Tell savory to scooch over. It’s time to utilize the grill for dessert.

Whiskey Banana Walnut Pancake Topping
Luisa Brimble

So, you want to make something sweet on the grill? It’s not a totally taboo idea! There are tons of desserts that lend themselves to being made outdoors or over a fire. S’mores, for example, are delicious and always a fan favorite.

But maybe, just maybe, you want something a bit more elevated—a sweet treat doesn’t need to be attached to a roasting stick, turned ever so meticulously over an open flame, and stuffed between two graham crackers.

To help us all make a varying array of sweets sans oven, we’ve gathered some tips to keep in mind when moving your baking endeavors outdoors. When grilling desserts, you want to stick with ingredients that cook rather quickly, so you don’t have to worry about excessive charring. Using ingredients like chocolate, peanut butter, Nutella, or other spreads that thin out with heat makes for simply transformed dishes with minimal input, like dipped fruits. 

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When using chocolate on the grill, you can create foil pouches like you might have done when cooking fish. Add a few ingredients to a foil pouch, like chocolate chips, marshmallows, cookies, or graham crackers, and close the top. Set it on the edge of a grill, not in direct flames, and check it after about five minutes to see if everything has melted. Once melted, remove it from the grill and dive into a deconstructed s’mores-style dessert!

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You can also take advantage of stone fruits, like peaches and apricots, which can be cut in half and placed directly on a grill. When prepping the fruit, toss them in a bit of cinnamon and sugar to help aid in caramelization, though the natural sugars in the juice will really amp up the flavor on their own as well. These sturdier fruits will also hold their shape once grilled, so you don’t have to worry about them falling through the grates. 

Berries like strawberries and blackberries are also naturally high in sugars and will deepen In flavor with a little heat. Since they’re smaller, try making a fruit kebab to make sure they all stay on the grill. Brush the fruit kebabs with a bit of melted jam as a glaze to really make them shine before serving, and offer guests a dollop of whipped cream on the side for a simple showstopper. 

While a fruit like pineapple can be grilled in rings, it can also be sliced into thinner chunks and kebabs so the heat gets all the way to the center. If you want to use fruits that tend to need some added sweetness, layer your kebabs with ingredients like cubes of pound- or angel-food cake. 

To avoid juices dripping onto hot coals and making everything smokey, or if you are looking for less direct heat, try using a pot, baking sheet, or muffin tin. Recipes like popovers and shortcakes, which bake quickly, are great options to consider when looking to bake directly on the grill. 

If you don’t want to use full-on kitchen equipment outdoors or lug it all on a camping trip, create a makeshift sheet with foil on top of the grill, where you can place items inside. Shape foil into the form of a muffin tin by molding it on the outside of a cup and tying a piece of twine around it to help it hold its shape, then you’ve got a simple and disposable tin on your hands! 

Now that you’ve got some tips and tricks to try next time you want to make dessert on the grill, here are some of our favorite recipes to find inspiration with below. 

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