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Summer Desserts Ideas – Tips for a Dessert Table That Takes the Heat

Outdoor parties are so much fun, but how do you make sure that the summer desserts ideas that you choose are those that melt IN your mouth and not on the table?

Keep these handy tips in mind for a fun outdoor summer dessert table that can take the heat.

Outdoor entertaining is a fun way to gather with friends during the summer months. No party would be complete without a dessert table with all your favorite sweet treats.

Summer party with hands on a dessert table.

It is summer and that means entertaining. Make sure your sweet treats will take the heat with these summer desserts ideas. It's time for a heat-proof outdoor dessert table for your summer party! 🥧🍰🍡🍭🍪 Click To Tweet

Summer desserts ideas

Just because the temperatures are high does not mean that your desserts have to be served inside. There are lots of party desserts for hot weather that won’t melt in the heat and will hold up for a summer party in a satisfying way.

Instead of your standard fare of frosted cupcakes, ice cream cakes and cheesecake recipes, think more in terms of the heat tolerant sweet treats that follow.

Serving desserts outside just needs a bit of preparation and keeping a few cooking tips in mind when you decide what to serve.

Use summer desserts with fruit!

Summer desserts ideas: Heart shapes in watermelon filled with blueberries and surrounded by blackberries and raspberries.

Fruit is fresh in the summer and the selection is amazing. Easy summer desserts with fruit like slices, bars and fruit pies hold up well to the heat and taste right in season, too.

Fruit platters, slices of watermelon and other fruit desserts are the perfect choice to end the meal and be light enough for a hot summer day. Try one of the amazing summer desserts with fruit shown below.

This blueberry cobbler has a home made buttery crumble topping and fresh blueberries for a tasty and tart summer dessert. I love blueberry season!

blueberry cobbler in a glass pan with cup of fresh blueberries and lemons.

One of the best desserts for hot weather at any summer party is my mom’s summery strawberry short cake. Just bake the biscuit layers and make the filling ahead of time and allow guests to assemble when it’s time to eat.

A home made short cake made with your own biscuit layers is SO WORTH IT for the flavor! You can also assemble it and bring it out when the guests start enjoying the other desserts if you want to serve it whole.Layers of biscuit with strawberries topped in whipped cream with words strawberry shortcake.

Any fruit on a platter is great for a summer dessert table, but this fun patriotic flag platter is perfect for Memorial Day or the 4th of July when you are looking for cold desserts for a summer party.

Just thread raspberries, mini marshmallows and blueberries into bamboo skewers for a fun dessert is very easy to serve.

Not only is this dessert not great in the heat, it is patriotic, too!
Patriotic fruit flag made with raspberries, blueberries and mini marshmallows.

Another easy to serve summer dessert is an apple and pear crumble. It’s tart and sweet and has a super crunchy topping.

Crumbles like this are desserts that travel well in the heat, too!

Apple and pear crisp in a white dish with a yellow spoon and green fork.

Easy to eat desserts like energy bites won’t get messy

I love to serve energy bites on any dessert table, but they are particularly good for a summer table. They are easy to make, bite sized and super tasty.

The are miniature sized desserts for parties that all guests love. They keep their shape well and aren’t messy.

Plus, most energy bite recipes are very healthy and the kids won’t even know that they are eating something good for them.

Summer desserts ideas: Energy bites in a red bowl with cashews.

These almond butter energy bites fit into a Paleo or Whole30 diet plan. They are made with dates and have the most amazing coconut butter drizzle.

These balls are perfect desserts for an outdoor summer party. They are gone in one bite, easy to serve and hold up well in the heat.

Man holding a bowl of almond butter energy bites.

Do you love coconut? These no bake energy balls are flavored with peanut butter, chocolate and coconut. Since the chocolate is incorporated in the mixture for the bites, they can stand the heat.

Using mini chocolate chips is the key!

The crowd will love to get their Reese’s fix without the mess that a chocolate coated energy bite produces.

Coconut, chocolate and peanut butter energy bites.

Keep away the flies with covered containers

Summer desserts ideas: Covered mason jars with fruit

If you are serving sweet drinks and fruit desserts, covered containers will keep them intact and also keep away the flies. Mason jars are perfect for this use!

Other ideas for keeping away the flies are mesh food covers and cake trays with clear domed lids. Both mesh and glass allow you to see what is under the cover, but keeps insects away from the food.

