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Sometimes the craving for a single slice of chocolate cake will not go away. And when it’s just you, your PJs, and a full Netflix queue, baking an entire cake or batch of brownies seems like overkill. (And you know you’ll be tempted to eat a little more here and a swipe of icing there.) But while it’s usually not hard to pare down a dinner that serves four to serve one, how in the world do you split an egg into fifths?
Answer: You don’t. Instead, you make one of these single-serving desserts. No more worry about portion control with apple pie or eating an entire batch of snickerdoodle cookies in a week, tops. With these recipes, you get to eat the entire thing! (Just remember: These are desserts—and some are pretty indulgent. So resist the urge to make them every night.)
Cakes and Cupcakes
Life’s better with sprinkles, and if you bake at all, chances are you have the ingredients on-hand to whip up a speckled cupcake any time. No need for a mix—all you need is flour, sugar, vanilla, and a few other staple dessert ingredients.
While this is called a cookie, the consistency is like a cake. Ready in less than five minutes, it turns out rich and fudgy with a peanut butter and chocolate center that’s perfectly ooey-gooey. Leave out the PB if you’re aching for plain chocolate cake. It’s still insanely good.
This one takes a little patience since it bakes for 20 minutes and then should chill for an hour. But you get to eat an entire (mini) cheesecake! Top with your favorite fresh fruit such as berries or cherries.
4. Carrot Cake
Cinnamon and nutmeg spice up the classic springtime dessert in this lightened-up version. Top your mug cake with Greek yogurt rather than cream cheese frosting and crushed walnuts or pecans for a pretty presentation.
Vegan and oil-free, this cupcake uses almond milk and applesauce as binders and can be made with any gluten-free flour. The coconut cream frosting just may become your go-to cake topper since it’s rich and fluffy.
6. Pumpkin Cake
When there’s no time to bake a pie, make a cake—in the mircrowave. With only 3/4 tablespoon sugar, this cake is sweet without overpowering the delicious pumpkin and cinnamon flavors.
This lightly sweet recipe is as appropriate for the morning as it is for an evening treat thanks to some healthy ingredient substitutions. Spelt flour packs four grams of protein and fiber into a quarter cup and has a nutty flavor, and just a few fresh strawberries provide almost 30 percent of your daily vitamin C. Top with Greek yogurt rather than whipped cream, natch.
This is definitely a #treatyoself (or share on movie night with your BFF). And worth every. Single. Bite. The fudgy brownie is dotted with chocolate chips and why not drizzle caramel sauce on top? Cook carefully to your desired doneness—we recommend gooey or super gooey.
The best part about coffee cake is the sweet, crunchy topping. Layering it with the cake batter means double the deliciousness, and baking in a mason jar adds a touch of cute. Add cream cheese frosting if you wish. (We know you do. We do too.)
Beat, fold, bake, and you’ve got a moist, sweet chocolate cupcake for one! The addition of chopped chocolate makes it richer than regular cake, and don’t neglect the salt—just a pinch enhances the other flavors.
Proof that cheesecake can be made without an oven (it just may not be quite as creamy), this recipe cooks quickly and looks like the real thing after you slide it out of the mug. Let it cool an hour in the fridge—warm cheesecake just doesn’t taste like cheesecake.
Ditch the boxed mixes and their questionable ingredients. All you need are six things and less than five minutes to make a single-serving cake. Mini chocolate chips mean melty goodness in every bite.
This dessert is gluten-free and has zero added sweeteners—the banana and unsweetened almond milk add enough naturally. Add dark chocolate chips since their rich flavor goes so well with bananas.
How do you make cookies even better? You make them deep dish. Using oat flour and almond meal keeps these gluten-free and coconut oil replaces butter or eggs, so they’re vegan. Bake to your desired doneness, whether you like chewier or crispier.
Because more chocolate is always better, this dessert has cocoa baked in and dark chunks dotting the top along with a generous sprinkle of sea salt. Soft and fudgy, it’s the stuff chocolate dreams are made of.
With PB as (rightfully) one of the two main ingredients (flour is the other), this cookie is richly peanut-buttery, and the light sugar coating makes the outside perfectly crisp.
There’s something about straight-from-the-oven cinnamon-sugar cookies that’s just unbeatable. And since nuking already-baked cookies can lead to burnt disaster (not that we’d know), this single-serve recipe is a welcome addition to any snickerdoodle fan’s arsenal.
Let’s be real: Everyone has eaten raw cookie dough. But this recipe lets you enjoy that rich decadence without any fears of salmonella or an upset stomach. It’s a genius combo of almond butter, almond flour, vanilla, honey, salt, and chocolate chips. And it has a surprising 12 grams of protein!
This cookie is truly wholesome. In addition to the fiber from the oats and pumpkin, it has some omega-3s from flaxseed, a little protein from nut butter, and natural sweetness from bananas and raisins. The spicy treat turns out soft and chewy like a muffin top.
The combination of honey, cinnamon, and nut butter can’t be beat. Add in two more ingredients (plus toppings like dried fruit, nuts, or chocolate, if you wish), and in two minutes, you have a moist, craveable, and Paleo-friendly cookie.
