Question: If dinner has no dessert, is it really a meal? If you answered with, “Aw hell, no!” we’re with you. But when you’re following a Paleo diet, it can feel like there’s a real lack of dessert options. Don’t stress, sweet fiends, we’ve got you covered. Yes, certain foods aren’t part of the Paleo plate, but that doesn’t mean you’re entering a time without treats.
We’ve rounded up some of the best Paleo-friendly desserts from around the web to satisfy your prehistoric sweet tooth. So stock up on staples like almond and coconut flours and coconut oil because these desserts are so tasty, you'll want to eat at least one daily.
These brownies will have you literally buzzing. Ground coffee lends extra depth to the brownie base, while fresh berries and pecans add a hit of sweetness and crunch.
Lemon bars are such a classic treat, and this version is Paleo-approved. Start by making a simple almond-flour crust and, while it sets in the oven, combine eggs, lemon juice, honey, and coconut flour, and lemon zest in a food processor. Pour the mixture over the now-golden crust and bake. Easy peasy!
Don’t shy away from this recipe because of the zucchini. You’ll get an extra-moist brownie, a sneaky serving of vegetables, and zero “green” taste. No special equipment or ingredients are needed to whip up these beauties.
Chocolate mousse meets brownies in this light-and-lovely dessert. And it’s easy enough for novice cooks to tackle. Hint: try grapeseed for the “neutral oil” in the brownie base.
No baking required, six ingredients, and totally addictive—these bars are pure genius.
These bars are sweet enough to work as an after-dinner treat, but healthy enough to replace your afternoon snack. Made with a medley of seeds, nuts, coconut, and orange zest, they’re the perfect crunchy-sweet combo.
Almond Joy fans, make some noise! Yes, it’s possible to make a Paleo version of this classic candy bar. A layer of almond butter, vanilla bean paste, and a few other ingredients are topped with sweet coconut and agave nectar for a no-bake version of this childhood favorite.
Cakes and Cupcakes
This cake (or crumble) screams autumn, but it’s perfectly delicious year-round. Apples, blackberries, and spices make up the filling, and the entire dessert is cooked in one pan for speedy cleanup.
Fresh avocado combines with zesty lime juice to create this light, festively colored cheesecake. Use puréed fresh berries as a topping, or eat as is—either way, it’s delicious.
These moist lemon cupcakes are topped with a homemade buttercream blackberry frosting for an delicious combo. This recipe might sound complicated but you'll be surprised at how many of these ingredients you already have in your pantry (a.k.a. perfect for impressing your friends with minimal work).
Grains, dairy, soy, nuts, and refined sugar are left out, but this take on a classic still has that old-fashioned layer-cake flavor, including a double-decker dose of gooey, chocolate frosting. Throw some of your favorite berries on top for an added bonus.
These two-bite minis may look—and taste—like something from the Cheesecake Factory, but they’re packed with good-for-you ingredients like zucchini and cashews. Craving a caveman-sized slab instead of these dainty bites? No problem. Just add the crust to a pie pan and make one big cheesecake instead.
A cheesecake that doesn’t require baking? Awesome. A cheesecake that doesn’t require baking and is dairy- and gluten-free? Yes please! Fresh strawberries and a (gluten-free) graham cracker crust in a jar make these treats both simple and gorgeous.
If you’re a fan of this iconic cinnamon cookie, these cupcakes will be your Paleo dream come true. Everything comes together using coconut and almond flours, and grass-fed buttercream frosting is the icing on the cake. (See what we did there?)
Chocolate mousse sounds complicated, but once you learn how effortless it is to make, you’ll start throwing it together just cuz. The same holds true for this avocado-and-date Paleo version. Toss a few common ingredients in a food processor and then whisk till fluffy. Fancy French restaurants have nothing on you.
This creamy, spiced carrot cake skips gluten and sugar but it definitely doesn't skimp on any of that signature carrot cake flavor. This recipe does include goat cheese, which is an "on the fence" paleo ingredient, so if you are super strict, go with a 100% dairy free cream cheese frosting recipe instead.
If you’re a chocolate lover, this gooey cake will hit all your chocoholic buttons. And, because the cakes are baked in ramekins, portion control is a snap. Drizzle optional caramel garnish on top to take these little beauties over the edge.
A blend of raspberries and orange juice bring a deep fruity flavor to these amazing muffins. Make sure to use fresh fruits and juices to get the best flavor.
This recipe will make you regret ever using a boxed mix. Since Paleo is all about real food, this is shortcake distilled down to its roots. Chunks of strawberries and almond extract shine in this straightforward recipe.
Life without classic chocolate chip cookies sounds bleak. Thank goodness almond flour, coconut oil, and coconut sugar give the building blocks to reproduce a Paleo-approved version of Toll House’s greatest hit.
Question: What could make chocolate chip cookies better? Answer: bacon. That’s exactly why this Paleo recipe is so genius. Chopped bacon is folded into the dough along with chocolate chips to make the ultimate salty-sweet mix. Use good-quality bacon to maximize the meaty flavor.
These grain-free and flour free cookies are mixed with tart cranberries and sweet chocolate chips for the perfect post-dinner treat. The flaxseed + water base may sound weird, but you'll never know that these yummy paleo cookies are missing flour.
