20 Desserts That Will Last Outside at a BBQ

Mandy Velez | Apr 29, 2019 Food & Party
20 Desserts That Will Last Outside at a BBQ
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mini tarts
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Spring has sprung and summer is quickly approaching. It means lots of fun in the sun. For many that entails lots of barbecues, possibly starting with Memorial Day weekend. There's plenty of grilling recipes out there: burgers, grilled pizza, and yes, nachos. Yes, basically anything can be grilled if done right. But often, desserts are overlooked. Well, not this year. Some people celebrate the weekend with games and fun warm-weather accessories. But for others, it's all about dessert. Celebrate Memorial Day with lots of sweet and colorful treats. But here's the kicker: It is possible to have a decked-out dessert table without worrying about anything going bad or melting away. And we found the best recipes to make sure of it.

We did go heavy on the fruit route, because let's be honest, fruit is refreshing and since it originates outside, it tends to fare well in the hotter weather. Also included: new twists on previously basic dishes (grilled peaches, anyone? Actually, grilled anything works! See above.) But there's more traditional treats, too, that don't involve too much fruit and will still keep. Those include yummy brownies, cakes, and fresh-baked breads. The best part? They're great for kids of all ages and don't require too much oversight. Read: Not too messy.

Turns out, there's a correlation between perishable desserts and ones that drip all over the place. OK, we're talking about ice cream. Just because these recipes don't include it doesn't mean it can't be used at all. Just make sure to break it out when necessary to avoid the aforementioned mess. But our list is created to avoid needing to break out the ice cream at all. These desserts are delicious enough as they come. 

  • Berry Cobbler

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    Berry cobblers are the ultimate summer dish, because they combine the fruits of summer (berries) into a flavorful and easy-to-share dessert. Cobblers work for a barbecue because they require heat to bake so a bit more of it wont' hurt. Get the recipe from Epicurious here

  • Mini Strawberry Tarts

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    Smaller tarts are easier to handle and perfect bite-sized treats for outdoor parties. This mini strawberry tart recipe from My Recipes also calls for sunny lemon zest. 

  • Watermelon Slices

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    It's not summer without watermelon. Cool guests down with a sweet treat that won't take too much prep time and won't wilt in the heat. Cut a watermelon into easy-to-hold slices and put a dollop of Cool Whip on top. Watermelon.org has another version of a watermelon recipe.

  • Torta Margherita Italian Sweet Cake

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    Barbecues are traditionally American, but take a note from the Italian dessert book with a Torta Margherita cake. The cake itself is dense enough to hold up in the elements and the powered sugar topping withstands higher temperatures much longer than icing. Domenica Cooks has a recipe

  • Raspberry Mini Tarts

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    Strawberries aren't the fruit of choice? Bring in the raspberries. The fruit can withstand warmer weather and provide a refreshing flavor to any dessert. The Spruce Eats has a recipe for mini versions. 

  • Berry Galette 

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    Galettes are siblings to pies, if that's a thing. They make great outdoor desserts because they're mostly made up of fruit. No melting or dripping. Epicurious's recipe is the blueberry version. 

  • Parfait

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    Parfaits are made up of yogurt, fruit, and graham crackers. While the yogurt may not last long, Cool Whip might. Have a tub nearby to put some as they're made and enjoy! Yummly has a few Cool Whip based recipes. 

  • Apple Pie

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    It can't be a backyard barbecue without an apple pie (though if it's for a tailgate, that's perfectly fine, too). Get the classic recipe at Taste of Home, which includes a double pie crust. Yum. 

  • Cupcakes

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    Aside from being a classic, cupcakes have proven over and over again they can stand the test of time. Plus, they're easy to make and cause minimal mess from the little ones. Sally's Baking Addiction has a delicious chocolate cupcake recipe. 

  • Candy Apples

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    Candy apples are year-round treats. They turn a traditional "healthy" treat into a more fun one that isn't messy or impacted by being outside. Here's a recipe from Just a Taste.

  • Grilled Fruit Skewers

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    Speaking of barbecues, these grilled fruit skewers will make a great addition to the dessert table. Just choose the fruit, put on the sticks and grill away. This recipe from Epicurious has a good rundown -- and includes a spicy maple cumin glaze to go with it. 

  • Zucchini Bread

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    Zucchini bread is a fun and fresh party classic. It's no-frills and easily cut into slices to hand out to party-goers. The Wholesome Dish has a recipe for the "best zucchini bread."

  • Grilled Peaches (With Optional Ice Cream!)

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    Cut up some peaches and throw them on the grill for a tangy and sweet barbecue dessert. Add the ice cream right before eating, otherwise, they're fine to hang outside with guests. It's hard to imagine they'll be sitting there for long. Luckily, Bobby Flay has a recipe.

  • Blueberry Jam

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    Can you tell we have a thing for blueberries? Make jam of any flavor and have it out for people to spread on crackers or cheese pieces (if it's not too hot!). This blueberry jam recipe from Genius Kitchen yields about 6 half pints to cover all parties going forward. 

  • Apple Blondies

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    Break out the blondies and be the barbecue hero. This recipe from Chocolate with Grace features hints of apple, cinnamon, and brown sugar. 

  • Brownies

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    Brownies can do no wrong and they're perfect treats for the traditionalists at the barbecue. They're easy to grab and even more delicious to eat. Making a batter that is more fudgey will prevent melting messes. But again, if chocolate chips are more of the guests' jam, this recipe from The Stay At Home Chef should do the trick. 

  • Baked Apricot Tart

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    We wouldn't forget an apricot dessert for warm weather! A tart with apricots is the tangy treat a cookout needs that don't need to be refrigerated. Epicurious has a recipe here

  • Chocolate No-Bake Truffles

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    No-bake recipes are often the way to go when its hot outside, because the ingredients aren't quickly perishable. But it doesn't mean they aren't as great. In fact, these chocolate Oreo truffles look like a hit. 

  • Candied Oranges

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    Speaking of no-bake recipes, these candied oranges are right on trend for spring/summer outings and can sit outside for friends and family to munch on. Dip them in chocolate for extra yummy flavor like in this recipe from Food Apparel

  • Lavender Cookies

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    Shortbread cookies, are super refreshing, especially if they're made with lavender or lemon. The James Beard Foundation has a recipe here

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