Easy 5-Ingredient Dessert Recipes To Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

Blueberry Ripple No-Churn Ice Cream
Photo: Joy Howard

While there are certainly plenty of times when we'll spend a couple of hours in the kitchen to bake an elegant layer cake or impressive pie, there are also times where we want a sweet treat that's a little easier to pull together. Weeknight sugar cravings are real, and that pint of ages-old ice cream in your freezer just won't cut it. These are the times when we'll rely on our favorite 5-ingredient dessert recipes. Aside from pantry and refrigerator staples, these simple dessert recipes need just 5 ingredients (or less!) to pull together.

We have homemade ice creams, like Homemade Cookies-and-Cream Ice Cream and Blueberry Ripple No-Churn Ice Cream. We've got cookies, like our Red Velvet Cake Mix Cookies, and cakes (it doesn't get much easier than Two-Step Pound Cake). No holiday cookie tin would be complete without our Fudgy Pecan Bourbon Balls. From cakes to pies to cookies, let one of our simply satisfying dessert recipes provide the sweet finishing touch to your meal.

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Egg Custard Pie

Egg Custard Pie
Antonis Achilleos

Recipe: Egg Custard Pie

You can use homemade or refrigerated pie crust as the base for this classic custard pie. Once done, the creamy custard (made with half-and-half and eggs) and the crispy crust make for one tasty combo.

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Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Jennifer Causey

Recipe: Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Browning the butter for these chocolate chip cookies takes a little more time, but we promise the extra effort is worth it.

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Pineapple Cherry Dump Cake

Pineapple Cherry Dump Cake
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Pineapple Cherry Dump Cake

As the name implies, this cake just requires dumping the ingredients into a casserole dish. No extra mixing bowls required.

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Fudge Cake

Fudge Cake Recipe
Alison Miksch; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Anna Hampton

Recipe: Fudge Cake

Reviewers describe this cake as the perfect mix of cake and brownies in one pan. It only takes butter, eggs, semisweet chocolate, and flour to make—but powdered sugar and pecans sure do look pretty on top.

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Red Velvet Cake Mix Cookies

Red-Velvet Cake Mix Cookies
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Red Velvet Cake Mix Cookies

Boxed cake mix is the not-so-secret ingredient to pulling homemade cookies together with just a few ingredients and 10 minutes of prep time.

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Two-Step Pound Cake


Recipe: Two-Step Pound Cake

Pound cakes are delicious, easy to make, and can also double as a sweet breakfast treat. Honestly, with just five ingredients and 15 minutes of prep time, we'd be happy to whip up this dish any time of day.

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Easiest Peanut Butter Cookies

Easiest Peanut Butter Cookies
Southern Living

Recipe: Easiest Peanut Butter Cookies

Just four ingredients (which you probably have on hand) are needed to whip up our easiest peanut butter cookies of all time.

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Lemon Chess Pie

lemon chess pie
Photographer: Antonis Achilleos, Prop Stylist: Christine Kelly Food Stylist: Ali Ramee

Recipe: Lemon Chess Pie

Lemon juice and zest add a bright citrus flavor to chess pie.

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Homemade Cookies-and-Cream Ice Cream

Cookies and Cream Ice Cream
Caitlin Bensel

Recipe: Homemade Cookies-and-Cream Ice Cream

For warm summer days when you may not want to turn on your oven, this five-ingredient homemade ice cream is the treat to try.

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Easy Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookies
Carlina Teteris/Getty Images

Recipes: Easy Sugar Cookies

No matter the occasion or holiday, sugar cookies are a great basic recipe to rely on.

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Fudgy Pecan Bourbon Balls

Fudgy Pecan Bourbon Balls Recipe
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Prop Styling: Karin Olsen; Food Styling: Kellie Gerber Kelley

Recipe: Fudgy Pecan Bourbon Balls

If you're looking for an easy dessert, this one can't get any simple. These bourbon balls require just four ingredients, don't have to be baked, and transport beautifully.

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Old Fashioned Tea Cake

Old-Fashioned Tea Cakes
Micah Leal

Recipe: Old Fashioned Tea Cake

Tea cakes were originally created at a time when ingredients were scarce, but they've stuck around as an everyday treat.

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Homemade Yellow Cake

Homemade Yellow Cake
Photographer: Jennifer Causey Food Stylist: Ana Kelly Prop Stylist: Kay Clarke

Recipe: Homemade Yellow Cake

Using this easy recipe, making homemade yellow cake is almost as uncomplicated as using a boxed mix.

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Meyer Lemon Sponge Pudding

Meyer Lemon Sponge Pudding
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Meyer Lemon Sponge Pudding

Egg whites give this citrus pudding a light and airy texture.

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Homemade Pralines

Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Homemade Pralines

While you'll only need a handful of ingredients, you will need a candy thermometer to produce perfect homemade pralines.

