Between beach days, BBQs, and summer picnics, there are endless opportunities to satisfy your cravings with the sweet flavors of summer. Frozen yogurt, strawberry shortcake, ice cream sandwiches, and more… There’s nothing better than cooling down with something sweet. But, that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your summer wellness goals! Thanks to seasonal fruits and simple swaps, it’s easy to make refreshing summer desserts taste indulgent while remaining nutritious. Best of all, you don’t even need to turn on the oven. No-bake desserts for the win! From fresh and fruity to creamy and indulgent, here are the healthiest summer desserts that will keep you cool all season long!
Why We Love Refreshing Summer Desserts
Here at FitOn, we’re all about finding healthy ways to satisfy our cravings while staying on track with our goals. When it comes to summer desserts, it’s all about finding the sweet balance between indulgence and health!
Depriving yourself is never the answer (in fact, it can do more harm than good). A little indulgence is healthy (a summer night’s ice cream trip is good for the soul). But, if you’re overindulging in summer treats or cocktails, calories and sugar have a sneaky way of adding up. It’s all about balance!
That’s where healthy summer desserts come in! With a little know-how and a few simple swaps, learn how to enjoy your ice cream and eat it too.
Read on to find out the best healthy and refreshing summer desserts, plus simple swaps to keep your favorite treats nutritious and delicious.
What Makes Something a Good Summer Dessert?
So what makes a dessert “healthy?” According to chefs and nutritionists, here’s what you need to know.
Keep It Fresh & Fruity
Summer is the perfect time to incorporate all the juicy fruits into your diet, play with their flavors, and as a consequence, eat your water, says Nutritionist Marieva Malo. “More hydration = More glow,” says Malo. “When you go for dessert, think about eating your water! Instead of depriving yourself, think about nourishing your body with a sweet yet hydrating dessert, like watermelon popsicles.”
Kayla Marker, plant-based private chef and recipe developer, agrees! Embrace the natural sweetness of summer flavors. With so many seasonal summer fruits in peak season, it’s easy to elevate both the flavor and nutrition of any dish by replacing added sugar with fresh fruit, says Marker. Think: tart, flavorful berries, juicy bites of stone fruit, and sweet tropical flavors like pineapple.
Head to your local farmers market and fill up on all the seasonal picks! From juicy melon and fresh-picked berries to tropical fruits like papaya and mango, there are endless sweet treats to satisfy your summer cravings.
Turn Off the Oven & Head to the Freezer
It can be tempting to steer clear of the kitchen when it’s hot and humid. But, there are simple ways to keep your cool without turning on the oven!
Plus, frozen summer desserts are a must, says Marker. The best frozen desserts have a balance between creamy and sweet! When you want to keep it healthy, keep coconut water and coconut cream ice cubes on hand. They make the perfect decadent addition to any summer dessert recipe while keeping it low-sugar and nutritious.
During summer, I find my freezer gets much more love than any other time of the year, says Malo. I freeze most of the fruits I buy and then have them as snacks! Plus, they make for the perfect dessert. Mix with some nuts, or sprinkle some coconut flakes, and voilà!
Homemade Over Store-Bought, Always!
Why splurge on store-bought sweets when you can make your own?
There’s nothing more impressive than whipping up a simple summer dessert, says Marker. You don’t have to be a chef to make a dish taste chef-made!
When it comes to creating a mouth-watering summer dessert, less is more. Instead of adding more ingredients, keep it minimal and natural. If you want to elevate the flavor of your dish, refresh your palate with a pop of fresh flavor from mint or rosemary.
And, DIY summer desserts are easier than you think, says Malo. “Turn your house into an ice cream factory! Make-your-own-ice cream pool party and make ice cream out of avocado, banana, PB, strawberry. The options are endless!”
RELATED: The Best Banana Nice Cream
Become a Summer Grill Master
If you shy away from the grill, now is the time to get outside your comfort zone and take your kitchen expertise outdoors!
Grilling season is often associated with smoky, savory flavors, but grilled summer desserts (think: juicy grilled peaches, warm banana splits, and sweet grilled pineapple)deserve to be in the spotlight, says Marker. If you’re craving something warm and decadent, toss your favorite fruit into the grill and prepare to indulge!
Get creative, says Malo. You’d be surprised with the things you could do with a simple ingredient like yogurt. Bowls, tarts, you name it! Try creating a DIY yogurt bowl with unsweetened coconut yogurt and your favorite grilled summer fruit.
15 Easy Summer Desserts
#1 Coconut Yogurt Bowl with Grilled Fruit
This indulgent summer dessert requires just five minutes and less than five ingredients!
To create this bowl, simply toss your favorite fruit on the grill for 1-3 minutes until it has a sweet char and add it to a bowl mixed with unsweetened coconut yogurt. Drizzle on some honey, add a sprinkle of cinnamon and top with extra toppings like coconut flakes, cacao nibs, or fresh berries.
#2 Homemade Protein Froyo
Skip the (sugar-filled) store-bought ice cream and make your own. This high-protein, low-sugar frozen yogurt is made from simple ingredients like Greek yogurt, fruit, and a touch of all-natural sweetener. Guaranteed to satisfy all your cravings while supporting all your fitness goals!
