Our Best Labor Day Desserts
We've rounded up our favorite dessert recipes for Labor Day celebrations. Browse through this collection and find the perfect sweet treat for your dessert table.
Perfect Strawberry Pie
Fact: There is no better celebration of just-ripe summer strawberries than this classic berry pie; that’s why we called it perfect. The just-sweet-enough strawberry filling retains an admirable level of juiciness, thickening just enough to allow for a clean slice, thanks to a combination of cornstarch and tapioca. This duo of thickening agents stabilizes the pie filling without erring into goopy territory, as can often happen with all-purpose flour in cooked, fruit fillings. While lemon is the traditional citrus of choice for summer berry pies, we found lime to be an exceptional complement to the sugary-bright strawberries.
Puff Pastry Summer Fruit Slab Pie
This show-stopper is easy to assemble, but so impressive. The only component of this effortlessly elegant tart that needs to bake is the puff pastry base itself. Once it’s baked and cooled, you’ll top it with a creamy, fluffy spread of sweetened mascarpone cheese mixed with marzipan (i.e. almond paste), vanilla, freshly whipped cream. You’ll want to wait until right before serving time to assemble your dessert. All of those glorious summer fruit juices are going to start seeping into your puff pastry and will lead to sogginess if prepared too far in advance.
Red, White, and Blue Cake
Blueberry-Lavender Pie With Almond Streusel
Few dishes say summer like a classic blueberry pie. And for anyone seeking a foolproof formula for the beloved bubbling berry dessert, this is the recipe to put in your arsenal. Although lavender may seem like an unnecessary frill on what should be an inherently simple delight, rest assured, fresh blueberries are undoubtedly the star here, with a subtle hint of the floral sweetness to play a supporting role. However, the culinary buds are easily eliminated from the pie should you wish to ditch ‘em. Because blueberries and almonds are a natural dream team, this gracefully demure nut was an obvious choice for the crunchy streusel topping. Besides providing a delightfully sugary contrast to the juicy and not-too-sweet berry filling, the golden crumble saves you the trouble of having to roll out and arrange a top crust—which means a little less stands between you and a warm slice of blueberry pie with vanilla ice cream melting over its steaming innards. And that’s what’s important, after all.
How to Make Mason Jar Cherry Pies
These adorable personal-sized cherry pies will be the star of your Labor Day gathering.
Grilled Pound Cake with Brandied Red Plums
When plums are at their juiciest best, they're great in a quick dessert. If you don't already have the grill going, just broil or toast the pound cake until golden.
All-Star Berry Tart
Fill a tart shell with a rich pastry cream and arrange fresh berries on the top in a star shape for a dessert that's perfect for patriotic holidays.
These dainty little tarts have an unusual depth of character, thanks to their graham-cracker-like crusts.
How to Make Flourless Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies
These 6-ingredient, flourless cookies are a dream! It doesn't get any easier, and according to our reviewers, any more delicious.
How to Make Old-Fashioned Strawberry Shortcakes
Grandma had it right all along. Make this classic dessert for a refreshing treat when strawberries are in season.
Vegan Coconut Cream Tart with White Peaches and Blueberries
This nutrient-rich twist on coconut cream pie is lusciously smooth and decadent… it’s also vegan, paleo, gluten-fee, and raw. In other words, you’re looking at a tart with a stacked resume. Perfect for a special occasion, especially if you’re looking to clean up your diet a bit, this show-stopping vegan dessert offers rich, toasty flavor and sweet tooth satisfaction—without adding refined sugar. And since there’s no need to crank up the oven to make it, this treat especially ideal for summer. Keep in mind, whipping coconut cream can sometimes be tricky. If you forget to refrigerate your cans overnight or if too much of the liquid gets mixed in, it will most likely separate. But not to worry—mixing in a bit of tapioca flour (arrowroot would also work) can bring the mixture back together in a snap. To save yourself time, go ahead and place your mixing bowl and whisk attachment in the fridge to chill as soon as you are ready to start prepping your tart.
