Barbecue Dessert Recipes

These desserts are the perfect end to a barbecue meal

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.

Buttermilk Cookie Salad

Buttermilk Cookie Salad
The addition of buttermilk in this ultra-retro dessert keeps it from being too cloying and renders cookie salad totally appropriate for the adult palate. Get the recipe for Buttermilk Cookie Salad »Matt Taylor-Gross

Strawberries with Wine

Strawberries with Wine
Red wine is reduced with spices and bright citrus zest and then drizzled over fresh strawberries, ice cream, and grilled bread in this delicious, simple dessert. Get the recipe for Strawberries with Wine »Matt Taylor-Gross

Strawberry Rhubarb Yogurt Pops

Strawberry Rhubarb Yogurt Pops
These refreshing frozen treats come from pastry chef Jen Yee at New York City's Lafayette. Get the recipe Strawberry Rhubarb Yogurt Pops »Christina Holmes

Grilled Cantaloupe with Peach Agrodolce

Houston, Chris Shepherd, Grilling, Cantaloupe
In this elegant dessert, cantaloupe is grilled until it caramelizes and is then dressed with agrodolce, a sour-sweet Italian sauce made by reducing vinegar and sugar. Grilled Cantaloupe with Peach Agrodolce »Drew Anthony Smith

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies
These cookies test the limit of exactly how much chocolate you can possibly pack into one cookie. Made with cocoa powder and more than one type of chocolate chip, this cookie's soft dough benefits from at least 4 hours of refrigeration, allowing the disks to stay thick and chewy when cooked. Plus, the dough will keep frozen for several months, so stash a few in the freezer to throw in the oven whenever you're hit with a craving for chocolate. Test Kitchen Director Farideh Sadeghin developed this recipe based off New York City's famous Levain Bakery. Get the recipe for Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies »Farideh Sadeghin

Vanilla Ice Cream

Vanilla Ice Cream
This basic ice cream recipe from pastry chef Tracy Obolsky of North End Grill is endlessly customizable; turn it into anything from chocolate to rum-raisin to pistachio. While you can freeze is as soon as two hours after cooking the base, Obolsky recommends allowing the final mixture to rest in the fridge for 24 hours to let the flavors mellow and the proteins relax, which makes for a creamier final product. Get the recipe for Vanilla Ice Cream »Farideh Sadeghin

Grilled Strawberries

Grilled Strawberries
Roasting strawberries over mellow, barely glowing embers turns them from bright red bulbs to plump crimson pillows of deeply sweet juice. Get the recipe for Grilled Strawberries »Matt Taylor-Gross

Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream

Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream
Sweetened condensed milk and a touch of spice set this caffeinated treat apart from other coffee ice creams. Get the recipe for Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream »Laura Sant

Lemon Bars

Lemon Bars
Lemon bars are a light, brightly-flavored dessert, best served with a sprinkling of confectioners' sugar. Get the recipe for Lemon Bars »Noah Fecks

Lavender Honey Ice Cream

Lavender Honey Ice Cream
This ice cream is best when made with true miel de lavande, French lavender honey from Provence, which is produced by bees that feed primarily on lavender blossoms, imparting a creamy texture and distinctive flavor and scent. Get the recipe for Lavender Honey Ice Cream »Helen Rosner

Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

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. Get the recipe for Rhubarb Upside Down Cake »Todd Coleman

Classic Carrot Cake

Classic Carrot Cake
This version of the cake is a potluck and bake sale favorite; the addition of crushed pineapple helps to keep it sweet and moist. Get the recipe for Classic Carrot Cake »Todd Coleman

Moscato and Peach Gelée

Moscato and Peach Gelée
This refreshing gelée gets its light, fruity flavor from ripe peaches and semisweet fizzy moscato wine. Get the recipe for Moscato and Peach Gelée »Ingalls Photography

Chocolate Pudding Pie

Chocolate Pudding Pie
My mom, Ellendean, would occasionally surprise me with this creamy chocolate pie when I came home from school, then watch as I devoured a quarter of it while watching "M*A*S*H" reruns. —Keith Pandolfi Get the recipe for Chocolate Pudding Pie »Helen Rosner

Banana Pudding

Banana Pudding
Custard, vanilla wafers, and bananas are layered and topped with whipped cream in our version of the classic Southern dessert. Get the recipe for Banana Pudding »Todd Coleman

Beet Ice Cream with Mascarpone

Beet Ice Cream with Mascarpone
Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams in Columbus, OH, has some of the most amazing flavors around, but they all start with one simple base. In this recipe, the addition of roasted beets and poppy seeds lends the end product a festive hue and a bit of crunch. Get the recipe for Beet Ice Cream with Mascarpone »Todd Coleman

Blackberry Pie

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 »Nicole Franzen

Classic Smith Island Cake

Classic Smith Island Cake
This impressive layer cake consists of 10 thin cake layers sandwiches with an old-fashioned chocolate fudge icing. Get the recipe for Classic Smith Island Cake »Ryan Liebe | Food Styling Mariana Velasquez

