Question: If dinner has no dessert, is it really a meal? If you answered with, “Aw hell, no!” we’re with you. But when you’re following a Paleo diet, it can feel like there’s a real lack of dessert options. Don’t stress, sweet fiends, we’ve got you covered. Yes, certain foods aren’t part of the Paleo plate, but that doesn’t mean you’re entering a time without treats.
We’ve rounded up some of the best Paleo-friendly desserts from around the web to satisfy your prehistoric sweet tooth. So stock up on staples like almond and coconut flours and coconut oil because these desserts are so tasty, you’ll want to eat at leastone daily.
Bars and Brownies
Photo: Civilized Caveman Cooking
1. Blueberry Espresso Brownies These brownies will have you literally buzzing. Ground coffee lends extra depth to the brownie base, while fresh berries and pecans add a hit of sweetness and crunch.
2. Paleo Lemon Bars Lemon bars are the quintessential springtime dessert, and this version is Paleo-approved. Start by making a simple almond-flour crust and, while it sets in the oven, beat eggs, lemon juice, maple syrup, and tapioca flour. Pour the mixture over the now-golden crust and bake. Easy peasy!
3. Flourless Zucchini Brownies Don’t shy away from this recipe because of the zucchini. You’ll get an extra-moist brownie, a sneaky serving of vegetables, and zero “green” taste. No special equipment or ingredients are needed to whip up these beauties in five minutes flat.
4. French Silk Brownies Chocolate mousse meets brownies in this light-and-lovely dessert. And it’s easy enough for novice cooks to tackle. Hint: try grapeseed for the “neutral oil” in the brownie base.
5. No-Bake Coconut Crack Bars No baking required, five ingredients, and totally addictive—these bars are pure genius.
6. Honey Nut Bars These bars are sweet enough to work as an after-dinner treat, but healthy enough to replace your afternoon snack. Made with a medley of nuts and cacao, they’re the perfect crunchy-sweet combo.
7. Raw Almond Joy Bars Almond Joy fans, make some noise! Yes, it’s possible to make a Paleo version of this classic candy bar. A layer of almond butter, vanilla bean paste, and a few other ingredients are topped with sweet coconut and agave nectar for a no-bake version of this childhood favorite.
Cakes and Cupcakes
Photo: Against All Grain
8. Baked Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts These perfectly spiced doughnuts skip the deep frying mess (and extra calories). Top with either a dark chocolate glaze or a maple vanilla one with bacon sprinkles. (We vote bacon!) Tip: while the recipe calls for a doughnut pan, a regular muffin pan will do.
9. Almond, Apple, and Blackberry Moist Skillet Cake This cake (or crumble) screams autumn, but it’s perfectly delicious year-round. Apples, blackberries, and spices make up the filling, and the entire dessert is cooked in one pan for speedy cleanup.
10. Avocado Lime Cheesecake Fresh avocado combines with zesty lime juice to create this light, festively colored cheesecake. Use puréed fresh berries as a topping, or eat as is—either way, it’s delicious.
11. Paleo Cardamom Cupcakes and Lemon Mousse Frosting A handful of pantry staples and ground cardamom make up these cupcakes. The rich cardamom flavor is balanced with lemon mousse frosting, or you can eat ‘em unadorned straight out of the oven.
12. Classic Chocolate Cake Grains, dairy, soy, nuts, and refined sugar are left out, but this take on a classic still has that old-fashioned layer-cake flavor, including a double-decker dose of gooey, chocolate frosting. Don’t skip the cinnamon
13. Incredible Edible Paleo Salted Caramel Cheesecake Bites These two-bite minis may look—and taste—like something from the Cheesecake Factory, but they’re packed with good-for-you ingredients like zucchini and cashews. Craving a caveman-sized slab instead of these dainty bites? No problem. Just add the crust to a pie pan and make one big cheesecake instead.
14. No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecake Jars A cheesecake that doesn’t require baking? Awesome. A cheesecake that doesn’t require baking and is dairy- and gluten-free? Yes please! Fresh strawberries and a (gluten-free) graham cracker crust in a jar make these treats both simple and gorgeous.
Photo: My Natural Family
15. Snickerdoodle Paleo Cupcakes If you’re a fan of this iconic cinnamon cookie, these cupcakes will be your Paleo dream come true. Everything comes together using coconut and almond flours, and grass-fed buttercream frosting is the icing on the cake. (See what we did there?)