- 1 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
- 2 cups frozen berries of choice (or your favorite fruit)
- 1 pinch cinnamon
- 1 tsp maple syrup (optional)
- 1 tbsp mixed nuts, to serve
- 1 tsp almond butter, to serve
Step #1: Place all of the ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth
Step #2: Serve immediately, or place in the freezer for 30 minutes to set.
Step #3: Option to serve topped with fresh berries and a drizzle of nut butter!
#3 Banana Nice Cream
Speaking of froyo, did you know you can make a delicious ice cream-like summer dessert using just bananas!? Trust us — it tastes like the real deal. And, this plant-based, dairy-free frozen dessert is great for all eating plans — don’t be surprised if it turns into a family favorite!
To make healthy banana nice cream, simply blend frozen bananas with non-dairy milk, adding any other flavors like vanilla, cacao, or mint!
The next time your ice cream craving hits, try these yummy banana nice cream flavors!
#4 Watermelon Popsicles
When you want a low-cal treat that’s both healthy and sweet, whip up some homemade watermelon popsicles! With just two ingredients, this no-fail recipe is guaranteed to be a summer staple.
To make, add 4-5 cups of ripe watermelon chunks to a blender with a tablespoon of lemon or lime juice. Blend until smooth, then pour into popsicle molds. Freeze for 2-3 hours until fully frozen, and enjoy!
#5 Berries & Cream Popsicles
For a creamier twist on this fruity treat, whip up a batch of summer-inspired berry creamsicles.
- 1 can full-fat coconut milk (or 1 cup of full-fat coconut or Greek yogurt)
- 1 cup of berries
- 1 ripe banana
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Step #1: Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender and blend until smooth.
Step #2: Add more liquid, if the base is too thick (should be a thin smoothie consistency)
Step #3: Pour into popsicle molds and freeze for 5-8 hours, or until fully frozen
#6 Coconut Whip & Berry Parfait
Speaking of berries and cream, here’s another way to transform these simple ingredients into whipped perfection.
Create a DIY dairy and sugar-free coconut whip by combining a can of full-fat coconut cream (draining any liquid on top of the can) in a bowl with a tsp of vanilla extract. Using a hand mixer, whip the mixture until a slight peak forms! Add a touch of all-natural sweetener like honey or maple syrup, if necessary.
To make the parfait, layer a cup with coconut cream, fresh berries, and optional low-sugar granola. Store any leftover whipped cream in an air-tight container in the fridge!
#7 Chocolate Chip Stuffed Raspberries
When summer blesses you with perfectly ripe, juicy raspberries, there’s only one thing to do — stuff them with chocolate chips! This yummy recipe is the perfect way to manage summer dessert cravings without overdoing it on the sugar or calories.
To create these addictive bites, add (low-sugar) dark chocolate chips to freshly rinsed raspberries. Once you place the chocolate chip in the center of each berry, enjoy as is, or freeze for a frozen treat! Store in an air-tight container in the fridge or freezer.
#8 Frozen Grapes Dipped in Coconut Yogurt
If you’ve never experienced the deliciousness of frozen grapes, you’re in for a treat! While this one ingredient dessert is delicious on its own, it pairs perfectly with a yummy coconut yogurt dip.
After thoroughly rinsing your favorite grapes (red grapes are more sweet, while green are more tart), freeze them for 4-5 hours or overnight. Keep them stored in the freezer, and pop them out for a healthy, low-cal snack! Enjoy them alone or dip them in unsweetened yogurt for an added indulgence.
#9 Chocolate Avocado Pudding
What if we told you that you could make a decadent, no-bake chocolately dessert that is low-sugar and made with satiating avocado? Well, you can! And here’s how.
- 2 ripe avocados
- ½ cup cacao or cocoa powder
- ¼ cup non-dairy milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1-2 tbsp honey, maple syrup, or sweetener of choice
Step #1: Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
Step #2: If the mixture is too thick, add 1 tbsp liquid as needed to thin.
Step #3: Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes and serve!
#10 Frozen Banana Popsicles
Sometimes the best recipes are the easiest! This delicious summer dessert recipe can be made in less than five minutes and is easily customizable for any dietary preferences. Invite your kids to join in on the decorating fun!
To make this recipe, peel 4-5 ripe bananas and chop them evenly in half. Add a popsicle stick or wooden skewer to the banana base. Now, it’s time to get creative! Dip your banana in melted chocolate, roll in granola, drizzle with honey, or sprinkle toppings like coconut flakes or chocolate chips. Add your coated bananas to a tray, and freeze for 1-2 hours, or until frozen.
#11 No-Bake Summer Berry “Cheesecake” Bars
These no-bake cheese-less cheesecake bars are sweet slices of summer heaven. Made with a two-ingredient nut and date crust and simple berry filling, this simple dessert will have you swooning.