Easy Berry Tart
This vibrant and impressive dessert literally couldn’t get any easier. Rather than making a stovetop custard from-scratch, we use boxed pudding mix combined with Cool Whip (trust us on this one) as a shortcut to the rich and luscious vanilla filling that makes this tart amazing. Once you pour this decadent filling into your simple almond and cookie crumb crust, all that’s left to do is let it chill, and then top it off with plenty of fresh fruit. We used various types of summer berries—strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries—for ours, but feel free to use your favorite fruits here… fresh, ripe peaches would make a great addition. To amp up the almond flavor, try adding 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract to your filling. Or hey, if almonds really aren’t your thing, you can definitely substitute a different nut (like macadamias) or simply leave them out all together and increase the amount of cookie crumbs in your crust by about 1/3 cup.
Chocolate Crème-Filled Sandwich Cookies
Whip up your favorite chocolate sandwich cookies for your Labor Day dessert spread.
Double Apple Pie With Cornmeal Crust
Berry Cream Tart
Fill a tart crust with a sweet cream cheese mixture and top with fresh berries for an easy and impressive dessert that's perfect for summer entertaining.
Choose firm apples with sweet-tart flavor, such as Pink Lady or Honeycrisp; in our tests, Fuji and Granny Smith fell apart.
Blueberry-Lemon Zest Ice Cream
If you like creamy, fruity ice cream with a little bit of zing, you'll love this ice cream dish.
Stone Fruit Eton Mess
This fruit-filled yogurt dessert topped with cookie crumbs is a tasty and healthy treat.
Tahini-Blueberry Sheet Cake With Strawberry Buttercream
Perfect for a graduation party or summer cookout, this impressive dessert offers the ease and crowd-friendly factor that we associate with a sheet cake, as well as a delightful twist of creativity and surprising vibrancy with the incorporation of tahini and fresh berries. If you have a jar of the trendy sesame seed paste hanging out in your pantry, trust us—it’s high time to go beyond hummus and welcome it into your dessert life. Tahini lends a delicious toasty quality to the tender cake while fresh blueberries dotted throughout the batter balance this nutty depth with their bright, juicy sweetness. A simple strawberry buttercream ties everything together and makes for a low-effort, eye-catching presentation.
Caramel Apple Cake
Sweet Summer Strawberry Tart
After finding a fly in her bottle of Mouton Cadet Rouge, chef and cookbook author Joanne Weir, then 24, had the gumption to mail the insect to the wine's maker, Château Mouton Rothschild, one of the top wineries in the world. In response to her complaint, she received an invitation to lunch at the château. She booked a flight immediately. This recipe is her re-creation of the day's finale--a tart "topped with a silky smooth kirsch pastry cream and crowned with perfectly glazed, ripe red strawberries."
With a buttery, crunch-tastic oat and brown sugar topping partnered with the super simple filling that highlights the best of what ripe berries and stone fruit have to offer, this sweet and satisfying crisp is the ultimate in summer desserts. Serve it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a treat no one can resist. The best part about this recipe is that it can be used with most any of your favorite summer fruits. Try substituting plump, juicy peaches for the nectarines and blackberries for the blueberries next time you want to change things up.
Blackberry-Peach Slow Cooker Crumble
Topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or Greek yogurt, this simple summer dessert is a great way to satisfy the sweet tooth while reaping the nutritional benefits of summer fruit. Keep the peach slices no less than 1/2 inch thick; any smaller, and they may lose their shape when cooked.
Carrot-Zucchini Cake with Coconut-Cream Cheese Frosting
Zucchini makes a brilliant addition to carrot cake, adding a verdant note to the sweet carrot.
