BY: LBL Team

7 Delicious & Light Summer Desserts

DIY summer dessert recipes

Most summer treats — ice cream, hot dogs, popsicles — are loaded with refined sugars, salt, and preservatives. But, when the heat is on, what you really want is something cool, light, and satisfying. Here are seven delicious, easy-to-make, healthier summer treats that leverage fresh, in-season produce.

1. Strawberry sorbet

Time: 10 minutes


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 cups fresh strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice



  • Heat the sugar and water over medium heat in a saucepan until they simmer, making sure the sugar is dissolved
  • Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice
  • Transfer to a bowl, cover, and chill


  • Pour the strawberries and orange juice into a blender
  • Cover and process or blend until smooth.
  • Press purée through a fine-mesh sieve
  • Stir purée into chilled syrup
  • Spread strawberry mixture in a two-quart square baking dish
  • Cover and freeze about 4 hours or until firm
  • Break up mixture with a fork and place in blender, half at a time.
  • Cover and process or blend for 30 to 60 seconds or until smooth and lightened in color
  • Spoon sorbet back into the dish
  • Cover and freeze for 6 to 8 hours more or until firm
  • To serve, let stand at room temperature for 5 minutes before scooping

2. Chocolate swirl cheesecake

Time: 45 minutes + 6 hours to chill


  • 1/2 cup crushed graham crackers
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 package of unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup fat-free milk
  • 16 ounces softened reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 8 ounces softened fat-free cream cheese
  • 8 ounces fat-free sour cream
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 melted and cooled dark chocolate
  • Fresh blackberries



  • In a medium bowl, stir together crushed graham crackers and melted butter until crumbs are moistened
  • Press mixture evenly onto the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan
  • Cover and chill as you prepare the filling.


  • In a small saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over milk, and let stand for 5 minutes
  • Heat and stir until gelatin is dissolved
  • Remove from heat
  • Let cool for 15 minutes
  • In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth
  • Beat in sour cream, sugar, and vanilla until well mixed
  • Gradually beat in gelatin mixture
  • Divide the mixture in half
  • Gradually stir melted chocolate into half of the mixture
  • Spoon half of the chocolate mixture over chilled crust in pan and spread evenly
  • Carefully spoon half of the white mixture in small mounds over chocolate mixture
  • Swirl the chocolate and white mixtures with a metal spatula
  • Top with the remaining chocolate mixture, spreading evenly
  • Spoon the remaining white mixture in small mounds over the chocolate mixture and swirl again
  • Cover and chill for about 6 hours or until set
  • Serve with fresh blackberries

3. Raspberry fudge greek frozen yogurt

Time: 15 minutes + 4 hours to chill


  • 3 cups Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup raspberry jam
  • 1/4 cup chocolate-flavored syrup
  • Fresh red raspberries


  • Combine the yogurt, sugar, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl
  • Whisk until smooth
  • Freeze the yogurt mixture in a 1 1/2- to 2-quart ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions
  • Swirl in 1/4 cup raspberry preserves and 1/4 cup chocolate-flavored syrup
  • Transfer to an airtight container and freeze for 2 to 4 hours before serving
  • Let stand at room temperature for 5 to 15 minutes before serving
  • Serve topped with fresh red raspberries

4. Coffee shake

Time: 10 minutes


  • 1 1/4 cups low-fat vanilla frozen yogurt
  • 1/2 cup cold-brewed coffee
  • 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
  • 1/2 cup ice cubes
  • Grated dark chocolate


  • Combine frozen yogurt, coffee, and chocolate syrup in a blender
  • Add ice cubes
  • Cover and blend until smooth
  • Top each serving with grated chocolate.

5. Almond panna cotta

Time: 30 minutes + 4 hours to chill


  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup fat-free milk
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate juice
  • 2 tablespoons cherries


Panna cotta

  • Place four 6-ounce custard cups in a shallow baking pan and set aside
  • In a small saucepan, stir together 3 tablespoons of sugar and gelatin, and then stir in milk
  • Heat until gelatin is dissolved, stirring frequently
  • Remove from heat
  • Whisk in yogurt and 1/4 teaspoon of the almond extract until smooth
  • Pour mixture into custard cups
  • Cover and chill for 4 to 24 hours or until set


  • Stir together 1 tablespoon sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan
  • Stir in pomegranate juice
  • Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly
  • Remove from heat
  • Stir in the cherries and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon almond extract, and allow to cool

To serve

  • Immerse bottom halves of custard cups in hot water for 10 seconds
  • Loosen panna cotta from the sides of cups with a small sharp knife
  • Invert a serving plate over each cup
  • Turn plate and cup over together
  • Remove cups
  • Serve panna cotta with sauce.

6. Mango coconut ice pops

Time: 15 minutes + 4 hours to freeze


  • 2 ripe mangoes
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • A pinch of salt


  • Peel and slice the mangoes, discarding the pits
  • Place the mango slices in a blender with coconut milk, honey or maple syrup, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt
  • Blend until smooth
  • Add the shredded coconut to the blender and pulse a few times to mix it in
  • Pour the mixture into ice pop molds
  • Insert sticks and freeze for at least 4 hours or until solid
  • To serve, run the molds under warm water for a few seconds to loosen the ice pops
  • Enjoy the refreshing Mango Coconut Ice Pops!

7. Watermelon lime slushie

Time: 10 minutes


  • 4 cups seedless watermelon cubes, frozen
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 2 tablespoons honey or agave syrup
  • Fresh mint leaves for garnish
  • Lime slices for garnish


  • Place the frozen watermelon cubes in a blender
  • Add the lime juice and honey or agave syrup
  • Blend until smooth and slushy
  • Taste and add more honey or lime juice if needed
  • Pour the slushie into glasses
  • Garnish with fresh mint leaves and a slice of lime
  • Serve immediately and enjoy!
  1. “9 Low-Calorie Summer Treats,” LadyLUX, July 30, 2014.
  2. “25 Skinny Summer Snacks Your Afternoon Slump Needs,” Redbook, May 18, 2016.
  3. “Get-Skinny Summer Desserts (Under 200 calories),” Eating Well, July 24, 2012.
  4. “Skinny Summer Desserts,” SkinnyTaste, May 22, 2012.
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