Green mesh food cover.

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Don’t frost the cupcakes

Frosting is yummy and makes the perfect topping for cakes, cupcakes and some bars. But if you put those cupcakes out on the table with the sun shining down, those fluffy mounds will turn into a soft and gushy mess by the end of the party.

Frosted cupcake with pink icing

Instead, choose desserts that have rich filling ingredients that give a tasty dessert without the need for extra icing. How about one of these ideas, instead of frosted cupcakes?

This sweet corn and coconut pudding has a creamy texture made from sweetened condensed milk, fresh coconut and summer fresh corn kernels.

Make it in a big bowl or place on the table in individual plastic containers for an easy to eat and creamy dessert that won’t mind the heat.

Summer desserts ideas: sweet corn and coconut pudding on a flowered serving tray with a pink rose.

These delicious strawberry oatmeal bars have a yummy fresh strawberry filling and crumble and crust made from brown sugar, oats and whole wheat flour.

They hold up well in the heat and have a summer fresh taste.Strawberry oatmeal bars

These jumbo peanut butter sandwich cookies takes the frosting from the outside where it might melt easily and puts it inside two jumbo cookies.

This makes it an easy to eat and satisfying dessert for those with a real sweet tooth.

Summer desserts ideas: Jumbo peanut butter sandwich cookies

Summer cookies keep well in the heat

Most cookies make great desserts for outdoor parties. Their crispy outside makes them perfect for the hot weather.

Unless your cookie dough is over loaded with chocolate, most cookies will stand up well to the heat. They are also easy to eat and everyone loves them!

Wooden cookies platter with tongs.

Lay out a big platter of cookies and just have some napkins nearby so that people can serve themselves and you won’t need to worry about plates and silverware.

Summer cookie ideas

If you are looking for some ideas, try one of these cookie recipes.

Your gluten free eating guests will love that these orange macadamia nut cookies have no added wheat flour but are still super tasty.

Even your party guests on a normal diet will love the flavor of these easy to make cookies.

Orange chocolate cookies on a blue plate with checked napkin

In spite of the name, these melting moments cookies have a shortbread style dryness to them that makes them perfect for outdoor summer dessert tables. The crispness of the shortbread is perfect for the hot weather.

The little pillow shapes hold up well to the heat and are big crowd pleasers.melting moment cookies on a white plate with yellow napkin.

Make your own candy jar holders

Candy is great for a summer dessert table. The key is steering clear of the chocolate covered type. Most fruity choices, like licorice and candy coated bites do well at outdoor parties and are popular with guests.

These candy holders are perfect for holding individual portions of plastic wrapped Twizzlers, which also keep the candy from getting sticky.

If you are having a summer party for Memorial Day or the 4th of July, the kids will adore these DIY candy jars. They are easy to make and come together in just 15 minutes. See the tutorial here.

Patriotic candy jars with red white and blue candy.

Stay away from ice cream based desserts

Ice cream, by its very nature, melts in time. In the heat of summer parties held outdoors, this melting happens before you get to enjoy the sensation in your mouth!

Melted ice cream

Unless your summer temperatures are on the very mild side, there are a few foods that probably won’t make the cut when you are deciding what to put on your summer dessert table.

Ice cream is a definite no no unless you are planning on serving it as the guests are ready to eat it. A chocolate candy station might be off limits because of the heat which could melt the chocolate.

Other types of less melting types of desserts will stand up better.

Bars and slices are great summer desserts ideas

These snickerdoodle blondie bars have a firm topping and crust that holds up well in the summer sun. They are very easy to make and your guests will love them.

Snickerdoodle white chocolate blondie bars on a white plate with pink napkin and serving forks.

These white chocolate peanut butter brownies have a compact and firm shape that holds up well in the heat and is easy to eat.

Blondies like this are lighter than chocolate based brownies. Your party guests will love them!

Stack of blondies with chocolate chip assortment and words White Chocolate Peanut butter brownies.

Wait to set up your summer dessert table

At an outdoor party, you will likely be serving other types of food before the dessert. I like to wait on the dessert table until closer to serving time.

party table set up outdoors

You can set up an area for the desserts ahead of time, but don’t be in a hurry to get the desserts on the table.

There is usually a lot of time in the early hours of the party when the main course is being prepared and served.

If you load your dessert table early, kids will be in it and won’t eat the main meal as much and it will give your sweet treats a chance to be ruined by the sun.

