These BBQ, potluck, and party-friendly desserts include vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, and even paleo and keto options so you can truly please a crowd and no one has to miss out on a sweet ending.
If you’re going to a barbecue or potluck this summer hoping to bring a dessert or two, you should keep in mind that you’re cooking for a lot of people with a lot of different dietary restrictions and lifestyles. It’s definitely important, for example, to be cautious of serious food allergies, such as nuts and dairy. That isn’t to say you can’t use ingredients like nuts, just as long as you label everything carefully.
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These mini slates are perfect for identifying your offerings at a potluck or BBQ.
However, if you’re nervous about making desserts that can be enjoyed by everyone at the party, follow these vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, and other recipes that are all-inclusive and delicious! And check out the notes for adapting them to other dietary restrictions.
This fruit tart is delicious, refreshing, and summery—perfect for a backyard barbecue! The vegans at your party will love this dish, and the non-vegans may actually consider going vegan after trying it. Make sure you let your fellow partygoers know, however, that this recipe (via blissfulbasil.com) contains nuts. Get the Vegan Raspberry Blueberry Tart recipe.
There is nothing more perfect for an outdoor potluck than a banana cream pie. It’s light, easy to make (and even easier to enjoy), and perfectly sweet. Banana cream pie is a great way to end your day of munching on various dishes. Our vegan banana cream pie is a great dessert for everyone, but the vegans at the table will appreciate you for making a staple BBQ dish with them in mind. As an allergy alert, this recipe is very heavy on coconuts. Get our Vegan Banana Cream Pie recipe.
On a hot day when you’ve been partying outside for hours, you’d probably kill for an ice pop. And, let’s face it, homemade ice pops are always impressive. Our recipe for peaches n cream ice pops is simple to make and downright tasty. However, as the name suggests, this is not a dairy-free recipe, so (besides vegans, of course) anyone with lactose issues may want to steer clear—or you can simply follow a similar recipe that uses coconut or almond milk. Get our Peaches n Cream Ice Pop recipe.
Related Reading: Perfect Peach Recipes for Summer
There are a few different foods that make great summer desserts because of their lightness and freshness: meringue, lemons, and berries are a few of the staples of perfect summer evening sweets, and our Pavlova contains all three! The fresh fruit combined with the tart lemon and light meringue make for a decadent dessert—not to mention it’s naturally gluten-free. (While not as reliable as egg whites for making meringue, aquafaba may be a good vegan option to try.) Get our Pavlova with Lemon Curd and Berries recipe.
S’mores are my all-time favorite summer dessert (so much so that from time to time I’ll broil a marshmallow in the oven just to have a s’more in the dead of winter). They are so easy to make, and they just hit the spot every single time. And since I’m allergic to nuts, s’mores are the perfect go-to for me. Our s’mores brownies convert the classic sweet treat into a crowd-ready format you can make ahead, and kick up the flavor by adding a chocolate stout beer to the mix. You wouldn’t say no to another beer at a barbecue, would you? (For a vegan version, adapt a favorite vegan brownie recipe to include some beer, accounting for the added liquid by reducing what’s already called for, and top it off with vegan marshmallows.) Get our Chocolate Stout S’mores Brownies recipe.
Cookies and cream and ice cream are two things that are guaranteed to be a hit at any party, especially where there are kids present! This cupcake conveniently packs both treats into one little bite—it doesn’t get much better than that. (And it’s easy enough to adapt for other diets: top our Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes with your favorite dairy-free ice cream, or swap in a gluten-free cupcake recipe.) Get our Cookies and Cream Ice Cream Cupcakes reicpe.
Dairy-free chocolate is always a great find, so add it to the most nostalgic and easy-to-make dessert there is, and you’ve got a recipe for success! And if that wasn’t enough, the peanut butter in this recipe (via bakingyouhappier.com) takes these flavors to the next level. You can use another nut butter if allergies are a concern, though, and sub maple syrup or another vegan sweetener for the honey if need be. Get the Chocolate Peanut Butter Rice Krispies Treats recipe.
Our melon salad is the grown-up fruit salad you’ve always wanted. Melon and lemon are amazing summer flavors, and adding sweet wine on top of that makes for the best fruit salad you’ve ever had. Sub in another liquid sweetener for the honey and it’s vegan-friendly too. Get our Sweet Wine Melon Salad recipe.
Related Reading: Tips for Fantastic Fruit Salad
Sorbet is always a great addition to an outdoor soiree, chocolate makes everything better, and with a dish that even Kourtney Kardashian could enjoy, you’ll be a big hit! Get our Chocolate-Dipped Raspberry Sorbet Bar recipe.
Chocolate chip cookies are about as classic as they come, and everyone deserves to indulge. Luckily, we have a vegan/dairy-free recipe so that most (if not all) of the party-goers can partake in this guilty pleasure. (We also have a Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, though it does include dairy.) Get our Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.
I love summer because peaches are back in season! And since summer is the season of dieting, your newly-turned paleo friends will thank you for making a peach cobbler they can enjoy. This recipe (via kitscoastal.com) calls for only ten minutes of prep time, so feel free to leave this until the night before. Win-win. Get the Paleo Peach Cobbler recipe.
Red velvet cupcakes always go over well because they are as aesthetically pleasing as they are delicious. This batch (via livbreatheketo.com) goes out to all my friends who just started the keto diet—no one said red velvet cupcakes were off limits, guys! Get the Keto Red Velvet Cupcakes recipe.