DIY No-Bake Desserts

Illustrations by Leanna.
Illustrations by Leanna.

In the part of the world where I live (the Big Apple, baby!), summer is here. Hooray for outdoor rollerskating, comic books in the park, big straw hats, and sunburned buttcheeks! Summer is great…mostly. The only thing I really DO NOT like about summer is that it makes my number-one hobby—baking—nigh impossible. The last thing you want to do on a 100-degree day is chain yourself to the stove and wait for a temperamental cheesecake to set. Just say no to sweaty cheesecake.

My secret is to get down with some un-baking: That’s right, no-bake desserts, no longer the realm of curious 1950s Jello molds or super-complicated raw vegan recipes that require a dehydrator and unicorn lint to taste like anything other than sand.

Here are some of my easiest, most tried-and-true, un-mess-up-able no-bake desserts! You’ll need a few pieces of basic kitchen equipment for some of them, but other than that, they can be made with things you find at any grocery store.

Sandwich-Cookie Truffles


I love these because you can make them look like fancy store-bought chocolates with a little elbow grease. You can use weird sprinkles, cake glitter, or even edible flowers in place of the crushed cookie garnish!

What you’ll need:

  • One package of Oreos, or any other cream-filled sandwich cookies

  • One package of cream cheese, softened
  • One package of baking or candy-making chocolate (usually found in bar or disk form in the baking aisle)

How to do it:

    1. Put all the cookies except maybe two or three in a giant freezer bag and crush them to hell with a rolling pin (if you don’t feel like doing this, you can also pulse the cookies in a food processor, but the rolling pin method is really spiritually liberating).

    2. Pour the smashed cookies into a mixing bowl with the cream cheese. Use a spatula to smoosh and mix it all around until it’s totally combined.

    3. Form the cookie/cream-cheese mixture into little balls, about one-and-a-half inches in diameter.

    4. Pop them in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes; this will make them easier to handle in the next step.

    5. Melt the chocolate in the microwave according to the instructions on the package. If you don’t have a microwave, you can make a double boiler out of a pot and a heat-safe bowl.

    6. While the chocolate is melting, crush up your remaining two or three cookies in a little bowl. These crumbs will be sprinkled on top of the truffles for decoration!

    7. Take the cookie blobs out of the freezer, spear them with a fork, dip them in the melted chocolate, dust them with a pinch of the cookie crumbs, and put them back on the cookie sheet.

    8. When all the blobs are dipped, put them back in the freezer or fridge for another 15 minutes or so to help the chocolate harden.

When the chocolate is set, eat the heck out of these because they’re delicious. Keep your leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge until you’re ready to eat them!

Watermelon Slushies (or Granitas)


Watermelon is totally amazing. It’s so easy to grow in a variety of climates! Buy the biggest one you can find and freeze a ton of it—if you have frozen watermelon cubes on hand, you can always whip up one of these astoundingly refreshing watermelon slushies. I’m obsessed.

What you’ll need:

  • A big-ass watermelon

  • Optional: Mint leaves, seltzer water (try flavored seltzer like vanilla or lime)

How to do it:

    A few hours before you want to make these, carefully cut up your watermelon into little pieces (discard the green rind, you won’t need that). Place the pieces into big freezer-safe bags and freeze!

    To make a slushy: Blend the frozen watermelon with a little bit of water until it reaches a drinkable consistency. This is hands-down the most refreshing drink on the planet.

    To make a granita: A granita is almost like shaved ice or Italian ice, so pulse the frozen cubes in a blender until they take on the consistency of a Sno-Cone. Serve in a bowl and eat with a spoon!

For extra points, use flavored seltzer to make fizzy watermelon juice, or blend mint leaves in with the granita, and use a mint leaf as a garnish on top if you want to make it look fancy. Watermelon and mint taste incredible together—it seems weird, but it works.