzle of honey.
Milkshakes have evolved into a whole new vision of dessert, adorned with mile high toppings and a lot of perspective. This s'mores milkshake doesn't hold back one bit, yet it's completely doable at home. Buzz the base for the milkshake in the blender and garnish with store-bought graham crackers and marshmallows. Don't skip charring the marshmallows—it's fast on a gas stovetop and lends the shake that quintessential s'mores taste.
Pretzels are a snack that can easily play sweet or savory and add tons of flavor to your desserts. Embrace their sweet side in this four-ingredient pretzel crumble—we think it's the perfect filling for baked apples.
Busy-Day Dump Cake
Busy Day cakes, otherwise known as dump cakes, are by far the easiest desserts to whip up; just add all the ingredients right into the baking dish, beat, and bake. This cake is chocolatey with a tender crumb, proving that speed and ease are not traded for taste in this recipe. The end result is irresistible. Enjoy a slice on its own or whip up a simple one-bowl buttercream to spread on top.
Easy Boozy Melon
Pairing summer melon with liquor isn't just for cocktails. Here, it becomes an ace adult-only dessert that's refreshing and boozy. Try one of three combinations: watermelon with tequila and mint, honeydew with gin and tarragon, and cantaloupe with vodka and basil. Whichever route you go, be sure to finish your dish with lime and flaky sea salt.
The only thing basic about this bark is that it is so easy-to-make. Another bonus: Once you master the base recipe, you can riff on it endlessly. Start with our 10 variations, including Movie Theater Bark-inspired bark, the holiday classic Peppermint, and tart Lime and Macadamia Nut Bark, then come up with your own.
Broiled Pineapple with Frozen Yogurt
Who doesn't love a little fro-yo? Ice cream's lighter and tangier counterpart pairs well with super sweet caramelized slices of pineapple in this one-pot dessert. Cinnamon is a sure win, but this tropical fruit would be equally delicious with other spices like nutmeg, cardamom, or a touch of heat from cayenne pepper.
A store-bought ingredient that we adore is all-butter puff pastry. It's an incredible shortcut—trust us when we tell you that making the real deal from scratch is no small feat. In this recipe, we transform this ready-to-go pastry into a buttery take on churros, and there's no need for deep frying. Just slice, bake, and twist the pastry pieces before tossing them in cinnamon sugar.
Hot Fudge Over Vanilla Ice Cream
Nostalgic food always hits the spot, and this hot fudge sauce is no exception. It's a decadent ice cream parlor-style fudge that pairs with most any flavor ice cream. Turn it into a full-on sundae with a few extra ingredients—we like sprinkles, chopped peanuts, and a cherry on top.
Vanilla-Roasted Peaches with Raspberries
Roasting ripe summer fruit concentrates and caramelized the juices, creating a syrupy sauce that is perfect for spooning over ice cream alongside the baked fruit. A handful of fresh raspberries adds a burst of color and tartness that complements the warm baked peach and vanilla notes.
Hazelnut Puppy Chow
Crunchy, chocolatey, and addictive, this riff on puppy chow—sometimes called muddy buddies—employs chocolate hazelnut spread adding a nutty note. Each bite is constructed of a crispy rice cracker enveloped in chocolate hazelnut and finished with a dusting of confectioners' sugar and cocoa for easy eating.