Puddings and Mousse
21. Chocolate Mousse
Having leftover chia seed pudding on hand makes this super speedy to create. Blend it up with sweet dates and cacao, then top with melted chocolate and nuts or berries for a gorgeous treat that can be made vegan.
Leftover rice (use brown for more nutrients) from yesterday’s dinner can become dessert tonight! Customize this recipe using your desired milk and sweetener to taste. We like adding raisins and cinnamon too.
Say hello to real instant pudding! Made from ingredients you recognize (and likely have in your pantry and fridge), this is made in five minutes and requires one mug for easy cleanup. So long, Jell-O.
24. Raspberry Mousse
This is one dessert that’s suitable for pretty much any diet! Chia seeds make this more like pudding than typical mousse, but it’s still delish. Stir them with fruit, sweetener (if using), lemon zest, and hot water. Let that sit until thick, then whip in chilled coconut cream.
Paleos like rice pudding too, and using cauliflower “rice” lets them satisfy the craving. Using coconut milk and oil plus shredded coconut lends a tropical note as well as medium-chain fatty acids, which studies suggest are beneficial for cholesterol levels.
The secret in this velvety, three-ingredient dessert? Silken tofu. The peanut butter is all you taste, though. Add sweetener as desired, and eat up 13 grams of filling protein in your bowl.
If you haven’t tried avocado pudding yet—you’re seriously missing out. Next time you have half a green fruit left over from making guacamole, puree it with banana, cocoa, milk, and honey or agave, then get ready to dig into rich, chocolatey, satisfying creaminess.
This recipe tops banana “ice cream” with nut butter, sunflower seeds, pepitas, and flaxseed for a creamy and crunchy treat. We think it’s better as a dessert or snack than breakfast since it’s not super heavy in protein, but eat whenever you want it!
Not into bananas? Make homemade soft serve from coconut milk by pureeing it with frozen berries. All are great sources of fiber, so mix up your faves!
Cookie dough ice cream doesn’t only come in the freezer aisle. Coconut flour and almond milk combine with a few other ingredients to create moist “cookie dough” that’s mixed into a soft serve “ice cream,” made from bananas and more almond milk for a hint of nut.
We’ve got a thing for faux ice cream made from frozen bananas, what can we say? It’s low-cal and often needs no additional sweeteners. Which means you can add things like PB and chocolate to make it taste indulgent without it being anything like the nutritional equivalent of eating a pint of the real stuff.
There’s frozen yogurt and Greek yogurt and Greek fro yo. So why not make Greek yogurt ice cream at home? It’s so simple: Blend up the creamy stuff with any frozen fruit and maple syrup or honey (or omit sweetener; fruit often has enough).
Pies, Cobblers, and Crisps
Pie in a mug is great (see below), but sometimes you want the real deal. This takes some work, but once the smell of cinnamon apples starts wafting through your kitchen, and especially when you take the first bite, you’ll realize it’s all worth it. Cute as it is, skip the heart-shaped top crust if you’re more into the filling.
Add in the (minimal) prep work, and this dessert comes together in six minutes. Plus blueberries contain anthocyanins, those pigments that keep your heart and eyes healthy, and that may product against cancer, diabetes, and neurological diseasesAnthocyanins—More Than Nature’s Colours. Konczak, I and Zhang, W. Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology, Dec 1, 2004; 2004(5): 239–240..
The best part of pecan pie is the gooey, buttery inside, so skip the crust—and the hassle—and make this! As with other nuts, pecans are a good source of plant sterols, which have been shown to lower cholesterol.
36. Peach Cobbler
Those pre-portioned cups of peaches packed in juice are good for this recipe, but fresh or frozen peaches work just as well. Toss with flour, sprinkle with oats and brown sugar, and dot with butter, then bake! So easy—and so good when topped with ice cream.
37. Apple Crisp
Microwave sweets just don’t get old. This one cooks up to be caramel-y, chewy, and soft. It’s like biting into fall any time of year.
The texture might not be quite a pie (it’s more soft and spongy), but the taste is still all there in this 10-minute recipe. Gingersnap cookies are the base for the quick crust, lending even more spice to the super pumpkin-y dessert.
Bars, Breads, and Balls
Cinnamon rolls are like burritos—typically sold in size gigundo. This appropriately portioned recipe also uses oat and whole-wheat flours, plus Greek yogurt for the icing, so they’re a tad healthy too. Eat with a spoon, or remove from the ramekin to pull apart with your hands.
No need to bake a whole pan of brownies since they’re best hot and gooey. This comes out rich and dark. Add chocolate chips or nuts if you’re into that, and serve straight from the (microwave) oven a la mode.
You could make a batch of truffles or cake balls and restrain yourself. Or just follow this recipe that makes three balls, just the right amount. The balls take three ingredients and then get a coating of melted semisweet chocolate.
Raw desserts can call for many ingredients and lots of time, but this dessert breaks that standard. Six ingredients and five minutes, and it’s ready. It’s a splurge because of the nuts, but they also provide omega-3 fatty acids if you use walnuts and magnesium—which is vital for your bones, immunity, heart, and more—if you use cashews.
43. Banana Bread
The banana and oil (or applesauce) in this recipe guarantees bread so super moist you certainly need a spoon to eat it. It’s vegan too!