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70 Fun Things to Bake When You’re Bored and Craving Something Sweet

Sure, you can binge The Watcher on Netflix or try reading that self-help book (again…). But why resign yourself to the couch when the oven is calling your name? Feel productive—and reward yourself with dessert—with these 70 fun things to bake instead. Whether you’re just bored or need to whip something sweet up on the fly, your taste buds will thank you for the following cookies, cakes, pies and more.

54 Winter Desserts Worth Cozying Up to All Season


1. 3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: gluten free, dairy free, <30 minutes, <10 ingredients

These sweet-and-salty handhelds, made with sugar-free peanut butter, keep in the freezer for up to three months. (That means you can bake some whenever you get a craving.) Bonus: You probably have everything you need to make them already on hand.

2. Blackberry Jam Pie-Crust Straws

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, kid-friendly, make ahead

For those days when you’re craving pie but have no time to bake one. (Store-bought puff pastry to the rescue!) You can thank us later.

3. Cookies-and-Cream Shortbread Cookies

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, kid-friendly, make ahead

Think of them as classy homemade Oreos. Your kids will love finding one in their lunchboxes.

4. Cardamom Cream-Filled Bundt Cake

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 50 minutes
  • Why We Love It: special occasion-worthy, crowd-pleaser, make ahead

This dessert is inspired by light-as-clouds semlor, a yeasted Swedish cake. Cardamom makes the cake delightfully fragrant.

5. Chocolate Skillet Cake

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 5 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly

The secret ingredient in this ooey-gooey masterpiece? Freshly brewed coffee, for a bold kick. It enhances the rich cocoa flavor.

6. Gluten-Free Apple Rose Tart

  • Time Commitment: 2 hours and 25 minutes
  • Why We Love It: gluten free, special occasion-worthy, make ahead

Well, well, well. Aren’t you ambitious? (JK, the apple roses are easier to assemble than you’d think.)

7. Chrissy Teigen’s 3-Ingredient Chocolate Mousse

  • Time Commitment: 2 hours and 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, <10 ingredients, kid-friendly

Crowned with salted crisped rice-hazelnut crackle for good measure (and whipped cream, of course).

8. Blackberry-Raspberry Skillet Cobbler

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: one pan, beginner-friendly, crowd-pleaser

Way less work than crimping and blind-baking a homemade pie crust, but every bit as satisfying. It's a great way to use your farmers market berry haul come summer.

9. Easy Cherry Skillet Cake

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, one pan, crowd-pleaser

Your cast iron skillet basically guarantees crispy edges and a fluffy center, aka the perfect cake.

10. Chocolate Chip Cookie in a Mug

  • Time Commitment: 10 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, <30 minutes, <10 ingredients

In case you simply can’t be trusted around a whole fresh batch, this quick confection will hit the spot without tempting you for days.

11. Birthday Cupcakes with White Wine Buttercream

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 55 minutes
  • Why We Love It: special occasion-worthy, make ahead, crowd-pleaser

Vino, dessert and sprinkles—the gang’s all here. Why not wash 'em down with Champagne?

12. Homemade Toaster Pastries

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why We Love It: make ahead, special occasion-worthy, kid-friendly

Pillsbury has nothing on these beauties. Consider them your picky kids’ new favorite breakfast.

13. Dessert Nachos

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly

Trade baking for frying and you’ve got cinnamon-sugar tortilla chips with a slew of sweet fixings.

14. Chocolate-Chip Mug Brownie for One

  • Time Commitment: 10 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, one bowl, <30 minutes

Face it, there’s no better way to get your chocolate fix than this lightning fast treat.

15. Lemon Meringue Cookies

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes
  • Why We Love It: special occasion-worthy, crowd-pleaser, make ahead

Rubbing lemon zest into the sugar helps release more of its natural citrus flavor into the cookies.

16. Cheater’s Mini Rhubarb Galettes

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, <10 ingredients, special occasion-worthy

Who knew a five-ingredient dessert could look this gorgeous? It's all thanks to vibrant rhubarb.

17. Easy Peanut Butter Fudge

  • Time Commitment: 10 minutes (plus chilling time)
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, no-bake, gluten free

The best impromptu baking recipes are those that require no baking at all. We're looking at you, cheater's fudge.