Strawberry Compote

Strawberry Compote
Strawberries macerated with gin, lime zest, and cardamom make an unexpected compote. Get the recipe for Strawberry Compote »Todd Coleman

Pecan Cream Cake

Pecan Cream Cake
Packed with coconut and pecans and covered in cream cheese frosting, this cake is a specialty of Georgia home cook Cile Ellis. Get the recipe for Pecan Cream Cake »Landon Nordeman

Plum Pie

Plum Pie
Grape jelly intensifies the flavor of ripe plums in a sweet-tart summer pie. Get the recipe for Plum Pie »James Roper

Ultimate S'more

Ultimate S'mores
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

Smoked Almond S'mores with Whiskey Marshmallows

Smoked Almond S'mores with Whiskey Marshmallows
We love a classic Hershey's s'more, but this version kicks things up a notch with homemade ingredients. Get the recipe for Smoked Almond S'mores with Whiskey Marshmallows »Matt Taylor-Gross

Shortbread Parfait

Shortbread Parfait
At Local Ocean Seafoods in Newport, Oregon, a coastal feast is punctuated with this crumbly shortbread and berry parfait. Get the recipe for Shortbread Parfait »Corey Arnold

Razzleberry Pie

Razzleberry Pie
Strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries are brightened with lemon juice and zest to make the filling for this juicy pie. Get the recipe for Razzleberry Pie »James Roper

Cherry Clafoutis

Cherry Clafoutis
A decadent custard batter is studded with juicy, ripe cherries in this elegant and satisfying treat. Get the recipe for Cherry Clafoutis »Todd Coleman

Apricot-Almond Tart

Apricot-Almond Tart
You can substitute the apricots in this juicy tart for plums, peaches, or even berries. Get the recipe for Apricot-Almond Tart »Penny De Los Santos

Grilled Pound Cake with Basil-Plum Compote

Grilled Pound Cake with Basil-Plum Compote
The best of summer comes together in this satisfying dessert of grilled pound cake topped with a fruity, herbal compote. Get the recipe for Grilled Pound Cake with Basil-Plum Compote »Helen Rosner

Fig Ice Cream

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. Get the recipe for Fig Ice Cream »Helen Rosner

Spudnuts

Spudnuts
To ensure these potato-based donuts turn out pillowy and soft after frying, take care not to overwork the dough. Get the recipe for Spudnuts »Todd Coleman

Strawberry Loaf Bread

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 »Yossy Arefi

Top Pot Triple Coconut Donuts

Top Pot Triple Coconut Donuts
Coconut milk gives these donuts from Seattle's Top Pot donut shop a super-moist interior and a gratifying crust. Get the recipe for Top Pot Triple Coconut Donuts »Todd Coleman

Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry Shortcake
Making one generous biscuit instead of individual shortcakes lends this classic dessert a grand presentation. Get the recipe for Strawberry Shortcake »Helen Rosner

Nanaimo Bars

Nanaimo Bars
A chocolate-, almond-, and coconut-enriched graham crust supports a dense layer of buttercream topped with a slick of semisweet chocolate. Get the recipe for Nanaimo Bars »Penny De Los Santos

Almond Cheesecake with Macerated Strawberries and Mint (Ostkaka med Färska Jordgubbar och Mynta)

Almond Cheesecake with Macerated Strawberries and Mint (Ostkaka med Färska Jordgubbar och Mynta)
Ground almonds add body and flavor to this creamy Swedish cheesecake. For the Midsummer holiday in late June, Asa Johanson, a gardener and chef on the island of Oland off of Sweden's southeast coast, serves the cake with clouds of whipped cream and ripe strawberries macerated with fresh mint. Get the recipe for Almond Cheesecake with Macerated Strawberries and Mint (Ostkaka med Färska Jordgubbar och Mynta) »Felix Odell

Strawberries and Cream Ice Pops (Paletas de Fresas y Crema)

Strawberries and Cream Ice Pops (Paletas de Fresas y Crema)
The flavor of ripe summer strawberries is front and center in these creamy treats, which are brightened with just a touch of fresh lemon juice. Get the recipe for Strawberries and Cream Ice Pops (Paletas de Fresas y Crema) »Michael Kraus

Pineapple Ice Pops (Paletas de Piña)

Pineapple Ice Pops (Paletas de Piña)
With just two ingredients—puréed pineapple and sugar—these paletas are unbelievably simple to assemble. Get the recipe for Pineapple Ice Pops (Paletas de Piña) »Michael Kraus

Rice Pudding Ice Pops (Paletas de Arroz con Leche)

Rice Pudding Ice Pops (Paletas de Arroz con Leche)
Sweetened condensed milk, rice, vanilla, and cinnamon combine for this frozen take on rice pudding. Get the recipe for Rice Pudding Ice Pops (Paletas de Arroz con Leche) »Michael Kraus

Tamarind-Chile Ice Pops (Paletas de Tamarindo y Chile)

Tamarind-Chile Ice Pops (Paletas de Tamarindo y Chile)
We love the combination of spicy ancho chile powder with sweet-sour tamarind. Get the recipe for Tamarind-Chile Ice Pops (Paletas de Tamarindo y Chile) »Michael Kraus