Okay, let’s get this part over with right now. If you don’t like to party and are not a fan of desserts, there’s a very good chance you might not be human. See a doctor and check back with us when you’ve received the right prescription of party hats and sugar cookies.

Now planning a party and baking the desserts for it is a very different story. We understand the headaches and last-minute to-dos that feel like we get yanked in every direction. And let’s not get started on creating the sweets to end a festive night. But don’t fret.

Let’s go ahead and hang the streamers, pull out the mixing bowls, and take a look at some of the sweet confections we’ll be whipping up at our next gathering.

(Quickly) Satisfying Everyone’s Sweet Tooth (Stress-Free)

When we go into party planning mode, there is always that moment that we think what can I do to create maximum impact but with little effort. It’s not that you are looking to cut corners or short-change your guests, but entertaining is a big undertaking, if you can save yourself some time here and there, you absolutely should.

An area where a lot of us feel like more time needs to be applied is dessert. It’s usually the last impression most people will have of the party you’re hosting. We spend more hours than are necessarily ensuring every chocolate dipped strawberry is precisely two-thirds covered or that the sprinkled powdered sugar looks like snow.

Parties are supposed to be fun. So should the planning and hosting. Thankfully, there are plenty of easy party desserts that allow you to summon up a quick make, quick bake strategy. These will not only will save you hours in the kitchen but also win you raves amongst your guests.

So just how does one go about this time-saving approach with their sugary sweets? Look for easy dessert recipes that have a minimal number of ingredients or low prep time. That helps you effortlessly replicate the instructions in accordance with the number of guests you need to serve.

Another great approach is making sure a particular dish you want to prepare can be doubled or tripled with little effort. Making two batches at one time can be fraught with frustration, but plenty of desserts allow an increase in servings with little effort.

Let’s take a look at four dessert types and a few examples of each and how it’s easy to impress your party goers even if you don’t spend a lot of time trying.

5 Ingredient Recipes

Five ingredient recipes offer you the chance to present exciting, flavorful dishes with far fewer items than most traditional desserts.

Prep times will sometimes be comparable to a more complex offering thanks to baking and chill times, but it’s hard to overstate the simplicity of working with ingredients you can count on one hand.

Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Pie

Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Oreo Pie

If you’re interested in something that seems like it took a lot of effort, but really involved you eating extra Oreos, this decadent treat is for you. Overall, these will take about two hours to make, but a good portion of that is chill time.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake Bars

Seriously, chocolate chip cookies and cheesecake? You probably think we’re just showing off. Maybe. But these indulgent little gems can be made in under an hour with a 10-minute prep and 30-minute bake time. You and your guests are welcome.

Key Lime Pie Bars

When you look at the total time, it takes to prepare these tart and tasty bars, do not be alarmed. Eight hours of chill time is required to reach optimal goodness. This makes these a great choice to prep a day or so in advance of a summertime shindig, where they are most appreciated.

No-Bake Chocolate Banana Tart

How about something tart and tasty that doesn’t require eight hours in your fridge? We got that. With a total prep time of 15 minutes, these no-bake bars are an excellent option for parties or if you just want a little something for yourself.

3 Ingredient Recipes

Not to turn this into a how low can you go competition, but let us do it anyway. For a quick and easy dessert, it doesn’t get much better than a three-ingredient recipe.

To tame that after-dinner sweet tooth, these are a fantastic addition to your party planning toolbox because they help keep your shopping list simple along with minimizing the prep and clean up work.

Gooey S’mores Bars

Hosting an outside event on a patio with a fireplace but forgoing the traditional making of s’mores. This fantastic fill-in will help invoke those fireside memories without all the mess and potential calls to the fire marshal.

Cookies and Cream Popcorn

cookies and cream popcorn

Image via Tabs and Tidbits

We had Oreos under the five-ingredient list, so you can bet we were going to include them down here too. This updated take on flavored popcorn is a perfect treat when your party calls for small bags stuffed with goodies.

Funfetti Cake Dip

Cake dip, because why not, right? Technically, it’s four ingredients when you count the animal crackers, but the dip itself is simple to whip together. Feel free to swap the fat-free and lite items if you’re interested in the more sinful version.

Turtle Pretzels

Turtles have long been a mainstay amongst sweet lovers, so these twisty versions are sure to delight your partygoers. Mini pretzels, Rolos, pecan halves, done. It will actually take longer to pre-heat your oven than to make these pop in your mouth candies.

Easy Fruit-Based Desserts

Fine. Not everything can be Oreos, Rolos, and more Oreos. We totally get that. Fruit is a great addition to your party desserts with its lighter sweetness and taste. Depending on the time of year you can also source what’s fresh and in season at a local farmers market to give your guests even more reason to praise your hosting skills.

Some of these recipes are simple, and some are a bit more involved, but these delicious alternatives to heavier sweets will make any mouth water with delight.

Apple Pie Baked Apples

As American as apple pie and baseball, particularly if you like that apple pie the size of an actual one. Some slicing and dicing are involved, but total time to make these little knobs of goodness is under an hour.

Summer Berry Tortilla Tart

These flat, fruity delights are great for berry lovers and very small gatherings. You can quickly produce ten of these in about an hour.

Watermelon Cake Bites

This one is so easy no link is necessary. We can tell you how to do it right here. Cut up a large, seedless watermelon into either one or two bite squares (no rind). Frost all but the bottom side with frozen whipped topping. Garnish each with a berry or two. And done. Seriously, they’re amazing.

Blueberry Graham Dessert

If you like to eat and serve things in a glass jar or dessert dish, then this cheesy, blueberry concoction is right up your alley. You can make four servings in 15 minutes. Chances are high they’ll end up devoured in far less time.

Fancy Desserts

Should your particular party or special occasion call for something a bit more dignified, but no less sweet and easy, we’ve got that covered too. These eye (and mouth) openers not only taste good but look good. That allows you more time to focus on what to wear instead of what to cook.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Trifles

pumpkin pie cheesecake dessert

Packed with flavor, this warm-colored mix of pumpkin, Biscoff cookies, and cream cheese looks as rich as it tastes. Thankfully, it’s cheap on time, with six servings requiring only 15 minutes to make.

Oreo Icebox Cake

Did you think we’d go the remainder of this article without mentioning Oreo’s again? Ha! The brilliance of this cool, comforting cake is that it fits right in with any black tie event, but offers your guests a relaxed reprieved from the formalities at the end of the night.

Dessert Nachos

Didn’t think that dessert nachos could be considered fancy? Think again. An alluring mix of cinnamon-sugar tortillas, chocolate sauce, and an assortment of berries, these sweet, bite-size chips will add a bit of whimsy to any formal affair.


If you’re planning something fancy for the summertime, then the possibility of serving sherbet or sorbet is a good one. Why not serve it up in a sugary shell that looks as good as it tastes?

The Life of the Party

An essential component of planning any party is knowing which items on the checklist need more of your attention and which ones need less. Often, the food prep items, while enjoyable, are a drain on time better spent elsewhere.

The recipes mentioned above are just a sample of the quick, but delicious ways you can reduce your preparation time but still impress your guests. Remember that the process can be just as much fun as the payoff, and coming up with the icing on the cake should never be a time to stress—especially if that cake is covered in Oreos.

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