20 Best Dairy-Free Desserts

Crazy Cake
Photo: My Hot Southern Mess

Not an ounce of cream, butter, or milk in the mix, but these are about to become your favorite dairy-free dessert recipes! Whether you don't do dairy or someone you're sharing these dairy-free treat with has a food allergy or intolerance, you can rest assured that these treats are just as sweet as their traditional counterparts. One bite of these baked goods and frozen desserts will convince you to try all of our dairy-free dessert recipes. From carrot cake to "cheezecake" and pecan pie to pavlovas, prepare to score some major sweets inspiration ahead. Here are 20 examples that butter does not, in fact, make everything better.

01 of 20

Best Carrot Cake Ever

slice of carrot cake on a white plate with the cake in the background

"I have been hounded to make this cake time and time again," swears Nan, who was kind enough to dish up all of her secrets and share her go-to carrot cake recipe. A whopping 6 cups of grated carrots, plus crushed pineapple and vegetable oil, ensure that the texture is remarkably tender and moist. Once cooled, frost your cake with a homemade cream cheese frosting using vegan butter and a dairy-free cream cheese, like Miyoko's.

02 of 20

Salted Chocolate-Peanut Butter Vegan Nice Cream

Salted Chocolate-Peanut Butter Vegan Nice Cream
Mackenzie Schieck

No dairy and no ice cream churner are required to scoop up this delectable peanut butter cup-flavored "nice cream." Simply blend up soaked cashews, chopped peanuts, a banana, some tofu (for texture, promise you won't taste it!), cocoa powder, dates, and ice for a soft serve-like dairy-free frozen dessert just as good as anything you'd order at a classic ice cream parlor.

03 of 20

Blueberry Crumb Bars

two Blueberry Crumb Bars on a white plate

Any berry will do in these easy-prep bar cookies. And since it calls for shortening instead of butter, these petite pie squares are a completely dairy-free dessert. A pinch of cinnamon lends a lovely hint of warmth to round out the sweet-tart fruit and delightful crumb topping.

04 of 20

Vegan Brownies

Vegan Brownies being sprinkled with cocoa powder
kevin chavarria

Ideal for vegans and those who avoid dairy and eggs, these ridiculously rich bars might just become your go-to brownie recipe all the time. With oil in place of the butter and a just-right mix of cocoa powder accented by vanilla, this easy chocolate dessert is "ooey gooey DELICIOUSNESS," according to reviewer Jessica.

05 of 20

Orange Cake with Semolina and Almonds

Orange Cake with Semolina and Almonds on a blue plate

Savor a taste of Italy in your own kitchen with this citrusy dairy-free cake recipe. Semolina flour and ground almonds give the baked good a dense texture akin to pound cake, while the oranges and orange liqueur freshen things up.

06 of 20

Crazy Cake

Crazy Cake
My Hot Southern Mess

What makes this cake so crazy? We'll let you in on the secret. The chocolate cake, which you may have heard called a "Depression Cake," contains no butter or eggs. Instead, vegetable oil and white vinegar join the baking staples of flour, sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, and more. That means every pantry staple is shelf stable so you can make this cake even if you don't have a full fridge of ingredients!

07 of 20

Mint-Chip Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Mint-Chip Coconut Milk Ice Cream served in a white bowl topped with fresh mint
Buckwheat Queen

"Amazingly rich and creamy and not too sweet," describes recipe creator Kate who dreamed up this dairy-free and nut-free dessert. You need just four ingredients—canned coconut milk, agave syrup, peppermint extract, and chopped dark chocolate—to make the ice cream base. Give that all a churn in an ice cream maker and you'll have a dessert that might just inspire you to break up with Ben & Jerry.

08 of 20

Vegan Cupcakes

Vegan Cupcakes

This dairy-free dessert is dense, moist. and craveable with almond milk and coconut oil replacing the typical cow's milk and butter. That oil turns out to be a total flavor boon—the whisper of coconut flavor in the background is delightful alongside the vanilla.

09 of 20

Ultimate Maple Snickerdoodles

Ultimate Maple Snickerdoodles next to a bottle of maple syrup

Margarine is swapped in for butter in these snickerdoodles, making it a cinch to create these cinnamon-sugar cookies dairy-free. Maple syrup and maple sugar are used in place of some of the white sugar making us wonder, "Why didn't we think of this sooner?!" Linda, who created the recipe, says "These have been voted the number one cookie that I bake (and I bake a lot!), and are loved by all who eat them."