18. Cranberry Apple Danish

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why We Love It: special occasion-worthy, crowd-pleaser, make ahead

Warning: Your brunch guests will think you scored these at a posh local café. Let the compliments roll in.

19. Fig Tarte Tatin

  • Time Commitment: 55 minutes
  • Why We Love It: special occasion-worthy, crowd-pleaser, beginner-friendly

Store-bought puff pastry meets sticky-sweet, caramelized produce. Bookmark this now to wow the relatives at Christmas dinner.

20. Giant Cinnamon Roll

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, kid-friendly, special occasion-worthy, crowd-pleaser

Less is more—unless we’re talking about breakfast pastries. (And two-ingredient vanilla icing.)

21. Brown Sugar-Pear Puff Pastries

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, crowd-pleaser, special occasion-worthy

They're destined to be the finale of your Thanksgiving feast. Can you believe they start with store-bought dough?

22. Cinnamon Sheet Cake with Cider Frosting

  • Time Commitment: 55 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, crowd-pleaser, make ahead

The key to this fall-inspired cake is boiling apple cider until it reduces into a highly concentrated, flavorful syrup. One bite, and it'll become your new favorite lazy Sunday baking project in the fall.

23. Easy Chocolate Marshmallow Cups

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, make ahead, kid-friendly

These have Valentine’s Day goody bags written all over them, but they'd also make a great hostess gift for any occasion.

24. Glazed Doughnut Cookies

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 45 minutes
  • Why We Love It: special occasion-worthy, kid-friendly, make ahead

C’mon, how ridiculously adorable are these Homer Simpson doughnut doppelgangers? They’re basically edible emojis.

25. Ruby Red Grapefruit Panna Cotta

  • Time Commitment: 2 hours and 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, no-bake, gluten free

You only need six ingredients and a couple hours to pull off this sophisticated Italian treat. We feel a dinner party coming on.

26. Frozen Chocolate Soufflé

  • Time Commitment: 3 hours and 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, make ahead, no-bake, gluten free

If you’ve been devastated by deflated soufflé before, fret not. This one comes together in the freezer instead of the oven.

27. 10-Minute Strawberry Cobbler for One

  • Time Commitment: 10 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, beginner-friendly, <10 ingredients

Feel free to toss in whatever berries you have on hand, but the whipped cream is non-negotiable.

28. Spiced Palmiers

  • Time Commitment: 4 hours and 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: special occasion-worthy, make ahead, crowd-pleaser

On the hunt for a weekend baking project? Look no further than this impressive pick, starring homemade puff pastry.

29. Triple Cookie Skillet Pie

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes
  • Why We Love It: kid-friendly, one pan, beginner-friendly

Something tells us your kids won’t want birthday cake for their next party once they catch wind of this triple threat.

30. Coconut Cookies

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, make ahead, <10 ingredients

They taste like a blissful combo of sugar cookies and coconut macaroons, and we’re here for it.

31. 10-Minute Caramel Apple Baked Brie

  • Time Commitment: 10 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, <30 minutes, gluten free

Keep this Brie recipe in your back pocket for the next time your in-laws make an unexpected visit—it's just fancy-looking enough.

32. Classic Banana Bread

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, make ahead, kid-friendly

Just in case quarantine hasn’t turned you into a total pro yet, this banana bread is impeccably moist and pretty darn foolproof.

33. 30-Minute Angel Food Cupcakes

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, kid-friendly, make ahead

The whipped cream frosting stays firm and pink, thanks to freeze-dried strawberries.

34. Neapolitan Pie

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 25 minutes
  • Why We Love It: special occasion-worthy, crowd-pleaser

This tri-flavored custard pie, layered with chocolate, vanilla and strawberry fillings, is peak nostalgia.

35. Apple Tart with Soft-Pretzel Crust

  • Time Commitment: 2 hours and 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: special occasion-worthy, crowd-pleaser

If you’re a sucker for all things sweet and salty, add this stunner to your to-bake list, stat.

36. Homemade Milano Cookies

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, kid-friendly, make ahead

An endless supply of homemade copycat cookies > one bag of 16 store-bought Milanos, don't @ us.