- 1½ cups pecans or walnuts
- 1 ½ cups pitted Medjool dates (soaked in hot water for 5-10 minutes, then drained and finely chopped)
- 2 cups cashews (soaked for 3-4 hours minimum or overnight), rinsed and drained
- ⅓ cup maple syrup (or raw honey)
- ⅓ cup coconut oil, melted
- 1 lemon, juiced (about ¼ cup)
- 1 cup raspberries or wild blueberries (fresh or de-thawed if frozen)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Pinch of sea salt (optional)
Step #1: Prepare the crust by combining pitted dates and nuts in a food processor. Blend until a dough forms. Note: you may need to scrape down sides and blend several times.
Step #2: Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper, then evenly press the crust into the pan.
Step #3: Next, prepare the cashew berry filling. Add the drained cashews, melted coconut oil, maple syrup, lemon juice, sea salt, and vanilla extract into a high-speed blender or food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy. Add the berries and lightly pulse until well mixed. Taste test and adjust as needed adding any additional sweetener, lemon juice, or berries.
Step #4: Pour the cashew filling on top of the crust. Cover and freeze until hard (6-8 hours or overnight). Option to serve frozen or slightly dethawed. Enjoy!
#12 Watermelon Pizza
Thanks to its sweet juicy flavor, high water content, and low-calorie count, watermelon makes a refreshing summer dessert that is healthy and satisfying. That’s why we’re using it as the base for this mouth-watering dessert pizza! Serve it as a summer snack or dessert whenever you’re craving something simple and sweet.
- 1 center-cut slice of watermelon, 1-2 inches thick
- ½ cup full-fat Greek yogurt, unsweetened (or full-fat coconut yogurt)
- 1 tsp raw honey or maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup of fresh mixed berries of choice, roughly chopped
- ½ cup mashed mixed berries (optional)
- Raw or dry-roasted almonds and pistachios, finely chopped
- Raw honey, to drizzle
- Cacao nibs or chocolate chips
- Coconut flakes, unsweetened
Step #1: In a medium-sized bowl, mix the Greek yogurt, honey, and vanilla extract. Option to add ½ cup of mashed or finely chopped berries. Set aside
Step #2: Slicing from the center of the watermelon, cut a 1-2 inch slice of watermelon. Then, slice into 8 evenly sliced wedges, resembling that of a pizza.
Step #3: Next, evenly spread the yogurt mixture on top of each watermelon slice. Top with fresh berries and any optional toppings such as almonds, pistachios, cacao nibs, or coconut. Option to drizzle with honey. Serve and enjoy!
#13 No-Bake Cookie Dough Dip
Protein-rich, paleo-friendly, and made with four simple ingredients. Made with Greek yogurt, nut butter, and a dash of sweetener, this no-bake creamy cookie dough dip is delicious healthy twist on traditional batter. Serve it with fresh fruit or enjoy it by the spoonful!
- 1 cup unsweetened vanilla Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup unsweetened nut or seed better (such as peanut, almond, or cashew butter)
- 1-2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1-3 tsp sweetener of choice (such as maple syrup, honey or stevia)
- 1/2 cup dairy-free chocolate chips
Step #1: In a medium-sized bowl, mix nut butter, yogurt, vanilla, and optional sweetener until well combined. Next, add chocolate chips and stir well.
Step #2: Serve with fresh fruit (such as sliced apple) or enjoy plain! Option to chill or freeze before serving.
#14 Pecan Butter Smoothie Bowl
Trust us, this Pecan Butter Smoothie Bowl tastes just as indulgent as it sounds. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think it was full of sugar and sneaky ingredients! But, it’s actually quite nutritious. Blend it all up and enjoy!
2 frozen bananas, sliced
2 tbsp almond butter
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp vanilla extract
1 pinch sea salt
½ cup almond milk
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 tbsp pecans, halved
1 tbsp shredded coconut
1 tbsp cacao nibs
almond butter, to drizzle
Step #1: Add all the ingredients, minus the pecan halves, shredded coconut, and cacao nibs, to a high-speed blender and blend until smooth.
Step #2:Pour into two serving bowls and top with the pecan halves, shredded coconut, cacao nibs, and an extra drizzle of almond butter.
Step #3: Enjoy!
#15 Creamy Vanilla Chia Pudding
Whip up a single-serve chia pudding parfait, because not all desserts need to be shared! Rich in fiber, full of heart-healthy fats, and totally decadent.
- 1 cup full-fat non-dairy milk (such as cashew, oat, coconut, or almond)
- 3 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp maple syrup or raw honey
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- Fresh berries, to serve
- Nut butter, to serve
- Chopped nuts or seeds, to serve
Step #1: In a sealable jar, combine the non-dairy milk, sweetener, and vanilla. Taste and adjust sweetness as needed. Then, stir in chia seeds until well combined.
Step #2: Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. To serve, top with fresh berries, nut butter, and any additional toppings of choice such as nuts, seeds, coconut whip, or yogurt.
Indulge in the Natural Sweetness of Summer
When it comes to dessert, it’s all about balance. There’s no need for deprivation when you can make simple, healthy treats!
And summer is the perfect time to indulge in nature’s natural sweetness. Soak in the seasonal produce and get mixing in the kitchen — no oven required! With these no-bake, refreshing summer dessert recipes, stay cool (and satisfied) all summer long.