Ice Cream-Only Ice Cream Cake
For some, a typical ice cream cake is a wonderful, frozen amalgamation of two of life’s great desserts: ice cream and cake (obviously). However, for others—those who truly prefer ice cream over cake—the fact that most ice cream cakes still contain layers of frozen cake is… a disappointment. And it is for these ice cream loving people that we created this “cake,” made purely of frozen dairy goodness. We use fresh whipped cream fortified with gelatin to “frost” the cake, holding the layered scoops together and coating the exterior, because a stabilized whipped cream holds its texture incredibly well (without becoming rock-hard) in the freezer. You can use any number and variety of flavors/colors to create your own take on this ice cream-only cake; we opted to go with a rainbow of colors to achieve a festive feel in every slice. Use any custom combination to create the perfect frozen cake for a birthday party, gender reveal party, college game day event, etc. You can even dress the concept up to create an adorable Ice Cream Princess Cake.
Maple-Peach Milk Shake
Blend maple syrup, peaches, low-fat frozen yogurt, and low-fat milk to make this flavorfull milkshake.
Mini Strawberry Tarts
These mini tarts are not only beautiful, but tasty as well. Top strawberry tarts with a variety of several other fresh berries like raspberries, blueberries, blackberries for a sensational summer treat.
Pumpkin-Honey-Beer Bread Pudding with Apple Brandy-Caramel Sauce
Use Pumpkin-Honey-Beer Bread to make this flavorfull fall dessert.
Blueberry-Peach Upside Down Cake
This stunning upside-down cake is the perfect, easy dessert to showcase your bounty of summer fruit. The cake is tender and moist, with just enough of a delightful toothy texture from the incorporation of cornmeal into the batter. You’ll want to use juicy, ripe blueberries and peaches for best results; however, you could use frozen fruit in a pinch—just be sure to thaw and dry throughly. A few more tips to ensure upside-down cake success: Finish incorporating the ingredients by hand, this will prevent over-mixing your way to a tough cake. Also, aim to arrange the fruit as tightly as you can in the cake pan; fruit shrinks as it cooks and you don’t want too much unadorned cake poking through. Finally, if you want to skip the cornmeal, simply swap it 1:1 with all-purpose flour (for a total of 1 1/3 cups).
The Best American Flag Cake Ever
Celebrate any Labor Day with this festive, fruit-covered chocolate cake. It's sure to stand out at even the most festive picnic.
Homemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Yummy Homemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream has flecks of real vanilla, thanks to the use of vanilla bean.
Deep-Dish Strawberry Ice Dream Pie
The filling for our killer pie is somewhere between ice cream and mousse--a creamy concoction that's ridiculously easy to make.
This thin brownie makes killer ice-cream sandwiches. They also freeze well in a zip-top freezer bag and will slip into a small space in your cooler.
Grilled Dessert Pizza
While the grill is still hot, throw on Grilled Dessert Pizza for a sweet ending to your cookout.
Key Lime Ice Cream Pie
Homemade Key lime ice cream and a graham cracker pie crust combine to make a tangy and delicious frozen treat. Keep this pie in the freezer so you'll always have a cool treat waiting when an unexpected visitor drops in.
Easy Skillet Apple Pie
Peachy Peach Ice Cream
Very ripe peaches are the flavor secret to this simple ice cream.
Pineapple Satay with Coconut Caramel
Pineapple holds up to skewering, doesn’t fall apart on the grill, and makes an elegant, surprising dessert—especially when drizzled with a simple-to-make caramel sauce. You’ll need 16 wooden skewers for this recipe.
Peach Cobbler Ice Cream with Bourbon-Caramel Sauce
Here's a delicious ice-cream recipe that has all the flavors of traditional peach cobbler and doesn't require an ice-cream maker.
Frozen Peanut Butter Pie
How to Make Classic Fudge-Walnut Brownies
These melt-in-your-mouth brownies get their intense richness from cocoa, melted chocolate, and chocolate chunks.
Caramelized Banana Pudding
The Ultimate S'more
Using homemade graham crackers and marshmallows make these the Ultimate S'mores.