16. Quick and Easy Dark Chocolate Mousse Chocolate mousse sounds complicated, but once you learn how effortless it is to make, you’ll start throwing it together just cuz. The same holds true for this avocado-and-date Paleo version. Toss a few common ingredients in a food processor and then whisk till fluffy. Fancy French restaurants have nothing on you.
17. Paleo Chocolate Lasagna Just let the words “chocolate lasagna” wash over you. First, there’s the layer of chocolate “oreo” cake, followed by Paleo chocolate pudding, and finally topped with whipped-cream frosting. Result: chocolate nirvana. The usual Paleo baking suspects like almond butter and coconut powder are here, but you’ll also find zucchini, avocados, and dates for a bigger nutritional boon.
18. Paleo Chocolate Molten Lava Cake If you’re a chocolate lover, this gooey cake will hit all your chocoholic buttons. And, because the cakes are baked in ramekins, portion control is a snap. Drizzle optional caramel garnish on top to take these little beauties over the edge.
19. Paleo Raspberry Orange Coffee Cake with Orange Glaze A blend of raspberries, lemon juice, and orange juice bring a deep fruity flavor to this homey dessert, perfect for slicing and sharing. Make sure to use fresh fruits and juices to get the best flavor.
20. Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes This recipe will make you regret ever using a boxed mix. Since Paleo is all about real food, this is shortcake distilled down to its roots. Chunks of strawberries and lemon zest shine in this straightforward recipe.
Photo: Yoh Can Cook. You Can, Too
21. Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies Life without classic chocolate chip cookies sounds bleak. Thank goodness almond flour, coconut oil, and maple syrup give the building blocks to reproduce a Paleo-approved version of Toll House’s greatest hit.
22. Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies Question: What could make chocolate chip cookies better? Answer: bacon. That’s exactly why this Paleo recipe is so genius. Chopped bacon is folded into the dough along with chocolate chips to make the ultimate salty-sweet mix. Use good-quality bacon to maximize the meaty flavor.
23. Chocolate Chip Cranberry Noatmeal Cookies How can you resist a cookie with such a clever name? Grain-free flours combine with shredded coconut and spices to create a “noatmeal” cookie base that rivals grandma’s. Mixed with tart cranberries and sweet chocolate chips, you’ve got the perfect bedtime treat.
24. Gingerbread Cookies with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting These cookies are not only absolutely adorable, but, with spicy seasonings like cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger, they also scream, “It’s holiday season!” (Note, we fully support making these year-round while singing carols at the top of your lungs.) And don’t stress if you don’t have cookie cutters to make gingerbread people; just drop spoonfuls on the tray and bake.
Photo: Sally’s Baking Addiction
25. Flourless Peanut Butter Brownie Cookies Don’t make us choose when it comes to dessert: We want chocolate and peanut butter. Chewy cookies and a brownie texture. These treats are not only delicious, but they also come together quickly and require just seven ingredients. (Sub in almond butter and coconut sugar if you’re sticking close to the Paleo rulebook.)
26. Grain-Free Thin Mint Mini Cupcakes It’s Girl Scouts gone grain-free. These delightfully sized cupcakes use mint extract to capture the iconic Thin Mint flavor. And the natural green frosting is courtesy of creamy avocado paired with ingredients you can actually pronounce.
27. Lemon Almond Shortbread Cookies Butter, almond flour, coconut sugar (or another granulated sweetner), and lemon zest are the only requirements for these classy little cookies. Try them with a cup of tea for a proper after-dinner dessert, or use the recipe as a Paleo pie crust.
28. Monster Cookie Dough Dip This monster cookie dough dip skips the pretense because it’s all dough, all the time. Mix it up and snack away knowing it’s egg-free and a-OK to eat raw.
29. Salted Dark Chocolate Truffle Cookies Treat-time gets adult with these salted dark chocolate cookies. And even though the result is sophisticated, the ingredient list is super common: eggs, cocoa, lard (or butter), etc. Tip: these cookies will harde after they’re pulled from the oven, so be sure not to overcook.
Photo: Rachel Schultz
30. Fried Honey Bananas If you’ve had fried plantains, this’ll be familiar treat turf. Potassium-packed bananas are lightly sautéed in olive oil and then drizzled with honey. Super sweet and a snap to make, these are a great option when late-night munchies hit.
31. Baked Almond Butter Banana The dessert principle here is K.I.S.S.: Keep It Simple and Sugar-Free. Simply stuff a banana with heart-healthy almond butter, sprinkle with cinnamon, and let it roast for 15 minutes in the oven for a quick single-serving banana-split.
