In a perfect world, I always have a dessert at the ready, whether it’s frozen cookie dough or a snacking cake to power me through the week. But in reality, most desserts take more time than I have on a typical weekday, when even making dinner at home can sometimes feel like a major effort. Enter these 13 recipes, which take less than an hour — prep and bake time included.
1) Quick and Easy Fudge Brownies
It's right there in the name: These simple brownies are mixed in just one bowl and come together in a flash. Just dump, stir, and bake; in just over 30 minutes, you have a pan of warm, fudgy brownies to feed your dinner guests (and plenty for the next morning).
Get the recipe: Quick and Easy Fudge Brownies
2) Tequila-Lime Snack Cake
This citrusy, slightly boozy cake is a fun way to keep the party going past cocktail hour. Masa harina imparts its subtle notes of sweet corn, which pairs beautifully with lime zest. Topped off with a tequila-lime juice glaze, it’s sophisticated in taste yet simple (only two bowls needed!) to execute.
Get the recipe: Tequila-Lime Snack Cake
Shop the recipe: Masa Harina
3) King Arthur’s Original Cake Pan Cake
No eggs or butter in the fridge? Good news, you won’t need any for this cake! Baking for a friend who eats gluten-free? No problem, just use our Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour. Short on time? Well, it takes five minutes to mix the ingredients and 30 minutes to bake! Yes, you can have it all.
Get the recipe: King Arthur’s Original Cake Pan Cake
Shop the recipe: Triple Cocoa Blend
4) Vanilla Rice Pudding
Don’t overlook this humble stovetop dessert. Made with a handful of basic ingredients (rice, cream, sugar, milk, vanilla, and salt) and cooked in a saucepan on your stovetop, this silky rice pudding provides a quick fix when a dessert craving hits. Make it extra special by using flavorful vanilla bean paste.
Get the recipe: Vanilla Rice Pudding
Shop the recipe: Vanilla Bean Paste
5) Basque-Style Cheesecake (Tarta de Queso)
It’s hard to believe just five ingredients can result in such an impressive dessert. From its blistered, caramelized exterior to a soft and creamy interior, this cheesecake is truly unlike any you’ve had before. It has all the elements of a special occasion bake without the time commitment.
Get the recipe: Basque-Style Cheesecake (Tarta de Queso)
Shop the recipe: Springform Pan
6) Everyday Olive Oil Cake
There’s hardly an occasion when you wouldn’t want a slice of plush, moist olive oil cake. Keep it classic, scenting the cake with orange zest and juice, or customize the base recipe. Add chopped chocolate or toasted nuts for a bit of texture, amp up the flavor with a smidge of almond extract or Fiori di Sicilia, or swap out a bit of the all-purpose flour for cornmeal or whole wheat flour.
Get the recipe: Everyday Olive Oil Cake
7) Chocolate Chip Snickerdoodle Cake
Cinnamon sugar brings nostalgic flavor to this ready-in-no-time snacking cake. Pockets of chocolate chips and tangy sour cream swirled into the batter give this cake a flavor boost with little fuss.
Get the recipe: Chocolate Chip Snickerdoodle Cake
8) Easy Vegan Lemon Cake
For big lemon flavor that packs a puckery punch, this cake calls for three types of lemon. But it doesn’t call for eggs and butter, because whether you’re vegan or simply low on groceries, you still deserve a tender, delicious cake to serve for dessert.
Get the recipe: Easy Vegan Lemon Cake
9) Easy Chocolate Pudding
Classic chocolate pudding never goes out of style. This rich, velvety pudding takes all of 20 minutes to make. Scoop it into coupes or the fancy glassware you reserve for guests for a luxurious yet fuss-free dessert.
Get the recipe: Easy Chocolate Pudding
Shop the recipe: Triple Cocoa Blend
10) Pecan Pie Bars
All the nutty, caramelly goodness of pecan pie, but without the time-consuming pie crust! Instead, the base of these bar cookies is a simple, press-in brown sugar shortbread crust that comes together in a flash.
Get the recipe: Pecan Pie Bars
Shop the recipe: 9" x 13" Pan
11) Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie
Sure, you could whip up a batch of chocolate chip cookies and no one would complain. But for even less effort, you could serve this giant, skillet-baked version for a true after-dinner winner. (No scooping or chilling required!) You may not even need a knife to slice it — just go straight in with a spoon and scoops of ice cream at the ready.
Get the recipe: Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie
12) Chocolate Fudge Cake Doughnuts
Doughnuts in half an hour? Yes, it’s possible! Baking rather than frying speeds up the process, but you still get a delightfully fudgy and decadent dessert.
Get the recipe: Chocolate Fudge Cake Doughnuts
Shop the recipe: Standard Doughnut Pan
13) Self-Rising Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
Everything about this recipe centers around delicious convenience. It calls for canned pineapple rings (no slicing required!), uses self-rising flour, and doesn’t even require a mixing bowl — just a single saucepan and a cake pan!
Get the recipe: Self-Rising Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
Shop the recipe: Round Cake Pan
Looking for more easy recipes? Here are our 18 easiest recipes, which only call for a few ingredients and no special equipment.
Cover photo (Everyday Olive Oil Cake) by Rick Holbrook; food styling by Kaitlin Wayne.