Some people say their sweet tooth gets the strongest around the holidays. Me? I often find myself craving a little sugary goodness all throughout the year. To balance things out and shift my focus to what I’m including in my diet versus what I’m eliminating, this looks like fruit, tea, or a few squares of dark chocolate after a meal. But if I’m being honest, sometimes these lightened-up subs for my real-deal faves (I count carrot cake, brownies, and ice cream among them), just don’t cut it. But here’s the good news: It’s 2022, and there’s no shortage of delicious dessert recipes out there that mix guilt-free ingredients with indulgent flavors to perfection. So after years of experimenting with every gluten-free flour and egg substitute on the market, I can attest that these are the best gluten-free dairy-free dessert recipes out there.
From pies to cookies to homemade ice creams, we’ve rounded up the best gluten-free, dairy-free dessert recipes that are easy, elegant, and truly crave-worthy.
While baking can be intimidating, there’s something meditative about slowing down and connecting with yourself in the kitchen. Many of us wouldn’t spend more than an hour mixing, fondant-shaping, and frosting on a regular night, but when you shift your mindset and think about baking as a time to get creative and have a little fun with yourself, your relationship to the hobby can totally change. Plus, the final product is always worth it, and there’s nothing more satisfying than a delicious, homemade dessert that you can share with friends and loved ones. Because here’s the truth: We all deserve a treat, and most of these recipes are simple enough to create solo with minimal ingredients.
We’ve got options that are also refined-sugar-free, so they’re (dare I say) healthier alternatives than your traditional confections and won’t spike your blood sugar. So scroll on for our favorite gluten-free dessert recipes (that are also dairy-free) to satisfy everyone on your list.
Note: All recipes can be made gluten and dairy-free. We’ve included some vegan, soy-free, refined sugar-free, and nut-free options, but as always, be sure to carefully read all of the ingredient information to ensure it’s free of any allergens or restrictions you might have.
Feature image by Stephanie Rudy.
Vegan Pastel Layer Cake from The Banana Diaries
Why We Love It: This cake is made up of gorgeous pastel layers that are perfect for spring. While a lightly-hued cake is always a stunning sight to behold, most opt for artificial dyes that make the confection less than appetizing. This cake uses natural dyes to create a rainbow of color. Red beet powder, spirulina, and blue butterfly pea flower come in clutch.
Hero Ingredient: Applesauce makes this cake seriously moist. And while an apple-y flavor would work for a fall dessert, trust me—you can’t taste it here.
Get the recipe for Vegan Pastel Layer Cake.
Vegan Gluten-Free Cinnamon Rolls from Minimalist Baker
Why We Love It: Nothing hits the spot quite like a good old cinnamon roll. This take on a classic is perfect for any weekday morning you want to slow down with something sweet. And while cinnamon rolls can be a beast to make vegan and gluten-free, this recipe easily gives you the same (perhaps better) soft and doughy rolls you grew up with.
Hero Ingredient: A tablespoon of cinnamon in the filling gives this indulgent breakfast all its gorgeously sweet spice.
Get the recipe for Vegan Gluten-Free Cinnamon Rolls.
Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars from Detoxinista
Why We Love It: Some people see pecan pie as a Thanksgiving-only treat. I’m of the opinion that this sticky, gooey dessert should be enjoyed all throughout the year. These no-bake bars taste just like the pie we all know and love, but with a rich layer of dark chocolate in the middle and a delicious crumble on top.
Hero Ingredient: Medjool dates make the crust and crumble 100% fruit-sweetened and 100% worth the second slice.
Get the recipe for Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars.
Cinnamon Sugar Cookies + Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting from Vibrant & Pure
Why We Love It: These snickerdoodle-esque cookies are topped with a delicious dairy-free peppermint cream cheese frosting and are perfect for decorating with family, friends, and any of the little ones in your life.
Hero Ingredient: A cup of nut butter (the recipe recommends almond or cashew) gives these cooki
Get the recipe for Cinnamon Sugar Cookies + Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting.
Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream from Minimalist Baker
Why We Love It: No dessert round-up is complete without homemade ice cream, and this recipe from Minimalist Baker nails it. It’s rich, perfectly sweet and oh so smooth.
Hero Ingredient: Coconut milk is the key to super creamy vegan ice cream.
Get the recipe for Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream.
No-Bake Pumpkin-Pecan Pie Paleo Bites from the Defined Dish
Why We Love It: When you can’t be bothered to bake, these bites are the recipe to rely on. Thanks to the date and pecan crust, these guilt-free pumpkin bites come together in a flash.
Hero Ingredient: Maple syrup flavors the filling with just a touch of light sweetness.
Get the recipe for No-Bake Pumpkin-Pecan Pie Paleo Bites.
The Best Vegan Apple Crisp from Minimalist Baker
Why We Love It: Why make an apple pie when you can have an apple crisp? These caramelized cinnamon apples are topped with a deliciously nutty, crunchy topping that’s to die for.
Hero Ingredient: I love a little freshly-grated ginger for a mellow heat that balances out the coconut sugar.
Get the recipe for The Best Vegan Apple Crisp.
Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies from Allergylicious
Why We Love It: Ginger cookies are a cold weather staple, but I’d be lying if I failed to mention that I regularly enjoy their spicy goodness all year round. These can easily be made grain-free with a gluten-free flour and are the perfect gift for a neighbor or loved one.
Hero Ingredient: I’m going to cheat and call out the tied-for-the-winner hero ingredients this recipe involves. Molasses, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves help these delicious treats strike perfect balance of spicy and sweet.
Get the recipe for Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies.