32. Mixed Fruit Cobbler No fresh fruit? Not a problem with this go-to recipe. Cobble together your favorite frozen fruits with a little of this (almond flour) and a little of that (shredded coconut) for a dessert that’s easy to throw together when your sweet tooth strikes. Don’t have a stash of frozen berries? You can also use overripe fruit.
33. Mojito Fruit Salad This mojito-inspired fruit salad provides that island flavor without the rum. (Though you’re more than welcome to add it.) Just substitute coconut sugar for the powdered sugar if you’re keeping close to the Paleo principles.
34. Amazing Paleo Plantain Crepes The crepe batter here is a base of puréed plantains and egg, which makes it full of potassium, vitamins A and C, and omega 3s. Cook them with coconut oil, then load with your favorite fillings! Our picks: strawberries and blueberries
35. Paleo Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Make use of overripe bananas in this Paleo-friendly remake of an old favorite. Helpful hint #1: as oven temperatures vary, keep an eye on your loaf during the last 10 minutes of baking to ensure it’s cooked on the inside and not overbrowning on the outside. Helpful hint #2: Banana bread totally counts as breakfast.
36. Cocoa Nut Apples Say hello to your new favorite midnight snack! A sliced apple gets covered in a tasty choco-coco mix that’s perfect for eating solo or sharing (if you’re feeling generous).
37. Grain-Free Dark Chocolate Cherry Scones Chocolate and cherries are a classic combination that work beautifully in this scone recipe. If you’ve been afraid of baking scones in the past, this recipe will put you at eas—it’s as simple as slice-and-bake cookies.
Pies and Crisps
Photo: Ancestral Chef
38. Paleo Apple Pie Back from the orchard with an apple overload? This Paleo version of the all-American apple pie is the answer. Chia flour is the secret ingredient to achieve crust perfection, and the rest comes together with apple-cinnamon goodness.
39. Bananas Foster Pie Rum, caramel, and flambéed bananas? Now this is a pie. Start by making a whipped layer full of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cashew butter, and then add a caramelized banana layer. (Tip: keep your rum handy!) Assemble and refrigerate for at least six hours, then inhale.
40. Paleo Cherry Crisp Exactly three ingredients make up the core of this cherry-sweet recipe, and there’s no additional sweetener aside from fruit. A crumbly topping (hooray for hemp seeds!) finishes off this stupendously simple dessert.
41. Chocolate Coconut Pie Chocolate and coconut team up in this no-bake pie that’s perfect for warm summer nights. A shredded coconut crust is filled with chocolate mousse and finished with a fudge sauce. The result is creamy perfection.
42. Paleo Key Lime Pie If you can’t make it to Key West, the next best thing is this key lime pie. Avocados add creaminess while dates ensure the pie remains moist and sweet. Bonus: no baking required! Just pop this pie in the freezer for an hour or two and serve chilled.
43. Paleo Pecan Pie Tart If you’re a pecan lover, this pie won’t disappoint. Pecans make up the crust, filling, and topping of this tart. A dash of rum rounds things out, and natural sweeteners like apple sauce keep it indulgent.
44. Paleo Sweet Potato Meringue PieSweet potatoes in dessert? Believe it. While the pre-baking process is a bit long—you’ll have to wait for the crust to chill and sweet potatoes to steam—sinking into a meringue-topped slice after is well worth it.
Candy and Other Deliciousness
Photo: Chocolate Covered Katie
45. Frozen Hot ChocolateDairy-free milk, cocoa powder, stevia, and salt are all you need for this frozen treat. Heat up a batch of hot chocolate, freeze into ice cubes, blend, and serve for a dessert that’s a perfect summer sweet.
46. Simple Paleo Reese’s Cups If you are a Reese’s lover, these will knock your PB-lovin’ socks off. Four ingredients combine in mini muffin tins to make a better-for-you version of everyone’s favorite Halloween candy.
47. Toffee Caramels While this recipe requires some speedy maneuvers and a candy thermometer, it’s actually not that difficult. These pretty little caramels make a cute prezzie for a fellow Paleo. The only trick? Stopping yourself from eating the whole pan.
48. Paleo Breakfast Cinnamon Roll Who says Paleo peeps can’t eat dessert for breakfast? Give Cinnabon a run for its money with this personal-sized cinnamon roll. Spread out the coconut flour dough and fill with dried fruit of your choice. Goodbye, food court. Hello, delicious!
49. Paleo Sex in a Pan Do we have your attention? This six-layer decadent dessert is grain-, dairy-, and refined sugar-free. Pecans and dates form the first layer while grated chocolate is dusted as the sixth. What lies between? Pure deliciousness earning that over-the-top title.