When making this deluxe campfire treat, look for square marshmallows—they fit the graham crackers better and give chocolate a wider surface on which to melt. Get the recipe for Ultimate S'more »
. Michael Kraus
Planning dessert for a cookout poses challenges—you probably won’t have access to an oven, so fresh-baked pastries or hot sauces aren’t a great option. Fortunately, there are plenty of great desserts that are served cold or at room temperature. We’ve collected pies, ice creams, puddings, and more that will make you want to save room for dessert at your next barbecue.
If the grill is still burning, then why not use it to make dessert? Cantaloupe turns into a sophisticated dessert when grilled and dressed with a sweet, vinegary peach agrodolce. Or try grilling slices of pound cake to serve with a basil-plum compote. And of course there’s the most classic cookout dessert of all: s’mores. We love the classic Hershey’s s’more, but if you’re feeling ambitious you can make a homemade version with whiskey marshmallows, toffee-almond chocolate squares, and graham shortbreads.
At a summer barbecue, ice cream is a perfect way to cool down. The key to making ice cream at home is mastering a simple vanilla. It’s delicious on its own, but also serves as a base for all kinds of other flavors, from fig to Vietnamese coffee. For something a little more unusual, try our roasted beet ice cream with mascarpone, orange zest, and poppy seeds from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams in Columbus, OH.
Creamy, cooling pudding is fantastic end to a barbecue. Banana pudding is a classic, with its sweet, comforting combination of vanilla wafers, vanilla pudding, and bananas. For something ultra-retro, try our buttermilk cookie salad.
Find all of these dishes and more in our collection of barbecue dessert recipes.
Rhubarb Upside Down Cake
For this cake made in the style of a tarte Tatin, rhubarb is caramelized until soft before being topped with batter and baked.
Moscato and Peach Gelée
This refreshing gelée gets its light, fruity flavor from ripe peaches and semisweet fizzy moscato wine.
Get the recipe for Blackberry Pie »
When Jon Rowley was a child, his grandmother used to make juice from fresh-picked blackberries. In it, he says, “you could taste and smell the briar.” In this recipe, Rowley’s wife, Kate McDermott, has combined that flavor from his youth with a tender, flaky pie crust to create an exemplar of the Pacific Northwest’s cuisine. Get the recipe for Blackberry Pie »
Grape jelly intensifies the flavor of ripe plums in a sweet-tart summer pie.
A decadent custard batter is studded with juicy, ripe cherries in this elegant and satisfying treat.
You can substitute the apricots in this juicy tart for plums, peaches, or even berries.
Fig Ice Cream
Ripe black mission figs, sweet brown sugar, and just a hint of cinnamon combine beautifully in this swirled ice cream, as lovely to look at as it is to eat.
Strawberry Loaf Bread
As a kid, I wasn’t really into cooking or baking, preferring instead to be outside playing soccer. The one thing that I did enjoy helping my mom make, however, was her strawberry bread: packed with fresh strawberries, I loved to eat it hot out of the oven slathered in butter. It’s so fast and easy, I make it all the time now, with whatever fresh or frozen fruits I have lying around. —Farideh Sadeghin, test kitchen director Get the recipe for Strawberry Loaf Bread »