How to Make Easy Desserts Using Ingredients You Have on Hand

You don't have to be a pastry chef to whip up a tasty dessert everyone will love. In fact, there are lots of easy dessert recipes with few ingredients -- even if you're relying on a stocked pantry to make your sweet meal-ender! If you're wondering what you can bake with on-hand ingredients, give a few of our easy dessert recipes a try.

What are the common ingredients in baking or preparing a dessert?

Some of the best on-hand staple dessert recipes call for a few ingredients that need to be stored in the fridge or that go bad more quickly than shelf-stable goods, like fruit. Plus, there are other staples, like flour, that you don't keep in your pantry as a snack that almost always appear in dessert recipes. Before you get cooking (or baking!), be sure you have a few common dessert ingredients in supply:

EggsSugarVanilla extract
ButterBrown sugarFood coloring

What on-hand ingredients can I use to make easy desserts?

There are several great ingredients you probably already have on hand to help you make pastry chef-worthy desserts. If not, here are some of the best to stock up on:

Maple syrupPretzelsChocolate chips
Nut butterCondensed milkAgave
Canned fruitBoxed puddingNuts

How do you make dessert less sweet?

If you want to make your dessert less sweet for health reasons (if you're diabetic or you're trying to lose weight, for example) or simply because you don't have an overactive sweet tooth, you can usually reduce the amount of sugar the recipe calls for. You may need to add more of another ingredient, like flour, to compensate for the dry-ingredient reduction. You can also add a dash of an acidic ingredient, like vinegar or lemon juice, to help balance sweetness.

Dessert Recipes Using On-Hand Ingredients

These easy dessert recipes can be made with ingredients you already have. Plus, they're so delectable, you won't believe most (or all!) of the ingredients came from the cabinet.

Healthy Chocolate Quinoa Breakfast Bowls: Don't let the name fool you -- this is a great sweet treat you can also enjoy after dinner or as a midday snack.Aunt Rose's Fantastic Butter Toffee: If you've never made homemade toffee, this recipe will make you question every dessert choice you've ever made.
2 Ingredient Nutella Cake: This recipe couldn't be any simpler to make -- or more delicious to devour.Rockin' Rice Pudding: If you've had your fill of rice as a side dish or part of an entree, use it to create this classic dessert treat.
Maple Nut Truffles: Why spend $20 on a box of truffles when you can make your own version that tastes just as dreamy?Potato Chip Clusters: Be warned -- you won't be able to put down these sweet-and-salty treats.
Apple French Toast Bake: The name implies a breakfast-only dish, but this recipe is a great post-dinner delight.Original Rice Krispies Treats: This nostalgic goodie is a great way to use up your favorite cereal -- any cereal!
Easy No-Bake Milk Chocolate S'more Bars: Who says s'mores are only for nights around the campfire? You can whip up these treats indoors all year long.No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars: If you're a Reese's addict, you'll love how easy these peanut butters are to make (not to mention, how easy they are to gobble up!).

Can I use a slow cooker to make dessert?

There are tons of desserts you can make with your slow cooker! Use it to melt chocolate for fondue, make hot fudge and caramel sauces, or create simple cakes with only two or three ingredients. Many slow cooker dessert recipes call for ingredients that you probably already have on hand.

Easy Slow Cooker Dessert Recipes

3 Ingredient Slow Cooker Apple Dump Cake: Can't decide between apple pie and cake? Combine the two to make this super delicious treat.Easy-to-Make Banana Bread: While this recipe is delicious as is, you can also get creative and mix in your favorite extras like chocolate chips or nuts.
Slow Cooker Hot Fudge Sauce: This classic ice cream sundae topping just became easier to make thanks to your handy slow cooker.Oh-So-Easy Crockpot Caramel: Just one ingredient? You read that right. All you need is sweetened condensed milk to make this decadent sauce.
Slow Cooker Peppermint Candy: Perfect for the holidays (or any time of year, really!), you can easily make this yourself or gift to loved ones.3 Ingredient Slow Cooker 7-UP Cake: Lemon lime soda and cherries join forces for a super yummy and easy-to-make cake.
Healthy 2 Ingredient Slow Cooker Apple Butter: You won't find any added sugar in this fruit spread!Coconut Pecan Fudge: Two ingredients are all you need, and one of them is a can of frosting — trust us, it works!
Slow Cooker Berry Cobbler: This easy dessert recipe can be modified to your liking — you can make it gluten free, for example, or choose any fruit that suits you.What is the Best Slow Cooker in 2020?: Ready to whip up these desserts? Check out our top picks for the best slow cookers on the market today.

What kitchenware should I use for baking?

Many dessert (and non-dessert) recipes require baking in the oven. When preparing the ingredients, you'll likely need a set of baking cups, a couple of baking sheets, some mixing bowls in various sizes, and a hand mixer. You'll also want to keep a pair of oven mitts nearby when the dish is ready to be taken out of the oven.

What People Are Asking About Slow Cookers

What is the best slow cooker to buy?

First, you'll want to figure out your budget, size preferences, and what features you would like your slow cooker to have. For example, a 6-quart slow cooker—one of the smallest sizes available — can serve around seven people. Some slow cookers have more advanced features than others do, such as integrated temperature tracking. To help you decide which slow cooker is right for you, check out our picks for the top reviewed slow cookers of this year.

Are crock pots and slow cookers the same thing?

Not exactly. A slow cooker is an appliance consisting of a metal pot and a heated base that's placed underneath the pot. A crock pot is a specific slow cooker (made by the brand Crock-Pot) that generates heat on all its sides, not just the bottom, and the pot is made of either ceramic or porcelain.

What is the best slow cooker that is made in the USA?

You can find our top slow cooker recommendations here. Whether you're looking for a specific size, programmable features, or an easy-serve lid, you're bound to find a slow cooker that meets your needs.

Can I use a slow cooker to cook any type of food?

Besides desserts, there are so many foods you can cook in a slow cooker! From meats to vegetables, pastas to soups, you can find countless slow cooker recipes for just about any dish you're craving. We recommend checking out our recipe guides for canned soups, canned vegetables, canned meats, and canned beans.

Can a slow cooker go in the oven?

Unless the product packaging and description indicates that the slow cooker is "oven-proof," we don't recommend putting it in the oven. If the pot isn't made of ceramic, then it is not oven safe. The rubber elements in the lid can also become damaged in the oven. Please refer to the product packaging and manual for proper handling instructions.