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30 Nut-Free Desserts That Will Please a Crowd

Whether you’re hosting an event or simply looking for something sweet, you should keep in mind that nuts are one of the most common food allergens. Fortunately, we put together a list of the most delightful (and allergy-friendly) nut-free desserts, so you can satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth.

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1. Gluten-Free Flourless Cookies

  • Time Commitment: 42 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, gluten-free, sheet pan recipe

Intensely chocolatey with a molten, chewy texture that’s downright divine. If you’ve ever wondered what flourless chocolate cake would taste like in cookie form, this recipe is for you.

2. Apple Cider Doughnut Cake with Brown Butter Icing

  • Time Commitment: 2 hour 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, <500 calories, kid-friendly

Here’s a brilliant idea: Let’s make our favorite fall treat gigantic and cover it with icing. No complaints? We thought so.

3. Caramel-Stuffed Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why We Love It: kid-friendly, <500 calories , crowd-pleaser

Regular snickerdoodles are an exciting upgrade from the snoozy sugar cookie…or at least that’s what we thought until we tried a pumpkin-spiked one that’s stuffed with gooey caramel. Now there’s no looking back.

4. Croissant Bread Pudding

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Why We Love It: special occasion-worthy, crowd-pleaser

Bread pudding was originally conceived as a no-waste dessert, but this twist on a classic is so buttery and chocolatey that you might be tempted to buy all the croissants and let them get stale on purpose.

5. No-Bake Dessert Lasagna

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Why We Love It: kid-friendly, no-bake, beginner-friendly

This layered creation featuring cookies, cream-cheese frosting and chocolate mousse manages to be both decadent and light at the same time. You also don’t need the oven to make it, so you can file dessert lasagna under “summertime favorites.”

6. Chocolate Chip Cookie in a Mug

  • Time Commitment: 7 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <15 minutes, <10 ingredients, kid-friendly, beginner-friendly

There’s nothing like a warm, melty chocolate chip cookie cookie, but we’re not always into the baking (and doing dishes) part. Enter: the mug cookie—a quick, single-serving indulgence you can cook up in the microwave. Pretty smart, right?

7. Dorie Greenspan’s Miso-Maple Loaf

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Why We Love It: make ahead, <500 calories, crowd-pleaser

This combination of white miso and maple might seem a bit offbeat, but the ingredients harmonize beautifully in this dessert recipe. The end result is a tender and buttery quick bread that will satisfy your sweet tooth and excite your palate.

8. Gluten-Free Lemon-Raspberry Pavlova

  • Time Commitment: 2 hour 40 minutes
  • Why We Love It: gluten-free, <500 calories, special occasion-worthy, 

Here, airy meringue, zippy lemon and sweet raspberry combine to create a double-decker cake that tastes indulgent, but won’t sit like a lump in your stomach all day. We call that winning.

9. Dessert Nachos

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

This fun and highly customizable twist on a savory favorite will be the highlight of any party, game day event or movie night. (Opt for safflower oil, not peanut oil, when frying to make it allergy-friendly.)

10. Cranberry-Orange Pie

  • Time Commitment: 2 hours
  • Why We Love It: special occasion-worthy, <500 calories, crowd-pleaser

If you love cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie, this creamy, zesty and sweet dessert will make your Thanksgiving.

11. White Chocolate, Espresso and Cardamom Cookies

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Why We Love It: make-ahead, <500 calories

This is not your standard, cloyingly sweet white chocolate chip cookie. These beauties boast a refreshingly complex flavor combo of cardamom and espresso that will make your tastebuds sing.

12. 3-Ingredient Strawberry Ice-Cream Shell

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

This just in: You only need three ingredients and 10 minutes to upgrade a bowl of ice cream with a homemade magic shell. Ahh, instant nostalgia.

13. Rainbow Waffle Cake

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

Move over, Belgian waffles. There’s a new dessert-for-breakfast recipe in town and it’s speaking to our inner child with icing and rainbow sprinkles.

14. Mini Pumpkin Pies

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Why We Love It: special occasion-worthy, kid-friendly

PSL fans will delight in this recipe, which yields mini pumpkin pies you definitely don’t have to wait for Thanksgiving to indulge in. Make a batch and you’ll be the star of the fall bake sale.

15. Cookies-and-Cream Ice Pops

  • Time Commitment: 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, beginner-friendly, make-ahead

Put down that pint! Cookies-and-cream ice pops are a tasty and (relatively) low-calorie alternative to the store-bought stuff. Plus, they’re easy to make with only a few ingredients. (Think: instant pudding mix and Oreos.)