Keep them inside and then load the table closer to the time for the actual dessert course.

Use individual serving containers for summer desserts

Small plastic serving dishes with individual desserts in them, complete with silverware will make the heat factor less of an issue.

This will make them easy for your guests to eat and enjoy.

This idea works great for puddings, iced desserts and other soft ideas.

Summer desserts ideas: Serve desserts in individual sized portions to combat heat problems in the summer

Mason jars also work well for parfaits and other layered desserts and small condiment cups are great for light bites of bigger desserts.

Slice some fresh summer berries, add a small fork and have some whip cream sitting in ice handy to top the fruit as guests help themselves!

Mini serving sizes will also give you some leeway when choosing summer desserts ideas. If you have small plastic containers, you can serve things that might melt a little and still not have a mess.

Mini parfaits and other desserts with yogurt or cream cheese come to mind.

Summer desserts ideas - Mini parfaits in individual containers.

Place your dessert table in the shade, if you can

If your dessert table is sitting in the middle of the lawn with the sun shining on it, you are just asking for a table full of melted desserts. Now is the time to use that patio table and umbrella or the shade of nearby trees.

The shade will keep the food cooler and it will be less likely to melt and will also make it cooler when guests serve themselves.

patio table and chairs with umbrella on a deck with a railing.

Use dry ice and ice Cubes for cold summer desserts

Even though we have talked about steering clear of ice cream, uou can still serve frozen dessert at a summer party. You will just need to be prepared ahead about the way you plan to serve them.

Use a large bucket of ice cubes or even dry ice to hold frozen desserts until they are eaten.

Summer desserts ideas - Fruit pops in a container of ice cubes

You can position ice cream sandwiches, popsicles and other frozen sweets in the ice. The ice will keep them cold and should last long enough for the dessert session.

Just put out a few treats at a time and replenish as the guest eat them. Be sure to check out my article for making popsicles at home. It gives lots of great tips.

Cold summer dessert ideas

One of these cold dessert ideas will wow your party guests!

Set the whole container of these yogurt parfait popsicles in the dry ice and refill as the guests gobble them up.

This recipe uses fresh strawberries, raspberries and blueberries, along with Greek yogurt for a cooling summer snack.

Summer desserts ideas - Yogurt parfait popsicles surrounded by fruit

You would need to wrap these nutella frozen banana pops with plastic wraps to make sure the bugs didn’t get them but the ice would keep them frozen as long as they last.

They’ll disappear in no time at all!Summer desserts ideas - "Nutella" frozen banana pops and coconut pops

More summer desserts ideas

Still need some more inspiration? Try one of these tasty desserts that will take the heat.Pnk and green parfaits, and fruit pizza with words 25 easy and tasty summer desserts.

Do you have some ideas that will help to make your summer dessert table a hit with your guests and will make sure that the desserts can stand the heat? Please share them in the comments below.

Pin these summer desserts ideas for later

Would you like a reminder of this post for the best summer desserts for hot weather? Just pin this image to one of your recipe boards on Pinterest so that you can easily find it later when you host your outdoor party.

Watermelon with fruit and cold ice with desseserts in a collage with words Tips for a summer dessert table (plus 25 dessert recipes.)

Admin Note: This post for summer dessert table tips first appeared on the blog in July of 2017. I’ve updated it to add a video, a printable check list and planning sheet, new tips and new photos.


Yield: 1 printable

Summer Desserts Ideas Check List

Serve desserts in individual sized portions to combat heat problems in the summer

Print out this list of tips and use the summery to do list to plan and organize the desserts for your summer party.

Active Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Difficulty easy
Estimated Cost $1

Materials

  • Table
  • Tablecloths
  • Serving dishes
  • Party food

Tools

  • Printer
  • Printer paper

Instructions

  1. Set your dessert table in the shade.
  2. Don't add the desserts until serving time.
  3. Use dry ice or ice cubes for frozen desserts.
  4. Individually wrapped candy works best.
  5. Plan fruit desserts. They take the heat well.
  6. Energy bites are easy to eat and mess-free.
  7. Mess food covers keep away the flies.
  8. Use bars and slices instead of frosted cupcakes.
  9. Cookies do well in the heat.
  10. Individual serving dishes are less messy.
  11. Print out the summer dessert planning sheet below to help with planning.

Notes

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