10 of 20

Cherry Cheezecake

Cherry Cheezecake on a white plate
Mackenzie Schieck

Silken tofu, soy milk, and non-dairy cream cheese stand in as doppelgängers for the classic cheesecake recipe ingredients. Topped with cherry pie filling and stuffed inside a graham cracker crust, no one will notice one bit of difference in this sweet fruit treat.

11 of 20

Fresh Pear Cake

closeup of a bundt cake with a slice cut out of it on a cooling rack

With more than 250 five-star reviews, this dairy-free cake has to be good! Pears team up with pecans, canola oil, flour, sugar, egg whites, and a mix of warm baking spices for a fall-flavored dessert you'll want to slice and share all year long. (Psst...if you don't have or don't love pears, apples would be awesome here, too.)

12 of 20

Mom's Ginger Snaps

Mom's Ginger Snaps on a Christmas plate

With such robust flavors from molasses, cloves, cinnamon and ginger, vegetable oil is completely incognito as a replacement for the butter in these just-like-mom-made holiday cookies. Reviewer Karen suggests to dip only the tops in sugar so they don't stick to your cookie sheet. Then they will crackle, "look pretty, and taste amazing," she says. "Absolutely the best cookies I have ever made!"

13 of 20

Apple Enchilada Dessert

Apple Enchilada Dessert

Love the flavor of apple pie but not all the fuss that goes into making a butter pastry and lattice topping? Turn to this apple-stuffed dairy-free dessert that starts with flour tortillas and apple pie filling and ends with a scrumptious sauce of brown and white sugar mixed with a bit of melted margarine. Bake until crispy then devour.

14 of 20

Healthy Vegan Pumpkin Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Healthy Vegan Pumpkin Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies

For a sweet treat, crack open a can of pumpkin and mix it with warm spices, coconut oil, a flax egg substitute, pecans, and dairy-free chocolate chips. The finished product is a completely vegan cookie that somehow manages to taste like pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and chocolate chip cookies all at once.

15 of 20

Mini Berry Pavlovas

Mini Berry Pavlovas on a blue plate

This Russian dessert sounds fancy, but is actually surprisingly doable to execute once you master how to make meringue (or whip egg whites to peaks). Once you have these mini crunchy cookies baked, you can garnish them any which way to fit the occasion and season. Our favorite dairy-free dessert option: vegan whipped cream, berries, and fresh mint.

16 of 20

Blueberry Chia Pudding with Almond Milk

Blueberry Chia Pudding with Almond Milk

Fitting for everything from breakfast to dessert, we've been officially drafted onto Team Chia Pudding. We're especially huge fans of this rendition for dairy-free dessert night, since it features almond milk, maple syrup, blueberries, vanilla, and cinnamon—making it creamy, rich, delicious and 100 percent vegan all at once.

17 of 20

Pecan Pie Bars

Pecan Pie Bars I on a white plate

"These are perfect. Not too sweet at all," raves reviewer DAWNRF. A mix of sugar and corn syrup sweeten things up just enough, while pecans, vanilla, flour, margarine, and salt (a must to balance out all of the flavors) team up in this pecan pie treat.

18 of 20

Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies

plate of Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies
Christine Satterfield

Yes, you can eat dessert on the Paleo diet! The keys lie in simple ingredient swaps like almond butter for regular butter, honey instead of sugar, and dairy-free chocolate chips for regular ones. "Made these to the exact recipe, cooked them for 10 minutes and they came out to perfection. Soft centers with crisp edges," says Julie.

19 of 20

Crazy Crust Apple Pie

Crazy Crust Apple Pie on a stovetop
Michigan Mommy

It's crazy how easy this dairy-free apple dessert truly is. Employ a can or jar of apple pie filling and it takes just 15 minutes to toss together the flour, sugar, and shortening crust. Not quite traditional but quite decadent—and exactly why we think you'll love it.

20 of 20

Lemon and Almond Slices

Lemon and Almond Slices on a grey background

We're pretty sure you'll go nuts for the unexpected sweet, salty, and tart flavor combo in this recipe. It's one of our best lemon desserts that just so happens to be dairy-free. The salty cashews and almonds amplify the sweet honey and maple syrup. Rich coconut cream rounds out the gourmet bakery-worthy line-up.

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