16. Fresh Fruit Ice Pops

  • Time Commitment: 3 hours
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, kid-friendly, <500 calories

Not in the mood for creamy? This three-ingredient ice pop recipe will fit the bill whenever you’re craving something that’s light, refreshing and loaded with fruit flavor.

17. Mini Strawberry Ice Cream Pies

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes
  • Why We Love It: special occasion-worthy, <10 ingredients

You can have ice cream in a cone. You can have a scoop alongside a slice of pie. But if you put it directly in a buttery pie crust (with some fresh strawberries for good measure), you’ll never look back.

18. Lemon Meringue Cookies

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <500 calories, kid-friendly

This innovative recipe features a dollop of toasty meringue on a lemon-flavored sugar cookie base, and the resulting combination of textures and bold citrus taste will blow your mind.

19. Coconut Rice Pudding with Rhubarb Compote

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

No need to load up on sugar to counteract the puckering taste of rhubarb. Simply pair the bright pink perennial with a combination of sweetened condensed milk, coconut milk and whole milk and you’ll be rewarded with a sweet and creamy dessert that has just the right amount of personality.

20. Grapefruit Meringue Sticks

  • Time Commitment: 3 hours
  • Why We Love It: special-occasion worthy, kid-friendly

Here, marshmallowy meringue and tart grapefruit curd combine to create a dreamy, pint-sized pavlova that’s guaranteed to impress the guests at any party.

21. Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, <500 calories

This subtle treat relies on fresh strawberries and whipped cream to achieve sweetness that satisfies without making you sick to your stomach after.

22. Sheet-Pan Strawberry Shortcake with Black Pepper, Whipped Honey Ricotta and Togarashi

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

It’s strawberry season and you’re feeling adventurous. Take a page out of fashion-designer-turned-chef Peter Som’s book and whip up strawberry shortcake with thyme, plus a surprising garnish of black pepper, cayenne and togarashi (a warm, Japanese spice blend).

23. Orange Flower Olive Oil Cake

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, <500 calories, special occasion-worthy

Use high-quality EVOO and don’t skimp on the orange and Meyer lemon zest. The citrus perfume really makes the cake, and you’ll be rewarded with a truly intoxicating treat.

24. Jammy Shortbread Bars

  • Time Commitment: 55 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, <500 calories, make-ahead

Brown butter shortbread, tart raspberry jam and sugary frosting are a super sexy throuple that’s most certainly going places (i.e., your mouth).

25. Strawberry-Mango Hawaiian Shave Ice

  • Time Commitment: 5 hour 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, <500 calories, vegan

Let’s be honest, snow cones suck. Tropical-flavored shaved ice, on the other hand, is a melty and refreshing flavor bomb, so trust us when we say this DIY version will not let you down.

26. Avocado Chocolate Mousse

  • Time Commitment: 25 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, high protein, <10 ingredients

We’ve long suspected that avocado is the perfect food and this recipe is proof. Sweeten the deal with dark chocolate and agave, then add some aleppo pepper. The end result? A dessert that totally passes as breakfast, lunch or dinner.

27. Three-Ingredient Chocolate Truffles

  • Time Commitment: 4 hour 25 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, make-ahead, no bake

Wondering how to win friends and influence people? You don’t need the book—just make a batch of swoon-worthy chocolate truffles in (wait for it) your microwave and success is yours.

28. 10-Minute Strawberry Cobbler Mug

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <15 minutes, no cook, beginner

This single-serving quickie will satisfy your sweet tooth, stat. Better still, there’s a very good chance you can pull off this delightful dessert mug with pantry staples you already have on hand.

29. Mini Skillet Funnel Cakes

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why We Love It: Crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly, <500 calories

Here, a recipe for anyone who’s wishing for a state fair treat for a state fair treat. The endeavor requires a little skill, since there’s deep frying involved, but if you’re truly motivated, you can make dreams come true.

30. 3-Ingredient Blood Orange Granita

  • Time Commitment: 15 minutes (+freezing time)
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, special occasion-worthy, <500 calories

Dessert vs. after-dinner drinks? We just settled the debate with a Hawaiian shave ice mocktail that pairs beautifully with a hit of Champagne (or a budget-friendly substitute) if you so choose.


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Freelance PureWow Editor

Emma Singer is a freelance contributing editor and writer at PureWow who has over 7 years of professional proofreading, copyediting and writing experience. At PureWow, she covers...