Easy Pumpkin Pie Bars from The Banana Diaries
Why We Love It: No matter how you slice them, these pumpkin pie squares are a yummy, gluten-free, and vegan spin on a traditional pumpkin pie. The homemade graham cracker crust is topped with a fluffy, creamy pumpkin layer that makes for the perfect healthy-ish indulgence.
Hero Ingredient: I love that the crust opts for oats as its base, giving it a nice, crisp nuttiness.
Get the recipe for Easy Pumpkin Pie Bars.
Vegan French Silk Pie from Detoxinista
Why We Love It: This no-bake pie is rich in flavor, velvety in texture, and perfect for all your gatherings and celebrations. Any lightened-up dessert that comes together with just a few ingredients is always a winner in my book.
Hero Ingredient: Vanilla extract balances out the chocolate, giving this pie’s sweetness a beautiful depth of flavor.
Get the recipe for Vegan French Silk Pie.
1-Bowl Vegan Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake With Vegan Chocolate Frosting from Minimalist Baker
Why We Love It: If you’ve been on the search for the perfect gluten-free, vegan chocolate cake, look no further. Rich and decadent, this chocolate cake is ideal for special occasions, and perfect for when a gluten-free baking craving strikes.
Hero Ingredient: While you can’t taste the banana, subbing it in for eggs gives this cake a wonderfully sweet crumb and amazingly moist texture.
Get the recipe for 1-Bowl Vegan Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake With Vegan Chocolate Frosting.
Raw, Vegan Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cheesecake
Why We Love It: Naturally-sweetened and downright delicious, this might be one of the healthiest desserts around. If you know someone who’s on the fence about pumpkin pie, serve them a slice of this and be ready to blow their mind.
Hero Ingredient: Want a super creamy filling minus the dairy? Soaked raw cashews are always the answers.
Get the recipe for Raw, Vegan Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cheesecake.
Pumpkin Pie Tarts With a Cookie Crust from Oh She Glows
Why We Love It: I hear the words “cookie crust” and I’m immediately hooked. This sunflower seed butter and coconut cream-based tart is equal parts easy and tasty.
Hero Ingredient: When it comes to this dessert, adding 1-2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice (the more, the better) is a no-brainer.
Get the recipe for Pumpkin Pie Tarts With a Cookie Crust.
Raspberry Chocolate Madeleines from Nirvana Cakery
Why We Love It: These light and crispy madeleines make for a fun day of decorating and are as delicious as they are pretty.
Hero Ingredient: When fresh and freeze-dried raspberries meet chocolate, beautiful things happen.
Get the recipe for Raspberry Chocolate Madeleines.
5-Ingredient No-Bake Chocolate Covered Brownies from Nadia’s Healthy Kitchen
Why We Love It: These brownies only call for 5 ingredients and there’s no oven required. Shouldn’t dessert always be this easy?
Hero Ingredient: A half-cup of tahini packs these brownies with plenty of healthy fats while also giving each bite a creamy dreamy smoothness.
Get the recipe for 5-Ingredient No-Bake Chocolate Covered Brownies.
Apple Pie Bars from Paleo Running Mama
Why We Love It: Everything you love about apple pie, but in bar form. This recipe has an almond butter crust that will have everyone begging you for the recipe. It’s up to you whether or not you want to share.
Hero Ingredient: I love using Pink Lady or Granny Smiths for any apple pie or apple pie-adjacent recipe. They hold up through the baking process and give a little tartness to these bars’ final flavor.
Get the recipe for Apple Pie Bars.
Vegan Coffee Cake from Ela Vegan
Why We Love It: I’m forever grateful for the fact that coffee cake makes it socially-acceptable to start my day with dessert. This recipe is so good, you won’t even notice that this coffee cake is allergy-friendly. This is my go-to recipe when it comes to baking for brunch, as it pairs well with slow Sunday morning vibes.
Hero Ingredient: When it comes to ingredients that create a moist texture without the dairy, applesauce is an all-star.
Get the recipe for Vegan Coffee Cake.
Gluten-Free Vegan Pumpkin Sugar Cookies from Rhian’s Recipes
Why We Love It: Fluffy, chewy, and pumpkin-y—in other words, everything I look for in my favorite desserts. They make beautiful edible gifts, and I can bet that this recipe is one everyone will enjoy.
Hero Ingredient: Almond meal not only helps keep these cookies gluten-free, but it incorporates the nuts’ rich, warming flavor into these drop-dead delicious cookies.
Get the recipe for Gluten-Free Vegan Pumpkin Sugar Cookies.
Creamy Vegan Chocolate Fudge Pops from Half-Baked Harvest
Why We Love It: Whether it’s summer or winter—to me, the season doesn’t matter: I’m always down for ice cream. These fudge pops are especially great because you can make them ahead of time, i.e. they are stress-free.
Hero Ingredient: If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the Barefoot Contessa, it’s that coffee is the best ingredient for bringing out the chocolate in any recipe. You won’t taste the coffee here, and you might not get a caffeinated boost of energy, but it sure does make these pops divine.
Get the recipe for Creamy Vegan Chocolate Fudge Pops.
Mini Chocolate Pumpkin Seed Candy Peanut Butter Cups from Half-Baked Harvest
Why We Love It: Disclaimer: Reese’s will forever be my ride or die, go-to candy. But because I’m always looking for a way to change up a tried-and-true classic, I consider this recipe a must-make. his recipe is easily made vegan by subbing vegan chocolate for dairy-free dark chocolate and maple syrup for honey.
Hero Ingredient: Pumpkin seeds’ nice nutty crunch give a little welcome variety to the smooth peanut butter/creamy chocolate combo.
Get the recipe for Mini Chocolate Pumpkin Seed Candy Peanut Butter Cups.
This post was originally published on November 19, 2020, and has since been updated.
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