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Mamie Eisenhower's Chocolate Fudge

Mamie Eisenhower’s Chocolate Fudge
Southern Living

Recipe: Mamie Eisenhower's Chocolate Fudge

Whether you serve it chilled or at room temperature, you can't go wrong with this fudge recipe that any cook can conquer.

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Sea Salt Ice Cream

Sea Salt Ice Cream
Photograher: Greg DuPree Prop Stylist: Mary Clayton Carl Food Stylist: Margaret Dickey

Recipe: Sea Salt Ice Cream

This ice cream is the perfect combination of salty and sweet.

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Coconut Pound Cake

Coconut Pound Cake
Antonis Achilleos

Recipe: Coconut Pound Cake

Coconut, pecans, and a splash of bourbon add some extra flavor to classic pound cake.

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Apple Bread Pudding

Apple Bread Pudding
Helen Norman

Recipe: Apple Bread Pudding

Transform a loaf of cinnamon raisin bread into a decadent dessert by combining it with fresh Honeycrisp apples and a few pantry staples.

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Easy Blackberry Cobbler

Easy Blackberry Cobbler
John O'Hagan

Recipe: Easy Blackberry Cobbler

Blackberries are the true star of this cobbler, which doesn't require any extra effort to make a crust or pretty lattice top.

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Blueberry Ripple No-Churn Ice Cream

Blueberry Ripple No-Churn Ice Cream
Joy Howard

Recipe: Blueberry Ripple No-Churn Ice Cream

Evaporated milk and heavy cream form the base of this easy-as-can-be no-churn ice cream.

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Ultimate Dark Chocolate Brownies

Ultimate Dark Chocolate Brownies
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer

Recipe: Ultimate Dark Chocolate Brownies

While these aren't your run-of-the-mill brownies, they're still just as easy to whip up. Simply add bourbon and espresso to your typical ingredient list.

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Two-Ingredient Pineapple Angel Food Cake

a corner slice of Two-Ingredient Pineapple Angel Food Cake on a white plate with a fork
Jessica Furniss/Southern Living

Recipe: Two-Ingredient Pineapple Angel Food Cake

As easy as it sounds, just combine angel food cake mix and a can of crushed pineapple for a foolproof treat when you're in a pinch.

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Southern Buttermilk Pie

Southern Buttermilk Pie
Photographer: Fred Hardy II, Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall, Props Stylist: Christina Brockman

Recipe: Southern Buttermilk Pie

Store-bought pie crust means this old-fashioned Southern dessert only requires 15 minutes of hands-on time.

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Pecan Pie Bars

Pecan Pie Bars
Helen Norman

Recipe: Pecan Pie Bars

We turned your favorite Thanksgiving pie into an easy-to-serve bar made for year-round enjoyment.

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Chocolate Parfait

Chocolate Parfaits
Southern Living

Recipe: Chocolate Parfait

This chocolate dessert uses pudding mix for an ideal make-ahead, light and fluffy post-dinner sweet.

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Quick & Tasty Banana Pudding

Quick & Tasty Banana Pudding
Van Chaplin, Charles Walton IV

Recipe: Quick & Tasty Banana Pudding

This layered dessert only calls for four ingredients and is best pre-served to make entertaining a breeze.

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No-Bake Chocolate-Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

No-Bake Chocolate-Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies
Greg DuPree; Food Styling: Rishon Hanners; Prop Styling: Prissy Lee Montiel

Recipe: No-Bake Chocolate-Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

No time to preheat the oven? No problem. Satisfy your sweet craving with these soft, chocolatey cookies sprinkled with peanuts for a nice crunch.

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Cookie Dough Fudge

Cookie Dough Fudge
Photography and Food Styling: Karen Rankin

Recipe: Cookie Dough Fudge

Not your typical fudge, this cookie dough delight uses white chocolate as the base. Best of all, you can easily switch up the flavor or topping if you're feeling creative.

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Apple Pie Cookies

Apple Pie Cookies
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Apple Pie Cookies

Looking for the flavor of apple pie but in individual format? Look no further. These hand-pie-like cookies will do the trick.

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Luscious Lemon Bars

Lemon Bar Recipe
Photo: Jennifer Davick

Recipe: Luscious Lemon Bars

With a handful of pantry staples and a few lemons, you can stock your freezer up to a month in advance with these lemon bars, making you host-ready for any occasion.

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Rum Balls

Rum Balls Recipe
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Rum Balls

Though they aren't bourbon balls, they're just as delicious. This five-ingredient boozy confection made its debut in our 1993 issue and has rightfully stood the test of time.

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Ice Cream Sandwich Cake

Ice Cream Sandwich Cake
Caitlin Bensel

Recipe: Ice Cream Sandwich Cake

Use store-bought ice cream sandwiches to create this crowd-favorite layered summertime sweet.

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Chocolate Cobbler

Chocolate Cobbler
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Chocolate Cobbler

While we love a peach cobbler in the summer, a heaping scoop of this rich and gooey pudding-like delight topped with vanilla ice cream is hard to beat.

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