Blackberry-Peach Cobbler Bars
There comes a certain point every summer when the amount of zucchini you seem to constantly have on hand far outweighs you desire for zucchini. You’ve grilled it, you’ve shaved it into a raw summer salad, you’ve sautéed it, folded it into pasta, stuffed it, and zoodled it—at this point, when it feels like you’ve exhausted all appetizing zucchini options, it’s high time you enter dessert territory and make a zucchini cake. Luckily, we’ve crafted the perfect, no-fuss recipe for a classic, vanilla zucchini cake for just that purpose. Though flecked with specks of pale green, you’d never guess vegetables were hiding in this incredibly tender sheet cake. The recipe calls for 3 cups of the grated green veggie, which is roughly one large or two smaller zucchini—no need to peel them, just be sure to wash the zucchini thoroughly before grating. Because zucchini is serving as the primary source of moisture for this cake (as you’ll notice, you do not add milk, buttermilk, sour cream, etc. to the batter), there’s no need to squeeze the liquid from the grated zucchini, as some recipes for zucchini baked goods may advise. A small amount of corn starch paired with the all-purpose flour makes the cake’s crumb exceptionally soft and airy. Topped with a decadent brown butter-pecan frosting, this veggie-loaded cake feels special enough to serve as the centerpiece dessert for any occasion.
Easy Key Lime Pie
Dessert doesn’t get easier, or more delicious, than a no-bake key lime pie. Requiring just a handful of ingredients, this easy pie is a great recipe for less experienced bakers—especially considering what a crowd-pleaser it is. Perfect for the hot summer months when you’d rather reduce your oven use, the luscious key lime filling sets up to creamy perfection with the help of Cool Whip. Though we provide instructions for a homemade graham cracker crust, you can make this key lime pie recipe all the easier (and skip the oven altogether) by opting for a pre-made, store-bought pie crust instead.
White Chocolate OREO Cookie Balls
Rum and Coke Pound Cake With Lime Glaze
Pound cake is easy to make and infinitely variable. When plain, you can almost defend it as a breakfast or afternoon snack. But dressed up with any manner of fruit or cream or ice cream or other garnish, it can hang at everything from a backyard barbecue to an elegant dinner party. So, it occurred to me that perhaps I might mash-up one of my go-to summer desserts with one of my go-to summer drinks!
This rum and Coke pound cake benefits from the same attention to detail as my version of the cocktail. European-style butter (I like Kerrygold or Plugra for this), light brown sugar to pick up the caramel notes in the cola and the rum, and vanilla paste which has all those lovely vanilla seeds in it and is closer to using fresh vanilla pod than extract.
Peach Cobbler Dump Cake
Pair the crowd-pleasing appeal of peach cobbler with the convenience factor of a boxed cake mix and you have this ridiculously easy dump cake. Requiring only five ingredients, this is the perfect recipe for when you need to whip up dessert in a hurry. We love the combination of peaches and almonds, but you could easily swap the sliced almonds called for with your favorite nut (pecan halves would be excellent) or eliminate the nuts altogether. Either way, one thing’s for certain—this peach cobbler dump cake will be a hit for any occasion.
Raspberry-Lime Tart with Pistachio Crust
This tart is pleasantly limey, with a delightful pistachio-forward shortbread crust. It requires minimal baking, but has a beautiful presentation, with fresh raspberries adding a nice touch. You can find shelled, raw pistachios at the grocery store, but roasted, salted shelled pistachios will work just fine. Look for limes with smooth skin: They have thiner skins, and will yield more juice. Garnish with chopped pistachios and whipped cream to offset the tartness from the curd and the raspberries.
Tamarind Strawberry Popsicles
These vibrant popsicles are fruity and refreshing, but deliver an unexpected depth thanks to the tamarind paste (which can be found at supermarkets such as Whole Foods and online). The tart character of tamarind fruit adds dynamic flavor complexity that nicely balances the simple comfort of fresh, peak-season strawberries. P.S.—If you happen to stir a little bit of the strawberry-tamarind puree into a glass of iced tea or lemonade, you won’t regret it.
