I know when I’m throwing a backyard barbecue, the last thing on my mind is dessert. I’ll just grab a few doughnuts and cookies at the market and call it a day. My main focus is always on the main course and what my guests are going to really chow down on — burgers, sausage with peppers and onions and more.
Lately, though, I’ve tried to make it my mission to pay closer attention to dessert and go the extra mile instead of buying store-bought baked goods. That’s why I came up with this list of grilled desserts to try this summer. All these recipes are super simple and use ingredients you most likely have in your fridge or pantry. And whether you’re throwing a party for four or a bash for 20, every single one of your guests will be impressed.
Besides, you’ll already be manning the grill, so just make a little extra room for dessert.
Grilling brings out the natural sweetness of fruit. So for a super-easy dessert option, just take a combination of your favorite fruit, like pineapple, strawberries and peaches, chop them (if necessary), skewer them on bamboo skewers that have been soaking in water, and throw them on the grill. When they’re done, drizzle them with honey, and serve with Greek yogurt.
Grilled dessert pizza
Pizza and dessert — those are two of my favorite things. Now combine them into one dish, and it’s a mind-blowing dessert option. Roll out store-bought pizza dough, and grill it for a few minutes on each side. Then remove, and top with mascarpone cheese and in-season berries. This dessert truly bursts with flavor.
Grilled pound cake
Grilled desserts don’t have to be super complicated. Pick up some pound cake (butter, lemon or chocolate), cut into serving sizes, and throw the slices on the grill for one minute each side. Then top with jam, fresh fruit or ice cream, and you’ll have a dessert that’s out of this world.
Strawberry shortcake skewers
Thread strawberries and 1-inch chunks of pound cake or biscuits alternately on skewers, and then place the skewers on the grill until the fruit starts to develop some grill marks. Flip, grill another minute or so, and you’re done. This is a super-simple, portable dessert that’s perfect for backyard barbecues. You could even have little cups of melted chocolate to dip them in — yum!
I love, love, love the taste of grilled citrus. Throw a few halves of grapefruit facedown on the grill, and they’ll turn super sweet and caramelized. Trust me, there is no other way you should be eating grapefruit. Serve it with a little mascarpone cheese, and that’s all she wrote.
Grilled plums with ice cream
Grilled plums seem to be the perfect fruit to pair with vanilla ice cream. You should give it a try the next time you fire up the grill. Slice in half, remove the pits, and grill facedown for just a minute or so. Then top bowls of ice cream while the plums are still hot.
Grilled banana splits
Make a sundae station at your next backyard get-together. Throw a few bananas (still in their skins) on the grill to caramelize. Meanwhile, set out a few pints of ice cream, nuts and other toppings. Remove the hot bananas from the grill, place in bowls, split lengthwise with a knife, and add your ice cream and toppings. Alternatively, you can peel those bananas and let them grill more directly for a deeper, darker caramelization.
You don’t have to toast your marshmallows over the flame to make s’mores. Build your sandwiches with graham crackers, chocolate bars and marshmallows, wrap in aluminum foil, and place on the grill. In a matter of minutes you’ll have your favorite summertime treat.
Strawberry grilled cheese
Grilled cheese is a classic, and I’ve turned that classic into a summer dessert you must try. To sliced brioche, add whipped feta, balsamic vinegar and strawberries. Grill the brioche for two minutes on each side, and you’ll have a dessert that will knock your socks off.
You can also use whatever fruit you have on hand and swap out the whipped feta for flavored cream cheese if you’d like.