These cookies are not only absolutely adorable, but, with spicy seasonings like cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger, they also scream, “It’s holiday season!” (Note, we fully support making these year-round while singing carols at the top of your lungs.) And don’t stress if you don’t have cookie cutters to make gingerbread people; just drop spoonfuls on the tray and bake.
Don’t make us choose when it comes to dessert: We want chocolate and peanut butter. Chewy cookies and a brownie texture. These treats are not only delicious, but they also come together quickly and require just seven ingredients. (Sub in almond butter and coconut sugar if you're sticking close to the Paleo rulebook.)
It’s like Girl Scouts gone grain-free. These delightfully sized cupcakes use mint extract to capture the iconic Thin Mint flavor. And the natural green frosting is courtesy of creamy avocado paired with ingredients you can actually pronounce.
These lemony sandwich cookies are like oreos with a healthy (and sweet) upgrade. Feel free to use this easy cream filling for other recipes, too.
These adorable cookies get their red color from an easy homemade raspberry jam (made from just four ingredients!). You'd never even know that the recipe uses dates and plantains as sweeteners from tasting this treat.
Not everything with avocado in it turns out green. These amazing (and super chocolaty) cookies replace butter with avocado for a delicious and chewy treat. Tip: these are best served cold.
If you’ve had fried plantains, this’ll be familiar treat turf. Potassium-packed bananas are lightly sautéed in olive oil and then drizzled with honey. Super sweet and a snap to make, these are a great option when late-night munchies hit.
The dessert principle here is K.I.S.S.: Keep It Simple and Sugar-Free. Simply stuff a banana with heart-healthy almond butter, sprinkle with cinnamon, and let it roast for 15 minutes in the oven for a quick single-serving banana-split.
No fresh fruit? Not a problem with this go-to recipe. Cobble together your favorite frozen fruits with a little of this (almond flour) and a little of that (tapioca starch) for a dessert that’s easy to throw together when your sweet tooth strikes. Don’t have a stash of frozen berries? You can also use overripe fruit.
This mojito-inspired fruit salad provides that island flavor with some added rum. Just substitute coconut sugar for the powdered sugar if you’re keeping close to the Paleo principles.
The crepe batter here is a base of puréed plantains and egg, which makes it full of potassium, vitamins A and C, and omega 3s. Cook them with coconut oil, then load with your favorite fillings! Our picks: strawberries and blueberries; peanut butter and chocolate chips; or honey and banana
Make use of overripe bananas in this Paleo-friendly remake of an old favorite. Helpful hint #1: as oven temperatures vary, keep an eye on your loaf during the last 10 minutes of baking to ensure it’s cooked on the inside and not overbrowning on the outside. Helpful hint #2: Banana bread totally counts as breakfast.
Say hello to your new favorite midnight snack! A sliced apple gets covered in a tasty choco-coco mix that’s perfect for eating solo or sharing (if you’re feeling generous).
Apricots and cranberries is a combination that works beautifully in this scone recipe. If you’ve been afraid of baking scones in the past, this recipe will put you at ease—it’s as simple as slice-and-bake cookies.
Pies and Crisps
Back from the orchard with an apple overload? This Paleo version of the all-American apple pie is the answer. Almond meal and cashews are the secret ingredients to achieve crust perfection, and the rest comes together with apple-cinnamon goodness.
Rum, caramel, and flambéed bananas? Now this is a pie. Start by making a whipped layer full of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cashew butter, and then add a caramelized banana layer. (Tip: keep your rum handy!) Assemble and refrigerate for at least six hours, then inhale.
Exactly three ingredients make up the core of this cherry-sweet recipe, and there’s no additional sweetener aside from fruit. A crumbly topping (hooray for hemp seeds!) finishes off this stupendously simple dessert.
Chocolate and coconut team up in this no-bake pie that’s perfect for warm nights. An almond and date crust is filled with coconut milk, banana, and cocoa powder. The result is creamy perfection.
If you can’t make it to Key West, the next best thing is this key lime pie. A creamy filling is topped with a homemade coconut whipped cream for a tropical tasting treat.
If you’re a pecan lover, this pie won’t disappoint. Pecans make up the crust, filling, and topping of this tart. Natural sweeteners like honey keep it indulgent.
Sweet potatoes in dessert? Believe it. While the pre-baking process is a bit long—you’ll have to wait for the crust to chill and sweet potatoes to steam—sinking into a meringue-topped slice after is well worth it.
Candy and Other Deliciousness
Coconut, raw honey, one egg white, and dark chocolate are all you need for this frozen treat. Heat up a batch of hot chocolate, freeze into ice cubes, blend, and serve for a dessert that’s a perfect summer sweet.
If you are a Reese’s lover, these will knock your PB-lovin’ socks off. Four ingredients combine in mini muffin tins to make a better-for-you version of everyone’s favorite Halloween candy.
While this recipe requires some speedy maneuvers and a candy thermometer, it’s actually not that difficult. These pretty little caramels make a cute prezzie for a fellow Paleo. The only trick? Stopping yourself from eating the whole pan.
Who says Paleo peeps can’t eat dessert for breakfast? Give Cinnabon a run for its money with this personal-sized cinnamon roll. Spread out the coconut flour dough and fill with dried fruit of your choice. Goodbye, food court. Hello, delicious!
Do we have your attention? This six-layer decadent dessert is grain-, dairy-, and refined sugar-free. Pecans and dates form the first layer while grated chocolate is dusted as the sixth. What lies between? Pure deliciousness earning that over-the-top title.