Grilled Apple Pie a la Mode
Whether it’s in the backyard or around a campfire, this easy, on-the-spot recipe has all the elements of a perfect apple pie. Make sure to use apples that are the same size so they’ll cook at the same rate. The ice cream will melt quickly, so put it on the apples right as you serve them.
Grilled Banana Split
This is a fun mashup between banana pudding and a sundae. You could even get the kids involved with this. Grilling the banana adds a little flavor, while charring the vanilla wafers makes for an interesting texture—together, it’s delicious. Banana pudding ice cream pulls everything together, so it’s definitely worth buying.
Easy Peach Cobbler
What could be a more perfect ending to a summertime meal than easy peach cobbler? Savor the flavors of summer with sliced fresh peaches cooking away with butter and spices. The topping can made from pantry ingredients you have on hand and peaches can easily be substituted with any fruit you have depending on the time of year. The tang of the lemon juice paired with the sweetness of the peaches is perfectly balanced with the crisp topping. Want to make dessert even better? A dollop of fresh whipped cream or cold vanilla ice cream truly makes it the perfect way to end a summer night.
Ultimate Coconut Cake
"Ultimate" is no exaggeration here—this cake features coconut flour, coconut oil, coconut milk, coconut cream, coconut sugar, coconut extract, and (of course) flaked coconut. Given this cake's incredibly moist layers, intense coconut flavor, and lighter-than-air filling, our test kitchen chefs fought over the leftovers.
German Chocolate Brownies
This recipe is a combination of my nana’s greatest hits—brownies and German chocolate cake. The fudgy brownies allow the frosting’s coconut flavor to shine and are decadent without overwhelming the palate. We used a 9x13” baking pan, which yielded thinner brownies and a more even distribution of both the brownies and the frosting’s flavor. It’s definitely possible in an 8” or 9” square pan, which will give you thicker brownies and globs of frosting. In that case, you’ll need to use a fork.
This recipe is from Odette Williams' Simple Cake, a compendium of approachable, delicious cakes for celebrating every day. Per Williams, this cake is "A not-too-sweet chocolate cake, topped with silky Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream, sprinkled with a little sea salt crunch: This is the cake you bake to help you or a loved one get across the finish line."
Easy Strawberry Cobbler
Just because it’s easy doesn’t mean this biscuit-topped strawberry cobbler won’t impress. In fact, bursting with vibrant berry flavor (regardless of how perfectly ripe your strawberries may or may not be), we can just about guarantee that it will. We keep this stunning berry dessert stunningly simple by using Bisquick baking mix for the topping. The bottoms of each fluffy biscuit soaks up luscious juices from the berries while the tops bake up golden-crisp. And sprinkling the cobbler’s Bisquick topping with a bit of turibinado sugar is a pro’s touch for adding visual and textural interest. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream for the full cobbler experience.
Copycat Little Debbie Oatmeal Crème Pies
Is this recipe an exact replica of Little Debbie Oatmeal Crème Pies? No. These are better. Rather than thin cakes, we went for oatmeal cookies that pack an almost peanut-butter-like flavor without any nuts. The crème filling completely nails what we love about the prepackaged pies, but takes things further with an almost airy, marshmallow-based consistency. If that doesn’t convince you, preparing these at home is just as quick (if not faster) than a grocery run.
Aperol Spritz Cake
The delicate blance of sweet, bitter and citrus that makes the cocktail so refreshing also makes for an unusual citrus cake.
Tamarind Peach Cobbler
Tamarind paste is commonly used in savory applications (like this Tamarind Chipotle Barbecue Sauce), but provides an incredible warm depth of flavor in this rave-worthy peach cobbler. The tart paste, which is made from the dark, sticky, and sour fruit of the tamarind tree, is a popular ingredient in Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine, and can be found at supermarkets like Whole Foods or online.