37. The World’s Biggest Peanut Butter Cup

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 5 minutes
  • Why We Love It: kid-friendly, gluten free, crowd-pleaser, special occasion-worthy

You can thank your nine-inch tart pan for this ingenious invention. It'll put the kids' trick-or-treat spoils to shame.

38. Caramel Almond Cake

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, special occasion-worthy, crowd-pleaser

Slivered almonds + sugar = a sweet, crunchy caramel crust that will impress every guest imaginable.

39. Cardamom Crème Brûlée

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: special occasion-worthy, <10 ingredients, gluen free

Be sure to steep whole cardamom pods—not ground cardamom—in the cream to give the custard its warm, soothing flavor.

40. Brownie Cupcakes

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, kid-friendly, make ahead

Let your kids top them off with marshmallows right before they finish baking, so they can watch them melt in the oven.

41. 3-Ingredient Brigadeiro

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 30 minutes (includes chilling)
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, gluten free, <10 ingredients

These Brazilian sweets are dangerously poppable, not to mention a breeze to make. Take your pick of classic chocolate and unexpected strawberry milk.

42. Rosé Poached Pears with Ginger and Vanilla

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, gluten free, no-bake, special occasion-worthy

Table this pear-y chic idea (sorry) for your next fancy dinner. All it takes is simmering the fruit in spiced wine until tender.

43. Microwave Double Chocolate Cake Bowl

  • Time Commitment: 10 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, <30 minutes, gluten free

Cassava flour, maple syrup and coconut whipped cream keep this 10-minute wonder Paleo-friendly.

44. 5-Minute S’mores Mug Cake for One

  • Time Commitment: 5 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, <10 ingredients, <30 minutes

Because graham crackers, chocolate and toasted marshmallows still taste divine together in the dead of winter. And in this iteration, you don't have to brave the great outdoors when it's below freezing to enjoy the combo.

45. Mini Caramel Pecan Pies with Cinnamon Roll Pie Crust

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why We Love It: special occasion-worthy, kid-friendly, make ahead

There’s truly nothing your muffin tin can’t do. Oh, and FYI, there’s no way you’ll be able to stop after just one.

46. Biscuit Dough Pumpkin Hand Pies

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, make ahead, crowd-pleaser

Black Friday breakfast, anyone? We’ll be washing ours down with a pumpkin spice latte, obvi.

47. No-Bake, Gluten-Free Rose Petal Brownies

  • Time Commitment: 2 hours and 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: no-bake, gluten free, vegan, special occasion-worthy

A sprinkling of rose tea is a great substitute if you don’t have dried rose petals in the spice cabinet (or don’t feel like searching for them at the store).

48. Grapefruit Meringue Stacks

  • Time Commitment: 3 hours
  • Why We Love It: gluten free, special occasion-worthy

Sweet, airy meringues layered with tart, five-ingredient grapefruit curd? Don’t mind if we do.

49. Sticky Toffee Honeycomb Cake

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: special occasion-worthy, crowd-pleaser

Sticky toffee pudding, a holiday date spongecake from Britain, was long overdue for an upgrade. This one boasts thick honey-butter caramel.

50. Giant Brown Sugar Snickerdoodles

  • Time Commitment: 25 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, <30 minutes, kid-friendly, make ahead

They’re soft and chewy like the O.G., but also rolled in sugar before baking for crunchy, caramelized bottoms.

51. Roasted Apple Pavlova with Honey Whipped Cream

  • Time Commitment: 3 hours and 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: gluten free, special occasion-worthy, crowd-pleaser

Think meringue topped with roasted, spiced apples and honey-vanilla whipped cream. So light, yet so decadent.

52. Skillet Peach Cobbler

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 10 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, crowd-pleaser, one pan

Make this for every summer barbecue you ever throw and boom: You’re the hostess with the mostest.

53. Caramel Coconut Macaroons

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes
  • Why We Love It: special occasion-worthy, crowd-pleaser, make ahead

A simple caramel sauce sweetens the cookies and gives them a killer burnt sugar flavor. Feel free to dip them in dark chocolate or top them with flaky salt.

54. Puff Pastry Plum and Thyme Galette

  • Time Commitment: 55 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, crowd-pleaser

It’s as easy as crinkling store-bought dough into a skillet, plopping in fresh plums and letting your oven do the rest.

55. Strawberry Pie with Strawberry Crust

  • Time Commitment: 2 hours and 45 minutes
  • Why We Love It: special occasion-worthy, crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly

Food coloring? You can do better than that. Pulse freeze-dried strawberries and sugar in the food processor instead to turn the crust pink.

56. No-Bake Sugar Cookie Truffles

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, <10 ingredients, no bake

Otherwise known as the tastiest way to repurpose leftover sugar cookies. (The secret is cream cheese, BTW.)

57. Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, kid-friendly, crowd-pleaser, make ahead

You’ll have two dozen of ’em ready to eat in less time than it takes to watch an episode of Love Is Blind.

58. Vegan and Gluten-Free Dark Chocolate Ginger Tart

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 25 minutes (plus chilling time)
  • Why We Love It: gluten free, dairy free, vegan, special occasion-worthy, crowd-pleaser

We fell hard for both the gingersnap crust and the candied ginger-pistachio topping, but they merely gild the chocolate lily.

59. Mini Mason Jar Apple Pies

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 10 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, special occasion-worthy, kid-friendly

Not only are tiny desserts more fun to eat, but they’re also more fun to bake. Your guests will gush over these mini treats.

60. Botanical Shortbread Cookies

  • Time Commitment: 2 hours and 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, special occasion-worthy, crowd-pleaser, make ahead

Violets, pansies, lavender, roses—the garden is your oyster. (P.S.: You can find dried edible flowers at Gourmet Sweet Botanicals.)

61. Berry Galette

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly

Do fresh summer berries some justice by showing them off atop store-bought pie crust. Bonus points for topping it with vanilla ice cream.

62. Oreo-Stuffed Brownies

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, kid-friendly, crowd-pleaser

Because no baker (or eater) should ever have to choose between cookies and brownies.

63. Lemon Pie with Blueberry Meringue

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 35 minutes
  • Why We Love It: special occasion-worthy, crowd-pleaser, make ahead

Ready thy camera: It'd be a crime not to share that lilac-hued meringue topper on social media.

64. Blueberry, Blackberry and Raspberry Soufflés

  • Time Commitment: 55 minutes
  • Why We Love It: special occasion-worthy, <10 ingredients, crowd-pleaser

Since the recipe calls for frozen berries instead of fresh, you can whip up this impressive dessert any time of year.

65. Ginger Cherry Pie

  • Time Commitment: 3 hours and 10 minutes
  • Why We Love It: special occasion-worthy, crowd-pleaser

We hope you like things a lil’ spicy, because this pie calls for fresh, ground *and* crystallized ginger.

66. Broiler S’mores

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, kid-friendly, <10 ingredients

Craving this summer staple in the off-season? Trade the bonfire for your oven’s broiler and a cast iron skillet.

67. Edible Cookie Dough

  • Time Commitment: 10 minutes
  • Why We Love It: gluten free, <10 ingredients, <30 minutes

On the worst of days, there’s no cure quite like raw cookie dough. Do yourself a favor and indulge safely in this egg- and wheat-free take instead of the store-bought kind.

68. Mini Key Lime Pies

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes (plus chilling time)
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, make ahead, special occasion-worthy

What's sweet, sour, silky and crunchy in every bite? These lime-kissed cuties, which come together in mess-free muffin tins.

69. No-Knead Cinnamon-Swirl Bread

  • Time Commitment: 3 hours and 5 minutes
  • Why We Love It: make ahead, crowd-pleaser, beginner-friendly

And just like that, we're craving buttered toast. This peasant bread recipe is mind-blowingly easy to pull off (and it's hiding a generous layer of cinnamon sugar).

70. Tie-Dye Sugar Cookies

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, special occasion-worthy, kid-friendly

Believe it or not, the marbled design is such a breeze to pull off that even your kids can help decorate. Start with store-bought sugar cookie dough to save time.

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Taryn Pire is PureWow’s associate food editor. A former bartender and barista, she’s been writing about all things delicious since 2016, developing recipes, reviewing restaurants and investigating food trends at Food52, New Jersey Family Magazine and Taste Talks. When she isn’t testing TikTok’s latest viral recipe, she’s having popcorn for dinner and posting about it on Instagram @cookingwithpire.